Blackhawks

Viktor Svedberg finds comfort level with Blackhawks

viktor-svedberg-blackhawks-insider-1012.png

Viktor Svedberg finds comfort level with Blackhawks

Viktor Svedberg was going through the expected emotions when he made his NHL debut on Friday.

The defenseman spent last spring with the Blackhawks, practicing and traveling with them during their Stanley Cup run. But there’s a big difference between doing that and playing. By Game 2 the next night, however, Svedberg was much more comfortable.

“I think a lot of tension released after the first game,” Svedberg said following Monday’s practice. “I felt better.”

Svedberg looked better – the team as a whole did, really – on Saturday, when the Blackhawks beat the New York Islanders 4-1. With the first-game nerves gone, Svedberg is looking to improve from here on out. Coach Joel Quenneville is expecting the same.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“I thought he had progression in his game. He probably got more comfortable; probably [had] nerves the first game and he was fine, anyway,” Quenneville said. “I expect him to get better as we’re going along each and every game. We have a lot to work with there with his reach and his size. He’ll get quicker and more comfortable with how we want him to move and play, but you definitely notice him.”

It’s hard not to notice a 6-foot-8 defensemen. Svedberg entered this fall with a chance to make the team and Quenneville said the big man has made tremendous strides over the last year. While he was out for the first game, it sounds like the Blackhawks want Svedberg to be big part of their defense this season.

Svedberg prepared for this season the way he had others, although he had health on his side this past summer. He underwent shoulder surgery in the summer of 2014 – he was fully healed entering that fall but, “I couldn’t put on any pounds or strength in my upper body.” Svedberg came to this training camp healthy, but credited more work in Rockford last season in preparing him for this opportunity.

[MORE: Anisimov settling in with Blackhawks]

“The biggest thing is that I got into the American [Hockey] League,” said Svedberg, who had three goals and 11 assists in 49 games for the IceHogs last season. “I played a lot and developed there.”

Svedberg said he’s gotten a lot of tutelage from defensive partner Brent Seabrook.

“He helps me out everywhere,” Svedberg said. “He talks to me all the time and I couldn’t ask for a better partner.”

Svedberg got all that anxiety out of the way in Game 1. He still has plenty to learn in an NHL career that’s just beginning, but he’ll be approaching it all much calmer from here on out.

“The first game I was a little nervous, a lot of emotions and stuff. The second one felt a little better, a more solid performance and we got a good win both games,” he said. “I’m happy.”

 

NOTES

  • Duncan Keith took a maintenance day on Monday.
  • Michal Rozsival (ankle) is improving. Quenneville said, “I watched him skate today and it looks like he was moving extremely well. That’s a big step for me, seeing how well he’s skating and [with] some pace.” Asked if Rozsival could join the Blackhawks in practice next week, Quenneville said, “I would hope so.”

Four takeaways: Blackhawks spiral after Corey Crawford injury

Four takeaways: Blackhawks spiral after Corey Crawford injury

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 7-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on Sunday:

1. A whacky first period

The Sharks came into the game with the second-most goals in the first period this season with 41. The Blackhawks have given up the most (49). So in a way, a five-goal first period wasn't all that surprising. But the way it happened certainly was.

The Blackhawks scored two goals within 47 seconds of each other, and had three goals on four shots before Sharks goaltender Martin Jones was pulled for Aaron Dell. Meanwhile, the Sharks had two goals within a 42 second span on only four shots up to that point. 

In total, there were five goals on 14 shots between the two teams for a shooting percentage of 35.7. It made for an entertaining first 20 minutes.

"Good start," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Pucks went in for us. We seemed to get a little looser there as the period went on, and they had a little push. We didn’t respond. Hard to say too much more than that.”

2. Concern for Corey Crawford

The Blackhawks had an unfortunate injury situation late in the first period when Crawford left the game with 1:30 remaining following a collision in the crease where he hit the back of his head on the post. Colliton confirmed after the game that Crawford sustained a concussion and is in protocol.

It was Evander Kane who shoved Dylan Strome into Crawford, who left the game immediately and did not return. Cam Ward made 30 saves on 35 shots (.857 save percentage) in relief.

There's obviously concern for Crawford, who missed 47 games with a concussion last season and also the first five games this year trying to get back into game shape.

"He's probably the guy that's worked the hardest and held us in the most over the season," Connor Murphy said. "So that's never a good sign. Crow's such a big part of our team and to lose him, it's not good. You just feel for him."

3. Five unanswered goals

After Crawford's injury, the life appeared to be sucked out of the United Center and the Sharks took advantage by scoring five unanswered goals — three of which came in the second period.

The Blackhawks wouldn't use Crawford's injury as an excuse, but it's hard not to when they were outscored 5-0 and outshot 29-13 in the final two periods.

"I don't think it was just that," Murphy said. "The second period was terrible. Our 5-on-5 play, we didn't have any passion, we didn't play simple enough, we turned it over and our special teams we didn't have enough urgency either. So it was not good."

4. More special teams problems

The Blackhawks had eight minutes of power play time and generated only four total shots on goal, none of which found the back of the net. The Sharks had 3:09 minutes of power play time and converted on both of their opportunities.

Special teams is a crucial part of the game, and the Blackhawks came up on the losing end of that battle again.

"Special teams are a big part of the game," Strome said. "It's obviously a big swing right there. We had a tough time getting into the zone a couple times, but we had some good looks there at the beginning of the second and for whatever reason we didn't convert. They have a good power play over there. Tonight they won the special teams and it showed in the game."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Blackhawks confirm Corey Crawford has another concussion

Blackhawks confirm Corey Crawford has another concussion

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford exited in the first period on Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks after a collision in the crease, and did not return. 

Coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after the game that Crawford has a concussion and is currently in protocol.

"He has a concussion, so he'll be under the protocol and go from there," Colliton said. "Didn't talk to him, but of course we're concerned."

The play happened with 1:30 left in the opening frame when Evander Kane shoved Dylan Strome into the Blackhawks netminder, who appeared to hit the back of his head on the post.

 

Kane was assessed a goaltender interference penalty and Crawford immediately left the game. He allowed two goals on eight shots before getting replaced by Cam Ward.

Crawford missed 47 games last season because of a concussion, so expect the Blackhawks to take a cautious approach with this situation going forward, given his injury history.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.