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Notebook: Blackhawks all back at Friday's practice

by Eric Lear / Chicago Blackhawks
(Chase Agnello-Dean / Chicago Blackhawks)

After two days off to enjoy the team holiday party and meet with season ticketholders at Navy Pier, the Blackhawks were back on the ice Friday at Johnny’s IceHouse West to prep for a date with Columbus on Saturday. Here are a few notes from practice:

  • Corey Crawford will get the start in net Saturday after missing 8 games with a lower body injury.

    “He looked good today in practice,” said coach Joel Quenneville. “He’s been pushing it to get in here. We’ve been very fortunate with the consistency of our goaltenders this year no matter who’s in net, game in and game out, getting the job done.”

    Before the injury, Crawford was playing some of the best hockey of his career. He’s 12-5-1 in 18 starts this season with a 1.87 goals-against average .929 save percentage.

    “It was a really good practice,” Crawford said. “The timing is there. I’m seeing shots really well. I’m good to go.”

  • The Blackhawks will also welcome back Duncan Keith, who missed Tuesday’s game with an illness. Chicago won that game 5-3 over Minnesota, but Keith’s presence was missed.

    “I think it was more precautionary than anything,” Keith said. “I feel good. I think there was just so much talk about (mumps) that they wanted to be careful. It wasn’t that. I probably could have played, but with all this talk you better be sure it’s not – and it’s not.”

  • Bumps, bruises and injuries are a part of hockey, and the Blackhawks have had their fair share of all three. On Friday, all players were on the ice, including Niklas Hjalmarsson, who’s missed some practice lately in order to rest. Coach Q said Hjalmarsson’s a “warrior,” and he expects the defenseman to be practice more regularly from now on. With Hjalmarsson back to practice and the return of Keith and Crawford, all Blackhawks were accounted for, with the exception of Trevor van Riemsdyk, who is still recovering from knee surgery.

    “It’s good to have lots of guys back and have a full lineup,” said Keith. “It hasn’t been like that pretty much all year. I think it’s important that we all work out there together and try and keep this thing going and keep the ball rolling.”

    The Blackhawks will skate again Saturday morning before taking the ice at 6 p.m. to play the Blue Jackets.

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