Jason Brough

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville smiles as he talks during a news conference, Sunday, June 7, 2015, in Chicago. The Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning are tied 1-1 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final after the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in Game 2. Game 3 is scheduled for Monday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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Coach Q thinks the ‘Hawks could use another forward or two

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When the Chicago Blackhawks put Rob Scuderi on waivers yesterday, our initial reaction was to wonder if GM Stan Bowman would try to add another defenseman prior to the trade deadline.

Well, Scuderi was sent to AHL Rockford today, giving Bowman a bit more cap space to work with.

However, based on what Chicago’s head coach had to say, bolstering the defense might not be the priority.

“I think up front we could use a player or two,” Joel Quenneville said, per the Chicago Sun-Times.

More on that from the newspaper:

The Hawks have needed a top-line left wing all season and with Marian Hossa out for a couple of weeks with a lower-body injury, the need is even more glaring. Winnipeg’s Andrew Ladd is a likely target, and Arizona’s Mikkel Boedker, Carolina’s Kris Versteeg, or Toronto’s P.A. Parenteau are among the many options that Bowman could go after.

The Blackhawks, of course, lost a couple of top-six wingers this offseason in Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp. Artemi Panarin has more than replaced one of those spots, but tonight against the Rangers, Jonathan Toews could be flanked by Andrew Shaw on the left side and Richard Panik on the right.

No disrespect to Shaw and Panik, but imagine if it was Toews between Ladd and Hossa.

The trade deadline is Feb. 29.

Related: Jets will take one more crack at re-signing Andrew Ladd

 

It’s time to pay attention to the San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks' Melker Karlsson, left, of Sweden, celebrates his goal with teammate Brent Burns during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. The Sharks won 4-2. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
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The San Jose Sharks won again last night. They’re 12-2-3 in their last 17. Among the teams they beaten during that stretch: Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, and Tampa Bay.

Perhaps it’s time the hockey world started paying attention to these guys. Because it’s been crickets, mostly.

“It’s a veteran group, and right now, there’s a real good confidence level,” coach Pete DeBoer told reporters after last night’s 4-2 victory in Tampa. “We’re feeling like we can win every game that we’re playing.”

This is no smoke-and-mirrors trick either. The Sharks have been among the NHL’s top puck-possession teams in the new year. Combine that with the solid goaltending of Martin Jones and you get a team that, in a relatively short span, has gone from outside the playoff picture to threatening the Kings for first place in the Pacific Division.

standings

Undoubtedly, the return of Logan Couture has helped, since the Sharks can now boast Joe Thornton as a first-line center, Patrick Marleau as a second-line center, and Couture as a third-line center. Not many teams have that kind of depth down the middle. And that’s without mentioning All-Star sniper Joe Pavelski, whose 26 goals are the seventh-most in the league.

Supporting the forward group is a quality top-four defense of Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, and Paul Martin. There’s also been speculation GM Doug Wilson may bolster the back end before the trade deadline.

The Sharks’ next game is tomorrow in Sunrise. After that they play Friday in Carolina, before finishing their road trip Monday and Wednesday in St. Louis (on NBCSN) and Colorado (on NBCSN), respectively.

“All four lines have been producing throughout this stretch, and that’s how deep our team is,” Thornton said. “It shows every night any line can step up and be the game-changer and win games for us. It’s been fun to be a part of.”

Cooper on Bolts’ mini-slump: ‘It’s our job as coaches to straighten this out’

Jon Cooper
AP
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With four regulation losses in their last five, the Tampa Bay Lightning once again find themselves outside the playoff picture.

True, the Bolts hold two games in hand on the Devils, just one point ahead in the standings. And yes, the odds of making the postseason are still in the Lightning’s favor.

But coach Jon Cooper is concerned all the same.

“We have guys who have been with us for a while out there on the ice,” he told the Tampa Bay Times after last night’s 4-2 loss to San Jose. “It’s our job as coaches to straighten this out. Why they’re (deviating) from what’s worked for us is what we need to figure out.”

It would help if Steven Stamkos started to find the back of the net. He has just one goal in his last nine games. The last time he scored at even strength was Jan. 12, over a month ago. He’s not getting traded, so at least he can “just focus on hockey” and “do my best to help the team win.”

The Lightning’s next game is tomorrow at home versus the Jets. Cooper is calling for an “inspired effort” in that one.

After that, the Bolts play six of their next seven on the road.

Hurricanes’ Ward out with lower-body injury

Cam Ward
AP

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Hurricanes say goalie Cam Ward has a lower-body injury and will miss Tuesday’s game against Winnipeg. The Hurricanes have recalled goalie Daniel Altshuller from the minor leagues.

The Hurricanes announced the moves before their home game against the Jets.

Coach Bill Peters says “if this was Game 82 and we’d need to win, (Ward would be) available. It’s not.” He expects Ward to travel to Ottawa for Thursday night’s game and says Eddie Lack will start against the Jets. Ward was hurt during a victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

Peters also says defenseman Justin Faulk is “real close” to returning but will miss his third straight game. Faulk suffered a lower-body injury last Thursday when he collided with teammate Brad Malone during practice.

Bergeron, McQuaid will be game-time decisions for Bruins

Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37), Torey Krug (47) and Adam McQuaid (54) skate to the bench in front of Tampa Bay Lightning's Richard Panik (71), of Slovakia, and Tyler Johnson (9) after Bergeron's goal in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. The Bruins won 3-1. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP

Patrice Bergeron and Adam McQuaid are both “game-time decisions” for the Bruins tonight in Columbus.

About Bergeron (who’s missed the past two games with an ankle injury), Boston coach Claude Julien told the club’s website: “We’ve got to go through the medical staff first and see if he’s good, and No. 2, if there’s a risk attached to it, so we’ll make that decision here as we move along today.”

As for McQuaid (who’s been out with a concussion since Jan. 5), Julien said the big defenseman had a “minor, minor, minor setback” Monday, but “looks good today.”

The B’s would welcome either back, preferably both. Sunday in Detroit, the Bruins lost 6-5, marking the sixth time this season they’d surrendered six goals or more in a loss.

Update:

Boston has activated McQuaid off injured reserve and, to get down to the 23-man limit, assigned d-man Colin Miller to AHL Providence.

Miller was the only d-man on the roster that did not require waivers to be sent down.

Related: Bruins not the same without Bergeron