Anthony Duclair getting the opportunity he hoped for with Blackhawks
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Winger Anthony Duclair wanted out because he wanted a chance. A healthy scratch 10 times in 43 games with the Coyotes this season and sometimes playing only 10 or 11 minutes a night, Duclair requested a trade because he wanted a better opportunity.
Duclair returned to the desert with the Blackhawks on Monday on a line with captain Jonathan Toews for the ninth consecutive game. How’s that for an opportunity?
‘‘Just getting this opportunity is awesome,’’ Duclair said. ‘‘Playing with a guy like Jonathan Toews, I don’t think it gets any better than that. Just getting this opportunity has been great. Obviously, we’ve been struggling a little bit. But to get some ice time and get some confidence going, it’s huge for me.’’
Duclair had two goals and three assists in his first 12 games with the Hawks, including a three-point game Jan. 25 against the Red Wings. He has been as advertised — very fast but in need of some work in the finishing department.
There were rumblings about Duclair’s lack of work ethic with the Coyotes, but coach Joel Quenneville has been happy with his effort. What Quenneville wants to see next is more consistency in Duclair’s two-way game, a must when playing on Toews’ line because he usually draws the toughest defensive assignments.
‘‘His work’s been fine,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘As a team, we can all be more competitive. We can all add another level, whether it’s in the hard puck areas, at the net. We can be greasier in a lot of places. He’s one of many.’’
A change of scenery hasn’t done much to snap winger Richard Panik out of his months-long funk. He hadn’t scored in his first 12 games with the Coyotes since the Hawks dealt him for Duclair, but he did have four assists.
Panik declined to talk with reporters, but former Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said he has been a good addition.
‘‘He’s been playing really well,’’ Hjalmarsson said. ‘‘It’s nice to have a familiar face, too.’’
Hjalmarsson has had a difficult first season with the Coyotes, missing 26 games to injury. He has no goals and five assists and is a minus-8 in 29 games. Asked to assess his season so far, Hjalmarsson didn’t hesitate.
‘‘It’s not been very good, I can say that,’’ he said. ‘‘The injuries haven’t really helped me to find a rhythm, either. But I feel like I can play better than I’ve been doing.’’
Forwards Ryan Hartman and Patrick Sharp and defenseman Michal Kempny were healthy scratches. Winger Tomas Jurco returned to the lineup, and defenseman Carl Dahlstrom played in his second consecutive game.
Quenneville praised Dahlstrom’s debut outing Saturday against the Wild.
‘‘I liked him; he had a good game,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘Solid. Simple.’’
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