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.

Bill Dineen, father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passes away

Bill Dineen, father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passes away

Bill Dineen, former AHL and NHL coach and father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passed away on Saturday morning. He was 84.

Kevin Dineen was not at the Blackhawks’ practice on Saturday. Coach Joel Quenneville called Bill Dineen “a tremendous man.”

“Everyone who had the privilege to meet Bill and be around him loved the guy. He was probably one of the most liked people you’d ever want to meet. Great family man; the kids are just like the dad,” Quenneville said following Saturday’s practice. “We had a good time with him on the dad’s trip last time. Seeing him at that stage and being around hockey again, it was fun to be there.”

Bill Dineen played for the Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. He later was a head coach, mostly in the AHL. He was named the AHL’s outstanding coach twice and led the Adirondack Red Wings to the Calder Cup in 1986 and 1989. He also had an NHL coaching stint with the Philadelphia Flyers from 1992 to 1993, during which he coached Kevin.

AHL president David Andrews released a statement regarding Dineen’s passing.

“During his time as a player and coach, and in the values he instilled in his family, Bill Dineen created a legacy of greatness in the American Hockey League that still resonates today. Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Dineen family at this time.”

Brent Seabrook could return, but Jonathan Toews will miss ninth straight when Blackhawks play Stars

Brent Seabrook could return, but Jonathan Toews will miss ninth straight when Blackhawks play Stars

Brent Seabrook came onto the ice on Saturday morning, a welcome sight for a Blackhawks team that has dealt with a few injuries lately.

And while Seabrook's return seems imminent, Jonathan Toews’ status remains very much up in the air.

Seabrook (upper body) practiced on Saturday and could be available on Sunday when the Blackhawks host the Dallas Stars at the United Center. Toews (back) did not skate and will miss his ninth consecutive game. Corey Crawford (appendectomy) will also be out, with Scott Darling getting his fifth consecutive start.

Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll see how Seabrook feels on Sunday morning before making a decision.

The defenseman said he felt good following Saturday’s practice.

“The lungs at the end were burning a little bit with Kitch,” said Seabrook, referring to assistant coach Mike Kitchen. “But just trying to get ready to roll.”

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Seabrook hasn’t missed many games in recent years — he played 81 of 82 games in 2015-16, all 82 in each of the two seasons prior to that and 47 of 48 in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

“It’s tough. You want to be out there and want to be playing. It’s tough not being out there with your teammates and helping them out and battling with them so I think we did a great job (Friday) night,” Seabrook said. “Had a great game, had a chance for two points in overtime there but got one, which is huge for our group. I think it’s good.”

As for Toews, Quenneville had hoped the captain would be skating by this weekend. He said following Saturday’s practice that Toews could skate on Sunday. Whether or not Toews accompanies the Blackhawks on their upcoming trip to New York depends on what happens on Sunday.

“If he skates tomorrow, we’ll have a better sense of that,” Quenneville said. “We have to do what’s right, long-term, and make sure he’s 100 percent and ready to go.”

Quenneville said he saw Crawford, who had his appendectomy on Dec. 2, Saturday at the rink.

“He’s doing all right,” Quenneville said. “Being away and then getting back on the ice, it’ll take some time to get him back to square one. He’s excited about getting back into equipment soon.”

Marian Hossa and Richard Panik did not practice on Saturday but were just taking rest days. Both are expected to play vs. the Stars.