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: Blackhawks' bottom six steps up in Colorado

vinniehinostrozabears.jpg
AP

Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks' bottom six steps up in Colorado

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Jamal Mayers discuss the bottom six carrying the Blackhawks to a come-from-behind win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

Later, Mayers weighs in on possible targets with the NHL trade deadline just six weeks away.

Listen to the latest episode of the Hawks Talk Podcast below:

Playing close to home a special experience for Hartman, Hinostroza families

Playing close to home a special experience for Hartman, Hinostroza families

DENVER — When Ryan Hartman went to Michigan at age 16 to play with the U.S. National Development Team, his father Craig moved the whole family there, too. Craig wanted Ryan to stay close with his brother, who's several years younger.

The move was worthwhile but not easy. Craig traveled back and forth to Chicago for his work, and the stay in Michigan, originally expected to be two years, turned into four when Ryan played for the Plymouth Whalers.

Now when the Hartmans want to see Ryan, whether it was in Rockford last season or in Chicago this season, it's less than an hour away from their West Dundee home.

"Either transition's been great because I've been seeing him a lot, taking care of his dog when he's on the road," Craig said. "It's pretty cool when he comes and sees his little brother play hockey. It's pretty amazing to have him home. If he's in any other city, he'd be gone. It's special to have him here."

For many of the fathers currently on the Blackhawks' dads trip, this excursion is one of maybe a handful of times they'll get to see their sons play in a season. But for Craig Hartman and Rick Hinostroza, Vinnie Hinostroza's dad, their sons play for the hometown team. They get to see them at least half of the season. And for both of them, it's an incredible feeling.

"It's pretty unbelievable to be able to just drive, depending on how traffic is, it could take us a little over an hour to get there. But just to be able to be home in 35 minutes and we get to sit and talk to him after a game or go out to dinner, things like that," Rick Hinostroza said. "It's really nice, and we'll take it as long as we can."

Craig and Rick are also enjoying their first dads trip, which began in Denver and now goes to Boston. Ryan Hartman said it's been a great experience for him and his father.

"It's my first year here and (it's a chance) for him to be able to see what we go through on the road, so he has a better idea of what I'm doing when I'm gone all the time. I'm sure it's good for him to be here and see that," Hartman said. "And just being on the road with him, it's a cool experience. I'm glad to have him here."

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

Vinnie Hinostroza said this was the first hockey trip he'd been on with his dad since his midget hockey days.

"It's so special to bring him along, where he used to bring me and pay for the hotels and everything. It's nice he gets to enjoy this," Hinostroza said. "It's special for us to have them here. They sacrifice so much for us growing up, taking us on hockey trips."

Rick Hinostroza got his first taste of how his son travels on this trip. The elder Hinostroza was impressed, from the charter jet to the hospitality that wasn't the usual commercial-flight can of soda and bag of pretzels.

"The attendants going back and forth, asking if I wanted something to eat and here you have this list, a choice of all this stuff. I'm used to the attendant coming around with the cart and you get what you get when you get it," he said. "To be exposed to that and see just how the organization treats the families and players, it's pretty neat. It's really surreal."

But as important as playing in hometown Chicago is for Hartman and Hinostroza's parents, it means so much to the players as well.

"It's a blessing, really, having them so close," said Ryan, who sees his younger brother play hockey whenever he can. "It's nice. You don't have to plan a trip for them to come, and you don't have to be waiting for the next time you're going to see them. Sometimes there are off days when I go home and relax with them. It's definitely nice to have."

The latest Blackhawks' dads trip will end this weekend. Most of the fathers will head back to their respective homes, most of which are a good distance from Chicago. For the Hartmans and Hinostrozas, the return to Chicago means being back home and continuing to live the dream of watching their sons play here.

"I've gotten to meet a lot of fathers and having a nice time," Craig Hartman said. "It's fantastic. Growing up in the city — I was born probably about 15 blocks from the UC — being part of this and having my kid play with the Blackhawks, it's crazy."