Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Patrick Sharp injured in Blackhawks’ win, will be ‘out for a bit’ ]]> Lead story image

MONTREAL — Jonathan Toews has been frustrated lately by the Blackhawks’ inability to score goals. But he hasn’t been worried. “We’ve had individuals who’ve dealt with this before,” the Blackhawks captain said before Tuesday’s game in Montreal. “It’s not the end of the world.” Several hours later, following a cathartic 5-0 victory over the Canadiens, Toews did his best to put a brave face on a new concern — an injured Patrick Sharp, who will be out “a bit” with an apparent right knee injury, according to coach Joel Quenneville. For Kris Versteeg, “a bit” meant a couple of weeks. … ]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 23:20:22 -0600 <![CDATA[ Slumping Bryan Bickell sees his minutes put on ice ]]> Lead story image

MONTREAL — The dilemma for Bryan Bickell and Joel Quenneville is obvious. Bickell’s in a slump, so Quenneville has drastically cut his ice time until he snaps out of it. But it’s hard for Bickell to do much of anything in seven minutes a night. “Yeah, it is,” Bickell said. “He’s putting his cards on the table, and we need to play better. Personally, I need to play better.” Bickell was benched for the rest of the third period in Ottawa on Thursday night after a ghastly turnover in the slot led to a Bobby Ryan goal in the opening … ]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:44:50 -0600 <![CDATA[ Blackhawks still looking for breakout game ]]> Lead story image

It’s pretty easy to be alarmed about the Blackhawks’ scoring struggles in their first 12 games. When you see some of the stats — blanked in consecutive home games, scoring more than two goals only once in their last seven games overall — the picture looks quite ugly. ‘‘Still feel like we’re looking for a solid 60-minute effort,’’ captain Jonathan Toews said after the Hawks’ 1-0 loss Sunday to the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center. ‘‘When we do play well, it’s just kind of in spurts; it’s not consistent enough. We get good chances, a lot of pucks around … ]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:24:22 -0600 <![CDATA[ Blackhawks can’t get ‘O’ to go, stifled again at home in 1-0 loss ]]> Lead story image

All of the shots are nice. The Blackhawks’ possession statistics still are sterling. But none of that has led to goals, and it continued for the Hawks with a 1-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday at the United Center. Ex-Hawk Michael Frolik scored 20 seconds into the game, and that was enough to beat the sputtering Hawks, who outshot the Jets 33-27. The Hawks have lost five of seven, and they dropped both games of a back-to-back set that began Saturday in Toronto. The Hawks got those 33 shots against backup goalie Michael Hutchinson, but few were prime … ]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 00:00:07 -0600 <![CDATA[ Blackhawks trying not to stumble through Joel Quenneville’s line dance ]]> Lead story image

Believe it or not, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville doesn’t want to do this. He doesn’t want to change lines every game, every period, every shift. He’d love to put the line-blender away and have everything constant all year long. ‘‘Absolutely,’’ he said. ‘‘I think we want to get some consistency in our game.’’ And despite his reputation as an incessant tinkerer, Quenneville has proved he’s capable of it. Back in 2013, the lines rarely changed during the course of the 48-game regular season. Of course, the Hawks started 21-0-3 that season. No coach is going to mess with that. So … ]]> Sun, 09 Nov 2014 18:41:40 -0600 <![CDATA[ Niklas Hjalmarsson in lineup a day after taking two for the team ]]> Lead story image

Niklas Hjalmarsson’s toughness has become almost routine for the Blackhawks. He will block shots, take punishment and generally show a disregard for his body and physical well-being just to help the Hawks win. He did that again during a loss Saturday night in Toronto by taking one shot to the face and another to the leg, but he kept playing. By now, perhaps the Hawks could be jaded by what Hjalmarsson does with his body and his seemingly endless tolerance for pain. His usual partner on the blue line isn’t jaded at all. “We’ve seen it multiple times where he’s … ]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:24:40 -0600 <![CDATA[ Blackhawks dominate but fall to Maple Leafs ]]> Lead story image

TORONTO — So much for the floodgates opening. After a breakout performance in Ottawa, the Blackhawks offense had another dominant game on the scoresheet, but not on the scoreboard, in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night — their fourth loss in the last six games. Despite outshooting the Leafs 47-27, putting 26 shots on goal in the third period, and taking 87 attempts to Toronto’s 44, they could only solve a spectacular James Reimer twice, both times on power plays. “I guess these games are going to happen,” Patrick Kane said. “Obviously, we don’t like … ]]> Sat, 01 Nov 2014 23:45:11 -0600 <![CDATA[ When bros are foes: James, Trevor van Riemsdyk face each other ]]> Lead story image

TORONTO — The walls in the van Riemsdyks’ basement in Middletown, New Jersey, are pock-marked and puck-marked, each scar a story. There are dents from shots being fired, slash marks from sticks slammed in disgust, bruises from bodies being bashed. “Neither of us likes to lose,” Trevor van Riemsdyk said. “I’m sure Mom and Dad had to play referee quite a few times.” “Lots of blood shed and tears cried in the basement,” James van Riemsdyk said. James and Trevor van Riemsdyk spent countless hours competing against each other in that basement, pretending to be NHL players. On Saturday night, … ]]> Sun, 02 Nov 2014 02:33:15 -0600 <![CDATA[ Antti Raanta relieved he’s still on Blackhawks’ roster ]]> Lead story image

