Brandon Mashinter

AP

The Blackhawks’ opening-day roster appears to be set

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After a ton of preseason intrigue, it looks like the Chicago Blackhawks have finalized their forward lines for Wednesday’s regular-season opener versus the Blues at United Center.

Via the Blackhawks’ Twitter account:

Richard PanikJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa
Artemi PanarinArtem AnisimovPatrick Kane
Tyler MotteMarcus KrugerRyan Hartman
Vince Hinostroza — Nick SchmaltzJordin Tootoo

Of note:
— Hossa on the first line. There was talk he might get knocked down to the third line, but the 37-year-old hasn’t been usurped yet. Meanwhile, youngster Alexandre Fortin has been returned to his junior club.
— Coach Q is keeping the Panarin-Anisimov-Kane line together after some preseason experimenting with them apart.
— Plenty of youth and talent (and inexperience) in the bottom six with Motte, Hartman, Hinostroza, and Schmaltz. Veteran winger Andrew Desjardins is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a lower-body injury and has been placed on injured reserve.
— Dennis Rasmussen looks to be the extra forward. Brandon Mashinter and Mark McNeill were placed on waivers today.

As for the defense, young Gustav Forsling is expected to play against the Blues. Remember that Niklas Hjalmarsson will miss that game due to a suspension. Veteran Michal Rozsival is expected to be a healthy scratch, leaving the following pairs:

Duncan KeithTrevor van Riemsdyk
Gustav Forsling — Brian Campbell
Michal KempnyBrent Seabrook

‘Hawks re-sign Rozsival, Mashinter

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Chicago re-upped with a pair of pending free agents ahead of tomorrow’s frenzy — veteran blueliner Michal Rozsival and big forward Brandon Mashinter have agreed to one-year extension, the club announced.

Per ESPN, Rozsival’s deal is worth $600,000 and Mashinter’s is $575,000.

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Mashinter, 27, recently completed his first season with the Blackhawks, scoring four goals and adding one assist in 41 games. He netted his first career NHL goal on Dec. 13, 2015, vs. VAN and made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut with the Blackhawks in 2016, appearing in two games.

Rozsival, 37, recently completed his 15th NHL season and his fourth with the Blackhawks. Last season, Rozsival scored one goal and added 12 assists in 51 games played. During his four-year tenure with Chicago, he has totaled 46 points (3G, 43A). A member of the 2013 and 2015 Stanley Cup Championship teams, the defenseman has played in 54 Stanley Cup Playoffs games with Chicago, scoring one goal and notching 10 assists.

The more notable of the two is Rozsival who, at the time of writing, projects to be battling for a bottom pairing spot on Chicago’s blueline next season. He’ll likely be up against the likes of Erik Gustafsson and Viktor Svedberg, both of whom are notably younger. Gustafsson is 24, Svedberg is 25… and Rozsival will turn 38 in September.

This is the reality for Chicago in the salary cap world, however. It’s feasible that Mashinter — all 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds of him — could be in line for an even bigger role next season, now that Andrew Shaw is gone.

Coach Q juggles the lines, hoping ‘a different look’ can help slumping ‘Hawks

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Monday’s 5-0 loss to the Kings means new lines for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dramatically new lines.

‘Hawks coach Joel Quenneville — in search of more “balance” and “defensive responsibility” and “consistency in the four-line rotation” — put his former combinations in the blender, hit puree and came out with the following for tonight’s home game against the surging Flyers:

Tomas Fleischmann — Jonathan ToewsPatrick Kane
Artemi Panarin — Artem AnisimovMarian Hossa
Andrew Ladd — Teuvo Teravainen — Andrew Shaw
Brandon MashinterAndrew DesjardinsDale Weise

Most notably, the trio of Panarin, Anisimov and Kane has been broken up for the time being.

“The one line’s been together all year and there was probably never a need to change it,” Quenneville said, per CSN Chicago. “But I feel right now that a different look can help everyone and give us more balance throughout the lineup.”

Also notable, the trio of Ladd, Toews, and Hossa — a combination the ‘Hawks were hoping would find some chemistry — has been split onto three different lines.

The ‘Hawks are 1-3-1 in their last five and 9-10-2 in their last 21. With 12 games remaining before the playoffs, there’s no need to panic, but there is need for improvement.

“Juggling the lines here, hopefully we can find some chemistry and get that going,” said Shaw. “We just have to get out of this little slump we’re in and push forward.”

‘Hawks beat Wings for the second time in four days

Associated Press
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CHICAGO (AP) The special teams were quite special once again. Patrick Kane got the Chicago Blackhawks off to a fast start, and Corey Crawford stepped up when they struggled in the second period.

