Blackhawks upset with overturned call in shutout loss to Sharks


Blackhawks upset with overturned call in shutout loss to Sharks

Coach Joel Quenneville was angry.

He wasn’t as visibly angry as he was when the Blackhawks were denied an early goal off a coach’s challenge against the Arizona Coyotes. But when it happened again tonight against the San Jose Sharks, Quenneville had some measured but pointed words in what was a very brief post-game press conference.

“Yeah, it’s gone to a different level. I don’t know the rules anymore or something’s changed,” Quenneville said. “My understanding, I’ve played a lot of hockey… I don’t know. I think everybody has an interpretation of what’s a good goal and what’s a bad goal, but I can’t believe it.”

For the second time in three games the Blackhawks had a goal taken away thanks to a successful opposing coach’s challenge. They came back to win against Arizona, decreasing the angst they felt when Marian Hossa’s goal was disallowed. But there was no consolation on Tuesday night when Brandon Mashinter’s early goal was disallowed off another coach’s challenge, and the Sharks went on to beat the Blackhawks 2-0.

The Blackhawks remain atop the Central Division but the Dallas Stars, overtime winners over the Minnesota Wild, are just three points behind with three games in hand.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Artemi Panarin missed the game due to illness. Corey Crawford stopped 25 of 26 shots in the loss. Martin Jones stopped all 33 shots he faced for the 12th shutout of his career.

Patrick Marleau scored a power-play goal, which proved to be the winner for the Sharks. Joe Thornton added an empty-net goal.

But for the second time in their last three games, the Blackhawks were denied what they thought was a goal that would’ve given them a 1-0 lead. Mashinter’s would-be goal went off his shin pad and past Jones but Sharks coach Pete DeBoer issued a challenge, claiming the Blackhawks interfered with Jones. The officials ruled Dennis Rasmussen did interfere with Jones, erasing the goal.

“It’s definitely frustrating. I thought it was a fair goal but with the rules and the coach’s challenge, it’s one of those things that happens; and it’s been going on quite a bit in the league,” Mashinter said. “I can’t blame Moose [Rasmussen]; the puck was there. Just unfortunate.”

It was the third time this season the Blackhawks have had a goal taken away after an opposing coach’s challenge. Andrew Shaw’s goal was nixed after Toronto coach Mike Babcock challenged on Jan. 15. The Blackhawks went on to win that game.

Hossa, who was angry after his disallowed goal on Thursday, wasn’t happy with this call, either.

[MORE: Goal nixed again: Five Things from Blackhawks-Sharks]

“I mean, the league wanted more goals but it seems like these rules are against it. It seems like it’s costing another goal,” Hossa said. “Last year, definitely that would be a goal, no question asked. It seems like again, same rule and no goal. Definitely frustrated. It could be a different result but it is what it is.”

Crawford agreed.

“I don’t know. It seems like we’re not doing too much to get things called back,” Crawford said. “As a goalie, you’re also trying to step out a little bit but didn’t look like that was much contact. But you have to live with the call.”

The Blackhawks didn’t stop generating traffic around Jones, nor did it stop them from trying to get shots through that traffic. Jones did his part, however, stopping everything and rarely allowing a rebound. The Blackhawks also went 0-for-3 on their power play.

It’s rare when Quenneville voices his displeasure with calls. The last time probably came after Raffi Torres’ hit to Hossa’s head back in 2011. It’s a frustration the Blackhawks were able to overcome in two previous games this season. On Tuesday, they couldn’t.

“That’s a tough one,” Hossa said. “But I thought that was another goal [when] it seems like they look at so many reviews and replays and seems a little touch seems to be a big interference and no goals, so that kind of sucks.”

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

Corey Crawford is back and it didn't look like he skipped much of a beat. The Blackhawks were handed their first regulation loss of the season to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, but the 33-year-old netminder stopped 27 of 30 shots (.900 save percentage) in his season debut and made several timely saves to keep his team in it.

In the larger picture, it was a win based on how well Crawford looked between the pipes.

"Yeah, I think it is," coach Joel Quenneville said after practice on Friday. "It's one of things we were wondering, how he would handle post-game and how he came in today. Very encouraging signs. He felt good in all aspects of what he went through and dealt with, and practiced well today too, so that was good."

The first one is in the books.

But what's the plan going forward? Will Crawford be on a "pitch count" or will they treat him like they have in past seasons when he was healthy?

In the past, Crawford has generally started somewhere in between 55-58 games per season. Part of that has been because of injuries. Another part is the Blackhawks have had reliable backups, which allowed them to give Crawford an extra night off here and there to keep him fresh.

It's not unreasonable, though, to think Crawford could flirt with 50 starts, considering he missed only five games to start the season. And they can still accomplish that by playing it safe.

The Blackhawks have 13 more back-to-backs this season, which gives them the opportunity to start Cam Ward at some point in each of them. That leaves room for another 15 or so starts to sprinkle in for Ward that could serve as rest days for Crawford and still being on track to start around 50.

Obviously, the Blackhawks want to be careful with how much they ask of Crawford because concussions are tricky to deal with and every player responds differently to it.

His return comes at a time where the Blackhawks are slated to play seven games in 11 days after playing just two in the previous 10. Thursday marked the start of that stretch.

"He’ll tell us how he feels and we’ll go from there and make those decisions," Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks have been on record saying they prefer not to carry three goaltenders. But in this case it makes sense. At least in the short term.

Quenneville said Friday that the Blackhawks will reevaluate the situation at the end of the weekend following the beginning of a busy stretch where they'll play three games in four days.

"Yeah, that’s the mindset," he said. "Let’s see how we handle these three in four and then we’ll address it."

Crawford is expected to start on Saturday in Columbus, making it his second start in three days. That's when they'll get a better sense of how he's handling things.

If it were up to him, Crawford said he feels he's prepared for it.

"Yeah, sure," Crawford said. "Why not? I've been working hard with [strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman]. He's got me where I need to be, so I'm in shape right now. Why not?"

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


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!