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Blackhawks' GM Tallon: I'll listen to any offer
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/13/2008 4:07 PM

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It's obvious 14 games into the season, with their record at 7-3-4, that the Blackhawks' strength lies in their goaltending.

But general manager Dale Tallon didn't rule anything out Thursday, even trading Nikolai Khabibulin or Cristobal Huet if it meant improving the team going forward.

"I'm not going to mess with a successful situation right now, but they're assets, and we have great assets (in goalies Antti Niemi and Corey Crawford) in Rockford as well," Tallon said. "We'll listen to anything that comes our way that makes sense for the future of our franchise.

"There are always needs. We obviously are looking at everything possible to make us a better team without disrupting our core and what we have going right now."

Tallon didn't deny he has stepped up his efforts to find an experienced center to play on the second line, an acquisition that would allow Patrick Sharp to go back to wing.

"He's done a great job (at center), but he also did a great job at the wing," Tallon said of Sharp. "Our team is playing very well right now so you don't want to mess with it too much, but we also want to make sure that we're ready to make a move when we're in the heat of the battle as far as the playoff picture."

Tallon said he has talked to the agents for veteran free agents Mats Sundin and Brendan Shanahan, but it seems unlikely either one of them has serious interest in coming to Chicago.

Tossing and turning: Patrick Sharp lost some sleep Wednesday night after failing to score on a penalty shot in overtime that would have given the Hawks a win over Boston.

"It's upsetting," Sharp said. "That's a situation you want to be in and I'd like to have it again. That's the perfect opportunity to score and win the game for your team. There were a lot of things running through my mind at the wrong time and it didn't happen."

Sharp tried to beat Bruins goalie Tim Thomas through the five hole, but Thomas got the paddle of his stick down between his pads in time.

"It just came off my stick funny and it stayed on the ice," Sharp said. "If it was up a little bit more, I think it would have went in. But give him credit. He made the save."

Sharp, incidentally, won the shootout drill in Thursday's practice, scoring three times.

"That's something I was shaking my head at even as I was doing it," Sharp said. "I don't know why I can do it in practice. It's all about feeling comfortable coming down the ice."

Pay the man: The Hawks were expected to be fined by the NHL for Wednesday's jersey retirement ceremony for Pierre Pilote and Keith Magnuson running 12 minutes too long and delaying the start of the game.

Puck drop was supposed to be 7:48 p.m., but the game didn't begin until 8 p.m.

The fine could be as much as $10,000 a minute, according to a Hawks source. The Hawks also were fined by the league last season when the welcoming back ceremony for Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita ran long.

The Hawks asked to start Wednesday's ceremony earlier, but the Bruins objected.

Tip-ins: Coach Joel Quenneville missed practice Thursday to be in Denver for a court date stemming from his DUI charge from last summer. ... Martin Havlat didn't practice in order to rest a sore groin. ... Nikolai Khabibulin starts in goal Friday night against St. Louis, which means Cristobal Huet likely will get the call on Sunday when San Jose visits the United Center.