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Niklas Hjalmarsson says Hawks’ roster looks fine to him

SheldBrookbank (right tangling with Jamal Mayers last seasas member Ducks) has been Hawks’ lone acquisitithis offseason. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Sheldon Brookbank (right, tangling with Jamal Mayers last season as a member of the Ducks) has been the Hawks’ lone acquisition this offseason. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 23, 2012 10:56AM



With defenseman Sheldon Brookbank as the sole offseason addition to date, the Blackhawks’ roster is very similar to the one that was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Coyotes.

And that’s fine by defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

‘‘We do have a really good team on the roster,’’ Hjalmarsson said at the Blackhawks Convention. ‘‘We just have to make sure everyone plays at his best. If we all do, I know we’re going to go really far [this season].’’

It’s whether Hjalmarsson is on the roster when the season starts that’s up for discussion. The Sun-Times reported last month the Hawks were shopping the 25-year-old defenseman.

While trade talks have cooled overall, it’s still thought general manager Stan Bowman isn’t done reshaping the roster. The Hawks still have needs, and Bowman has said several times he wouldn’t shy away from making trades.

Hjalmarsson, though, isn’t paying much attention to the
trade talk.

‘‘I can’t really do much about it; I don’t think about it too much,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s up to the management. I try to control the things that I can control, and that’s certainly one of the things that I can’t. It doesn’t really bother me.’’

Coaching duties

Coach Joel Quenneville revealed some of his plans for his handpicked coaching staff for the coming season.

‘‘Jamie [Kompon] may have the power play and [Mike Kitchen] may get the [penalty kill], but we’ll all have some input,’’ he said.

Kompon often was faulted for the Los Angeles Kings’ power-play woes during his tenure with them. The Kings, who ranked 17th in the league on the power play last season and 21st the season before, didn’t renew his contract after they won the Stanley Cup.

‘‘Watching him progress in the league, you have to admire what he brings to the game,’’ said Quenneville, who first hired Kompon as a video coach with the St. Louis Blues. ‘‘He’s really improved as a hockey guy.’’

Kompon isn’t too familiar with the Hawks’ roster, but he comes from the same hometown as forward Patrick Sharp (Thunder Bay, Ontario) and shares mutual friends.

‘‘I know he’s paid his dues and been around a long time in the league,’’ said Sharp, who has met Kompon a few times. ‘‘He’s familiar with Joel and with Kitch. . . . We’re happy to have him on board, and hopefully it all works out well.’’

Contributing: Ben Meyer-Abbott



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