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Cheap Chicago Blackhawks Jersey From China For Outlet

Jan Rutta might be the most optimistic Bears fan you’ll find.

Since coming from the Czech Republic, the first-year Blackhawks defenseman has adopted the Bears and even attended a game at Soldier Field.

“I’m not an expert, but I think they’ve got a young team and they’re playing pretty good,” Rutta said. “They’re getting better as the season is going, so they lost a couple close ones, so maybe when they’ll be a few years more experienced, they can win those games and be a really good team.”

Rutta, 27, hasn’t yet adopted the jaded pessimism that comes with being a Bears fan in Chicago. However, his transition on the ice has been seamless.

The Hawks weren’t sure what they had when they signed Rutta to a one-year deal, but he is turning into an integral part of their blue line, a group that is still a work in progress more than a quarter of the way through the season.

“He has come in here and given us some important minutes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We like his quickness into the puck area. We like how he moves. We like how he handles (the puck) and makes plays.”

Rutta, who has three goals and seven assists, said it hasn’t been a huge transition to the smaller rink of the NHL from the Czech League. The only difference he mentioned is that he is put into tight situations with a lot of bodies converging more often during an NHL game than a Czech League game.

“I actually like the smaller rink,” Rutta said. “With my size, I can benefit from it. In the tight areas, you’re put into situations like five times per game, and on the bigger rink you might never be in that situation or it happens one time in the game. But those situations come more frequently.”

That’s where Rutta can still make his biggest improvement as a defenseman, Quenneville said, especially when Rutta is in front of his own net.

“There’s room for growth in his game,” Quenneville said. “But I still think he has all the attributes you look for in today’s type of defenseman — complementary puck movement, supporting of the puck, killing plays with quickness. He’s got all the things that we’re looking for.”

Rutta also discovered he could play on his off side, the left side, if the Hawks need that.

Quenneville especially likes that Rutta is somebody who can help initiate the offense. When the Hawks were struggling in the first month of the season, Quenneville said the disconnect between defense and offense was one reason for the slump. Of late, with the Hawks 4-1-1 in their last six, that is improving.

“I mean, it is 20 games into the season, but it’s only 20 games into the season,” Rutta said. “It’s still a work in progress, but I think the whole defense, we are helping the forwards much more than we did in the first couple games.”

Rutta is feeling more at home in Chicago. He said he likes the steak and sushi options available downtown and he’s used to getting around the city via cab. But on ice is the adjustment that matters most to him, and so far that hasn’t been an issue.

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St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues

Before heading off for the airport and a three-game, weeklong trip to western Canada, the Blues held a rare Sunday practice that included some rearranged lines and some new faces.

Jay Bouwmeester and Patrik Berglund both took part in the session, and both will accompany the team on the trip. Part of that is practical; with the team being gone for a week, if they stayed at home they would be skating on their own, and part of it is because both players are apparently getting close to returning.

Coach Mike Yeo said that while neither would play on the trip, which starts in Calgary, then goes to Edmonton and Vancouver, Berglund’s status would be re-assessed when the team got home, and he wouldn’t commit to anything beyond saying he wouldn’t play on this trip. That sounds an awful lot like he could be ready ahead of his originally projected December return.

As for Bouwmeester, he’s further away, but this was the first time he’s skated with his teammates in a practice since taking a puck to his ankle in a scrimmage three days into camp. He took part in some drills, but when the team began doing contact-heavy battle drills, he went off by himself, shooting on one of the goalies. (Berglund, meanwhile, took part in the drills.) Bouwmeester still has a ways to go, but this is the first sign of a light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s a progression,” Bouwmeester said. “I practiced today. Ideally, if we had ice (separate from the practice), I wouldn’t have practiced. I would have been skating on my own or with other guys. There’s steps you have to take. Morning skates, certain things you can’t do. Hopefully the way things are going, that’s progressing, that will turn pretty quick and I’ll get back out.”

