Coach Q wants everyone's attention now

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Rookie goalie Scott Darling was called up from Rockford on Sunday, signed a two-year contract extension and will start today when the Hawks host the Panthers at the United Center.

    Rookie goalie Scott Darling was called up from Rockford on Sunday, signed a two-year contract extension and will start today when the Hawks host the Panthers at the United Center. Associated Press

 
By Brian Hedger
Special to the Daily Herald
Updated 2/23/2015 7:36 PM

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville hasn't used his panic button yet, but another "button" is getting a workout.

Asked if anybody on the Hawks was reaching for the so-called "panic button" in the wake of a three-game losing streak, including an ugly 6-2 loss Sunday to the Boston Bruins, the coach shook his head.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"No, but the 'get attention' button is where I'm at," Quenneville said.

He has a 'get attention' button?

"Absolutely," Quenneville said, poking the air. "I got it pushed."

His players might need to follow suit. There are 22 games remaining in the regular season and the Hawks are in a dicey situation. They're 5 points back of the St. Louis Blues for second in the Central Division, a spot that guarantees home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They're only 4 points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets and 7 points ahead of fifth-place Minnesota.

Quenneville responded Monday with his version of a punishment practice, which featured 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 battle drills along the corner boards. Afterward he said there might not have been a practice at all if things had gone differently Sunday.

"I think you saw in practice today it was a little bit different than it normally would be," said Patrick Sharp, who's struggling to put the puck in the net (10 goals in 45 games). "When things are struggling and times are tough, it's not that nobody cares. Everybody cares maybe too much, and you try to do a little too much out there."

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Oduya out 'couple weeks:'

Joel Quenneville said veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya will miss "a couple weeks" with an undisclosed upper-body injury, which happened at some point during his first shift Sunday.

Absorbing the minutes will be either Kyle Cumiskey, David Rundblad or Tim Erixon, who's played just six of 30 games since arriving in a trade Dec. 14 and hasn't played in 15 straight.

"We still got seven (defensemen) here, so we'll sort it out," Quenneville said. "Some guys might get a little more opportunity. We don't want to work the top guys extra over this period. Everybody will probably get a little more across the board."

Injured rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk practiced again and participated in the battle drills. He will be re-assessed before the road trip to Tampa and South Florida.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Darling gets the nod:

Joel Quenneville isn't wasting time with 6-foot-6 goalie Scott Darling, who is starting Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.

Darling, a 26-year old rookie from Lemont, was recalled from Rockford on Sunday night and signed a two-year contract extension. He's 5-2-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in seven games for the Hawks during two injury stints for starter Corey Crawford.

"It looks like he's really grown in his game," Quenneville said. "His size is noticeable, as well. He's played well down there. It's more of a chance for him to keep going."

Versteeg not 'scared' of Rask:

Hawks forward Kris Versteeg said Monday that Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask didn't intentionally slash him in the ribs and right arm following a goal by Jonathan Toews with 1.4 seconds left in the first period.

Rask said after the game it was unintentional, a result of his anger, and Versteeg agreed. But Rask added, "Stay out of the crease," to finish his comments.

"He's not a guy I'm scared of, so it's not like I'm going to stay out of his crease," Versteeg said Monday. "If it was Ray Emery I might, but not Tuukka Rask's crease."

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