CHICAGO – Don’t expect any major moves for the Chicago Blackhawks ahead of Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline.
General manager Stan Bowman likes his team very much.
Speaking before Saturday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field, Bowman indicated he’s ready to move forward with the current group of Blackhawks as they try for a second consecutive Stanley Cup title and third in five seasons.
“We’ve got a great group here,” he said. “Lot of chemistry with our guys. We’re focused on just going ahead and getting back on the ice.”
The Blackhawks began the day with a 35-12-14 record, good for 84 points and a tie with St. Louis for second in the Western Conference behind Anaheim. The Blues made a big trade on Friday, acquiring goaltender Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott in a deal with Buffalo, but Bowman said that doesn’t affect the Blackhawks’ thinking.
“We’re trying not to be a reactionary team because I think we have to do what we do well and focus on our own preparation,” he said. “You’re certainly aware of what other teams do, and you have to be respectful and prepared when you play those teams, but I don’t think it makes sense to just do something because another team did a move. Like if they hadn’t made a move, it wouldn’t have changed our approach.”
Bowman also highlighted three trades that Chicago made earlier in the season. The Blackhawks re-acquired Kris Versteeg in November, and then added goaltending depth when they traded for Jason LaBarbera in December. They acquired forwards Peter Regin and Pierre-Marc Bouchard in a trade with the New York Islanders on Feb. 6.
“We made our big move back in November,” Bowman said. “We did that intentionally to try to get a player in for a longer period of time.”
But the Blackhawks still have an issue at second-line centre, which has been a revolving door all season long. Regin, who had been occupying the spot on Patrick Kane’s line of late, was scratched against the Penguins.
One player who might be able to help in that spot is top prospect Teuvo Teravainen, who helped Finland win the world junior hockey title in January. The 19-year-old forward is playing for a professional team in his home country and could come over when its season ends.
“There is still some logistical things with him because the team’s still playing,” Bowman said. “When their season finishes, he’s in the mix to play on the national team for the World Championships. But I guess hypothetically if he’s free and clear to come over, we’d certainly bring him over.”
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap