Rockford could help Blackhawks out of any hard place
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com February 6, 2013 12:59PM
Chicago Blackhawks' Dave Bolland kneels on the ice after sustaining an injury during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. Vancouver won 2-1. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Stan Bowman didn’t start frantically scrolling through a list of general manager contacts on his phone when Dave Bolland went down with an ankle injury in Vancouver. Had Bolland been seriously injured, Bowman had only one place in mind to find a replacement.
‘‘There are guys in Rockford that are probably deserving of being in the NHL, but they’re kind of blocked out right now,’’ the Blackhawks GM said before Tuesday night’s game in San Jose. ‘‘So we’ve got a number of guys down there that have played well and are looking for a chance to play in Chicago. I think that’s the one thing we do have, is depth.’’
Bolland suffered only a bruise and returned to the lineup against the Sharks. But Bowman singled out forwards Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin as the top three candidates for promotion should the need arise again. On the back end, he mentioned defensemen Ryan Stanton, Adam Clendening and Dylan Olsen.
‘‘I think a number of those guys probably would be playing in the NHL on a number of teams,’’ Bowman said.
Bowman said he largely stood pat in the offseason — adding just defensemen Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Rozsival — despite a second straight first-round playoff exit. That turned out to work to the Hawks’ advantage after the lockout, as the familiarity has helped them jump out to a near-perfect start while other teams have struggled to blend new talent without much of a training camp or any preseason.
‘‘There wasn’t really a need to have an overhaul,’’ Bowman said. “We had a great season and we didn’t play well in a short series against a good team [the Phoenix Coyotes] in very close games. . . . It’s a fine line between winning and losing, and we have a really good group here. So we didn’t need to make a massive change to our group.’’
In other news, Bowman said injured winger Daniel Carcillo should return to skating (not with the Hawks) sometime this week.He said there’s no timetable for the return of defenseman Steve Montador, who’s been dealing with the effects of a concussion.
Antti Niemi said it was always ‘‘special’’ to play the Hawks. The same word describes his play so far this season.
‘‘Man, he’s playing good,’’ said the Sharks’ Adam Burish, like Niemi a member of the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup championship team. ‘‘He’s a guy who plays with a lot of confidence now. Seeing when he first came to Chicago out of the [AHL] to now, he’s a different guy, a more confident guy. But the same in the sense that you can’t get two words out of him. ‘How you doing, Nemo?’ ‘Doing good.’ That’s about it.’’
Also on the Sharks is former Hawks forward Martin Havlat, as well as Evanston native Tommy Wingels, who has two points in eight games.