Crawford ready to regain No. 1 status

704658.png

Crawford ready to regain No. 1 status

DALLAS Corey Crawford got the question again, the one about what he needs to do now that hes back in goal.

Win games? Stop pucks? Crawford told the media with a laugh on Thursday. I just have to stay focused and be ready for every game.

Crawfords had the net, lost it and regained it a few times this season. And with only 10 regular-season games remaining, including tonights against the Dallas Stars, its truly Crawfords crunch time.

If hes going to regain his No. 1 goalie status, it has to be now.

Crawford earned tonights start thanks to his relief performance against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night. But at this juncture the Blackhawks need their goalie, one of their goalies, to grab the reins and be ready for the playoffs. Crawford showed he could do that late last season. Now he gets another chance.

We just want him to play consistent, play strong and give us a chance to win. He doesnt have to win games on his own but get timely saves and get consistent, no matter what happens, coach Joel Quenneville said. Weve said, Is this the game? Is this the game? Hes had a lot of opportunities to be the guy and hes looking forward to it.

Crawford was as jubilant as any Blackhawk after he stopped the Blues third shootout attempt on Tuesday. He said his celebration was for the team, for the big two points earned. But he admitted it helped him, too.

Yeah, felt good personally, he said. I was still confident, I didnt lose confidence. But to get back in there and get a win like that right away, I can definitely build off that one.

Teammates recognized Crawfords boost on Tuesday and know hes got a big opportunity now.

You could see it in his celebration, a sense of relief and it was a huge victory for him to come in like that in a tough situation against the No. 1 team against the league, Jamal Mayers said. It was definitely a compliment to him and hopefully it catapults him and he takes the reins and runs with it.

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Michal Kempny was in and out of the Blackhawks lineup last season but he’ll likely get a bigger opportunity this coming season. On Saturday, he was assured of coming back to get that chance.

Kempny and the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Saturday morning.

“Michal’s style of play is an asset to our defense,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He is the type of player who will continue to improve now that he has transitioned to the National Hockey League. We look forward to his continued development on the ice for the Blackhawks.”

Kempny was part of a very crowded blue line last season — he was one of eight defensemen at the start of it — and played 50 regular-season games. He recorded two goals and six assists in those contests but did not play in the Blackhawks’ four postseason contests. With Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell likely not returning, however, Kempny should get a bigger opportunity this season.

The 26-year-old Kempny also had two goals and an assist in eight games for the Czech Republic team at the 2017 World Championship.

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.

A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.

A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.

Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.

Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.