Chicago Sun-Times

December 2011 Archives

Jimmy Hayes is next line.

The 6-6, 221-pound rookie winger was called up by the Blackhawks on Thursday as center Brandon Pirri was sent back down to the Rockford IceHogs.

Hayes, who was acquired from the Maple Leafs for the 43rd overall selection in the 2010 draft (Bradley Ross) on June 26, 2010, will make his NHL debut Friday against the Red Wings.

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The Blackhawks were looking forward to Friday's anticipated matchup against the Red Wings, but there were still questions about the two goals the Los Angeles Kings scored in their victory Wednesday night.

The Christmas break wasn't all that relaxing or fun for Patrick Kane. The Blackhawks forward came down with strep throat on Christmas Eve.

Forward Patrick Kane and defenseman Steve Montador should be fine for the Blackhawks. But there are real concerns about the status of center Marcus Kruger after all three players sat out practice Tuesday at the United Center.

Goalie Corey Crawford will start consecutive games for the first time in three weeks when he faces the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center.

After a disciplinary hearing Thursday morning, the NHL decided to suspend Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland three games for hitting Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger in the head with his left forearm on Tuesday.

Engelland was not penalized during the game for his hit, where he left his feet and made direct contact with Kruger's head at 8:55 in the first period.

The NHL, though, thought it was "a recklessly targeted shot to Kruger's head." The league took into consideration that Kruger suffered a concussion on the play and also that Engelland hasn't been suspended before in his three-year career.

Here is NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan's video explanation of the play and ruling:

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PITTSBURGH -- In the first period of the Blackhawks' 3-2 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday, defenseman Deryk Engelland sent rookie center Marcus Kruger crashing hard into the boards with a suspension-worthy hit.

Engelland left his feet and hit Kruger in the head. Kruger took five more shifts after the hit and began the second period on the bench, but he never took the ice and later left.

Coach Joel Quenneville called it a "tough hit, a high hit in a tough area [where Kruger] was in a tough spot." He said Kruger was OK after the game, but that he will be re-evaluated Wednesday in Chicago.

Here's a video of the hit:

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PITTSBURGH -- Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said Rene Bourque's hit from behind on him didn't feel as bad as it looked. And, he made it clear that he never lost consciousness because of it.

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It was a scary moment for a player who is very valuable for the Blackhawks and who has endured other injury-causing hits in the past.

The uncertain status of defenseman Brent Seabrook looms large for the Hawks. Seabrook left Sunday's 4-2 victory against the Calgary Flames with what's believed to be a concussion.

Tough guy Daniel Carcillo is banged up. He sat out practice Thursday and the Blackhawks' morning skate Friday and will miss Friday night's matchup against Anaheim Ducks.

The Hawks aren't saying much about his injury.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jonathan Toews couldn't help but smile.

Toews scored in the shootout to help the Blackhawks defeat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Wednesday, but his goal didn't compare to what Patrick Kane pulled off against goalie Niklas Backstrom.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Dave Bolland had a big game against the NHL-leading Minnesota Wild to prepare for Wednesday, but he still couldn't avoid hearing about the derogatory remarks that Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault made about him earlier in the day.

UPDATE >>> Dave Bolland responds to the Canucks' remarks. Click here

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It wasn't the first time Dave Bolland referred to Henrik and Daniel Sedin as "sisters." And, it probably won't be the last.

But Bolland created a stir in Vancouver after playing along with the hosts of "Blackhawks Live" on WGN-Radio (AM-720) and the Hawks friendly crowd at Harry Caray's in Chicago on Monday by referring to the Canucks' stars as "sisters" and saying there are "weirdos" in the city of Vancouver.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Blackhawks' blue line will look different -- again.

Tough guy John Scott will return to the Hawks lineup for the first time since Nov. 26 as defensemen Sami Lepisto and Sean O'Donnell are expected to sit out against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.

With Ben Smith gone to Rockford and no one called up in his place, winger Bryan Bickell has chance to reclaim his spot in the Blackhawks lineup after being a healthy scratch in five consecutive games.

