Flu among short-season concerns

January, 14, 2013
1/14/13
7:52
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- A compact 48-game regular season will likely provide Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville with plenty of obstacles.

The last thing Quenneville needs is something as simple, but as thwarting, as the flu to get in his team’s way.

“I’ve seen it happen and it can cause major disruption to your team,” Quenneville said after practice at Johnny’s IceHouse West on Monday. “We talked about it yesterday and mentioned it again today. We’re aware of how bad it is this year. We’ll make sure in a 48-game season we’re on top of it.”


Quenneville wasn’t able to get to Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger fast enough, though. Quenneville said Kruger missed Monday’s practice because of the flu and was questionable for Tuesday’s practice.

[+] EnlargeSheldon Brookbank
Norm Hall/NHLI/Getty ImagesSheldon Brookbank made a good first impression on Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.
New additions: The Blackhawks didn’t make many moves in the offseason, but they did go out and sign two veteran defensemen in Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Rozsival.

The 32-year-old Brookbank has 277 NHL games under his belt, and the 34-year-old Rozsival has played in 756.

Quenneville said he has liked what he’s seen of the players through two practices.

“We feel like they really can help our team,” Quenneville said. “Having some predictability on the back ends, experience; I like their size; I like their positioning; I really like how they’ve handled a lot of different situations. They’re going to help us. We love the depth they add to the back end. I think you can never have enough defensemen.”

AHL award: Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week on Monday.

Saad scored two goals and passed out four assists in three games for the Rockford IceHogs last week. He scored the game-winning goal against Grand Rapids on Friday and scored the game-winner in overtime against Milwaukee on Saturday.

Saad was called up to the Blackhawks on Sunday. He missed their first practice, but he was in attendance on Monday. He played in two regular-season games and two playoff games with the Blackhawks last season.

Quenneville had the chance to watch Saad play a number of times during the NHL lockout.

“I think his potential is huge,” Quenneville said of the Blackhawks' 2011 second-round pick. “I think this year down in Rockford watching him play he’s had some stretches where he was great; he had some stretches where he was just OK. ... I think he’s capable of playing at our level and being a good player at our level. We think he showed he can handle playing there.”

New coach: Aside from the new players, the Blackhawks also added a new assistant coach in the offseason as they hired Jamie Kompon to replace Mike Haviland on Quenneville’s staff.

Kompon spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings. He previously worked with Quenneville while Kompon was a video coach and assistant coach for the St. Louis Blues.

“Jamie’s great,” Quenneville said. “Technically, he’s sound. He’ll be helping out the power play. He’ll be working with our staff in all aspsects how we prepare the team. We’re familiar with him as well. He’s fit in here nicely.”
Scott Powers is the Blackhawks beat reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Kane
PTS GOALS AST +/-
64 27 37 10
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 27
AssistsP. Kane 37
+/-J. Toews 26
GAAC. Crawford 2.29