'Worst period of season' ends Hawks' streak

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'Worst period of season' ends Hawks' streak

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Posted: 9:09 p.m. Updated: 9:57 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

SUNRISE, Fla. Marian Hossa didnt mince words.

WATCH: Hossa brutally honest

That was our worst period of the season, said Hossa, referring to the Chicago Blackhawks first 20 minutes against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

It was hard to argue with him. And for the Blackhawks, that lousy start was too much from which to recover.

Hossa and Patrick Kane scored in the second period, but it wasnt enough to offset the Blackhawks horrible start en route to a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers. The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Blackhawks, who remain fourth in the Western Conference.

It was only the second time since Feb. 7 (loss to Calgary) that the Blackhawks didnt pick up at least a point in a game.

After so many strong games the Blackhawks came out flat and sloppy on Tuesday. The Panthers, meanwhile, were flying, jumping on loose pucks and rebounds and took a 3-0 lead after the first period. David Booth and Clay Wilson scored for the Panthers, as did Marty Reasoner, with just seven seconds left in the first period.

It was all about the first period and the start of the game. They outworked us and we had lazy habits, coach Joel Quenneville said. All three goals were preventable.

Corey Crawford was pulled after that first period. It was the first time this season Crawford, who allowed all three goals on eight shots, has been yanked early. Quenneville said it was more to wake the Blackhawks up than anything. Crawford understood.

I think it was the right move, he said. It was just one of those nights it wasnt going our way.

The Blackhawks did respond in the second period, outshooting the Panthers 15-4 and putting two on the board. Kane scored his 22nd of the season and Hossa added his 19th. But despite another 14 shots in the third, the Blackhawks couldnt get another past Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who stopped 37 of 39 on the night.

Marty Turco, who came in to relieve Crawford, said it was a lesson learned.

I saw our game at a different level (the last two periods), he said. Hopefully we realize we can play that way for 60 minutes the rest of the year. Good things happen when that type of effort is there.

The Blackhawks are right back at it Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The first 20 minutes was certainly forgettable. Its the final 40 the Blackhawks want to take into Tampa.

We played well the last two but we lost the game, Hossa said. You cant take time off. We just have to play 60 minutes.

Blackhawks disrespectful?

Calgary Flames veteran Brendan Morrison is still sidelined from a knee injury he sustained against the Blackhawks last week. The center was also disappointed in taunts some Blackhawks allegedly said to him while he was laboring to get off the ice during that game.
Calgary Flames center Brendan Morrison claims he was disrespected by the Blackhawks while skating off the ice with a knee injury during their game on March 2. "I don't think it's very professional," he said. "But they'll learn." (AP)
What was a little disappointing was coming off and guys from the Chicago bench being a little disrespectful. That was uncalled for, Morrison told the Calgary media on Tuesday. I dont know if they understood what was gong on, but some young guys on their team were standing up and yelling. I dont think its very professional. But theyll learn.

State meeting

The Blackhawks will host the 2011 Illinois State High School Hockey Championships at the United Center on Sunday, when 09 champion New Trier will take on 07 and 08 champs Glenbrook North. The game will be shown on Comcast SportsNet Chicago at 6:05 p.m. Judd Sirott, Steve Konroyd and Chris Boden will have the call.

Tickets for the day-long event are now on sale. The Chicago fire and police departments will play at 10 a.m. which requires a separate ticket followed by the Illinois Girls State championship at 1 p.m. and a skills competition at 3:30 p.m. This is the 24th year that the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois has hosted the state championship at United CenterChicago Stadium.

Tickets, which include parking, are available for 5. To purchase tickets or to get more information, go to chicagoblackhawks.com or call 312-455-7000.

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

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Together again: Toews, Saad expect chemistry to return quickly

Together again: Toews, Saad expect chemistry to return quickly

Together again: Toews, Saad expect chemistry to return quickly

Brandon Saad talked to plenty of people after he was traded back to the Blackhawks. Some were now ex-teammates from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Others, soon-to-be-teammates again from the Blackhawks.

One of the first people he talked to on Friday? Jonathan Toews.

“He’s someone I talked to shortly after it happened. He’s a guy I’ve always kept in touch with, great friend,” Saad said. “To be reunited, getting that chance to play with him again, he’s an incredible player and his resume speaks for itself. I look forward to trying to rekindle that.”

The two didn’t lose touch the past two years. Now that they’ll be reunited on the ice, they hope they didn’t lose the chemistry either. Saad and Toews formed a great combination a few years ago, a steadiness that’s been missing from the top line, especially at left wing, ever since. With Saad’s return, however, the Blackhawks are looking to get that top line consistent again.

[MORE: Blackhawks trade back, select Henri Jokiharju at No. 29

Toews was at the NHL Draft on Friday night, announcing the Blackhawks’ first-round pick with Patrick Kane. The thought of getting Saad back on his left wing was appealing.

“Well there’s no doubt getting an old teammate, an old friend back, another guy who shared that same bond, friendship and having the experience of winning a Cup together with Saader. I guess there’s some reconciliation because you know what you’re getting,” Toews said. “You know what type of guy he is and how he’s going to fit into the locker room and what he’s going to bring.”

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said via conference call today that, while Toews and Saad had great chemistry the first time around, Saad could fit with others. It all depends on what works best.

“That’s up to Joel [Quenneville] on where he wants to use him,” Bowman said. “No doubt they had tremendous chemistry; he found a home on Jonathan’s left wing. But the one thing I’m trying to stress to everyone, even internally, is we don’t want to look backward and replicate some old formula. He’s had great success with Jonathan and if they go back to that, great.”

Toews and Saad found their niche together pretty quickly the first time around. It’s only been two years since Saad departed, so finding that chemistry again shouldn’t take long at all.

“I don’t think so,” Toews said of chemistry taking long to rekindle. “You play at that caliber you just worry about your own game. Go out there and have fun. be prepared, be ready to roll and it shouldn’t take long for things to happen out there.”