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Give Viktor Stalberg His Ice Time On Blackhawks' Circus Trip

The Blackhawks may have a budding star in Viktor Stalberg.

Viktor Stalberg of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates a 1st period goal aganst the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center on October 20 2010 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Viktor Stalberg of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates a 1st period goal aganst the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center on October 20 2010 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles.

Even with the frigid north Alberta prairie start of the trip, it's a lot better than heading to the stereotyped islands of Rock Island, Blue Island and Stony Island -- or even to the old Jack Benny train stops of Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga.

The Blackhawks might bond like never before this season away from the increasing pressure cooker of the United Center, where on Sunday night it took a nifty Viktor Stalberg tip-in of a Duncan Keith slap shot to eke out a 3-2 overtime victory over the Anaheim Ducks. That lifted the Hawks' sub-mediocre home record to 5-7, snapping a four-game West Madison Street losing streak.

It's good timing for the Hawks to get out of Dodge. They've heard boos, they can't score, they can't put games away and every mistake in the third period is magnified. Remember the glory of the Stanley Cup run? The Hawks almost thrived on the road, following the tried-and-true path of the Jordan-era Bulls of two decades ago.

And since the speedy Stalberg, most productive of all Hawks newcomers, now ranks fourth in goals behind Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, it's time to turn him loose on the road. The speedy Swede has acquitted himself well in almost all situations this year, and was in the right place at the right time against the Ducks. That's the last barrier -- earning Joel Quenneville's confidence in overtime instead of yielding to a veteran.

Stalberg is bound to continue to improve alongside Toews after being promoted to the first line.  He played almost 16 minutes against the Ducks. Up that a few and trust the kid in tight spots in the third period and beyond. That's the only way he'll be experienced ... through experience.

But better yet, let Stalberg further grow into his role as far as possible from the glare of home ice. The Hawks need to develop new scorers this year. Toews, Hossa, Sharp and Patrick Kane all should be in good form at mid-season to contrast with several sub-par starts now. They need to be joined by another producer with an eye for the net.

Develop the kid further while keeping the fans up late with some victories that have been a bit too delayed so far this season.