Quenneville comes away from prospect camp impressed


Quenneville comes away from prospect camp impressed

Coach Joel Quenneville watched the first three days of Blackhawks prospect camp from the stands, and he likes what he sees. From Brandon Saad, who could be a roster member this season, to Tervo Tevainan who represents the future, the Blackhawks young stars are rising.

Its been two days of some unbelievable, competitive practices, Quenneville said on Wednesday. You have to commend them for how theyve worked and competed.

The future for the Blackhawks looks like its in good shape. And in the case of Saad, for whom Quenneville had very high praise he looks like hes ready to play. He can maybe not just make our team, he can do more than that -- its very good.

But its the present thats still the bigger concern. Free agency began nearly two weeks ago, and other than acquiring defenseman Sheldon Brookbank the Blackhawks have been very quiet. Yes, theyve had interest in several players who chose to go elsewhere or stay put, namely Zach Parise (to Minnesota) and Martin Brodeur (remaining in New Jersey).

Shane Doan is the Blackhawks latest interest, but theyre not alone on him. Yes, theres been talk, but not much action from the Blackhawks camp. But Quenneville said the team is looking at its options.

It would be great to add a player like (Doan) to our team. But thats part of the process and were still looking at things, Quenneville said. I have a lot of confidence and trust in our team. We exited our season with an appetite, disappointed with the way things ended and we want to improve. You see whats out there, where hes at, and a number of teams will be interested.

And so the looking continues. Meanwhile, Quenneville said Marian Hossa is doing fine after suffering his season-ending concussion via Raffi Torres in the postseason. Hossa will be attending the Blackhawks convention next week.

Quenneville is also real close to selecting an assistant coach, although he wasnt willing to divulge how many finalists there were for the job.

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Sunday:

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

What if… Cubs GM Jed Hoyer’s takeaways from epic World Series Game 7

Quick hits: Blackhawks start strong in win over Blues

Illini keep NCAA tournament hopes afloat with dominant win over Nebraska

White Sox: Happy with progress, Brett Lawrie tries to clear final hurdles

How Indians regrouped and reloaded after losing unforgettable Game 7 to Cubs

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

Michigan State gets big win to boost tourney hopes, while Wisconsin loses for fourth time in five games




Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling found out at 8 o'clock this morning that he was starting for an ailing Corey Crawford. Considering he did this back in December for a few weeks, adjusting quick for one game was fine.

"It's kind of my job," Darling said.

And Darling, once again, did his job.

Darling stopped 30 of 32 shots and Patrick Kane scored his 24th goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks have won nine of their last 10 games. They're one point behind the Minnesota Wild, who made their splashy trade-deadline move in acquiring Martin Hanzal on Sunday. But the Blackhawks, thanks to veterans regaining their form, a top line finding its rhythm and youth consistently improving, are just rolling right along.

"We had a great start to the game. I thought Darls was excellent all night, great stretch there in the last 10 minutes where we fight through some tough shifts, particularly in the last couple of minutes in our end. But good win," coach Joel Quenneville said. "You look at the nice plays on the goals, it was kind of a comparable ending to the outdoor game: tied and about the same time they scored, we scored (tonight). Big two points for us."

Jonathan Toews scored his 16th of the season and Artem Anisimov scored the game-winning goal with 5:20 remaining in regulation. Tanner Kero added an empty-net goal with 2.6 seconds remaining in the game.

The Blackhawks already knew they'd be without Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) for at least a day or two when they found out Crawford couldn't go this morning. As Quenneville said Darling was strong once again, denying the Blues all but twice (a 2-on-1 goal from Magnus Paajarvi and a power-play goal from Alex Pietrangelo).

Toews and Kane (power-play goal) staked the Blackhawks to a 2-0 lead early before the Blues tied it in the second. But late in the third period Anisimov took the feed from Artemi Panarin to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

"I saw the puck all the way. It was easy to pick up," Anisimov said. "When you don't see the puck at the last moment and it comes, it's hard to receive and prepare for the next move. But I saw it all the way. Easy to prepare for the next move."

Speaking of next moves, do the Blackhawks make any more before the trade deadline. General manager Stan Bowman said on Friday, following the acquisition of Tomas Jurco, that he'll keep talking and listening but likes the group he has right now. If Bowman's made moves it's for what the Blackhawks have needed, not because of another team's trades. The Blackhawks like what they have right now. Winning nine of 10 and continuing to trend in the right direction, they should be careful not to disrupt what they've got going.

"I think we're, as we've said lately, trending the right way. We're playing solid. I think all four lines are contributing in every which way," Toews said. "I love our group right now. Everyone is getting better individually, contributing more and more and it's a lot of fun to see the way we're playing right now. We know that the ceiling is way higher and we can keep getting better too."