Blackhawks

Finally: Blackhawks-Wild starts tonight

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Finally: Blackhawks-Wild starts tonight

The Blackhawks have had several days’ worth of practice and plenty of time to heal any bumps and bruises accumulated in the first round.

Enough talk: let’s get this second-round series going.

[MORE: Konroyd's keys to a Blackhawks' victory in Game 1]

The wait is over for the Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild, who meet in Game 1 at 8:45 p.m. tonight at the United Center. It’s been a lengthy wait for both teams; the Blackhawks eliminated the Nashville Predators on Saturday and the Wild did the same to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon.

So you can imagine everyone’s really ready to get going again.

“For sure, the guys are excited,” Andrew Shaw said. “Two days in practice, two days off just amp up the guys to get ready for this one. We expect a good team coming in here.”

The Wild play a steady game that begs an opponent to be patient. It can be frustrating to bide your time but that’s what the Blackhawks are going to have to do to be successful.

“Trying to make plays, sometimes, you’re giving up the juicier opportunity the other way,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Trying to manufacture plays that aren’t there leads to trouble. But knowing when they do have the puck there are a lot of options, and that’s one of the strengths of our team as well.”

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The Wild come into this series, the third consecutive postseason one against the Blackhawks, brimming with confidence. They’ve overcome a lot to get to this point. But coach Mike Yeo said the Wild, who have yet to win a postseason game at the United Center, still have much to prove against the Blackhawks.

“There are a lot of reasons for optimism, a lot of reasons to feel confident. But we also know what we’re up against,” Yeo said. “The last several months we’ve been at it pretty good and we’ve had to be at our best but the bottom line is, until we prove something’s different, then nothing’s changed. We have to change something here along the way.”

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.