Hayes shows Hawks big upside to his game
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Jimmy Hayes, right, of the Blackhawks battles for the puck in Columbus on Thursday night. Hayes played 16 minutes on a line with Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane.
Jimmy Hayes was very noticeable in his first game back with the Blackhawks on Thursday at Columbus.
Hayes, recalled from Rockford on Tuesday, skated almost 16 minutes with Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane on the second line and was plus-1 with 2 shots on goal. One of them forced Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to make a sharp save.
Hayes is back with the Hawks for the first time since last season, when he had 5 goals and 9 points in 31 games.
"He brings us a presence," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He's got some size to him (6-feet-6, 221 pounds) and he's been producing at a real good rate in the minors. He gets to the net well and has a real nice set of hands at the net."
Hayes played 40 games at center for Rockford, by his estimate, and gives Quenneville some options at the position.
"We'll see, but we like our centermen the way it's rolling right now," Quenneville said. "I like the balance and contribution we're getting from our centermen right now. Over time, a lot of times those decisions are made for you. It's nice having that option as we go along here."
Hayes knows he must use his size to be effective on the NHL level.
"I'm just trying to play hard and use my speed and size," Hayes said. "I'm starting to shoot the puck a lot more and get rewarded a little bit. I'm confident at center and feel I can play there. It's a spot where I have got to continue to develop."
Daniel Carcillo was a healthy scratch at Columbus with Joel Quenneville going with Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Bollig in the lineup.
"We've got some extra players that want to play," Quenneville said. "I thought Bollig played a heck of a game and did a real good job and was responsible."
Bollig played only eight minutes, but he had 4 shots on goal with 2 hits.
Joel Quenneville likes the plan for realignment that was finalized by the NHL's Board of Governors on Thursday, even though it means losing Detroit and Columbus as division rivals.
"But we do see everybody twice, home and away, which is nice,"Quenneville said. "For the sake of Columbus and Detroit, I think the fans get a better perspective, seeing their team more often either on TV or live. If you look at our division, basically everyone is in the same time zone except Colorado.
"I'm sure with the playoff format you'll have some rivalries instantly."
The Hawks will part of a soon-to-be-named division with St. Louis, Minnesota, Dallas, Winnipeg, Colorado and Nashville. Playoffs will be within the division for the first two rounds like it was in the old Norris Division.
Killing them softly:
The Hawks have allowed at least 1 power-play goal in four of the last five games.
"We've got to get better and get back to what made us successful, like pressuring," Joel Quenneville said. "It was a tough stretch for the penalty killing (unit). The penalty kill over the last few games, I thought it was more of what we didn't do well. Mentally, we could be more crisp in our movement and thinking."
The Hawks did have a big kill late in the third period and early in overtime in Thursday's win at Columbus after Viktor Stalberg was penalized for goalie interference with less than two minutes remaining.
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