Bouwmeester acknowledged that with the way the team has been playing, there’s not a rush for him to get back out on the ice.

“We’re in a position here, the team’s doing so good, there’s no pressure to force anything,” he said.

More immediately, Yeo did some line rearranging, including breaking up the successful Schenn-Schwartz-Tarasenko line. Beau Bennett was inserted in Tarasenko’s spot, with Tarasenko joining Alexander Steen and Paul Stastny. That dropped Vladimir Sobotka down to the third line, with Oskar Sundqvist and Dmitrij Jaskin, which pushed Magnus Paajarvi to the fourth line.

“Just trying to spark something,” Yeo said. “We’ll think more about it tomorrow. We wanted to give it a look here in practice. It felt like the last couple games things were getting a little stale and so we’ll see what we come up tomorrow.”

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Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars

DENVER — If adversity builds character and road trips create bonding, the Stars are in the right place.

Dallas lost a 5-3 game at Colorado on Tuesday to start a five-game road trip on the wrong skate.

What’s worse, defenseman Stephen Johns left the game with concussion symptoms and goalie Ben Bishop was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals on 17 shots.

Suddenly, a back-to-back in Edmonton and Calgary on Thursday and Friday looks much more challenging for the 5-4-0 Stars.

“By no means did we put out the right effort to win a hockey game,” said captain Jamie Benn, who had a goal and two assists. “These guys came ready to play and we weren’t sharp enough early on. They deserved to win that game.”

The Stars couldn’t build on an early lead and then just seemed to find chaos. Bishop had been a rock in a recent four-game winning streak, but he seemed to get happy feet.

Still, the veteran goalie said “there was no reason” to pull him and that he was “not happy with the decision.”

Hitchcock said the reality of the situation was he just wanted to wake up his team after a slow start.

“It was time to make a change. We were slow and dozey across the board,” Hitchcock said. “The whole team needed a wakeup call. It has nothing to do with Ben Bishop, it has to do with wake up, let’s get playing. I’ll do the same with any other goaltender.”

Still, both defense and goalie were shaky at times.

When Gabriel Landeskog carried a puck in down the right side, it started the Stars defense scrambling, and Bishop tried to poke check the puck away to safety.

Instead, he sent it right to Matt Neito, and Nieto — who finished with a hat trick) — sort of knocked it past him as he struggled to regain his positioning.

That tied the score at 1-1 after one period, but it was clear Dallas was not playing the way Hitchcock had been preaching.

Two minutes into the second period, Bishop got caught behind the net and couldn’t get back in front quickly enough to stop Nieto from scoring his second of the game.

Then, Julius Honka had a giveaway that led to a frenetic shift in the Stars’ end, and Bishop ended up diving forward to try to stop Landeskog, who patiently carried the puck around Bishop and flipped it into the net.

“We played slow. We were light on the puck, we didn’t play through people,” Hitchcock said.

Kari Lehtonen came on in relief and looked pretty good against an aggressive Colorado attack, stopping the first eight shots he saw.

However, with time running down in the second period, Lehtonen overcommitted to a Tyson Barrie slap shot that went hard off the end boards and rebounded all the way out to Mark Barberio at the left point.

Barberio unleashed a tremendous shot, and Lehtonen couldn’t get back across the crease in time, as the eventual game-winning goal slipped past him with 9.8 seconds left in the second period.

Bishop will likely be back as the starter in goal Thursday against the Oilers, but Johns could miss some time.

The Stars have two defensemen — Jamie Oleksiak and Greg Pateryn — who are ready to come in and Hitchcock could decide to use both, as Honka struggled at times.

But whatever happens, they need to respond to a rough performance, or this road trip could get pretty seriously dangerous pretty fast.

“It’s a learning lesson,” Benn said. “Just because you win four in a row doesn’t mean you’re going to come in here and they’re going to give it to us.”