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Tag:Detroit Red Wings
Posted on: March 28, 2011 2:46 am
 

Morning Skate: Chicago makes push minus depth

At some point, the personnel departures had to catch up with the Chicago Blackhawks

Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, Antti Niemi , John Madden, Brent Sopel and Dustin Byfuglien were either dealt or let go after the ‘Hawks won the Stanley Cup last season, mostly for salary cap reasons. Still, Chicago rallied midseason and were all the way up to fourth place in the Western Conference as recently as March 14.

The Blackhawks have played .500 hockey in the four games since -- including a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday -- and enter tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings in the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. 

The slip coincides with recent injuries to Patrick Sharp (knee) and Dave Bolland (concussion). 

Line Changes
  • Eye on Hockey: Vancouver's Hamhuis concussed
  • Pens extend shootout win streak
  • Detroit's Howard day-to-day
  • CBSSports.com playoff tracker

  • Minus the depth of a season ago, the Blackhawks could very well join the 2007 Carolina Hurricanes as the only teams in the last 72 years to miss the playoffs a season after hoisting the Stanley Cup. 

    The Blackhawks, however, are hardly focusing on who they don’t have in the lineup and are looking toward what they have to do to make it into the postseason, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports
    “Maybe we go .500 and maybe that's not good enough," winger Patrick Kane said. "That puts us at 96 and we don't get in. Hopefully, we'll be better than .500."

    So somewhere between four and eight victories would appear to get the Hawks a postseason berth. They have three games remaining against the Wings, and one each against the Bruins, Blue Jackets, Lightning, Canadiens and Blues.

    "It would be nice to win a lot of them," Kane said. "You don't want to put a number on it because you don't want to set any expectations for yourself that are too low. We have to worry about Detroit right now and try to get two points there. It's a tough schedule remaining. You can't look past anyone." 

    The Blackhawks have 88 points, a point ahead of the Calgary Flames and two points up on the Dallas Stars.  Chicago has the second-toughest strength of schedule (.597) -- calculated by points percentage of future opponents --  for the remainder of the season, according to the NHL. 

    Chicago coach Joel Quennville appears to be shuffling around the players he has at his disposal, Jess Rogers of ESPN Chicago reports

    Kane and Jonathan Toews were put with Troy Brouwer at practice on Sunday. Marcus Kruger centered a line with Bryan Bicklel and Marian Hossa. Michael Frolik centered the third line with Jack Dowell and Thomas Kopecky at the wings. Viktor Stalberg, who had been playing with the first line in place of Sharp, moved to the fourth line with Ryan Johnson and Fernando Pisani

    The changes come a day after the forward Corey Perry – part of the Ducks’ top line -- scored twice with Blackhawks’ No. 1 line on the ice. 

    The ‘Hawks could get Sharp, injured March 20 against the Phoenix Coyotes, fairly soon. Quennville said this weekend that Sharp was making “rapid progress.” But the same can’t said for Bolland, who took a hit to the head March 9 that led to a two-game suspension for Tampa’s Pavel Kubina, is apparently still suffering concussion-like symptoms and Quennville said there was no change in his status. 

    SUNDAY’S RESULTS
    Pittsburgh 2, Florida 1 (SO)
    Atlanta 5, Ottawa 4 (SO)
    Vancouver 4, Columbus 1
    Boston 2, Philadelphia 1

    -- A.J. Perez   

    Posted on: March 21, 2011 2:22 pm
    Edited on: March 21, 2011 2:24 pm
     

    Playoff Watch: Hobbled Wings, Pens renew rivalry

    WHO CAN CLINCH: No new teams can secure a playoff berth today. 

