Chicago Blackhawks: Daniel Carcillo
The Chicago Blackhawks played in some unforgettable games during 2013. There's still three to go, but here’s a look at the 10 best so far:
No. 10 -- Blackhawks 6, Senators 5, Oct. 29: Nine of the Blackhawks’ top games of 2013 occurred last season, mostly due to the context of the Blackhawks’ playoff run and their points streak. This recent game made the list because it had a bit of everything. The Blackhawks went down 4-2, and Nikolai Khabibulin was relieved by Corey Crawford in the second period. Crawford stopped 14 of 15 shots over the remainder of the game. Jonathan Toews took care of the rest. He scored three consecutive goals and put the Blackhawks ahead 5-4. Toews also had an assist. Andrew Shaw scored two goals, and Marian Hossa tallied his 100th career Blackhawks goal.
No. 9 -- Blackhawks 3, Avalanche 2, March 6: The Blackhawks turned to many different players to contribute during their 24-game points streak. This was Daniel Carcillo's day. Carcillo scored the game-winner with 49.3 seconds left in the third period to defeat the Colorado Avalanche and had one of the season’s more memorable celebrations as he skidded on his knees. The Blackhawks would lose the next game and their record-setting streak ended.
The change in scenery has done wonders for Bolland. He’s quickly become an impact player for the Maple Leafs on both sides of the ice and has helped them to a 9-4-0 record. He has six goals and four assists in 13 games and has averaged 16:46 of ice time. He failed to produce a point in his Oct. 16 return to the United Center, but he’s since had three goals and one assist in the last four games. He also helped contain Sidney Crosby in the Maple Leafs’ recent 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Viktor Stalberg, Nashville Predators, free-agent signing
Stalberg was unhappy with his role with the Blackhawks by the end of last season. He was looking to move on and get a fresh start somewhere else. The Predators saw a lot of upside in Stalberg and signed him to a four-year, $12 million contract. It’s been downhill since then. Stalberg began the season injured. He entered the lineup in mid-October and has since struggled. He has zero points in six games and has been scratched the last two games.
Ray Emery's decision to leave the Hawks for a chance to start with the Flyers has backfired early, as he's struggled in his first couple of games.
Emery chose to leave the Blackhawks -- not because of money, but because he saw an opportunity to start for the Flyers. The Blackhawks are actually paying Nikolai Khabibulin more than what Emery received from the Flyers. Emery’s plan hasn’t worked out for him. He struggled in two early-season starts, allowing four goals in each game. Steve Mason was given an opportunity to start for the Flyers, and he’s running with it. He’s started the Flyers’ last five games and hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any of them. Emery was always a team player with the Blackhawks and appears to be saying the right things again in Philadelphia.
Michael Frolik, Winnipeg Jets, traded for draft picks
While the Blackhawks still search for someone to replace Frolik on the penalty kill, Frolik is looking for consistency with the Jets. Frolik began the season with a bang, as he scored two goals in the first game and had an assist in the second game. Since then, he’s had zero goals and three assists in the last 11 games. He’s averaged 14:07 of ice time, but he’s not often utilized on the penalty kill. He was second among forwards in short-handed ice time for the Blackhawks last season and is just averaging 52 seconds a game on the penalty kill this season. The Blackhawks will face Frolik for the first time this season on Saturday.
Daniel Carcillo, Los Angeles Kings, traded for conditional draft pick
Carcillo was in and out of the Blackhawks’ lineup throughout his stay in Chicago, and it was no surprise he was traded to the Kings. He’s had one goal and one assist and averaged 10:07 of ice time in nine games this season. He’s been in two fights and has 16 penalty minutes and 16 hits. It’s about what’s expected from him.
Carter Hutton, Nashville Predators, free-agent signing
Hutton wasn’t given much of a shot with the Blackhawks. He played just one game with them. He signed a one-year deal with the Predators in the offseason and has already played in four games this season, because Pekka Rinne has been out of the lineup. Hutton has a 2-1-0 record with a 2.42 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. He struggled in the Predators’ last game and was pulled in the third period during a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Ryan Stanton, Vancouver Canucks, waiver claim
Stanton was put on waivers when the Blackhawks decided to keep Michael Kostka as the team’s eighth defensemen. The Canucks claimed Stanton and have put him to use. Stanton has averaged 14:10 of ice time and has had one goal, four assists and a plus-4 rating in 14 games. He had signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks in the offseason.
20. Getting Leddy back to form
Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy had a postseason to forget with a minus-8 rating in 23 games and was limited to a career-low 2:37 of ice time in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's lack of confidence in Leddy isn't expected to carry over into this season, but it would help both sides for Leddy to have a strong start to the season. He is still just 22, but he's now entering his fourth NHL season and will be expected to be more consistent. He signed a two-year, $5.4 million deal in the offseason.
