Blackhawks unlikely to work trade
CHICAGO -- The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are not looking to add any players at the trade deadline, general manager Stan Bowman said Saturday.
"We aren't focused on the deadline," Bowman said prior to the Blackhawks' game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field. "We're really happy with the team we have."
The Blackhawks are second in the Western Conference's Central division with a 35-12-14 record and 84 points. The St. Louis Blues lead the division with a 39-14-6 record and 84 points. The Blues hold the tiebreaker in regulation wins and have played two fewer games.
Bowman said the Blackhawks made their significant move for the season when they acquired forward Kris Versteeg from the Florida Panthers in November. Versteeg has played on the second and third lines for the Blackhawks and has seven goals, 14 assists and a plus-3 rating in 42 games for them this season.
"We made our big move back in November, adding Kris Versteeg," Bowman said. "We did that intentionally to try to get a player in for a longer period of time. I think sometimes it's hard for a guy to come in for a couple weeks, and then you jump into the playoffs. You can't really get them acclimated to your system and the way you play and who he's going to play with.
"We're not looking at [the deadline] at all. We've got a great group here, a lot of chemistry with our guys. We're focused on just going ahead, getting back on the ice. We've been off for a while with the [Olympic] break. That's not the focus for us."
The Blackhawks also traded with the New York Islanders for forwards Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard prior to the Olympic break and the Edmonton Oilers for goaltender Jason LaBarbera in December. Regin has centered the second line for the Blackhawks the past two games. Bouchard and LaBarbera are with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL.
"I think the Blues have been a great team all year, even going back to last year," Bowman said. "They're a tough opponent. You're going to have to play your best against them. But I think you can't be reactionary that way because those guys haven't even played a game yet in St. Louis. You kind of have to see how it all shakes out.
"We're more focused on what we can do. We have to play good hockey. If you're going to get to the final, you got to play really good teams and beat them along the way. We certainly rose to the challenge last year when we were faced with some great teams in the playoffs, and we were able to get past them."
The Blackhawks acquired forward Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks around the trade deadline last season. Handzus played second-line center and had three goals, seven assists and a plus-7 rating during Chicago's Stanley Cup run.