Blackhawks

Road Ahead: Blackhawks visit league-best Stars before Christmas

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Road Ahead: Blackhawks visit league-best Stars before Christmas

The Blackhawks will get a few days to rest around the holidays, but first comes a date with the best team in the NHL.

The Dallas Stars are the team with the most points in hockey, and they host the Blackhawks on Tuesday night in Texas, boasting familiar faces in Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya.

"They are atop the Central Division right now. They were the first team to 50 points. They'll also be playing (Monday) night in Minnesota, so they'll be looking at the Blackhawks on a second half of a back to back so that's going to be interesting," CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers said. "Unfortunately, old teammates won't be able to get together (Monday), but I'm sure a few of them will have some words for each other on the ice, I'm sure Andrew Shaw will be leading the chorus. But yeah, this is a big one for the Blackhawks, and it's going to be a heck of a way for them to go into the Christmas break."

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The Blackhawks have won five of their last six games and seven of their last nine. Will they be able to take down the division-leading Stars?

Hear more on the Blackhawks from Myers above in the Blackhawks Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

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.