Stalberg learns from 'old-fashioned benching'

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Stalberg learns from 'old-fashioned benching'

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
Posted 2:57 PM Updated 4:27 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Viktor Stalberg sat on the bench the entire third period against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night. But it wasn't injury that sidelined the Chicago Blackhawks' left wing. Instead, Stalberg said, it was just "a good, old-fashioned benching."

Stalberg, who's been playing on the Blackhawks' top line for some time now, was benched for the third period of the team's 5-3 victory over the Stars. Stalberg logged 8:10 of ice time and was a minus-2.

He said there was no need to get further explanation from coach Joel Quenneville.

"It was pretty clear," he said. "It's just nothing to talk about; it's going to happen and you can't get down on yourself too much. You've just got to come out harder and play tougher and make sure you contribute the way they want you to."

Quenneville said it was mainly about "consistency (on defense), being stronger there and influencing the puck, those type of things."

"Everyone has stretches where you're playing better than other times and sometimes you go with the guys who are going better who are probably playing consistently over that stretch of games," he said.

Stalberg said he'll regroup and be ready for Saturday's game against San Jose.

"I need to use my speed and try to play a simple game," he said. "When you play with really good players you want to make sure they're getting the puck a lot. I've gotten away from the way I need to play. They want to make sure I do that. I'll be ready to go Saturday."

Kane getting closer?

Quenneville said two or three of the Blackhawks' injured forwards, including possibly Patrick Kane, could be skating when the Blackhawks return from this two-game road trip. Marian Hossa and Fernando Pisani have been sidelined for a bit with lower- and upper-body injuries, respectively.

"Could be," Quenneville said of Kane, who appeared to suffer a left-ankle injury just 23 seconds into Sunday's game against Calgary. "That's optimistic."
Crawford close to record

In racking up all these victories, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is putting himself among good company.

Crawford claimed his seventh consecutive victory on Wednesday night, a 5-3 decision over the Dallas Stars, making him the first Blackhawks rookie goaltender to reach that mark since Darren Pang did it in 1988.

Corey Crawford is congratulated by Blackhawks teammates after earning his seventh straight win Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars. (AP)Crawford is one off the Blackhawks' rookie consecutive win streak mark (8), reached by Denis DeJordy in 1964. Glenn Hall has the franchise mark with nine his last victory came in relief.

The 25-year-old Crawford played down his achievements.

"It's pretty cool, but it's not about me at all," he said. "The guys have played so well every game. They're giving me a lot of goals and playing well defensively, too.

"You have to keep working hard and stay focused," he said. "I'm just taking it shot by shot. That's my thought process right now."

Coach Joel Quenneville said there was a good chance Crawford would play against San Jose.

"He works well with things and his patience helps him," Quenneville said. "He's aggressive in certain situations and he's big a lot. He's progressing here at a good level for us. We like his approach as well."

Briefly

Jeremy Morin and Rob Klinkhammer were reassigned to Rockford on Thursday morning. The Blackhawks could call up "one or two" from Rockford on their two-game road trip, Quenneville said.

Dave Bolland did not practice on Thursday; Quenneville said it was a "maintenance" day for the center, who will be on the San JoseDenver trip.

Defenseman Jassen Cullimore missed Thursday's practice with a lower-body injury. Quenneville said Cullimore will make the trip but is not sure of his status yet for Saturday's game against the San Jose Sharks.

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

Blackhawks ink Anton Forsberg, Tomas Jurco

Blackhawks ink Anton Forsberg, Tomas Jurco

When the Blackhawks traded to get Brandon Saad back, they also acquired Anton Forsberg, who they believe is ready to be their latest backup goaltender. On Monday they signed him to a two-year deal.

The Blackhawks inked two players on Monday, Forsberg, whose contract runs through the 2018-19 season, and Tomas Jurco, who agreed to a one-year contract extension.

Forsberg joins the Blackhawks having very little NHL experience – he’s played 10 career games at this level, going 1-8-0. But the Blackhawks’ previous two backup goaltenders, Antti Raanta and Scott Darling, hadn’t made an NHL appearance before joining the Blackhawks. Forsberg led the Cleveland Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ AHL-affiliate team, to a Calder Cup title in 2016; during that run he went 9-0 with a 1.34 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.

On Friday, when the Blackhawks acquired Saad and Forsberg from Columbus for Artemi Panarin and Tyler Motte, general manager Stan Bowman said the team is, “optimistic about Anton’s potential.”

“We like his profile as a goalie,” he said. “He’s a big guy, takes up a lot of net, has that mobility and makes good positional saves as well as athletic saves. A year ago, led his team to the [Calder] Cup championships, so he knows what it’s like to put a team on his back. It was the AHL but he’s had a lot of success there. He’s earned the right to be an NHL goalie.”

Jurco, acquired by the Blackhawks from Detroit in February, played 13 games with them down the regular-season stretch. Bowman said shortly after the trade that Jurco would get a chance here.

“We’ll be patient with him but we really think there’s a good fit there, looking at his skills and the style of hockey we play,” he said. “I think a lot of ways, sometimes guys need different opportunities. It doesn’t work out in every place. A fresh start will be great for Tomas.”

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Blackhawks notebook: A busy draft, free agency and RFAs

Eight draft picks in about 3 ½ hours. It was a busy Saturday for the Blackhawks, and when general manager Stan Bowman talked that afternoon about the team’s Day 2 haul, he came prepared.

“I have my little cheat sheet,” Bowman said of the paper on which he had written the Blackhawks’ eight newest prospects.

After a few days’ worth of moves the Blackhawks focused on the future, taking nine players over two days at the NHL Draft. It was a successful weekend for the Blackhawks, who hosted the draft for the first time and built up assets, especially on the blue line. Five of the Blackhawks’ nine selections were defensemen.

“One of the things we talked about was looking at the market. There’s a high value on defensemen. We’re not necessarily looking at the draft but our team this year and over the next couple of years; those are the assets that are valuable around the league,” Bowman said. “Look at the trade Calgary made [for Travis Hamonic], defensemen are a valuable commodity. That was a priority coming in and we were able to accomplish it.”

What comes next

The Blackhawks got what they wanted at this weekend’s draft but the focus will soon shift, as free agency opens on July 1. It remains to be seen what the Blackhawks will have cap-wise come a week from now. Currently, according to CapFriendly.com, they’re $1.445 million over the $75 million cap. It’s doubtful the Blackhawks apply the long-term injured reserve tag on Marian Hossa during the offseason. It’s possible they could still trade Marcus Kruger to gain some space. Bowman said, one way or another, “there will be some movement.”

“We’ll bring some players in, I don’t know how many, what position or what level,” he said. “This is where there’s a lot of activity, the couple weeks in the middle of June until the middle of July. That’s when the most changes happen. We’ll go to work, now that we’re past this.”

Wait for it

The Blackhawks also have to decide whether or not to qualify restricted free agents Dennis Rasmussen and Tomas Jurco. Bowman said that’ll be decided by Monday.

“I’ve had discussions with both agents,” he said. “I don’t have an answer right now but we’ll have that worked out in the next day and a half.”