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October 2010 Archives

It turns out center Dave Bolland has been battling an injury. The Hawks center is now considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Bolland didn't play in the third period of Friday's loss to the Oilers after sitting out the morning skate and practice Thursday.

The good news is that coach Joel Quenneville said it has nothing to do with the herniated disc that required surgery and forced Bolland to miss half of last season.

"I don't think it's serious. I don't think we're talking the same thing [as last year]," Quenneville said. "It's upper body. I'm going to rule out this injury has anything to do with last year."

On Campbell

On Friday, Quenneville had called Brian Campbell's availability during this two-game trip to Minnesota (Saturday) and New York (Monday) "doubtful."

But when asked about Campbell (sprained right knee) Saturday, Quenneville had a more positive outlook.

"I'm a little more encouraged than I was the other day," Quenneville said. "I'm optimistically encouraged."

So there is at least a slight chance that Campbell could play Monday against the Rangers.

Defenseman Brian Campbell will travel with the Hawks on their two-game road trip to Minnesota (Saturday) and New York (Monday).

But will he play? The Hawks could certainly use him after Marian Hossa was ruled out two weeks with an upper-body injury.

fraser.jpgEdmonton Oilers center Colin Fraser is the first player from last year's team to meet the Blackhawks this season.

Is he looking forward to hitting anyone in particular Friday at the United Center?

Center Dave Bolland did not participate in practice Thursday or in Friday's morning skate before the Hawks host the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center.

What's wrong?

Marian Hossa, the Blackhawks' best player to start the season, is out for a couple weeks with an upper-body injury suffered in Wednesday's win over the Los Angeles Kings.

"It's not of serious nature, but he's likely out up to a couple weeks," coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday after practice at the United Center.

Defenseman Brian Campbell joined his Blackhawks teammates on the ice for the first time in just over three weeks Wednesday at the United Center.

Campbell, of course, won't play against the Los Angeles Kings. He also questioned whether he would be able to play against the Minnesota Wild (Saturday) or New York Rangers (Monday). Coach Joel Quenneville had targeted those games earlier in the week.

Here are the Blackhawks lines from Tuesday's practice at the United Center:

It could only be a matter of days before defenseman Brian Campbell is back in the Blackhawks lineup.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday after practice that it's possible Campbell will return during their two-game road trip to Minnesota and New York, which starts Saturday against the Wild. The Rangers game on Monday looks like a real option.

The Blackhawks just won the Stanley Cup. The team is celebrating on the ice of the Wachovia Center. Adam Burish didn't play in Game 6 of the finals, but came out to celebrate in his full gear ... and then he was asked about Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger.

Remember that?

You know...those "I think Chris Pronger is the biggest idiot in the league" comments. Well, Burish has apologized.

campbellq.jpgBlackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell skated for the first time since spraining his right knee in the preseason on Saturday.

Campbell was ruled out four to five weeks after hurting his knee in an exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 1. His rehab has remained on schedule. Campbell had hoped to skate within three weeks of the injury. He will have to wear a knee brace when he returns.

"He skated [Saturday]," coach Joel Quenneville said before the Hawks' hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets. "He looked good. He'll get a couple of practices with us, and we'll get a better idea. He's not too far away."

A day after suffering the injury, Campbell said he strained his medial collateral ligament and his knee was hyperextended.

''I felt great [and] was playing quite a few minutes and felt good, in shape, ready to go. Kind of a fluke [injury]," he said. "It's pretty disappointing.''

Campbell was fortunate the injury wasn't worse.

''I got back to the bench and it was going away, so I was hoping I could make it back out there,'' he said. ''Nothing was torn -- that's four or six months. I'm going to do everything I can to be back as quick as I can.''

Jonathan Toews took a shot in the mouth. But that didn't slow him down.

The Hawks captain left part of Wednesday's game after taking a deflected shot to his face. It happened six minutes into the third period with the Hawks on a 4-on-3 power play.

