Hawks’ Brandon Saad glad to be team player
By Mark Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org January 18, 2013 9:07AM
Brandon Saad skates with the puck during a scrimmage at the 2012 Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Camp at Johnny's IceHouse West, 2550 W. Madison St., Thursday, July 12, 2012, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
The facts: 2 p.m. Saturday,
Ch. 5, 720-AM.
Updated: January 18, 2013 9:18AM
Brandon Saad never got the official word from Joel Quenneville or any of the other Blackhawks coaches that he had made the team. Instead, it was director of team services Tony Ommen who clued him in after Wednesday night’s scrimmage with a simple directive: Pack for Los Angeles.
“I’m on the trip,” a smiling Saad said Thursday afternoon.
Now whether Saad will play against the Kings on Saturday or the Coyotes on Sunday remains to be seen. Quenneville unveiled his opening-day roster, and it included 14 forwards. Forwards Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Pirri and defenseman Ryan Stanton were sent back to Rockford, leaving Saad as the only surprise.
“I don’t know about lineup stuff or if I’ll just be watching,” Saad said. “But either way, it’s a huge step for me, and it’s nice to be part of the team.”
Saad was the surprise of last season’s training camp and also made the opening-day roster. After two games, he was returned to the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL and scored 34 goals with 42 assists in 44 games.
“We saw last year in training camp that he’s got some special skills; he does a lot of things that guys can’t do as far as protecting the puck,” Quenneville said. “He sees plays, he makes plays. … He can play with some top players, as well.”
The Hawks actually had 24 players on the roster, one over the limit, but defenseman Steve Montador, still recovering from a concussion, is likely headed for injured reserve.
Quenneville welcomed new Bears coach Marc Trestman to the Chicago coaching fraternity.
“It’s a special place,” Quenneville said, “passionate fans. Being at a couple of Bears games this year, you know how fun it is to be a part of that. It’s a special place to work. He’s going to love it. I wish him the best.”
After months of lockout discussions, then weeks of big-picture questions and queries about conditioning levels and getting into game shape, Hawks captain Jonathan Toews was asked if it’ll be nice to talk about actual games again starting on Saturday.
“About games?” he said. “About things that have actually happened? Yeah, that’ll be fun.”