Blackhawks

Brent Seabrook addresses report about Blackhawks asking him to waive no-movement clause

Brent Seabrook addresses report about Blackhawks asking him to waive no-movement clause

Two days after a report circulated that the Blackhawks have asked Brent Seabrook whether he'd be willing to waive his no-movement clause and he respectfully declined, the 33-year-old defenseman is shooting those talks down.

“I haven’t been approached by anybody,” Seabrook said after practice on Monday. “So I don’t know where the reports came from. ... I haven’t been approached or talked to about anything, so it’s news to me."

Seabrook, who’s in Year 3 of an eight-year contract that carries a $6.875 million cap hit, has a full no-movement clause that changes to a modified no-trade clause in the final two years.

With the trade deadline on Feb. 25, Seabrook declined to comment on whether or not he’d waive it before then if the right opportunity presented itself.

“I haven’t thought about it,” Seabrook said. “I guess I’ll deal with that when that day comes. But my focus right now is to try to help this team get into the playoffs. That’s what I’m thinking about.”

Seabrook is universally loved in the Blackhawks locker room. He's obviously been a key figure in franchise history, and a pillar on the back end for a decade, which has resulted in three Stanley Cups runs along the way. His teammates came to defense again on Monday.

"I don't even know if that's true, to be honest with you," Patrick Kane said. "Who knows where these rumors and sources come from. It'd be nice to have Seabs as a teammate for a long time. We love him here and I think he likes it here too. But once again, we're speaking on rumors. So probably shouldn't do that."

With it being trade deadline month, this it the time where rumors start to fly all across the league. That's just the nature of the business. The Blackhawks know it, and won't let it affect their focus.

"It could be, but every team deals with it," coach Jeremy Colliton said regarding the potential distractions. "I don't think we're special in that regard. We got a job to do. Let's go out and win hockey games, and that's the focus.

"Listen, lots of things get said at this time of year. It's a very competitive media market place. I'm not going to comment on every little thing that comes up."

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Corey Crawford acknowledges he's ready to return for Blackhawks

Corey Crawford acknowledges he's ready to return for Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are back within two points of a wild card spot, and they may finally be getting their star goaltender back soon.

After joining the team on the ice for the fourth time in a week, Corey Crawford met with the media on Friday and acknowledged he's essentially ready to come back. But it's not up to him when he'll actually return.

"It's really hard to say," Crawford said. "It's not up to me. I'm healthy to play right now. Really it's whether they think I'm ready to get in the net."

The Blackhawks have won eight of their past nine games, and have gotten terrific goaltending from Collin Delia and Cam Ward. There's no urgency to rush Crawford back, but if he's ready, he's ready and he basically serves as a trade deadline acquisition on his own.

"We've been playing great," Crawford said. "I think that's a tough situation too. Obviously you don't want to come back in and [not] be at the top of my game. We're in a pretty good run right now, a pretty good stretch. It's really thinking about what game do you throw me in? I'll leave that up to Jeremy [Colliton]. Whenever they want to, I'm ready to play."

Colliton was asked about Crawford's potential timeline and said there will be discussions internally about when he will be back between the pipes for the Blackhawks. All we know is, that won't come on Saturday against Columbus. But it likely will be very soon.

"It’s good to hear he’s feeling good," Colliton said. "That’s good. We’ll discuss it in the staff and let you know.”

Breaking down why Cam Ward has been better than his numbers show with Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Breaking down why Cam Ward has been better than his numbers show with Blackhawks

If you look at Cam Ward's stat line this season, his numbers don't look great. In fact, they aren't very good.

His 3.60 goals against average ranks dead last in the NHL among goaltenders with at least 20 starts, and .898 save percentage ranks 39th out of 47th. But there's a reason for that.

Ward is facing 9.4 high-danger chances at even strength per game and a shade above 11 in all situations, according to naturalstattrick.com. No other goaltender is seeing that many quality of shots at that rate. Couple that with the fact that the Blackhawks are giving up the second-most shots in general (35.4) and the numbers simply won't favor the goaltender, no matter who's in net. 

On Thursday against the New Jersey Devils, Ward faced 19 total high-danger shots against. He stopped all 19 of those. He also turned aside 35 of 36 shots at 5-on-5 to up his season save percentage to .922 in that area.

Where Ward's overall save percentage has taken a big hit this season is the penalty kill. He's given up 26 power-play goals on 122 shots against for a .787 save percentage. Some of that is on him. But the Blackhawks statistically have the worst penalty kill in the league with a 73.4 percent kill rate, so there's plenty of blame to go around.

In the big picture, Ward deserves more credit than he's getting for his on-ice play with Corey Crawford out and off-ice role by serving as a great mentor for Collin Delia. Quite frankly, the Blackhawks likely wouldn't be in the playoff race at this point in the season if it wasn't for him because he's bridged the gap perfectly between a two-time Stanley Cup winning goalie and 24-year-old who had only two NHL starts going into this season.

Remember how last season turned out when they didn't have a veteran like Ward?