Blackhawks

President Barack Obama honors Blackhawks for Stanley Cup victory

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President Barack Obama honors Blackhawks for Stanley Cup victory

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama held up his latest gift from the Blackhawks, something that anyone who’s been around the construction-laden United Center lately could appreciate.

A United Center parking pass.

“This is really cool,” the president said to laughs. “I might sell this on eBay.”

The Blackhawks made their third visit to the White House in six years — all during Obama’s administration — to celebrate another Stanley Cup victory. This year’s ceremony was much like that in 2014, the president giving a 10-minute speech to honor the Blackhawks. Current Blackhawks who were not on the team last year also attended, sitting in the audience during the ceremony.

[MORE HAWKS: President recognizes Darling, Timonen]

“I think this one was the best we’ve had so far, the representation; a really historic today,” Blackhawks president John McDonough said. “Just being around the president, his aura, how warm he is with everyone, and to see some of our players who weren’t with us last year experience this and the desire to be part of this going forward.”

The ceremony had its light moments, from that parking pass “gift” to Obama saying the Stanley Cup should probably stick around the White House for a certain upcoming event.

“We have a state dinner with Canada coming up,” he said. “So we may just leave it right in the middle of the room.”

Even Jonathan Toews had to grin at that one.

“Yeah, that’s one of those things I have to let slide,” Toews said after the ceremony. “I didn’t know if I can make a comeback to that one.”

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

The Blackhawks have enjoyed a remarkable run of success these last few years. It’s a far cry from where this organization was about 10 years ago.

“Maybe the two words that are the most impactful are when they say, ‘Welcome back.’ And now that we’ve been here three times it never gets old, never enough, and we’d love to come back one more time during President Obama’s regime,” McDonough said. “What a classy guy; just so incredibly smooth and easy with people. It’s a great tribute to all of our players, all of our coaches, everyone in our organization. This is just so inspiring to be a part of this today.”

And as for that parking pass, it was owner Rocky Wirtz’s idea.

“I thought it would be fun, keep it lighter,” Wirtz said. “Who else can give the president a parking pass for the United Center?”

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

Uncap those markers and start circling your calendars, Blackhawks fans. The 2018-19 season is officially out.

The Blackhawks will kick off their 91st campaign in franchise history with a road contest against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The home opener is set for Oct. 7, with an Original Six matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 6 p.m.

The Blackhawks have 14 back-to-back games, and the longest road trip of the season is three, which takes place five times over the course of the season; the longest homestand is four games, from Dec. 12-18.

The biggest highlight of the season will be the Original Six Winter Classic Showdown between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium. It will be the sixth outdoor appearance for Chicago, and fourth in the Winter Classic.

The Blackhawks will also square off with the defending champion Washington Capitals on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m., and welcome them to Chicago on Jan. 20, set for NBC's Game of the Week at 11:30 a.m.

Here's a look at the full schedule:

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said that the team expects goalie Corey Crawford to be back next season around training camp. Bowman also mentioned that Crawford might speak about his status himself during the Blackhawks Convention.

“What I said at the end of the year was still the case now, which is we expect Corey to be back,” Bowman said in a Thursday afternoon conference call. “We don’t have any reason to think that’s not going to happen.”

According to Bowman, Blackhawks players, including Crawford, already have their eyes set on next season.

“At this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for next season,” Bowman said. “Corey’s in that same preparation mode.”

Crawford is nursing what has been labeled an upper-body injury by the team. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was put on the shelf for the rest of the season back in late December, and he has not seen the ice since he skated in a February practice.

“Nothing has changed,” Bowman said. “We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp.”

The Blackhawks have chosen to keep any groundbreaking news with Crawford under wraps, which the organization has done with other player injuries in the past. Bowman spoke about his vagueness in this situation.

“We’ve never gone into specifics about injuries,” Bowman said. “I realize this probably gets more attention because he’s our starting goalie and he won the Stanley Cup.”

Fans will have to take a wait-and-see approach, because it is unlikely that there will be a significant update regarding Crawford’s health before the season gets closer to its start.

Last season, Crawford only appeared in 28 games, posting a record of 16-9 with 782 saves before going down for the rest of the year.