Blackhawks 'used frustration the right way' to top Coyotes in OT


Blackhawks 'used frustration the right way' to top Coyotes in OT

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Marian Hossa wasn’t happy that he had a goal taken away from him. But he and the Blackhawks were just fine with the end result.

Hossa had one goal disallowed but did score one later, and Jonathan Toews scored two, including his fifth overtime goal of the season, in the Blackhawks’ 5-4 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night. The Blackhawks have won two in a row out of the All-Star break and remain atop the Central Division with 74 points. The Dallas Stars, who the Blackhawks face on Saturday, are second with 71 points.

Patrick Kane scored his 31st goal, setting a new career-high for a season. Hossa’s goal that did count was the 495th of his career. Michal Rozsival scored his first of the season and Artemi Panarin finished with two assists.

It was a game that featured everything: a goal that was originally a goal before it became a disallowed goal, a short-handed goal, two power-play goals and a bunch of penalties. And of course, there was another overtime winner for Toews.

As happy as the Blackhawks were at the end, however, they were fuming early. Hossa appeared to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead in the first period but the Coyotes challenged for goaltender interference, and won. In replays it looked like Coyotes defenseman Klas Dahlbeck pushed Hossa into Louis Domingue. But the NHL’s Situation Room, in a release, said Hossa interfered with Domingue, wiping way the goal. The release stated:

According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Referee, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to ‘Interference on the Goalkeeper,’ as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4.”

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Hossa still wasn’t happy about the ruling after the game.

“First of all we are happy we won this crazy game. Obviously, it was pretty fun to watch, I guess, from upstairs,” Hossa said. “Disappointing from the first goal, I couldn’t believe it. Obviously, you know, I thought that was the first joke. I tried to battle in front of the net and I don’t have any intention to touch the goalie. I just try to battle through two guys and put the puck in the net. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the playoffs, if there’s going to be calls after calls after calls. But I don’t think it’s good for the league.”

Coach Joel Quenneville, who was visibly livid at the time of the call, was a lot calmer with the end result.

“We had a real good response in that second period. I didn’t mind the first as well. Heck of a hockey game, back and forth,” he said. “[The Coyotes] were desperate coming off a tough game. You knew they were going to be ready and they responded. Hard-working game for both teams; it was incredibly competitive and fun to be a part of. I think the fans enjoyed it.”

As frustrated as Hossa was early, that ire led to him having arguably his best game of the season. The disallowd goal didn’t mean Hossa shied away from the net, and that’s how he got the one that counted in the second period.

“That was the Hoss we know very well making those single-handed efforts and taking the puck to the net the way he did in the second period,” Toews said. “It was nice to see him get one back there. I think he was deserving to have that first one. Unfortunately it went against him but scored another big one for us in the second there.”

And then in overtime it was Toews, who’s making a habit of scoring winners in those extra few minutes.

“I don’t know, just getting opportunities and if you get a few early in the season you feel confident in that situation,” he said. “I think I had three, maybe four shifts in overtime; so I think when you get that kind of ice time, the play is going back and forth, somebody is going to score. It’s nice that I’ve been able to cash in those situations a little bit.”

The Blackhawks weren’t thrilled at how this one started. They were fine with the finish.

“I think in some cases you just have to realize some calls are going to go against you whether you agree with it or not,” Toews said. “I guess we used the frustration the right way.”

Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona


Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona

The wait is almost over.

After missing nearly 10 months with a concussion, Corey Crawford said he expects to start on Thursday when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center. An official decision will come following the team's morning skate.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. ... It was a pretty long process. But I think the most important thing was not to rush anything. When I finally was out, it got to a point where I wasn’t in shape to play and it was time to rest and it’s unfortunate it took a lot longer than I would’ve liked. 

"It’s been long, but finally, just to get back and be practicing with the team has meant a lot. It’s good to get to this point now when you’re really close to playing. Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

Crawford's last appearance in an NHL game was Dec. 23, 2017 against the New Jersey Devils when he allowed three goals on seven shots in 13:22 of action before getting pulled. So of course, emotions will naturally be running high, especially in front of the hometown crowd.

"I'm sure I'll be a little anxious getting into it," Crawford said. "Some nerves. But we'll see. We'll wait until the morning, but I'm definitely excited I can tell you that."

It's obviously terrific news for the Blackhawks, who have picked up eight out of a possible 10 points to start the season and are getting their two-time Stanley Cup winning goalie back between the pipes. It's been a long time coming, and Crawford is coming back into a healthy situation where the Blackhawks are in a good spot in the standings.

"It's great news, I'm sure it'll be exciting for him exciting for our team, exciting for our fans and the organization as well," Patrick Kane said. "It’s probably a good situation all around. Cam [Ward] has done a great job of playing in the net so far. Crow is really good in practice right now, so I’m sure he’s itching to get back, too. We’ve had a good start here. It’s something we want to keep going, and I’m sure him coming back on home ice, in front of our crowd, will be a fun one for him and for our team."

There's no doubting how important Crawford is the team and organization. While there may be a little bit of rust early on, the Blackhawks are expecting him to look like his old self.

"He means a lot to the team," Quenneville said. "We felt last year was a good example of how important he was and how well he was playing for us, as well. We’ve gotten off to a decent start and he was a big factor in it. We know that goaltending is such a big part of the team and your success a lot of nights depends on him and his consistency’s always been in place.

"But he looks good in the net. He’s been off for a long, long time. Is there rust? Do we expect rust? I think the way he’s competing and practicing and finding pucks, he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. So we’re looking forward to him getting in there and getting comfortable and how he’s feeling going forward will dictate a lot of the decisions about him going back in."

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


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!