Blackhawks

CSNChicago.com's NBA award ballot: Defensive Player of the Year

CSNChicago.com's NBA award ballot: Defensive Player of the Year

The NBA has started to reveal its award winners as the postseason has begun, so I will reveal my ballot (if I voted on said award) with an explanation of the vote.

Defensive Player of the Year

Winner: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Second Place: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

Third Place: Hasaan Whiteside, Miami Heat

Vince Goodwill’s Ballot:

First place: Leonard. Quite possibly the most dangerous and disciplined defender on the perimeter in today’s game, and he had just as great a season this year in his second-straight award-winning campaign. As evidenced by Memphis’ Lance Stephenson throwing a near temper-tantrum over the weekend when he couldn’t shake free of Leonard’s perfect positioning and fundamentals, Leonard is the head of the best defensive team in the league and, with apologies to Paul George and Jimmy Butler, the best two-way player in the game.

Second place: Green. It wasn’t easy to put Green second on the list. For Golden State’s ever-shifting lineups, he can defend any position from center to catching opposing point guards on switches. His versatility made Golden State the 73-win bunch it was, along with Stephen Curry’s uniqueness. Being able to defend from the perimeter to the post, rebounding amongst the true trees and being one of the league’s premier help defenders, in most years he’d be a winner.

Third place: Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks. Miami’s Hassan Whiteside finished third on most ballots but Millsap’s versatility ranks right up there with Green and Leonard. Atlanta’s aggressive, trapping defense wouldn’t be what it was if not for Millsap being able to keep guards in front of him and stay solid on the block. A defensive rating of 96 points per 100 possessions along with averaging nearly two blocks and two steals made him an easy choice to round out the top 3.

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

Uncap those markers and start circling your calendars, Blackhawks fans. The 2018-19 season is officially out.

The Blackhawks will kick off their 91st campaign in franchise history with a road contest against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The home opener is set for Oct. 7, with an Original Six matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 6 p.m.

The Blackhawks have 14 back-to-back games, and the longest road trip of the season is three, which takes place five times over the course of the season; the longest homestand is four games, from Dec. 12-18.

The biggest highlight of the season will be the Original Six Winter Classic Showdown between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium. It will be the sixth outdoor appearance for Chicago, and fourth in the Winter Classic.

The Blackhawks will also square off with the defending champion Washington Capitals on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m., and welcome them to Chicago on Jan. 20, set for NBC's Game of the Week at 11:30 a.m.

Here's a look at the full schedule:

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said that the team expects goalie Corey Crawford to be back next season around training camp. Bowman also mentioned that Crawford might speak about his status himself during the Blackhawks Convention.

“What I said at the end of the year was still the case now, which is we expect Corey to be back,” Bowman said in a Thursday afternoon conference call. “We don’t have any reason to think that’s not going to happen.”

According to Bowman, Blackhawks players, including Crawford, already have their eyes set on next season.

“At this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for next season,” Bowman said. “Corey’s in that same preparation mode.”

Crawford is nursing what has been labeled an upper-body injury by the team. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was put on the shelf for the rest of the season back in late December, and he has not seen the ice since he skated in a February practice.

“Nothing has changed,” Bowman said. “We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp.”

The Blackhawks have chosen to keep any groundbreaking news with Crawford under wraps, which the organization has done with other player injuries in the past. Bowman spoke about his vagueness in this situation.

“We’ve never gone into specifics about injuries,” Bowman said. “I realize this probably gets more attention because he’s our starting goalie and he won the Stanley Cup.”

Fans will have to take a wait-and-see approach, because it is unlikely that there will be a significant update regarding Crawford’s health before the season gets closer to its start.

Last season, Crawford only appeared in 28 games, posting a record of 16-9 with 782 saves before going down for the rest of the year.