Corey Crawfords stay at his locker wasnt an extended one last night.The Chicago Blackhawks goaltender had sat in his stall for a while after his teammates had gone in their previous two games. He was thinking about the two goals hed given up, the two goals that had been game-winners for the Phoenix Coyotes.But on Saturday night, all he was thinking about was taking his Game 5 performance and repeating it for Game 6.Crawford rebounded from two tough endings to allow just one shot in Game 5 on Saturday, as the Blackhawks beat the Coyotes 2-1 in overtime and staved off elimination in the Western Conference quarterfinals. It wasnt about stopping a lot of shots for Crawford he faced just 19 on the night. It was about stopping the very stoppable shots, and Crawford did that.I felt good, Crawford said. I was just trying to carry over the feelings of the last couple of games, the things I did right. Our guys played a really solid game, I didnt have to do too much; just a couple key saves here or there.But in Game 5 the only shot that stopped him was a Gilbert Brule effort, created on a 3-on-1 Phoenix breakaway. Everything else was his.Crawford came under fire after Games 3 and 4, as he allowed soft goals in both Coyotes victories. Coach Joel Quenneville said he and his staff would talk about which goaltender would start Game 5 or at least he gave the impression hey may have been weighing his options there. He stuck with Crawford, and it paid off.Rock solid, Quenneville said. He was good, very good.And Crawford is going to have to be very good again on Monday night. And, the Blackhawks hope, Wednesday night.The Blackhawks, and Crawford, have reached the point where theres no margin for error. Crawford has had his up-and-down moments during the regular- and postseason; another down one in this series and the Blackhawks will be dealing with first-round elimination again.Crawford needs to play like he did in Games 1, 2 and 5. He said hes taken the good things hes done this postseason and focused on those. That needs to be his mantra again on Monday.
The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have officially agreed to terms with forward Dominik Kahun, defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Darren Raddysh and goaltender Kevin Lankinen on entry-level contracts.
Kahun ($925,000 cap hit), Lankinen ($925,000) and Raddysh ($730,000) each signed two-year deals that run through the 2019-20 season while Carlsson's is a three-year deal that runs through the 2020-21 campaign and carries a cap hit of $792,500.
So who are these guys? Let's meet them:
Drafted in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2016, Carlsson set a career-high with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 44 games this season with Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League. He was tied for fourth among all blue liners with seven goals.
Carlsson, 20, doesn't have major upside, but he's a reliable, well-rounded defenseman and that's what drew the attention of Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.
“When he’s on the ice, he makes things happen," Kelley told Scott Powers of The Athletic last summer. "I think what impressed the Sweden under-20 coach was Lucas’ ability to challenge in all three zones. He’s an active defensively. Offensively, he challenges. He keeps plays alive.”
The 22-year-old forward spent the last four seasons with EHC München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's top professional hockey league, where he established career highs in assists (29), points (41) and tied a personal best with 12 goals, leading Munchen to their third straight championship in 2018 after recording four goals and 10 assists in 17 playoff contests.
He raised eyebrows at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where he compiled five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games and won 55.4 percent of his faceoffs (41 of 74), helping Germany capture a silver medal.
“He has made an enormous step this year, has become much more stable and mature," German national team coach Marco Sturm said after the Olympics. "I am sure that he would grab it in the NHL,” Sturm told the Hamburger Morgenpost.
Most recently, Kahun had a goal and two assists in seven games for Germany during the IIHF Men's World Championship. He's 5-foot-11, 176 pounds whose known to be a solid two-way player and can play center but may need some time to adjust to the smaller ice surface and NHL style of speed and physicality.
Extremely proud to have signed my first NHL contract with the @nhlblackhawks . A big thank you to my family, girlfriend , my teammates and coaches . I wouldn’t sign this without your help. Ich bin sehr stolz meinen ersten NHL Vertrag unterschrieben zu haben . Ich möchte mich bei meiner Familie , Freundin , meinen Mitspielern und Trainer bedanken . Ohne eure Hilfe wäre ich nicht so weit gekommen .
Lankinen is 23 years old and coming off a season in which he was in the discussion for the Urpo Ylönen trophy, annually awarded to the top goaltender of the Finnish Elite League, after registering a league-best 1.33 goals against average and .946 save percentage in 15 games with HIFK.
He missed a large portion of the season because of an injury, but it didn't stop him from turning in a strong postseason, guiding his team to a bronze medal after posting a 1.99 GAA and .936 save percentage in 13 playoff games. The year before that, he led the league with seven shutouts in 42 games, backstopping his team to a silver medal.
This is a low-risk, medium-sized reward signing for the Blackhawks, who could use some more young goaltending depth in the pipeline, especially given how this season unfolded with the big club.
The Blackhawks signed Raddysh to a one-year AHL contract last June, and he turned it into an NHL one after a strong season with the Rockford IceHogs.
Raddysh, 22, accumulated 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 66 regular-season games with the IceHogs, and has appeared in each of the team's playoff games en route to the Western Conference Final.
Last season Raddysh was named the OHL's top defenseman after scoring 16 goals and 65 assists for 81 points in 62 games for the Erie Otters, where he was teammates with current Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. He's the Otters' all-time leader in assists (143) and points (184) among defensemen.
Raddysh might be nothing more than a depth defenseman, but his development is worth monitoring because the offensive production is there and that's something the Blackhawks lacked this past season from their back end.
Days after putting his Gold Coast condo on the market, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa revealed to a Slovakian newspaper that he is moving back to his hometown country and doesn't plan on returning to the NHL.
"I will not play hockey anymore," said Hossa, who missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat it. "I have a valid contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have only one health and it does not allow me to return."
Because he has three years left on a deal that carries a $5.275 million cap hit, Hossa is not expected to sign his retirement papers until the contract is completed or else it would result in salary cap consequences.
The news is not surprising, but it officially allows the Blackhawks to move on without him in the fold roster-wise and toy around with some options this summer.
The first is stashing his contract on long-term injured reserve, as they did last season when they utilized the in-season preference.
The second, which Hossa wondered could happen, is finding a trade partner that would absorb the remainder of his contract, usually done by lower payroll teams aiming to reach the cap floor.
And it wouldn't be difficult trying to find a buyer, considering Hossa's actual salary is $1 million per year over the next three seasons. Hossa, of course, has a no movement clause but it's likely he would waive it given his status at this point.
The good news for Chicago is, the three-time Stanley Cup winner didn't rule out joining the Blackhawks organization in some capacity after his contract expires in 2020-21, whether it's in a front office role or as a team ambassador.
In 19 NHL seasons, Hossa accumulated 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games, and added 149 points (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 postseason contests. He's one of 45 players in league history to net at least 500 goals in his career.