WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Marko Dano doesn’t feel like the Blackhawks gave up on him. Or the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“I don’t know if they traded me because I was a bad player,” Dano said. “I feel they got good players in the trades for me.”
Columbus received Brandon Saad in the trade that sent Dano to Chicago. And the Hawks received Andrew Ladd for the stretch run in the trade that sent him to his current team, the Winnipeg Jets. And while he harbors no ill will toward his old team, he’s still looking forward to Tuesday night’s matchup with the Hawks — especially now that his old Rockford teammates Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza have cracked the lineup.
“Maybe a little extra motivation to play against old teammates,” said Dano, who twice played the Hawks after the trade deadline last spring. “There’s a lot of chirping against each other. I know those guys. I was living with [Hartman] in Rockford, so its’ going to be a fun game.”
Dano said he doesn’t try to think how things might have been different had the Hawks held on to him. With so many young guys on the roster this season, Dano surely would have been in the mix for a regular spot in the lineup. Instead, he started the season in the minor leagues before a couple of injuries forced the Jets to call him back up. In seven games, he has three goals and an assist, and spent the last two games on the top line with the league’s leading point-scorer Mark Scheifele, and the league’s leading goal-scorer, rookie Patrik Laine.
“I don’t want to that about [what might have been],” Dano said. “I’m here and trying to do my best here, and I’m not thinking what could be if I would be in Chicago. That’s in the past. I had a good time there and now I’ve just got to move on. … This is the last year of my contract. I’m trying to do my best now and we’ll see how it goes at the end of the season.”
Circus leaves town
As much of a burden as the circus trip seems, it’s been good to the Hawks, who are 14-3-2 in the last three, and 25-9-3 since 2009. But nobody seemed to upset to hear that this will be the final circus trip, as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will not return to the United Center.
“I guess that’s nice for us that we don’t have to go on a long trip,” Patrick Kane said. “It’s always been a good trip for us. We’ve done well on the ice, and it seems like we’ve come together off the ice on these trips. When you say it’s the last one, it’s kind of sad, but at the same time, sometimes being away from home for 14, 15 days kind of wears on you. I guess we’ll enjoy the last one while it’s here.”
Nick Schmaltz crashed hard into the boards during Tuesday’s morning skate and left the ice in obvious pain, but still played in the game. Joel Quenneville said Tyler Motte (lower-body injury) and Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body) both could “potentially” rejoin the team at some point on the trip. Ryan Hartman was out of the lineup, with Jordin Tootoo back in.