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Quenneville saw 'good things' in Carcillo's short stint

by Brian Hedger
CHICAGO -- Daniel Carcillo's season is over, but despite it being cut short by a knee injury his coach felt like he gave the Chicago Blackhawks what they were looking for when they signed him to a one-year contract last summer.

"I thought he had a good year for us," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Saturday morning at Joe Louis Arena. "I thought he did a lot of good things. I thought he gave us a presence and fulfilled a need and a niche for us. He provided some toughness, some emotion."

Carcillo, who earned a seven-game suspension for his hit on Edmonton's Tom Gilbert on Jan. 2, finished his season after just 28 games by scoring 2 goals and adding 9 assists with a plus-10 rating and 82 penalty minutes.

Carcillo came to Chicago with a reputation for toeing the line between acceptable and punishable conduct on and off the ice -- and even started the season with a two-game suspension for an incident between periods of a playoff game last spring.

Carcillo also got slapped with a two-game suspension in late October for a hit on the Carolina Hurricanes' Joni Pitkanen, which wasn't penalized in the game but was deemed an illegal hit after a review by the League.

Carcillo injured his left knee when he hit Gilbert, who was also hurt on the play. Gilbert's body slammed off the end boards and bounced back toward Carcillo's leg.

Carcillo immediately went down and grabbed his knee. He needed help getting off the ice and couldn't put weight on the leg. The Hawks weighed their options on what to do about the knee before announcing on Friday that he needed surgery to repair it and would be out at least six months.

Carcillo came into the season vowing to turn over a new leaf in regard to the questionable tactics and even adapted his game enough to play up on the first two lines with stars like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.

His role on those lines was to help open up the ice for the fast, skilled forwards and provide some protection against teams trying to take liberties with the Hawks’ top players. He played the role well, with maybe his most memorable moment on Dec. 3 in St. Louis – when he came to the defense of Kane and Toews during a post-whistle scrum.

"We liked how he played," Quenneville said. "He complemented some nice players and did what he had to do."

Quenneville thinks the gritty veteran forward also learned a lesson this season.

"I think he knows his leash is extremely short and (about) being smart about situations," Quenneville said. "But he had a couple (hits) right there on that line and I think he's got to know when to push."

As for getting a season-ending injury after delivering a hit, Quenneville said it was both odd to see and highly disappointing for Carcillo.

"It was a strange hit, no question about it," Quenneville said. "You can only imagine (how upset he is)."
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