Time for Blackhawks to get back to business

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Time for Blackhawks to get back to business

KANATA, Ontario Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa experienced the pressure-free side of hockey this weekend at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. It was fun, it was silly, it was the polar opposite of intense.

Well, the (All-Star) party is over.

As Kane and Hossa trek back to Chicago Sunday night, their minds get back on the regular-season task at hand: the Blackhawks face a nine-game road trip right out of the break, beginning with the always intense game against Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.

Did we mention the light-hearted party is officially over?

Its tough to go from a weekend like this to going right to Vancouver tomorrow. But its exciting, Kane said before heading back home, albeit briefly. Weve got 32 games until the playoffs. Were still fighting for a spot, fighting for a good one in the conference and just trying to have a good end to the season.

Theyre also trying to get back on the winning side after dropping two in a row to the Nashville Predators right before the break. The Blackhawks could have their full slate of players on Tuesday, or at least one of them. General manager Stan Bowman said Friday that Jonathan Toews is still targeted to return against the Canucks. Patrick Sharps status for that game is uncertain right now.

Itll also be the Blackhawks debut for Brendan Morrison, who was acquired from the Calgary Flames on Friday night. Morrison is certainly familiar with the Vancouver Canucks, having played eight seasons with them. Former teammate Henrik Sedin said the Blackhawks have a good one in the veteran center.

Hes a veteran guy who can play in a lot of different situations: power play, (penalty kill), hes good in the faceoff circle and hes great in the room, Sedin said. He does a lot of different things. I thought it was a good pickup.

If nothing else, the Blackhawks will be rested for this odyssey. Duncan Keith said prior to the break that taking care of themselves these past few days was important.

Youve got to get away a little bit, but this is all about getting rest and making sure were ready for the last 32 games, Keith said. You have to rest up, get strong and make sure were taking care of ourselves and feeling good when we come back.

Well, the Blackhawks are just about back. Theyll get tested right out of the gate, but this is what stretch-run hockey is all about: intensity, readiness and dealing with the pressure.

The break is officially over.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Tracey Myers talks impressive February

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Tracey Myers talks impressive February

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle is joined by Tracey Myers and they discuss the Blackhawks impressive 9-1 month of February. Plus, why the offensive surge for Jonathan Toews?

They also discuss the maturation of Tanner Kero and Nick Schmaltz this season. What should we expect from Tomas Jurco and will Stan Bowman add a veteran blue liner before Wednesday's NHL trade deadline.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews named NHL's second star of the week

Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews named NHL's second star of the week

Jonathan Toews was named the NHL's second star for the week ending Feb. 26 after recording four goals and five assists in three games, all of which resulted in Blackhawks wins.

The 28-year-old captain kicked off the week with a hat trick and five-point effort in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild, then followed that up with two assists in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. 

He wrapped up the week by scoring a goal and adding an assist in a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues to extend his point streak to six games. He has five goals and eight assists during that span.

Toews now ranks third on the team with 46 points and is tied for fifth with 16 goals.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (eight goals and two assists in four games) and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (two goals and six assists in four games) were named the first and third stars, respectively.