Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP at TSN,
Scott Darling doesn't need reminding that all those other saves, the ones that win big playoff games, wouldn't have happened without the first one.
The 6-foot-6 rookie goaltender may be the toast of the town at the moment, but he had to learn to put down his own beer first. Four years after Darling nearly hit bottom both personally and professionally, he has stepped in twice for Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford and become the defensive anchor for the team he followed as a kid.
Darling stopped 35 shots in the 4-2 win Sunday that nudged the Blackhawks back in front of the Nashville Predators in their first-round playoff series, 2-1. After playing just 14 games during the regular season, he was called in to relieve a shaky Crawford after the first period of Game 1, and promptly played his way into the NHL record book — longest relief stint by a keeper (almost 68 minutes) without surrendering a goal.
But Darling was back on the bench for Game 2, and after being named the starter for Game 3, he struggled early to hold his own. After each of the Blackhawks' first two scores, Darling got beat barely a half-minute later. That would be enough to spook lots of goalies, let alone a rookie with nearly two dozen family members sprinkled in among 22,000-plus rabid fans.
"To be honest, there was a lot of 'Do I really belong here?' when I first got here," Darling recalled afterward. "And I'm trying hard, even now, to stop saying that to myself."
via Dave Hodge of TSN,
It's pretty hard to say Detroit has a goaltending problem when the Red Wings are tied 1-1 with Tampa Bay because rookie Petr Mrazek stole the first game with a 44-save performance, but Detroit has a goaltending problem, to which thumbs must be turned down.
It was said here previously that Mrazek runs hot and cold like water taps and Jimmy Howard wouldn't be too long on the bench if the Red Wings didn't play a lot better in Game 2. They didn't, he wasn't, and Detroit goes home without much confidence in either goalie, or in themselves. Mike Babcock says he's sticking with Mrazek and he would probably deny the use of a coin in reaching that decision.
Chicago's situation is somewhat similar. The Blackhawks stole their first game in Nashville because of Scott Darling's superb netminding in relief of Corey Crawford. Coach Joel Quenneville showed faith in his Stanley Cup-winning goalie and started Crawford again in Game 2, but the 6-2 loss to the desperate Predators has forced Quenneville to send Darling out for his first playoff start back in Chicago for Sunday's Game 3.
Crawford shouldn't relax. It's a tough way to win a playoff series when goalies have to be pulled and starters are never certain.
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times,
I think Corey Crawford just let in another goal.
It’s time for a change, but more importantly, it’s time for a spark. Crawford is not the Blackhawks’ biggest problem in their first-round series with the Predators, but it’s very possible that rookie goalie Scott Darling is the biggest solution. That’s a difficult thing to write. It reeks of complete panic, and that’s not what the Hawks are about. This a team that hits bumps, shrugs and bounces back. We’ve seen it over and over again.
And Crawford helped keep the Hawks on track while they struggled during the regular season. Did I mention he has also won a Stanley Cup?
But there’s something missing in this series, even if it’s only two games old. That’s not Crawford’s fault, though he wasn’t at all sharp Friday in a 6-2 loss to the Predators. The defense has been awful in front of him. But in four periods of work, he has given up nine goals on 47 shots. Those numbers speak the truth.
This is a sport of feel and hunches and momentum, and none of it is in the Hawks’ favor in a series that is tied 1-1.
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Patrick Kane will indeed play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs Wednesday in Nashville, a mere seven weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a broken clavicle suffered Feb. 24, when he was cross-checked into the boards by Florida’s Alex Petrovic. Kane took some contact over the weekend, practiced with the team on Monday, had an X-ray later in the day and was cleared by team doctors.
Now, with his hair long in the back and the trademark three steps shaved into his temples, Kane is ready to go.
“It’s exciting,” he said after Tuesday’s practice at Johnny’s IceHouse West. “It’s been a long 50 days here, so it’s a credit to a lot of hard work from the doctors and the trainers, and just listening to them and trying to heal as fast as possible.”
By Mike Shackil,
At times, the Chicago Blackhawks have looked like the best team in the entire NHL this year, but their recent play hasn’t been of the high quality variety expected from a championship contender.
