Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Patrick Kane 'focused' on hockey

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Blackhawks: Patrick Kane 'focused' on hockey

There have been plenty of bizarre twists and turns in the Patrick Kane investigation the past few days, but the Blackhawks right wing said his mind remains on hockey.

“Especially after the past couple of days, right now, I’m just trying to focus on the game tonight, coming out in practice today and trying to get better, focus on that. But I don’t really have anything to say about what transpired over the past, whatever it’s been, 72 hours,” said Kane, who will play Saturday night when the Blackhawks host the St. Louis Blues. “My focus is here on the game tonight and I guess I’ll also congratulate the Chicago Cubs on clinching a playoff spot.”

In early August a young woman accused Kane of raping her at his Hamburg, N.Y., home. Kane has not been charged with any crime. Since Wednesday there have been several press conferences on the investigation: the woman’s then-attorney claimed an evidence bag was tampered with and found at the accuser’s mother’s home on Wednesday, then withdrew from the case on Thursday when he wasn’t comfortable with the story of how that bag got to the mother’s house. On Friday, Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said the bag was part of an “elaborate hoax.”

Kane’s attorney, Paul Cambria, maintained Kane’s innocence. Kane said the same in his opening statement last week at the University of Notre Dame. Asked on Saturday if he was still confident he would be exonerated, Kane said, “that’s all speculation and assumptions. Obviously, I believe what I said, and I think that’s been reiterated many times by not only myself, but my lawyer, as well. But what’s going to actually happen is just speculation, so I don’t know. I don’t know what comes next.”

[RELATED: Erie County DA - Evidence kit in Patrick Kane case 'not tampered with']

As for support, Kane said he’s had plenty.

“The fans have been great. I obviously appreciate that. My family’s been awesome, my girlfriend’s been great,” he said. “I think everyone’s [been], especially the Blackhawks organization, as well. Everyone’s kind of stuck with me through the whole thing. It’s good to have that support. Support’s been huge throughout this past couple of months.”

BRIEFLY

- Corey Crawford is expected to play the whole game against the St. Louis Blues.

- Artemi Panarin (upper body) is expected to be back on the ice on Monday. Coach Joel Quenneville said he hopes the young forward plays in the team’s final two preseason games, but will have a better idea once Panarin skates.

- Michal Rozsival (ankle) has started to skate again. Quenneville said the defenseman has been rehabbing that injury “to a different level where it wouldn’t be an issue before he starts skating hard.” Quenneville said Rozsival is questionable to doubtful to play in the regular-season opener.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Corey Crawford’s season debut after missing nearly 10 months with a concussion.

Mayers talks about the Kitty system that Niklas Hjalmarsson and Vinnie Hinostroza probably dealt with in their returns to Chicago.

The guys also discuss what’s next for Crawford, the upcoming matchup against Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks’ biggest areas for improvement.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on Thursday:

1. Return of the Crow

The Blackhawks got their man back between the pipes after a 10-month layoff due to a concussion. And he looked like same old "Crow."

Crawford stopped 27 of 30 shots for a save percentage of .900. He faced 12 shots and eight scoring chances in the first period, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The biggest save he made was on a Michael Grabner breakaway in the third period, bailing out a turnover in the neutral zone.

"I think I felt better in the second and third," Crawford said. "But they really didn’t get that many opportunities early. It was nice. I think they flipped one in for the first one, so that was kind of good just to get in it and feel one early. We were close in that one all game and we created a lot. I thought [Antti] Raanta played really well.

"It was a tough, tough break at the end. Still felt I should have stopped that one. We were right there, we were creating a lot and gotta try to come up with that one. Just gotta forget about it and worry about the next game."

2. Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews extend point streaks

The hot start continues for the Blackhawks' two leading scorers, both of whom assisted on Erik Gustafsson's goal in the second period to stretch their point streaks to six games. DeBrincat and Toews each have 10 points this season.

3. Overtime streak ends

The Blackhawks made history by forcing five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team has ever done in the four major sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB). But they didn't have the comeback magic in them this time.

Entering Thursday, the Blackhawks were 1-0-1 when trailing after two periods. They were 5-28-2 last season for a win percentage of .143.

4. Familiar faces, new places

Five former Blackhawks took the ice for the Coyotes: Vinnie Hinostroza, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, Richard Panik and Antti Raanta.

It was Hjalmarsson's first trip back to Chicago since being traded in the 2017 offseason. He received a nice video tribute during the second TV timeout of the first period, which made him very emotional.

"I almost got emotional too seeing his reaction," Toews said. "He's one of those guys you'll never forget what he meant to this locker room. He was a quiet guy in the room but we all know how he played and put everyone else before himself. Pretty cool reaction from the fans too. I think we were all sad to see him leave this locker room, he did a lot of special things and was a massive part of our championship wins. Happy for him to get that reception. It's well-deserved and obviously we miss having him around."

As far as the game, Hjalmarsson logged a team-high 22:18 of ice time and blocked three shots. Oesterle registered a secondary assist on Arizona's first goal, which was its first 5-on-5 of the season.

Hinostroza, who was also part of the Marian Hossa trade over the summer, scored twice in his return to his hometown, beating Crawford with a wrist shot to make it 2-1 in the second period and an empty-netter in the third; his second goal turned out to be the game winner, the fourth of his career and first as a member of the Coyotes.

Panik recorded four shot attempts (three on goal). And Raanta improved to 16-0-3 in his career at the United Center, a remarkable record for any goaltender in any situation.