Duncan Keith gets checked by Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas during first-period action. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: March 25, 2012 8:18AM
Trading a top-four defenseman, as the Dallas Stars did when they sent Nicklas Grossman to the Philadelphia Flyers last week, would typically signal that a team is in selling mode for the trade deadline.
The Blackhawks had a chance to send them further down the road to unloading, but they blew a one-goal lead in the third period as the Stars prevailed 3-1 on Thursday at the United Center.
The Hawks’ four-game winning streak came to an end while the Stars moved into the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
“It’s an amazing race when you look at all the teams in the mix,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “That’s why these points tonight were very valuable. You can look and say we gave them away. We didn’t let them earn it the way we have to. Some games are going to be tough games, and tonight we didn’t do enough to deserve to win, and it was there right in our hands and we let it get away.”
The Stars have a handful of players who would interest general manager Stan Bowman and other teams. Forwards Steve Ott, Mike Ribeiro and Adam Burish are all reportedly available. The Hawks could use players like them, especially Ribeiro as their second-line center or Ott as their replacement for Daniel Carcillo. Defensemen Sheldon Souray also might be available.
It was Ott (goal) and Ribeiro (two assists) who helped the Stars rally. Michael Ryder had a goal and an assist, Loui Eriksson also scored and backup goalie Richard Bachman made 26 saves.
Marian Hossa scored the Hawks’ lone goal, and Corey Crawford (22 saves) was the victim of three deflections and turnovers. Ott tied the score at 1 after Hossa failed to corral the puck, and Eriksson gave the Stars a two-goal lead after Ryder’s shot deflected off Brent Seabrook’s skate and over Crawford.
“The third period wasn’t our best,” Hossa said.
The Hawks meet the Kings in Los Angeles on Saturday. The Kings acquired Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick in a blockbuster move Thursday.
The Hawks have been quiet. Burish, who was stopped by Crawford on a breakaway, is one player who has been linked to the Hawks.
“This is probably the first year of my career where I’ve heard rumors about myself,” Burish said. “At times, it can be [a distraction]. To be honest, with your days off and stuff, you think about it. But once you come to the rink and you’re ready to play, everything is set aside.”
What the Stars do Friday against the Minnesota Wild and Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks should decide what GM Joe Nieuwendyk does at the trade deadline Monday afternoon.
The Hawks and others are certainly waiting. After Thursday’s loss, the Hawks have only 20 games left to improve their sixth-place standing in the West. Bowman, meanwhile, has four days to improve his roster.
“It just goes to show you how competitive the league is,” forward Patrick Sharp said. “I don’t know how many scoring chances they had, but they found a way to tip a few in. It’s frustrating. But we’ll ready to go this weekend.”