Chicago Sun-Times

Hawks battered but GM Bowman remains positive

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DENVER - For the Blackhawks, it's about thriving when trying to survive a spat of injuries that seem to add up while there are signs things are getting better.

The good news Monday was that Marian Hossa, Fernando Pisani and even Patrick Kane will be on the ice this week as part of their rehab and as their returns inch closer.

The bad news was that center Dave Bolland sat out Monday's game against the Colorado Avalanche and is considered day-to-day with an undisclosed upper-body injury that isn't serious.

Every team battles injuries at some point. The Avalanche, for instance, are dealing with a spat of their own. So are other teams considered playoff contenders in the West.

But has it reached a point of frustration for the defending champions, who have only fielded a full lineup a handful of times this season?

The Hawks used another makeshift lineup Monday as defensemen John Scott and Jordan Hendry saw time at wing again on a line this time centered by Ryan Potulny, who recalled with Bolland out.

"Our approach has been good. Our guys are upbeat," coach Joel Quenneville said. "There are certain guys that get opportunities. ... That's basically what happens when you go through stretches like that. Everybody has it throughout the league and nobody feels sorry for us nor should they. It's for us to battle through it."

General manager Stan Bowman said that none of the Hawks injuries are significant and that his team has endured about the league average. Considering who they're missing, the Hawks have played pretty well as players like Jack Skille and Bryan Bickell have stepped up.

"We're being tested a bit now with our depth, but we've performed pretty well," Bowman said. "Guys have stepped up when we needed them to. ... There is nothing wrong with that. You have to know what guys can do down the stretch."

This stretch, which includes home-loaded schedules this month and January, is a key one for the Hawks. They need to pile up points and any lingering ailments -- Bowman said their injuries "are probably stuff you're going to be battling over the next couple months" -- could lead to change.

Bowman has been managing the salary cap -- Jeremy Morin going back and forth from Rockford is a sign of it -- just in case the Hawks have to make moves later on.

"You want to try to give yourself as much flexibility as you have for future moves that you might make," Bowman said.

Does Bowman feel like there any areas to address?

"We're looking to upgrade in a couple of areas," Bowman said. "I think you can never be too deep at center or at defense. That's a general comment. It's not an indictment of our players at those positions. As you see now, when you get a centerman go down, it can hurt your lineup.

"One of the keys to your team is always your play on the back end. I feel comfortable with our group right now, but if you can improve it, you have to look at that."

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times for more than four years, covering the Hawks, Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on December 13, 2010 11:51 PM.

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Injured Hawks getting healthy, almost ready to go is the next entry in this blog.

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