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Blackhawks Notebook: Crawford's time to shine

by Brad Boron / Chicago Blackhawks

Corey Crawford will get his first crack at earning the Blackhawks’ backup goaltender spot tomorrow night in Detroit, as head coach Joel Quenneville tabbed the 25-year-old netminder for his first start of the preseason.

“I’m anxious,” Crawford told reporters after Thursday’s practice. “I feel pretty good so far. Then again, I haven’t played in any exhibition games yet. It will be nice to see where I’m at during an actual game. I just have to prepare as best as I can and play my game.”

While he wouldn’t call it a “make or break” season, the 2010-11 campaign is no doubt an important one for Crawford. For the past two years, the Blackhawks’ 2003 draft pick has been a contender for an NHL roster spot as the offseason began, only to be on the outside looking in when camp ended; first due to the arrival of Cristobal Huet in 2008, then he was edged out by Antti Niemi in 2009. This year, however, Crawford came into camp ready to take advantage of the chance he has been given.

“Last year, we had three guys who were all capable of playing, and it was a tough decision to make,” Quenneville said. “But I think Crawf has had a good approach and demeanor in camp this year. You can tell he wants it badly.”

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