Jimmy Waite proud of Blackhawks’ 'steady' goaltending

Jimmy Waite proud of Blackhawks’ 'steady' goaltending

ST. LOUIS – Jimmy Waite figured Corey Crawford and Scott Darling will critique his third-period performance in the Blackhawks-St. Louis Blues alumni game, one in which he gave up goals to Keith Tkachuk and Pierre Turgeon.

“I’ll hear from the boys tomorrow. ‘What are you doing?’” Waite said on Saturday afternoon. “Maybe watch the video and see what I did wrong.”

As far as the reverse critique, the Blackhawks’ goaltending coach is happy with what Crawford and Darling have done this season. So are the rest of the Blackhawks, who know they may not be where they are in the standings if not for those two.

“I just like how steady they are,” Waite said. “They may have had a couple of bad nights all year, so that’s pretty good.”

Crawford has become very steady, especially over the last two seasons. Whether it’s helping a defensively depleted Blackhawks team last season or buoying a hit-and-miss scoring Blackhawks team this season, Crawford has been dependable. Waite said Crawford and Darling have sharpened some aspects of their game lately.

“I think [Crawford’s] post play around the net has improved a lot in the last three years. Same with Scotty. We’ve been working a lot on that,” Waite said. “Their games are very solid. They know how to manage the game very well, know when to challenge and when to stay back and we talk a lot about that and how deep you are in net. That’s important for us.”

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Darling showed he could handle a bigger workload while Crawford recovered from his appendectomy. Could Darling be a No. 1 at some point? Waite could see it.

“He proves it when he has to step in for a period of time he shows he can be a No. 1 and it’s a different thing to be No. 1, to be the guy night in and night out,” said Waite of Darling, who’s also an unrestricted free agent with a Blackhawks team that will, again, have money issues.

“For sure, I’d like to keep him, right?” Waite said of Darling. “But we’ll see with the cap what’s going to happen. A lot of things could change from here to the end of the year so we’ll see. But obviously I’d like to keep my goaltenders. I like them.”

Speaking of that Crawford appendectomy, Waite couldn’t have been the emergency because, as a former professional, he would have counted against the Blackhawks’ salary cap – “yeah, right? I’m too expensive,” Waite said. When Crawford returned from that appendectomy he looked great, taking a tough one-goal loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 23. Waite said he told Crawford to keep it simple coming off the surgery.

Waite enjoyed his second alumni-game turn in as many seasons – he had a memorable stop against Mike Modano in last year’s game against Minnesota’s alums. Now he’ll go back to keeping Crawford and Darling sharp. So far this season, it’s working.

“When goaltending gives you a chance to win every night, that’s what you’re looking for. So make the key saves at the right time, which makes a big difference in the game,” Waite said. “That’s what they’ve been able to do all year.”

SportingNews Top 50 NHL Prospects lists Boqvist at 10 and Kirby Dach at 13

USA Today

SportingNews Top 50 NHL Prospects lists Boqvist at 10 and Kirby Dach at 13

NHL draft analyst Steve Kournianos released his list for Top 50 players in NHL pipelines for the upcoming 2019-20 season. To the delight of Blackhawks fans everywhere, Adam Boqvist and Kirby Dach were ranked at number 10 and 13 respectively.

Kournianos described 19-year-old defender Boqvist as a dominant rookie with 40 assists and 20 goals during his tenure with the London Knights. Fans speculate whether the Blackhawks will keep Boqvist on his junior squad for another year or pull him up to play with the American Hockey League Rockford Ice Hogs.

Kournianos said Dach was one of Team Canada’s top players at the World Junior Summer Showcase. The 18-year-old center is sure to be one of Canada’s main forwards during World Juniors and Dach has the flexibility to play anywhere in the Blackhawks lineup. Dach’s entry-level contract allows him up to nine NHL games this season, giving him the chance to return to the AHL or NHL after his junior season in the Western Hockey League is finished.

Both Boqvist and Dach are key player for the future of this team and it will interesting to watch the Hawks develop these younger players.

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle catches up with Senior VP of Hockey Operations, Al MacIsaac. They discuss the process the Blackhawks took in transforming the roster this off-season. MacIsaac is entering his 20th year with the Blackhawks and talks about the organizational changes over the last two decades. He also weighs in on the role analytics plays in evaluating current or potential Blackhawks and he explains why the team made a commitment to make its new practice facility the “gold standard” of the NHL.

0:45 – MacIsaac on changes within the Blackhawks organization in the last 20 years

4:00 – How the Blackhawks have added great depth this summer

5:25 – A good problem to have with two good goaltenders

6:23 – How the hockey ops meeting went at the end of last season

8:45 – How much the Blackhawks use and rely on analytics

10:27 – The importance of the Blackhawks strength and conditioning programs

12:24 – The planning behind Fifth Third Arena’s development

14:40 – The dynamic between hockey ops and business ops

16:37 – Agreements and disagreements within the hockey ops group

18:32 – MacIsaac’s longtime relationship with Mark Bernard

20:27 – Looking ahead to training camp and the regular season

22:42 – Tough decisions will need to be made when the season starts

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Blackhawks Talk Podcast