Injuries, competition could lead to busy off-ice weekend

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Injuries, competition could lead to busy off-ice weekend

Its already going to be a busy weekend for the Blackhawks, who will have back-to-back road games against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

But could results around the league make for a busy trading weekend? And if so, will the Blackhawks be part of it?

The Blackhawks players have enough to think about with their on-ice task, games against a Los Angeles team that just pulled off a big trade and an Anaheim squad thats not completely out of playoff contention just yet. The Blackhawks are focused on their own situation foremost, with just 20 games remaining in their regular season. Sitting in sixth place with 73 points and with teams pushing at them, the Blackhawks know every point is critical.

The next (game) is the most important one, and thats the way it is from here on out, Patrick Sharp said Thursday night, after the Blackhawks squandered a chance to pick up one or two points against the Dallas Stars.

The Blackhawks tough weekend task is made tougher since theyre missing Jonathan Toews, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador for both. None traveled with the Blackhawks when they headed to Los Angeles this afternoon. If the Blackhawks can conjure up the game they played against Detroit, theyll be just fine this weekend. The team-first mentality got the through that, got them two points.

And as the team works on how to beat the Kings and Ducks, general manager Stan Bowman has his own decisions to make. Hes said he wants a defenseman, and he has until 2 p.m. CST Monday to find one. One would expect action to pick up this weekend on the trade front. Some dominoes have already fallen, as Kyle Quincey was traded to the Detroit Red Wings and Jeff Carter was acquired by Los Angeles for defenseman Jack Johnson, whos headed to Columbus.

Bowman also mentioned a while back a potential trade for a center. With Toews out, does that need grow? Toews is officially listed as day to day, and could be suffering concussion-like symptoms. He could be back by Monday. He could be out longer. And missing Toews for any amount of time is tough. Will the Blackhawks make getting a center a higher priority now?

Its going to be a busy weekend, one way or the other for the Blackhawks. They need points, need to keep pace with an ever tightening Western Conference what coach Joel Quenneville calls, the amazing race. Theyll have to collect them through this recent rash of injuries.

Bowman could do something over the weekend to help alleviate the struggle.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

DENVER – Well, that was a wild one, wasn’t it?

We’ll spare you the gory-to-glorious details (most of which are in the game story, anyway). So instead, let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 6-4 victory over Colorado.

1. Great night for the rookies. The Blackhawks’ newest players were their most prolific players on Tuesday night. Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals. Tanner Kero did too, and added an assist. Nick Schmaltz had a goal and an assist. All of these experiences are great learning curves for the Blackhawks’ youth, and coach Joel Quenneville likes how they’re progressing, not just with scoring but with their overall games. “That’s the part that’ll make them better players and us a better team is playing the right way defensively, being responsible, putting the puck in good areas and going hard to the net.”

2. Top line still too quiet. Line changes were made but the results remained the same, especially for the Blackhawks’ top trio. Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik were up there with Jonathan Toews in this one, but still nada. The three had a combined three shots for the game. Many of you have asked if Toews is still dealing with that back injury. On Tuesday morning he said, “no, it’s been really good, actually.” Still, there’s something up with a top line that, regardless of combination, just can’t get anything going.

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3. Terrible second period. The Blackhawks came out of the first in great shape and with a 2-1 lead. But things got messy in the second period. Be it the inability to clear or get the puck deep in the Avs’ zone, the Blackhawks made mistakes. The Avs capitalized, scoring three goals in the second including two in a 63-second span. Outside of Tanner Kero’s goal, the Blackhawks had a forgettable second period. The Avalanche outscored them 3-1 and outshot them 8-4 in the second.

4. Faceoffs lost. The Blackhawks did not do well in this department, winning just 23 percent of their faceoffs. It didn’t cost them the game but they certainly need better nights than they got on Tuesday.

5. Corey Crawford gets through it. Crawford was stellar prior to his appendectomy but hasn’t been at that level since. Quenneville said he considered pulling Crawford during this one but decided to keep him in. Quenneville’s still happy with his goaltending – again, the Blackhawks aren’t where they are right now without it this season. But he said Crawford could be better than he was on Tuesday.