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Huet responds to Khabibulin's play with super effort
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Blackhawks goalie Cristobal Huet makes a save against the Vancouver Canucks.


Associated Press

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Published: 10/20/2008 12:03 AM

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There is at least one thing new Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has in common with his predecessor, Denis Savard.

Quenneville also has called having both Nikolai Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet on the roster as his goalies a "healthy situation."

Huet showed why Sunday night as he answered the challenge of several strong games by Khabibulin by making 28 saves in the Hawks' 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center.

"Obviously, the way it is now, every time you have a chance to play, you have to take it and respond," Huet said. "Nik has been playing very well and for me it's important to play well myself to give the team a chance when I'm in."

It was Huet's first win with the Hawks after a few shaky outings.

"In the first period the guys played very well and I got a lot of outside shots that gave me confidence," Huet said. "It's good to have a game like that where you can settle down.

"It's good to have that one in the pocket and go from there."

Quenneville liked what he saw from Huet.

"It was a great response," Quenneville said. "Habby has played three real solid games in a row and Huet's been better and better every game. He was outstanding tonight. It's a nice situation where both goalies are giving us high-end performances and I think your team responds to that type of effort."

Hard and fast: The Hawks have done what Joel Quenneville has asked in their first two games with him behind the bench.

"It's still early for him and I think as he gets to know us on an individual basis he'll start implementing stuff," Patrick Sharp said. "He just wants us to play fast, play hard and trust our instincts out there. I think there's a lot of confidence in the room right now. Everyone's getting involved in the games, all four lines are rolling, and that helps us late in games."

First impressions: Joel Quenneville didn't hesitate when asked what strikes him most about his new team.

"One thing for sure is how young they are," Quenneville said. "I'm looking around the room at these guys and they're 24, 25, 21, 20, 22 - but it's good. That's what like. We're going to get better as we go along here. Our skill's going to get better. Our team play is going to improve."

Smith on board: Former defenseman Steve Smith is working for the Hawks in a capacity yet to be announced by the club. Smith watched Saturday's game in St. Louis with general manager Dale Tallon in the team box.