Photo: Chicago Blackhawks Twitter

The Chicago Blackhawks opened the season with a bang, but have fizzled with inconsistency and injury. As they head into the new year, though, the team can close the door on 2017 knowing they really do have what it takes to compete.

With Corey Crawford‘s second injury this season placing him on the injured reserve, teammates lost a shoulder they’d been leaning on. Crawford, with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage, had saved not just pucks, but a struggling team rather often in his 28 games played.

Coach Joel Quenneville told media, after announcing Crawford’s upper-body injury, that he expected the rest of the team to rally in his absence:

“He means a lot to us. You look around at all the goaltenders in the league, he’s probably had the best year to date. How many goalie wins has he had? More than just a few. So we were talking today, we’re going to need everybody to absorb some responsibility here, do a little more individually, adding up collectively. And that can make us a better team. . . . It’s going to be a great test knowing that this could be our most critical part of the year.”

Against Vancouver Wednesday, in a 5-2 lashing, backup netminder Anton Forsberg‘s NHL career stats fell to a .891 save percentage with just two wins in 22 games played/18 games started, including a 1-5-3 record in nine games started (12 played) this season.

Despite goals from Nick Schmaltz (Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, first period) and Ryan Hartman (Alex Debrincat, John Hayden, to close the third), the Hawks couldn’t compete with a two-goal, three assist game from Thomas Vanek, two goals, one assist from Sam Gagner, and one goal, three assists from Brock Boeser.



This defeat gave Chicago a chance for a storybook resurgence one night later in Edmonton.

Through the looking ‘Glass’

With Crawford out indefinitely and Forsberg’s lackluster performance against the Canucks, the Blackhawks called upon Jeff Glass (on a plane to Chicago’s AHL team in Rockford, Ill. from celebrating the holidays at home in Calgary) to finally break into the NHL Friday night back in Alberta against the Edmonton Oilers.

According to Chicago media and NHL biographical information, Glass, 32, has played in goal with NHL hopes for 13 years—including four years in the NHL, a seven-season stint with the KHL and a return to the AHL before his call-up Friday.

His parents, wife, and two-month-old daughter watched as Glass faced 45 shots on goal.

He made 18 saves in the first period. At 14:26 into the game, Jesse Puljujarvi (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom) got one past him on an Edmonton power play.

This was followed by three consecutive Blackhawks goals:



But the hungry Oilers answered.


Chicago needed this game, though. And, they proved it in overtime. Just 50 seconds in, it was “showtime” in Edmonton.

Set up by Keith and Schmaltz, Patrick Kane juked a defender and shot over Cam Talbot‘s pads to seal Glass’ victory.



Glass called his first NHL win “something he dreamed of, never thought would come true.”

“It was pretty good, a little more exciting than I needed it to be at the end, but unbelievable goal by Kaner there in overtime. In the first period, it felt nice to touch the puck. I’m sure if I didn’t have any shots, I would have been sitting there wondering what’s going on. It kind of felt routine after that.”

He made 42 saves.



Despite his remarkable game-winning goal in overtime, Kane told press that Glass was the story—a perspective that was apparent when he directed his celebration at his goalkeeper:

“For him to kind of be a journeyman, to wait this long for his first career NHL start, to be close to home for him, the way he played tonight, you can’t really write a better script. You got to be ecstatic for him. We were all jacked up after the game. Probably happier than a normal win in the regular season just because he was in net.”



This comes on the heels on Kane’s 300th goal (the Hawks’ lone goal in a 3-1 loss) last Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.




Joining Crawford on the injured reserve is Artem Anisimov, who has had 13 goals and five assists in 38 games this season.


Playing on momentum, Glass is expected to start Sunday in Calgary, the Blackhawks’ last game of 2017.





The Blackhawks face the Flames at 7 p.m. C.T. on SN360 and WGN.

Carly Mullady grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.


Leave a Reply