Niemi stones Hawks again, Sharks bite in OT


Niemi stones Hawks again, Sharks bite in OT

Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010
1:33 AM

By Tracey Myers

SAN JOSE, Calif. Viktor Stalbergs rebound shot in the second period beat Antti Niemi. Unfortunately for the Chicago Blackhawks, it wouldnt beat the whistle.

Stalbergs potential go-ahead goal was waived off after a referee blew the whistle first, and Ryan Clowes second goal of the night was the game-winner as the San Jose Sharks beat the Blackhawks 2-1 at HP Pavilion on Saturday night.

Jack Skille threw a shot at Niemi and the official, apparently thinking the Sharks goaltender had possession, blew the whistle. But Niemi never had it, and Stalberg knocked the loose puck in before it was waived off.

Thats the way things seem to be going for me right now, said Stalberg, who was benched in the third period of the Blackhawks 5-3 victory over Dallas on Wednesday. (Niemi) never had it, I dont know why he blew (the whistle) so quickly. You wait a half second its a goal. But it happens.

Jonathan Toews said the referee admitted his mistake.

He admitted he was wrong, that he blew the whistle too early. You appreciate that, but it still doesnt give you a 2-1 lead, he said. But youre not going to sit here and let something that happens like that dictate the final score of the game.

The Blackhawks still had their opportunities to make that waived-off goal a moot point. Jordan Hendry scored his first goal of the season but the Blackhawks couldnt get another one past Niemi.

You cant complain, coach Joel Quenneville said. Sometimes its just a quick whistle. But we battled.

Corey Crawford came one victory short of tying Denis DeJordys 1964 mark for consecutive triumphs by a Blackhawks rookie goaltender (8). Still, Crawford deserved a big chunk of credit for the game getting to overtime in the first place. Crawford stopped 28 of 30, including some big ones at critical times. His stick save on a late first-period Sharks shot kept the game tied 1-1.

That couldve been his best game. Hes the reason we got a point, Quenneville said. He had two or three saves that looked like they were empty netters. His anticipation is there. He was sharp, quick and big. He was definitely a factor in this one.

Hendry scores

Jordan Hendry, who played in his first game since Nov. 7, scored his first goal of the season on Saturday night. Hendry played just over eight minutes, tallying three shots on goal and a plus-1 rating.

Hendry tried to get that elusive second goal a few times.

I havent scored two goals in a game for a long time, he said. I thought maybe if it rained it could pour.

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

Rookies finding their way with Blackhawks

Rookies finding their way with Blackhawks

Since joining the Blackhawks, Tyler Motte’s been all over the place in the lineup: third line, second line, top line and back to the third line.

For the rookie, that’s no problem.

“They keep you on your toes, keeps the guys loose. No one gets too comfortable in their spot,” Motte said of the line changes. “Especially me, as a young guy, I like that. coming in every day, you may get a little different taste. Keeps you on your toes, keeps you working hard.”

No, this is not a story about line changes — we’ve had plenty of those and there will likely be more in the future. This story is about how the rookies are handling things in this very early season, be it taking on responsibility handling the ups and downs and working through those line changes.

For the most part, the young forwards and defensemen have done all right. Michal Kempny has been solid, and should be back in the lineup Friday night when the Blackhawks face the New Jersey Devils. Gustav Forsling was doing fine prior to suffering an upper-body injury against Calgary on Monday night. He’s out against the Devils but could be back on Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Kings.

As for the forwards, Motte, Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman have been in the lineup for most or all of these early games. Be it the higher level of play or the speed, they’re adjusting as they go.

“I just think obviously the first couple of games you’re nervous. Playing against the best players in the world, it’s definitely a big step. But as the games go on you get a better feel of what to do with the puck and you realize you have a little more time than you think when you have it,” Nick Schmaltz said recently. “I think I’m just slowing the game down and just trying to play my game. I feel more comfortable out there every shift, every game.”

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Growing pains are expected. Coach Joel Quenneville said it’s about how the young guys adapt to everything.

“With all of them, basically, we’re looking for consistency. That’s how their games are going to get better, because they do have some good attributes that have them here,” Quenneville said. “From there, let’s get to where they’re getting better, and that’s with the little things and with the pucks and that intensity that grows knowing that’s what this league’s all about. The guys who work harder come up with more pucks.”

Hartman already knew what to expect, given he made his NHL debut in February 2015. He certainly knew the physical requirements of the game immediately — just YouTube his big hit, on his first NHL shift, on former Devils forward Dainius Zubrus.

“You start to learn what to expect,” Hartman said. “If it’s a certain team you’re playing against you know how the game’s going to go. The speed of the game and the systems, too, are a big thing with Joel. After playing however many games I’ve played now, it all comes together.”

Every player, regardless of experience level, has to adjust and roll with changes, be it lines or responsibility. For the veterans, maybe it becomes a bit of old hat. For the rookies, they’re learning. And contributing. They’ll get there.

“Starting from the preseason the games were fast, physical. You get a little different taste, a little different strategy every night, depending on who you’re playing where you’re playing,” Motte said. “It’s been fast, it’s been intense. We’ve had some tight games which is all expected. There are no easy games in this league. You just have to go compete, do your best to win.”

PHOTOS: Blackhawks hit the road sporting Cubs attire

PHOTOS: Blackhawks hit the road sporting Cubs attire

The Blackhawks hit the road on Thursday, and they did so in style.

In support of the Cubs participating in the World Series for the first time since 1945, each member of the Blackhawks sported a Cubs jersey and World Series hat as they hopped onto the plane and traveled to New Jersey.

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It may not have been as whacky as Joe Maddon's themed road trips, but it's still a perfect excuse for breaking the dress code just this once.

Check out the photos below: