Tag: Andrew Brunette

Dany Heatley

Rest, tips from coaches helped Heatley rebound in playoffs


Dany Heatley has struggled since arriving in Minnesota from San Jose.

He has often been put on the fourth line or scratched this season and both of those things happened to him in the playoffs. Wild coach made Heatley a healthy scratch in Games 1 and 2 and found himself on the fourth line when he returned to action in Game 3.

That didn’t stop Heatley in Game 7 against Colorado as he had a goal and, for a night, looked a little like the guy who was a threat to score any time he was on the ice he used to be.

As Jim Souhan of the Star-Tribune writes, Heatley credits that bit of rest and advice from assistant coaches Darby Hendrickson and Andrew Brunette for his bounce back.

“You kind of knew that if you get scratched and the team goes on a good run it’s going to be tough to get back in. I kind of took it as a positive, to get some rest. You’ve got to give Darby and Bruno a lot of credit. They really helped me, skating, working on different stuff that you don’t get to do if you’re in the lineup.”

Heatley is an unrestricted free agent after this season and while he’s not going to see the same kind of payday he had on this contract (Six years, $45 million), he’s playing for a new contract elsewhere. Taking advantage of his minutes the way he did in Game 7 would go a long way to helping himself.

Offseason Report: Chicago Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

45-26-11, 101 points. Sixth in the Western Conference. Fourth in the Central Division. Lost to Phoenix in the first round (4-2).


Sheldon Brookbank. No really, that’s it.


Cristobal Huet, Sean O’Donnell (retired), Brendan Morrison, Andrew Brunette

2012 Draft

1st Round, 18th overall — Teuvo Teravainen (Jokerit – Finland)

Looking back

If there was an upside to Chicago’s disappointing season it’s that they could score goals plenty. They finished sixth in the league in goals for and had five players score 20 or more with a sixth player (Dave Bolland) end the year with 19. Patrick Sharp topped the team with 33 and survived a season that saw captain Jonathan Toews miss 23 games with injury. While Patrick Kane went through the motions, Marian Hossa had a huge year up until Raffi Torres took his head off in the playoffs.

Chicago’s main problems came in goal, however, thanks to a season filled with regression for starter Corey Crawford. His goals against average jumped by almost half a goal and his save percentage fell off 14 points compared to last season. Ray Emery was perfectly mediocre as his backup. While both guys saw spurts where they looked like they’d seize control of the starting job, they both turned out to be just average.

Looking forward

The Blackhawks bring back virtually the same team as last year. A fully healthy Toews and a more focused Kane can help pick up the offense even more. If Hossa can return to full speed after his massive concussion in the playoffs would be huge. Chicago still hasn’t figured out what to do about a No. 2 center, however. Even the Capitals found a way to address that issue finally.

On defense, things are strong as ever. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are studs while Nick Leddy brings hope he can become their permanent second pairing fixture. Chicago could use a bounce back season from Niklas Hjalmarsson, however, as the remainder of the blue line corps shapes up to be a slew of third-pairing guys. Maybe rookie Dylan Olsen can rise to the challenge.

Goal remains a major question mark with both Crawford and Emery returning. No wonder why the Blackhawks have been sniffing around at Roberto Luongo’s availability. The thought of him donning the black and red has been haunting Hawks fans all summer. On the upside, the rest of the Central Division saw big losses and have lots of questions. Staying pat might’ve been GM Stan Bowman’s best move.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Blackhawks’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

Blackhawks name Maciver assistant GM

Norm Maciver
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The Chicago Blackhawks knew they’d need a replacement after ex-assistant GM Marc Bergevin took the reins in Montreal.

It didn’t take long to find their guy.

Today, the ‘Hawks announced Director of Player Personnel Norm Maciver has been promoted to serve as GM Stan Bowman’s right-hand man. Maciver, 47, has been with the ‘Hawks for the last five years — prior to working with Chicago, he’d served as the assistant coach in Boston under bench boss Mike Sullivan.

“Norm has proven to be a valuable asset to our hockey operations over the past five years, so we are excited to be able to elevate him to this role,” Bowman said in a statement posted on the team website. “He has an excellent handle on the players within our organization, from recent draft picks to veterans, and a great eye for talent evaluating.”