    ALREADY IN: Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers

    GAME OF THE NIGHT: Pittsburgh Penguins (41-23-8) at Detroit Red Wings (43-21-8), 7:30 p.m. ET

    The combatants in two of the last three Stanley Cup Finals highlight a limited slate of games tonight. 
    The Red Wings Wings begin a five-game homestand. (Seven of Detroit's final 10 regular season games are at Joe Louis Arena.) The Wings have an eight-point lead on the Chicago Blackhawks, who Detroit faces three times down the stretch. Forwards Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Johan Franzen (groin) and Jiri Hudler (upper body) are likely to miss tonight's game, according to Ansar Khan of mlive.com. That could make winning 10 in a row against Eastern Conference opponents a little more difficult. 

    The Pens have well-chronicled injury problems of their own with forwards Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (out for season with knee injury), along with defenseman Brooks Orpik (finger) out. Forward Chris Kunitz, out 13 games with a lower-body injury, has been solid in the five games since he returned the lineup. Over the last three games, he has six points (three goals, three assists.) 

    ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Calgary Flames (37-27-10) at Los Angeles (40-26-6), 10:30 p.m. ET

    This game is the only other game on the schedule, so it's not quite a tough call. Calgary comes to Staples Center a day after dropping a heart-breaker in Anaheim. The Flames overcame a three-goal deficit and even held a lead late in the third period before Teemu Selanne tied the game and Corey Perry gave the Ducks a 5-4 victory in overtime. The Kings enter the night in sixth place, two points ahead of the Flames. 

    GOLF WATCH: The Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers won't get any new company tonight. 
    Posted on: March 16, 2011 3:29 pm
    Edited on: March 16, 2011 3:30 pm
     

    Playoff Watch: Canucks can clinch berth tongiht



    WHO CAN CLINCH: The Vancouver Canucks will become the first team to clinch a playoff berth (via securing the Northwest Division title) by earning at least one point tonight against the Colorado Avalanche.

    GAME OF THE NIGHT: Toronto Maple Leafs (30-30-10) at the Carolina Hurricanes (32-28-10), 7 pm ET.

    The Maple Leafs could all but call off their bid to return to the postseason for the first time in since before the lockout with a loss tonight. Losers of four of their last five entering tonight’s contest at RBC Center, Toronto would slip to 12th in the Eastern Conference and fall to six points back of eighth-place Buffalo if they don't manage to secure at least a point. 

    The Hurricanes are coming off 1-0 victory over the Sabres, Carolina’s first road win in a month, and could pull even with Buffalo (76 points) with a victory. (Buffalo would remain in eighth since it has a game in hand, thus a better winning percentage.) Cam Ward made 44 saves against the Sabres on Tuesday as he made Brandon Sutter’s goal late in the first period hold up.

    ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: Washington Capitals (41-20-10) at Detroit Red Wings (41-20-8), 7:30 pm, Versus.

    There are only four games on the schedule tonight, but Versus will broadcast what should be a high-powered contest against two of the best teams in NHL. The Caps enter on a nine-game winning streak and we’ll get to see two Russian buddies, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, go head to head.

    GOLF WATCH: Edmonton Oilers have been mathematically eliminated. 

    PLAYOFF TRACKER

    -- A.J. Perez

    Photo: Getty Images
    Posted on: March 4, 2011 2:51 am
    Edited on: March 4, 2011 3:10 am
     

    Morning skate: Is this finally San Jose's year?



    The San Jose Sharks, winners of the Western Conference the last two seasons, didn't look like they'd contend for much more than a low playoff seed, if that, just a few weeks back. 

    Then Antti Niemi, the goalie the Sharks acquired from the Stanley Cup champ Chicago Blackhawks last offseason, took over. The Sharks have won 17 of the last 20 games -- all with Niemi in net -- including Thursday's 3-1 victory over Detroit Red Wings at HP Pavilion. Niemi (above) made 26 saves in his latest win.

    The Sharks have won eight in a row, are tops in the Pacific Division and now sit three points behind the Red Wings in the Western Conference. (Here's a look at our playoff tracker.) 