Patrick Sharp's shot from the point appeared to deflect off a Canuck, hitting Toews in the face. The puck ended up on top of the net. Toews' lip was bloodied and he left the bench, but returned.

Toews' 21:17 of ice time led the Hawks' forwards Wednesday. He also scored the first goal of the shootout for the Hawks. Toews was tied for the league-lead in shootout goals last season with eight, including converting six of eight attempts at the United Center.

"He's pretty automatic with that shot," winger Patrick Kane said. "It's fun to see him do that."

The Vancouver Canucks were the popular pick this year. Plenty of pundits, columnists, analysts, etc. picked them to not only win the Western Conference, but also the Stanley Cup.

The changes to the Blackhawks' lineup and some key additions up front and on the blue line by the Canucks on paper looked like enough to vault the Canucks past the Hawks.

The Blackhawks host the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at the United Center. I'm thinking Rick Rypien won't be in the lineup.

UPDATE: Rick Rypien has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL, pending an in-person hearing on Friday.

Rypien grabbed a Minnesota Wild fan during the second period of the Canucks' 6-2 loss on Tuesday. Rypien and Wild forward Brad Staubitz, who fought in the first period, got into it again before being separated by the linesmen. Rypien landed a punch to Staubitz's face when they were being separated (it can be seen in the video above).

Rypien was assessed a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. When he was making his way to the Canucks' dressing room, he grabbed a Wild fan who was applauding behind the bench.

Jack Skille will suit up for the Blackhawks Monday against the St. Louis Blues. He isn't expected to be healthy scratch like he was Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres.

skille.jpgLike others, I thought it was interesting -- or puzzling -- when John Scott remained in the lineup Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Skille was a healthy scratch.

Skille's speed was very noticeable, especially when he and Viktor Stalberg were on the ice together. Scott's role changed and his ice time decreased. He took only three shifts as a replacement forward against the Blue Jackets Friday with Patrick Kane out sick and defenseman Jassen Culllimore recalled.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jassen Cullimore, a Blackhawk during some dark days from 2005 to 2007, hasn't played an NHL game in more than a year. But he'll play Friday for the Hawks, after getting recalled from the Rockford IceHogs.

Patrick Kane is sick and was officially ruled out for Friday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Coach Joel Quenneville is "hopeful" that he'll play Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres at the United Center. Kane didn't make the trip to Columbus.

With Kane out, the Hawks will dress seven defensemen: Cullimore, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Jordan Hendry, John Scott and Nick Leddy. Brian Campbell is still rehabbing his sprained right knee and Niklas Hjalmarsson has one game left on his two-game suspension.

Quenneville said "he might move one [defenseman] up" to forward against the Blue Jackets. Hendry and Scott can both play the wing.

Cullimore last played in the NHL in the 2008-09 season, seeing time in 68 games with the Florida Panthers. He spent last year with the Rockford IceHogs, playing in 59 games.

"This is where I want to be," said the 37-year-old Cullimore, who skated in 65 games in 2006-07 for the Hawks. "I feel like I still have it in me. It never crossed my mind to pack it in."

kane1.jpgThe bad news just keeps on coming for the Blackhawks. The latest? Patrick Kane is sick and doubtful for Friday's game against the Blue Jackets in Columbus.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Kane will not travel with the team Thursday to Columbus. Quenneville did not rule out the possibility that Kane will travel apart from the team on Friday. Kane missed practice on Thursday.

pominville.jpgNiklas Hjalmarsson couldn't even get his equipment off. The cameras were there waiting for him Wednesday following the Blackhawks' morning skate.

Hjalmarsson was suspended two games by the NHL for his hard hit on Buffalo Sabres winger Jason Pominville in Monday's game. Pominville suffered a concussion.

"There's nothing I can do about that now," Hjalmarsson said. "The league gave me two games, and I just have to accept that.

