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Kopecky happy on Hawks’ center stage

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



How does Blackhawks forward Tomas Kopecky feel about playing apart from Marian Hossa?

‘‘I’m kind of relieved,’’ Kopecky said jokingly Friday. ‘‘I can shoot more now. I don’t have to look for him all the time. . . . But every time you play with him, it’s fun. Everybody here is professional. If they put you on another line, you have to adjust, and that’s what I’m doing right now.’’

Kopecky, who’s typically a winger, has centered the third line with Troy Brouwer and Bryan Bickell the last two games.

‘‘I like it,’’ Kopecky said. ‘‘You get more responsibilities and obviously have the puck more coming out of our zone. ’’

Kopecky went 7-for-9 in the faceoff circle, including 3-for-3 in the first period, Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

‘‘[Kopecky] is pretty versatile,’’ assistant coach Mike Haviland said. ‘‘He’s pretty responsible down low. He works. You’re getting a lot of good things there with that guy in the middle, which is a position where you need someone down low to work hard and know the game.’’

Slap shots

Haviland described coach Joel Quenneville, who remains hospitalized with an ulcer, as being in ‘‘great spirits’’ after they chatted Friday. There is no timetable for Quenneville’s return.

“He’s actually going a little stir crazy there,’’ Haviland said.

Fernando Pisani has yet to resume skating at practice after enduring a hard check last week against the Dallas Stars. Ryan Johnson (concussion) is eligible to return from injured reserve today.



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