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  • Duncan Keith

The Blackhawks get a week off for the All-Star break, and they looked like a team that needed it Tuesday night against Nashville at the United Center. They seemed a step slow in the first period, as when Jamal Mayers, sensing danger with the puck slipping out in front of the Hawks’ net, whiffed on a clearing swipe, allowing the Predators’ Crag Smith to sweep in a shot. With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp injured, coach Joel Quenneville spread his veterans out—for instance, having Andrew Brunette shepherd rookies Jimmy Hayes and Brandon Pirri. But no sooner had they put together a good stretch than, their very next shift, Hayes was caught slow trailing Mike Fisher in the slot, and Fisher turned a centering pass into another goal that prompted Corey Crawford to snap his goalie stick over the crossbar. (Just stick around on those same highlights.) Quenneville put Crawford’s frustration into words, saying, “The first two goals were very generous on our part.”