Crawford staying humble amidst current success

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Crawford staying humble amidst current success

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

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

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.

Adjusting

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.

Briefly

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

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Tommy Wingels, who the Blackhawks acquired earlier this month, will miss 6-8 weeks after suffering a left-foot fracture during his offseason training. Team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement that the Blackhawks, “anticipate a full recovery in 6-8 weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues.”

The Blackhawks signed Wingels, a Wilmette native, to a one-year deal on July 1. Wingels will still be at this weekend’s convention.

Why Blackhawks fans might want to tap the brakes on Alex DeBrincat

Why Blackhawks fans might want to tap the brakes on Alex DeBrincat

This is public service announcement regarding Alex DeBrincat and his potential this season with the Blackhawks:

Tap the brakes.

We’ve relayed this address a few times the past few seasons, most notably with Teuvo Teravainen as people eagerly anticipated his professional debut. We’re pretty sure when he was recalled for the first time, exultant trumpets played faintly in the background. But it bears repeating now with DeBrincat, who might or might not do fantastic things right out of training camp.

This warning, however, comes not only because DeBrincat might not be ready for the grand stage play-wise. It’s also because the Blackhawks might not have room for him.

Take a look at CapFriendly.com for the Blackhawks’ current situation: As they enter the fall they’re roughly $35,000 over the $75 million salary cap, but it’s not so much about money as it is the roster setup. There are 22 players currently listed on the Blackhawk’s CapFriendly roster, but only five defensemen. Also, of the 14 forwards listed, only one could be sent to Rockford without going through waivers (Nick Schmaltz).

So if there’s no room for DeBrincat, don’t be surprised.

Still, it’s going to be interesting to see what DeBrincat does at training camp this fall. You understand why the hype is there. DeBrincat is coming off three stellar seasons with the Erie Otters, with whom he had 127 points (65 goals, 62 assists) last season. DeBrincat is hopeful that a strong training camp could lead to opportunity, but he understands it might not be right away.

“I’m confident in my abilities,” DeBrincat said. “But they have a plan for me and I’ll do whatever they want me to do. I’ll stick with their plan.”

But the Blackhawks will take the slow-and steady approach with him as they did with past younger players. He’s only 19 years old, so there’s no need to rush his development. Playing time in the American Hockey League could be very beneficial for him as he makes the jump from the OHL to the pros. As former Otters coach Kris Knoblauch said earlier this summer, dealing with bigger and stronger players at this level is going to be the toughest hurdle for DeBrincat.

“It’s not that he’s afraid; he’s very good at battles. But just playing against the opposition, against five strong, fast players and just finding out how much time he has, where the room is,” Knoblauch said in early June. “One-on-one battles in our league, there are strong guys and he does fairly well. But when you have a unit of guys, it makes the game a little more difficult.”

DeBrincat will have his time with the Blackhawks. It just might not be right away, and for several reasons, including the current roster setup. So let’s tap the brakes. For now, anyway.