    The Sharks have integrated defensemen Ben Eager (acquired in from the Atlanta in January) and Ian White (acquired from Carolina last month) and are relatively healthy, minus defenseman Dan Boyle (upper-body injury) and goalie Antero Niittymaki (groin). Both are expected to return soon. The taht has a solid stable of forwards -- including Dany Heatley, who had a two-goal effort on Thursday -- and a capable defense. 

    For a team that was a trendy pick for the few seasons to win it all, could this be the season where the Sharks advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history? Maybe even win it all?

    Or, are the Sharks just teasing us again?


    A PLEA IN PHOENIX: After about two years, the Phoenix Coyotes ownership saga could be coming to an end. That's if a citizen watchdog group drops it objections over how the City of Glendale is helping finance the transaction via a sale to of $116 million in bonds. FOXSportsArizona.com's Matt Swartz reports the Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs and Greater Phoenix Economic Council leader Barry Broome spoke at a news conference on Thursday where they urged the Goldwater Institute not to follow through their threat of a lawsuit, which could prevent investor Matthew Hulsizer from taking over the team. Hulsizer said he intends to keep the team at Jobing.com Arena, although any more delays ups the chances that the league-controlled franchise that once called Winnipeg home could be headed back north of the border. 

    GILLIES HEARING TODAY: New York Islanders enforcer Trevor Gillies is scheduled to meet with NHL officials in Toronto this afternoon to discuss Wednesday's blindside hit of Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild. (Link to hit here.) TSN.ca reports that such in-person meetings usually mean a suspension of five or more games is on the horizon. Gillies had just returned from a nine-game suspension for a blow to the head delivered to Pittsburgh's Eric Tangradi on Feb. 11. Because of that, Gillies will be treated as a repeat offender. 

    LINE CHANGES: Jason Arnott has acclimated himself pretty well in Washington. His slapshot late in the third period led the Capitals past the visiting St. Louis Blues, 3-2. That makes it one game-winning goal and a primary assist on a game-tying tally in Tuesday's victory over the Islanders since he arrived from New Jersey. . . . Philadelphia forward Kris Versteeg scored twice against his former club, but the Maples Leafs rookie goalie James Reimer made a key glove save in the closing seconds to preserve a 3-2 victory. The Leafs, who dealt Versteeg before the deadline for a first-and third-round picks, moved two within three points of eighth place in the East. . . .  The Buffalo Sabers, unable to score on a power play late in regulation, failed in thier bid to move into eighth place in the East, as Carolina won, 3-2, in OT. 
    Photo: US Presswire

    Posted on: March 3, 2011 8:33 am
     

    Bob Probert's worries proved justified




























    It was Bob Probert’s heart, not his brain, that struck down the former NHL enforcer at age 45 last July. 

    Probert, however, knew the 16 seasons of pounding he absorbed as one of the league’s foremost pugilists as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings had taken a toll. Before he died of a massive heart attack, Probert asked family members to forward his brain to researchers known best for studying concussions in football players. 
    Probert’s suspicions proved correct, according Thursday's The New York Times
    After examining Probert’s brain tissue, researchers at Boston University said this week that they found the same degenerative disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, whose presence in more than 20 deceased professional football players has prompted the National Football League to change some rules and policies in an effort to limit dangerous head impacts.


    Researchers at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy previously found CTE in Reggie Fleming, a former NHL enforcer who died in 2009 at 73.  
    “How much is the hockey and how much is the fighting, we don’t really know,” said Dr. Robert Cantu, co-director of the Boston University center and a prominent neurosurgeon in the area of head trauma in sports. “We haven’t definitely established that the skills of hockey as a sport lead to a certain percentage of participants developing CTE. But it can happen to hockey players, and while they’re still relatively young.”


    Don Fehr, the executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, told the newspaper the revelation that Probert had signs of CTE “raises concerns and it bears serious examination” of the sport's safety. 

