Blackhawks

Crawford's struggles open door for Emery

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Crawford's struggles open door for Emery

Updated: 4:42 p.m.

Corey Crawford is in uncharted NHL territory: hes slumping. Its something thats unknown to him at this level, as he excelled in every situation during his rookie season and even through the first month of this one.

So while he works on getting out of his slump, the Blackhawks will turn to their backup on Thursday night.

Ray Emery will get the start when the Blackhawks face the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday. It will be the second start in the last three games for Emery, who also had relief duty when Crawford was pulled against Phoenix on Tuesday night.

For Emery, whos sporting a 4-1-2 mark, its a chance to continue the solid work hes done during the regular season. He won in St. Louis on Saturday, and outside of that mess in Edmonton, which was a team-wide debacle, hes been steady.

For Crawford, its a chance to take a step back, assess whats happening and work on it.

He can work on some things (with goaltending coach Stephane Waite) and get that confidence in the net, coach Joel Quenneville said. He can work on (things), whether its handling the puck, rebound control or fighting through traffic. Stephs going to be working with him the next few days to get that game back where it needs to be.

Crawford was stellar the first month of this season. He had some good games in November, but thats also when the inconsistencies started to show. Sometimes it was defensive mistakes that he couldnt make up for the Blackhawks defensive issues have been there plenty this season. But other times Crawford was allowing bad goals. It obviously hasnt set well with the competitive Crawford.

Its not very fun; its frustrating. Every second game seems to be a rough one for me, said Crawford. Im just trying to work hard, battle through it. Thats the only way I see getting out of it.

Quenneville isnt calling this a controversy. This is the first time Crawfords struggled in the NHL so its hardly that. But the Blackhawks are nevertheless going to address Crawfords ups and downs, and let him work his way through them.

Since hes been here, hes had the net and everythings been going great. So something like this (slump) gets your attention, Quenneville said. Thats why him and Steph work well. Its only a matter of time until he recaptures that confidence.

Crawford will work on it. He wont, however, mentally dwell on it.

I dont like losing, I dont like being pulled. But the worst thing I could do is start thinking about it too much and put everything on my shoulders, he said. Ill just keep doing what Ive been doing.

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

After staying out of the public eye since his historic emergency relief appearance, Scott Foster emerged in Vegas at the NHL Awards and it was perfect. 

The 36-year-old accountant fittingly presented the Vezina Trophy award for the league's top goaltender and joked that he needed to speed it up because he had to get back to work.

Check him out on stage:

What a moment. And well done, NHL. 

Foster stopped all seven shots he faced in 14:01 of action in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on March 30.

Nashville Predators netminder Pekke Rinne took home the award, but you can't argue against Foster's 1.000 career save percentage.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.