CHICAGO – Daniel Carcillo is ready to stir it up in Chicago.
The Blackhawks signed Carcillo, one of the NHL’s best-known agitators, to a one-year US$775,000 free-agent contract July 1. The 26-year-old forward was introduced to media Monday, along with fellow free-agent acquisition Andrew Brunette.
After winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, the Blackhawks often lacked assertiveness and fire last season, limping into the playoffs on the last day of the season.
“I think the team lost some of their grit,” said Carcillo, who will miss the first two games this season after confronting officials during the playoffs with the Philadelphia Flyers.
“The way I play, it’s tough to stay out of the principal’s office. I’m going to miss a few games every year,” he said. “But I know what to do and what not to do. I know when to fight and I know when not to fight. I can sense when guys need a pick-me-up with a hit or to turn the energy in a game.”
Carcillo, who played for Philadelphia in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals against Chicago, already is considering tactics for Vancouver, the Blackhawks’ most bitter rival. The Canucks eliminated Chicago in a seven-game opening-round playoff series last April.
“I watched that series,” Carcillo said. “I’m actually pretty excited to play them because there are a few guys who played a little bit outside of their shoes. I think I can keep most of those guys in check when we play them this year.”
Carcillo, Jamal Mayers and Steve Montador—a solid defenceman—all are expected to add toughness to keep opponents off-balance.
And Brunette will provide a stable veteran presence for a young Chicago team.
The 37-year-old is expected to play on one of the Blackhawks’ top two lines with stars such as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. He said he’ll be able to mesh with the Blackhawks’ top offensive producers even though he’s not the league’s fastest skater.
“You don’t have to have the best speed to be able to get in place to score,” Brunette said. “The one good thing for me is it’s tough to lose a step as you get older if you never really had it.”
The move also has reunited him with Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville
Brunette had 18 goals and 26 assists with Minnesota last season but enjoyed his most productive offensive run under Quenneville in Colorado from 2005 to 2008.
“It will be a nice change to be back with Joel,” said Brunette, who signed a two-year deal that pays $2 million annually. “I had some of the best years of my career in Colorado.”