Blackhawks’ shootout game must be up to speed
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org January 15, 2013 9:03PM
Chicago Blackhawks Vs Columbus Blue Jackets 3rd-Period. Blackhawks No.88 Patrick Kane brakes out while teammate No.19 Jonathan Toews is checked by Columbus Blue jackets No.16 Derick Brassard. January 10 , 2012 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: January 15, 2013 9:27PM
Patrick Kane became a bit of a YouTube sensation with his shootout goal in Switzerland against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider. He slowed down considerably as he approached the net — as he memorably did against the Minnesota Wild early last season — and used his ridiculously quick hands to deke about 15 times while mixing in some head fakes before burying the puck past Schneider.
Kane said Tuesday that he’s not worried about going to the well too often because the slow-down move provides him with myriad options. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is fine with that, as long as he keeps scoring. As is seemingly the case with everything in this shortened season, shootouts will mean more than ever.
‘‘We think the importance of shootouts this year is going to be tremendous,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘We think it’s going to make the difference between making the playoffs or winning the division or moving up in the seeding. It’s going to be that close.’’
Quenneville would most like to see someone besides Kane or Jonathan Toews assert himself as the No. 3 option in the shootout rather than juggle that spot night in and night out.
‘‘We’ve got Johnny, we’ve got Kaner,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘We’re looking for somebody to jump up in that spot, where all of a sudden we know exactly who’s going to be 1-2-3.’’
Quenneville said seven Rockford players would be brought in Wednesday to give the Hawks enough players to hold an intrasquad scrimmage. The Hawks will have a morning skate at 10:30 a.m. at the United Center, then hold the ‘‘controlled practice’’ at 7 p.m.
‘‘It’ll simulate a game day,” Quenneville said. ‘‘And we get to scrimmage against one another, get to play real hockey and get a real chance to play on our power play and get some penalty killing situations, faceoffs, and you get some bumps and get the feel of a real game, since we don’t have a real game to get into the start of the season.’’
Neither session is open to the public.
Quenneville said he’ll take ‘‘22 or 23’’ players with him to Los Angeles on Thursday night, meaning the roster will be set by then.
◆ Center Marcus Kruger (flu) should return to the ice Wednesday.
◆ The Hawks and WGN (720-AM) agreed to a five-year extension through the end of the 2018-19 season.