Proud American Hockey League Affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks

Our Town Or Team
Buy Tickets


Central: Hawks Are Happy To Be Home

02/03/2010 10:16 AM - From (link)

As heated as their rivalry is with the Vancouver Canucks, the Chicago Blackhawks can empathize with the road-tripping Canucks after finally getting back home following an eight game, 16-day road trip that saw them go 5-3.

"Sixteen days is a long trip," forward
Andrew Ladd told Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's pretty nice to get back to Chicago and play some home games."

Ladd said the Blackhawks were a bit disappointed by the 5-3 road record.

"We're always expecting better," he said. "We're pushing for first in the League, and we've got to keep pace here. I think we'll take it. (We'll) get home and get some rest and then move on."

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa led the Hawks with 8 points each on the trip. Troy Brouwer scored a team-high 5 goals. John Madden was the only player to play in all eight games on the trip and not notch at least a point.

Good news, bad news for Wings -- Johan Franzen's return to the lineup is on the radar for the Red Wings and that might provide some jump that coach Mike Babcock lamented was missing during Sunday's shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I thought they skated better and were quicker than us," Babcock told Helen St. James of the Detroit Free Press. "It's interesting. We played on NBC against Chicago two weeks ago and since that time, and probably the Washington game, we haven't skated near as good. I don't know if we look exhausted or what. We're not emotionally very fresh, it looks like. We've got to find it within ourselves to have more emotion, more energy and to skate better. That's the only way to come through this. Our execution is making it hard on ourselves."

The Wings were fortunate to come away with one point against the Pens. Goalie Jimmy Howard turned in an excellent game, but was beaten on two terrific moves by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the shootout. Overall, he made 46 saves.

"He's been playing great for us," Nicklas Lidstrom said of Howard. "I think we've been leaving our goalies out to dry on different occasions and today he made some big saves to keep us in the game when they were up 1-0. He gave us an opportunity to come back and win."

At 19-11-6, Howard should merit some consideration for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. In large part, Howard has been a big reason why the Red Wings have survived a mountain of injuries. Howard was 6-3-4 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in January.

"It's great, isn't it? It's called goaltending," Babcock said. "There're lots of guys who weren't $7-million goaltenders, but what they do is they do like that, and they get used to it and the team gets used to them playing like that and they don't even blink. Then one day they earn that kind of money. So let's not say $7 million because of the cap world, but let's hope he keeps playing good and he makes a little more than the league minimum, than what he's getting now."

As for Franzen, Babcock targeted Feb. 9 against St. Louis as his return date.

"He'll be back against St. Louis," Babcock said. Franzen has been recovering from surgery to repair a torn left anterior cruciate ligament in early October.

For Blues, time is now -- With the Olympic break fast approaching, the St. Louis Blues need to grab as many points as possible. That being said, the schedule maker did the team no favors, with two games against Chicago and another with San Jose this week.

"We've got some of the best teams in the League coming in here, but we want to be one of the best teams in the League so we're going to have to play those guys and show we can beat them on a regular basis," Blues forward David Backes told Norm Sanders of the Belleville News-Democrat. "It's going to be a good test, but seven games in the last 12 or so days before the Olympic break? We'll see.

"It's really make or break whether we're in the playoff hunt or we're going to slide away. It's a test for the guys and we're going to take it head on and show what we got here."

In addition to the games with the Blackhawks and Sharks, the Blues will face the Avalanche, Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Capitals before the Olympic break.

St. Louis continues to struggle at home (8-14-5), so shaking those season-long doldrums is essential. A team-wide scoring slump hasn't helped, either. Only Andy McDonald and David Perron are in double-digits in goals.

"We seem to get close but not finish the job -- and it's obviously cost us in a lot of third periods already this year," Backes said. "With a few of those points we're in looking out rather than on the outside looking in."

Torres on the move? --
Raffi Torres will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, and coupled with his hard-charging game, it means his name has hit the rumor mill this season. Teams battling for the playoffs would love to add a player with Torres' skill and grit.

All things being equal, Torres would like to remain with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I want to stay here and play hockey here. I'm very happy here in Columbus," Torres told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post-Dispatch. "To be honest, I have to stop thinking about (a contract extension) and just worry about what's happening on the ice. I don't feel like I've been playing my best hockey for the last couple of weeks or so."

Columbus GM Scott Howson would like to keep Torres, but he runs the risk of losing him for nothing if a contract extension can't be reached.

"Raffi has played very well for us," Howson told the paper. "He has scored some really timely goals for us, he's pretty versatile and he's so very competitive.

"We're going to do whatever is in our best interest, both long-term and short-term," Howson said. "I don't want to comment further other than to say he has played very well and we'll see where we are in a month or so at the deadline."

Wilson on target -- The news that Colin Wilson, the Nashville Predators' top pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, was named the AHL's top rookie in January made General Manager David Poile smile.

"He's doing right now what we do with all of our younger players -- playing in Milwaukee and getting to play in more situations," Poile told John Glennon of the Tennessean. "The reports are getting better almost by the game about him, and his confidence is getting back up there, too.

"One thing we try to keep in mind is that we are always looking to put people in a position where they can be successful. (But) if the opportunity arises, and it's the right fit for him and us, it's not a matter of if but when he gets that chance."

This season hasn't been all smooth sailing for Wilson. He opened with the Predators, but was slowed by injury and sent to AHL Milwaukee. He got off to a slow start there, but now is coming on strong. In 17 games in January, Wilson had 7 goals, 13 assists and was a plus-5.

"The detail and attention to his game -- not only with the puck, but without it -- and his positioning have increased his opportunities to do things offensively," Admirals coach Lane Lambert told Glennon. "He's more aware and more available away from the puck. He's more sound in his details and more sound in his systems."

Search Archive »

Browse by Month »

January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
December 0200