Blackhawks

Blackhawks notebook: Andrew Desjardins getting closer to return

Blackhawks notebook: Andrew Desjardins getting closer to return

Andrew Desjardins can see the end in sight.

The forward has been out since the start of the season with a lower-body injury sustained late in the Blackhawks’ final preseason game. But now that he’s skating again, Desjardins is close to getting back to bolstering the Blackhawks’ forward depth – and doing the same for their penalty kill.

Desjardins is still at least several days away but has looked good in two consecutive skates. Desjardins joined teammates at Sunday’s optional skate but will not play tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. Coach Joel Quenneville said they’ll get a better idea where Desjardins is, possibly next weekend.

“Conditioning’s part of it but also you gotta make sure the injury’s fully healed and you’re ready,” Quenneville said.

Desjardins said he “felt pretty good” following Sunday’s skate. He hasn’t missed many games due to injury in his career, so the wait hasn’t been easy.

“I’ve been pretty fortunate,” Desjardins said. “I think the longest stretch probably a week with a concussion a few years ago but besides that, I’ve been pretty fortunate with injuries. So again, it’s one of those things you just try to stay positive and that’s all I can do.”

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Whenever Desjardins does return, it can’t help but be a positive for the Blackhawks. He’ll add depth to a thin forward group as well as to a penalty kill that has struggled since the season began. As Desjardins said, “it comes back to a team thing and one player isn’t going to change that completely.” Still, he should help some.

“You know it seems like the last few games here it’s been getting better. It’s a team thing, so I think it’s obviously a situation where the guys have been working hard and trying to correct some of the mistakes that have been occurring,” he said. “You obviously want to be out there to help out when you can.”

Faceoff work

Artem Anisimov hasn’t fared so well in faceoffs so far this season, so he did some work with development coach Yanic Perreault earlier this week.

“We just talk about what I need to do and we just go over two or three things I need to focus on,” Anisimov said on Sunday. “I just tried to focus in the last game.”

Anisimov went 8-for-16 on faceoffs in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Relating to the Cubs

The Cubs are down 3-1 to the Cleveland Indians heading into Game 5 of the World Series tonight. Coach Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks are familiar with overcoming that deficit – they were down 3-1 before coming back to beat the Detroit Red Wings in the 2013 Western Conference semifinals. Quenneville said the focus has to be solely on this game.

“Get the momentum back. [You have] home field tonight, just try to make a break,” he said. “Look at the small picture and get that excitement. They’ve had a great season; just win one game, get it back.”

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.