Rookie Dumont Confident

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Byline: Tim Sassone Daily Herald Sports Writer

Up until now, the Blackhawks haven't given rookie left winger J.P. Dumont much of a chance to show whether or not he's ready for the NHL.

Dumont was recalled from Portland of the American Hockey League for the third time this season on Tuesday, but this time is different. He is being handed a regular job, replacing the demoted Dan Cleary.

Coach Dirk Graham said Dumont will get a chance to play a lot and not just in a handful of games. He has had spot duty in five games previously with no points.

"I know I can play in this league," said the 20-year-old Dumont, who will skate on a line with Chad Kilger and Ethan Moreau. "I'm more confidence than I was before. I'm just going to shoot the puck and see what happens."

This is Dumont's first season out of junior hockey. He scored 57, 44 and 48 goals in the last three seasons for Val D'Or in the Quebec League. In last spring's playoffs he scored 31 goals in 19 games to break a record held by Mario Lemieux.

Dumont was the third player chosen in the 1996 draft by the Islanders, who dealt him to the Hawks last May for Dmitri Nabokov when they couldn't sign him to a contract.

"For me to say he's ready, I can't tell you that because I haven't seen him play," said assistant coach Denis Savard. …