Monday, October 4, 2010

Skille, Dowell Likely To Open Season With Blackhawks

It isn't yet official, but with the Blackhawks sending down rookie forward Jeremy Morin to Rockford, it looks as if former Badgers Jack Skille and Jake Dowell have secured roster spots with the Hawks. Currently the Blackhawks sit at 13 forwards, and that's not expected to change. If one more forward is sent down, it is likely to be either Viktor Stalberg, or Ryan Potulny.

Dowell has spent parts of the past three seasons in Chicago. In 23 career NHL games, the Eau Claire native has recorded 3 goals, 2 assists to go along with 17 penalty minutes.

The scrappy center is excited to take a bigger role with the Hawks this season. In a recent interview, Dowell talked about taking his game to the next level.

"I don't want to be a dime-a-dozen, fourth-line grinding guy that can be replaced. I want to be a guy that's really wanted and needed on the penalty kill and being able to be counted on in those situations. That's kind of where I'm trying to separate myself.''

For Skille, this season is an opportunity to prove his worth to the Hawks. Picked #7 overall in the 2007 draft, Skille has yet to live up to the hype. He's spent the majority of this three professional seasons in Rockford of the AHL, not always necessarily due to his skill.

Last season despite playing well and putting up big numbers in Rockford, Skille fell victim to Chicago's salary cap limitations. As a result, he was forced to spend 63 games in the AHL, despite being more talented than some players on the Hawks Stanley Cup winning squad. As a restricted free agent this season, Skille took a pay cut to stay in Chicago to prove that he's worthy of his first round billing.

Currently hindered with an arm injury suffered in a preseason game last week, Skille is expected to be back at practice on Tuesday and is said to be ready for Thursday night, when the Blackhawks open the season vs the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.
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