Blackhawks Post-Olympic Update: Niemi Number One in Net, Burish Back Soon?

If the Blackhawks are going to make a move for a goalie, specifically Florida’s Tomas Vokoun, the Hawks are certainly playing their best poker faces right now. On Thursday the team practiced without the six players that have games remaining in the Olympics, and coach Joel Quenneville was asked about his goalie situation when he met the media. 

“During the course of the season somebody is going to get the net and get the opportunity to keep it,” Quenneville said. “That was the chance and (Niemi) took it and he’s got it. Based on him winning, it’s tough to change the goalie in that situation.”

Does that sound like a coach preparing for a major trade? Maybe not, but Quenneville has been in the NHL long enough to know how to handle the media, and his locker room.

“We’ll announce our goalie going into the Islander game and go from there, but we won some games and I don’t like usually bucking that trend,” Quenneville added.

One trend Quenneville will have to deal with, whether a trade is made or not, is the playing time he’s giving his forwards. Adam Burish skated with the team on Thursday and indicated that he is targeting the Sunday, March 7 home game against the Detroit Red Wings for his return. Ben Eager also skated on Thursday, creating a more crowded roster from which Quenneville has to choose is lineup each night.

A candidate to possibly see some time in the the suite before the break was Tomas Kopecky. He is tied with Dustin Byfuglien for the worst plus-minus on the roster (-6) and has only contributed 12 points (4 G, 8 A) this season. However, Kopecky has played very well in the Olympics for Slovakia, and his game-winning goal that put Slovakia in the medal rounds for the first time ever should put his confidence at an all-time high.

As the Olympics continue Friday night, the trade rumors will undoubtedly pick up. If, and where, the Blackhawks make a move could be one of the dominoes that lead to other deals all over the NHL, so we’ll be sure to stay on top of the situation.

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