Blackhawks

Hawks' Hossa out 2-3 weeks with leg injury

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Hawks' Hossa out 2-3 weeks with leg injury

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
Updated 1:11 PM

By Tracy MyersCSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks had to adjust earlier this season when Marian Hossa was sidelined with an upper-body injury. Now theyre going to have to do it again.

Hossa is likely out 2-3 weeks after suffering a lower-body injury at practice on Monday, coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday as the Blackhawks prepared for the St. Louis Blues.

The Blackhawks right wing collided with defenseman NickBoynton at practice on Monday. Hossa had to be helped off the ice and put little to no weight on his right leg.

Quenneville said this injury was independent of previous lower-body injuries. Hossa suffered a right MCL sprain during the Stanley Cup playoff run last year but he did not miss any games.

Hossa missed five games in late Octoberearly November with an upper-body injury. He had four points in his last four games, including three assists in the Blackhawks 7-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 20.

Even when the offense isnt there with Hossa, the threat of it always is. He obviously draws interest from the opposition, freeing up other Blackhawks. Quenneville said Hossa was getting closer to form in recent games.

I thought since he came back from the (upper body) injury he was progressing; he played a real strong game against LA, played a lot of minutes, he said. Hes useful in so many areas. Obviously theres a void there but at the same time youre always going to be missing players. Its something youve got to adapt to.

Patrick Kane said, I felt worse for him the first time around because he had such a great start. You never want to see that happen to a player, especially in practice. Thats just really bad luck. Hopefully hes back sooner rather than later. I dont know. (The lineup) feels more complete when hes there, but more are going to have to step up.

Hossa has 19 points (12 goals, seven assists) in 24 career games against the Blues. He was pivotal against the Blues at the United Center on Oct. 18, scoring twice en route to the Blackhawks 3-2 overtime victory.

The Blues wont be changing their plans despite Hossas absence.

"Its still a dangerous hockey club, Blues coach Davis Payne said. Hes a very dynamic player, a big body with big skill. Hes a world-class player but theyve still got a lot of firepower.

Morin recalled

The Blackhawks called up Jeremy Morin on Tuesday to replace Hossa. Morin, who looked strong coming out of the Blackhawks training camp, was on the right wing with Troy Brouwer and Patrick Sharp at Tuesday mornings skate.

This is Morins second stint with the Blackhawks this season. He played two games in early November, logging more than nine minutes of ice time in each. Morin said that early trip proved beneficial.

To get those first two games and get my feet wet was beneficial for me and think Ill be better the second time, said Morin, whose time in Rockford has helped him adjust to the pro game.

Just playing it night in, night out definitely helps, he said. With the speed of the game, you have to be consistent to be an effective player in the NHL. Ive tried to incorporate that into my game and I think Ive done a pretty good job of that.

Quenneville said Morin, can handle the puck, he makes plays and goes to the net strong. He had a couple opportunities early and Im sure hes going to get stronger as he learns the game a little bit more. Theres upside there.

Briefly

Fernando Pisani (upper body) is out of tonights game. Quenneville said hes day to day.

Corey Crawford will get his third consecutive start tonight.

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

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

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USA TODAY

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!