Blackhawks

After skating with Blackhawks, when could Corey Crawford return?

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USA TODAY

After skating with Blackhawks, when could Corey Crawford return?

The Blackhawks are in the middle of a five-game losing streak, but there was a positive development at practice on Saturday.

Corey Crawford was on the ice 30 minutes beforehand working with goaltending coach Jimmy Waite, along with Collin Delia and Cam Ward. He has been in concussion protocol since Dec. 16 after smacking the back of his head on the post and leaving in the second period against San Jose.

"Positive that he was out there, but I'm not sure it means a ton," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Hopefully he continues to feel better."

This wasn't the first time Crawford had been on the ice since the injury, according to a source, which is also great news because it indicates he's responding well to the workouts. But he didn't fully participate with the team in practice, so there are still hurdles that he needs to overcome before getting cleared to play.

The good news is, Crawford hasn't been sidelined very long. It's been only a month, so it shouldn't take him too long to get back into game shape compared to this summer when he was off the ice for more than six months and spent all of training camp getting his conditioning back. Crawford went straight into drills on Saturday, with several teammates getting in on the action to help simulate game-type scenarios.

The Blackhawks host the Washington Capitals on Sunday and then the New York Islanders on Tuesday before going on a nine-day break. The team isn't putting a timeline on his return, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Crawford between the pipes again shortly after they return.

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Will Brandon Saad be traded by Blackhawks again? He hopes not

Will Brandon Saad be traded by Blackhawks again? He hopes not

DALLAS — Brandon Saad knows what it’s like to be traded. He’s been moved twice in his NHL career — once from Chicago to Columbus and then again from Columbus to Chicago. Both of those deals were made in the summer, though, and they were also unexpected.

With the NHL trade deadline on Monday at 2 p.m., Saad knows his name is out there and admitted the possibility of being dealt is on his mind.

"A little bit," Saad said following a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday. "That's part of the business, right? Love it here in Chicago but it is what it is. You wait for tomorrow and there's always rumors floating, but at the end of the day, you just focus on hockey games and winning here with the Blackhawks and see what happens."

The Blackhawks aren’t necessarily shopping Saad, but they are listening to offers. The return would have to start with at least a first-round pick for the Blackhawks to even consider that possibility, and it’s unclear whether anybody has gotten close to meeting their demands.

What makes Saad an attractive trade piece is the fact he has one year left on his contract after this season at a $6 million cap hit. General managers across the NHL have been reluctant to give up first-round selections for rentals, and it’s hard to blame them. Giving up a king's ransom for pending unrestricted free agents, historically, backfires more often than not.

Jason Zucker, Blake Coleman and, most recently, Ondrej Kase were all moved and fetched first-rounders because they have term left on their contract. Chris Kreider and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, both of whom are at the top of TSN’s trade bait list, have not been traded with less than 20 hours to go until the deadline and you have to wonder how much that has to do with contending teams not being willing to meet the high price tag for a rental.

The Boston Bruins reportedly expressed interest in Saad, but that was before they acquired Kase. The Edmonton Oilers have also checked in, but would they be willing to part ways with their first-rounder? How about the Colorado Avalanche?

GM Stan Bowman's phone line is going to be busy in the coming hours as teams start to put together their final offers, but Saad is hoping he remains with the Blackhawks.

"It's just part of the business, right?" Saad said. "At the end of the day, you're a hockey player, so you're going to play hard for whoever you're with and take it as it comes. The other ones were in the summertime, so I've never dealt with it at the deadline, so that's always a new experience. But hopefully I'm here in Chicago."

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4 Takeaways: Blackhawks fall to Dallas Stars despite an improved power play

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USA Today

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks fall to Dallas Stars despite an improved power play

Rookie Dominik Kubalik scored his 26th goal of the season but the Blackhawks lost 2-1 to the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Here are four takeaways:

Opportunity lost

If the Blackhawks, currently seven points out of a playoff spot, wanted to climb in the standings before time runs out, they had to start out this four-game road trip with a win to grab some momentum. 

It was a close contest in Dallas and the effort was there, but the results didn't follow. 

Corey Crawford got his second straight start and was solid, saving 31 of 33 shots after stopping 42 of 43 in Friday's overtime win over the Nashville Predators. 

Right on, rookie

Blackhawks rookie winger Dominik Kubalik continued his fantastic first NHL season by scoring his 26th goal of the season in Sunday's game.  

After his goal was waived off following a questionable interference call against Jonathan Toews moments earlier, Kubalik buried a power-play goal at 7:06 in the second period to tie the game at 1-1. 

It was Kubalik's 15th goal in 20 games. Among rookies, he ranks fifth in points with 39 but leads the category in goals with 26. 

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Power Play trending up

Following an 0-for-17 dry spell in six games prior to Friday, the Hawks have power-play goals in two straight. 

One of Alex DeBrincat's two goals in Friday's 2-1 overtime win over the Predators was on the man advantage in the third period to tie the game at 1-1. Kubalik kept it going in the right direction on Sunday. 

First timer

With defenseman Erik Gustafsson not joining the team on the four-game road trip for precautionary reasons ahead of Monday's trade deadline, defenseman Lucas Carlsson made his NHL debut with Chicago.

Carlsson, 22, has 26 points (five goals, 21 assists) with the Rockford IceHogs this season. 

The Swedish blueliner had three hits and blocked one shot in 14:55. 

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