Quick Hits: Blackhawks turn in another complete effort in win over Oilers

Quick Hits: Blackhawks turn in another complete effort in win over Oilers

Coach Joel Quenneville was already happy with this Ice Show trip, even before the Blackhawks suited up for Saturday's game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Still, there's something to be said about putting a finishing touch on a long road trip, and the Blackhawks put an exclamation point on this one with their 5-1 victory over the Oilers. The Blackhawks enter the bye week on a five-game winning streak. Trailing the Minnesota Wild by three points, they'll now sit and watch the Wild play this week.

Chicago, we're heading your way again. Before we do, let's look at some notables to take from the Blackhawks' victory.

What Worked: Pretty much everything. The Blackhawks, who have improved throughout this road trip, played their sharpest game to date on Saturday night. Outside of the first four minutes in which the Oilers flashed their speed and Connor McDavid's brilliance, it was all Blackhawks. Honorable mention to the Blackhawks' power play, which scored on both opportunities it had.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

What Didn't Work: The Oilers. Edmonton was coming off its bye week and you would've figured it would have been the more energetic group. But the Oilers made too many mistakes and the Blackhawks overwhelmed them. So much for rest being beneficial.

Star of the game: Richard Panik. We've said it a few times but it bears repeating: the trade the Blackhawks made for this guy paid off. Panik scored two more goals on Saturday, establishing his new career high of 14 for the season. He has new career bests in assists (13) and points (27), too. A few weeks ago Panik said he felt good about his entire game, whether or not he was getting points. Still, he'll take them.     

He Said It: "First fight of my life. I don't know. I don't think he's been in many either. I don't think either were looking to knock each other out. It was fun to do it for the first time." — Vinnie Hinostroza after he and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fought late on Saturday night.

By the Numbers: 

599 – Assists for Jonathan Toews after recording two more against the Oilers on Saturday night.

398 – Career victories for coach Joel Quenneville for the Blackhawks.

145 – Blocks this season, which leads the NHL, for Niklas Hjalmarsson. The defenseman recorded two more against the Oilers on Saturday.

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

On April 22, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman vented his frustrations on the team’s all-too-abrupt exit from the postseason, adding that he and coach Joel Quenneville, “are going to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”

There will be plenty of decisions for the two to mull between now and September, when the Blackhawks convene for training camp. When it comes to the assistant head coach vacancy, however, that might need to be decided with a more one-sided approach. That choice ultimately should be made by Quenneville.

In a recent podcast, Pat Boyle and I discussed the Blackhawks’ need to work together on some upcoming decisions. But with the assistant coach, the head coach has to have the loudest voice. The head coach probably should even have the final vote. The relationship between coaches has to be there because they’re around each other constantly. They’ve got to be on the same page. There has to be trust from Day 1.

As for when the Blackhawks name that assistant, there appears to be nothing imminent. A source said Monday that the Blackhawks and Ulf Samuelsson have been in communication about the job — Chris Kuc of the Tribune first reported on Samuelsson on Sunday. On paper it looks like it would be a great fit. Samuelsson and Quenneville played several seasons together with the Hartford Whalers, along with current Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen. The relationship with Samuelsson has been there for a long time and it would make for a smoother transition. It might also provide somewhat of a panacea for Quenneville after former assistant Mike Kitchen, whose friendship with Quenneville also went back to their playing days, was fired last month.

Earlier this month Bowman told the Sun-Times that Quenneville will have a big role in the Blackhawks’ finding their next assistant coach, with the final choice being a “joint collaboration.” We get that there’s an order to these things and everyone has to be in agreement with the final decision. But in the end the head coach has to be 100-percent happy with his immediate staff. So whoever the next assistant coach is, the decision has to be 100 percent Quenneville’s.

Blackhawks share condolences after passing of six-time All Star Bill White

Blackhawks share condolences after passing of six-time All Star Bill White

The Blackhawks shared their condolences after the passing of former defenseman Bill White on Monday.

"The Chicago Blackhawks organization extends its thoughts and heartfelt condolences to Bill White's family as we mourn his loss," the team's statement read. "He will be remembered as a leader, generous teammate and tough player to play against. His energetic style helped the Blackhawks see great success during his tenure with the team."

White spent seven seasons with the Blackhawks — part of a nine-year NHL career — scoring 30 goals and tallying 149 assists.

He appeared in six consecutive All-Star Games from 1969 to 1974 and helped the Blackhawks to the playoffs in all seven of his seasons in Chicago.

White also had a brief stint as the Blackhawks' head coach, manning the bench for the final 46 games of the 1976-77 season.