Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Corey Crawford hoping to return soon

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Blackhawks: Corey Crawford hoping to return soon

Corey Crawford took shots from teammates instead of just goaltending coach Jimmy Waite on Tuesday, another sign that he’s getting better.

And if he’s feeling right and can get one regular-season game in, he’ll do it.

Crawford skated with the team for the first time since sustaining his upper-body injury as the Blackhawks prepped for the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. Crawford is still out of the lineup — Scott Darling will start and Michael Leighton will serve as the backup — but there’s a chance he could play the Blackhawks’ final regular-season game, against the Columbus Blue Jackets, on Saturday night.

[MORE HAWKS: Blackhawks want to build off 'first 39 and change']

“That would always be nice,” Crawford said. “I think the little details kind of go away a little bit the longer you miss, but who knows? Practices have been pretty hard, pretty intense, technical stuff with Jimmy I’ve been working on. It feels good. Today felt good with the shots. Just go day by day, but right now, after today I felt good out there seeing stuff."

Crawford didn’t want to talk about his injury, or how it was sustained. But it’s been a frustrating few weeks for Crawford, who has been day-to-day since mid-March.

“You never want to be sitting out. It’s always frustrating watching the games from the sidelines. But hopefully I can get back in there soon,” said Crawford. “I’m not going to talk about [the injury]. Right now I want to be positive and think about what’s been going good for me right now and getting better.”

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Crawford is finally turning the corner on his injury. He’s been on the ice three of the last four days, Tuesday being the first time he joined the team since getting hurt. Coach Joel Quenneville sounded certain that Crawford would be starting the postseason. Crawford sounded a little less certain, but he’ll do everything possible to be ready when the playoffs begin.

“I’d love to. But then again, there’s no rush. It’s literally day-by-day,” Crawford said. “The training staff has done a good job. They always make sure our guys are ready when we get on the ice. It’s no different here. But today was a really good day.”

UPDATES

- Marian Hossa (lower body) is out vs. the Coyotes.

- Andrew Shaw (upper body) is also out. Quenneville said the Blackhawks could just sit Shaw for the rest of the regular season. “With him, the way he plays, we’ll make sure he’s more than ready if he’s going to be playing this week. So we’ll see how he progresses here the next few days. There is some progress but we’re going to make sure we’re more than 100 percent.”

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: