Third period nightmares continue for Blackhawks

341460.jpg

Third period nightmares continue for Blackhawks

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010
Posted 10:07 PM Updated 11:30 PM
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks were in decent shape against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night. They were shaping up better defensively, as Mondays see-saw scoring battle was replaced by a tight 1-1 game through two periods.

Then Jordan Hendry was whistled for a four-minute high-sticking on Colorado center Daniel Winnik early in the third. And while the call and a sticks role in it seemed questionable, the Avalanche made the Blackhawks pay nonetheless.

Tomas Fleischmann tallied a third-period hat trick, with two of his goals coming on that double minor, as the Avalanche beat the Blackhawks 4-3 at the United Center on Wednesday night. It was another frustrating loss for the Blackhawks, who have now dropped three in a row.

And the way it happened was even more frustrating.

Hendry was going for a puck along the boards when Winnik skated in and soon went down. On first glance it looked like Winnik hit Hendrys arm, but he was called for a double-minor high-sticking. Apparently, Winnik ran into Hendrys glove, not the stick.

I didnt see the play live but I just looked at the replay and I totally disagreed with the call. But we still have to get through that, said coach Joel Quenneville. Hit (Hendrys) glove. From the outside I dont even know how you can see something like that. You watch the replay and (the official) doesnt even see the guy. I dont know how he couldve made that call. Youve got to be right when you make that call.

Hendry said he wasnt sure what happened.

It was just kind of a battle in the corner there, I dont know, he said. Its a tough call. I think because of the rules with blood they have to call it four (minutes).

The Blackhawks may also be missing another forward. Viktor Stalberg was hit from behind by Colorados Ryan OByrne midway through the second. Stalberg went face-first into the boards, skated off a few moments later but went to the locker room for the rest of the game. Quenneville said theyll have to see how Stalbergs doing on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks were still in this one through the first two periods. Tied 1-1 heading into that double minor, Fleischmann scored near the end of each penalty to give the Avs a 3-1 advantage. He added his third with about five minutes remaining.

Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews and Troy Brouwer scored for the Blackhawks, who were frustrated again after this one.

We were doing everything right, we were right there. But our PK wasnt very good in the third, Brent Seabrook said. We want to continue to get better every day. We have to be prepared to play full 60 minutes.

Corey Crawford stopped 19 of 23 in the loss.

Thats the game right there, Crawford said of the power-play goals. I think we were in control. I dont know what to say about it. Its just tough.
Kane, others close

Patrick Kane said he felt good after skating with his teammates on Wednesday morning. The right wing, who appeared to suffer a left ankle injury on Dec. 5 against Calgary, said hell test it again on Friday morning and, if all goes fine, could play that night against the Detroit Red Wings.
Fernando Pisani skated on Wednesday morning but did not play against the Colorado Avalanche. He is still listed as day to day.

Marian Hossa did not skate on Wednesday but Quenneville said he has been skating the past few days. His return date is still unknown.

Soldier honored

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who recently received the Medal of Honor, the nations highest military decoration, was honored prior to the Blackhawks-Avalanche game on Wednesday night. Giunta, who had two deployments in Afghanistan, received the honor after engaging two enemy fighters and rescuing a wounded comrade. The 25-year-old Giunta is the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since Vietnam.

Giunta, an Iowa native, was enjoying his time in Chicago and loved the atmosphere at the Blackhawks game.

To be able to stand on the ice and hear the national anthem and that reaction, its pretty incredible, he said. To feel that kind of support and response, thats what we need as servicemen. It makes you feel good inside.

Rooms available

Guest rooms for the fourth annual Blackhawks Convention are now on sale at the Hilton Chicago. The 2011 convention is scheduled for July 11-15. Room packages are available for one or both nights of the convention. A one-night stay includes two free convention passes, the weekend package includes two free convention passes and a guaranteed autograph during the event. To make a reservation, call the Hilton Chicago at 1-877-865-5320.

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

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

PITTSBURGH – Tanner Kero's been thrown into a lot of different situations in his time with the Blackhawks, be it third- or fourth-line center or penalty kill.

But with Artem Anisimov out, the second-line center spot has become new top-line, left-wing spot: The Blackhawks will keep trying guys out until they find one that works. Kero's the latest to get that opportunity, and since it worked well on Monday, he'll be there again on Wednesday.

Kero will center Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane again when the Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins. The line had a good start to Monday's game against the Lightning in Tampa, scoring the team's first two goals — Kero assisted on Panarin's opener.

Coach Joel Quenneville liked Kero's first go-around there.

"Defensively he's in a good spot — he's usually in a reliable spot in his own end — he made a couple of nice plays offensively and didn't change his game too much," Quenneville said. "It's not easy playing with guys at that next level. It's certainly a great challenge and a great opportunity, so I thought he did a great job, took advantage of it. We'll see how he does going forward but we'll keep him in there for [Wednesday's] game and that gives us some more options."

[VIVID SEATS: Buy Blackhawks tickets]

Learning on the fly can be part of a rookie season, especially when injuries arise. Jonathan Toews said Kero's handled everything well this season.

"Come to think of it, it's one of those little things that maybe goes over my head but he's definitely one of those versatile players who's as consistent as ever," Toews said. "He has, for his age, an incredible level of maturity and he carries that with him wherever he goes. You're seeing offensive improvement, too. He was making some good plays with Bread Man and Kaner. He's showing he can do it all and I think his work ethic and attitude's a source of that success."

Earlier this season Kero was with guys like Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza. They were all familiar with each other from their Rockford days, and that showed. Playing with two guys you don't know so well? It's a bit of a challenge, and one the three talk out. But ultimately, Kero said you have to rely on your instincts. 

"You go over things before the game and on the bench, get a feel for what you might want to do. But then you just have to play hockey," Kero said. "You have to trust your game, make plays. You know they're going to make plays with the puck so you try to use your speed and get open and try to go to the net, create space for them and a little traffic in front and try to capitalize on opportunities."

Anisimov will be out another 1-2 weeks. Asked if Anisimov has started skating back in Chicago yet, Quenneville said, "I don't think so but I'm not positive. But he's progressing." Filling Anisimov's skates isn't easy, as evidenced by the Blackhawks' search for his temporary replacement. Kero is the third guy to get that shot, and he took advantage of his first showing.

"Obviously it's a great opportunity to play with two great players," Kero said. "You just try to do everything you can and do the little things right."

Briefly

- Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith didn't practice on Tuesday but both are expected to play against the Penguins.

- Corey Crawford gets the start against Pittsburgh.

- Hartman, scratched after a rough game against the Florida Panthers, is probably back in against the Penguins.

Blackhawks sign prospect Matheson Iacopelli to entry-level contract

Blackhawks sign prospect Matheson Iacopelli to entry-level contract

The Blackhawks officially agreed to terms with prospect Matheson Iacopelli on a two-year entry-level contract that begins next season and runs through the 2018-19 campaign.

He will report to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.

The 22-year-old forward recently completed his sophomore season at Western Michigan, where he scored a team-high 20 goals and added 16 assists in 40 games. It was a huge bounce-back year after recording only one goal and six assists in 27 games during his freshman season.

[VIVID SEATS: Buy Blackhawks tickets]

A third-round pick (No. 83 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2014, Iacopelli possesses a dangerous shot and is a big-bodied winger at 6-foot-3, 206 pounds. His two-way game still needs fine-tuning, something he will certainly work on in Rockford, but he gives the IceHogs another much-needed scorer.

Iacopelli is the fourth Blackhawks prospect to sign this season out of college, joining John Hayden, Anthony Louis and Luc Snuggerud.