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Posted On Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 2:56 PM

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

Avalanche forward Stastny out vs. Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The Colorado Avalanche are going through a tough stretch with injuries and the picture didn't get much better Tuesday at United Center.

Center Paul Stastny did not participate in the morning skate because of an undisclosed leg injury that forced him to leave Colorado's previous game Friday at the Minnesota Wild and will not face the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Stastny, who has 13 goals and 21 assists in 43 games, also sat out practice Monday.

"He's day-to-day and he's not ready to play [Tuesday]," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "We're going to play seven [defensemen] because Paul's not ready. We're going to have 20 guys, so everybody's going to have their share of ice time, I guess."

Posted On Sunday, 01.12.2014 / 5:59 PM

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

Dubnyk starting for Oilers, Blackhawks after sweep

CHICAGO -- Ilya Bryzgalov was supposed to start Sunday night at United Center against the Chicago Blackhawks, but Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins decided to scrap that plan.

Eakins said after his team's morning skate Sunday that Devan Dubnyk will get the nod after picking up a 4-3 win in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night at Rexall Place.

The Blackhawks (29-8-10) and Oilers (15-27-5) will conclude their season series with Chicago looking for a sweep after winning by scores of 5-4 and 5-1 in the first two games.

"We're going to go back with Devan," Eakins said. "As I've said before, your plans with goalies ... I shake my head at myself. Why even do it? It always changes. We are going to go back with Devan. We thought he played well and thought the team played well in front of him."

Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 2:24 PM

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

Blackhawks looking to get more out of Bickell

CHICAGO -- A season after making himself a big factor in the Chicago Blackhawks winning the 2013 Stanley Cup and earning a sizable new contract, Bryan Bickell is now searching for that magic.

Instead of causing havoc for opposing goalies and defensemen, the 6-foot-4, 233-pound forward is spending more time sitting on the bench of late, coming to a head this past Sunday when he watched the third period and overtime of a 3-2 shootout loss against the San Jose Sharks.

"Well, it's not good," Bickell said of logging just 5:20 and nine shifts. "You want to be out there to help your team win, especially last game in a close game, to have that goal or a hit to change momentum. But I've learned from the experience and I've got to bounce back from it."

He'll get a chance Wednesday night at United Center against the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2). Prior to the season, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville hoped Bickell might approach the 30-goal plateau, but those expectations quickly tempered after a slow start. Bickell, who has six goals and eight points in 31 games, shifted from his top-line spot to his more familiar role at left wing on the third line.

Posted On Tuesday, 01.07.2014 / 4:50 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Road to Sochi blog

Relieved Sharp one of 10 Blackhawks going to Sochi

CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp tried not to think about the 2014 Sochi Olympics much, but even he couldn't help it as Canada's scheduled roster revealing neared Tuesday morning.

The 32-year old Sharp, from Thunder Bay, Ontario, started mulling his chances to make the Canadian roster last week, after recording his second hat trick in a seven-day span. It was on his mind ever since, even as he stepped into the shower Tuesday morning before heading to practice.

That's when the phone rang.

"I just got out of the shower and had a voice mail," Sharp said. "I had my phone with me the whole time. I was surprised I didn't have it in the shower with me. I got a call from Doug Armstrong, the GM of St. Louis, and I called him back as soon as I could and he didn't answer. I listed to the voice mail a couple more times and confirmed that I was going. He called me right back and we had a good talk. It was a special moment."

Posted On Sunday, 01.05.2014 / 1:50 PM

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

Sharks look to copy Hawks' style as they visit Chicago

CHICAGO – A few years ago, the Chicago Blackhawks made no secret of their goal to become a franchise just like the Detroit Red Wings.

After winning the Stanley Cup twice in the past four seasons, they've accomplished that goal. Other teams are now striving to be young, fast and high-powered at both ends of the rink, just like them.

The San Jose Sharks are one of those teams. San Jose (26-10-8) is in town to face the Blackhawks on Sunday night at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) and coach Todd McLellan isn't coy about who sets the NHL's standard bar for excellence.

