Blackhawks prepare for potential game delay in Winter Classic

Blackhawks prepare for potential game delay in Winter Classic

ST. LOUIS – The New Year’s Day weather in St. Louis was perfect for an outdoor game: a little sun here or there but mostly cloudy and chilly. The ice, Blackhawks players said following their practice on it, was in very good shape.

As for Monday’s weather, well, that may not be nearly as perfect. With rain still prevalent in the forecast, there could be a delay. So if you’re a hockey player waiting during that time, what do you do?

“I don’t know. Batting cages, maybe?” Corey Crawford said to laughs.

OK, as fun as that may be, finding a way to stay loose is something the Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues will have to consider if the Winter Classic gets delayed. The league announced on Sunday night that the start time for the Winter Classic will be announced at 7 a.m. on Monday.

The current forecast for Monday, according to, is 50 degrees with 80 percent chance of rain. The temperature isn’t a problem. The rain could be. In 2011 the Washington Capitals-Pittsburgh Penguins Winter Classic was delayed until 8 p.m. ET due to heavy rain in the afternoon, when the game was originally scheduled. Players are hopeful they’ll know one way or another by Sunday night (the Pittsburgh game time was changed the previous day). Regardless, they’ll adjust.

[MORE: Kruger out 2-3 weeks, Hossa out for Winter Classic]

“You do whatever it takes not to be sitting around all day. Obviously if it gets pushed back, whether, it’s last minute or they give us a head’s up, you gotta adjust,” Trevor van Riemsdyk said. “I’m sure everyone will be prepared; nobody will be shocked by anything. That’s the good thing: everyone already has it in their head that there’s a possibility [of a delay]. They’ll probably have their routines all planned out for any situation.”

Duncan Keith doesn’t mind the curveballs the outdoor games can throw you. He also said it’s not just about being physically ready.

“As long as you do some preparation, get your body ready and loosened up to play, then the rest of it is mental,” he said. “Certainly there are things that come into play but a lot of it is just being mentally tough, strong and understanding that nothing’s going to be perfect. Every time you suit up and put on the gear, there are going to be situations you have to find a way to play in and be your best.”

[SHOP: Gear up Blackhawks fans!]

The Blackhawks have seen every type of weather in their outdoor-game history: frigid temperatures at Wrigley Field, a snow globe-like setting Soldier Field, glaring sun at Nationals Park and near-perfect conditions at TFC Bank Stadium. Heavy rain, however, can wreak havoc with the ice. The Blackhawks could be waiting to play this outdoor game. If there are changes, they’ll roll with them.

“Especially hockey, you don’t find delays too much. But we have our system and every player has his things he does to prepare,” Ryan Hartman said. “If it gets prolonged you deal with it. It’s something you just gotta do.” 

Crawford comes up big for 250th win


Crawford comes up big for 250th win

Corey Crawford captured a coveted goalie milestone with another solid performance in a 2-1 shootout victory for the Blackhawks on Friday in New Jersey. The Hawks (12-12-5) beat the Atlantic division-leading Bruins 4-3 in overtime in Boston with Robin Lehner in net on Thursday before playing the Devils, last in the Metropolitan, Friday with Crawford starting. 

"It's important to try to climb back up in the standings," Crawford said following the game. "We had a few tough games, it seems like it's been pretty streaky the first quarter of the season, but when we're playing well I think we're pretty tough to beat. We just got to try to find that game as much as possible. 

"But that was obviously a big win to start it and against one of the best teams in the league (the Bruins) and having a big lead too, going late into the third period, and then a team that's a little bit lower in the standings (the Devils), but you still have to come out hard and play, no games are easy. It was pretty competitive out there but it's nice to find a way to win." 

The two-time Stanley Cup champ saved 29 of 30 shots through overtime, including a Miles Wood breakaway with 11 seconds remaining in the second period and the game tied 1-1. He also stopped three of five New Jersey Devils shooters including Taylor Hall and 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes in the shootout. 

Crawford became the 59th goalie in NHL history to record 250 wins. The 34-year-old is one of 13 active NHL goalies and just the third Hawks netminder to reach the milestone.

Crawford is 250-149-52 in 464 games with the Blackhawks and has 26 shutouts. 

5 Takeaways: Blackhawks win 2-1 in shootout vs. Devils


5 Takeaways: Blackhawks win 2-1 in shootout vs. Devils

The Blackhawks won 2-1 against the New Jersey Devils in a shootout on Friday. Here are five takeaways:

Top to bottom

The Hawks were looking to establish some momentum in Jersey following a big win Thursday in Boston. Jonathan Toews scored in overtime and Alex DeBrincat ended a 12-game goal drought to help the Hawks to a 4-3 OT win over the Bruins, ending the Blackhawks' 3-game losing streak in which they were outscored 16-5. 

Going from facing the first place team in the Atlantic division (second in the NHL) on Thursday to the last place team in the Metropolitan division (second to last in the league) on Friday proved to be tougher than imagined. 

Alex DeBrincat scored the lone regulation goal for Chicago and Kirby Dach, the No. 3 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, scored the final goal of the shootout and set up No. 1 pick Jack Hughes to get stopped by Corey Crawford for the 2-1 final score. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane also scored in the shootout for the Blackhawks.

Crow 250

Corey Crawford won his 250th NHL game on Friday. The two-time Stanley Cup champ is the 59th goalie in NHL history to reach the milestone and one of 13 active netminders to do so. The 34-year-old is the third goalie to reach 250 wins with the Blackhawks. 

Crawford saved 29 of 30 New Jersey shots ahead of the shootout. 

Cat on the prowl 

DeBrincat scored his second goal in two games after not lighting the lamp in his previous 12. This is a good sign for the forward, who is known to score in bunches.

Gilbert getting noticed

Dennis Gilbert skated in his second straight game with the Hawks with Olli Maatta (flu-like symptoms) missing both contents on the road trip. Gilbert had a solid game in Boston Thursday and improved his case Friday, putting a big hit on Hughes then having a decent showing after answering the bell with Wayne Simmonds.

Kane watch

Kane tied Andy Bathgate for 93rd on the NHL career points list (973), assisting on DeBrincat's second period goal.