"They have a tough job to say how many games I'm going to get. It's a fast game out there and you got to make decisions real fast. Sometimes it can get ugly, even if I didn't really intend to hurt him. I really hope Jason gets well as soon as possible."

1crawford.jpgCorey Crawford will start his second consecutive game in goal for the Blackhawks Wednesday against the Nashville Predators at the United Center.

Crawford made 32 saves and overcame an early two-goal hole Monday against the Sabres in Buffalo for a 4-3 win. It was the Hawks' first victory of the season.

Consider it a case of coach Joel Quenneville playing the hot hand right now. Starter Marty Turco is still expected to play this weekend when the Hawks have back-to-back games against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Sabres.

"I'm pretty happy about it," Crawford said after Wednesday's morning skate. "The more I play the better it is."

babyknickerbocker.jpgDave Knickerbocker, the Hawks senior executive director of marketing & business development, and his wife, Kim, welcomed the birth of their daughter Elena Ruth at 3:27 p.m. Tuesday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Just 97 minutes after her birth, Elena set the Hockey Hall of Fame's record for youngest newborn in the Stanley Cup, breaking the previous record of six hours.

Howie Borrow, the keeper of Cup for the Hall of Fame, was present.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- No play was bigger in Monday's game against the Buffalo Sabres than Niklas Hjalmarsson's hit on forward Jason Pominville.

It changed the complexion of the game -- and really helped swing things back in the Hawks' favor.

The Sabres were upset -- as teams should be -- and went after Hjalmarsson, who was ejected and assessed a five-minute boarding penalty. But the Hawks' killed off the long penalty, and the momentum was on their side.

Hjalmarsson doesn't have a history of violent, dirty hits. His check on Pominville appeared to be more from behind than his right side. Still, it could be debated that it came from the side and that Pominville, who had the puck at his feet, saw him coming.

Hjalmarsson lowered his shoulder and sent Pominville hard into the glass. He was on the ice for several minutes before being taken out on a stretcher.

The NHL has taken a tough stance on hits similar to Hjalmarsson's. It wouldn't be a surprise if he's handed a short suspension. Pominville suffered a concussion.

Here is what Hjalmarsson and the two coaches had to say about the hit:

crawford.jpgBUFFALO, N.Y. -- Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford says he's still trying to prove himself. That's understandable after spending five years in the American Hockey League.

Crawford, 25, made the team this year as the backup to Marty Turco. He will get his first chance to prove himself this season Monday night, getting the start against the Buffalo Sabres.

Center Patrick Sharp will sit out the Blackhawks home opener Saturday against the rival Detroit Red Wings, a source said.

Sharp took part in the red-carpet walk-in with his teammates before the game, but will not play because of an upper-body injury. It is not believed to be serious. Sharp did participate in the morning skate on Saturday. He has a goal and an assist Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.

Rookie center Brandon Pirri was recalled to take Sharp's place in the lineup. Coach Joel Quenneville said multiple times that he was impressed by Pirri, 19, in training camp. It will be Pirri's first NHL game.

The pomp and circumstance begins at 5 p.m. Saturday when Blackhawks players arrive in limousines and walk down a red carpet surrounded by thousands of fans.

It includes the unveiling of the Hawks' Central Division title and Western Conference title banners, and the raising of the Stanley Cup championship banner. There will be a lot of memories.

But the Hawks also hope all of it brings closure. They want to move on -- sort of, forget about the Stanley Cup -- and go out there and try to do it again. Fittingly, the Hawks host the rival Detroit Red Wings, the epitome of sustained success in the NHL, for their home opener.

"For us, it's going to be special from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and then once the ceremony is over it's time to get to work." Patrick Kane said. "It's going to be a special night. It's going to be a pretty fun night, something we'll probably all cherish a long time down the road.

The Hawks are now 0-2-2 in their season openers dating back to 2007. Heading into Thursday's loss against the Colorado Avalanche, the Hawks were tied for the longest active winless streak in the NHL.

