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Article posted: 4/25/2012 8:43 PM

Missing 'net front guy' short-circuited Hawks power play

By Mike Spellman

Though it was one of the greatest mysteries and biggest headaches this season, the reason the Blackhawks power play struggled despite an all-star cast is really quite simple, according to Patrick Kane.

"There really wasn't a net front guy the whole year," Kane said. "The power plays that have been successful in the past, you had guys like (Tomas) Kopecky, (Troy) Brouwer, (Dustin) Byfuglien -- guys that stand in front.

"That's a huge part of the power play and there was really no net front guy this year."

How did Bru do it?

With the way Andrew Brunette was limping in to meet the media Wednesday, you had to wonder how the guy survived the Phoenix playoff series or how he can make it through the grind of another regular season.

Even he was uncertain if he could.

"I'm not sure," the veteran said of retirement talk. "It was a tough year. You don't want to leave this way, but there are times when the game tells you to leave."

If he does have a change of heart, though, Brunette is pretty sure it won't be as a member of the Blackhawks.

"I think they're going to go in a different direction," he said, "so I'm not going to hold my breath and sit by the phone."

Chemistry issues?

Andrew Brunette was asked if their was a chemistry issue in the Hawks locker room, but being the savvy veteran he is, opted not to go there.

"For me, what happens in there stays in there," he said.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was more open, in a veiled way, when he addressed the topic.

"I think team chemistry is something going forward that should be a priority," Quenneville said. "And finding it where everyone is pushing together is important."

He said it:

"Not at all. I know he was on the ice but that situation got addressed. Retribution for us would have been to win the series."

-- Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, addressing rumors that the reason Jamal Mayers was a healthy scratch for the final games of the Phoenix series was because he didn't go after Raffi Torres for Torres' hit on Marian Hossa.

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