A journeyman NHL blueliner (stops in New York, Hartford, Edmonton, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg and Phoenix), Maciver promises to have his hands full this summer.

The draft is just over a month away and the ‘Hawks have a number of free agent decisions to make. A number of veteran UFAs — Andrew Brunette, Brendan Morrison, Jamal Mayers, Sean O’Donnell, Sami Lepisto and Johnny Oduya — could be retained on the cheap or be jettisoned in favor of younger players on entry-level deals.

‘Hawks GM: Goaltending was “not our strength this year”

Corey Crawford

Stan Bowman admitted the obvious today when the Blackhawks’ general manager met with reporters to discuss his team’s second straight first-round elimination.

“Our goaltending in general was not our strength this year,” Bowman said, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame on [Corey Crawford]. You win as a team and you lose as a team. We need to be stronger defensively and that includes our team commitment to defense, not simply the goaltender and not simply the defensemen. It’s really a team concept.

“Individually, [Crawford] has to be better. He would agree on that. As a team we have to make a stronger commitment to playing fundamentally sound hockey without giving up on the offensive side.”

What Bowman plans to do about the goaltending is the big question. The Blackhawks have Crawford under contract through 2013-14 and they just re-signed backup Ray Emery for next season.

That said, both goalies account for less than $4 million in cap space, so there’s flexibility to make moves. Hey, we hear Roberto Luongo is available, and wouldn’t that be something. (Yeah, that’s not happening.)

Some other topics Bowman addressed:

—- Unlike Eddie Olczyk, he’s fine with Patrick Kane playing second-line center and doesn’t understand why there’s been so much talk about the position. “Not only did our team play well when he was in the middle, he played well.”

—- The power play (26th, 15.2%) has to get a lot better. “The results speak for themselves. A huge disappointment this year. The power play was unacceptable to have the caliber of players we do and not have it work.”

—- In a possibly related story, Bowman denied his relationship with coach Joel Quenneville was strained: “Obviously there was a challenge when we had the long losing streak — if anything we came together as a unit.” Bowman didn’t say this, but assuming Quenneville sticks around,  it’s extremely possible the guy in charge of the power play, assistant coach Mike Kitchen, won’t.

—- The Blackhawks haven’t decided which unrestricted free agents they’re going to bring back. All Bowman would say is, “We’re not going to bring everybody back.” Pending UFAs include Andrew Brunette, Brendon Morrison, Jamal Mayers and Johnny Oduya, the latter of which Bowman is “very interested in continuing to talk to his group about where he fits in with our team next year.”

Quenneville looks to fix slumping ‘Hawks PP, loads up No. 1 unit

Chicago Blackhawks v Phoenix Coyotes
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With all the dynamic firepower in the Chicago lineup, it makes little sense that the ‘Hawks finished at 15.2 percent this year — 26th in the NHL.

Armchair pundits have spent countless hours trying to solve the slumping man advantage, and one theory in particular always seems to get mentioned:

What if the ‘Hawks just loaded up the first unit?

Yesterday, Joel Quenneville got on board.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Quenneville stockpiled the No. 1 unit at Monday’s practice, with forwards Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews joining defenseman Brent Seabrook. Those players combined to score 27 of the Hawks’ 42 goals with a man advantage this season — the only real offensive threat not on the No. 1 unit was Duncan Keith.

The ‘Hawks realize that if they’re going to put some pucks past white-hot Coyotes goalie Mike Smith in the opening playoff round, they’ll need to do it with the man advantage. It’s likely that Sharp would play one of the points alongside Seabrook, allowing the trio of Toews-Kane-Hossa to do their thing down low.

“Having Jonathan back, it gives a new look,” said Hossa, who led Chicago with nine PPG this season. “We have to work hard and have somebody in front of the net otherwise it doesn’t matter who we have on the power play. It won’t work if you have a goalie like Smith in the net.

“We want to make sure we have traffic and keep shooting the puck maybe from the beginning.”

There have been times this season when Chicago deployed a more balanced approach when it came to the first and second units —  but that appears to have gone out the window. The second unit during Monday’s practice was forwards Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger and Andrew Brunette along with defensemen Duncan Keith and Johnny Oduya.