Defenseman Carl Dahlstrom excited, nervous for his Blackhawks debut
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Near the tail end of Saturday’s morning skate, Carl Dahlstrom wound up for a big one-timer from the left point but lost an edge, flopping to the ice comically as he whiffed on the shot. Heck of a way to make a first impression on your new teammates, who were laughing almost as much as Dahlstrom was.
“Takes the pressure off,” Dahlstrom said with a grin. “Now I’ve done it.”
Dahlstrom, a 23-year-old Swedish defenseman who was the Blackhawks’ second-round pick in the 2013 draft, will make his NHL debut Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild. He’ll be paired with Connor Murphy. And despite a strong second season in Rockford — he had three goals and 20 assists in 47 games, and was a plus-14 on a middling IceHogs team — he fully expected to deal with some first-game jitters.
“I think any guy would be for his first call-up, his first game,” Dahlstrom said. “That’s natural. I think you’d be stupid if you weren’t nervous. I think it’s good to admit it, too.”
Dahlstrom was at the movies watching Maze Runner: The Death Cure with a few IceHogs teammates when he got the call that he was being brought up to the Hawks (he waited until after the movie was over to check his messages).
As for his on-ice play, Dahlstrom said he uses his skating ability to keep a good gap, and while he’s not very physical, he can still break up a lot of plays.
“I got a whole other level of confidence [this season],” he said. “The whole [Rockford] team has been better this year. We’ve got a lot of young guys, a lot of skill, a lot of speed. And that makes it a lot easier for us ‘D’s to step up and break up plays and do the stuff that I know the Blackhawks want me to do.”
The Hawks might be on the downswing, but season-ticket prices are going up by an average of four percent next season. Most of the increases affect the already super-expensive seats in the 100 level (glass seats are up from $500 to $575 per game, while standing-room only tickets are down from $50 to $30).
Patrick Sharp was a healthy scratch for the fifth time in the last seven games, and the eighth time this season.
“Everybody wants to play,” Joel Quenneville said when asked how Sharp was handling it. “No matter what position you are, or whether you’re experienced, everybody wants more minutes — quality minutes. That’s the competitiveness of our business.”
Follow me on Twitter @MarkLazerus