Antti Raanta improving, Corey Crawford getting healthy

Chicago Blackhawks v Colorado Avalanche

When Corey Crawford left Chicago’s December 8th game against the Florida Panthers with an injury, Blackhawks fans took a collective “gulp.” A previous injury to Nikolai Khabibulin left the interim starting position in net to Finnish goalie Antti Raanta.

Raanta was signed at the end of last season after winning a championship with Assat of the SM-Liiga, as well as the regular season and playoff MVP. The immediate thought with the 24-year old was that he could be the next great unknown from Finland like former Blackhawk netminder Antti Niemi.

For those wondering, Raanta’s name is pronounced AHN-tee RAHN-tah. Now you cannot say it incorrectly.

Raanta is 8-1-2 on the season, with 7 of those victories coming since Crawford’s injury. The two overtime losses came in shootouts. Raanta showed an improvement in Chicago’s shootout loss to Vancouver last week, lasting eight rounds before giving up the second and decisive goal. His vision in net is making progress to the point that he is no longer diving and flopping in the goal crease like he had just a few weeks ago. [Read more…]

Chicago Blackhawks record streak to 22! Beat rival Red Wings

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The Chicago Blackhawks record setting streak runs to 22! The Blackhawks record for points starting a season is there’s and there’s alone now with the overall points streak in sight now. With a 2-1 road shootout win over the hated Detroit Red Wings, they’re now 19-0-3 on the young season. Actually, it’s not so young anymore, almost halfway through and no losses? AMAZING. Patrick Kane “Kaner” had the game winner.

The Blackhawks record broke the 2006-2007 Anaheim Ducks, who started 12-0-4 and went on to win the Stanley Cup that year. The Blackhawks record is impressive, but remember an #8 seed L.A. Kings won the Stanley Cup last year. #8s beat #1 all the time.

“It’s a remarkable start,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’re very happy and pleased. Guys should be proud of the achievement and where they’re at, especially in a 48-game season. It’s put us in a real good spot.”

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2013 NHL PREVIEW: CENTRAL DIVISION

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Finally, after months and months of everyone involved being morons, causing 113 days, 625 games, and the biggest outdoor hockey game in history to be cancelled, hockey fans can finally say “Game On!”  The NHL has a new 10-year labor agreement, and is set to start the shortened, 48 game 2013 season on Saturday, January 19.  Find out what you need to know about every team in the NHL for the upcoming season, this time featuring the Central Division.  Continue after the jump to find out where your team will finish.

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With Duncan Keith suspended, Blackhawks positive momentum gone?

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The Chicago Blackhawks have been the National Hockey League’s (NHL’s) second hottest team, behind only the scintillatingly-hot Pittsburgh Penguins who have sported a 13-0-1 record recently.  The Blackhawks have blistered their way up the NHL’s Western Conference standings at an 8-1-1 clip, including a recent 5-0-0 run, all of this being done without the services of their captain and leader Jonathan Toews, who has missed the past 14 games with a concussion.

In spite of this devastating loss, the Blackhawks are only one point out of the Western Conference’s 4th position.

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Blackhawks’ Late Surge Gains Pity Point, But Wings Prevail

Some sporting events have momentum swings that seem to occur in nearly every minute of action, but the tilt between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks was not one of those events.

Through the first 40 minutes of Saturday afternoon’s matinee between the Red Wings and Blackhawks, there was little doubt as to who the better team was on the ice. Sure, the Hawks got a huge break when Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard flipped a puck from behind the net directly to Andrew Shaw, but the Wings were the class of the Central for those 40 minutes, outshooting Chicago 29-11 and outscoring them 2-1. As soon as the third period started, however, it became a hockey game.

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Blackhawks First Semester Report Card: Serious Cup Contender?

Toews needs to keep his scoring touch going.

With Friday’s 4-0 loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche, the Chicago Blackhawks reached the 41-game mark of their season, meaning that half their campaign has come to an end. While the old adage of “time flies when you’re having fun” certainly can apply to a big chunk of those games, the same cannot be said about the way the Hawks ended this stretch of schedule.

Despite being only one point out of the lead in the Central Division, the Hawks have been reeling as of late, dealing with injuries to players like Marcus Kruger and Steve Montador and also losing three games in a row, at least two of which would have been deemed winnable just by looking at the schedule. Falling to the Oilers, Flyers, and Avalanche may not be a season killer by any stretch, but it certainly doesn’t bode well for a team that is going to be getting into a very road-heavy portion of their schedule in the coming weeks. [Read more…]

Once an Afterthought, Ray Emery Shining As Blackhawks Keep Winning

Coming into the 2011-12 season, the Chicago Blackhawks seemed like they finally had a guy they could count on in net. They inked Corey Crawford to a three-year extension over the off-season, and the only question was whether Ray Emery or Alexander Salak would back up the talented youngster. As has happened in previous years with Cristobal Huet, Nikolai Khabibulin, Antti Niemi, and Marty Turco, however, the Hawks’ crease was not as solidified as previously thought.

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Chicago Blackhawks Report Card: First Midterm Edition

Toews needs to keep his scoring touch going.

On Saturday night, the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 at the United Center, bringing their record for the first 10 games of the season to 6-2-2. Ray Emery made 27 saves in only his second start of the season, and while the Hawks’ power play struggled to get going in an 0-for-5 performance, their penalty killing unit was perfect yet again, going 5-for-5 in keeping the Jackets off the board. It was a great microcosm of their season to this point, and it was a solid victory for a club that is among the top squads in the Western Conference.

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Tuesday’s Three Stars: Kane, Hossa Shine as Hawks Pluck Ducks

It wasn’t the prettiest game in the history of the NHL, but that scarcely mattered as Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp scored goals and Patrick Kane picked up two assists in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center. Kane also picked up the winning shootout tally, and Corey Crawford made 29 saves in the win.

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Saturday’s Three Stars: Bruins Top Hawks in Cup Champs Bowl

The last two Stanley Cup champions met at the United Center on Saturday night, but it was Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins who had the last laugh as they beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout. Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane scored goals for the Hawks, and Tim Thomas made 27 saves and stopped all three Chicago shootout attempts to grab the victory for the defending champs.

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Blackhawks Notes: Salak Recalled, Saad Sent to Saginaw

Despite his assurances on Monday that he is completely healthy, the Chicago Blackhawks took out an extra insurance policy on goaltender Corey Crawford on Wednesday, bringing up keeper Alexander Salak from Rockford. Ray Emery has also been feeling under the weather, so the goalie lineup for the Hawks going into Thursday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets is anyone’s guess at this point.

In addition to the call-up of Salak, word also came down that Brandon Saad, who had impressed the team’s brass with his excellent preseason performance, had been sent back to Saginaw of the OHL. He will remain there for the rest of the year and work to refine his game, but in his short stint with the team he proved that he likely is going to be one of the biggest steals of the 2011 Draft, having gone with the 43rd overall selection in the second round.

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Blackhawks Notes: Crawford Injured, Stalberg & Smith Progressing?

While the Blackhawks will not take the ice in earnest again until Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets, there are several news updates that have come out in the past few days.

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