Corey Crawford on track for Sunday return for Blackhawks

Corey Crawford on track for Sunday return for Blackhawks

When coach Joel Quennevillesaid Corey Crawfordwould miss at least three games because of a lower-body injury, he said the Hawks would keep monitoring Crawford’s recovery to have a more definitive idea when he would return.

The hope is that Crawford could be back for Friday night’s game against the Sabres, the first one for which he is eligible to come off injured reserve. But Quenneville said Wednesday the “likelihood” is Crawford will return instead for Sunday’s game against the Coyotes.

Crawford skated individually in Chicago for the first time since shutting down after last Thursday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Stars at home.

“That’s progress,” Quenneville said.

Anton Forsberggot the call Wednesday against the Capitals, his third consecutive start in net.

Schmaltz back at center: Quenneville’s radical shifting of the lines for Wednesday’s game meant Nick Schmaltzwent from wing back to center. He began the season at center, then moved to a wing last month before a game against the Hurricanes.

“There are advantages and different things on the wing and center, but I’m comfortable anywhere,” Schmaltz said. “It doesn’t matter. The only change is defensive zone.”

Schmaltz will have more responsibilities in the defensive zone, and he will have to play down low as opposed to up top on defense. But he likely will be in a better position to make plays in the offensive zone, his strong suit on the ice.

“With his speed, having the puck more, whether he’s dishing it or keeping it, there are some ways to get through the middle of the ice with having more possession,” Quenneville said. “I think down low in his end, that’s a work in progress for anybody who plays center.”

Schmaltz had an interesting group of linemates — Lance Boumaand Alex DeBrincat,two players with contrasting styles. Bouma is more of a defensive, physical presence, while DeBrincat is more of a playmaker like Schmaltz.

“‘Boumer’ is a hard worker who finishes a lot of checks, gets a lot of loose pucks and can be effective at what he does,” Schmaltz said. “I know me and ‘Brinker’ have been out there a few times and scored a few goals together. I know he can bury the puck, so I’ll be looking for him.

“I like playing with guys who can score. I’m obviously a pass-first guy, so hopefully it works out and we can get some chemistry right off the bat.”

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Source : http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/hockey/blackhawks/ct-spt-blackhawks-corey-crawford-notes-20171206-story.html

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