Toews last Blackhawk chosen; Sharp separated

374616.jpg

Toews last Blackhawk chosen; Sharp separated

Friday, Jan. 28, 2011Posted: 10:15 PM
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

RALEIGH, N.C. You try to make sure a teammate makes his flight, and this is the thanks you get.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews sat in the All-Star draft audience waiting to be selected, many hours after he tried to make sure teammate Patrick Kane caught the early-morning flight from Chicago to Raleigh. Finally, with the 16th pick, Kane gave Toews the call.

I guess hes realizing he does need me, Toews said with a laugh. He relies on me. And when he doesnt have me, he feels pretty lonely. I think hes covering his bases for Sunday.

Toews was the last of the Blackhawks to be selected in the inaugural All-Star player draft, and hell be surrounded by plenty of present and past teammates on Nicklas Lidstroms squad with Kane, Duncan Keith as well as Atlantas Dustin Byfuglien and Minnesotas Martin Havlat.

Patrick Sharp was selected right before Toews by fellow Thunder Bay nativeAll-Star captain Eric Staal.

The new format gave each captain and their two alternates a chance to draft their All-Star teammates, regardless of conference affiliation. It also opened the floodgates for some good-natured ribbing throughout the evening.

Keith didnt have to wait long, as Kane announced him as Team Lidstroms second selection.

I was just happy to get it out of the way there it was kind of a relief, Keith said. It was cool. Im sure it was fun for the fans, too, and thats what its all about. Im just kind of disappointed we didnt get Sharpie on the team.

Sharp, meanwhile, will be the lone Blackhawks player on Staals squad, although hell also be coached by Joel Quenneville and Mike Haviland.

(Kane) had a few chances to grab me and didnt, so Ill have to make him pay (on Sunday), Sharp said. I got the Hawks coaches on my side, anyways, so it looks like Ill get some ice time. Other than that you have to face all those guys, but it should be cool.

Even Sharp, who was selected right before Toews, had to have fun with the Blackhawks captain as he waited.

I shook his hand when I got picked, Sharp said. The only chance I have of getting drafted ahead of Jonny is a game like this. It was a big thrill for me.

Of course, with his selection-process power, Kane couldnt resist, either.

It looked like he was sweating from my point of view, too. I felt bad for him, Kane said with a laugh. Our teams going to be awesome. If we couldve gotten Sharpie, too, it wouldve been great. A lot of them are probably my picks, and were happy to have them.

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

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

Blackhawks re-sign defenseman Ville Pokka to one-year deal

The Blackhawks signed Ville Pokka to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Pokka played in all 76 regular-season games for the Rockford IceHogs last season, recording six goals and 24 assists.

The Blackhawks’ defensive depth has already taken a hit this offseason, with Niklas Hjalmarsson traded to Arizona – Connor Murphy came here in the deal – and Trevor van Riemsdyk, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, then traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. While the Blackhawks will probably explore free-agent options this offseason, Pokka could vie for an opportunity at training camp.

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

dennis_rasmussen_qualifying_offer_slide_photo.jpg
USA TODAY

Blackhawks don’t extend qualifying offer to Dennis Rasmussen

Dennis Rasmussen was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Blackhawks, a source confirmed on Tuesday. Rasmussen will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Rasmussen was coming off a one-year deal worth $575,000. He was expected to be among those the Blackhawks extended qualifying offers – the deadline was Monday afternoon – but he was not.

The 26-year-old played 68 games for the Blackhawks this past season, recording four goals and four assists. He gave the Blackhawks some options, as he also played some wing and was part of the penalty kill. But he was a surprise healthy scratch more often than not as the regular season continued.

The Blackhawks will enter this season without Rasmussen and, if Marcus Kruger is traded, the team will have some holes to fill at center.