Cleat Geeks

The Blackhawks Backhand

icon_17604463Last week in a game against the Edmonton Oilers, forward Marcus Kruger suffered a wrist injury. The team announced that he underwent surgery to repair a dislocation of his left wrist the very next day and he will be out for the next four months. Kruger went into the boards hard during the second period of the Blackhawks’ 4-0 win over Edmonton last Thursday night. He skated off the ice in pain, went back to the locker room, and didn’t return. The Blackhawks recalled forward Phillip Danault to take his place on the roster.

Patrick Sharp pumping his fist in celebration and skating into the arms of Johnny Oduya to celebrate his goal. That’s something the Blackhawks had seen time and time again over the years. This time they were both wearing green and on the opposing team. The Blackhawks fell apart in the third period of the 4-0 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night. “It shouldn’t have been as deflating as it was,” Jonathan Toews said. “They just grabbed the momentum and never let us get it back. We didn’t do what 502305770_slidewe had to do to take it back, either.” To add salt to the wound, their other old friend Antti Niemi pitched a 20-save shutout, sending the Hawks into their four-day Christmas break on a sour note after they had won seven of nine. Neither team could break through in a fast paced first period, with the Hawks getting outshot 7-3, as Dallas blocked 10 attempts and killed two power plays. Then the Hawks had the first seven shots on goal of the second period, but the Stars got the next seven, including Jason Spezza’s power play goal. The Stars dominated in the third with Sharp scoring 11 seconds in and Colton Sceviour scoring on a deflection less than three minutes later. Coach Quenneville tried to focus on the positives as the team enters the holiday break. “We’ve had good stretches here,” Quenneville said. “Had a real busy stretch going into Tuesday’s game. These four days are going to help us.” The Blackhawks take on the Carolina Hurricanes Sunday night.

schmaltz-600-lockerBlackhawks prospect Nick Schmaltz will play for Team USA. Team USA named its final roster for the 2016 World Junior Championships on Wednesday morning and Schmaltz will represent his country in Finland. Schmaltz, whom the Blackhawks selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, currently plays hockey at the University of North Dakota (the same school where Jonathan Toews played). The Wisconsin native has three goals and 23 assists in 20 games for UND this season. There already has been a lot of speculation that he will sign an entry-level contract with the Blackhawks once his collegiate season is over. Team USA’s first game will take place on Saturday when they battle Canada in Helsinki. All U.S. games will be aired on NHL Network and puck drop for Saturday’s game will be at noon Central time.

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