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Blackhawks' Brandon Saad finalist for Rookie of Year

Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST
Caption
(H. Rick Bamman)
Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com Chicago Blackhawks Brandon Saad takes control of the puck during third period at Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Minnesota Wild in Chicago on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Blackhawks won in overtime, 2-1.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Blackhawks rookie Brandon Saad thought that he had a good regular season.

Then again, Saad thought that a lot of rookies around the NHL had a good regular season.

On Monday, Saad learned that the NHL considered him as one of the top three newcomers in 2013. The Hawks’ 20-year-old forward was named as a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is given to the league’s best rookie.

Joining Saad as finalists were Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher and Florida Panthers center Justin Huberdeau. The winner will be named during the Stanley Cup Final series.

“It’s a big honor,” Saad said. “But it’s the same approach as before.”

That approach helped Saad to emerge as a talented scorer alongside star-caliber teammates such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. In 46 regular-season games, Saad notched 27 points (10 G, 17 A), which tied for fourth on the team.

Eight players in Hawks franchise history have won the Calder Memorial Trophy, including Kane (2007-08), Ed Belfour (1990-91) and Steve Larmer (1982-83).

Kane said he was pulling for Saad to join the club.

“I’m happy for him,” Kane said. “He had a great year, and he deserves it.”

Getting closer: Veteran center Dave Bolland and goaltender Ray Emery returned to the ice for practice Monday at the Xcel Energy Center, although both players were ruled out for Game 4.

The Hawks could use a postseason boost from the feisty Bolland, who had 14 points (7 G, 7 A) during an injury-riddled season that limited him to 35 games. Like Emery, he has battled a lower-body injury but hopes to play soon.

“I’m still doing treatment, and I also [need to] get into game shape as well,” Bolland said.

With Bolland out of the lineup, the Hawks have relied on Michal Handzus as the second-line center and Andrew Shaw as the third-line center.

Facing off: Hawks coach Joel Quenneville seemed agitated by comments from Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo, who said the Hawks were cheating on faceoffs.

“We could argue that one for a while,” Quenneville said.

The argument probably would go something like this: Are too! Are not!

Regardless, Quenneville acknowledged that players from both the Hawks and the Wild were being kicked out of faceoffs for making moves before the puck was dropped.

“There have been a lot of guys being tossed on faceoffs,” Quenneville said.

Hawks bits: The Hawks rested goaltender Corey Crawford during Monday’s practice. Crawford has stopped 86 of 92 shots for a .935 save percentage during the playoffs. … Quenneville left open the possibility that forward Daniel Carcillo could make his series debut in Game 4. Carcillo, who played in 33 career playoff games with the Philadelphia Flyers, has not played for the first three games.

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