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Hawks improving without roster changes

2/22/2012

CHICAGO -- The NHL trade deadline is days away and while other teams in the league -- including the Detroit Red Wings -- are making moves, the Chicago Blackhawks have been quiet.

After watching their 2-1 win over the Wings on Tuesday, maybe the Hawks are finding what they need on their own roster.

Looking for a power forward? How about big Jimmy Hayes. He scored a goal and assisted on the second one with a power move around the net.

“Just trying to establish my game here,” Hayes said of the wrap-around chance. “Luckily had both Andrew Brunette and Marcus Kruger crashing the net here.”

Kruger was there for the rebound goal as he went flying to the net. Almost all of his seven tallies have been scored inside or near the crease. Aren’t the Hawks looking for a center?

“Maybe my shot isn’t good enough,” Kruger joked. “I have to score goals like that.”

And let’s not forget about the help the Hawks need on defense. But that was before Dylan Olsen's current run with the team. Olsen played over 20 minutes on Tuesday after nearly getting to that number on Sunday. He had three shots, two hits and two takeaways. And no embarrassing moments. He’s quickly working his way into the mix on a depleted blue line.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is still going to do what he can to improve the team, but maybe the three youngsters give reason for hope in case he doesn’t add to the roster.

“All three have been very effective for us,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “I thought Hayes was very effective in a lot of ways. I thought he was coming off a good game the other day and even better game tonight. Kruger has been very consistent game in and game out. Dylan gives us some size and quickness on the back end. Very useful.”

Slappers

  • Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 32 shots tonight to record his fourth consecutive victory. The netminder has posted a .958 save percentage over his last four starts, turning aside 115 of 120 shots.

  • Kruger notched his first game-winning goal of his career and has four goals in his last seven games.

    Quotable

    “It’s not about playing time, it’s about helping the team win.” -- Hayes