Chicago Blackhawks

Third period nightmares continue for Blackhawks

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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.

Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Shots and slashes

Five Things from Blackhawks-Blue Jackets: Shots and slashes

It’s preseason: you don’t need a lot of build-up. Let’s just delve right in, shall we?

1. Lots of shots, but…

The same Joonas Korpisalo that the Blackhawks’ youngsters scored five goals against on Tuesday was on top of his game on Saturday. The Blackhawks peppered him with 54 shots but only two got through, and the second was a 6-on-4 power-play goal in the final two minutes.

“I thought we could have gotten a little more traffic in front of him," Nick Schmaltz said. "I thought we were playing along the outside. I mean we had some great looks. He made some big saves. Some nights you get the bounces and some nights you don’t.”

2. Bérubé’s Blackhawks debut.

Jean-François Bérubé had a tough sequence early in the second period, when he gave up two goals in a 28-second span. This was against a Columbus team that didn’t send many of their top players. He also didn’t see a ton of action in this one; the Blue Jackets fired just 21 shots his way.

3. Growing pains.

Alex DeBrincat had his up and down moments on Saturday night. His turnover led to Columbus’ first goal, he took a slashing penalty and he fought the puck quite a bit. You still saw glimpses of that skill, though, especially with his quick release. Hey, he’s a 19-year-old guy getting his first taste of the NHL. Nights like this are going to happen.

“We all make mistakes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You gotta be safe in certain areas and you learn from that.”

4. Slash-o-meter.

Four more were called on Saturday night. Don’t be surprised if that number starts dwindling sooner rather than later, though, because the edict has apparently changed already. Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported earlier on Saturday that the league told officials to ease up on slashing and faceoff violations. But we all figure that’s going to happen once the regular season begins anyway, right?

5. Notre Dame bound.

The destination is familiar but the Blackhawks threw it into their second week of camp this season. It’ll be bonding time for the Blackhawks, who will send a smaller group for several practices there this week. Quenneville figures it’ll be a productive time. “We’ll get some bonding in, play golf together, have a nice outing, couple of road games and a nice campus.”

Nick Schmaltz's confidence, hold on second-line center, continues to grow

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USA TODAY

Nick Schmaltz's confidence, hold on second-line center, continues to grow

Nick Schmaltz seemed to be everywhere the puck was on Saturday night. Great pursuit of the puck, great passes to Patrick Kane or Alex DeBrincat and an all-around confidence that’s becoming more apparent by the game.

So has coach Joel Quenneville seen what he’s needed to from Schmaltz at second-line center?

“And more.”

It’s been a pretty impressive showing for Schmaltz this month. The 21-year-old has played in all three of the Blackhawks’ preseason games and keeps getting better in each one. The uncertainty Schmaltz understandably showed as a rookie is gone; the NHL game no longer feels uncomfortable.

“I feel like the game’s slowing down for me, just seeing plays,” Schmaltz said. “I know what I’m doing with the puck before I get it. It feels good and just trying to get better every day.”

Schmaltz and his fellow second liners didn’t connect for goals in the Blackhawks 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The three combined for 12 of the Blackhawks’ 54 shots on goal – Kane and DeBrincat each had five – and the chemistry continues to build between the three.

Jonathan Toews talked on Saturday morning of how much more relaxed Schmaltz looks with the puck now, and that was evident again later that night.

“He’s really starting to get comfortable physically at this level,” Toews said. “He thinks the game so well, puts himself in good spots, much like Kaner where he can skate with the puck and use his speed. He has his head up so he backs guys off. Those two were making great plays tonight and Brinksy was fitting in well. They couldn’t buy a goal but Schmaltzy’s getting better and better, and you’re’ seeing that calm poise that he has really come out the more he gets comfortable.”

Schmaltz was likely getting a second-line audition in some capacity this fall; the original thought was at left wing in the wake of Artemi Panarin’s trade. But Schmaltz has always felt at his best at center. He’s showing that. And more.

“It’s always fun to play no matter if it’s preseason or regular season," he said. "I’m always happy to play, especially when you’re playing with great players. I feel like I’m more comfortable in the middle, able to use my speed a little bit more, create more offense that way.

"I think it’s going well. Wherever I end up, I’ll be happy.”