Crawford staying humble amidst current success


Crawford staying humble amidst current success

Friday, Dec. 10, 2010
Posted 6:44 PM

By Tracey Myers

SAN JOSE, Calif. Corey Crawford isnt much for praising himself.

The 25-year-old goaltender has won seven consecutive decisions and is one more away from tying Denis DeJordy for the Chicago Blackhawks longest win streak for a rookie goaltender. Hes two away from tying Glenn Hall of longest winning run by any Blackhawks netminder.

Crawford will start again on Saturday night when the Blackhawks take on the San Jose Sharks, and a victory would tie him with DeJordy for rookie success. But after Fridays practice, Crawford was once again looking big picture.

Its pretty cool, but Im not thinking of me, he said. A lot of effort has gone in from everyone. Theres still a lot of work to be done, so we cant stop here.

Crawford started this season with a few struggles, getting out to a 1-4-0 mark in his first five games. Since then, however, hes been stellar. He started and won the Blackhawks final two games of that long November road trip and has only been out one game since.

The hot hand belongs to Crawford, and the Blackhawks will ride it as long as its such.

Hes given us a chance to win games and dont want to change too much. We like that consistency, coach Joel Quenneville said. Hes taken advantage of the opportunity. He takes up a lot of net, anticipates well. He has that awareness and anticipation and hopefully he can continue to improve off that.

Crawford has a comfort level with many of the Blackhawks, especially the ones he came up through the ranks with. He, Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer, Bryan Bickell, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Jake Dowell all played together in Norfolk a few years ago.

Hes been great, Bolland said. Hes come up and shown what he can do.

The Blackhawks will go with the hot goaltender. Marty Turco was that guy early and Crawfords that guy now. If he keeps up, Crawford could gain a few records for himself. But it will still be about the Blackhawks first.

So far its a lot of fun but we have to keep that same mentality of doing the little things right, Crawford said. Im just taking it shot by shot. Ive got to stop every puck. Thats my thought process right now.

Bolland fine

Dave Bolland was practicing again on Friday after taking a maintenance day on Thursday. He will play Saturday night against the Sharks.

Bolland said the day off was just to heal and that it has nothing to do with previous back problems.

My backs good, its strong, he said. You just get bumps and bruises and you have to take care of them. Its a long season. If you dont, they can linger for a while.


The Blackhawks took advantage of an extra day before their matchup against the Sharks, flying out after practice on Thursday in preparation for Saturdays game.

It seemed like forever getting here, Quenneville said of the nearly 4 -hour flight. We get here, get organized, get used to the time zone there.

The Sharks, meanwhile, didnt get back to San Jose until 2:30 a.m. Friday; they played in Buffalo on Thursday night.


Jeremy Morin will likely be recalled from Rockford, and the Blackhawks will probably call up one more along with him, on Saturday.

Defenseman Jassen Cullimore practiced Friday after being out Thursday with a lower-body injury. Quenneville said it looks good as far as Cullimore playing Saturday night.

Quenneville said Jordan Hendry could be back in the lineup against San Jose. Hendrys last played Nov. 7 against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Rockford IceHogs signed veteran NHL center Ryan Johnson to a professional tryout contract on Friday. Johnson played the past two seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. He had a goal and four assists in 58 games last season.

Tracey Myers is's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Preview: Blackhawks host Flames Monday on CSN

Preview: Blackhawks host Flames Monday on CSN

The Blackhawks (3-3, 6 points) take on the Calgary Flames (1-4-1, 3 points) on Monday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with Blackhawks Pregame Live at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final horn to get analysis and player reaction on Blackhawks Postgame Live.

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Richard Panik fueling Blackhawks' top line

Richard Panik fueling Blackhawks' top line

Richard Panik was coming off his first career hat trick last week when he was asked about solidifying his spot on the top line with Jonathan Toews.

“I wouldn’t call it mine, for now,” Panik said.

The right wing’s hesitancy was understandable: Outside of some Blackhawks veterans, your place on a line is only as good as your last game.

But considering how he’s playing right now and the amount of goals he’s scored, you’d think Panik will be a top liner for a little while longer.

Panik scored the game-tying goals against his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, with 88 seconds remaining in regulation on Saturday night. There was probably a little feeling of vindication for Panik on that goal – Panik spent last season with the Leafs’ minor-league team until he was traded to the Blackhawks. But no matter the opponent, Panik’s been a scoring threat.

“We didn’t expect six goals in six games but we knew he’d be an offensive threat for us,” Toews said. “He’s showing consistently. He had the hat trick – when you have a game like that, the puck keeps finding you and he’s making no mistakes around the net. He’s shown he can score goals in any which way.”

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Part of the reason Panik’s back on the top line was the Blackhawks wanted to get more balance among the forwards. Marian Hossa, a longtime sight on that line, is on the third. But again, it’s all in what you do with the opportunity.

“The position he ended up being in was probably more so [for] being ready every game, consistent, doing the right things,” coach Joel Quenneville said after Saturday’s game. “He has all the tools we look for. He’s coming up with loose pucks, hanging around the net, going to the hard areas, giving us some physicality and finish as well. That was a big one, for sure, so he’s been a very pleasant start for us and for himself.”

The Blackhawks will always take goals no matter who scores them. But it’s how and from where Panik’s scoring those goals that’s especially good for the Blackhawks. Constantly looking for a net-front presence, Panik’s providing it. Most of his goals have been within a few feet of the net.

“Yeah, I’m just trying to find the space in front of the net and the goals are scored from there,” he said. “That’s the area I want to go to and it’s working.”

In six games Panik has already reached the totals he had in his 30 games with the Blackhawks last season (six goals, two assists). Panik approaches every game on the first line like it could be his last up there, and considering how often the Blackhawks change combinations that’s a smart approach. But the Blackhawks were looking for more consistent scoring on that top line, and as long as Panik helps provide that, he’ll stay put.

“Consistency was my biggest weakness. I’m just focusing on that, bringing it every night,” Panik said. “I think I know what I’m capable of. I know I can play on this level. Now I have an opportunity. I just have to take advantage of it and keep playing this way.”