Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Quenneville hints at possible return for van Riemsdyk

vanriemsdykhawksinsider0604.png

Blackhawks: Quenneville hints at possible return for van Riemsdyk

TAMPA, Fla. – Will Trevor van Riemsdyk make his NHL return on the biggest stage of all? It’s looking like it’ll happen, and soon.

Coach Joel Quenneville said van Riemsdyk “could” play when the Blackhawks face the Tampa Bay Lighting in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night. Van Riemsdyk skated with the Blackhawks on Wednesday morning and Quenneville said entering Game 1 that the young defenseman could play in this series.

So, with van Riemsdyk not playing in an NHL game since November, what gives Quenneville the confidence that he can jump in at this point?

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“Probably the way he shocked us, surprised us when he first came in at camp this year, how well he played for us when he started the season,” said Quenneville. “You [could] look at him a lot of nights, he [was] out there against top players. He was out there late in periods. He was killing plays, making plays, reliable. He played surprisingly to a different level than we anticipated he could get to.  Obviously we missed him when he got injured.”

It would be surprising if van Riemsdyk played but let’s keep it in perspective: the Blackhawks aren’t expecting the guy to play 15-20 minutes out of the gate after not playing for so long. If he does play, perhaps, at least to start, he plays around the five-plus minutes David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey have logged in recent games. If he shows he can play more, then maybe Quenneville gives him more.

[MORE: Lightning not viewing Game 2 as must-win]

Here’s what we all need to remember: Quenneville trusted van Riemsdyk pretty fast in the fall. That’s probably why, even though van Riemsdyk hasn’t played for the Blackhawks since Nov. 16 – he suffered a fractured patella that night against the Dallas Stars – Quenneville would like to get him back in the lineup.

Notes:

- Andrew Shaw won’t face any hearing for allegedly biting Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman in Game 1, according to a source. The two tussled in the first period of the Blackhawks’ 2-1 victory over the Lightning. Asked after the game if Shaw bit him, Hedman said, “It felt like it. I have a little bruise, so maybe.”

- Even if Bryan Bickell is ready to play after missing Game 1 with an upper-body injury, Quenneville may opt to leave Kris Versteeg in the lineup. Versteeg, who was back with the team on Tuesday after his wife gave birth to their first child on Monday, played just under 10 minutes. “He had good pace to his game, good energy. He hadn't played in a while, as well,” said Quenneville of Versteeg, whose last game was May 21. “It was good for him yesterday. I liked what he did, so good chance he's playing.”

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

blackhawks_usa_today.jpg
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.