Fire expect Friedrich back soon


Fire expect Friedrich back soon

The Fire doesnt expect veteran German defender Arne Friedrich to miss much time after a right hamstring injury forced him out of Saturdays 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City after only 29 minutes.

Friedrich was scheduled for an MRI exam on Monday, and the team reported that he had a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Friedrich, commenting on Major League Soccers website, said his injury was "just a cramp."

His status for the next match, at Portland on Sunday, is uncertain, however.

"I guess its just because I didnt have a preseason and then played three games in a week (actually nine days)," said Friedrich, who had gone six months without playing a game before the Fire signed him in March.

He said his hamstring was "pretty tight.A couple days before it felt like it was a little tired. Its not like a knife in my hamstring. Its just a cramp."

The Fire (4-2-3) got by Sporting Kansas City, the Eastern Conference leader, by moving Jalil Anibaba from the right side into the middle beside rookie Austin Berry, who was playing in only his second MLS match. Dan Gargan, who had left the previous game early with a sprained ankle, returned at right back when Friedrich left the match.

Coach Frank Klopas gave his players Monday and Tuesday off this week after its first heavy stretch of games this season. The next match at Portland is against the last-place team in the Western Conference. The host Timbers (2-5-2), who visit the Houston Dynamo on Tuesday, were an expansion team last season but won both meetings against the Fire.

Meanwhile, ex-Fire player Wilman Conde-Roa was arrested in New Jersey for aggravated assault on a police officer who was investigating an early-morning noise complaint. Conde was an MLS All-Star during his 73-game stint with the Fire from 2007-10.

Conde, who played Friedrichs center back spot with the Fire, was a starter at that position for the New York Red Bulls until a recent injury sidelined him.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 25 of 27 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.