Blackhawks

Sources: Hawks, Seabrook close to extension

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Sources: Hawks, Seabrook close to extension

Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
Posted 1:54 a.m. Updated 4:11 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Brent Seabrook has been a vital part of the Chicago Blackhawks success to this point. Now it appears hes set to be part of it moving forward, too.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said Saturday afternoon the Blackhawks are getting close to signing Seabrook to an extension. TSN, citing sources, reported early Saturday that the Blackhawks are close to signing Seabrook to a five-year extension for around 30 million. Bowman wouldnt comment specifically on details of the deal, other to say that he figures the deal will be done soon.

WATCH: Bowman optimistic with Seabrook; trade coming?

Its not completely done yet, but were getting close, Bowman said. Weve been working on it a long time and sometimes these deals take a while to get done. (Seabrook) is a big part of our group we have here. Hes been instrumental at getting us to the point were at and hell be instrumental at keeping us at this level.

Seabrook has four goals and 29 assists in 61 games this season. He averages 24 minutes, 25 seconds of ice time per game, second-highest on the team.

The 25-year-old Seabrook, who wouldve been a restricted free agent at seasons end, is making 3.5 million this season. Seabrook has gone about his business on the ice but said the contract situation has been on his mind.

Ive tried to just put it out of my mind but it is something Ive thought about, he said following Saturdays practice. Its one of those things that Im going to be very happy when its over.

Once Seabrooks deal is finalized, it locks up another key member of the Blackhawks defense. Bowman said that was important.

Defense is the key that makes everything go for us, he said. We have a lot of skilled forwards and were depending on having mobile, puck-moving defensemen. If you look around, the teams in the league that dont have a strong defense dont do very well.

Coach Joel Quenneville said its important to have Seabrook going forward.

Hes a big part of the team, Quennville said. Hes got great leadership qualities, plays good quality minutes and gives us a physical presence. That pair (Seabrook and Duncan Keith) was really instrumental in us winning the Cup. Hes part of that mix and itd be nice for him to be here a long time.

WATCH: Blackhawks are a destination team

"Hopefully that happens," team president John McDonough said. "It's a statement that a top-tier player wants to stay in Chicago and play for the Blackhawks. We try to keep that core together and the core is expanding. As that continues, we realize Chicago and the Blackhawks have become a real good destination."

Leddy here to stay

Nick Leddys days of doing the Rockford shuffle are over this season, Stan Bowman said Saturday. For Leddy, whos recently been paired with Duncan Keith, its a chance to keep developing with the Blackhawks on a daily basis.

Now hes up here for a regular basis itll be good for him. But you have to appreciate how quickly hes absorbed quality and quantity minutes and he seems to be comfortable no matter whos on the ice, Quenneville said. His imagination and patience level with the puck is high end. Hes very poised and he can only keep getting better off these levels.
Boynton to Flyers

Nick Boynton, who the Blackhawks placed on waivers on Friday, was picked up by the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The move gives the Blackhawks some flexibility with the cap and roster.

Boyntons last game with the Blackhawks was Feb. 7 in Calgary. Hed been a healthy scratch since, replaced by Jordan Hendry.

I think Nicks been OK this year. He did a good job for us last year, especially coming into the finals the way he did, coach Joel Quenneville said. Weve gotten a look at Hendry and I think hes coming off his best game the other night. He had some quickness in his game.

Briefly

Niklas Hjalmarsson did not practice on Saturday. Quenneville said it was a maintenance day and that the defenseman will play Sunday night against Phoenix.

Corey Crawford will get the start Sunday against the Coyotes.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Anthony Duclair regrets not making most of opportunity with Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Anthony Duclair regrets not making most of opportunity with Blackhawks

Anthony Duclair knew what kind of opportunity he had in front of him when he was traded to the Blackhawks in January. The first day he stepped into the locker room, he admitted he was a little "star-struck."

But the marriage didn't last very long. 

After recording only two goals and eight assists in 23 games, the Blackhawks chose to move on from the restricted free agent by not extending a qualifying offer. Duclair later latched on with the Columbus Blue Jackets on a one-year, $650,000 "prove-it" deal.

"I wasn't surprised," Duclair said before Saturday's game against his former team. "I knew that I didn't perform as well as I did when I was there. I think I was there for only 20 games and didn't live up to the standards. As soon as I didn't hear anything from my agent I sort of got the message. But it was time to move on."

Duclair made no excuses for what went wrong in Chicago and accepted responsibility for not taking advantage of his opportunity, even though a leg injury sidelined him for the final month that prevented him from giving the Blackhawks a larger sample size.

"I just didn't perform well," he said. "It's going to be one of my regrets, to get that opportunity in Chicago and not perform in the way I did. It was something I had to look in the mirror this summer and move on obviously, but at the same time whenever a team comes next I think I'm going to take that opportunity and run away with it."

It's obvious that Duclair's got the potential to be an effective offensive player in the NHL. But we've only seen that in flashes, which is a large reason why it didn't work out in Chicago and why, entering his fifth season in the league, he still finds himself trying to play for a long-term contract.

"Just being more consistent," Duclair said. "Thats comes up a lot and my agents talks to a couple GMs around the league and it's something I'm trying to work on. It's not something you can work on in the summer, it's more preparing mentally and physically and that's what I've been trying to do."

So far, so good in Columbus.

Duclair has two goals and two assists through six games and is averaging 15:22 of ice time playing in a top-six role, on track to shatter his previous career high in that category (14:23) when he did so as a sophomore in 2015-16 with Arizona. He even made headlines on Thursday after scoring a highlight-reel goal against the Philadelphia Flyers, saying his "phone blew up quite a bit."

How he scored it is what stood out and his perspective after it is encouraging for his overall growth, as well.

"I've already put it behind me to be honest with you," Duclair said. "I'm just focused on Chicago now. I want to be consistent throughout every shift. Look at that goal, [it was] second and third efforts. That's what I want to bring to the table every shift, especially with the guys I'm playing right now. I just want to be having the puck whenever you can and being big on the forecheck."

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?"