Not a bad little tuneup for a crucial two-game trip.

Kane scored his 38th goal on the first shot of the game and Crawford made 33 saves, helping the Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Sunday.

“That was another fast game against them,” Crawford said. “They’ve got a lot of speed. I thought we got better as the game went on. A big kill to start the third, and some big insurance goals after that.”

Artem Anisimov and Duncan Keith each had a power-play goal as Chicago won for the third time in four games, including a 5-2 victory at Detroit on Wednesday. The Blackhawks went 2 for 3 with the man advantage and have at least one power-play goal in each of their last four games.

Next up for the Stanley Cup champions is St. Louis on Wednesday night, and then a visit to Dallas on Friday night. The Blackhawks (41-21-5) and Stars are on top of the Western Conference with 87 points apiece, and the Blues also are in the mix for the Central Division title.

“We’ve got a lot of division games coming up,” said captain Jonathan Toews, who tacked on his 24th goal in the third. “Those aren’t going to be easy ones. It’ll be good preparation for the end of the year. We don’t want to look too far ahead.”

The season-high crowd of 22,247 had just started its usual derisive Detroit chant when Kane skated up the right side and beat Petr Mrazek with a wrist shot under the goaltender’s glove just 21 seconds into the game. Kane’s eighth goal in his last 13 games ran his NHL-best point total to a career-high 89.

The Red Wings (32-22-11) played without center Pavel Datsyuk, who was scratched due to an illness. Datsyuk has 13 goals and 23 assists in 49 games.

Mrazek also allowed Keith’s ninth goal before he was replaced by Jimmy Howard at 6:19 of the first. Howard finished with 19 saves.

“I didn’t think the first goal was one that should have went in,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s one that Petr normally has and so then you’re kind of down right away. The second goal was one that might have been unfortunate a little bit, but it went in nonetheless. Then the next thing you know you’re down 2-0 right away.

“You have to change momentum in the game and that’s why we made that decision.

The goaltender change sparked Detroit for a while. Gustav Nyquist‘s 16th goal trimmed Chicago’s lead to 2-1 at 8:34 of the opening period, and the Red Wings outshot the Blackhawks 13-3 in the second.

With Toews in the box for slashing, Crawford made a terrific kick save on rookie Dylan Larkin early in the third. The Red Wings went 0 for 3 on the power play.

“I think it really comes down to special teams,” Nyquist said. “They scored two and we don’t score any, so that’s the game right there.”

Crawford also made a great stop on Tomas Tatar at 3:53 before the Blackhawks put it away. Anisimov was parked in front when he tipped Artemi Panarin‘s shot past Howard for his 19th goal. Toews added another goalmouth tip-in for a 4-1 lead at 12:23.

NOTES: Blackhawks F Marian Hossa (lower body) is expected to travel with the team for Wednesday’s game at St. Louis. Hossa has been out since he was hit on his lower left leg in the second period of an overtime loss to Anaheim on Feb. 13. … Red Wings C Brad Richards got a standing ovation when he was recognized on the overhead videoboard during the first period in his return to Chicago after helping the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup last season. He acknowledged the cheers with a wave. … Blackhawks F Brandon Mashinter was scratched due to an illness. … Musician and actress Lady Gaga and her fiance, actor Taylor Kinney, got a big ovation when they smooched when they were shown on the videoboard during the “Kiss Cam” segment in the second period.

 

Quenneville says NHL disagreed with overturned goal call

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Perhaps Joel Quenneville was right to storm out of Tuesday’s press conference after expressing frustration with a disallowed goal.

On Thursday, Quenneville told reporters the NHL didn’t agree with the call made during Chicago’s 2-0 loss to San Jose — a decision in which Brandon Mashinter’s tally was wiped out, after officials judged Dennis Rasmussen had interfered with Martin Jones.

Mashinter’s disallowed goal came just days after Chicago was on the wrong end of another overturned marker. Last Thursday the ‘Hawks had one during an eventual win over Arizona, a call that sent Quenneville into histrionics on the bench.

Coach Q said storming out of Tuesday’s postgame presser was a culmination of calls going against his club, adding that the league provided a more detailed explanation of how and why these decisions are being made.

“I just think, we had a couple of occurrences in a short amount of time so obviously a little frustration there,” Quenneville said, per ESPN. “But we did speak to the league and got some [clarification] on the play.

“I just think there’s education across the board and you have a lot of people in the middle of the process making the decisions. As long as we’re getting right is what we’re looking for.”