Same story, different day for desperate Hawks

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Same story, different day for desperate Hawks

Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011Posted: 1:50 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Another disappointing loss, another day the Chicago Blackhawks were trying to figure out how points slipped by the wayside.

Its becoming redundant, for sure, but its nevertheless true. The Blackhawks are a desperate group, a team that is somehow still clinging to 11th place entering Saturdays games despite their inconsistencies. And now theyre in must-win mode again with back-to-back games against Pittsburgh and St. Louis on Sunday and Monday.

So is it getting old to keep hearing the critical tag slapped on the situation.

Its not. Maybe the more you say it, the more it will be drilled into our heads, said Troy Brouwer. Theyre points we desperately need. Were falling behind right now and we cant let that happen.

Why has sustained success been so hard to find?

Thats a tough one, but I think some of the youth in the room, coach Mike Haviland said. Again its an excuse, but certainly some of the youth in the room. You can talk all you want, but youve got to show and thats what we talked about the other night before Minnesota. Its time to start showing and not just keep talking about it.

The Blackhawks say they havent lost hope, havent lost focus on the task at hand. But with 24 games remaining, they cant lose any more ground. The glimpses of good have to turn into a decent winning streak.

I think its just knowing we have talent in here to do it and its just a matter of getting it done, defenseman Duncan Keith said. You always believe in yourself as a player and an individual and its no different as a team. When you look at the situation were in, we havent gone on a long streak but were still right there. I think theres confidence in knowing if we can get there, well do some damage.

Now its about getting there. Haviland wasnt happy with the Blackhawks getting outworked by Columbus on Friday night, something he said was unacceptable. He said the Blackhawks were all businesslike at Saturdays practice.

You could tell they were upset about last night and they took it to heart, which is a good thing, Haviland said. They know the task at hand and they were disappointed in what went on. They knew it, we talked briefly about it this morning and we just have to move on and concentrate on (Sunday).

Yep, the Blackhawks critical situation hasnt changed. Their need for points hasnt either. They say they still have time, still have that winning streak in them.

It needs to come out.

We havent been able to piece a couple games together. Weve had short spurts, but when you cant piece together consecutive wins, youre gong to be in the pack every time, Brouwer said. You have to find ways to separate yourself.

Quenneville coming home?

Head coach Joel Quenneville, who has been hospitalized with an ulcer since Wednesday morning, could be heading home soon. Haviland said hopefully well get him back later today.

Haviland said he and Quenneville talked for about 20-25 minutes after Friday nights loss, and again briefly Saturday morning.

We basically talked about the missed opportunities we had, talked about juggling some of the lines around, Haviland said. The first line (Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane) had a great night but we were looking for a little bit more from everyone else. That was basically the gist of the conversations.

Briefly
Corey Crawford will get the start Sunday against Pittsburgh. Haviland said he hasnt decided who will start Monday in St. Louis.

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

Blackhawks: Abbott happy to be back after season in Sweden

Blackhawks: Abbott happy to be back after season in Sweden

Spencer Abbott enjoyed his short stint in Rockford, which came after he was acquired by the Blackhawks in February 2015. At the time, he thought staying here was his most likely plan.

Then he got an offer Frölunda in Sweden.

“I thought, ‘why not give it a shot? Maybe it’ll be a good experience and bring it back with me,’” said Abbott on Monday. “It was worth it, for sure. I have no regrets.”

Abbott, who’s back with the Blackhawks, had never been to Europe prior to getting that Frölunda offer. But his first trip across the pond was a good one as Abbott was part of Frölunda’s run to its Swedish and Champions hockey league titles. Abbott had 14 goals and 21 assists in 51 regular-season games. Abbott got plenty out of the games, but not nearly as much as he did in the team’s training camp.

“The first month and a half you’re over there, you’re there from 8 [a.m.] to 4 [p.m.] every day. I think over here there’s a rule against being here for more than 3-4 hours, but not over there. It’s like a 9-5 job for a month and a half, a lot of working out, a lot of bike riding. So for me, that was good because I had never been in that kind of shape before,” said Abbott, who added he’s trying to incorporate some of that into his routine here. “Training camps here are hard but they’re just different over there. There’s a lot of ice, bigger ice [overseas], so they really condition you. So my conditioning may be a bit better.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]​

As much as Abbott loved his time in Sweden, he ultimately wanted to be back in the NHL. So when the Blackhawks offered him a one-year deal, he jumped at it. He’s gotten off to a good start this training camp, scoring a few goals in the team’s early scrimmages.

“I wasn’t sure how it would play out, to be honest. I’m 28 and pretty early in the summer they were showing interest,” Abbott said. “This is one for the places I really wanted to come, because I did l really like the organization when I was here for that brief period of time. Now I get the full effect as long as they’ll have me. It’s such a good organization.”

Abbott probably could have kept playing overseas but he wanted another chance in the NHL. He’s happy it’s once again coming in the Blackhawks’ organization.

“It’s overwhelming. There are so many places to play hockey nowadays in Europe. There are tons of leagues over there. But it didn’t interest me,” he said. “I wanted to come back and give it one more shot.”

Blackhawks: Keith unlikely to play first four preseason games

Blackhawks: Keith unlikely to play first four preseason games

Duncan Keith was already deemed unlikely to play in many, if any, Blackhawks preseason games, when training camp opened. As of now, it doesn’t look like he’ll be in the first few.

Keith will probably not play in the Blackhawks’ first four preseason games, assistant coach Kevin Dineen said following Monday’s training camp sessions. As for whether or not Keith will play in any, that’s still up in the air.

“That’s a question that Dunc and the medical staff, Stan [Bowman], Joel [Quenneville], we’ll all get to that. I wouldn’t foresee him certainly in these first four games. I would say that’s not going to happen,” Dineen said. “We’ll let him keep progressing on his timetable that he’s on now.”

Keith has been participating in one practice each day but has not been in any of the scrimmages. Assistant coach Mike Kitchen said Keith has asked to skate in the team’s second practice each day – each session is about 20-25 minutes – but the Blackhawks have told him no. As of now, both Dineen and Kitchen figure Keith will be ready for the regular-season opener but the Blackhawks will continue to be prudent with him.

“He’s out there wheeling around, doing well,” Dineen said. “We had a good chat with him today. He feels like he has a lot of jump but not a lot of stamina right now. We’ll continue the way we’ve handled it so far. We’ll keep moving forward that way.”

Players returning soon

Patrick Kane, who was at the United Center on Monday afternoon, will skate with the Blackhawks on Tuesday. Defenseman Michal Kempny will also join Tuesday’s sessions. Dineen said Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin are expected to join the Blackhawks on Friday.

Neither Kane nor Kempny are expected to play Wednesday vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]​

Pokka is back

Defenseman Ville Pokka, who played for Team Finland in the World Cup of Hockey, skated with the Blackhawks on Monday.

“Anybody coming back from Toronto over the last two weeks is going to have a heck of a lot of confidence,” Dineen said. “A young kid like that getting the chance to represent his country on the international stage is a great honor and a pick-me-up heading into training camp and the season.”

First cuts made

The Blackhawks made their first round of cuts on Monday, sending Radovan Bondra, John Dahlstrom, Nathan Noel and Roy Radke to their respective junior teams. The active roster is now at 57 players.