Blackhawks

Blackhawks' Brian Campbell 'shocked' at Gerard Gallant firing by Panthers

Blackhawks' Brian Campbell 'shocked' at Gerard Gallant firing by Panthers

When the Florida Panthers fired Gerard Gallant, there were plenty of folks in the hockey world who were surprised.

Count Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell among them.

Campbell, who played his final two seasons in Florida with Gallant at the helm, was stunned to hear Gallant was fired following the Panthers’ 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night.

“Surprise. Probably a lot like everyone else, it seems, was pretty surprised at what happened,” Campbell said following the Blackhawks’ practice on Monday. “Gerard’s a great guy. I liked him. I thought he did a good job there. So yeah, I was surprised, shocked. I don’t know what else to say. They’re playing their game above .500 and they’ve had some injuries. I don’t think anybody thought that was coming.”

Gallant led the Panthers to the postseason last year. The Panthers are 11-10-1 entering Tuesday, when they’ll face the Blackhawks. General manager Tom Rowe will take over as the Panthers’ head coach. Campbell said he talked to some of his former teammates about the firing – “there were rumblings, I guess. Not coming from them, but stuff from behind the scenes and what you hear in the media.”

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Campbell called Gallant “a player’s coach.”

“For us, our practices were nice and short and hard and that’s what you want as a player. He gave you some guidelines to play around. He didn’t have too many highs, too many lows. It’s nice to come to the rink and be even-keel, today’s a new day and you keep going forward,” Campbell said. “We had some success there with him, and that’s the biggest part that’s surprising right now.”

Coach Joel Quenneville said he was watching hockey on Sunday night when he saw the news of Gallant’s firing.

“Very surprised,” Quenneville said. “I wish him well. Tough part of our business.”

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Capitals

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USA Today

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Capitals

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they take on the Washington Capitals at the United Center on Sunday, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after morning skate. This will be his fourth start in six games.

Crawford is coming off a game in which he stopped 27 of 28 shots for a save percentage of .964, which earned him the No. 1 star of the game in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. He stopped 10 of 11 shots and six of seven inner slot shots, saving his team an extra 2.43 goals above average, according to The Point. It was a fantastic performance.

Crawford is 3-5-2 with a 3.61 goals-against average and .881 save percentage in 10 career starts against the Capitals.

The Blackhawks are on the second game of a seven-games-in-12-days stretch, so expect Crawford and Lehner to both get consistent reps over the next two weeks.

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Blackhawks No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach set to make NHL debut on Sunday vs. Capitals

Blackhawks No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach set to make NHL debut on Sunday vs. Capitals

It's official: Kirby Dach is slated to make his NHL debut on Sunday when the Blackhawks host the Washington Capitals. He found out the news when he got to the rink in the morning.

"It's pretty exciting," Dach said. "Grew up my whole life wanting to do this, so for me to get this opportunity now, it's awesome. Kind of speechless and at a loss for words. I've just got to go out there and play my game and focus on all the little things that the coaching staff wants me to do."

Coach Jeremy Colliton said who Dach draws in for and where he will slot into the lineup will be determined during warmups, but don't be surprised if he starts on the wing.

"I think he can play either one, which is a big benefit for us," Colliton said. "Probably long term he’s a center, but it’s only a benefit to be versatile."

Dach, who was taken No. 3 overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, missed the start of training camp with a concussion and appeared in three games with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League for a conditioning stint before getting recalled on Friday. His mom, dad and sister will be in attendance for his debut.

"It's a pretty surreal feeling," Dach said. "It's kind of a whirlwind. You're just kind of getting thrown in right away and you don't really have time to react. You just got to focus on the game and not really sit back and realize what's going on. You've got to be pretty mentally dialed in and ready to play.

"There's going to be a little bit of nerves with it, but I'm excited to get out there and have fun."

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