The Blackhawks are Christian Ehrhoff’s fourth NHL team in less than two years, and his sixth overall. But just because he’s used to adapting to a new team’s systems, coaches and players, that doesn’t make it any easier.
“No, it doesn’t really get easier,” he said. “It’s the same thing. You’ve got to know the guys and the staff, and it takes a little while. But this is a great team and a great group of guys, and they made me feel welcome from the start.”
So far, the transition has been pretty smooth, as Ehrhoff played well in his first two games with the Hawks. But he’s hardly got a spot in the lineup locked up, and he was a healthy scratch on Sunday against Detroit as Joel Quenneville put Michal Rozsival back in. The veteran Ehrhoff is competing with Rozsival and possibly rookie Erik Gustafsson for a regular spot in the lineup when the playoffs begin in about a month.
Ehrhoff played alongside Trevor van Riemsdyk in both Detroit and Boston, and he wasn’t hesitant to show off the offensive skills that made him a premier player in San Jose and Vancouver in the late 2000s. He had seven shots on goal in the two games, and had an assist in the loss to the Bruins.
The 33-year-old German didn’t work out in Los Angeles this season, but feels he’s a better fit in Chicago.
“The system, I think, is complementary to my game,” Ehrhoff said. “I just went out there and played the first couple of games, and it was a good start for me.”
Many players, particularly centers and defensemen, have struggled early on with the Hawks’ quick-thinking, puck-moving style of play. But Ehrhoff thinks he’ll get the hang of it quickly. With less than five weeks to win over Quenneville, he’ll need to.
“The system is definitely different, and there are things that I have to adjust to and pick up along the way,” he said. “It’ll be a work in progress, but that’ll come along the way.”