Chicago Sun-Times

October 2009 Archives


The Blackhawks expect to regain defenseman Brent Seabrook for Thursday night's game at Nashville. He practiced on Wednesday, but center Jonathan Toews didn't. Both have battled concussions since last Wednesday's home game against Vancouver. Marian Hossa, meanwhile, went through his first full practice ever with the Hawks. He signed a 12-year $62.8 million contract on July 1 but then underwent shoulder surgery three weeks later. He had skated on his own for a week before joining his teammates. Hossa, however, won't be in the lineup for awhile. The target date for him to play his first game is Nov. 25 at San Jose. Hossa didn't travel with the team to Nashville. Toews didn't make the trip to Nashville, either, but coach Joel Quenneville wouldn't rule him out of Friday's home game against Montreal.

Toews, Seabrook still out

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Blackhawks' coach Joel Quenneville continues to call Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook ``day to day'' as they nurse apparent concussion symptoms. Their time off the ice has gotten more than day to day, though. Both were ruled out of Monday's game with Minnesota, and neither has been on the ice since their injuries occurred last Wednesday against Vancouver. With the Hawks planning to take Tuesday off, the next possible day for their return is a Wednesday practice prior to the flight to Nashville. The two may not even go on that trip. ``We'll have a better idea Wednesday. We'd like to have them on the ice before we play them,'' Quenneville said.

Toews, Seabrook out

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Neither Jonathan Toews nor Brent Seabrook participated in Saturday's morning skate and coach Joel Quenneville ruled them out of Saturday night's home game vs. Nashville. Andrew Ebbett moved from the fourth line to take Toews' center spot and Brent Sopel took Seabrook's defensive pairing opposite partner Duncan Keith. Jake Dowell was called up from Rockford to take Ebbett's winger spot on the fourth line. Both Seabrook and Toews played all 82 regular season games last season and Seabrook had his consecutive games streak of 222 -- longest among the currently active Hawks -- snapped.

Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook missed their second straight days of practice on Friday, but coach Joel Quenneville said ``both could play'' when the Hawks host the Nashville Predators on Saturday. While the Hawks say both are nursing ``upper body'' injuries, both apparently have concussion-like symptoms.
Quenneville also named Cristobal Huet to start in goal against the Predators. Huet has been shaky in his last two home starts but was a 3-1 winner when the Hawks visited the Predators last Saturday. Antti Niemi was in goal for the Hawks' last game, a 3-2 loss to Vancouver on Wednesday at the United Center.

Back to Niemi

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Antti Niemi, the rookie who is 3-0-0 this season, will get the call in goal over struggling Cristobal Huet when the Blackhawks host Vancouver on Wednesday. It'll be Niemi's third start. Huet made the other six starts. His 2-2-1 record includes a dismal .844 save percentage and his last two starts on home ice have been shaky at best. Still, coach Joel Quenneville still considers Huet his No. 1 goaltender.

Now it's Ebbett's turn

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The Blackhawks' fourth line just isn't what is was last year when Ben Eager, Adam Burish and Colin Fraser formed one of the best in the NHL. Andrew Ebbett, claimed on waivers from Anaheim, went through his first practice with the Hawks on Tuesday and will be joining Fraser and Tomas Kopecky on the fourth line for Wednesday's home game against Vancouver. That ends the unusual shuttling of Jack Skille back and forth from Rockford on an almost daily basis. Burish won't be back until March, when he completes his rehab from knee surgery. There's no return date set for Eager, who is trying to shake off concussion-like symptoms.

It's Niemi vs. Khabby

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It'll be rookie Antti Niemi in the Blackhawks' net rather than Cristobal Huet when the Edmonton Oilers and ex-Hawk Nikolai Khabibulin make their first appearance of the season at the United Center. In bypassing Huet, Quenneville nixed a matchup of the Hawks' two goaltenders of last season. Huet struggled mightily, allowing three goals in the first five shots he faced in Monday's 6-5 overtime win over Calgary but Quenneville said that was only part of the reason he went with Niemi. He noted that Niemi had a shutout in Finland and a win in relief against Calgary and deserved to make his first start on home ice. Huet figures to be between the pipes Thursday at Nashville.

Concussion for Eager?

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Very rarely do NHL clubs mention the ``C'' word, but Joel Quenneville did when asked about Ben Eager's health status. Quenneville said Eager was ``concussion-like symptoms.'' Eager has a history of concussions, both with Philadelphia and the Hawks. He hasn't skated since returning from Europe and there's no timetable for his return. Quenneville also said there's no ``defining moment'' for when Eager's latest brush with these symptoms.

Blackhawks move Johnson

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Aaron Johnson had some good moments with the Hawks last season, and was among the NHL leaders in plus/minus early in the season, but he was a healthy scratch most of the time. The front office snafu involving the signing of eight restricted free agents led to Johnson getting a good pay raise, but then Brent Sopel and Jordan Hendry had better training camps. That left no room for Johnson on the roster, hence the trade to Calgary. It helped the Hawks shed salary and led to forward Bryan Bickell's callup for the Detroit game. They needed another winger with the recent rash of injuries.

Three Hawks could be out

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This isn't the way the Blackhawks wanted to go into their first game with Detroit. Three regulars could be out, and two -- Ben Eager and Dave Bolland -- will be for sure on Thursday night in Joe Louis Arena. Bolland has had a nagging back problem that kept him out of much of training camp. The Hawks say Eager has an upper body injury that sounds like concussion-like symptoms. He has a history of concussions, both in his days with Philadelphia and since coming to the Hawks. Bolland is expected back in the lineup for Saturday's United Center opener against Colorado. The other injured player is Troy Brouwer (lower body). He'll be a game-time decision against the Wings but -- whether he's Brouwer's able to go or not -- the Hawks will have a major shuffling of their lines and at least one defenseman, Aaron Johnson or Jordan Hendry, will have to play up front.

Was Europe a good idea?

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The Blackhawks might regret spending the last days of training camp and first two games of the regular season in Europe. It's been a taxing trip on the players, what with the eight-hour time change between Chicago and Helsinki. It was a good project for team bonding and good for the NHL to expose its product beyond North America, but now the Hawks have to adjust their body clocks all over again for the return to the U.S. and still another road game in Detroit on Thursday. This little stretch of three games is the first good measure of the Hawks this season.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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