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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:57 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Blackhawks Camp: Olesz looking forward to fresh start

CHICAGO -- One of the new faces inside the Blackhawks locker room belongs to 25-year-old left wing Rostislav Olesz after Chicago acquired him this off-season in a trade that sent defenseman Brian Campbell to the Florida Panthers.

Olesz, Florida's top pick (No. 7 overall) in the 2004 Entry Draft, never lived up to his lofty draft slot in six seasons with the Panthers. Last season he logged just 44 games before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee – ending his year with six goals and 17 points.

After getting his official medical clearance to participate in camp drills and scrimmages Friday, Olesz hopes to have the same kind of career spark as former Panthers teammate Michael Frolik seemed to get by coming to the Hawks in a trade last season.

"It's an honor for me to be here," Olesz said, after playing on a winning scrimmage team at Saturday's annual Training Camp Festival. "I will do anything they need from me. My best hockey's coming. Everything will be new for me and I'm looking forward to it. Anything I need to do I'll do. Whatever it takes."

As for his knee, he said this is the first time it's really felt 100 percent healthy since injuring it.

"There's no limitations," Olesz said.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 4:47 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Blackhawks Camp: Toews brothers face off

CHICAGO -- Fans in Chicago got their first chance to see not one, but two guys named Toews wearing Blackhawks gear as teammates on Saturday. Well, sort of.

Now that 21-year-old David Toews, younger brother of captain Jonathan Toews, are part of the same organization, they're teammates. However, they were put on different teams for Blackhawks training camp, with the siblings facing each other in the first official scrimmage of the 2011-12 season.

Jonathan's team won 3-1 with the Hawks captain scoring a goal against veteran goalie Ray Emery -- who's in camp on a tryout offer. David, whom the Hawks acquired in a Sept. 9 trade with the New York Islanders, has seen better days. He played well, but his team lost both scrimmages and scored just one goal in each --  which clearly bothered him.

He also had a potential scoring chance thwarted by his older brother, who skated down into low slot and lifted his stick before he could get a shot off. At least, that's Jonathan's side of the story.

"He had a good chance in the slot there and I'm like, 'I can't let him have this one,' " the elder Toews said. "He just hung onto it too long. You've got to get rid of it. So, I had the time to go down there and kind of lift his stick before he got the shot off – but it was a good start for him. It's good to see that hard work's paid off.”

David apparently has the same competitive fire as his older brother, however, and he refuted the stick-lift claim.

“I had a lot of time, I knew that,” he said. “I was waiting for the goalie to go down and I just bobbled it. I'm not going to give him the credit for getting the stick on me, because I think that was my fault for bobbling the puck. But I had a good chance there. The puck just wasn't going in today.”

After spending two seasons playing for North Dakota, where Jonathan starred, the younger Toews played last season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League – scoring 20 goals and adding 28 assists in 60 games before adding two goals and tallying five assists in six playoff games.

Now he's got a new opportunity with a team that's led by a very familiar face.

“I'm excited to be here and be with my brother,” said David, who's staying at Jonathan's place while he's in camp. “It's an exciting time. When we leave the rink, we do stuff together all the time. Sometimes we get sick of each other and sometimes we have those brotherly battles, but when it's all said and done we love each other as brothers and family and we're always there to support each other.”
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 2:15 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Blackhawks Camp: Sharp takes aim for season-opener

CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp wasn't made available to speak with the media during Friday's media day prior to Chicago's training camp, but the injured Blackhawks forward was feeling good enough to speak with fans during Saturday's sold out Training Camp Festival.

He was interviewed over the public-address system by Hawks TV analyst Ed Olczyk, who emceed the annual event --  which features practice sessions and two scrimmages fans bought $5 tickets to attend.

"I'm feeling good," said Sharp, who underwent an emergency appendectomy this past Monday after feeling ill at a Hawks charity golf outing. "I wish I could be out there with the guys."

Sharp was told by doctors that he'd likely be out three-to-four weeks recovering from the procedure, which places his eventual return near the start of the regular season. When does he plan to return?

"Hopefully as soon as possible," Sharp told the crowd. "The timeline was three-to-four weeks, so right around the start of the season. I don't want to miss any games, so I'm pushing to play the first game of the season."
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:07 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Blackhawks Camp: Keith feeling rested and ready

CHICAGO -- Duncan Keith just wasn't himself last season.

The Blackhawks' fastest skater even looked a little sluggish at times and had a striking number of mental mistakes that wound up being costly during the course of the season -- just one season removed from winning the Norris Trophy, Stanley Cup and helping Canada win the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

On the surface, his overall numbers weren't terrible. He scored 7 goals and added 38 assists, but the 28-year old Keith also finished with a minus-1 rating -- the first time since his rookie season that he finished in the negative.

Then during a grueling seven-game first round series against the Vancouver Canucks, Keith openly talked about what many had hypothesized all season long regarding his slump. He was simply burned out, mentally as much as physically.
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Posted On Saturday, 09.17.2011 / 12:06 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Super Saturday

Blackhawks Camp: More rest for Crawford?

CHICAGO -- Unlike last season, Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford comes into training camp as the undisputed starter after an impressive rookie season.

He played in 57 games and finished the regular season with a 33-18-6 record and 2.30 goals-against average before starting all seven games of a first-round playoff loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Still, the fact Crawford started the final 27 games of the regular season is something Hawks coach Joel Quenneville would rather not repeat.