TORONTO — Antti Raanta tried not to sweat his standing with the team while Scott Darling seized the net and the headlines for three games. But he was relieved Friday to learn that the backup job was his, as Darling was sent back to Rockford. “Everybody wants to be here, and everybody wants to play,” Raanta said after Saturday’s morning skate. “So, of course, it’s a good feeling. But I wasn’t thinking too much about that thing at all.” Darling started the last three games for the Hawks, going 2-1-0 with a .933 save percentage and a 1.98 goals-against average. … ]]> Sun, 02 Nov 2014 02:33:28 -0600 <![CDATA[ Brandon Saad: Talent, yes; consistency, not yet ]]> Lead story image

TORONTO — When it comes to Brandon Saad, coach Joel Quenneville sounds like a supportive, but demanding, parent. It’s not that Saad is a disappointment. It’s not that Quenneville is not proud of what he has become. It’s just that he could be so much more. “I just think he’s proven that he can be a top player,” Quenneville said. “And that’s what we want to push him to.” Saad has become almost a prisoner of his early success and his occasional flashes of dominance. He’s so good on some nights that the off nights become that much more glaring. … ]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:26:36 -0600 <![CDATA[ Blackhawks stick with Antti Raanta as backup goalie; Scott Darling sent to Rockford ]]>

TORONTO — Antti Raanta kept his job as the Blackhawks’ backup goaltender when the team sent Scott Darling back to Rockford of the AHL on Friday. Darling, a Lemont native, started the last three games for the Hawks, going 2-1-0 with a .933 save percentage and a 1.98 goals-against average. But with Raanta’s more extensive body of work, and possibly that he’s on a one-way contract (meaning he would get paid his full NHL salary of $750,000 even if he’s in the AHL), the Hawks stuck with the second-year Finn. Raanta had a 32-save shutout of the Flyers in his … ]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:26:47 -0600 <![CDATA[ Marian Hossa earns 1,000th point; Sharp gets shootout winner for Blackhawks ]]> Lead story image

KANATA, Ontario — It was too perfect. Marian Hossa, in the city in which his illustrious career began, scoring his 1,000th career point on the game-winning goal late in the third period. Grand fashion, if you will. “It seemed like it was a story book, like when you [reporters] drew up the playbook for the game,” Patrick Sharp said. But the Ottawa Senators added a plot twist, scoring the tying goal with 2:08 left in the game and sending the game to overtime and then a shootout, where Sharp scored the lone goal to give the Hawks a 5-4 victory … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:15:13 -0600 <![CDATA[ ‘Amazing’ Marian Hossa earns 1,000th point, praise from Blackhawks ]]> Lead story image

KANATA, Ontario — Even Jonathan Toews, one of the top two-way players in the NHL, can give up on a play sometimes, when an opponent starts streaking toward the other end of the rink, seemingly out of reach. Then 36-year-old Marian Hossa usually reminds him why he shouldn’t. “Hoss is always the one that seems to come flying out of nowhere from behind you and catches the guy on the backcheck, just when you think that there’s no chance you’re going to catch up,” Toews said. “He’s amazing.” The Blackhawks’ dressing room is loaded with highly accomplished star players. But … ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 22:13:01 -0600 <![CDATA[ Scott Darling or Antti Raanta facing demotion to Rockford ]]> Lead story image

KANATA, Ontario — Scott Darling started in goal Thursday for the Blackhawks against the Ottawa Senators. Corey Crawford, who returned from a five-game absence caused by an upper-body injury, backed him up. Where does that leave Antti Raanta? Possibly headed to Rockford. With Crawford back to 100 percent, coach Joel Quenneville will send Darling or Raanta down to the American Hockey League, likely on Friday. And while Raanta has the two-year, one-way contract and the bigger body of work, Darling appears to be the front-runner to stick around. He allowed only one goal in each of his two home starts … ]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 10:19:40 -0600 <![CDATA[ Veteran Brad Richards has yet to find his niche with Blackhawks ]]> Lead story image

OTTAWA — Brad Richards is a highly accomplished hockey player. He’s won a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy. He’s been an All-Star. He’s been one of the highest-paid players in hockey. But a month into his Blackhawks career, the 34-year-old Richards is almost like a rookie — trying to get his bearings, trying to relearn the game, trying to impress coach Joel Quenne-ville and trying to earn more ice time. “Right now, I’m trying to put together good shifts when I’m out there, and trying to buy into what Joel wants, and hopefully that will grab his attention,” … ]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 09:34:11 -0600 <![CDATA[ Scott Darling once again strong, but Gibson, Ducks clip Blackhawks 1-0 ]]> Lead story image

It’s still October, still nearly six months away from the playoffs. But at what point does a blip become a trend? The story through the first 10 percent of the season is that, no matter how hard they try, the Blackhawks just can’t score. And their 1-0 loss Tuesday to the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center was more of the same. Devante Smith-Pelly scored on a short-handed breakaway midway through the third period after Brent Seabrook lost an edge trying to hold in a puck at the point to give the Ducks the victory in a battle between two … ]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 00:07:45 -0600