Blackhawks

Andrew Desjardins ready to resume role with Blackhawks

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Andrew Desjardins ready to resume role with Blackhawks

Andrew Desjardins had to adapt quickly to his Blackhawks surroundings last spring. He did so with flying colors, playing a key part of the team’s third Stanley Cup in the past six seasons.

As this season begins, he has another adjustment to make: trying to tune out Andrew Shaw, whose stall is now next to his at Johnny’s IceHouse West.

“We talked about that,” Desjardins said. “We may each have to get earplugs.”

[MORE: Blackhawks continue prepping for 3-on-3 OT]

From his friendships and verbal in-jest jousting with teammates to his play that helped him claim his first Cup last June, Desjardins has found his place with the Blackhawks. A trade-deadline acquisition that met with little mention or fanfare, Desjardins carved a niche on the fourth line where he developed great chemistry with Shaw and Marcus Kruger and signed a two-year deal to return to the Blackhawks in July.

Despite being one of the Blackhawks since last spring – he said he really started to feel comfortable when the first round began – Desjardins said it’s beneficial being with them from the start this season.

“It was good to go through the whole process of Notre Dame, being with the guys throughout camp," Desjardins said. "I think that can go a long way, [having] that little bit of bonding at the beginning and not just jumping in and the final push and everything’s go, go, go. So it was good to get there. It was good to get back with the guys. Not too much has changed; guys are kind of back to the norm.”

And despite coming off the shortest summer of his NHL career, Desjardins is more than ready for this season.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up for the 2015-16 Blackhawks season!]

“It was good, though. It’s amazing how you get back into it pretty quick with the short summer. It doesn’t seem like it takes as much,” he said. “You’re still working hard but you jump back into it pretty quick.”

The Blackhawks had plenty of roster changes this summer and lines will look different. If the Blackhawks want some familiarity to start, they could certainly put Shaw, Desjardins and Kruger back together. Who knows if that happens, but with uncertainty on combos and chemistry with other lines, there’s no doubt on this one.

No matter the line combination, which may or may not include his talkative Johnny’s IceHouse locker-room neighbor, Desjardins is ready to build off a very successful half season here.

“Whatever way it goes, I think we have to concentrate on our role. If we do we’ll be successful no matter who we play with,” Desjardins said. “[Line combos are] up to Q and that’s how we have to approach it. It’s great to be familiar with guys but we’re just trying to do the best we can to fill that role.”

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

Uncap those markers and start circling your calendars, Blackhawks fans. The 2018-19 season is officially out.

The Blackhawks will kick off their 91st campaign in franchise history with a road contest against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The home opener is set for Oct. 7, with an Original Six matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 6 p.m.

The Blackhawks have 14 back-to-back games, and the longest road trip of the season is three, which takes place five times over the course of the season; the longest homestand is four games, from Dec. 12-18.

The biggest highlight of the season will be the Original Six Winter Classic Showdown between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium. It will be the sixth outdoor appearance for Chicago, and fourth in the Winter Classic.

The Blackhawks will also square off with the defending champion Washington Capitals on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m., and welcome them to Chicago on Jan. 20, set for NBC's Game of the Week at 11:30 a.m.

Here's a look at the full schedule:

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said that the team expects goalie Corey Crawford to be back next season around training camp. Bowman also mentioned that Crawford might speak about his status himself during the Blackhawks Convention.

“What I said at the end of the year was still the case now, which is we expect Corey to be back,” Bowman said in a Thursday afternoon conference call. “We don’t have any reason to think that’s not going to happen.”

According to Bowman, Blackhawks players, including Crawford, already have their eyes set on next season.

“At this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for next season,” Bowman said. “Corey’s in that same preparation mode.”

Crawford is nursing what has been labeled an upper-body injury by the team. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was put on the shelf for the rest of the season back in late December, and he has not seen the ice since he skated in a February practice.

“Nothing has changed,” Bowman said. “We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp.”

The Blackhawks have chosen to keep any groundbreaking news with Crawford under wraps, which the organization has done with other player injuries in the past. Bowman spoke about his vagueness in this situation.

“We’ve never gone into specifics about injuries,” Bowman said. “I realize this probably gets more attention because he’s our starting goalie and he won the Stanley Cup.”

Fans will have to take a wait-and-see approach, because it is unlikely that there will be a significant update regarding Crawford’s health before the season gets closer to its start.

Last season, Crawford only appeared in 28 games, posting a record of 16-9 with 782 saves before going down for the rest of the year.