Daily Herald
Quenneville ponders places for the new faces
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 7/11/2009 12:01 AM

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is excited about the additions of free agents Marian Hossa, John Madden and Tomas Kopecky.

"What you got gives you a lot of excitement, but the guys who left, you certainly have an appreciation for what they meant to our team," Quenneville said Friday. "You got a very top-end, special type of forward in Hossa and a couple forwards along with him that can really help our hockey team."

Quenneville admits he has tinkered with line combinations involving Hossa since the 40-goal scorer was signed on July 1.

"I've got him playing on a couple lines already," Quenneville joked. "Over the course of the year, I'm sure he'll see all these players. Whether he plays with Johnny (Toews) or (Dave) Bolland from the outset, it's probably the two likely scenarios."

The line of Bolland, Martin Havlat and Andrew Ladd was the Hawks' most consistent line last season at both ends of the ice. The Hawks have an abundance of forwards, which makes it likely they will trade one or more of them to acquire the defenseman Quenneville also thinks they need to replace Matt Walker's minutes and size.

"We have a lot of forwards and some depth in a lot of areas, but we're down a defenseman, losing Walker, so I think if we can replenish, the one position I think we need to do that is on the blue line," Quenneville said.

Unlike the start of last season, the Hawks finally have some good depth at center with Toews, Bolland, Madden, Adam Burish, Colin Fraser and Kopecky can play there.

"We have some depth there for sure," Quenneville said. "You lose Sammy (Phalsson), but you get an excellent, and I don't want to use the word checker for Madden, but he's useful in a lot of ways, winning key draws, killing penalties and has some offense to his game as well. I don't want to put him as a one-dimensional checker, but he can help us in a lot of ways.

"Kopecky can play some center and wing and gives us some size. I think he's come on as a player. He was pushing to get ice time on a very good hockey team (in Detroit)."

Camp closed: Prospects camp came to an end Friday with two final scrimmages at Johnny's Ice House. Mike Sislo from the University of New Hampshire led everyone in scoring for the week with 4 goals and 1 assist. John Morea also had 4 goals. Bryan Ewing and Broc Little each had 5 points.

Kyle Beach, the Hawks' 2008 first-round draft pick, had 2 goals and 3 assists and probably was the most impressive player at camp. Akim Aliu had 1 assist for the week.

Tip-ins: It's one more busy summer week for the Hawks with the start of their sold-out fan convention on Friday at the Hilton Chicago ... Prior to the convention, the Hawks will hold Marian Hossa's introductory news conference on Thursday at the United Center.