Blackhawks take positives from scrimmage

January, 16, 2013
1/16/13
10:45
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp found the easiest part of Wednesday’s simulated game day to be the hardest.

With everything from a morning skate, to wearing a suit to the United Center, to a three-period game placed on his schedule, Sharp actually struggled most with the time slot made for a nap on Wednesday

“It was a little different trying to lay down and have a nap,” Sharp said. “Baby schedule: I’m up all day with my daughter. It felt kind of weird laying down. I didn’t (sleep). I laid there and watched TV. I watched a college hockey game. I couldn’t quite fall asleep, so I was a little tired out there. All in all, I felt my conditioning was great. Right when I got off the ice, I was ready to go back. That’s a good sign.”

All in all, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville also thought Wednesday’s scrimmage, which resulted in the Red Team defeating the White Team, 3-2, went well for everyone.

“I thought the guys worked hard,” Quenneville said. “Whether it’s conditioning. Whether it’s your thought process in the course of a game. Got some exposure to [power play] and [penalty kill] and to situational things.

“A lot of things you might simulate in practice, and you get exposure to it all of a sudden, whether it’s an icing play that you got to remember, ‘Oh, I got to go back and touch that.’ It’s good to get that out there.”

The opening period was a bit of a trial period for some players. As much as the Blackhawks have held informal practices during the lockout and tried to simulate game play this past week in practice, a true game was a different animal.

“It was a bit of a wake-up call in the first period,” said Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in January 2012. “The pace, the energy, playing in a hockey game is different than just skating hard in practice, even doing lines and lines. The physicality, the positioning and your reactions to certain things, it all needs to be driven back. It was nice to see all that again tonight.

“I felt terrible in the first [period]. As the second came on, it’s like, ‘Ok.’ It was a lot better, and the third was even better.”

Sharp felt everyone played better as the game progressed. That was especially true of the Red Team, which featured the team’s top three lines. After going down 2-0 in the first period, the Red Team struck back with goals by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in the second period to tie the game. Sharp fed Kane for his goal.

“It’s always nice to have a goal or two,” Sharp said. “I was able to be out there for a couple. I know no one is keeping stats or anything, but, personally, getting some goals and assists early always pays off down the road.”

Of the goals, Ray Emery allowed two and Corey Crawford gave up three. Quenneville had positive things to say about the play of both of them.

“I thought [Crawford] got better as the game went on, looked outstanding at the critical times in the game and did a really good job in the shootout," Quenneville said. “And Ray was really good. Ray had some high-quality chances in the game and he looked solid.”

Bryan Bickell scored on a rebound off a shot by Nick Leddy in the third period to provide the game winner for the Red Team.

Jimmy Hayes and Marcus Kruger scored in the first period for the White Team.
Scott Powers is a general 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 Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26