Patrick Kane ready to pass Bobby Hull for Blackhawks point-streak record


Patrick Kane ready to pass Bobby Hull for Blackhawks point-streak record

Patrick Kane was at the Blackhawks’ season ticket holder party on Friday night when he saw Bobby Hull, whose point-streak record could be surpassed by Kane on Sunday.

“He was very supportive and he seems like he wants me to break the record,” said Kane, who would set a new franchise record if he extends his point streak to 22 consecutive games against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. “Hearing that support and knowing what’s in front of you, it’s pretty exciting. I’m just trying to worry about playing hockey today and even all day tomorrow. Today when I’m home relaxing, I’ll try not to think about it and just get ready for a game like I usually will.”

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Kane has already admitted he’s thought about the streak a lot. Those thoughts have intensified plenty these last few days, although Kane said he will try to keep his mind off things until the game tomorrow. It’s been an impressive point streak: over these past 21 games Kane has 13 goals and 22 assists (35 points). At a time when the NHL is once again talking about a lack of scoring, Kane has had no problems putting up points.

“It’s pretty remarkable,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You saw last year’s scoring champions were probably down as low as we’ve seen, and [for] the top scorers in the game, averaging a point a game is hard to come by. You see how many shutouts are being pitched on a night-to-night basis, it’s very remarkable where he’s at right now with the streak. I don’t want to say he’s carried our team to this point of the season, but we’re certainly fortunate with his consistent contributions. Hopefully he keeps going.”

Kane has joked a few times that he’s made continuing that point streak difficult on himself; it almost ended against the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 27 before he assisted on Duncan Keith’s goal with 26.6 seconds remaining in regulation. He’s been quicker getting on the board lately; Kane had the Blackhawks’ first goal – and against Minnesota, its only goal – these last three games.

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“It’s not like he’s been getting any fluky points. It’s all been him creating, making something happen and scoring or being the direct result that leads to a goal. It’s been awesome,” Trevor van Riemsdyk said. “It doesn’t seem to be fazing him one bit; he’s just going about his business. He’s been just unbelievable. It’s been awesome to watch, whether you’re on the ice with him or on the bench watching. You know every time he’s out there, he’s going to be dangerous.”

Kane’s already put up impressive numbers this season. Setting a new franchise mark could be one more.

“If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. If not, then I think it’s been a pretty good run,” Kane said. “[Hull’s] words of encouragement are, ‘get it done early then you can enjoy it.’ It’s been a pretty cool run and whatever happens from here happens.”

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!