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.

Blackhawks and Blue Jackets both going through own challenges of Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad trade


Blackhawks and Blue Jackets both going through own challenges of Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad trade

The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets blockbuster trade from the 2017 offseason is always a hot topic in Chicago when things aren't going great. It especially is when the two teams square off against each other, like Saturday at Nationwide Arena for the first time this season.

If it wasn't already apparent in Chicago, Artemi Panarin has emerged as a real NHL superstar and is set for a giant payday when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019. He set a Blue Jackets record with 82 points in a single season and has nine points (three goals, six assists) through six games this season.

Brandon Saad, on the other hand, had a challenging first year back with the Blackhawks in 2017-18 after netting only 35 points in 82 games and is off to a slow start this year as well with zero goals and two assists through six games. After a demotion to the fourth line, he was close to being a healthy scratch on Thursday, which only magnifies where things are at as the two get ready to clash.

But Saad was never going to be able to replace Panarin's offensive production. Everybody knows that. Yet, the offensive comparisons will always be there as a barometer and that's something Saad doesn't think about, no matter how much fans talk about it.

"I don't think I do it," he said. "We're different players. He's a great player. Fans are going to do whatever comparisons they want, but at the end of the day you've got to be true to yourself and do what you bring to the table. He's a great player around the league. You can see his highlights and his goals, he's definitely a special player. But at the end of the day I've got confidence in my abilities too. We both bring different attributes, but they're going to make comparisons regardless."

A big reason why the Blackhawks reacquired Saad, other than his ability to play a 200-foot game, is because he carries a $6 million cap hit through 2020-21, which is two years more than Panarin at the same cap hit. (It's also important to note that the Blackhawks hoped they were getting a reliable, young backup goaltender in Anton Forsberg, but the injury to Corey Crawford thrust him into a role he wasn't exactly prepared for.)

It's not all rainbows for Columbus right now regarding where things stand with Panarin, who has made it clear he's not ready to sign a long-term extension. All signs point to the 26-year-old winger hitting the market, putting the Blue Jackets in a tricky situation ahead of the trade deadline. The Blackhawks very well could have found themselves in this position, too, had a deal not been made.

Both sides are dealing with their own challenges of the trade. Saad is still a key piece to the Blackhawks' puzzle and they're hoping to get more out of him, for no other reason than the team's overall success.

"You want to have success regardless of who you're playing for, who you're traded for, things like that," Saad said. "Naturally, just as competitors, you want to bring that excitement and you want to have success with the team and personally."

Anthony Duclair regrets not making most of opportunity with Blackhawks


Anthony Duclair regrets not making most of opportunity with Blackhawks

Anthony Duclair knew what kind of opportunity he had in front of him when he was traded to the Blackhawks in January. The first day he stepped into the locker room, he admitted he was a little "star-struck."

But the marriage didn't last very long. 

After recording only two goals and eight assists in 23 games, the Blackhawks chose to move on from the restricted free agent by not extending a qualifying offer. Duclair later latched on with the Columbus Blue Jackets on a one-year, $650,000 "prove-it" deal.

"I wasn't surprised," Duclair said before Saturday's game against his former team. "I knew that I didn't perform as well as I did when I was there. I think I was there for only 20 games and didn't live up to the standards. As soon as I didn't hear anything from my agent I sort of got the message. But it was time to move on."

Duclair made no excuses for what went wrong in Chicago and accepted responsibility for not taking advantage of his opportunity, even though a leg injury sidelined him for the final month that prevented him from giving the Blackhawks a larger sample size.

"I just didn't perform well," he said. "It's going to be one of my regrets, to get that opportunity in Chicago and not perform in the way I did. It was something I had to look in the mirror this summer and move on obviously, but at the same time whenever a team comes next I think I'm going to take that opportunity and run away with it."

It's obvious that Duclair's got the potential to be an effective offensive player in the NHL. But we've only seen that in flashes, which is a large reason why it didn't work out in Chicago and why, entering his fifth season in the league, he still finds himself trying to play for a long-term contract.

"Just being more consistent," Duclair said. "Thats comes up a lot and my agents talks to a couple GMs around the league and it's something I'm trying to work on. It's not something you can work on in the summer, it's more preparing mentally and physically and that's what I've been trying to do."

So far, so good in Columbus.

Duclair has two goals and two assists through six games and is averaging 15:22 of ice time playing in a top-six role, on track to shatter his previous career high in that category (14:23) when he did so as a sophomore in 2015-16 with Arizona. He even made headlines on Thursday after scoring a highlight-reel goal against the Philadelphia Flyers, saying his "phone blew up quite a bit."

How he scored it is what stood out and his perspective after it is encouraging for his overall growth, as well.

"I've already put it behind me to be honest with you," Duclair said. "I'm just focused on Chicago now. I want to be consistent throughout every shift. Look at that goal, [it was] second and third efforts. That's what I want to bring to the table every shift, especially with the guys I'm playing right now. I just want to be having the puck whenever you can and being big on the forecheck."