Blackhawks

Game 2 delay doesn't sit well with Devils, Kings

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Game 2 delay doesn't sit well with Devils, Kings

NEWARK, N.J. When youre a part of any playoffs, there are some things you just have to deal with. Injuries and fatigue are two of them.

A gap-filled schedule is another.

The Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils will finally get back to hockey Saturday night, when they play Game 2 of their Stanley Cup Final matchup at the Prudential Center. The teams had two days in between Games 1 and 2, which has its plusses and minuses. Yes, guys who are dinged up and plenty are at this time of the year can get an extra days rest.

But its also about playing the waiting game, and not everyone is a fan of it. The team that wins the previous game wants to get back out there and build off that momentum. The team that loses usually wants to get out there and erase the taste left from that game.

Either way, playing is always better than practicing. Or sitting. Or waiting. Same can go for coaches, too.

I dont think its a perfect scenario, all the days off, New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said Saturday morning. You want to play. You get tired, as coaches, of looking at tape and analyzing. You can analyze to death. From a players perspective, theres this nervous energy and the only release is dropping the puck and playing. I dont think it favors either side. It is what it is and you deal with it.

Devils center Adam Henrique concurred.

I guess after one game its different. You usually expect (an extra day off) after game 2 or 3, but thats out of our control, he said. Theres nothing we can do about it.

Even heading into this series each team had their time off. The Devils had four days off after beating the New York Rangers in six games. The Kings had a week off after dispatching the Phoenix Coyotes in five. If nothing else, the Kings are more used to this day off-filled schedule this postseason. The Staples Center was a very busy place through April and May, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers also there for their respective playoff series. Both NBA teams were eliminated in the second round.

Only difference now is the Kings are working the long layoff on the road.

Its more difficult, maybe, when youre not at home. But thats part of it, Kings forward Dustin Brown said. Its just staying focused. We get away, we do a couple things as a team. Its easy to come back here and get focused. Guys dont need extra attention or push. We just stick to our routine and get ready to go.

The extra day is nice sometimes. But there are two teams who are determined to win a Cup who dont want to wait any longer to play. Time to drop the puck again.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Are Blackhawks doomed to miss playoffs without Crawford?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Are Blackhawks doomed to miss playoffs without Crawford?

Jesse Rogers (ESPN Chicago), Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times) and Dan McNeil join Chuck Garfien on the panel.

Corey Crawford is reportedly suffering vertigo-like symptoms and there’s a chance he might not return this season. Are the Blackhawks playoff chances gone if he doesn’t come back?

Plus, the guys talk Bears coaches, preview Conference Championship weekend and Jesse discusses if the Cubs are saving their money for next winter’s big free agent class.

Listen to the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

Why Corey Crawford situation is tricky for Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Why Corey Crawford situation is tricky for Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have been tight-lipped about Corey Crawford's status ever since he was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 27 with an upper-body injury, and it's fueled rampant speculation on social media about what's really going on. That came to an end on Tuesday when Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that there's growing concern within the organization that its star goaltender could miss the remainder of the season with vertigo-like symptoms. (Blackhawks senior adviser Scotty Bowman went on Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Wednesday to clarify it's post-concussion syndrome).

And while there's at least some clarity surrounding Crawford's condition, it's opened up more questions about what the Blackhawks may do going forward.

On Monday we broke down the unfavorable playoff picture for the Blackhawks going into the bye week, which was a glaring concern in and of itself. Add in the possibility that Crawford could be sidelined for the rest of the campaign and those chances absolutely diminish.

So what course of action should the Blackhawks take ahead of the Feb. 26 trade deadline? That's where the tricky part comes in.

Because of the nature of Crawford's injury, the Blackhawks aren't at a point right now where they want to put him on long-term injured reserve because that would require him to miss a minimum of 10 games or 24 days, and they're still holding out hope that he could come back within that timeframe. The problem with it is that nobody really knows. It could be days, weeks or months, and putting a restriction on that doesn't make much sense in the middle of a playoff run even though it would open up significant cap space.

Which brings us to our next point. There are certainly some decent rental goaltenders (Robin Lehner, Petr Mrazek or Antti Raanta, to name a few) on the market if the Blackhawks choose to go that route, but that might not be the wisest thing to do.

Given their spot in the standings and the chances Crawford could return, why risk giving up future assets for a playoff run that may not happen? It would be different if the Blackhawks wanted to add some insurance for the stretch run and postseason, but there's no guarantee it'll happen.

If the Blackhawks did, however, want to go that route, they would need to act quickly because there's no point in waiting closer to the deadline. Every point is crucial from here on out.

Perhaps the best and most logical idea is to stand pat.

Let it ride with Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass and hope they can hold the fort down until a potential Crawford return. Let the young guys continue to grow. Maybe add a defenseman to patch up the back end, but don't empty the tank. There's no reason to. The Blackhawks are hoping to sign highly-touted prospect Dylan Sikura after his college season ends, which would serve as a deadline acquisition by itself.

It will be tempting for the Blackhawks to be aggressive at the trade deadline in the wake of Crawford's injury, and they're surely already having these discussions as they continue to explore the different avenues. But this might be a rare case where doing nothing is the right way to go.