CHICAGO -- Without any preseason games to prepare the Chicago Blackhawks for their season opener on Saturday, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has designated Wednesday as a simulated game day.
The Blackhawks will hold a morning skate at the United Center at 10:30 a.m. and will return to the arena for a controlled scrimmage at 7 p.m. Seven players from the Rockford IceHogs are expected to make the trip to add to the scrimmage’s numbers.
“It will simulate a game day, and we get to scrimmage against one another, get to play real hockey and get a real chance to play on our power play and get into some penalty-killing situations and faceoffs,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Tuesday’s first practice at the United Center. “You get some bumps, and you get the feel of a real game because we don’t have a real game to get into the start of our season.”
Quenneville didn’t hold back in Tuesday’s practice. The Blackhawks got on the ice around 11 a.m. and went for nearly two hours. It was their longest practice since practices started on Sunday.
“Today was a hard day,” Quenneville said. “Today was a lot of work. We were out there for awhile. We got to scrimmage a little while as well today. They had some tough battle drills as well. It was a tough workman-like day. I’m sure every day picks up the intensity as well. Today, that third day when you’re on the ice, you normally notice it and feel it.”
Numbers to L.A.: The Blackhawks will likely travel with 22-23 players when they go to Los Angeles for the season opener later this week.
The Blackhawks currently have 27 players on their active roster. Seven of those players were recalled from the Rockford IceHogs this week.
“We have some decisions to make, but we think the depth is something we’re going to be using a lot of this year whether (it’s) a need basis,” Quenneville said. “A lot of guys could push to deserve to stay and get in the lineup. We could start with 23.”
KHL over NHL?: Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg played in the Russia’s KHL during the NHL lockout and thought the KHL might be a deeper league than the NHL.
“Talent-wise top to bottom, there might even be more talent than there is in the NHL,” Stalberg said. “If you look at bottom guys, (they) are a lot more skilled maybe than they are in this league.”
Stalberg also found the style of player to be different.
“It’s just different systems, more defensive-minded games,” Stalberg said. “It’s more old school. You play man to man. You don’t forecheck really. You sit back and trap. It’s more like a soccer game. You get your chance and then it’s the other team’s time to get a chance. It’s different hockey for sure.
“It was a good experience. I’m glad I went. I’m glad to back here, too.”
Hutton waivers: The Blackhawks placed goaltender Carter Hutton on waivers on Tuesday. Quenneville explained it was procedural move.
“The guys who were on waivers in September had to be put on waivers again,” Quenneville said.
The 26-year-old Hutton is 15-14 with a 2.79 goals against average with the Rockford IceHogs this season.
Kruger out: Marcus Kruger missed his second consecutive day of practice with the flu. Quenneville said Kruger did work out Tuesday and will be back on the ice Wednesday.
New radio deal: The Blackhawks announced a five-year broadcasting extension with WGN Radio AM-720 on Tuesday. WGN Radio will hold the rights through the 2018-19 season.