Ex-Blackhawks D Brian Campbell: Crawford may benefit from sitting


Ex-Blackhawks D Brian Campbell: Crawford may benefit from sitting

After playing a large role in the Blackhawks first two series wins, Joel Quenneville is sticking with the hot hand, Scott Darling, between the pipes for Game 4 against Nashville over starter Corey Crawford.

But one former teammate believes that's not necessarily a bad thing for Crawford.

“It’s probably good for him to sit back, get some practices in, work with the goalie coach, and build some confidence back up,” Brian Campbell, who played with Crawford in 2010-11, said on ESPN 1000 with Carmen and Jurko on Monday. “The nice benefit is Darling in net. When he’s been in the net, he’s outplayed the Vezina Trophy candidate on the other side every game. I think you have to ride him now and see what happens. They’re in a great situation.”

[MORE: Blackhawks riding with Scott Darling in Game 4 vs. Predators]

Goalies often talk about having a short memory when it comes to giving up a bad goal or putting a rough outing behind them, but Crawford hasn’t faced this type of adversity in quite a while.

Still, the track record shows he’s capable of bouncing back.

“I think you look at what he’s done in his career, he played four years in the minors, he battled his way [to the NHL], he’s won a Stanley Cup,” The current Florida Panthers defenseman said. “He’s played in pressure situations. He’s probably not been the best at all times, but no goalie is and no player is.”

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

But perhaps the real question mark surrounds the group Campbell was once a part of.

The Blackhawks rely heavily on their top-4 defensemen, especially late in games, which could potentially expose their lack of depth on the blue line down the road.

Will it?

“It’s a great question. I think they’re going to have to answer that hopefully,” Campbell said. “Obviously, Duncan [Keith] can take a big workload on and he’s done it his whole career, but these guys have played a lot of hockey over the years. … I think it’s going to be a challenge.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns


Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”