We all know what happened last year and the year before. So there is no reason to panic at all.

"It's the first game of the year," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We're going to make some mistakes; we'll learn from them. But we're not going to overreact and go crazy.''

DENVER -- Forgive rookie defenseman Nick Leddy if he feels a bit jittery Thursday. He'll be playing in his first NHL game when the Hawks meet the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

"It's obviously very exciting," the 19-year-old said Thursday after the Hawks' morning skate. "I don't think I'll be taking a nap today."

Leddy was the only rookie to make the team. He stood out for his poise with the puck and his ability to move it. Brian Campbell's knee injury also helped his cause. Now, he's paired with Niklas Hjalmarsson, Campbell's defensive partner.

"It's obviously going to be a special moment," said Leddy, who will have his father and uncle in attendance. "But I'll take it like another game."

Hawks players such as Campbell, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith have all praised Leddy. The rookie has also gotten some advice from the Hawks.

"A little bit here and there -- just stay calm and keep playing your game," said Leddy, who patterns his style of play after Keith and Campbell. "[But] I'm not really calm right now."

Just how good is the Central Division? With the Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, the division is the class of the Western Conference, having two of the past three Stanley Cup champions.

And it's deep. Two seasons ago, four of the division's five teams made the playoffs: the Red Wings, Hawks, St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets. That can happen again this year.

Here's a look at the Central, in predicted order of finish:

morin.jpgJust when it looked as if rookie winger Jeremy Morin had earned himself a spot on the Blackhawks roster, the team announces Monday that he's been assigned to the Rockford IceHogs.

With Morin gone, the Hawks have 13 forwards and nine defenseman, including rookie Nick Leddy, remaining on their roster with two days left to prepare for their season opener Thursday night against the Avalanche in Colorado.

Morin was one of the most impressive players in training camp and in exhibition play, outplaying other prospects such as Kyle Beach and Igor Makarov and putting pressure on older players considered favorites to make the Hawks.

"It was a good experience, my first time with the Blackhawks here," Morin said after the Hawks' final preseason game Sunday against the St. Louis Blues. "I think it went well. I had a pretty good preseason."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was the bearer of bad news Saturday. But it could have been much worse.

Quenneville said defenseman Brian Campbell will be out four to five weeks with a right knee sprain.

Asked if it could have been worse, Quenneville said "if you get the ACL in there and all of sudden it's a different type of damage. It's part of the business."

Campbell crumpled to the ice less than four minutes into the second period of Friday's exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He did not return and appeared to be favoring his right leg.

Nick Leddy, 19, is expected to get a chance to play with Niklas Hjalmarsson, Campbell's defensive partner, Sunday in the Hawks' final exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues.

"[Sunday] we might try that pair together as a unit and see how they handle it," Quenneville said. "That's an option."

Leddy played 20:38 in Friday's game.

"It's a big jump from where [Leddy] was last year," Quenneville said. "He seems to pretty low-key in his approach. But at the same time, he's excited about the opportunity that's ahead of him. With young guys, you still have to keep any eye on them -- a defenseman, in particular. He's absorbed a lot as he's gone through this camp. At this stage in his career, that's a good sign that he's perceptive and applies it correctly."

Only 26 players remain. The Blackhawks, as expected, made more cuts Friday sending forwards Kyle Beach, Igor Makarov, Brandon Pirri and Ben Smith and defenseman Brian Connelly to the Rockford IceHogs.

Jeremy Morin and Nick Leddy both remain with the team for at least the weekend, earning a longer look from Stan Bowman and Co.

Beach and Makarov are the notable cuts. But neither should come as a surprise. They simply weren't ready. Their performances in Thursday's exhibition loss to the St. Louis Blues -- who fielded a lineup of NHL regulars -- only emboldened the Hawks' decisions to send them to Rockford for more seasoning.


About the blogger

Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times since 2005, covering the Hawks since 2009. He's also helped cover the Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.


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