Corey Crawford has arguably allowed just two bad goals in this series against the Phoenix Coyotes. Unfortunately, both of them have been overtime game-winners, and have given the Coyotes a 3-1 lead in this Western Conference quarterfinal series.So with the Blackhawks facing elimination, will there be a goaltending change?Well talk about it, coach Joel Quenneville said Friday, before the Blackhawks departed for Arizona, where theyll play Game 5 on Saturday night. Crawford has been good throughout most of this series, the goals hes allowed mostly through traffic or deflections. But the back-to-back winners that Phoenix forward Mikkel Boedker got past him were soft one from a bad angle, the other barely pushed through so the question had to be asked.So will it be Crawford or backup Ray Emery? Quenneville isnt showing his hand now, and may not until game time on Saturday.We dont foresee making an announcement, he said about Game 5s starter.Crawford is certainly not the only one to blame for how this series has gone for the Blackhawks. The team has constantly talked about getting ugly goals, and that phrase was uttered again on Friday. But the talk hasnt translated into action nearly enough. Meanwhile, the Coyotes have pounced on Blackhawks mistakes and stayed patient en route to a 3-1 series lead. Mike Smiths stalwart work in goal hasnt hurt, either.We need more shots, more traffic, we need to play tight against those guys, Quenneville said. We need to be more tenacious.Meanwhile, Quenneville said there has been no change in Marian Hossas status. He is not traveling for Game 5. Brandon Saad is the only member of the black aces going on this trip.
When the news came down that Marian Hossa would miss the 2017-18 season, most first thoughts were about his health. But it was only natural to look at the business implications, and the possibility of Hossa going on long-term injured reserve (LTIR).
That would solve the Blackhawks’ cap issues, right? That would give them more money to spend, right? Well, not exactly. See, the LTIR can be a bit complicated. It can also be tricky to explain. And right now, even Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is trying to figure out how this all develops for the team.
“I think there’s a little bit of a misconception on the LTI provision in the salary cap, and understandably so. It’s very complicated. It’s not as simple or as easy as people think it to be,” Bowman said on Thursday, the day before the Blackhawks hosted the 2017 NHL Draft. “I don’t want to get into too many details because it’s hard to explain it all, but there’s a couple different ways it can work.
"You can use offseason LTI and in-season LTI and there’s drawbacks to both, and there’s limitations the way that the league handles those things. It’s not as simple as people might think that we just have this ability to suddenly replace Marian with another player. It’s way more involved than that.”
Here are two basics about the cap: a team can be 10 percent over it during the summer, and a team must be at or below it the day the regular season begins. If the Blackhawks place Hossa on LTIR, it wouldn’t take effect until the second day of the regular season. So on Day 1 of the season, the Blackhawks would still be carrying Hossa’s $5.275 cap hit.
Once the LTIR would take effect, though, the Blackhawks would have wiggle room. If they spent to the $75 million cap, they could utilize Hossa’s entire $5.275 million cap hit on other players.
It’s not about the Blackhawks finding a guy this summer that makes an equal cap it.
“If you did that you would be essentially starting the year with an inability to make any transactions," Bowman said. "And that’s why, it’s a harder discussion to have because you’ve got to give you examples of if this happens. But it just doesn’t work that way. I wish it were that simple, but it’s not. It’s a much more complicated provision than people think. It’s not some easy cap solution where we just go sign a player for the same amount and off we go. It’s much more problematic than that.”
The NHL will be looking at the situation, although there doesn’t seem to be anything that would keep the Blackhawks from putting Hossa on LTIR. Bowman wasn’t concerned about it.
Still, the Blackhawks will still be doing their share of offseason math.
“I know how it works. What’s going to happen is a different question," Bowman said. "You don’t make those decisions overnight, but I think that understandably there’s probably a lot of confusion, because it’s not your job to run the salary cap for a team. So, I can get why you don’t know all the little details, and it is a very intricate provision in the CBA. So, we understand it. We’ve used LTI before, so it’s not like it’s something we’ve never been faced with. It’s just a factor that we’ll get through.”
The NHL schedules were unveiled on Wednesday afternoon, and for the first time in many a year, the Blackhawks will have no Circus Trip.
We already knew the Blackhawks would host the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in their home opener on Oct. 5. The Blackhawks’ longest road continuous road trip will be four games, and they’ll do that twice (Jan. 25-Feb. 3 and Feb. 24-March 4). The Blackhawks have six consecutive road games in December, but it will be split in half by the Christmas break.
Oh, and their first look at the Golden Knights will be when they travel to Las Vegas on Oct. 24.
The Blackhawks will enjoy a six-game homestand, their longest of the season, from Jan. 10-24.
Check out the schedule in its entirety: