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Hawks cut rookie Morin as team gets set for opener
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Blackhawks winger Jeremy Morin, here taking a shot at St. Louis Blues' goalie Jaroslav Halak, has been sent to Rockford to start the season.


Associated Press

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Published: 10/4/2010 4:30 PM | Updated: 10/4/2010 4:33 PM

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The Blackhawks promise they will be ready when the puck drops for real Thursday at Colorado.

Other than losing defenseman Brian Campbell for at least a month with a sprained right knee, the Hawks made it through the preseason mostly healthy and now have two days of practice to crank it up for the Avalanche on Thursday and the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in the home opener to start the regular season.

"We just need to be in that setting when it will be a little bit easier to motivate ourselves to play good hockey and get this thing going," captain Jonathan Toews said. "We're all looking forward to that. Everyone is ready."

The Hawks tied up one loose end with regard to the roster on Monday by assigning 19-year-old winger Jeremy Morin to Rockford, deciding to keep the more experienced Ryan Potulny and Viktor Stalberg.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville took a last look at Morin on Sunday against St. Louis and thought his play was just OK.

"I left it all on the table, that's all I can do," Morin said after the game. "I've learned what it takes to play at this level. It's a big step here and just watching these guys and how they prepare for each practice and each game will make me a better player."

The Hawks closed the preseason with wins over Pittsburgh and St. Louis, scoring 9 goals in the victories, including 5 on the power play.

"The more you score, the more you have success around the net, the more confidence you get and you keep believing you can do the same thing," Toews said. "It's a good thing we scored a few goals and we get some bounces. We get confidence that way and now it's about sharpening up our game on both sides of the puck.

"I think with the excitement and energy we'll bring in our first couple games, we'll be playing that much better."

Goalie Marty Turco made 20 saves and got the win on Sunday over the Blues, although he did flub a play behind the net with defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook that resulted in a goal.

"It's still getting used to each other, but they forechecked hard and you're going to make reads sometimes when that stuff happens," Turco said. "It's more about picking yourself up and shying away from it or getting back and doing it again, which is what you've got to do."

Turco sees practices on Tuesday and Wednesday as important to get all aspects of the team's game fine tuned for Thursday and beyond.

"We talked plenty about getting these (preseason) games over with and really just buckling down with staff and having some crisp practices," Turco said.

Quenneville plans to use the practices to get what he called the "team game" in place.

"It's our tendencies in games, what we do with the puck, how we support with and without it late in shifts," Quenneville said. "It's things we like to do as a team that gives us a chance to control the play. Where we leave the puck, how we come up for loose pucks and how we win puck battles, there's definitely room for improvement."

By cutting Morin, the Hawks got down to the NHL maximum of 23, including veteran defenseman Jassen Cullimore.

It's possible the Hawks take those 23 to Colorado since they will be without defenseman Nick Boynton while he serves a one-game suspension.