-- Good news for the Chicago Blackhawks
has been a relative term this season.
In fact, the Hawks' perception of good news often has come in relation to injured players and the speed at which they are recovering. That being the case, there was a little more good news following Chicago's morning skate at the United Center on Wednesday, as they prepared to face the Colorado Avalanche
for the second time in three days.
Injured forwards Patrick Kane
(lower body) and Fernando Pisani
(upper body) skated with the team, while injured forward Marian Hossa
(lower body) did off-ice exercises after skating on his own Monday and Tuesday. None will play against the Avs, but it was encouraging for the Hawks to see a couple of them back in practice mode.
"I thought both guys skated pretty well," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville
said. "(Pisani) got a little more (work in) after practice and Kaner said he felt a lot better, so we'll see how he does tomorrow and get a pretty good gauge on it. But he's progressing real well."
Kane hasn't been ruled out for a return to action Friday against the Detroit Red Wings
(8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US), but he's also not targeting that date for a return yet.
"It's a possibility," said Kane, who was injured in the first shift of a Dec. 5 home against the Calgary Flames
. "I've really got to see how I am in practice and pregame skate (Friday) and make a decision then. Personally I'd love to be playing tonight, but that's not realistic. Friday, we'll see."
Kane didn't reveal the exact nature of his injury, but his left skate slammed hard into the base of the boards while he spun to avoid a hit by Flames defenseman Cory Sarich
. The Hawks said Kane would be out 2-3 weeks, but if he returns Friday then it will be slightly less than two weeks away.
"It felt pretty good (practicing)," Kane said. "I think I probably am (ahead of schedule). They said three weeks at first, and it's been 10 or 11 days. It feels like it's been a month or two. It's something I always love to do, so it's great to be back (at practice)."
Pisani still is taking it day by day with his undisclosed upper-body ailment, which he suffered Nov. 26 against the Anaheim Ducks
"I've skated the past couple of days and we'll just go from there," he said. "It's just an injury that takes time and I didn't really want to push coming back. I'm just focusing on getting better every day right now and it's coming along pretty good."
Hossa's return also is unclear. He's been out since injuring his leg in practice Nov. 29 when he collided with defenseman Nick Boynton
"We'll see," Quenneville said, when asked about Hossa. "We'll get a better idea once we get him back on the ice (for practice), but he's progressing."
In order to make up for the absences, the Hawks recalled forward Jeremy Morin
from Rockford of the American Hockey League for the third time this month and fourth time this season.
Looking for redemption
-- As luck would have it, the Hawks get a chance tonight to make up for Monday's loss at Colorado, which captain Jonathan Toews
The Avs charged back to beat the Hawks with three goals -- one an empty-netter -- in the final few minutes of regulation. It's a loss that left a sour taste in the Hawks' mouths for the past 48 hours.
"Hopefully (we have) a short memory, because it was tough to live with the last couple of days," Quenneville said. "It was one of those games that really grabs your attention and leaves you with frustration and different levels of emotions, but we've got to move on. We're right back with the same hockey team we played against. We have to have some redemption in our play."
One area of the team in particular may feel the need for redemption most -- the defense, which had multiple breakdowns in Monday's game that led directly to goals getting past Marty Turco
early and Corey Crawford
Crawford will get the start in net in this game, but if the defense doesn't improve, the results might not be much better. After Brent Seabrook
and Duncan Keith
each logged minus-4 ratings Monday and are a combined minus-16 for the season, Chicago's top defense pair also is under some scrutiny.
"There's been stretches they've struggled for a little bit, but they've had some real good games recently as a pair," Quenneville said. "Seabs has been fine and Dunc's had some stretches where he's been real good and some stretches where he's been OK. But that last game, that's a level that we haven't seen much of."
Not just from Keith and Seabrook. Quenneville put all of his defensemen under the same blanket of blame for Monday's woes.
"I've really got to see how I am in practice and pregame skate (Friday) and make a decision then. Personally I'd love to be playing tonight, but that's not realistic. Friday, we'll see." -- Patrick Kane
"I think it was a one-game thing and I think it was the whole (defense)," he said. "It was one of those games where we needed to be better in that area. Scoring five goals puts you in a position to win a hockey game, or at least close it out to get a point. As a group our defensemen can all be better and I think they all have some responsibility. The six of them that were out there have to be more focused."
-- Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson
always likes playing the Blackhawks in Chicago.
Not only did the Blackhawks pick him in the third round of the 2001 Entry Draft (No. 73), but Anderson spent five seasons in the Blackhawks' organization after growing up in the nearby suburb of Park Ridge, Ill. As a youngster, he wasn't the biggest Hawks fan because home games weren't televised -- but he did get to watch the Hawks play at Chicago Stadium and the United Center.
"It was right in their heyday, the late 1980s and early 90s," Anderson said. "They were flying high. We got to a couple games whenever we could. The old stadium was a lot of fun, just walking the hallways there and bumping shoulders with people because it was so narrow and crowded."
Hearing the crowd roar for the National Anthem tonight likely will bring back those memories, as well as those from his time playing for the Hawks.
"When played here, we were trying to rebuild so there weren't many people in the stands," he said. "That's all changed now and coming in here with all the enthusiasm and energy from the fans probably makes it the best (atmosphere) in the League."
Avs injury update
-- Chicago isn't the only team looking for some good news on the injury rehab front.
Colorado coach Joe Sacco said left wing T.J. Galiardi skated again but has no timetable for a return from an injured wrist. Fellow forward Milan Hejduk
remains day to day with a groin injury despite skating Wednesday. Sacco said he'll get a clearer picture about the status of defenseman Kyle Quincey
(shoulder) later in the week.