Rook­ies Jok­i­harju and Kahun are get­ting more com­fort­able with each game

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - Sports - By Jimmy Green­field jgreen­field@chicagotri­bune.com Twit­ter @jc­greenx

ST. LOUIS – While Henri Jok­i­harju and Do­minik Kahun haven’t played like rook­ies early in this Blackhawks sea­son, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber they still are raw.

Nei­ther ever has played an 82-game sea­son and at some point both are likely to hit awall.

“You just have to keep an eye on how they’re do­ing and rec­og­nize when they look like they’re start­ing to slide a lit­tle,” coach Joel Quen­neville said.

It hasn’t come close to hap­pen­ing yet, thoughKahu­nad­mit­ted he isn’t quite used to play­ing so many games. In Ger­many, where the 23-year-old for­ward spent the last four sea­sons in his home coun­try’s top pro league, they only played games on Fri­days and Sun­days. The Hawks are cur­rently in a stretch in which they are play­ing seven games in 11 days.

“That’s some­thing dif­fer­ent here but it’s more fun,” said Kahun, who has a goal and six as­sists. “Games are bet­ter than prac­tice.”

Jok­i­harju, who has six as­sists but still is search­ing for his first ca­reer goal de­spite lead­ingHawks de­fense­men with 28 shots on net, said his big­gest eye opener has been how­good every team is.

“You can win or lose to ev­ery­one,” the 19-year-old from Fin­land said. “That’s the bigge­stone. There are no easy games, no days off over here.”

Play­ing with likely Hall of Famers has made the ex­pe­ri­ence a bit sur­real — Jok­i­harju is on a de­fen­sive pair­ing with Dun­can Keith, andKahun­has been play­ing on a line with Jonathan Toews — but nor­malcy is start­ing to take over.

“I re­ally feel like I’m here,” Kahun said. “It’smy team.”

One-timers: De­fense­man Con­nor Mur­phy is not ready to be­gin skat­ing as he re­cu­per­ates from a back in­jury. “He’s start­ing to work out in the gym a lit­tle bit more,” Quen­neville said. … Ni­co­las Beaudin, the Hawks’ sec­ond firstround pick this year, is out in­def­i­nitely af­ter suf­fer­ing a wrist in­jury while play­ing for Drum­mondville of the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League. Beaudin, a 19year-old de­fense­man, has a goal and eight as­sists in nine games this sea­son.

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