Monday, September 26, 2011
Beach not ready for NHL, but is Saad?
By Jesse Rogers
With Monday’s cuts, the Chicago Blackhawks roster has been pared down to a manageable number allowing the team to hold just one practice instead of two from here on out.
Unless you expected former first round pick Kyle Beach to stick, the surprise is who is still in Chicago and not who is gone. Beach breaking camp with the Hawks was never in the cards. He’s simply not NHL-ready -- and may never be, but it’s just his second year as a professional so the clock hasn’t run out completely.
Saad is still a long shot to make the team, but Joel Quenneville intimated he’ll play in his team-high fifth preseason game Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings. The Blackhawks are looking long and hard at Saad and there is always a chance the Hawks may keep him for a short period of time after the regular season begins. He can play up to nine games without starting the clock on his pro career and still be sent back to juniors.
On Sunday, no player helped himself more than centerman Brandon Pirri, who scored three goals against the Red Wings -- two in regulation and another in the shootout. He will be in the first-to-be-called-up-from-Rockford category when injuries hit. Defenseman Dylan Olsen remains with the team and could qualify in the same department as Pirri. Olsen missed time with an injury early in camp but played well enough Sunday and will most likely skate another game before heading to Rockford. He’s getting close as well.
Sharp update: Quenneville discussed forward Patrick Sharp, who continues to recover from an emergency appendectomy he underwent on Sept. 12.
“He’s feeling good,” Quenneville said. “He was out there a little bit on the ice [Sunday]. Will do the same today and tomorrow and we’ll get a better indication after that how close he is to jumping on with us.”
Quenneville said he was “hopeful” Sharp would be ready for opening night on Oct. 7 in Dallas.
Kane splint-free:Patrick Kane had a check-up with doctors on Monday regarding his surgically repaired wrist. He’s unsure if he’ll make his preseason debut Wednesday, but skated without a splint for the first time on Monday and reported all was well.