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Hawks appear to be looking for center
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/16/2009 12:08 AM

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After taking a few hard tumbles into the boards Friday against Toronto, Kris Versteeg was held out of Sunday's 4-3 win over San Jose at the United Center.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville doesn't expect Versteeg to be sidelined very long with an upper-body injury.

"We think it's very short term," Quenneville said. "We hope that he'll be skating when we practice on Tuesday."

Andrew Ebbett, on the other hand, was a healthy scratch, further fueling speculation that the Hawks are looking to acquire a second-line center to replace the injured Dave Bolland.

Ebbett was scratched after getting only eight minutes of ice time against the Maple Leafs.

Tomas Kopecky was at center Sunday on a line with Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Eager but played only 10 minutes.

Patrick Sharp also got some shifts at center as the game progressed.

Quenneville had Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane back together as linemates for the first time this season for extended minutes.

"It doesn't take long for us to get going again once we are thrown out on the same line," said Toews, who set up Kane's second-period goal.

Defenseman Jordan Hendry took Ebbett's lineup spot, playing wing on the fourth line, while winger Bryan Bickell was recalled from Rockford and skated on the fourth line with Hendry and Colin Fraser.

Bickell played a strong 12 minutes and was plus-2 with 3 shots on goal.

Good news? Pierre LeBrun reported on Hockey Night in Canada and that the Hawks are getting closer to signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to multiyear contract extensions.

The news comes as no surprise since agent Pat Brisson, who represents Toews and Kane, has been negotiating with Hawks general manager Stan Bowman for more than two months.

Toews and Kane would be restricted free agents after the season, meaning the Hawks would have the right to match any potential offer sheet.

Once the Hawks have Toews and Kane in the fold, Bowman can zero in on signing Duncan Keith before he becomes a restricted free agent.

Roenick speechless: It was a nice pregame ceremony honoring Jeremy Roenick on Sunday.

There was a video tribute, a loud ovation, and Roenick dropped the first puck. But on the night he was being welcomed back for the first time since he left in 1996, it was too bad Roenick wasn't allowed to say a few words to the fans who adored him.

He did get to say thanks via video in the third period.

Chris Chelios was on hand for the occasion, watching the game with Roenick from a suite.

Tip-ins: With their six-game circus road trip beginning this week, the Hawks won't play at the United Center again until Dec. 1 against Columbus. - Ben Eager's second-period fight with Douglas Murray was his first of the season in his sixth game.