Blackhawks

Goals and fisticuffs: Hawks finish trip on a throne

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Goals and fisticuffs: Hawks finish trip on a throne

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010
Updated 2:05 AM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Chicago Blackhawks had a few items they wanted to get done on this circus trip. Obviously they needed points. They needed to come together on and off the ice and they needed confidence moving forward.

Done, done and done.

Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane each had a goal and an assist and Corey Crawford won his second game in as many days as the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 at the Staples Center on Saturday night. The Blackhawks wrapped up this long trip with a 4-2-0 mark. They collected eight of a possible 12 points as well as a surge of confidence they want to take back to home ice.

"That was probably our best team game as far as getting through it, sticking together and battling," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Crow was big in the net for us. We met both goals in Canada and California so it was a productive trip."

Crawford was strong once again, stopping 21 of 22 shots -- the only one allowed was on a Kings 5-on-3 power play -- for his fourth consecutive victory. Crawford won three games on this road trip and has certainly earned consideration for more playing time. That could come sooner than later, too.

"We'll consider who's starting on Tuesday vs. St. Louis, but there's a chance he could go again," Quenneville said.

Crawford said he's gained confidence with his recent work but credited his teammates' help.

"They make my game so much easier, taking away passing lanes and pushing it to the outside. That makes a huge difference for me," Crawford said. "We want to start climbing the standings now and this was big for us."

While Crawford was stoic on one end, the Blackhawks' offense did what it needed to on the other. Sharp's 15th goal of the season came on a 2-on-1 with Kane, whose well-timed pass drew Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick out of position and left a gaping hole for Sharp.

Sharp said Saturday was a big step in the right direction.

"There are a lot more games to be played, but we won't be satisfied with winning one night and losing the next," he said. "Friday was a big afternoon, wanted to follow that up with one here. It's something to feel good about."

Kane later scored while crashing the net, as a Tomas Kopecky centering feed went off him and past Quick for a 2-0 lead.

"It wasn't one of my prettiest goals but I'll take it," Kane said of the game-winner. "It hit my stomach and went off. When I see the puck going toward the net I try to get there."

The Blackhawks got what they wanted from this trip. They're definitely feeling more confident now than when they embarked on it. Now they want to continue that trend.

"More than anything we bonded as a team as a group of guys," said Duncan Keith, who assisted on Sharp's goal. "We're just playing better as a team. We're getting contributions from everyone, whether it's a big block, a big save or a timely goal."

Bowman talks

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said teams are always talking to each other, and that the Blackhawks are no different there. But as far as making a trade, Bowman said it's not likely right now.

"We're looking more to improve with the group that we have here. We've seen a lot of good signs over the last couple of weeks," he said prior to Saturday night's game. "It's a difficult league to trade in now, mainly because of the salary cap Teams that have cap space don't have a lot of money to spend and teams that have the ability to spend money financially don't have a lot of cap space. It's a bit of a mismatch with moves to be made.

"You make your calls to see how GMs are doing, what's going on with teams. In general, sometimes they'll bring up things they're looking to do," Bowman continued. "I wouldn't say you're calling to make a trade. It's more conversation than anything. Over the course of the year that's how you find out which players on other teams are available."

John Scott gets ready to throw a punch at Kings right winger Kevin Westgarth. Scott left Westgarth with a bloody face as a result of their second period altercation. (AP)Great Scott

John Scott was certainly ready to fight when Kings right winger Kevin Westgarth challenged him to one in the second period. After a few seconds and a dominating Scott performance, Westgarth was bloodied. The 6-foot-8 Scott seemed to tower over the 6-4 Westgarth, and Scott's reach didn't hurt, either.

"It's the height advantage and I have long arms. It's kind of like a monkey-armed baboon," Scott said. "I just swing away. I don't like doing left jab. I just throw big rights. Those jersey jabs don't do anything anyway."

Briefly

Fernando Pisani was out with an upper body injury on Saturday. ... Jordan Hendry was the Blackhawks' lone healthy scratch.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona

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USA TODAY

Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona

The wait is almost over.

After missing nearly 10 months with a concussion, Corey Crawford said he expects to start on Thursday when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center. An official decision will come following the team's morning skate.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. ... It was a pretty long process. But I think the most important thing was not to rush anything. When I finally was out, it got to a point where I wasn’t in shape to play and it was time to rest and it’s unfortunate it took a lot longer than I would’ve liked. 

"It’s been long, but finally, just to get back and be practicing with the team has meant a lot. It’s good to get to this point now when you’re really close to playing. Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

Crawford's last appearance in an NHL game was Dec. 23, 2017 against the New Jersey Devils when he allowed three goals on seven shots in 13:22 of action before getting pulled. So of course, emotions will naturally be running high, especially in front of the hometown crowd.

"I'm sure I'll be a little anxious getting into it," Crawford said. "Some nerves. But we'll see. We'll wait until the morning, but I'm definitely excited I can tell you that."

It's obviously terrific news for the Blackhawks, who have picked up eight out of a possible 10 points to start the season and are getting their two-time Stanley Cup winning goalie back between the pipes. It's been a long time coming, and Crawford is coming back into a healthy situation where the Blackhawks are in a good spot in the standings.

"It's great news, I'm sure it'll be exciting for him exciting for our team, exciting for our fans and the organization as well," Patrick Kane said. "It’s probably a good situation all around. Cam [Ward] has done a great job of playing in the net so far. Crow is really good in practice right now, so I’m sure he’s itching to get back, too. We’ve had a good start here. It’s something we want to keep going, and I’m sure him coming back on home ice, in front of our crowd, will be a fun one for him and for our team."

There's no doubting how important Crawford is the team and organization. While there may be a little bit of rust early on, the Blackhawks are expecting him to look like his old self.

"He means a lot to the team," Quenneville said. "We felt last year was a good example of how important he was and how well he was playing for us, as well. We’ve gotten off to a decent start and he was a big factor in it. We know that goaltending is such a big part of the team and your success a lot of nights depends on him and his consistency’s always been in place.

"But he looks good in the net. He’s been off for a long, long time. Is there rust? Do we expect rust? I think the way he’s competing and practicing and finding pucks, he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. So we’re looking forward to him getting in there and getting comfortable and how he’s feeling going forward will dictate a lot of the decisions about him going back in."

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

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USA TODAY

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!