Blackhawks

Honda Road Ahead: Blackhawks return home with tough slate

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Honda Road Ahead: Blackhawks return home with tough slate

CSN's Luke Stuckmeyer and Insider Tracey Myers analyze the biggest Blackhawks headlines in this week's edition of the Honda Road Ahead.

It's been more than two weeks since the Blackhawks last played a home game, where they are 21-5-1 this season, meaning they'll certainly be excited to return to the United Center during their upcoming three-game homestand.

But it definitely won't be a cakewalk. 

On Tuesday, the Blackhawks welcome in a Sharks team that's 9-2-2 in their last 11 games followed by a collision with the Dallas Stars, who were crushed by the Blackhawks on Saturday in their own building, and capped off with a Saturday night contest against the Anaheim Ducks, who have won six straight games entering Monday.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The game circled on everyone's calendar, though, is that Thursday night matchup, when the Stars invade the Madhouse on Madison for the first time this year.

"First off, you're probably going to see a very angry Dallas Stars team," Myers said, talking about the Blackhawks' 5-1 win in Dallas over the weekend. "Without Jason Spezza, there's 40 points right there, so obviously that's something the Stars were missing. ... It was Jamie Benn who said it, the Stars were 'embarrassed' by what they did on home ice. They're still trying to catch the Blackhawks. As we all know, December was a very different picture where the Stars were way ahead. It's a different game now."

Check out what else Stuckmeyer and Myers discussed in the video above.

Blackhawks make it official: Corey Crawford is back

Blackhawks make it official: Corey Crawford is back

He’s back.

Corey Crawford was officially activated from injured reserve on Thursday and will start in goal for the first time since Dec. 23, 2017 when the Blackhawks host the Arizona Coyotes.

"It’s exciting," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I’m sure he’s looking forward to it and we’re all excited about it as well. It’ll be a fun situation for the guys, seeing him back in the net as well. So we’re looking for everyone to be excited about tonight’s game."

The two-time Stanley Cup champion was medically cleared to practice from his concussion on Oct. 1, but the Blackhawks wanted to give Crawford as much time as he needed to get his conditioning and puck-tracking skills up to game speed before putting him into game action.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said on Wednesday. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. It was a pretty long process. ... 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."

To make room for Crawford on the 23-man roster, the Blackhawks have assigned forward Luke Johnson to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Brandon Saad, who wore a white healthy scratch jersey all week at practice, will take his spot in the lineup.

For now, the Blackhawks will hang on to Anton Forsberg and carry three goaltenders as insurance as they get ready to start a seven-games-in-11-days stretch.

Crawford was 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals against average, .929 save percentage and two shutouts in 28 games last season. The Blackhawks were 17-30-8 without him and finished last in the Central Division.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

Jimmy Greenfield, Connor McKnight, and Matt Spiegel join Kap on the panel to discuss Corey Crawford back on the ice for the first time in 10 months. The Bears have good news when it comes to Khalil Mack, who injured his ankle against the Dolphins.

Plus, Fred Hoiberg announces that Jabari Parker is coming off the bench for the season opener.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: