Stalberg learns from 'old-fashioned benching'

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Stalberg learns from 'old-fashioned benching'

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
Posted 2:57 PM Updated 4:27 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Viktor Stalberg sat on the bench the entire third period against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night. But it wasn't injury that sidelined the Chicago Blackhawks' left wing. Instead, Stalberg said, it was just "a good, old-fashioned benching."

Stalberg, who's been playing on the Blackhawks' top line for some time now, was benched for the third period of the team's 5-3 victory over the Stars. Stalberg logged 8:10 of ice time and was a minus-2.

He said there was no need to get further explanation from coach Joel Quenneville.

"It was pretty clear," he said. "It's just nothing to talk about; it's going to happen and you can't get down on yourself too much. You've just got to come out harder and play tougher and make sure you contribute the way they want you to."

Quenneville said it was mainly about "consistency (on defense), being stronger there and influencing the puck, those type of things."

"Everyone has stretches where you're playing better than other times and sometimes you go with the guys who are going better who are probably playing consistently over that stretch of games," he said.

Stalberg said he'll regroup and be ready for Saturday's game against San Jose.

"I need to use my speed and try to play a simple game," he said. "When you play with really good players you want to make sure they're getting the puck a lot. I've gotten away from the way I need to play. They want to make sure I do that. I'll be ready to go Saturday."

Kane getting closer?

Quenneville said two or three of the Blackhawks' injured forwards, including possibly Patrick Kane, could be skating when the Blackhawks return from this two-game road trip. Marian Hossa and Fernando Pisani have been sidelined for a bit with lower- and upper-body injuries, respectively.

"Could be," Quenneville said of Kane, who appeared to suffer a left-ankle injury just 23 seconds into Sunday's game against Calgary. "That's optimistic."
Crawford close to record

In racking up all these victories, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is putting himself among good company.

Crawford claimed his seventh consecutive victory on Wednesday night, a 5-3 decision over the Dallas Stars, making him the first Blackhawks rookie goaltender to reach that mark since Darren Pang did it in 1988.

Corey Crawford is congratulated by Blackhawks teammates after earning his seventh straight win Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars. (AP)Crawford is one off the Blackhawks' rookie consecutive win streak mark (8), reached by Denis DeJordy in 1964. Glenn Hall has the franchise mark with nine his last victory came in relief.

The 25-year-old Crawford played down his achievements.

"It's pretty cool, but it's not about me at all," he said. "The guys have played so well every game. They're giving me a lot of goals and playing well defensively, too.

"You have to keep working hard and stay focused," he said. "I'm just taking it shot by shot. That's my thought process right now."

Coach Joel Quenneville said there was a good chance Crawford would play against San Jose.

"He works well with things and his patience helps him," Quenneville said. "He's aggressive in certain situations and he's big a lot. He's progressing here at a good level for us. We like his approach as well."

Briefly

Jeremy Morin and Rob Klinkhammer were reassigned to Rockford on Thursday morning. The Blackhawks could call up "one or two" from Rockford on their two-game road trip, Quenneville said.

Dave Bolland did not practice on Thursday; Quenneville said it was a "maintenance" day for the center, who will be on the San JoseDenver trip.

Defenseman Jassen Cullimore missed Thursday's practice with a lower-body injury. Quenneville said Cullimore will make the trip but is not sure of his status yet for Saturday's game against the San Jose Sharks.

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

Blackhawks prospects Alex DeBrincat, Chad Krys named to USA's preliminary World Juniors roster

Blackhawks prospects Alex DeBrincat, Chad Krys named to USA's preliminary World Juniors roster

Blackhawks prospects Alex DeBrincat and Chad Krys were selected to Team USA's preliminary roster for the World Junior Championships, USA Hockey announced Monday.

They're two of five players that have been brought back after helping USA take home the bronze medal at last year's tournament.

DeBrincat, the Blackhawks' 2016 second-round pick (No. 36 overall), leads the Ontario Hockey League this season with 28 goals and ranks second with 56 points in 26 games with the Erie Otters. The 5-foot-7 winger, who turns 19 on Dec. 18, had one goal in five tournament games last year.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Krys, the Blackhawks' 2016 second-round pick (No. 45 overall), has one goal and one assist in 14 games so far during his freshman year at Boston University.

He's no stranger to international hockey.

Krys, 18, most recently sported the red, white and blue sweater last year with the U.S National under-18 team in the United States Hockey League, where he scored three goals and added 26 assists in 53 games.

The players will attend training camp from Dec. 16-20 in Buffalo followed by an additional camp from Dec. 20-24, which will include pre-tournament games on Dec. 21 against Switzerland and Dec. 23 against the Czech Republic, both of which will take place in Ontario.

The 23-man roster is expected to be finalized by Dec. 24.

Scott Darling takes the reins for Blackhawks in Corey Crawford’s absence

Scott Darling takes the reins for Blackhawks in Corey Crawford’s absence

It’s an interesting working life, really, this backup goaltending gig.

Most of the time, you’re in hurry-up-and-wait mode. But now and then something bizarre happens – like the starting goaltender needing an appendectomy on the road – that thrusts you into the No. 1 spot for a time.

Scott Darling has been here, done this before, though, and he did it well. And considering how goaltending has been the backbone of this team’s performance this season, the Blackhawks are confident he can handle the job.

Darling gave the Blackhawks a chance again on Sunday night, his 30-stop performance keeping them within one goal in what was ultimately a 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Darling started his second consecutive game – Crawford was diagnosed with appendicitis prior to the team’s game in Philadelphia, where he had his operation. An interesting turn of events, for sure, but Darling will do what’s necessary in Crawford’s absence.

“Obviously you don’t want it to happen this way. But there’s not too many other ways it can happen so it’s an exciting opportunity for me,” Darling said following Sunday’s game. “I mean I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know how long Corey will be gone or what the game plan is. But I’m excited to get a few more starts than usual.”

Darling had a whole three games of NHL experience in December of 2014 when he subbed for Crawford, out with a lower-body injury at that time. That worked out just fine – he won three of his first four starts and came up even bigger in the Blackhawks’ first-round series against the Nashville Predators that postseason.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Coach Joel Quenneville said Darling has handled the extremes well.

“I think that’s what it’s all about in that role: you’re ready to play once every four or five games and then all of a sudden you’re playing every night and it’s a different job description, workload, pressure. But the expectations when you do get it can be different,” Quenneville said. “Some guys handle it the same way, going every fourth or fifth game and don’t change a beat. I think Darls did exactly that. He had a good demeanor, had a good approach, was patient as he always was. I think that helped a lot. He played some critical games for us in the playoffs, handled it the same way and that’s how you’re hoping they handle it.”

Darling is expected to get most, if not all, of the workload while Crawford’s out. Lars Johansson was recalled on Sunday and will serve as backup, but he has no NHL experience – then again, Darling didn’t have much a few years ago, either.

But Darling isn’t taking anything for granted during this stretch.

“I’ve gotta win some games to have the right to get those minutes,” he said.

Maybe, but the Blackhawks also have to give him some help. The goaltending hasn’t gotten a ton of that from the Blackhawks, who have sputtered offensively most of the season. No matter who’s in net, the Blackhawks need to start producing more.

For now, Darling is the man. He’s rolled with the backup-gig demands before and should be fine again. And if the Blackhawks can help him out some, they shouldn’t miss much of a beat without Crawford.

“He’s played great. I thought he played great again [Sunday],” Duncan Keith said. “He gave us a chance, and you know, more than a chance to win. He stopped breakaways and made big plays all night. We’re lucky to have him as a goalie we can look to when we’ve got a guy like Crow out.”