Hull, Mikita statues are traffic stoppers


Hull, Mikita statues are traffic stoppers

The black covers fell revealing Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull's statues, bronze figures sculpted and painted with the trademark red Chicago Blackhawks sweaters.

"Here we are, linemates again, forever in bronze, outside the great Madhouse," Hull said. "Saluting one of the greatest 1-2 punches in the history of the game."

Indeed, two of the most prolific Blackhawks of all time are now a part of the United Center landscape forever after their statues were unveiled prior to the Blackhawks' game against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night. For the duo, who were welcomed back as organization ambassadors a few years ago, Saturday night's dedication was a thrill.

And they loved the sculpted results.

"I've never been called beautiful," Mikita said. "But I'm gonna call myself beautiful."

The gorgeous bronze statues, which were sculpted by the RotblattAmrany Fine Art Studio are located on the northeast corner of the arena.They are a fitting tribute to the two Hall of Famers who helped the Blackhawks to their 1961 Stanley Cup title.

Mikita was awed by the occasion.

"When Mr. (John) McDonough proposed the idea for the statues had to sit down, I was overwhelmed," said Mikita. "That this immigrant from Slovakia would be honored for his hard work with this incredible statue is something. I never thought it would happen."

Among those Mikita dedicated the evening to were his birth parents "who gave me life," and his adopted parents "who gave me freedom."

Hull and Mikita were a part of some of the Blackhawks' great vintage years. Now they'll always be part of the landscape.

"Those guys should be really proud that every time someone comes into the building they can visit Stan and Bobby and the memories," coach Joel Quenneville said. "They're great ambassadors for our team."

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


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!