Blackhawks

Extra money isn't burning hole in Bowman's wallet

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Extra money isn't burning hole in Bowman's wallet

CALGARY, Alberta The Chicago Blackhawks have a tidy little chunk of change at their disposal. Yes, were talking a few million dollars here, something the Blackhawks havent enjoyed in some time.

But just because they have it doesnt mean general manager Stan Bowman is ready to spend it.

The Blackhawks are off to the start they wanted this season. They have good personnel and good depth. So even though the Blackhawks now have about 6 million in cap space after Rostislav Olesz was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs, Bowman said theyll hold onto that cash for a while.

Were not in a rush to spend money, he said prior to the Blackhawks game against the Calgary Flames on Friday night. We have a lot more cap space than weve had before, and when the time is right, if the opportunity comes, we wont hesitate to move on it. Right now, we dont have any things were close to doing or looking at. But were always looking ahead at what might be there. Well see what happens.

The Blackhawks are enjoying this extra-cash thing. The biggest advantage right now is avoiding last seasons rigmarole of sending players back and forth from Rockford just to save cash.

On the trade and acquisition front, the Blackhawks can afford (no pun intended) to sit back and wait. First, its November. This isnt exactly the big trade or pick-up time of year. As Bowman said, nobodys giving up on their season yet.

Most (trades) come down in the second half and in the few weeks nearing the deadline. Its not like theres a lot of opportunities out there. Most teams that will eventually become sellers are not sellers yet.

Second, the Blackhawks arent exactly in need of making a move. Theyre winning. Theyve got plenty of depth. Hockey seasons are long and things can change quickly. If the Blackhawks suffer a big injury and need to pick someone up to supplement the loss, they can. If they want to get a gem come late winter, early spring, they can.

The Blackhawks like having extra cash to play with. Theyll spend it wisely.

Were trying to improve any deficiencies we may have as the season unfolds, Bowman said. We have a good idea where our team is at. Its inevitable things are going to change, whether its injuries or we hit a rough patch. Right now were not looking to do anything in particular. Were comfortable with the players we have.

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

Corey Crawford is back and it didn't look like he skipped much of a beat. The Blackhawks were handed their first regulation loss of the season to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, but the 33-year-old netminder stopped 27 of 30 shots (.900 save percentage) in his season debut and made several timely saves to keep his team in it.

In the larger picture, it was a win based on how well Crawford looked between the pipes.

"Yeah, I think it is," coach Joel Quenneville said after practice on Friday. "It's one of things we were wondering, how he would handle post-game and how he came in today. Very encouraging signs. He felt good in all aspects of what he went through and dealt with, and practiced well today too, so that was good."

The first one is in the books.

But what's the plan going forward? Will Crawford be on a "pitch count" or will they treat him like they have in past seasons when he was healthy?

In the past, Crawford has generally started somewhere in between 55-58 games per season. Part of that has been because of injuries. Another part is the Blackhawks have had reliable backups, which allowed them to give Crawford an extra night off here and there to keep him fresh.

It's not unreasonable, though, to think Crawford could flirt with 50 starts, considering he missed only five games to start the season. And they can still accomplish that by playing it safe.

The Blackhawks have 13 more back-to-backs this season, which gives them the opportunity to start Cam Ward at some point in each of them. That leaves room for another 15 or so starts to sprinkle in for Ward that could serve as rest days for Crawford and still being on track to start around 50.

Obviously, the Blackhawks want to be careful with how much they ask of Crawford because concussions are tricky to deal with and every player responds differently to it.

His return comes at a time where the Blackhawks are slated to play seven games in 11 days after playing just two in the previous 10. Thursday marked the start of that stretch.

"He’ll tell us how he feels and we’ll go from there and make those decisions," Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks have been on record saying they prefer not to carry three goaltenders. But in this case it makes sense. At least in the short term.

Quenneville said Friday that the Blackhawks will reevaluate the situation at the end of the weekend following the beginning of a busy stretch where they'll play three games in four days.

"Yeah, that’s the mindset," he said. "Let’s see how we handle these three in four and then we’ll address it."

Crawford is expected to start on Saturday in Columbus, making it his second start in three days. That's when they'll get a better sense of how he's handling things.

If it were up to him, Crawford said he feels he's prepared for it.

"Yeah, sure," Crawford said. "Why not? I've been working hard with [strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman]. He's got me where I need to be, so I'm in shape right now. Why not?"

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Corey Crawford’s season debut after missing nearly 10 months with a concussion.

Mayers talks about the Kitty system that Niklas Hjalmarsson and Vinnie Hinostroza probably dealt with in their returns to Chicago.

The guys also discuss what’s next for Crawford, the upcoming matchup against Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks’ biggest areas for improvement.

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