"If you want to put a number on (Crawford), the mid-50s (in starts) is probably a number we're looking at," Quenneville said. "I think that will be a healthy dose for him. I don't expect or envision him doing what we did last year, playing the number of games he did in a row – but you've got to compliment him on how well he handled the intensity and the significance of those games, none better than Game 7."
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.11.2011 / 2:38 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

No news on potential Detroit lineup changes

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said that he would consider any lineup changes for Game 7 on the long plane ride to San Jose.

That means there might be a chance Johan Franzen plays in Game 7 after missing Game 6 because of an ankle injury. Mike Modano played for him on Tuesday in Game 6 and might also be called upon. Veteran Kris Draper was also a healthy scratch in Game 6 after playing in the middle three games of the series.

"We'll take these five-and-a-half hours on the flight to kick everything around," Babcock said. "I'm sure (Franzen) will try lobbying and we'll listen to him. We'll try to make the right decisions, but the only way you know you've made the right decisions are when you win. We'll try to make the right decision on the right players."
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.11.2011 / 2:36 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Modano gives glimpse of what Sharks might be feeling

It's been almost 20 years since the Red Wings came back from a 3-1 deficit against the then-Minnesota North Stars to win a first-round series, but Mike Modano still remembers what it felt like to lose that series. He was asked on Wednesday morning about the mood in the Minnesota locker room as Detroit made its comeback, and might've offered an idea of what the Sharks feel after dropping three straight to erase a 3-0 lead in this series.

"Well, you're a little nervous because you know they're coming and their confidence is building," said the 40-year old Modano, a Westland, Mich., native who was just 21 at the time. We knew at 3-1 we needed to play a spectacular, perfect game from start to finish. Otherwise, we were in trouble."

They were right, as it turned out.

"Just bad break after bad break, and we're just looking for something to put a tourniquet on a hemorrhage because it was coming," Modano said. "You could just feel it. It was just like an avalanche. Once they got going and their main guys started playing, we knew we were in trouble."
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.11.2011 / 2:27 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Bertuzzi the quote machine?

Detroit power forward Todd Bertuzzi isn't usually the most quotable figure in the Red Wings' locker room, but he had a couple of zingers on Wednesday at the airport before leaving for San Jose.

In talking about playing Game 7 on Thursday and the excitement that comes along with it, Bertuzzi said: "It's the first time I've seen guys that excited to get on a plane for seven hours."

Then, when asked if he thinks the Red Wings might get injured forward Johan Franzen (sore ankle) back for Game 7, Bertuzzi quipped: "Who knows? I thought we were leaving yesterday, so it shows how much I know what's going on around here."
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.11.2011 / 2:15 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Bad penalties plaguing Abdelkader

It's been a rough series for Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, who has taken a number of penalties at inopportune times.

His latest troubling infraction came late in Game 6 on Tuesday with the Red Wings clinging to a 2-1 lead and needing the win to push the series to Game 7. He was called for holding and put Detroit's penalty kill units plus goalie Jimmy Howard in a sticky situation.

Detroit killed it off, but it was a long 2:00 in the penalty box for Abdelkader.

"I'm still thinking about it," he said on Wednesday morning, before boarding the team plane. "You don't want your team shorthanded when you're up like that in the third period. You think about it and hopefully learn from it and won't do it again. It's not a fun feeling, I'll tell you that much. It's just a long two minutes."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he had another chat about committing penalties at bad times – the second such conversation the two have had in this series.

"I just told him, two games in a row now, 'You've got to decide … are you going to be one of those guys that their whole career takes a bad penalty at the wrong time or are you going to look after it?'" Babcock said. "He's a great kid and a great teammate and he's going to get it looked after."
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.10.2011 / 4:38 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Babcock further explains his 'drivetrain' analogy for Datsyuk

It was the perfect symbolism for the coach of the Motor City's hockey team to make.

Babcock was asked after Game 5, a 4-3 win by the Red Wings, what allowed Detroit center Pavel Datsyuk able to overcome a rumored wrist injury to dish out three impressive assists at crucial moments in the game. In short, Babcock said player like Datsyuk have a "drivetrain" that other players don't always have, which allows them to turn it up a notch in the playoffs.

Babcock was asked to expand on that analogy after Tuesday's morning skate and said that "drivetrain" can be installed, so to speak, by hard work and determination.

"I think for sure it can be taught," Babcock said. "When you come to a team like the Detroit Red Wings, when you arrive, Steve Yzerman's like that or Nick Lidstrom's like that. Pavel Datsyuk is an absolute workaholic on and off the ice. It's not by accident that these guys are this good. It's because they work that hard."

Babcock then cited how hard Datsyuk works on and off the ice to keep his 32-year old body in shape and to keep honing his already jaw-dropping array of skills at both ends of the ice.

"To me, that's what separates him," Babcock said. "There's lots of nice players in the league, but they don't get to play long at the end of the year, because it's not about being a nice player. It's about winning your battle every time you're on the ice. There's no space and there's no room and the ice gets worse as the year goes on, so it's not about being pretty and it's not about open ice, or about who looks good in practice with no pressure on him. It's who can make a play in a small area and win a battle. To me, that's the game."
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Quote of the Day

The fans love it, and it looked like they were having fun. It was great to see this city [Columbus]. They had been waiting a couple years for this game. They did it right.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos after the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday