Crawford's success of late comes down to patience

658420.png

Crawford's success of late comes down to patience

Patience. Corey Crawfords was certainly tested during his tough slumps this season. But as it turns out, after watching some video, the Blackhawks goaltender recognized where he needed to truly show patience was on some of his saves.

Crawford said hes been more patient on some of his saves recently, and its paid off in more stops and more victories. Crawford has allowed just four goals in his last three starts, all victories. Crawford said he and goaltending coach Stephane Waite watched some film when the Blackhawks came home between the second and third legs of their road trip.

He made a few adjustments, and so far theyre working.

I had to play with a little more control, not running around as much or sliding, Crawford said this morning before his start tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. I was giving up way too many goals where teams were going around the net and getting open-net goals. I still have to make sure that Im aggressive and not too passive in certain situations.

Being too aggressive, Crawford said, was the problem recently. In some cases he would get out to make an initial stop but couldnt get back in time to save the rebound opportunity. As Crawford said, its reading the play and knowing when to be aggressive or let the play come to me.

Its been a learning experience for Crawford. Hes hoping this lesson learned sticks for a while.

Its helped me mentally, for sure, to go through something like that, Crawford said. Its just trying to correct it where I can avoid that rollercoaster there. I just have to focus and try to do the same thing tonight.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Crawfords finding his game again at a most opportune time.

This time last year he absorbed a lot of responsibility and we took off, he said. Goalies are under the microscope. You have to maintain confidence, poise and your approach, knowing youre comfortable in your habits. Find that next puck and make the next save; thats where he needs to be.

Jonathan Toews practices but won’t play vs. Flyers

Jonathan Toews practices but won’t play vs. Flyers

Jonathan Toews sounded somewhat frustrated but cognizant of the situation.

If it were the postseason there’s no doubt he would be playing right now. That’s not a surprise to hear, considering what hockey players put themselves through when the playoffs start. But this is early December. There are too many games remaining. And with it coming down to making sure he’s healthy for the long haul, it’s an easy call.

Toews practiced on Friday for the first time since being hurt, but he won’t travel to Philadelphia when the Blackhawks face the Flyers on Saturday afternoon. It will be the fifth consecutive game Toews has missed since he was hurt against the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 23. Still, him skating on his own and then practicing with teammates for a few minutes is a good sign that Toews is closing in on a return.

“Just come back and check in again [Saturday], see how it is and hopefully, I guess as they say, re-evaluate for Sunday,” Toews said on Friday. “It’s never fun to miss any time, especially when the team is playing as many games as they are. So nice to get back out there and move around and get going a little bit.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Toews was placed on injured reserve on Friday, retroactive to Nov. 24, the day after he was injured.  Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll see how Toews feels on Saturday and, “we’ll get a better idea going forward. But he’s not on the trip.”

“You gotta be fully recovered and want to make sure guys are 100 percent before they can play,” Quenneville said. “Jonny plays at a certain pace and it’s all out, so let’s make sure he’s more than ready when he’s coming back.”

Several have reported that Toews has a back injury, and the captain was doing several back stretches during Friday’s session. Toews left in the second period of the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Sharks, moments after he went down awkwardly. But Toews said he wasn’t hurt on that play. 

“I think it was just something that started to aggravate in the first period. I tried playing in the second and that instance right there, just went down like a ton of bricks,” Toews said. “I was trying not to aggravate the injury more than I already had. That wasn’t where I got hurt; [it was] probably the instance people were looking for to see what the explanation was.”

If this were April and the playoffs were about to begin, Toews probably wouldn’t be as patient with his injury. But it isn’t, and he will be. It’s not worth making worse. The Blackhawks have managed to get points in his absence, going 3-0-1 so far.

“It’s the type of thing most guys would be able to suck up and play if it were a playoff game and putting everything on the line. But at this point, with the amount of games left in the season, it’s not something you want to continuously deal with,” he said. “If you aggravate it, it’ll keep coming back to haunt you. It’s tough to hold back and do less than you know you can, but in the long run, trying to make sure I get back to 100 percent.”

BRIEFLY

- Trevor van Riemsdyk was activated off the injured-reserve list and is expected to play against the Flyers.

- Marian Hossa took practice off. He is expected to play.

-  Corey Crawford will start vs. Philadelphia.

Blackhawks Road Ahead: Feasting on the East

Blackhawks Road Ahead: Feasting on the East

Pat Boyle, Steve Konroyd and Jamal Mayers have the latest on Joel Quenneville's group in this edition of the Blackhawks Road Ahead, sponsored by Chicagoland NW Indiana Honda dealers.

The Blackhawks are once again taking care of business, going 3-0-1 with their captain Jonathan Toews on the sideline. They're also 6-2-2 against the East this year, and they'll get another chance to add to that record when they take on the Flyers this week.

Here's what our Blackhawks Postgame Live crew had to say about the team's upcoming matchups in this week's Honda Road Aehad.