One of the biggest failures of the Blackhawks’ power play last season was the lack of a real net front presence.
Now coach Joel Quenneville will turn to Viktor Stalberg and Andrew Shaw to see if they can get the job done.
“I think Viktor is going to be a guy we’re going to put there,” Quenneville said Tuesday. “And Shaw might get put in that role as well. He seems to position himself in some pretty good spots around and has a nice stick.
“Viktor has been talking about that and working at that as well. This is a great opportunity for him. He has produced very well for us 5-on-5, but an opportunity to get that quality ice time is what everybody wants, to be on the power play. He’s got a big body and a quick stick.”
Stalberg scored a career-high 25 goals last season.
“I just want to be involved in more key situations with the team, whether it’s playing the last two minutes or a big power play,” Stalberg said. “I’m looking to prove I’m an even better player this year.
“I think getting on the power play and being that guy who stands in front of the net creating some traffic and havoc. That’s something I want to get better at, tipping pucks, things like that.”
Stalberg saw what everyone else did, the Hawks struggle on the power play last year partly because they didn’t have a presence in front.
“I think we missed those guys we had a couple years ago,” Stalberg said in reference to Dustin Byfuglien and Troy Brouwer. “No one really took it upon himself to get that spot.
“I don’t know if there was enough consistency with one guy being there either. It was just kind of new guys all the time trying it out. I think if we can get off to a good start and get some momentum on the power play it will be big for us.”
Shaw said he played in front of the net at Rockford.
“I’d love the opportunity,” he said. “I like being out front and being in the dirty areas. (Byfuglien) was a bigger guy, harder to move, while I have to kind of push and battle for my spot.”
The only additions from outside the organization are both defensemen, Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Rozsival.
Brookbank said he is just trying to be a good teammate.
“I’m hoping to play night in and night out,” Brookbank said. “Just try to be a good teammate to these guys, try to be a good team player and do whatever I can to help this team.”
Brookbank wasn’t surprised that he and Rozsival were the only off-season additions.
“I think they kind of figured they had a pretty solid team here and didn’t need to change too much,” Brookbank said.
“I don’t think they’re expecting myself or Rozisval to come in here and totally change the culture or the way this team plays. They just want us to solidify the defense and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”
The Hawks will conduct a simulated game Wednesday night at the United Center, a day that starts with a morning skate.
“We’ll try to simulate a game day and we get to play real hockey,” Joel Quenneville said. “We’ll get a real chance to play on our power play and get some penalty killing chances, faceoffs, (experience) some bumps.
“You get the feel of a real game since we don’t have a real game.”
Quenneville said seven more players would be recalled from Rockford to participate in the event that is closed to the public.
Marcus Kruger sat out a second straight practice with the flu but did work out off the ice. … Jimmy Hayes arrived from Rockford and practiced.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.