Despite the Blackhawks’ 4-1 loss in Washington during the team’s preseason finale, there were some good signs to emerge from the Verizon Center Sunday night.
Among the encouraging news was the announcement by Head Coach Joel Quenneville that forwards Dave Bolland and Ben Smith, both sidelined with upper body injuries, are “progressing very well” and could resume practicing this week. “We’re hopeful,” added Quenneville.
Smith left Wednesday’s game against Detroit after a hit to the head by the Red Wings’ Brendan Smith, who was suspended for eight games by the NHL for the hit. Bolland played Wednesday night but did not practice Thursday.
Kane at center could continue: Quenneville also told the media Sunday that it is likely that Patrick Kane could remain at center for the start of the regular season, anchoring the line with Andrew Brunette and Marian Hossa.
“I’m going to say right now it might start like that,” Quenneville said. “[Kane and Hossa] seem to have a little chemistry together. Down low, you’ve got some responsibility with Hossa as well, and he’ll continue to grown in that area. I think his instincts are good in both areas.”
Could Saad stick?: After the latest round of roster cuts Monday, rookie forward Brandon Saad’s chances to make the opening night roster have improved again. The roster now stands at 27 players, among them, the 18-year-old Pennsylvania native, but Quenneville would not confirm or deny that an entry-level deal is being worked on.
"There's a deadline that has to be done by,” Quenneville said. “[VP/GM Stan Bowman] will be working on that.”