Blackhawks

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to get back in win column against red-hot Jets

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to get back in win column against red-hot Jets

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Winnipeg Jets tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Anthony Duclair's Blackhawks debut?

In a move that could benefit both sides, the Blackhawks acquired Duclair from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Richard Panik, and Joel Quenneville said Wednesday after the game that they'll look to get him into the lineup right away.

Duclair, 22, has nine goals and six assists in 33 games this season. There's high upside to the speedy, offensively-gifted winger, with Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman saying Duclair "brings the ability to be a really electrifying player."

The top two lines appear to be solidified for now, so expect Duclair to slide in somewhere among the bottom six, perhaps the fourth line with Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels which will help ease him into the system.

2. Can Nick Schmaltz keep rolling?

In 13 games last month, Schmaltz had eight points (three goals, five assists). He's already matched that point total in five games in January, scoring five goals and adding three assists during his five-game point streak.

He's been sensational as of late, and it's come at a convenient time as Artem Anisimov continues to recover from an upper-body injury. It will certainly make things interesting once Anisimov is ready to return, but Schmaltz is looking like the player the Blackhawks thought he could be when they started him at second-line center alongside Patrick Kane to start the season.

Only Kane (45) has more points than Schmaltz (32) on the team this season, and the latter maybe wouldn't be too far off had he not missed four games in October with a lower-body injury.

3. Stay out of the box.

The Blackhawks are tied for 10th in penalty kill percentage (82.3) and are 10-for-10 in their last four games, but they need to do everything in their power to stay out of the box as much as possible.

The Jets have the second-ranked power play in the league (25.6 percent), and have scored with the man advantage in six straight games (9-for-23 for a 39.1 percent success rate over that span). And they're doing it without one of their best offensive weapons in Mark Scheifele, who's out with an upper-body injury and won't return for another month.

Still, Winnipeg is loaded with offensive talent that includes Nikolaj Ehlers, Patrik Laine and Blake Wheeler up front and Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers on the back end.

Blackhawks reportedly concerned Corey Crawford could miss rest of season

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Blackhawks reportedly concerned Corey Crawford could miss rest of season

Corey Crawford has been out since before Christmas with an injury that the Blackhawks have only described as an “upper-body injury,” but new reporting from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times paints a much worse picture than originally feared.

Lazerus cited three sources who said Crawford is dealing with “vertigo-like symptoms” for the second time in his career. Previously, coach Joel Quenneville was asked if Crawford would return this season and answered affimatively 10 days ago.

Crawford last played on Dec. 23 in New Jersey when he gave up three goals on seven shots and was pulled in the first period. He had been having a season worthy of putting him in the discussion for the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s best goaltender.

Information on the injury from the Blackhawks has been hard to come by, which is why Lazerus’ reporting is such a big deal.

Anton Forsberg and 32-year-old rookie Jeff Glass have filled in while Crawford has been out. Crawford has a 16-9-2 record this season while Forsberg and Glass have combined to go 6-8-4.

As the Blackhawks sit outside a playoff spot for now, Crawford’s potential long-term absence could affect how the Blackhawks approach the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Pat Boyle talked with Luke Stuckmeyer for a Facebook Live on the topic:

Ryan Hartman and the Blackhawks seem to be enjoying their bye week

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USA TODAY

Ryan Hartman and the Blackhawks seem to be enjoying their bye week

The Blackhawks are in the midst of their annual bye week during the NHL season, and they seem to be enjoying it.

Despite an ugly end to their pre-bye schedule, a 4-0 shutout loss to the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon, players went their separate ways to enjoy the break.

We found a handful of Blackhawks in Mexico - about as far away from ice as you could get - working on their tans and golf games.

Ryan Hartman’s Instagram captured a few pictures, and a video of himself teeing off shirtless, and shoeless. We're guessing they get a little more leeway on the course than you or I would.

This is the second year that all teams have at least a five-day break in their schedule. Perhaps it will allow the Blackhawks to reset and make a run at the postseason.