Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa team up to help Hawks punish Jets
BEN MEYER-ABBOTT ON THE blackhawks October 13, 2011 10:58PM
Updated: January 23, 2012 3:48AM
The wheels in the heads of the Blackhawks’ brass began to turn during the summer.
The Hawks always had been looking for a way to combine the offensive talents of Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa outside of the occasional power play. And after the offseason acquisition of versatile agitator Daniel Carcillo, coach Joel Quenneville felt they had the pieces in place to make it happen.
“When we looked at it in the summer, we thought [pairing Kane, Hossa and Carcillo] was something you can do in games,” Quenneville said. “[Carcillo] can play with skilled guys, and he can play with an energy line, as well.’’
A few eyebrows were raised when Quenneville announced during the preseason that Kane was going to see time at center. But Kane and Hossa showed just how devastating they can be when paired together in a 4-3 victory Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center.
Kane (goal, two assists) and Hossa (goal, assist) combined for five points, and Carcillo got in on the act with an assist on Hossa’s goal that tied the game at 2.
“I’ve never really played with [Hossa], to be honest with you,” Kane said. “It’s kind of something where we’re getting used to each other and trying to find some chemistry.’’
Carcillo followed up the assist by getting in Mark Stuart’s face on the next shift to display the agitating skills the Hawks believe will help open up space for Kane and Hossa.
“Everyone on that line had outstanding games,” Quenneville said. “Danny’s first shift in a Blackhawks uniform was very noticeable, and he started that line in a positive way.”
Kane and Carcillo seem to be developing an off-ice chemistry together, and Kane enjoyed the attention the newcomer drew on the ice.
‘‘[Carcillo brought] just a lot of energy,” Kane said. “He’s going to create a lot of room out there. You kind of see his antics before and after the whistle, which is a good thing when you’re playing with him.’’
At center, Kane was a defensive concern coming into the season. But the Hawks’ second line hasn’t been on the ice for a goal against through the first nine periods of the season.
“Everybody was asking how we were going to do defensively,” Hossa said. “So far, [Kane is] answering the question and doing a great job, and we try to help him out.”
Andrew Brunette dug out another rebound for his second power-play goal in as many games, and Dave Bolland scored his third goal of the season.
Ray Emery, the victim of two deflected first-period goals by Jim Slater, had an inauspicious start to his Hawks career.
But he stopped 27 of 30 shots to get the win in the first game not started by Corey Crawford in 36 regular-season and playoff contests.
“It’s not the start you want,” Emery said. “In my mind, I know this team’s going to get the goals as long as I stay solid.’’
After the game, Quenneville was asked whose idea it was to put Kane at center and pair him with Hossa.
“I’ll give [general manager] Stan [Bowman] credit,” Quenneville said.
And if it doesn’t work?
“I’ll take the heat,” he said with a laugh.