Blackhawks

Blackhawks updates: Corey Crawford starting Game 1 vs. Wild

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Blackhawks updates: Corey Crawford starting Game 1 vs. Wild

When coach Joel Quenneville was asked who his goaltender would be following the Blackhawks’ Game 6 victory over Nashville on Saturday, he gave enough of a hint that you figured it would be Corey Crawford.

On Monday, he confirmed that.

[RELATED - Blackhawks, Wild meet again in second round of playoffs]

Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the Minnesota Wild in their second-round series. Crawford was pulled at the end of the first period in Game 1 against the Nashville Predators, lost Game 2 and didn’t see the net again until the final 2 1/2 periods of Game 6 on Saturday night. He stopped 13 shots and got the victory in that relief appearance, when the Blackhawks eliminated the Predators.

“Great response in a very important game for us,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Crawford. “All of a sudden, tight game, game was on the line and he did everything he could. Great win for him and for us. He exited the series on a positive note. I’m sure it wasn’t easy watching and doing everything to get the chance he got but he certainly put us in the position now where it’s is net, so let’s go.”

Crawford didn’t want to talk much about what he went through in the first round; as he said, he’s addressed it several times. He’s now just looking ahead to Round 2.

“Yeah, I feel like I can get back at it,” he said. “We’re going to have some tough practices here, so I feel fine right now.”

Updates

—The Blackhawks shuffled things with their lines on Monday. The biggest change: Teuvo Teravainen is in and Kris Versteeg is out. Teravainen skated on the third line with Patrick Sharp and Antoine Vermette and Bryan Bickell moved up to the second line with Brad Richards and Patrick Kane, with whom he had some success during Game 4. Quenneville said it was more about getting Teravainen into the lineup. “I think he gives us some options on both sides of the puck,” he said. “I like his awareness. I’m sure he should be excited.”

[MORE: Blackhawks rally to beat Predators, advance to second round]

—Duncan Keith did not participate in practice on Monday but Quenneville said he was just resting.

—Joakim Nordstrom and Daniel Carcillo were also wearing white-and-red (aka fifth-line) sweaters on Monday.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

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

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”