Fighting chance? Not in Blackhawks training camp
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Joel Quenneville played in the NHL back when feared enforcers were lurking on nearly every bench in every game, when haymakers were as much a part of the game as hooks and hip checks. As recently as last September, Quenneville felt compelled to add a fighter to his lineup after the Blackhawks traded Brandon Bollig to Calgary. Quenneville was eyeing the likes of Brandon Mashinter and Pierre-Cedric Labrie before the Blackhawks picked up Daniel Carcillo late in the preseason.
But even the most old-school members of the hockey community know the age of the one-dimensional enforcer is all but over. So while Labrie dropped the gloves at Monday’s training camp festival, it was far more important that he also scored a goal.
“It certainly changed to almost a whole different level last year,” Quenneville said. “It looked like the need for that type of player wasn’t there. When you saw a couple of fights in our [training camp] in Notre Dame, it’s like, I can’t remember the last time I saw a fight live. So I don’t know if that’s the way the game is now, whether the need is there. … Certainly, those guys, you need them. But you need to play. You’ve got to find a balance.”
With less than half the camp roster playing in Tuesday’s preseason opener against Detroit, Teuvo Teravainen was slotted on the second-line left wing, alongside Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. But Quenneville still has the second-year Finn slotted as a center this season. He’ll likely be in the middle of the third line, with Jonathan Toews and Anisimov locked in to the top two spots, and Marcus Kruger a mainstay on the shutdown fourth line.
“It’s all about being ready here,” Teravainen said. “You never know. Maybe sometimes [I’ll be] a center, sometimes a winger. I’m ready for whatever they want me to play.”
‘A’ for effort
Quenneville said it was a “no-brainer” to give Patrick Sharp’s alternate captaincy to Brent Seabrook, who’s always been the most vocal leader in the Hawks dressing room. Quenneville made the decision with his coaching staff. Toews, Sharp and Duncan Keith all had letters before Quenneville was hired in 2008.
“First one I’ve handed out, so it was special,” he said.
Quite an honour?
Mike Babcock has led Team Canada to two straight Olympic gold medals, but there has been some buzz building for Quenneville to lead Canada in the revamped World Cup of Hockey next year.
“It would be a great honor,” Quenneville said. “It’s a great environment. It would be competitive as heck. We were just talking about, potentially, how many players off our team will [represent] their countries. We’ll probably have … a lot of players that will be playing in that tournament. It’d definitely be a privilege and it’ll be a great event.”
Artemi Panarin will be out “a few days” after apparently aggravating an offseason upper-body injury. Quenneville said it wasn’t serious. … Kruger is expected to arrive in the United States as early as Wednesday after having some issues with his visa. … Defenseman Michal Rozsival, who fractured his ankle in April, has started some light skating. … The Hawks trimmed the camp roster to 59 by cutting Chicago native Roy Radke (a sixth-round pick this past June), Hayden McCool and Radovan Bondra.