Patrick Kane, the NHL’s leading scorer by a baker’s dozen points, had just painted a masterpiece Friday in Toronto, notching his first regular season hat trick with an assist to boot. And, as Kane’s Chicago Blackhawks prepared to catch their bus after tossing the Toronto Maple Leafs aside, reporters justifiably swarmed him.
Sitting in the corner, completely unattended, not a hair out of place, was goaltender Corey Crawford. He had the night off after standing on his head 24 hours earlier versus the Montreal Canadiens. Even following a rest day, however, it felt a little strange to see him ignored in the corner. His six shutouts lead the NHL. No goaltender has appeared in more games than Crawford’s 38, only one has more than his 26 wins and only five have a higher save percentage than his .929. Crawford has shown incredible durability and consistency, neither of which he has been known for in the past, and he’s as much a reason as anyone for Chicago’s 11-game winning streak.
Yet Crawford remains overlooked. He shares a roster with Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith, or a Calder Trophy, three Conn Smythes, two Norrises, a Selke and four Olympic gold medals. All that star power and hardware cast a gargantuan shadow, one poised to widen this June if and when Kane secures his first Art Ross and Hart Trophies.
Crawford seems destined to carry “along for the ride” status among the Hawks’ modern-day dynasty brigade forever. The fact Pekka Rinne, in the middle of a down year, earned All-Star Game status above Crawford supports that theory. It doesn’t seem to matter how good Crawford’s numbers get.
A few of us in the THN office have nicknamed Crawford ‘Rodney Dangerfield,’ the man who “gets no respect.” Crawford let out a healthy guffaw upon learning that on Friday. But what does he think of the way he’s treated? Is he bitter about his All-Star Game snub?
Agent Todd Diamond is hoping he can workout a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks for his client Bryan Bickell.
Bickell, who was placed on waivers on Saturday, was assigned to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs on Sunday after going unclaimed.
Patrick Kane already has control of the Art Ross race, and on Friday night he surpassed Alex Ovechkin as the league’s top goal scorer.
Kane scored twice in just over four minutes of the second period giving the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He completed the hat trick with his 28th of the season in the third.
It’s hard to boil a player’s season down to one play, but for Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, a flurry of saves he made Thursday night against the Montreal Canadiens might be the perfect representation of a resilient goaltender who continues to prove everyone wrong.
The series of four stops — each one better than the last — came in a span of four seconds. Crawford used his right pad twice, his left pad once and came back to his left for a jumping glove save to finish off the sequence. Even the Bell Centre crowd seemed to appreciate the remarkable effort by the visiting netminder. Read more
The Montreal Canadiens have now gone 5-14-1 in their past 20 games, ceding first place in the Atlantic Division to the Florida Panthers and falling precipitously towards wild card territory. So how about a silver lining, Habs fans?
For instance, this devastating hit by defenseman Alexei Emelin on Chicago’s Andrew Desjardins:
Joel Quenneville has the Chicago Blackhawks on one of their best roles ever, and because of it he now stands alone in second place on the all-time wins list.
The Blackhawks beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Thursday night to earn their ninth consecutive victory. And in the process, Coach Q earned his 783rd career regular-season victory, putting him alone in second place on the all-time list, behind Scotty Bowman.
Driving to the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday night, your trusty correspondent had high hopes for an exciting, back-and-forth game. And I mean that in all sincerity.
Here’s why. It was a game that pitted the 27th-best team in the NHL against the 30th-best team in the NHL. For the cup-is-half-empty-crowd, that would be the fourth-worst team in the world’s best league against the absolute worst team. In my experience, those kinds of games are usually the most entertaining because I’ve always believed the worse the players, the better the game is to watch. More mistakes equal more chances. The problem with the NHL today is not that the players are not good enough, it’s that they’re too good.
When an authority no less than Wayne Gretzky gives you his seal of approval, you know you’re doing something right. On a Chicago radio station this week, The Great One said what the Chicago Blackhawks have accomplished in the salary cap era, “is probably harder to do today than what the Islanders did in the ’80s and what the Oilers did in the late ’80s.”
He went on to say of Blackhawks star Patrick Kane: “I don’t think there’s any question at this point of the season that he’s probably the leading candidate to win the Hart Trophy and it’s well deserved.”
The Hawks don’t only have Gretzky’s seal of approval. On the strength of an eight-game win streak, they also have thn.com’s, edging the Florida Panthers, who saw their 12-game run halted Tuesday night in an overtime loss to Vancouver. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.)