19. Keeping Shaw on the right side of the line
Andrew Shaw thrived last season in the role of agitator and third-line center for the Blackhawks. On the third line, he was reliable enough defensively, was able to set up his wingers and could chip in the occasional goal. He has also been known to mix it up with opposing players and get under their skin. His post-whistle activities have at times worked against the Blackhawks and led to unnecessary penalties. Michal Handzus had a talk with Shaw during the playoffs about utilizing that additional energy, but also being smart about it. Shaw did a better job of doing that as the playoffs progressed. It will be important again for Shaw to find the right side of that line this season.
Carcillo has not appeared in the playoffs since Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings on May 18. He has one assist and has averaged 6:41 of ice time in four playoff games this season.
Carcillo had two goals and one assist in 23 regular season games this season. He suffered a knee injury in the season opener and missed 15 games due to the injury.
No other Blackhawks player sat out Friday’s practice at the United Center. The Blackhawks did not practice Thursday following their three-overtime win over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday.
Carcillo was replaced in the lineup by Viktor Stalberg. Stalberg was a healthy scratch in the series’ first two games after appearing 47 of 48 regular-season games and in all five first-round games.
Carcillo played in the final two games against the Minnesota Wild in the first round and the first two games against the Red Wings. He was a healthy scratch for the first three games of the playoffs. He had one assist and a plus-2 rating and averaged 6:41 of ice time in four playoff games.
"I think it's more of a mental game than anything," Carcillo said. "But it's a day-in and day-out experience where you need to be sharp in practice and especially during games. It puts the onus on yourself to kind of play a perfect game and help the team any way you can. When the team's clicking like the last game, it's great, but I think we still actually have a lot more to give."
Carcillo's entire season has been full of ups and downs. After suffering a season-ending knee injury last season, he returned this season and suffered another severe knee injury, this time to the other knee, in the season opener. He missed 15 games due to the injury.
Carcillo played from late February to the middle of March, but then Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville became dissatisfied with Carcillo's game and began playing him less regularly. Carcillo was scratched in 14 of the team's final 26 regular season games.
Carcillo and Mayers exchanged words and stick slashes after crossing paths during a drill. Teammates stepped in and separated them.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville downplayed the incident.
"I'm not concerned," Quenneville said. "I've seen many of those. The word is, I don't know if it's healthy, but I think it shows how competitive it is. Guys want to play. Whether it's a bump, I've seen it escalate to a different level as well. I thought that was kind of on the friendly side, so I wouldn't consider it that bad."
Carcillo has been used sparingly by Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville late in the season. Carcillo didn’t play in the three previous playoffs games and played in eight games in April.
Carcillo replaced forward Brandon Bollig, who was a healthy scratch, in Tuesday’s lineup. It was the Blackhawks’ only roster change from Sunday’s Game 3, which the Blackhawks lost 3-2 in overtime.
Carcillo had two goals and one assist in 23 regular-season games this year. He missed 15 games after suffering a knee injury in the season opener.
Quenneville talked about possibly using Carcillo following Tuesday’s afternoon skate.
“I think he’s one of those guys that brings energy to a team, enthusiasm,” Quenneville said. “Make sure you’re smart in how you approach games, but I think he’s got to play the way that makes him successful, and that’s playing hard and bringing that unpredictability.
“I’ve always been a guy who doesn’t think it matters who you play with,” said Kane, who leads the Blackhawks and is tied for fourth in the NHL with 51 points. “I think as long as you’re working hard, you’re supporting each other, trying to make the right plays and simple plays, you’re going to have success. That’s what I’ve tried to stress to either one of my linemates.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville’s plan entering the season was utilize Kane alongside Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland on the second line. Quenneville has been able to execute that plan in just 18 games. Because of various injuries, Sharp and Bolland have combined to miss 28 games.
In their place, Quenneville has mixed and matched a variety of linemates with Kane. Kane has started games with 10 different pairings and skated with nine different players on the second line.
Aside from the 18 games with Bolland and Sharp, Kane has started nine games with Bolland and Jimmy Hayes, seven games with Sharp and Marcus Kruger, three games with Bolland and Kruger, two games with Kruger and Daniel Carcillo, one game with Bolland and Michael Frolik, one game with Bolland and Carcillo, one game with Bolland and Bryan Bickell, one game with Sharp and Andrew Shaw and one game with Bolland and Viktor Stalberg.
Despite all the changes, Kane’s play hasn’t fluctuated. He’s recorded a point in 33 of his 44 games this season. He once went three games without a point and once two games. Other than that, he’s bounced back six times with a point after not having one the game before.
Kane has had two eight-game point streaks and another of five games. He had 10 points in seven games in January, 14 points in 13 games in February, 18 points in 14 games in March and currently has nine points in 10 games in April. He started April off slow, but has registered five points in his last three games.
“I think there’s been some injuries obviously to both of my linemates,” said Kane, who has 21 goals and 30 assists. “There’s been certain guys who have played well in those roles, certain guys I have kind of clicked off with. I know it’s changed a little bit, but for me, personally, just try to work hard, find my game where it was at the beginning of the season and get back to that level.”
Quenneville has been impressed with Kane from the start of the season to the end of it. Quenneville recently said he thought Kane and Jonathan Toews were worthy of Hart Memorial Trophy consideration.
