No rust after rest, Hawks cruise to 4th straight win

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No rust after rest, Hawks cruise to 4th straight win

Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010
Posted 8:34 PM Updated 9:48 PM
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Marian Hossa hadnt played in nearly a month. Goaltender Marty Turco hadnt gotten a victory in more than one. On Sunday, they both had solid outings.

Turco stopped 26 of 27 for his first victory since Nov. 17 and Hossa had two assists in his first game since Nov. 29 as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 at the United Center. Patrick Sharp scored his 19th and 20th goals this season for the Blackhawks, who won their fourth in a row.

Turco got the starting call Saturday night after Corey Crawford came down with the flu. Turco, who had struggled in the few starts hes gotten recently, was big early with 14 first-period stops. He was 2:26 away from getting his second shutout this season before Derick Brassard scored a power-play goal. Still, it was an outing Turco needed.

It was good to feel the way I did. Its been a while since Ive had this feeling, said Turco. It was a good step forward for me but huge for the team to continue what were doing at home.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Turco was big in that first period. He gave us a chance to get our feet under us.

Hossa, meanwhile, looked like he had little to no rust from that lower-body injury that sidelined him the last 10 games. While the Blackhawks looked a bit sluggish to start, Hossa came out flying. He was also strong on the penalty kill, which went 3 for 4 on Sunday night.

I felt pretty good. I did lots of skating with the assistant coaches and getting a lot of extra time on the ice, Hossa said. You need to do that, especially missing a month off. I just needed to get the game timing back.

Hossas wraparound attempt led to the Blackhawks first goal, a Tomas Kopecky rebound.

Kopy texted me before the game and said, I hope you had a good nap. Pass me the puck so I can score. Hossa said with a laugh.

Then theres Sharp, who continues to be a steady offensive presence. His first goal ended up being the game-winner, the fifth time hes had that this season. His second came 37 seconds after Dave Bolland gave the Blackhawks a 3-0 advantage.

His (first goal) was a big goal for us, coach Joel Quenneville said of Sharp. Getting the two-goal lead was big. Hes had a real good start to the season and a lot of quality and timely goals as well.

Close, but

Jack Skille nearly tallied the first penalty shot in United Center history on Sunday, but Columbus goaltender Mathieu Garon came up with the stop on his backhand attempt.

I wouldve liked to have that one back. Ill be dreaming about that later, said Skille, who thought that was his first career penalty shot in any league. That was one of the cooler experiences Ive had. I just wanted to put the puck in the back of the net and hear the horn.

Skille said he wasnt thinking about making any crazy moves on the shot.

Ill leave that to the Mighty Ducks, he said.

Its better to give

Patrick Kane talked Christmas gifts after Sunday mornings skate, specifically the ones he gave family. Kane gave his dad a Stanley Cup ring and his sisters Stanley Cup bracelets.

Once my sisters got that they were flaunting that pretty good, Kane said. For my dad, I might have ordered the ring a little tight. He said it was great but his finger was completely red. He said it was just something youve got to work on I and said, Dad, lets just get it stretched. They enjoyed it.

Kane (left ankle) said he felt good coming out of Sunday mornings skate. He said hell see how he feels after Mondays practice, but he could play Tuesday in St. Louis. Kane said hes dealing with some pain but its not bad.

Its a little bit tender but overall its definitely a lot better than where I was last week, he said. Its one of those things that feels fine when you walk on it but put it in a boot and it just feels a little bit different."

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

Blackhawks, Tanner Kero agree to two-year contract extension

Blackhawks, Tanner Kero agree to two-year contract extension

The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with Tanner Kero on a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2018-19 campaign, the team announced Thursday.

Kero, 24, has five goals and seven assists in 38 games with the Blackhawks this season, along with six goals and nine assists in 55 games across two seasons.

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He has become a reliable, versatile forward on the bottom six for Joel Quenneville and has also played a role in the team's penalty-kill unit that has been terrific in March after a rough start to the year.

Kero signed a two-year deal that carries a $667,500 cap hit with the Blackhawks on April 2, 2015, as an undrafted free agent.

Former Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns in the midst of frustrating season with Stars

Former Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns in the midst of frustrating season with Stars

Former Blackhawks prospect Stephen Johns was like the rest of the Dallas Stars entering this season: he was optimistic, for his own game but also for the Stars, the team coming off a solid postseason and bringing a strong lineup back.

The season has been nothing but a disappointment, however, for the Stars, for a lot of their players and definitely for Johns, who has been in and out of the lineup.

“We have a pretty young team and most of these guys have played on teams that have always had the chance to win the championship of whatever league,” Johns said. “It’s tough for a lot of us right now. I’ve never been on a team that’s missed the playoffs. You have to stick together and get through it together and win as many games as you can. But it’s tough. It sucks.”

Johns will be a healthy scratch on Thursday when the Stars face the Blackhawks. The Stars are coming off a 1-0 victory against the San Jose Sharks and, like most coaches, Lindy Ruff is hesitant to change a lineup after a victory. Johns has played in 55 games this season. For the 24-year-old defenseman who was considered a great present-and-future piece of the deal that sent he and Patrick Sharp from the Blackhawks to the Stars in the summer of 2015, it’s been frustrating.

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“It’s all about confidence at this point and trying to find it,” Johns said. “It’s easy to lose your confidence and hard to get it back. It’s just finding it and sticking with it, blocking negative plays out and not letting it affect you, but it’s tough.”

It would be easy to think forward to next season. The Stars are all but eliminated from this postseason and, with some good health, perhaps they could get back to where they were in the 2015-16 season. Johns, too. Instead, he’ll focus on trying to make the final games of this season as positive as possible.

“You can’t look too far ahead into the future. Right now we have 10 games left and we just have to focus on those 10 games because nobody knows what’s going to happen in the summer,” Johns said. “It’s more about focusing this year on a positive note and then whatever happens, happens.”