    Hits to the head -- from blindside collisions more than fighting -- have been an issue the league has attempted to remedy over the last couple seasons. The league and the NHLPA agreed to add Rule 48 that made such hits illegal late last regular season and the rule was toughened in the offseason to include in-game penalties, like the major penalty and game misconduct given to New York Islanders enforcer Trevor Gillies on Wednesday night for his hit on Minnesota Cal Clutterbuck

    The league’s most famous player , Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, has not played since Jan. 5 as he battles concussion-like symptoms. Pens coach Dan Bylsma told reporters Crosby’s return could take another month or he may not return until the summer. 

    Like the NFL, there are no easy answers for a tough-guy sport like hockey. More penalties could help, but Gillies was coming off a nine-game suspension on Wednesday for the exact same kind of hit. 

    Softer pads, better helmets and more respect wouldn’t hurt either. 

    Photo: Getty Images
    Posted on: March 1, 2011 3:23 am
    Edited on: March 1, 2011 3:38 am
     

    Morning faceoff 3-1-11: Deadline afterglow

    The unbridled fervor that was the 2011 trading deadline -- maybe we’re overstating that a bit -- is over. There were 35 players moved via 16 trades on Monday, sort of a letdown that some of us saw coming since so much movement occurred several days earlier. As our CBSSpors.com hockey writer Wes Goldstein points out, there were 21 deals involving 43 players and 17 draft picks in the first 27 days of February -- the most active month since the lockout.

    But here’s a rundown of Monday’s transactions

    PENNER BACK TO SOCAL:  The major deal of the day saw Dustin Penner, who came up the ranks with the Anaheim Ducks and helped lead them to a title in 2007, move from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. The Oilers, in turn, received minor league defenseman Colten Teubert, a first-round pick this summer and a conditional third-round pick in 2012, which could become a second-round selection if the Kings break through and win their first Stanley Cup in team history. As Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times reports, the deal came to pass after the Kings were told Dallas Stars center Brad Richards was not available. The upside on Penner is that he has a year left on his deal, meaning he’s not your average rental.

    CAPS MAKES MOVES, BUT NOT IN NET: The Washington Capitals made two separate trades before the deadline, dealing for defenseman Dennis Wideman (Florida Panthers) and center Jason Arnott (New Jeresey Devils.) But GM George McPhee didn’t add a veteran goalie. It was another indication that the club is happy to go with their oft-injured young duo Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth. This stance didn’t sit too well with columnist/author John Feinstein in December and while Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are each plodding through a horrid season in the scoring column, goaltending tends to be the Achilles for so many teams come playoff time. (Including controversies in net for the Caps the last two postseasons.) McPhee also told reporters that defenseman Mike Green would be out “a couple of weeks and maybe a little longer.”

    FOX, TURNER IN FRAY:  FOX and Turner are apparently checking out the possibility of bidding for the NHL television rights package, The Sports Business Journal reports this week. (Second item here.) That would make four networks -- including current rightsholder Comcast (NBC/Versus) and ESPN -- in the hunt for the league’s domestic TV rights, which are set to expire at season’s end. FOX could potentially put the NHL on its FX cable channel, while Turner may bring games to truTV, the channel formerly known as Court TV. 

    OH YEAH, THERE WERE GAMES: The Chicago Blackhawks, looking to avoid becoming only the second team over the last 70 years to win the Stanley Cup only to miss the playoff the following season, won their fifth consecutive game with a 4-2 decision over the Minnesota Wild on Monday. The win moves the ‘Hawks up to fifth place in the tight Western Conference standings, where fourth-place (Phoenix Coyotes) and 11th-place (Anaheim Ducks) are separated by just five points entering play Tuesday. Monday’s action also featured goalie Jimmy Howard, who signed a two-year extension with Detroit Red Wings on Monday. The first four goals scored in the game went into his net, but Drew Miller scored twice as the Wings tallied seven unanswered goals for a 7-4 win. Penner didn't make it in time for the game, but is expected to join the team in L.A. on Tuesday. 


     
     
     
     
    The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com