Jurco hopes for fresh start with Blackhawks
Joel Quenneville will waste no time seeing what he has in Tomas Jurco, putting the newly acquired winger on the third line with Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa when the Hawks take on St. Louis at the United Center on Sunday.
Jurco, traded to the Hawks from Detroit for a third-round pick Friday, was "very excited" when he heard about the move.
"Great team, great city, great opportunity for me," Jurco said after practicing at Johnny's IceHouse West on Saturday.
It will be interesting to see what the Hawks have in Jurco, a player who scored 8 goals in 36 games four seasons ago but who was a healthy scratch in 16 of the last 21 games with the Red Wings. Former Detroit coach Mike Babcock wanted the 6-foot-2, 188-pounder to play a more physical game, which may have stunted Jurco's growth.
"I had to change my game a little bit," Jurco said. "This is NHL -- you've got to do what you've got to do to stay in the league.
"This is all past for me. I'm really thankful for Detroit for starting up my career, but this is a new opportunity for me so I'm excited."
Quenneville put Jurco with Hossa in the hope that playing with a fellow Czech countryman will make the transition to a new team easier.
It appears Dennis Rasmussen will be the odd man out for now as he did not skate on the top four lines. Rasmussen has played in all but three games since cracking the lineup in the third game of the season.
Niklas Hjalmarsson will miss Sunday's game against the Blues with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day. Hjalmarsson left Thursday's win over Arizona after playing just 3:02.
"He knows his body and he knows when he can fight through certain things," Joel Quenneville said. "(We're) giving him enough time to get back to where he's basically 100 percent."
Hjalmarsson, who hasn't missed more than two games in a season since 2011-12, has blocked 156 shots, which is just 3 behind the league lead.
"He has no fear," said fellow D-man Trevor van Riemsdyk. "A lot of times you're just wincing on the bench. It almost hurts you more than it hurts him. He's extremely tough, is an unbelievable player and he does a lot for us."
Joel Quenneville said a big reason the Hawks sent Vinnie Hinostroza to Rockford is because the rookie doesn't have to clear waivers, as would be the case with Andrew Desjardins or Jordin Tootoo. The Hawks love Hinostroza's speed, but want him to work on his defense as well.
"(He needs to) stabilize that and improve in that area," Quenneville said.
Bryan Bickell played for the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday, his first game action since the former Blackhawks winger was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November. Charlotte is the AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. … The Blackhawks assigned goalie Jeff Glass to Rockford after he cleared waivers. … Jordin Tootoo missed practice Saturday because he was sick.
Scouting reportScouting report
Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues at United Center, 6:30 p.m.
TV: NBCSN • Radio: WGN 720-AM
The skinny: St. Louis went 7-1 in the first eight games after firing Ken Hitchcock, but has lost its last two to Buffalo and Florida. The Blues are in battle for third place in the Central Division with Nashville. Vladimir Tarasenko leads the way with 28 goals and 28 assists. Goalies Jake Allen (.903 save percentage) and Carter Hutton (.907) have both struggled. ... St. Louis signed Patrik Berglund (17 goals) to a five-year extension Friday. ... Corey Crawford starts in net for the Hawks.
Next: Pittsburgh Penguins at United Center, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
-- John Dietz