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 will consider breaking up Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane

Blackhawks will consider breaking up Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane

Saturday morning’s potential lineup looked different for a few reasons. First, there were more familiar faces, thanks to players trickling in after their World Cup of Hockey work.

Second, Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane weren’t on the same line. While part of that is because the Blackhawks are still short a few players, it’s also an experiment that could carry over into the regular-season.

Kane was with Nick Schmaltz and Artem Anisimov and Panarin was with Vinnie Hinostroza and Richard Panik and they’ll see how that works starting Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues. Granted, this is only part of the change. The main gist is to give Jonathan Toews, who hasn’t joined the Blackhawks for camp yet, a good playing partner on that top line. Still, it’s a first look coach Joel Quenneville would like to take.

"It’s definitely a thought process and we’re saying ‘Let’s have a look at it in camp," Quenneville said. "And maybe we can have a different look or something to think about, at least, going into the season with Johnny and Kaner being on different lines and having more balance on both lines."

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The Blackhawks struggled with finding the right combinations, outside of that top line, last season. Panarin did play with Toews for a few games but the combination didn’t click as well as the Panarin-Kane one, and that second line of those two and Anisimov was quickly restored. This season the issues facing the Blackhawks’ forward depth are obvious, so it’s worth another look to see, once Toews gets here, if he and Panarin can get something going.

"[It’s] more so about having balance on both lines and having more depth and scoring throughout the lineup," Quenneville said.

BRIEFLY

- Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Brent Seabrook will also play vs. St. Louis.

- Quenneville said Duncan Keith (knee) is progressing well and, "we’re hoping that he can get a [preseason] game in or so."

- Scott Darling is slated to play the entire game against the Blues.

Blackhawks release G Jake Hildebrand from tryout agreement

Blackhawks release G Jake Hildebrand from tryout agreement

The Blackhawks released goaltender Jake Hildebrand from his tryout agreement, the team announced after a 1-0 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

The 23-year-old netminder signed a one-year contract with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League in June as an undrafted free agent.

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Hildebrand's best season at Michigan State came during his junior year in 2014-15 when he was named the best goaltender and player in the Big Ten after registering a 2.18 goals against average and .930 save percentage, including six shutouts which was tied for second in the nation.

The Blackhawks' active roster now includes 28 forwards, 16 defensemen and five goaltenders.