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Quenneville on being impatient with ‘Hawks goalies: “I accept criticism in that regard”


Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times asks a provocative question in his latest column — is Joel Quenneville too impatient with Chicago’s goalies?

The ‘Hawks head coach admitted the line of questioning is fair.

“I accept criticism in that regard,” Quenneville said. “I thought [there’s been] tough stretches in that area, but goaltending here for the most part has been pretty good.”

Despite Quenneville’s assertions, Chicago’s netminding has been a sore spot for most of the season. Ray Emery and Corey Crawford rank 37th and 40th in the league in GAA (38th and 41st in save percentage) and neither has grasped the opportunity to secure the No. 1 job, which has been available for a while now.

Crawford entered as the starter after a terrific 2010-11 season (and an even better playoff effort), but has struggled to recapture his form. Emery, 29, is just a year removed from major hip surgery and five years removed from his last real starting gig. At times, the goaltending battle has felt more like a war of attrition.

Quenneville admits to going back and forth between the two netminders, but doesn’t necessarily think he’s lacking patience with either.

“I don’t know if I’m impatient with goalies. The last few years have been kind of different here, but at the same time, [Crawford] played the majority of the stretch last year,” Quenneville said. “I don’t know if that’s being impatient or not and this year he has had the bulk of the games.

“[Emery] has come here and he’s played pretty well when he’s gotten in net. He had one stretch where he got to sustain it. For the most part, he’s been very good.”

This isn’t the Quenneville’s first goalie carousel in Chicago. Last season Marty Turco was the starter before being usurped by Crawford; two years ago it was Cristobal Huet that lost his No. 1 gig to Antti Niemi.

All told, Quenneville’s gone through six different goalies in his four-plus years on the job: Emery, Crawford, Turco, Niemi, Huet and Nikolai Khabibulin.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer

Johansen calls trade rumblings ‘weird,’ says relationship with Torts is ‘great’

Ryan Johansen
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One day after reports surfaced of Ryan Johansen being at the center of trade talks, all parties involved from Columbus did what they’re supposed to do — downplay the situation.

You can read the denials in full over at the Dispatch, but here’s the gist:

— Johansen said the rumors were “weird” and that he’s “never seen it before.” He also said there were no issues between him and head coach John Tortorella, calling the relationship “great.”

— GM Jarmo Kekalainen wouldn’t address the report, nor would Johansen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt.

— Johansen added he hasn’t spoken to any of Columbus’ management about the trade rumblings.

So there’s that. What’s next?

At this stage of the game, it’s hard not to think about another Overhardt client, Kyle Turris.

Turris, you’ll recall, spent four (mostly) stormy years with the Coyotes before his trade out to Ottawa was orchestrated. Turris eventually told GM Don Maloney “this is not going to work out” with the club, and he was gone.

So, consider the similarities now:

— Turris was 22 at the time of the trade, with four years and 137 games under his belt.

— Johansen is 23, with five years and 291 games.

— Both had contentious contract holdouts with their respective clubs.

— Both are Overhardt guys.

— The Turris trade happened after the Coyotes went from Wayne Gretzky to Dave Tippett as head coach.

— Johansen is already on his third head coach (Scott Arniel, Todd Richards, Tortorella).

For now, these are all coincidences (or a forced narrative, depending what you think of the author).

And, of course, the one big — big — difference between the two is that, at the time of his trade, Turris wasn’t as good or established a player as Johansen currently is. Therefore, logic suggests any Johansen trade would be a lot more blockbuster-y and, therefore, probably more complex.

And as we know, complex deals aren’t easy to pull off.