Crawford staying humble amidst current success

337415.jpg

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.

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

hawkspod.png
USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: What's the cause of recent struggles?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd discuss the latest slump and how much does Artem Anisimov's injury play a role in their struggles?

Konroyd tells us he was surprised by Ryan Hartman's benching in Tampa.

The guys play the game, playoff minutes or press box minutes?  They run through the players who are on the bubble when it comes to postseason play.

They also discuss the Hawks chances of overtaking Washington for the President's trophy.

Plus, Konroyd breaks down possible first round opponents: St Louis, Calgary and Nashville.

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

Tanner Kero latest to try and fill Artem Anisimov's skates

PITTSBURGH – Tanner Kero's been thrown into a lot of different situations in his time with the Blackhawks, be it third- or fourth-line center or penalty kill.

But with Artem Anisimov out, the second-line center spot has become new top-line, left-wing spot: The Blackhawks will keep trying guys out until they find one that works. Kero's the latest to get that opportunity, and since it worked well on Monday, he'll be there again on Wednesday.

Kero will center Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane again when the Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins. The line had a good start to Monday's game against the Lightning in Tampa, scoring the team's first two goals — Kero assisted on Panarin's opener.

Coach Joel Quenneville liked Kero's first go-around there.

"Defensively he's in a good spot — he's usually in a reliable spot in his own end — he made a couple of nice plays offensively and didn't change his game too much," Quenneville said. "It's not easy playing with guys at that next level. It's certainly a great challenge and a great opportunity, so I thought he did a great job, took advantage of it. We'll see how he does going forward but we'll keep him in there for [Wednesday's] game and that gives us some more options."

[VIVID SEATS: Buy Blackhawks tickets]

Learning on the fly can be part of a rookie season, especially when injuries arise. Jonathan Toews said Kero's handled everything well this season.

"Come to think of it, it's one of those little things that maybe goes over my head but he's definitely one of those versatile players who's as consistent as ever," Toews said. "He has, for his age, an incredible level of maturity and he carries that with him wherever he goes. You're seeing offensive improvement, too. He was making some good plays with Bread Man and Kaner. He's showing he can do it all and I think his work ethic and attitude's a source of that success."

Earlier this season Kero was with guys like Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza. They were all familiar with each other from their Rockford days, and that showed. Playing with two guys you don't know so well? It's a bit of a challenge, and one the three talk out. But ultimately, Kero said you have to rely on your instincts. 

"You go over things before the game and on the bench, get a feel for what you might want to do. But then you just have to play hockey," Kero said. "You have to trust your game, make plays. You know they're going to make plays with the puck so you try to use your speed and get open and try to go to the net, create space for them and a little traffic in front and try to capitalize on opportunities."

Anisimov will be out another 1-2 weeks. Asked if Anisimov has started skating back in Chicago yet, Quenneville said, "I don't think so but I'm not positive. But he's progressing." Filling Anisimov's skates isn't easy, as evidenced by the Blackhawks' search for his temporary replacement. Kero is the third guy to get that shot, and he took advantage of his first showing.

"Obviously it's a great opportunity to play with two great players," Kero said. "You just try to do everything you can and do the little things right."

Briefly

- Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith didn't practice on Tuesday but both are expected to play against the Penguins.

- Corey Crawford gets the start against Pittsburgh.

- Hartman, scratched after a rough game against the Florida Panthers, is probably back in against the Penguins.