Myers: Hawks need to settle rollercoaster play

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Myers: Hawks need to settle rollercoaster play

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011
3:56 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks have been through their ups and downs this season. Right now they wouldnt mind an extended up.

The Blackhawks have had three-game and four-game winning streaks this season, but theyve usually been followed by a losing streak of the same ilk. They got points against Ottawa on Friday night, holding on after blowing another third-period lead. But its imperative that the Blackhawks start collecting chunks of victories, especially in tight games like that.

Tied going into the third period, weve got to get something out of these type of games, coach Joel Quenneville said. Thats where we have to be stronger going forward. We have to put something together now.

The Blackhawks will try to make it two in a row on Sunday against the New York Islanders, a team thats dwelling near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. The schedule wont be easy this second half, but the Blackhawks, eighth in the West entering Saturdays games, have to get things rolling soon.

Every year youve got one or two runs. This part of the season were going to need it, Quenneville said. You dont want to wait too long to put something together.
Kane better

As much as Patrick Kane was focused on the Blackhawks two points on Friday night, theres no doubt that he wants to get his own point production going again. Kane is still working back from the left ankle injury that kept him out about three weeks last month, but said it is getting better every day.

As far as re-injuring it, were past that, said Kane, who admits he may have been tentative when he first came back. I think everyone is when youre coming off an injury that keeps you out a bit. As far as being hurt for that period of time, maybe at first its about feeling things out and getting timing back. But its nice to get into the groove.

No thanks

Corey Crawford was hoping to talk with former Blackhawks goaltending great Glenn Hall at some point this weekend; Hall and a few other players from that 1961 Cup-winning team will be honored at Sunday nights game. But as far as playing netminder in Halls day, without masks, thats a different matter.

Ill tell you what, I wouldnt be a goalie if I grew up back then. Not a chance. Thats just crazy, Crawford said. To stand in front of a shot with nothing on your face, thats different.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Tommy Wingels, who the Blackhawks acquired earlier this month, will miss 6-8 weeks after suffering a left-foot fracture during his offseason training. Team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement that the Blackhawks, “anticipate a full recovery in 6-8 weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues.”

The Blackhawks signed Wingels, a Wilmette native, to a one-year deal on July 1. Wingels will still be at this weekend’s convention.

Why Blackhawks fans might want to tap the brakes on Alex DeBrincat

Why Blackhawks fans might want to tap the brakes on Alex DeBrincat

This is public service announcement regarding Alex DeBrincat and his potential this season with the Blackhawks:

Tap the brakes.

We’ve relayed this address a few times the past few seasons, most notably with Teuvo Teravainen as people eagerly anticipated his professional debut. We’re pretty sure when he was recalled for the first time, exultant trumpets played faintly in the background. But it bears repeating now with DeBrincat, who might or might not do fantastic things right out of training camp.

This warning, however, comes not only because DeBrincat might not be ready for the grand stage play-wise. It’s also because the Blackhawks might not have room for him.

Take a look at CapFriendly.com for the Blackhawks’ current situation: As they enter the fall they’re roughly $35,000 over the $75 million salary cap, but it’s not so much about money as it is the roster setup. There are 22 players currently listed on the Blackhawk’s CapFriendly roster, but only five defensemen. Also, of the 14 forwards listed, only one could be sent to Rockford without going through waivers (Nick Schmaltz).

So if there’s no room for DeBrincat, don’t be surprised.

Still, it’s going to be interesting to see what DeBrincat does at training camp this fall. You understand why the hype is there. DeBrincat is coming off three stellar seasons with the Erie Otters, with whom he had 127 points (65 goals, 62 assists) last season. DeBrincat is hopeful that a strong training camp could lead to opportunity, but he understands it might not be right away.

“I’m confident in my abilities,” DeBrincat said. “But they have a plan for me and I’ll do whatever they want me to do. I’ll stick with their plan.”

But the Blackhawks will take the slow-and steady approach with him as they did with past younger players. He’s only 19 years old, so there’s no need to rush his development. Playing time in the American Hockey League could be very beneficial for him as he makes the jump from the OHL to the pros. As former Otters coach Kris Knoblauch said earlier this summer, dealing with bigger and stronger players at this level is going to be the toughest hurdle for DeBrincat.

“It’s not that he’s afraid; he’s very good at battles. But just playing against the opposition, against five strong, fast players and just finding out how much time he has, where the room is,” Knoblauch said in early June. “One-on-one battles in our league, there are strong guys and he does fairly well. But when you have a unit of guys, it makes the game a little more difficult.”

DeBrincat will have his time with the Blackhawks. It just might not be right away, and for several reasons, including the current roster setup. So let’s tap the brakes. For now, anyway.