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Roster shakeup doesn't faze Hawks

2/10/2011

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The word “weird” was used often in the Chicago Blackhawks dressing room after their 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Moments before the Hawks took the ice for the game, winger Jack Skille, a team favorite, was traded to Florida.

“It’s kind of tough to see a guy traded right before the game,” Patrick Kane said after the win. “It’s a first time for me. I think the biggest thing for me was just to focus on this game and worry about it after.”

Kane focused just fine, netting two goals in the third period. His coach was also happy with the focus after the trade was announced.

“Sometimes that can be a little distracting and gets you off-kilter but I thought the guys were very diligent and had a good start,” Joel Quenneville said.

“Good start,” were the other words heard often in the dressing room. The Hawks had been trailing in many recent games, after having early success most of the season.

“A good start can give you confidence throughout the rest of the game to keep that going,” Duncan Keith said. “It was nice to get the lead. We did a good job of holding on to some pucks and causing them to take some penalties.”

For Jonathan Toews, his concerns were with the opponent -- or at least how the Hawks viewed them.

“We sometimes tend to look at the standings and see the team below us and drop our game a level but we didn’t do that tonight,” he said. “We were ready to go.”

Maybe that urgency that’s been talked about so much kicked in. Toews also felt it was “weird” to see Skille leave moments before warmups.

“It is what it is,” Toews said. “It’s part of the game. You look at our locker room, it’s changed so much over the past two or three years.”

And it changed on the ice from Monday’s loss in Calgary to the win in Edmonton.

The Hawks' top two lines had a different look, and it immediately paid off as the sniper, Patrick Sharp, looked like his old self, scoring from the wing. He led the Hawks with four shots on net, no other forward had more than two. The fourth line also had new personnel with the loss of Skille. Ryan Johnson returned to the lineup for just the second time since Jan. 5.

But the changes didn’t stop there. Quenneville broke up all the usual defense pairings. Duncan Keith skated with Nick Leddy while Brent Seabrook played with Niklas Hjalmarsson. Even Jordan Hendry saw action.

“Whether it was balance or we didn’t like the way things were going, sometimes a fresh look, you discover things,” Quenneville said.

The Hawks will have a fresh look when Michael Frolik joins them for their next game in Dallas. They won this one after saying goodbye to their friend.

“That was kind of weird,” Keith said. “That’s hockey for you. He’s a good guy, a good teammate.”

Slappers

Marian Hossa did not take a shift in the third period. Joel Quenneville said he suffered an upper body injury and is day-to-day.

• Jordan Hendry played 13:25 and was on the ice for the first two Hawks’ goals, finishing plus-1. Nick Boynton was a healthy scratch. Ryan Johnson played 10:31 in his return to the lineup. John Scott was the scratch at forward.

• The Hawks won 47 percent of their faceoffs. They’ve been below 50 percent in each of the first four games of the road trip.