During a stretch in November and December, the Blackhawks went 16-3-1 and had everything clicking on all cylinders. But here they are in April, heading into the NHL playoffs on a four-game losing streak, having dropped all four by one goal.
from Tracey Myers of CSNChicago,
“We’ll see how he does again tomorrow but I thought he had real good progress. He got cleared for contact and handled everything pretty well,” Quenneville said. “That line looked good as well, so we’ll see how he is tomorrow but we’re encouraged by today.”
Kane was speaking in more cautious terms than his coach but he said he has felt better with each passing day.
“Yeah, I hope so,” Kane said when asked if he could play in this series. “Where I’m at right now is just to kind of go through practice today and get as ready as possible and try to feel what it’s like to be in a game simulation. I thought it was a good day, a good practice for the team overall. Overall, I feel pretty good. I just have to take it day by day right now.”
from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,
It’s coming. And everyone knows it’s coming. Another salary cap crunch, another painful summer, another retooling of the roster. Whenever this Blackhawks season comes to a close, whether it’s in two weeks or two months, it’ll mark the end of one chapter in team history, and the beginning of another....
“We know we have a good team here, and we’ve got a chance,” Marcus Kruger said. “And we want to take advantage of that. It’s not easy, and you don’t come around teams like this very often. We have a chance and we want to make the most of it, because you never know when this chance will come again.”
Whatever happens this summer, it won’t be as gutting as it was in 2010, when half the roster was lost. But it won’t be as mild as it was in 2013, when only role players such as Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik were moved. With the matching $10.5-million cap hits of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane kicking in, a lucrative new deal awaiting Brandon Saad, and a plunging Canadian dollar leaving little hope for a significant bump in the cap number, the future is uncertain for the Hawks beyond this postseason run, which begins Wednesday in Nashville.
Will Patrick Sharp be traded? Will Bryan Bickell be moved, too? Can the Hawks re-sign an important role player in Kruger? Johnny Oduya will be gone. So will Michal Rozsival and likely David Rundblad. Antoine Vermette, Andrew Desjardins and Kimmo Timonen are rentals. Brad Richards’ Hawks career was always likely going to be a one-and-done.
No matter what happens, next year’s lineup is likely going to include a lot of new, cheap faces, with rookies playing key roles at both forward and defense.
NEW YORK (April 10th, 2015) -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.
Shaw was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 228 against Tampa Bay on Nov. 11. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during NHL Game No. 1138 against Los Angeles on March 30. Shaw drew a delayed penalty to Los Angeles forward Mike Richards on the play, at 5:24 of the first period. The penalty to Richards was nullified when Chicago scored seven seconds later.
from Scott Powers of ESPN,
Blackhawks forward Brad Richards will miss the final three regular-season games due to an upper-body injury but is expected to return for the playoffs, coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday.
Quenneville didn't reveal when or how Richards suffered the injury. Richards played 15:21 of ice time in the Blackhawks' last game against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. He has 12 goals and 25 assists in 76 games this season.
Chicago's Kyle Baun will make his NHL debut in place of Richards against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Baun signed with the Blackhawks on March 26 after completing his junior season at Colgate.
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
The margin for error with regard to the location of contact was very miniscule when Andrew Shaw launched into the air and delivered a high hit on Barret Jackman just as the Blues defender released a pass from behind the net. We can only assume that Jackman's chest and right shoulder was the intended target of Shaw's hit based on the result. So many things can go wrong when a player leaves his feet to become airborne. It was most fortunate for both players that Jackman's head did not become the main point of contact of Shaw's upward launch. If that had been the case, I would hope that the penalty assessment would be different and that a suspension would be imposed.
The absence of significant contact or Jackman's head being the main point of contact eliminates a violation of Rule 48 (illegal check to the head) and which could most likely result in a suspension for an illegal check of this magnitude. Instead, since Shaw left his feet to deliver a check where the main point of contact was to the upper body and off the head of Jackman, a violation of Rule 42 (charging) occurred.
Andrew Shaw got all of his two minutes worth for this charging penalty.
read on and watch the hit below...
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