Blackhawks

Crawford back, Hawks seek revenge on Flames

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Crawford back, Hawks seek revenge on Flames

Saturday, Dec. , 2010
Updated 7:53 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks were positive when they looked back on their lengthy road trip last week. But almost to a man, they all took exception to one game.

except for Calgary

other than Calgary

besides Calgary

Yes, it was all pretty good except for that 7-2 loss to the Flames, arguably the Blackhawks worst performance this season. And while the Blackhawks dont care who they beat right now, as long as theyre getting points, there is a little extra incentive to erase that ugly loss with a better outing against the Flames on Sunday night.

The Blackhawks responded off that ugly loss in Calgary, beating Vancouver the next night 7-1. Coach Joel Quenneville said hed like that same response Sunday.

We have to be excited about taking advantage of home ice, said Quenneville. That last road trip after the Calgary game we played at a different level. Its a chance to redeem ourselves and respond to that type of game. As far as last nights loss, thinking you played OK but not good enough is not going to be acceptable.

The Blackhawks talked plenty about that Calgary game after it happened. There was nothing positive about their performance that night, as the Flames basically exerted their will on the Blackhawks.

When you get embarrassed like that -- whether home or road you dont want that type of performance you want to play better, Patrick Sharp said. We came out flat, we had less jump in our skating and we just kind of gave up on it as a team. We responded well the next night which was a good sign but we want to make sure we do that tomorrow.

Their response was a complete 180 in Vancouver the next night. The Blackhawks want that kind of rebound all the time, especially in this critical home stretch. If redeeming themselves against Calgary does it, fine. But whatever bolsters that kind of response at home right now is welcome.

Obviously we want some redemption. But our biggest worry is playing good at home, Troy Brouwer said. We havent been good enough at home all season long. Its a good incentive that Calgarys coming in, theres a little extra pride on the line, but our main focus has to be finding ways to win here.

Crawford back

Corey Crawford will start in goal against the Flames on Sunday night. Crawford was riding a four-game winning streak, including three in a row on that road trip, before Quenneville went with Marty Turco on Friday night.

Its not very often I change goalies when hes got a little bit of a streak, Quenneville said. Unfortunately we didnt score for (Turco vs. Vancouver).

Madden on Byfuglien

Minnesota Wild center John Madden has been noticing how former Chicago Blackhawks teammate Dustin Byfuglien has done in Atlanta. Byfuglien currently has 10 goals and 17 assists for the Thrashers. The veteran had nothing but praise for Byfugliens season thus far, even though he wouldnt have pictured him along the blue line.

Im surprised Buff is playing defense, but thats why Im playing, not coaching, he told the media in Minnesota on Friday night. Hes been unbelievable right up there with the point leaders. Every time I see a highlight hes either scoring a goal or adding an assist.

I hate to mutter the word, Madden said, but Norris might be right behind him.
Briefly

Fernando Pisani (upper body) and Marian Hossa (lower body) are progressing well according to Quenneville. Hopefully sometime next week, one or two will be on the ice, he said.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Seth Gruen (Big Ten Unfiltered) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel. 

The Blackhawks drop their 8th straight. So should their “One Goal” be to tank?

Plus, Jon Lester isn’t a fan of the new pace of play proposals. Is he right?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

After losing their eighth straight game and falling 12 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks' playoff chances have dipped to a season-low 0.2 percent. It would take a miracle for them to extend their postseason streak to 10 at this point, where getting just one win seems like a monumental task.

The Blackhawks were probably never really going to be buyers before the Feb. 26 trade deadline even if they were still in the hunt, but it's hard to imagine they had plans to be sellers. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has reiterated over and over again that he's confident in this group, one that's getting younger and faster.

But now they've reached a territory where they have to consider selling off spare parts simply to coup some draft picks or prospects that they could perhaps retain or use as sweeteners in the offseason.

So which players could the Blackhawks realistically sell?

Let's start with the two players getting rewarded with top-six ice time as of late: Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels.

These are two players that play with high energy and go to the greasy areas, something that's important in the playoffs when scoring goals becomes more difficult. They can clean up rebounds. Wingels, particularly, likely has more value and it's showing given his recent success on the power play as a net-front presence guy. He also isn't a stranger to the playoffs with 54 games under his belt compared to Bouma's five.

Both of them are pending unrestricted free agents and are making $1 million or fewer, which certainly works in the Blackhawks' favor considering they won't cost much and their cap hits are easy to fit in on any interested team.

Maybe a team would like to take a flyer on Tomas Jurco, who's a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but that would be a move somebody makes as more of a longer term project than strengthening your depth for a playoff run this spring.

On the back end, Michal Kempny and Jan Rutta could be in play for a contender looking to ensure some depth as a sixth or seventh defenseman. Again, each of them are making less than $1 million so it's a low-risk situation for clubs whose Plan A or B fall through and may be interested in at least getting something.

While they don't have much NHL experience, they're both 27 years old and have played the sport long enough to know what they can bring to the table.

Once Feb. 26 passes and potential roster spots open up, expect the Blackhawks to start calling up the kids. 

Matthew Highmore deserves a look after leading the Rockford IceHogs with 20 goals and 32 points. John Hayden has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 15 games since joining Rockford, and belongs in the NHL. Even Anthony Louis, who's taken a step forward, should get a taste of the action as he continues his development.

Carl Dahlstrom is getting his shot now. Erik Gustafsson is in that process as well. Gustav Forsling had another extended look during the first half of the season before the team decided it would be wise to continue his development in Rockford, where he can play top-pairing minutes.

All of this would give the Blackhawks a better indicator of how they can approach the upcoming offseason, and which young guys they can possibly add into the mix for 2018-19. But first, we have to see how the end of February plays out before making those calls.