When it comes to the Blackhawks’ lackluster power play, Joel Quenneville has decided to spread the wealth a little bit.
At one end of the ice at Wednesday’s practice was a PP unit headed by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews while at the other end was another group featuring Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.
“We’re just looking for more balance on the units,” Quenneville said. “And hopefully we get some production.”
Stationed in front of the net in the Hossa/Sharp group was the big body of Bryan Bickell.
“I’m excited,” Bickell said of his role. “Our power play has been struggling of late.
“We’re just emphasizing getting the puck to the net.”
And when it does head to the net, make sure Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has a heck of a time seeing it through traffic.
“Yeah, easy to see it, easy to stop it,” Bickell said. “Whether it’s me or whoever is in front of the net, we have to take his eyes away.”
Toeing the line:
One thing coach Joel Quenneville likes about Andrew Shaw is he’s fearless.
One thing that concerns Quenneville about Shaw is that he’s fearless ... and that can lead to trouble at times.
“He goes into the hard areas and brings that passion to the game,” Quenneville said. “He pushes the envelope. He’s not a big guy, so he has to find ways to keep pushing.
“But he has to know there’s a line that you make sure you travel and don’t cross it.”
Shaw knows staying out of the box will be critical in Thursday’s crucial Game 4.
“It’s more things like when you’re going to the net, keep your hands down, don’t touch the goalie,” Shaw said. “If I do that I can stay out of the box.”
Mixing and matching:
If Wednesday’s practice was any indication, it looks like the move of Patrick Sharp to the top line and Brandon Saad to the second line is official … or maybe not.
“We’ll see about the lines,” was all Joel Quenneville would provide afterward.
If it is a go, Marian Hossa sounds like he is all for it.
“I thought we created something there,” Hossa said. “Having him there, little things changed and having Saader on the other line something changed too.”
“It’s good,” the rookie said. “Last game, we jumbled it up a little bit and I thought as a second line we played pretty well. Unfortunately we came up short.”
Living in the present:
Duncan Keith was reminded that during the Hawks’ Stanley Cup run, not every series went smoothly, especially the Nashville series.
But using past success as a motivation against Detroit isn’t something the defenseman plans to do.
“You can always draw on past experiences, but at the same time we’re living in the moment right now and we’re living with this group of players,” Keith said. “At the end of the day, we’re confident in this group here.”
He said it:
“That kind of stuff doesn’t usually bother me. I’m usually the one doing it.”
— Andrew Shaw on trash talking during games.
Power play woes:
Whose power play has been worse in the series?
The Red Wings are 0-for-12 while the Hawks are 1-for-9.
“We went through every single scoring chance we got on the power play this series and we talked a lot about our power play,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said Wednesday. “We’ve had individual power-play meetings to let the guys see what’s going on and try to make adjustments.
“We’ve had some real good looks and we haven’t scored yet, but sometimes when you get real good looks and don’t score you stop shooting. For me, it’s the opposite way: Let’s get a real good net front presence, let’s pound the puck, let’s throw it in there and create some chaos. We’ll get one and then it will loosen up.
“There’s no question our power play needs to be a bigger factor then it has been.”
As for the Hawks, Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard says you can’t relax for a minute against that power play.
“It’s hard work, guys sacrificing their bodies, blocking a lot of shots and not giving them any lanes,” Howard said. “They’ve got such a dangerous power play that we’re going to have to be aware of that and not take penalties.”
Picking it up:
Henrik Zetterberg expects the Hawks to pick right up where they left off in Game 3 from a physical aspect.
As Game 3 ended, Bryan Bickell tried to goad Daniel Cleary into a fight.
“It probably will (carry over),” Zetterberg said. “They have a lot of leadership in that group, they’ve been through a lot, gone all the way, so they will probably come out and play better. We have to play at our best if we are to have a chance to win Game 4.”
Ÿ Tim Sassone contributed to this report from Detroit.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.