Blackhawks

Sharp enjoying eight-game scoring streak

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Sharp enjoying eight-game scoring streak

Life is pretty nice for Patrick Sharp right now.

Off the ice, the Blackhawks left wing is enjoying the family life after becoming a first-time father last week. On the ice, things are pretty harmonious, too. A scoring streak will do that for you.

Sharp is riding a career-high, eight-game scoring streak, extended to that on Friday night when he had a goal and an assist in the Blackhawks 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. For Sharp, scoring is nothing new. He tallied 34 goals last season, two shy of his career-best 36 from 2007-08. But hes been as effective helping (five assists) as his has scoring goals (seven) on this latest streak, which is currently the longest in the NHL.

I dont know if its any one thing in particular, he said Saturday. I dont know if its a hot streak or luck, but I feel like Im working hard, were working hard as a line and the pucks going in.

That line of Sharp, Marian Hossa and Marcus Kruger has been effective. Hossa himself is on a four-game scoring streak (three goals, five assists).

Sharp was an offensive threat from the start last season. This October wasnt quite as productive, but it didnt help that he missed training camp after an emergency appendectomy. Still it was only a matter of time.

And staying put has also helped. Sharps been at wing all season, as the Blackhawks have used Patrick Kane and Kruger, instead, at that No. 2 center spot.

In October I re-learned position again, finding out opportunities to take off and what your responsibilities are. Its starting to come pretty natural, Sharp said. Our power plays clicking, too. All of that adds up to pretty good numbers.

Coach Joel Quenneville said, "Weve been relatively healthy and we havent done too much in the change department (at center). (Sharps) playing very well for us this year, and that lines been good together.

Every player goes through his streaks and slumps. Sharp just happens to be in the midst of his streak right now, and hell enjoy it as long as it lasts.

Ive said many times you dont know when next goals going to come, he said. So Ill keep working hard and hopefully it comes tomorrow.

Briefly

Daniel Carcillo (upper body) did not practice on Saturday and Quenneville said hes likely out tomorrow against the Calgary Flames. Quenneville added that Carcillo is feeling better.

Forward Ben Smith was sent back to the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday morning. Quenneville said they wanted him playing tonight, when the IceHogs host the Milwaukee Admirals.

Ray Emery will get his fifth consecutive start tomorrow night.

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

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USA TODAY

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!