"They have to be the bar," McLellan said of the Blackhawks. "You don't win two out of [four] and not be the bar. So, whether they like it or not, and I'm sure they do like it, they are the bar. That comes with success. That comes with expectations. Teams will try and emulate their plan, the way they've built, the way they carry themselves and the way they execute on the ice, because it's been proven to be successful."

The Sharks in particular are one of those teams that appear to be emulating what makes Chicago tick. They even have two members of the Blackhawks roster that won the Stanley Cup in 2010: goalie Antti Niemi and forward Adam Burish.

Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 2:42 PM

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

Blackhawks' Crawford hopes to return this week

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are close to getting their top goalie back.

Corey Crawford, who has missed nine straight games with a lower-body injury that's reportedly a groin issue, said he felt "great" after participating in the Blackhawks' morning skate Monday at United Center.

Crawford won't dress Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2), but is set to make his return during a pending two-game road trip to play back-to-back at the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils on Thursday and Friday.

"I feel great," said Crawford, who skated in a team workout for the first time since leaving the lineup Dec. 8 at home against the Florida Panthers. "After the Christmas break everything's gone well. I haven't felt the injury at all on the ice, so I'm ready to go."

Posted On Friday, 12.27.2013 / 7:38 PM

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

Blackhawks look to strike back against Avalanche

CHICAGO -- Among all the record breakdowns, the only one that's close to marginal for the Chicago Blackhawks is against Central Division teams.

Chicago is 8-6-1 against teams in its division with a back-to-back set this weekend against the two closest teams to the Blackhawks in the Central, the third-place Colorado Avalanche and second-place St. Louis Blues.

The Blackhawks (26-7-6) will host the Avalanche (23-10-3) on Friday at United Center and then make the trip to play the Blues on Saturday at Scottrade Center.

"It's nice being at the top of the League in the standings, but you know these division games are [against] teams you face a lot," Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said. "It'd be nice to get a little better record than that and improve. I guess we have some games ahead of us that we can do that in the next two."

Posted On Monday, 12.23.2013 / 2:08 PM

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

Blackhawks provide pre-break challenge for Devils

CHICAGO -- The New Jersey Devils will head into the Christmas break by playing the defending Stanley Cup champions Monday at United Center.

"I could think of better places to end," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said, laughing. "But you've got to come here at some point. Our guys are excited for the challenge."

The NHL-leading Blackhawks (25-7-6) are looking forward to it after falling 3-2 in a shootout against theVancouver Canucks on Friday. They'd like to get back on a winning track before getting three days off for the holiday.

Chicago hasn't faced New Jersey since the 2011-12 season and hasn't beaten the Devils at United Center since a 5-1 victory Dec. 31, 2009. The Blackhawks haven't beaten the Devils regardless of location since April 2, 2010 at Prudential Center.

Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 1:38 PM

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

Facing Canucks still gets Blackhawks' juices flowing

CHICAGO -- Each side has undergone changes but enough familiarity remains between the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks for their Stanley Cup Playoffs-fueled rivalry to continue.

The Canucks (20-11-6) make their first visit to United Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN) to face the Blackhawks (25-7-5), who won the first game between the teams this season 2-1 on Nov. 23 at Rogers Arena.

"I don't think it's changed, especially when we went in there [in November] and it was a heck of a game there," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said following Chicago's morning skate. "Last time we were in there and last year's games were very competitive. I still think that every game it brings back memories quickly."

Posted On Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 2:20 PM

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

Red Wings maintaining faith in Weiss

DETROIT -- It's still too early to call the Stephen Weiss signing a bust, according to Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

Weiss, who will see a specialist in Philadelphia on Friday about his injured groin, has two goals and four points in 26 games for Detroit since signing a contract this past summer for a reported five years and $24.5 million.

"I don't care what sport you are, when you look at an athlete you look at what they've accomplished over a period of time," Holland said after Detroit's morning skate Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. "Every athlete probably has one year that's way better than the norm and one year worse than the norm, but there's a lot of statistics that are somewhat similar. When you look at the book on Weiss, it says 48 points five of the last seven years."

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Quote of the Day

We don't know how long Carey will be out, but for us, it's business as usual.

— Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien on goaltender Carey Price, who is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury
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