Blackhawks jolted into laser focus on power play
Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson wants to work on the team's penalty kill. That has been established, and it's been an important story this preseason.
Everyone always seems to focus on the power play, but the Hawks plan to hone in on their kill.
But, so far -- remember this is preseason and the team is still making cuts from camp -- the Blackhawks are 1-15 on the power play. They've also allowed 2 short-handed goals.
Maybe it's been a bit neglected, but the team is still figuring out who is going where and on what line. Still, it's worth looking at.
Five players Wednesday morning made sure to do so.
Though it's not set in stone yet who will be filling out that first power play unit, the group out there Wednesday was snapping the puck with confidence.
"(We're) kind of getting everything in order," Tyler Johnson said. "So it's one of those things that as a power play, you want to get all your plays down, so that when you're out there, you're not thinking too much. You're just kind of reacting and doing what you need to do, so it's something we just gotta keep building on."
Johnson was out there with Jonathan Toews, Andreas Athanasiou, Max Domi and Seth Jones at the point. There was no defense in front of them, but there was an empty zone of ice after practice, so the five players took the time to get together.
"You have to know all your options and know your plays and know where you want guys to be," Johnson said. "And everyone's got to be on the same page. And then you can start adding some guys in, (add) some pressure, and then that's when we can make some reads and plays."
Jones said Toews was leading the way, making sure everyone was on the same page, or at least in the same book. And while it certainly is not an indication of who will be out there on the first power play unit, maybe some power play preparation will culminate into some success on Thursday night's preseason game against the Wild.
Defenseman Connor Murphy, who had missed several practices with back tightness, was on the ice Wednesday before practice in a noncontact jersey.
"I think Murph is ramping up and feeling better," Richardson said, "but still had some lower-back tightness over the last few days, so I'm hoping he gets into a practice in the next day or two."
Joining Murphy was Paul Ludwinski (concussion), who Richardson says is waiting to be cleared for any contact or practice.