And, he's not about to let it slip from his grasp.

"It's unfortunate it has to come to that," Bickell said. "Ben was working here hard and to show that he wants to be here. Unfortunately, he's gone down. But I'll take the opportunity and do the best I can do with it."

Ben Smith's stint with the Blackhawks -- at least his first one this season -- has come to an end. After seven games, the Hawks sent him back to the Rockford IceHogs.

It took just 2:12 into Sunday's game for the Blackhawks' rivarlry with the San Jose Sharks to reach a boil -- and it came on an illegal hit.

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Coach Joel Quenneville will stick with Ray Emery in goal for Sunday's game against the San Jose Sharks at the United Center.

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Not long after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against the New York Islanders on Thursday night, Patrick Sharp got even better news.

"I called my wife after the game and was expecting to hear congratulations, nice goal or good game or something," Sharp said. "The first thing she said was, 'I think I'm having the baby tonight.' I forgot about hockey pretty quick."

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Daniel Carcillo expected some attention when he was brought in to be the Hawks' tough guy, but he didn't expect to have his own radio show, the "Bomb Shelter," on WGN-AM (720), where he can talk about music.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- On Nov. 18, defenseman Sami Lepisto was a minus-2 in the Blackhawks' 5-2 defeat against the Calgary Flames on the circus trip. It was his last time in the lineup.

But it looks like Lepisto, who is a plus-4 in eight games this season, will play for the Hawks Thursday against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Lepisto "could" play, but John Scott, Sean O'Donnell and Bryan Bickell were on the ice 30 minutes after the Hawks' morning skate concluded Thursday, which is typically a sign of who the scratches are for the game that night.

Lepisto, who signed a one-year deal with the Hawks this summer, has been a healthy scratch in 12 of the last 14 games. Here's what Lepisto had to say about his current situation:

Not everyone is on board with the NHL's new conference alignment, which brings back divisional playoffs in a four-conference format. Blackhawks veteran Andrew Brunette has his concerns.

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Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford knows he can be better. He knows his 3.00 goals-against average and .896 save percentage aren't up to par.

Here's what Crawford, who will take a backseat to Ray Emery Thursday against the New York Islanders, had to say about his play:

Daniel Carcillo may not be your prototypical first-line left wing. But the Blackhawks like what he adds to players like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Carcillo played together with Kane and Toews for the first time against the St. Louis Blues in a 5-2 victory at the Scottrade Center on Saturday, impressing coach Joel Quenneville.

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NOTE >>> Here's an updated story on Dave Bolland's injury situation. Click here.

Dave Bolland hasn't practiced in what seems like forever for the Blackhawks. He sat out Friday's morning skate before the Hawks played the New York Islanders, Thursday's practice at Johnny's IceHouse West and multiple ones before them too.

Bolland will still play against the Islanders and has played in the last seven games, but there are always injury concerns when it comes to the pesky center.

Ben Smith's start was less than ideal. The winger's first two games of the season were two of the worst for the Hawks as a team.

After being called up from the Rockford IceHogs in place of struggling winger Rostislav Olesz, Smith played 9:21 and was a minus-2 in the Hawks' 5-2 loss against the Calgary Flames in the second game of the circus trip. A day later, he was a minus-1 in 14:04 in a 9-2 defeat against the Edmonton Oilers.

Smith hasn't played since, but he's expected to be back in the lineup when the Hawks host the New York Islanders at the United Center Friday. Winger Bryan Bickell, who has seen a drop in his ice time, will likely be a scratch. Bickell didn't record a point in November.

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For the foreseeable future, Patrick Kane will be at right wing. His well-documented run at center that started in the preseason came to an end Thursday at practice.

Using Kane at center will always be an option, but for the time being rookie Marcus Kruger will get a shot as the man in the middle on the second line, while Kane re-joins longtime linemate Jonathan Toews on the first line.

Here's what Kane, who has 24 points in 25 games this season, had to say about the switch after practice at Johnny's IceHouse West:

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About the blogger

Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan. 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. Follow him on Twitter:@adamjahns

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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