Blackhawks notebook: Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury not missing a beat with Wild
Fleury has won both starts and invited a new bouquet-throwing tradition since his trade from the Hawks to the Wild.
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Blackhawks’ trade-deadline departures have experienced mixed success in their first couple of weeks with their new teams.
Wing Brandon Hagel, whom the Hawks will see Friday when they face the Lightning, has settled into a bottom-six role and has one point in six games so far. Center Ryan Carpenter was a healthy scratch in three of the Flames’ first four games after the trade and played only 8:55 in his one appearance entering Thursday.
But goalie Marc-Andre Fleury already has made his mark on the Wild, starting his tenure with them with two victories in his first two starts — stopping 23 of 25 shots against the Blue Jackets and 32 of 33 against the Flyers for a .948 save percentage.
Wild fans even have started an obvious new tradition that Penguins, Golden Knights and Hawks fans somehow overlooked: throwing flower bouquets onto the ice during Fleury’s ‘‘star of the game’’ laps. A single bouquet after his first victory turned into multiple bouquets — and a rose — for his second.
Vlasic in limbo
Young defenseman Alex Vlasic played two games with the Hawks after signing his entry-level contract, then started sitting out. He now has been a healthy scratch for five consecutive games.
Vlasic is eligible to be sent to the American Hockey League, CapFriendly confirmed Thursday. And though interim coach Derek King noted that decision rests with general manager Kyle Davidson, it sounds as though he would be in favor of it.
‘‘It’d be nice to see him play lots of minutes — more minutes than he’d get here — especially at that level,’’ King said.
One reservation the Hawks might have about sending Vlasic down is that Rockford’s six-man defensive corps is so well-established.
Despite all the competition among those guys — Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, Alec Regula, Jakub Galvas, Isaak Phillips and Wyatt Kalynuk — for the less-than-six NHL opportunities that lie ahead next season, Mitchell and Beaudin raved Wednesday about what a tight-knit group they’ve become.
‘‘You see a lot of really good defensemen, a lot of really good players,’’ Mitchell said. ‘‘It definitely pushes us all to be better. But at the same time, a lot of us have grown a really good friendship. We’re actually pretty tight, even though we are all competing for a limited number of spots.’’
When he was asked what he thinks separates the Hawks from the NHL’s upper-tier teams, King gave an honest assessment of his roster’s flaws.
‘‘Our guys, they work hard,’’ he said. ‘‘We compete. We are trying. We have a lack of older players. . . . We have young guys that are immature, still learning the game at this level, and it shows on the ice at times. It’s frustrating for some older guys.
‘‘As a group, we make mistakes. Whereas the top teams, when you watch them play, they don’t make too many mistakes. And if they do make a mistake, it’s ended then. It doesn’t snowball into two or three more mistakes. And that’s where we’re at.
‘‘We can compete with these teams, then we start making those mistakes later on in the game or in the second period, and that’s when we get beat up. It’s learning something we’re going to have to be better at, obviously, as we go on here [in] the final 15 games. And then whatever happens for next year, [hopefully] they continue to build on that.’’