Colliton switches things up with Chicago Blackhawks morning skate

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton, top right, reacts during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators in Chicago, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020.

    Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton, top right, reacts during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators in Chicago, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020.

 
 
Updated 1/11/2020 11:20 PM

The Blackhawks made a fairly drastic change to their game-day routine by making all morning skates optional for the rest of the season.

Coach Jeremy Colliton said he hasn't been happy with how the Hawks have started their home games, so the staff decided to make an adjustment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"From my perspective, we shouldn't go out there if we're not ready to work and compete," Colliton said before the Hawks hosted Anaheim on Saturday. "So since Christmas, the morning skates have looked a little different, and I think we've started better because of it. ...

"Guys that don't want to go on and want to stay fresh, perfect. Come ready to play. And if you feel you need to go on then let's do things right."

For those who do participate, they can expect more intensity, more battles and some "smallish games" to take place. For example, the Hawks spent about 10 minutes doing 3-on-2 rushes Saturday.

Goalie Robin Lehner, one of only three Hawks who practiced Friday, was the only healthy player not to participate Saturday.

So close!

Dominik Kubalik missed notching his first NHL hat trick in the waning moments of the Hawks' 4-2 victory Saturday when his long attempt sailed just wide of the far post.

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"I was shaking. Nervous. I was like, 'Whatever,' " said Kubalik, who then added with a chuckle: "When I missed the first one, I was looking to pass the (next) one because my confidence was gone. Didn't believe (in) myself."

Kubalik's goals came in the second period and gave the Hawks 2-1 and 3-1 leads. Both came on rebounds in front of the net, a phase of the game the rookie has been working on all season.

"Guys call them greasy, but I think they're nicest," said Kubalik, who is tied for the rookie lead with 16 goals. "When you're standing there and the puck just drops in front of you, you just put it home."

Slap shots:

The Hawks re-assigned forward John Quenneville to Rockford after their 4-2 victory over Anaheim on Saturday. He played in nine games since being recalled Dec. 22. ... Duncan Keith played in his 1,114th game, tying him with Brent Seabrook for second in Blackhawks history. Stan Mikita holds the record at 1,394. ... Brandon Saad has been skating as he rehabs from an ankle injury, but there is still no timetable for his return. ... Jonathan Toews has seven multi-point games in the last 17 contests. He had a goal and an assist against Anaheim. ... Dylan Sikura and defenseman Dennis Gilbert both sat for a second straight game.

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