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Blackhawks win one for Quenneville

by Brian Compton
A few thoughts as we prepare for Sean Avery's return to Gotham City:

That's one for Quenneville -- It came a night later than it should have, but Joel Quenneville has a reason to smile after notching his first win as coach of the Chicago Blackhawks.
After watching the Blackhawks surrender a 3-1 lead in Saturday's 4-3 shootout loss in St. Louis, Quenneville pushed the right buttons Sunday and watched his new team respond with a 4-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center.

Quenneville hasn't done much more than tweak a couple of things as he gets his feet wet behind Chicago's bench. Right away, though, Quenneville -- who replaced Denis Savard on Thursday -- has the full attention of his players.
"Everybody was sad to see Savvy go," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We all liked him and we all thought he did a good job, but we all got to move on. We can't dwell on the past. We all know that Joel has a great record and he's an established coach. He gets our respect right away. I'm anxious and excited to learn from a great coach like him."
Of course, the Blackhawks are still in the midst of an adjustment process. But Keith is confident that Chicago is becoming more of a cohesive unit with each passing day.
"We're starting to get a feel for each other," Keith said after Sunday's win. "Guys are getting used to playing with each other a little more out there. We want to come out hard. We wanted to play hard for our fans, but to get the win for Joel was nice, too."
Quenneville appreciated the effort he received from his players Sunday and is more than happy to be coaching this exciting group that is led by two of the game's brightest young stars in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
"Certainly, it's a thrill," Quenneville said of his first win with the Hawks. "I'm very excited about being here in Chicago. I feel very fortunate to be in this spot. Just being around the guys the last three or four days, I'm really excited about this group."
Searching for more -- They're a .500 hockey club right now, so things could certainly be worse for the 3-3 Vancouver Canucks. But some players feel they're nowhere near where they should be.

''We have to find a way to play better,'' Vancouver defenseman Mattias Ohlund said after Sunday's loss at Chicago. ''Maybe there was a goal or two tonight where you can say maybe there was a bad bounce, but overall we've had a stretch of games where we haven't played good defensive hockey.''

Canucks captain Roberto Luongo agreed. At the same time, though, his team suffered from bad bounces -- and the injury bug -- in the 4-2 loss to the Blackhawks. Pavol Demitra, Sami Salo and Darcy Hordichuk all went down Sunday.

"We've got a lot of capable people here and we all have to play up to our potential," Luongo said. "Three out of the four goals went off our guys. We just have to work harder and know that we won't get every bounce that comes along."

Duck tales -- The Anaheim Ducks are stumbling out of the gate, and they simply can't figure out why.

Sunday night at the Honda Center, Anaheim's offense was once again nowhere to be found in a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. They peppered Michael Leighton with 33 shots, but the Ducks' key players were unable to find the back of the net. Anaheim's lone tally came from defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who has more goals this season (2) than the likes of Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

Only "Being John Malkovich" was harder to comprehend.

"It’s unbelievable," Selanne said of his team's inability to score goals. "We’re not getting any bounces. The puck was on the goal line, all kinds of things are happening but it’s not going in our favor. I think it was great effort again and we deserved better than this."

The 1-5 Ducks are hopeful that a 4-game road trip will reverse their fortunes. The voyage begins  Tuesday night at Toronto.

"A change of scenery will maybe do us good," captain Scott Niedermayer said. "We’re in a tough spot right now and not happy with the way things have gone up until now. We have to think positively and work harder than we have."

Contact Brian Compton at:

Material from wire services was used in this report.   

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