Daily Herald
Hawks' power-play experiments continue
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 12/23/2009 10:33 PM

DETROIT - Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has tinkered most of the season with his personnel on the power play and doesn't plan to stop now.

The Hawks took on the Red Wings here Wednesday night fresh off an 0-for-7 showing on the power play in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to San Jose at the United Center.

There was an improvement as the Hawks got a power-play goal from Patrick Kane in their 3-0 win over Detroit.

Quenneville has tried seven different point men, including forwards Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg. He has gone all skill down low - Jonathan Toews, Kane and Marian Hossa - and used muscle in front in Byfuglien, Troy Brouwer and Tomas Kopecky.

Nothing has worked for a prolonged period of time.

The power play has been too inconsistent for its own good and dropped from 12th to 17th in the league after Tuesday's 0-for-7 showing.

"The power play hasn't been to the point where we need that to get us excited offensively to spearhead our offense," Quenneville said. "We tried some different things on our power play to ignite it and we'll continue to visit with it to make it work."

Kane, who scored on a slap shot form the left side through a Troy Brouwer screen, admitted he was looking to shoot the puck more.

"In that situation it's a good area to shoot and when we have our big guys in front of the net you have a good chance of scoring," Kane said.

Hossa responds: Just like in his return to Pittsburgh, Marian Hossa was booed each time he touched the puck Wednesday as he returned to Joe Louis Arena for the first time since leaving as a free agent.

The boos were loudest in the second period after Hossa assisted on Patrick Sharp's goal.

"That doesn't bug me," Hossa said. "I'm used to it now."

Baby steps: The Red Wings know it's going to be a gradual process to try to catch the Hawks in the Central Division standings.

"If we can get some wins with these guys hurt and stay afloat, we're going to start getting healthy and be real dangerous," Detroit defenseman Brett Lebda told Booth Newspapers.

The Wings, now 10 points behind the Hawks, again played without eight injured regulars. Defenseman Brian Rafalski also missed Wednesday's game with the flu.

Injury report: Ben Eager missed his fourth straight game with an upper body injury while Cam Barker sat for the third game in a row with a lower body injury.

Holiday break: The Hawks are off today and Christmas and won't fly to Nashville until Saturday morning for a night game with the Predators in the front end of a key home-and-home series.