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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 6:28 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bolland happy to be back in Chicago

CHICAGO -- After watching the player they affectionately nicknamed "The Rat" pester opposing stars into poor performances the past few seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks will now get to live the other side of the Dave Bolland experience.

He and his new teammates on the Toronto Maple Leafs are in Chicago for a game Saturday at United Center (7 p.m. ET, CBC, NHLN-US), which will be Bolland's first game against his former team.

Bolland helped Chicago win a pair of Stanley Cups, including last season, when he scored the series-clinching goal in the third period of Game 6 against the Boston Bruins.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 1:11 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks put Toews, Kane on different lines

CHICAGO -- Looking for more offensive production, the Chicago Blackhawks are going back to what worked last season.

Heading into their game Saturday at United Center against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC), Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is splitting up star forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Quenneville did the same thing for most of the 2012-13 regular season, which ended with Chicago winning the Presidents' Trophy prior to winning the 2013 Stanley Cup.

Kane and Toews were on the same line midway through the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and started this season the same way. But with the Blackhawks struggling to score more than two goals a game, Quenneville is ready to see what the old line combinations can do.

Marian Hossa, who didn't practice Friday but is expected to play, likely will move to right wing on the top line with Toews while Kane likely will slide back into the right-wing spot on the second line opposite left wing Patrick Sharp.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 6:30 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks set to give Pirri another look

CHICAGO – Brandon Pirri will get a look for the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night against the winless Buffalo Sabres at United Center, but it might be another brief stay in the League for the 22-year old playmaking center.

Pirri will replace veteran Michal Handzus and likely center the fourth line against the Sabres, giving Handzus a night off on the last half of a back-to-back set this weekend. Pirri was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League following Chicago’s 3-2 win at home against the New York Islanders. Jimmy Hayes was sent down to clear a spot.

“We felt Jimmy would play more down there and at the same time Brandon is a fit at center ice for us with Handzus not playing tonight,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ll give him a rest in back-to-back games. That was some of the thought process. We’ll see, he’s here now and hopefully he takes advantage of it.”


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Posted On Saturday, 10.12.2013 / 2:23 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks want to fix PK woes against Sabres

CHICAGO – It was the backbone of their memorable 2013 championship run, but the Chicago Blackhawks have struggled to kill penalties in the first four games of their Stanley Cup title defense.

The penalty-killing effort looked a little better in a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders on Friday night at United Center, not allowing a goal against a pair of man-advantages, but there is still quote a lot of room to improve.

"We had a zero night tonight … that's progress," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We'll take baby steps and progress from there."

After finishing third in the NHL for both the regular season and the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs (87.2 percent success rate, followed by 90.8 percent in the postseason), Chicago now ranks last in the League (54.6 percent).

The Blackhawks have allowed five power-play goals in 11 times shorthanded thus far, including three on six chances in a 6-5 win against the Washington Capitals on opening night followed by two goals allowed on three combined chances in the next two games – a shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning and a gut-wrenching 3-2 loss on Wednesday to the rival St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.

Heading into a game Saturday night at United Center against the Buffalo Sabres (8 p.m., NHLN), they're hoping to build off a Friday night effort against a team that's only score two power-play goals in 18 chances (11.1 percent).

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Posted On Friday, 10.11.2013 / 1:43 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks tinkering with forward lines

CHICAGO -- Joel Quenneville is pleased overall with the play of his forwards, but the Chicago Blackhawks coach appears set to shake up his bottom six group going into a game Saturday night at United Center against the New York Islanders.

Fourth-line center Marcus Kruger skated at left wing on the third line in the team's morning skate, with Brandon Saad, who started the season on the left side of that unit, flipping over to the right side. Rookie Joakim Nordstrom took line rushes in Kruger's usual spot centering the fourth line, with Ben Smith, who had been getting looks at right wing on the third line, manning Nordstrom's right side.

