Crawford to start as Blackhawks look to continue momentum

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Crawford to start as Blackhawks look to continue momentum

Corey Crawford will get the start for the Blackhawks and Michal Rozsival will be among the defensive starters again as the Chicago Blackhawks open their home schedule against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center tonight.

The Blackhawks (2-0-0) will face a Blues squad that pulled out a shootout victory in Nashville on Monday. Brian Elliott is slated to start in goal for St. Louis.

For the Blackhawks, the seasons start couldnt have been much better. They outscored Los Angeles and Phoenix by a combined 11-6 and want to bring that power and intensity back home.

That's what we talked about this morning here going into today's game, coach Joel Quenneville said. We're playing a team we know has played very well over the last year and have gotten off to a strong start. We want to make sure we do everything quick, that we've got good energy going into the puck area. We want the puck. Our transition was good, and we want to make sure that's going to be continued on here today.

Each team presents their challenges. The Blackhawks have had a much stronger start on special teams this season, and Marian Hossa is looking as heathy as hes ever been. He has five points in two games. For the Blues, goaltending remains a strong suit. Elliott came in for Jaroslav Halak midway through the Blues game in Nashville on Monday and earned the shootout victory. And rookie Vladimir Tarasenko is off to a five-point start of his own (3-2-5).

Hes a kid that just loves to compete and play, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. He has a real throwback attitude, which I really appreciate, a real sincere menality. He respects the game and veterans. All talent aside, who knows where this thing goes career-wise. But when you have that type of attitude and sincerity to your disposition, it bodes really well for him.

As for stopping guys like Hossa and Jonathan Toews, Hitchcock said its always a challenge.

To me, theres skill and then theres skill with strength. And they both have (the latter), Hitchcock said. They both can buy enough time one on one to make it difficult. Theyre probably best pair in the league because they can buy time to create 2 on 1s, because theyre so strong with the puck. Theyre big difference makers. Hopefully they have an off night.

Preview: Blackhawks open preseason against Penguins Wednesday on CSN+

Preview: Blackhawks open preseason against Penguins Wednesday on CSN+

Scott Darling and the Blackhawks open up preseason play against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN+ at 7:30 p.m. 

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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After World Cup of Hockey, Patrick Kane joins Blackhawks at training camp

After World Cup of Hockey, Patrick Kane joins Blackhawks at training camp

Patrick Kane’s break from the ice lasted less than a week, his time in Toronto serving as a good preseason primer, of sorts.

And with the season about two weeks away, Kane said he’s about where he needs to be.

Kane and Michal Kempny joined the Blackhawks on Tuesday, two of several players beginning to trickle in from their World Cup of Hockey stints. For Kane, the World Cup didn’t go nearly as long as expected – Team USA was ousted in the preliminary round. But now, the focus is on honing things before the season begins.

“I feel pretty good,” Kane said following the second group’s practice on Tuesday. “I feel like everything’s starting to come around right now for sure. I guess, starting to feel kind of like myself again on the ice, so to speak. It’s good to be back in the locker room here with all the guys and back in a Blackhawks uniform, too. It’s always fun coming back. Feels like home, for sure.”

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Kane will not play Wednesday, when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins in their preseason opener. How many preseason games he does get is uncertain; but considering Kane’s time in World Cup of Hockey, the Blackhawks aren’t concerned with him getting rusty.

“He’s going to probably want to do it sooner than later, but I think we can be patient because he’s already been playing games,” assistant coach Mike Kitchen said. “Usually the veteran players when you come into a normal camp, they want to play maybe two or three games to just get their timing. For him, he’s already played quite a few games. There’s no reason to get him in right away, so we’ll just kind of bring him along, especially this early into camp.”

Team USA had a dismal showing at World Cup of Hockey, losing all three games in the preliminary round. But Kane said he’s put that behind him.

“It was a situation, looking back on it now, where we lost to a good team in Europe – they’re in the championship now – and I think at that point there’s a lot of noise from the outside that maybe crept in to our locker room a little bit. We needed to beat Canada. You could say they probably outplayed us but we had chances I that game to keep ourselves in it and ended up losing that one and we were out. But you’re playing in the World Cup of Hockey, you’re playing for your country, it’s always an honor to play for the United States. I’ll always remember playing for my country and always want to do it if you get the opportunity.”

BRIEFLY

  • Duncan Keith skated with the second group on Tuesday. The Blackhawks will continue to monitor him. “He’ll probably want to get maybe a couple of [preseason] games just for his timing, especially for a defenseman, too. Just so he’ll able to get his gap control and things like that. I imagine he’ll want to try and get some games, but we’ll just see how his knee’s come along and how he responds,” Kitchen said. “We don’t want to put him in a situation before we have to because it only is preseason. We’ll just have to monitor that.”
  • Scott Darling is scheduled to play the entire game vs. the Penguins tomorrow.