Rookie Saad making quite an impression
Brandon Saad is called "man-child" by his Blackhawks teammates for a number of reasons.
As veteran defenseman Duncan Keith put it: "He's about 20 years old in a 40-year-old man's body — hairy, heavy, big and strong. He's a grown man already."
Saad was also one of the top penalty killers at Rockford the first half of the season, so it was no surprise when Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was using him to kill penalties Friday after Dave Bolland went down with an upper body injury.
The rookie left winger wound up scoring the winning goal short-handed early in the third period.
"He's got good instincts, he anticipates well and offensively there are things that help him on the defensive side of the puck," Quenneville said. "He's in a position right now, Bolly goes down, where all of a sudden he assumes a little more ice time there and it could help his overall game as well."
Saad raced around Sharks defenseman Brent Burns and whipped a shot past goalie Antti Niemi far side and in off the post.
The move around Burns did not sit well with San Jose coach Todd McLellan, who through his defenseman gave the rookie too much room.
"I thought we let a player in a situation that wasn't very dangerous skate into a scoring spot without even challenging him," McLellan said.
So Burns should have been more aggressive?
"Absolutely," McLellan said. "The average hockey fan can tell you that."
Ray of sunshine:
Backup goalie Ray Emery knows his role as the Hawks' No. 2 goalie, even if he is playing like a No. 1.
Emery ran his record to 7-0 Friday with a 2-1 win over the Sharks.
"I'm just trying to do what they ask me," Emery said. "For the most part be there when Crow (Corey Crawford) needs some rest or when he's injured."
"He's been rock solid," Joel Quenneville said of Emery. "Last year he gave us a chance every single night. This year I think he's been even better. He's been sharp, quality save at quality times, rebound control, on top of the crease and on top of his game. Guys have confidence in front of him."
Emery has been playing well enough to prompt questions about the Hawks' goaltending order.
"Those decisions will work themselves out, but we certainly like the way he has grabbed the net here with Crow being out," Quenneville said. "It's a nice situation where we're getting good goaltending."
Might as well try it:
Viktor Stalberg ran out of options Friday when he had the puck behind the net. So he figured he would try to bank the puck off goalie Antti Niemi.
It worked as the puck slivered through Niemi to tie the game 1-1.
"It was a good pass by Kaner (Patrick Kane)," said Stalberg. "He was kind of screaming that he wanted it back, but I couldn't find a lane so I figured I would try to bank it off (Niemi) and I guess it worked.
"We talked about it before the game that we had to throw pucks at his feet and if it doesn't go in we'll get a faceoff or a rebound. (Andrew) Shaw did a good job of driving the net there."
Sharks forward Ryan Clowe has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL for an incident with Andrew Shaw with nine seconds left in Friday's game.
Clowe will have a hearing Monday in New York, where the league will investigate whether he left the bench to confront Shaw, who had just boarded Joe Pavelski.
Leaving the bench carries an automatic 10-game suspension for the player and a one-game suspension for the coach. Clowe sat out Saturday's game at Dallas but Todd McLellan coached.
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