Crawford back, Hawks seek revenge on Flames


Crawford back, Hawks seek revenge on Flames

Saturday, Dec. , 2010
Updated 7:53 PM

By Tracey Myers

The Chicago Blackhawks were positive when they looked back on their lengthy road trip last week. But almost to a man, they all took exception to one game.

except for Calgary

other than Calgary

besides Calgary

Yes, it was all pretty good except for that 7-2 loss to the Flames, arguably the Blackhawks worst performance this season. And while the Blackhawks dont care who they beat right now, as long as theyre getting points, there is a little extra incentive to erase that ugly loss with a better outing against the Flames on Sunday night.

The Blackhawks responded off that ugly loss in Calgary, beating Vancouver the next night 7-1. Coach Joel Quenneville said hed like that same response Sunday.

We have to be excited about taking advantage of home ice, said Quenneville. That last road trip after the Calgary game we played at a different level. Its a chance to redeem ourselves and respond to that type of game. As far as last nights loss, thinking you played OK but not good enough is not going to be acceptable.

The Blackhawks talked plenty about that Calgary game after it happened. There was nothing positive about their performance that night, as the Flames basically exerted their will on the Blackhawks.

When you get embarrassed like that -- whether home or road you dont want that type of performance you want to play better, Patrick Sharp said. We came out flat, we had less jump in our skating and we just kind of gave up on it as a team. We responded well the next night which was a good sign but we want to make sure we do that tomorrow.

Their response was a complete 180 in Vancouver the next night. The Blackhawks want that kind of rebound all the time, especially in this critical home stretch. If redeeming themselves against Calgary does it, fine. But whatever bolsters that kind of response at home right now is welcome.

Obviously we want some redemption. But our biggest worry is playing good at home, Troy Brouwer said. We havent been good enough at home all season long. Its a good incentive that Calgarys coming in, theres a little extra pride on the line, but our main focus has to be finding ways to win here.

Crawford back

Corey Crawford will start in goal against the Flames on Sunday night. Crawford was riding a four-game winning streak, including three in a row on that road trip, before Quenneville went with Marty Turco on Friday night.

Its not very often I change goalies when hes got a little bit of a streak, Quenneville said. Unfortunately we didnt score for (Turco vs. Vancouver).

Madden on Byfuglien

Minnesota Wild center John Madden has been noticing how former Chicago Blackhawks teammate Dustin Byfuglien has done in Atlanta. Byfuglien currently has 10 goals and 17 assists for the Thrashers. The veteran had nothing but praise for Byfugliens season thus far, even though he wouldnt have pictured him along the blue line.

Im surprised Buff is playing defense, but thats why Im playing, not coaching, he told the media in Minnesota on Friday night. Hes been unbelievable right up there with the point leaders. Every time I see a highlight hes either scoring a goal or adding an assist.

I hate to mutter the word, Madden said, but Norris might be right behind him.

Fernando Pisani (upper body) and Marian Hossa (lower body) are progressing well according to Quenneville. Hopefully sometime next week, one or two will be on the ice, he said.

Tracey Myers is's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Predicting who Blackhawks will take at No. 3 overall


Hawks Talk Podcast: Predicting who Blackhawks will take at No. 3 overall

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Slavko Bekovic and Charlie Roumeliotis react to the Olli Maatta trade and how this impacts the Blackhawks' defensive group. Is this the first of more moves to come?

The guys then break down their top-three candidates for the Blackhawks at No. 3 overall and predict who the pick will be on Friday. They also discuss how the Blackhawks' selection may impact the offseason and the big picture going forward.

0:40 – Initial reaction to the Olli Maatta trade

3:45 – How Maatta fits with the Blackhawks

7:45 – Filling Dominik Kahun’s spot

10:00 – Maatta’s contract situation

11:00 – Our top-3 draft predictions

18:30 – Official predictions on who the Blackhawks will pick

24:30 – Is there a wrong pick in the top 10?

27:30 – If the Blackhawks don’t pick D, the forward is…?

29:30 – How the Blackhawks selections shape the offseason

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


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How Erik Karlsson’s extension with Sharks impacts Blackhawks, Western Conference


How Erik Karlsson’s extension with Sharks impacts Blackhawks, Western Conference

The 2019 NHL free agent class — both restricted and unrestricted — is absolutely loaded. But perhaps the biggest fish of them all has already been taken off the board.

Erik Karlsson and the San Jose Sharks have agreed to an eight-year extension worth $11.5 million per year, according to Cap Friendly, becoming the highest-paid defenseman in league history. It’s a significant move for the Sharks, who are looking to keep the band together and take a few more stabs at a Stanley Cup before their window starts to close — Joe Thornton is 39, Joe Pavelski turns 35 in July, Brent Burns is 34, Marc-Edouard Vlasic is 32 and Logan Couture is 30.

How the Sharks make the math work going forward will be fascinating to monitor. Thornton, if he doesn't decide to hang up the skates, is a UFA. Same with Pavelski, who is coming off one of the most productive seasons of his career. Both of those players have become part of the Sharks identity, but their futures aren't guaranteed. And then there are guys like Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier, both of whom are RFAs and due big raises.

So how does the Karlsson extension impact the Blackhawks and the rest of the Western Conference?

For starters, the UFA defensemen class just got thinner and that could lead to overpayment across the board from teams looking for impact-type blue-liners because general managers that are looking to make a splash don’t want to come away empty-handed. The Blackhawks were never going to be in on Karlsson, but his contract set the market for this year's class and the fact the signing came before the NHL Draft now gives teams that would've been in on Karlsson an opportunity to refocus ahead of the negotiating period.

In the bigger picture, the Sharks just solidified themselves as legitimate Stanley Cup contenders for at least the next couple seasons. While the Karlsson contract may not look the greatest on the back half, given his durability issues, the Sharks had no choice but to offer him a blank check. When healthy, he is a game-changer and a two-time Norris Trophy winner who's still in his prime, and if the Sharks win a title in the next couple years then it was well worth it. You don't let players like him walk.

The Blackhawks are expected to be aggressive over the next several weeks, particularly in free agency but also continuing to explore the trade market. We already saw that when they acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Pittsburgh Penguins, a move that could only be the first of many this offseason. The West might be top heavy, but this past season proved that any team can turn it around quickly and the Blackhawks need to do everything in their power to make sure they're one of those teams.

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