2 more points for Blackhawks may have come with a stiff price

2 more points for Hawks may have come with a stiff price

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Another game and a few more records but this win may have come with some consequences.

The Chicago Blackhawks gutted out a 3-2 decision over the Colorado Avalanche to extend their point streak to 24 games. Ray Emery set a new NHL record becoming the first goaltender to win 10 straight starts to begin a season. Lastly, the Hawks set another franchise record with their 11th consecutive win.

Unfortunately for Blackhawk faithful there is some not so good news. Without having an official detailed description of the injuries I will attempt to connect the dots.

Marian Hossa was on the ice for the pregame warm-up but was a late scratch. The official announcement from the Hawks media department was Hossa had an upper body injury. Guessing what it could be is anywhere from the flu to a pulled muscle. Joel Quenneville did comment Hossa's injury was not serious, so my guess is he was taken ill.

Center Andrew Shaw, towards the end of the second period caught a big elbow to the jaw. Shaw delivered a check, which was probably a little late, and Peter Stastny came up with his elbow. Shaw fell to the ice and did not come back for the final period. According to post game comments from Quenneville, Shaw's injury is not considered serious.

The most serious Blackhawk injury appeared to happen to Patrick Sharp at around the 8-minute mark of the third period. Sharp was put into the boards hard by Av's defenseman Ryan O'Byrne. Initially the way Sharp went off the ice, hunched over, it seemed to be a collarbone or shoulder injury. After watching the replay a few times Sharp's head appeared to hit the glass very hard, so it could be a concussion. O'Byrne is a big customer who tips the scale at around 235 pounds and is 6'5" tall.

Quenneville's ominous comments about Sharp's condition were he could miss some time and we should know more Friday. The last part, about knowing more Friday, is my clue Sharp may have suffered a concussion. Usually when Coach Q. readily admits a player could miss some time, the injury is more serious in nature. Plus concussions are often determined over a period of time.

This wasn't a picture book win, the Avalanche was determined throughout and the Hawks looked a little slow and careless at times.

The teams were tied after the opening frame but Colorado had the better of play. Emery made some good stops or otherwise the Hawks could have been trailing. Emery stood tall for most of the game despite allowing a goal he should have saved by the skilful Matt Duchene.

It was after the second Colorado tally the Hawks found some urgency.

Jonathan Toews scored a big shorthanded goal on a nice individual effort, but he did have some help. Dave Bolland should get two assists on the Toews marker. One assist for delivering the puck to Toews, and the other for hooking the stick out of the hands of Jamie McGinn who was trying to backcheck and stop the scoring threat. It was a typical Bolland move, sly and not seen by the officials. With McGinn without a stick, Toews was able to take his time and tuck the puck past Semyon Varlamov, who had a strong outing.

Because of all of the injuries, Quenneville had to juggle lines and he came up with an unlikely combination.

The game-winning goal came with less than a minute to go in regulation. The play was started with a give-and-go from Viktor Stalberg to Marcus Kruger who fought off a check to make a very nice pass. Stalberg's shot was saved but the puck came out to Daniel Carcillo who swatted it through Varlamov for the game winner.

Give the Avalanche credit for offering a stiff challenge but once again the Blackhawks found a way to win. It should be noted the Chicago goals came about because of determination.

Shaw set a fine screen and made a nice deflection, Toews worked hard to get to the net and then used his skill. The game winner came about because of a strong forecheck and hard work along the boards. Also because two Hawk players went to the net. That's the way goals are scored in the NHL by top teams, from hard work, guts and determination.

As the season rolls by the half way mark there is no need for a midterm report card. What remains to be seen is how long the same consistent effective play can continue. As Toews remarked in post game comments the players are looking for a special end to this season.

It would be better if we didn't have to guess so much about the extent of injuries.

It is understandable for the player's protection there would be times a team would not be as forthcoming about the details of an injury. Maybe, in the not too distant future the outlook for a player suffering a head injury could be disclosed more fully.

The NHL is still very much a league driven by gate receipts.

It would be respectful if the paying customer, who is the lifeblood of the league, was clued in as to how long it is suspected his favorite player will be out of the lineup. It would also be good if some details of head injuries in particular, would be disclosed in English and not by way of guessing to decipher a secret code.

The Blackhawks have been fortunate the injury bug hasn't bitten hard up until Wednesday night. As it is, the return of Hossa and Shaw into the lineup for Friday's game in Colorado seems possible. The Av's will come up with an even better effort on home ice as they need to record a win badly.

There is only so much depth a team can have. When key members go out at the same time losses often pile up. As they say injuries are the great equalizer and we may soon see how the Blackhawks handle adversity.

Al's Shot's

Patrick Kane is human and last night for much of the game he appeared frustrated and was dragging a bit on the ice.

The second Colorado goal came after a big save on Sharp and Kane was the last forward into the zone trying to catch the play. He wasn't in position to get a rebound and then was the last forward back trying to catch the Av's who ended up scoring a goal.

The Blackhawks have had success because their team defense has been great. A goal like the Av's scored Wednesday night has seldom happened this year. That's a credit to the Hawks but it is harder to dig deep when fatigue sets in.

Over the last few games the Hawks appear to be a little off, possibly physical or mental fatigue could be setting in. To their credit they fight through it and find a way as the NHL season is a tough and grueling battle.

Niklas Hjalmarsson and Nick Leddy shined versus Colorado.

Almost every game has had a different hero and Wednesday night it was Carcillo.

After the demotion of Brandon Bollig back to Rockford Wednesday because Steve Montador has been cleared to play, many feel Carcillo is the Hawks weakest link. I won't debate that point but I don't see Carcillo going anywhere.

No doubt Carcillo is a character, this quote supplied by Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune is a beauty.

After the game Kuc asked about the team going half the season without a loss and Carcillo responded by saying, "It's not normal, that's for sure."

It is a classic quote by Carcillo, as many feel the same way about him.

I will be back on Saturday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia

Quenneville's comments were taken from Chicago Blackhawks.com

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