"We're just trying some things," Quenneville said. "Whether we're looking for a little bit more from different lines or we're trying to say who might be better with one another, I think we're just trying some things. It's not that we don't like the way things are going. We're just trying to maybe have a different look and maybe it will be improved."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.05.2013 / 2:49 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks' Quenneville to tinker with lineup

CHICAGO -- It's only the second game of the season, but Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is quickly dipping into his team's depth prior to playing the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night at United Center.

Defenseman Michael Kostka will draw into the starting lineup for the first time with Chicago, likely playing with Nick Leddy on the third pairing, while 25-year-old forward Ben Smith will make his first start of the season playing right wing on the third line.

It's an opportunity for both to make a good impression on Quenneville, who isn't afraid to stray from the regular lineup and give his entire roster a chance to play.

"The hope is to show what you can do when you get those opportunities [to play] and to make those decisions tough for whoever has to make them," said Smith, who has played 20 regular season games and eight playoff games for the Blackhawks. "I was grateful to start here [in Chicago] and I plan on making the most of these opportunities and trying to get this career going."

The 5-foot-11 Smith is replacing 6-foot-6, 221-pound winger Jimmy Hayes and has scored four goals and no assist in his NHL career. He hass also battled some injury issues and has ridden the so-called "Rockford Shuttle" quite a bit between Chicago and the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.01.2013 / 1:38 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Nordstrom hopes to carve own role with Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Michael Frolik's replacement on the Chicago Blackhawks would like it to be known that he's no "Fro," even if his skill set is pretty similar to the former penalty-killing wing on the fourth line.

Instead, 21-year-old rookie forward Joakim Nordstrom hopes to make his own impact in Chicago, while starting out playing right wing on the fourth line and likely getting the penalty-killing minutes that Frolik absorbed on the way to the 2013 Stanley Cup.

"I would be happy to be that guy, but I don't want to replace him," Nordstrom said of Frolik, who was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in the offseason. "I want to be the player that I am, but for sure I think that we have the same qualities as players. Killing penalties is one of my biggest strengths. That's what I want to bring to the team and everything else too."


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Posted On Friday, 09.13.2013 / 4:47 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Blackhawks' Kane dazzles in viral video

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The advertising spot Patrick Kane did to promote the Bauer Vapor APX2 hockey stick was released Friday and became an instant hit online.

The video, which shows Kane stickhandling his way through three circular mazes of pucks at United Center, spread quickly. People shared it on social media sites in droves and almost all the comments were about the Chicago Blackhawks star right-winger's incredibly high skill level.

Kane never touches a single puck with either his stick or skates, despite more pucks being put into the maze as the video progresses.

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Posted On Friday, 09.13.2013 / 2:35 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Blackhawks hold out Toews for precautionary reasons

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Chicago Blackhawks went through their first day of scrimmaging at training camp on Friday at Notre Dame's Compton Family Ice Arena without captain Jonathan Toews.

After he went through a practice session with his assigned group in the morning, the decision to pull him from the scrimmage was made in order to rest an undisclosed lower-body injury.

"He practiced this morning and [being] precautionary, we kept him off for the game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It's not serious, but we decided we'd give him a little [time], see how he is [Saturday] and maybe give him a couple days off the ice."

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 8:23 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Training Camp 2013 blog

Bickell, Handzus OK for Blackhawks camp

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Injuries stemming from the Chicago Blackhawks' victory in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final appear mostly healed, and the team appears to be healthy for the official start of camp Thursday at the University of Notre Dame Compton Family Ice Arena.

Blackhawks vice president and general manager Stan Bowman said Wednesday he expects forwards Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus, who each needed surgical procedures this summer, to participate.

"We had our medicals today and to my knowledge everything is fine," Bowman said. "I talked to the doctor this morning and the players are on their way up here now, but I spoke to both of them and they all look ready to go. I think health-wise we're in a very good situation leading into camp. There's always some little things that pop up here and there, but no surprises."

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Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins