With NHL training camps expected to open on Sunday, there still are a few loose ends to tie up with the Blackhawks.
How many players will be invited to Hawks camp is the biggest question to be answered in the coming days, and general manager Stan Bowman not expected to speak to the media until the collective bargaining agreement has been formally ratified.
The board of governors will vote on it Wednesday at their meeting in New York while the players are voting on the new CBA electronically.
So far, we only know that three players have been recalled from Rockford for training camp: center Marcus Kruger and wingers Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig. The three were on hand at Johnny’s Ice House West for Tuesday’s informal practice.
“I’m sure there will be others coming,” Shaw said.
That means defenseman Nick Leddy is likely coming, and perhaps forwards Brendan Saad, Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and Jimmy Hayes. Rockford rookie defenseman Adam Clendening is a long shot to get invited, as is Victoriaville junior Phillip Danault, a center.
Rockford hosts Grand Rapids Wednesday night in the American Hockey League.
Shaw said Rockford GM Mark Bernard called the three IceHogs into his office on Monday and told them to pack for Chicago.
“I was just told to come here and prepare to skate and focus for camp here,” Shaw said. “I just do what I’m told.”
Bollig was happy to get the invite to camp.
“I couldn’t tell you (why those three were selected to come to Chicago), but I’m excited I did get that call,” Bollig said. “It’s obviously something that the Hawks wanted and I’m excited to be one of those guys. They didn’t really tell us too much, just said pack your bags and get to Chicago.”
Shaw finished last season with the Hawks and became a popular figure thanks to his rambunctious style of play. He doesn’t figure he has a roster spot guaranteed despite his success (12 goals and 23 points in 37 games).
“I feel like I have to prove myself every single game no matter where I am,” Shaw said. “I just have to keep working and go to the net. Good things come from that. I’m just excited and looking forward to getting back here and being around the guys.”
Bollig skated on the same line with Shaw at Rockford.
“He’s doing his job, doing it well and the fans love him for that,” Bollig said.
Bollig contends there may be an advantage for the Rockford guys over veteran Hawks.
“I would think that most of us who have been playing feel pretty good,” Bollig said. “There’s no shape like game shape. You can ride the bike as much as you want, but skating is different and games are different than practice.”
The rough-and-tumble Bollig (58 penalty minutes in 18 games) was a surprise choice to come to camp considering Daniel Carcillo is healthy following rehab from a torn ACL and Jamal Mayers and Bryan Bickell are still around.
“Being in game shape now is my biggest concern — stops and starts and coming off the turn,” Carcillo said. “It’s been a long year. These next two weeks won’t be that fun, but I’m probably the most excited guy in that room.
“It’s going to be tough. We’ve all been skating and trying to stay in shape as best we can, but it’s near impossible to stay in game shape for three months. Getting back together with all the guys will create a lot of energy, so that will help.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.