Hawks plan on better showing vs. Oilers
January, 2, 2012
By Jesse Rogers
CHICAGO -- Revenge is a dish best served cold -- as in ice-cold.
The Chicago Blackhawks will get a chance at it on Monday night when they host the Edmonton Oilers, this time on the United Center surface.
The teams aren’t near in each other in the standings right now, as the Blackhawks lead the NHL with 52 points and the Oilers are at the bottom of the Northwest Division with just 33. But back on Nov. 19, when they met in Edmonton, the Hawks were still finding their way while the Oilers were off to a pretty good start. The result for the Hawks? A 9-2 drubbing in Game 3 of the circus trip.
“I don’t know about revenge, but kind of redemption,” defenseman John Scott said after Monday morning’s practice. “They took it to us last time we were there. We talked about it. That wasn’t our team when we played them a month ago. We’ve changed since then and kind of have gone on a rise since then.”
Scott will skate next to Sami Lepisto as the Hawks’ third defensive pair against a fast Edmonton squad. Steve Montador has been ruled out due to an upper-body injury.
Dale MacMillan/Getty ImagesRyan Smyth scored one of the Oilers' nine goals against the Blackhawks on Nov. 19.
“I’m going to try and not do too much out there,” Lepisto said. “Just think defense first and if something happens, it happens.”
Lepisto has been a healthy scratch for the past eight games.
“Sitting in first place the team is doing good, but of course you get frustrated,” he said of not playing. “Every player wants to play rather than sit and eat popcorn. It’s a long season and hopefully I get to play more.”
Lepisto didn’t play against Edmonton last time, but Jamal Mayers did.
“We certainly should use it as motivation,” Mayers said. “Obviously they took it to us in every facet of the game. We have a chance to redeem ourselves tonight.”
The Hawks should have a good chance to do so. They’re 14-3-3 at home while Edmonton is just 5-13-1 on the road. One of those losses came in Chicago, 6-3, on Nov. 13.
Lines the same: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville liked the balance in his lines in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings and will stick with the same trios for Monday’s contest. Marcus Kruger did not skate Monday morning as he recovers from a concussion, so Patrick Kane remains at center between Viktor Stalberg and Patrick Sharp while Jonathan Toews has Marian Hossa and Dan Carcillo next to him. The latter trio was the Hawks’ best line against the Wings.
“We had a good game, played well,” Carcillo said. “They’re two of the best players in the league. I have to keep my game simple and work hard to get them the puck.”
Big Jimmy Hayes will dress for his second game in the NHL, skating with Mayers and Andrew Brunette again.
“The game is really fast,” Hayes said of his first impressions. “I’m just trying to keep my feet moving and make some plays. [The coaches] just said to be physical.”
Dave Bolland, Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik make up the Hawks third line for Monday’s game, in which Corey Crawford takes on Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk.
Carcillo vs. Bertuzzi: After missing six games with a head injury, Carcillo had no issues with Detroit’s Todd Bertuzzi asking him to fight Friday night, although he doesn’t necessarily agree with Bertuzzi’s reasoning. The two dropped the gloves after Carcillo hit Bertuzzi with a clean, but hard check, in the first period.
“You see a lot of that,” Carcillo said Monday. “Guys get hit clean and then a team reacts or they want to start fights. But I don’t think that’s the way to solve a clean hit. You get up and dust yourself off and take a run at someone else. I think he saw who it was and he wants to show his bench he’s ready and I’m ready. I still think it was the right time for a fight.”
Although the instigator rule is called inconsistently throughout the league, Carcillo had no issues with Bertuzzi only getting five minutes for fighting.
“He looked at me and we both agreed to it,” he said.
Bickell was given an instigating penalty in a similar situation against the Calgary Flames earlier in the season. It’s more evidence the instigator rule needs to be altered or eliminated altogether.
Signings: The Hawks signed their two first-round picks from the 2011 draft to entry-level contracts. Forwards Mark McNeill and Phillip Danault, both 18, were inked to three-year deals. They’ll continue to play for their junior clubs and their contracts won’t kick in until they come to the Hawks organization.
Quotable: “It was a crazy New Year. We ordered food in and I think I had one beer. We were asleep by 12:15, so it was nuts.” -- Scott on his New Year’s Eve spent with his wife and week-old baby daughter.