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Blackhawks Convention: Day 1 News and Notes

The Chicago Blackhawks convention started on Friday night.

The annual Chicago Blackhawks convention began on Friday night. Fans came out to see their favorite players in event that has been one of the best in the city since Rocky Wirtz took over as owner.

For many of the players, it is their first time talking to the media since the end of the season interviews. That means people like Corey Crawford and Joel Quenneville were able to speak about the offseason and upcoming regular season.

On Friday, there were some interesting comments being made. Starting with goalie Corey Crawford.

Crawford Not 100%, Yet 

Do we even need to talk about the disappointment that was last season? The last place finish in the central division was something the Hawks never want to do again in the Kane and Toews era. To avoid that, they will need their rock, Crawford.

Say what you want about Crawford, he covers up many issues that the Hawks have on defense. When healthy, he is easily a top 5-10 goalie in all of the NHL. That word “healthy” though is an important one.

Last season, Crawford was only able to play in 28 games due to a mysterious injury. After this year’s offseason, it seemed like the Hawks were under the impression that Crawford was a full go. According to the 33-year-old that actually isn’t the case.

“feeling pretty good right now, I am not at 100 percent yet.”

That doesn’t sound like ready to play to me. Neither does this.

“That’s hard to say right now, but it’s very possible,” Crawford said. “We’ve come a long way in the last couple months, and there’s a really good chance that could happen.”

Really good chance? Back up a second. From everything, general manager Stan Bowman has been saying it seemed like Crawford was going to be a full go once camp started in September. Who knows what’s going on at this point.

Again, the Hawks will go as far as Crawford takes them. It’s kind of hard for him to take them anywhere if he’s not on the ice.

Coach Quenneville understands the importance of having a 100% healthy Corey Crawford.

“He certainly feels he’s going to be ready for camp, ready to start the season, and we feel that he’s capable of being one of the best goalies in the league,” Quenneville said. “And that’s what makes a huge difference for our team. We’re going to need him to be really good, and we’re going to need him to be the Crow that we’ve always seen and appreciated.”

Cam Ward Role

So, yea, Cam Ward may not be a backup after all. Especially, after hearing what Crawford had to say. Maybe, the Hawks knew all along it was going to be Ward, not Crawford that would start camp, and maybe even the regular season.

Either way, Ward has the experience to help the Hawks. The question is how much does he have left in the tank as a starting goaltender in the NHL?

“When I think about our run in 2006, I think back on the atmosphere that Hurricanes fans brought, and the buzz that the playoff brings. That’s the kind of atmosphere I’ll get to play in every night here in Chicago and I’m confident I will thrive in it.” 

With the playoff-type atmosphere, comes pressure. We’ll see soon enough if Ward can handle it.

Chris Chelios Return 

It was announced a few days ago that Chris Chelios would be returning to the Hawks to serve as a team ambassador. He received a warm welcome on Friday, and may even be opening up another bar/restaurant.

Despite what some fans believe, I think it will be good to have Chelios back in the city of Chicago.

Scott Foster 

By now, everyone knows who Scott Foster is. The emergency goaltender who actually helped the Hawks win a game. He was in attendance for day one of the convention. He got one of the loudest ovations as well.

Time is Ticking 

To get back on a more serious note. Time is ticking for certain members of the Hawks’ brass, including head coach Joel Quenneville. If things don’t get off to the right start people could be fired. It’s apart of the business.

Quenneville, who has been fired twice before, understands that better than anyone.

‘‘As a coach, it can happen at any moment,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘That’s all part of our business, and that’s the way it goes. We’re in the winning business. As a coach, it’s the only way we think: Win the next game, and that other stuff we can’t control. We’re fighting to get two points and [to] get the guys ready to play and play right. That’s our job. I can’t think of the other things.’’

If the Hawks do get off to a slow start out of the gate, firing Quenneville would feel like the wrong move. It actually feels like Bowman making Quenneville the scapegoat. Afterall, Bowman does have final say in the front office and roster decisions.

Follow Nick on Twitter: @TLS_Petrusevski–Feature Photo Credit: John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune

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Nick is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University and passionate about everything Chicago sports (except the Cubs). He has run his own website, been featured on Bleacher Report, and tried to sell his soul on eBay (which he hasn’t gotten back). He hopes to one day see his beloved Bears win the Super Bowl and is still trying to figure out why Jay Cutler gets so much hate.

1 comment on “Blackhawks Convention: Day 1 News and Notes

  1. I believe the Hawks owe it to the entire fanbase as to Crow’s injury which put him out of commission since 12/2017. If Crow himself is reflecting a doubt of his health, there needs to be a acknowledgement buy brass. Can’t go thru this year with everyone guessing.

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