Thursday, November 24, 2011
Hawks look to convert effort into points
By Jesse Rogers
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Chicago Blackhawks held a Thanksgiving Day practice in Anaheim before enjoying a team meal at their hotel. With only two games remaining on their circus trip the best they can accomplish is a .500 record, but at least they know they can play better in their own end when they want to.
Quenneville called Wednesday’s effort in the 1-0 loss to San Jose “as good as we’ve played all year defensively.”
The Hawks need more of that kind of play in their own zone and if not for a hot night by Antti Niemi, they probably would have scored some goals. A similar effort in the final two games of the trip should net them some points in the standings.
The one change in the lineup at practice on Thursday saw Dan Carcillo running drills on the fourth line while Michael Frolik lined up next to Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp on the Hawks' second line.
“That could go right back,” Joel Quenneville explained of the move. “Whether it’s a practice or it’s in-game, I think he has that versatility.”
For his part, Carcillo isn’t thrilled with his own play.
“I’m not happy,” he said after practice Thursday. “Obviously I haven’t been contributing the last couple games. It would be nice to help the team and get some scoring from different areas but it’s been a tough stretch.”
Carcillo doesn’t have a point on the road trip, registering just three shots in four games.
“I need to play a certain way to be effective,” he said. “I’ve gotten a little bit away from that. I’ll try to get it back in the next few games.”
Bad ice: More and more players on the Hawks and around the league are complaining that NHL ice surfaces aren’t the best for playing hockey. The United Center is widely known as a poor ice surface but it’s not alone.
“The best ices are out here,” Patrick Kane said pointing at the Ducks practice facility Thursday. “The practice rink in Columbus [is good]. It’s funny how that happens. You kind of get used to it I guess. It seems like there are lot of bounces and different things that can go either way. As a player on the ice you have to just be aware for anything to happen.”
“I guess we’re getting used to it,” he said. “I don’t think the ice is too good at any rinks right now. I think the ice is pretty much bad everywhere nowadays. I don’t know why.”
Joel Quenneville and Duncan Keith spent a considerable amount of time at practice talking and working on defensive techniques. “Little things,” Quenneville said. “Little plays around the net. Quick stick, good sticks. Not just him, everybody.”
As a U.S. player and career Blackhawk, Patrick Kane has never been home for Thanksgiving -- either back to Buffalo or in Chicago. The circus, performing at the United Center, sends the Hawks on the road annually at this time of year. “I guess playing in Chicago you get used to it,” Kane said. “I’ve been gone for every road trip and still get messages from family and buddies back home asking if I’m coming home for Thanksgiving. Would be nice to do that once but that doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon.”