“I think all year long he’s been productive,” Quenneville said of Kane last week. “That line has a lot of different looks on it be it your centerman, be it your left winger. He’s played [with] some different [lines.] He keeps doing his thing.
“It seems like he’s got the puck a lot. He’s a threat. He gives the opponent something to be concerned about when he’s on the ice. When you got that 1-2 punch [in lines,] I think that makes us a different type of team.”
That being said, there was the matter of the four-minute minor for high sticking assessed to forward Daniel Carcillo at the 7:58 mark of the third period when he caught defenseman Shea Weber in the face with a high stick as the two players fell along the boards. That set up a critical penalty kill that helped secure the victory and preserve goaltender Ray Emery’s second shutout of the season.
“That’s why it was such a big kill, the timing of it, the four minutes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “They got an opportunity there, and I thought that was the key moment of the game, that kill.”
The Predators mustered only one shot in six minutes of power-play time Saturday afternoon, and that came in the first period, when defenseman Brent Seabrook was whistled for hooking Nick Spaling. After Carcillo was sent to the box in the third, several Chicago forwards turned up the pressure to prevent the Predators from creating very much sustained possession in the offensive zone.
“That’s a team that you really have to play some boring hockey against, and just kind of be in good defensive position and take advantage when you get the opportunities,” Emery said. “I thought we played that strategy to a T tonight, we got an early goal and we were really mindful of not giving them anything.”
Brandon Saad led all forwards with 1:38 of ice time during the four-minute penalty kill, followed by new acquisition Michal Handzus with 1:24 and Marcus Kruger with 1:23.
“We didn’t lose the momentum and did some good things not to give them some chances off of it,” Quenneville said.
The Blackhawks have killed off 85 percent of their penalties so far this season, good for sixth in the league, but they’ve been especially steadfast of late: They have not given up a power-play goal since March 14.
“Throughout the league, you’ll watch, the power plays are down in the league as far as numbers, and I think that helps,” Quenneville said. “We’ve got a couple guys over there that can hit it pretty hard. I thought the guys did a good job positionally.”
How it happened: The Blackhawks jumped out to an early lead when Bryan Bickell fired home his seventh goal of the season at 5:31 of the first period. From then on, both offenses tightened up and struggled to put away their scoring chances. Daniel Carcillo took a 4-minute minor for high-sticking a 7:58 of the third period, but the Blackhawks killed it off without incident. Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery made 20 saves, and Predators goalie Pekka Rinne made 29 saves.
Player of the game: Emery withstood the Predators’ frantic pressure late in the game and recorded his second shutout of the season, pushing his record to 13-1-0.
What it means: If the Blackhawks get a similar effort from Michal Handzus the rest of the way, they’ll be more than satisfied with their primary trade deadline move. Handzus set up the lone goal and logged 15:00 of ice time in his second game with the team. Pending a few results from later on Saturday, the Blackhawks kept alive their opportunity to become the first team to clinch a playoff berth this season on Saturday. If the Edmonton Oilers lose in regulation and the Phoenix Coyotes lose in overtime or regulation, the Hawks are in.
What’s next: Both teams will head to Chicago for the back end of a home-and-home on Sunday evening, the teams’ third meeting this week. The Blackhawks are now 3-0 against the Predators this season.
Carcillo had just been through two knee injuries, one major, over the last year and it seemed like another stint on injured reserve was just around the corner after a blast off the stick of Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson sent him down to the ice early in the first period.
Carcillo was fearful he broke a bone.
“It hurt,” Carcillo said after the Blackhawks’ 7-1 win. “I just saw that he was going to beat me with the shot inside, so I just tried to get in front of it.”
Despite having to be helped off the ice and then to the Blackhawks’ dressing room, Carcillo returned to finish out the first period.
“You always feel fortunate after something like that,” Carcillo said. “It’s the unknown (at first) and the last thing I need right now is another injury.”
Detroit's Jonathan Ericsson took a shot from the point that hit Carcillo just as he skated to the point, opening up the inside part of his skate and taking the full force of the shot.
Carcillo needed to be helped off the ice and to the dressing room.
CHICAGO -- Any first goal this season would have set Chicago Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo's emotions off like a firecracker.
But after suffering a season-ending knee injury last season and enduring another monthlong injury this season, his long-awaited first goal this season set him off more like a skyrocket on Wednesday.
With the game tied 2-2 against the Colorado Avalanche in the third period on Wednesday, Carcillo backhanded a rebound from a few feet in front of the net and slid it past Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov with 49.3 seconds remaining. The goal gave the Blackhawks their 11th consecutive win and extended their points streak to 24 games to start the season.
Carcillo wasn't sure he had scored until he saw referee Marc Joannette point into the net. Then, he lost himself and allowed his emotions to take over. He skated away from the net, fell to his knee and was swarmed by his teammates in celebration as the United Center roared.
"[I was] happy; it's like a big rainbow in my head," Carcillo said. "Ah, [I] couldn't even skate. Had to drop to my knees."
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