After a rough sophomore stint last season, Corey Crawford has kicked off the shortened 2013 campaign looking poised and confident in the net. The goaltender's hard work has paid off, and his leading role in the Blackhawks' franchise-best 6-0-0 start to the season has earned him the No. 2 spot on this week's NHL 'Three Stars' of the Week.
Crawford's posted five wins, a 1.78 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. After recording 19 saves against the Kings, 32 against the Blues, and 21 in the Hawks' 3-2 overtime victory over Dallas, Crawford continued his successful performance with a pair of wins over the weekend against the Blue Jackets and Red Wings.
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Sharks left winger Patrick Marleau was named the NHL's No. 1 star of the week after recording four multi-point games, leading to a total of 13 points in five matchups. Marleau became the second NHL player in history to do so, following Cy Denneny's record-breaking performance during the 1917-18 season.
Marleau also became the first player in Sharks history to score a goal during each of his team's first five games of the season. The only other NHL players to do so were the Blues' Keith Tkachuk (six games) and the Sabres' Thomas Vanek (five).
Lightning right winger Martin St. Louis completes the list after recording 11 points throughout Tampa Bay's 4-1-0 run. His most impressive performance of the season came against the Capitals on Jan. 19 when he recorded two goals -- including the game winner -- and an assist.
St. Louis followed that performance by recording a goal and assist against the Islanders, two assists against the Senators and another four helpers in the Lightning's victory over the Flyers.
The Blackhawks' coaching staff will be intact for the 2016-17 season.
Two weeks after Patrick Roy abruptly resigned as head coach, the Colorado Avalanche officially picked Jared Bednar to be his replacement over Blackhawks assistant Kevin Dineen, who was among the favorites for the coaching vacancy.
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Bednar has no National Hockey League coaching experience, but did guide the Columbus Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affiliate to a 15-2 postseason record last season en route to the franchise's first Calder Cup championship.
Retaining Dineen is good news for the Blackhawks, who start training camp next month, but it goes without saying that Dineen is certainly deserving of a second crack at a head coaching position in the near future.
Dineen, Mike Kitchen and head coach Joel Quenneville will enter their third season together after helping the Blackhawks capture a Stanley Cup in their first year as a group in 2015.
Jonathan Toews was named alternate captain of Team Canada on Thursday for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.
Sidney Crosby was named Team Canada’s captain. Crosby, who claimed his second Stanley Cup in June, was also Team Canada’s captain en route to the gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
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Toews, who has been the Blackhawks’ captain since the 2008-09 season, was also alternate captain of Canada’s 2014 Olympic squad. Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens will serve as Team Canada’s other alternate captain.
Duncan Keith will not be part of the Blackhawks’ World Cup of Hockey contingent after all.
Keith will focus on improving his health rather than play for Team Canada in the tournament, which takes place next month in Toronto. The Blackhawks released a statement regarding Keith on Wednesday afternoon.
"As Duncan continues offseason rehabilitation on the right knee injury that he sustained last season, we understand his decision not to participate in next month’s World Cup of Hockey," team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in the statement. "We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury."
Keith had surgery on that knee last October and was sidelined about one month.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will take Keith’s place.