Quenneville breaks up veteran Keith-Seabrook line in Wednesday practice
None of the Blackhawks defensemen had a strong showing during an 8-6 preseason loss to Detroit at the United Center on Tuesday.
But Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook had a particularly rough game against the Red Wings' speedy, tenacious top line.
"Hey, Detroit's got a good team," coach Joel Quenneville said after Wednesday's practice at MB Ice Arena. "They definitely (have) a young team, and we saw there they have good strength in the puck area."
Quenneville broke up the two veterans Wednesday and put Adam Boqvist with Keith and Brandon Manning with Seabrook. The other pairings were Erik Gustafsson-Jan Rutta and Brandon Davidson-Henri Jokiharju Hours later, the 18-year-old Boqvist was assigned to the OHL's London Knights, likely meaning Jokiharju will be paired with Keith for Thursday's preseason game against Ottawa at the United Center.
Dealing with the faster NHL isn't going to get any easier for Keith or Seabrook, but their a couple of their miscues against the Red Wings had more to do with being outmuscled or making a weak play with the puck.
"It seemed like every time we coughed it up, we were giving up some quality scoring chances against," Jonathan Toews said afterward. "We've been talking a lot about being better and snugging things up a little bit in front of our own goaltender and tonight wasn't our best example of that."
The Hawks assigned Victor Ejdsell, Alexandre Fortin and Matthew Highmore to Rockford on Wednesday. Joel Quenneville liked what he saw from his young forwards, as well as D-men Carl Dahlstrom and Joni Tuulola, who were assigned to the IceHogs on Tuesday.
Quenneville said his message to the five was: "We all expect you to be part of the team and the organization. And not just depth. We think that (if) you keep progressing, you're going to get a chance to play here regularly. …
"Don't feel sorry for yourself because you're not starting here. Don't say this guy or that guy is ahead of you on the depth chart. Do something about it by playing your best and trying to get back on top."
The cuts mean the final two forward spots will likely go to David Kampf, Andreas Martinsen or Dylan Sikura.
Corey Crawford worked out for a third straight day with goalie coach Jimmy Waite and even faced some shots from Gustav Forsling, who is rehabbing from a wrist injury.
"He keeps getting better and that's a sign we're hoping for," said coach Joel Quenneville. "So that's very encouraging."
Quenneville added the staff has "mentioned" the possibility of having Crawford play a game for Rockford in the AHL, "but we haven't discussed it much."
Anton Forsberg is expected to play the entire game in net for the Blackhawks during their preseason game against Ottawa on Thursday.