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THE VERDICT: Humble and Heroic, Crawford was the Rock Chicago Needed

'Every goal he allowed was his fault, even when it wasn't. That's how this Crow flies.'

by Bob Verdi / Blackhawks.com

Nobody knows when the Blackhawks will play again. Gary Bettman, the ambitious commisioner of the National Hockey League, has targeted, with fingers crossed, January 1 as a start date for next season. What this means, at the very least, is that we will have turned the calendar of 2020, a year of living horribly, with fear and trembling.

But even if that works, who would dare venture a guess as to what the United Center will look like? Will the stands be empty? Will there be some fans, socially distanced? Will they be able to buy a beer and try to feel normal again? Will they have their temperature checked before being seated?

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THE VERDICT: Blackhawks Draft Familiar Face in an Unfamiliar Draft

The setup was unlike any other, but Chicago got their guy in German winger Lukas Reichel at No. 17 overall

by Bob Verdi / Blackhawks.com

Well, I finally made it to the gym on Tuesday.

Luckily, it was closed. Tuesday, you see, was the day for the annual, but delayed, National Hockey League Draft. Because it's 2020, a year that cannot end fast enough, the Blackhawks converted the second level of their spiffy practice facility at Fifth Third Arena into a war room where they would select a future star who soon will use those barbells, treadmills, exercise bikes and other annoying machines. 

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THE VERDICT: Experience from Bubble Will Long Outlast Playoff Run

The Blackhawks didn't squander their postseason berth, but in defeat the seeds of the future were sowed

by Bob Verdi / Blackhawks.com

Of course the Blackhawks would have preferred to be at the United Center for Game 3 of the First Round last week, and in any other year it would have been so.

However in paranormal 2020, after bowing twice to the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights, the Blackhawks changed uniforms but not venues, and their Stanley Cup playoff sprint ended where it began, in Edmonton's Rogers Place. They needed a partisan sellout crowd more than their favored foe at that point, and they fell at a communal home away from home, 4-1 in best-of-seven.

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THE VERDICT: Chicago's Bubble Boys of Summer Carry On

Defying odds, 12th-seeded Blackhawks move on with contributions from both ends of roster

by Bob Verdi / Blackhawks.com

As a hockey fan, which would you prefer?

A team with a roster of twentysomethings who appear to be coalescing before your eyes and growing faster than the playoff beards they weren't supposed to sprout?

Or, would you rather root for a cadre of decorated champions who have little to prove but perform as though they have examined their bucket lists and identified vacancies?

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THE VERDICT: Summer Hockey is Here

There was a time when the NHL went dark during the summer months, but now it's more alive than ever before

by Bob Verdi / Blackhawks.com

Back in a calmer time, the National Hockey League shut down every summer. We're not talking absolute ancient here, but if you were a dinosaur writing sports and needed to find someone, good luck.

Entire front office staffs scattered for lakefront cottages, fishing holes or swimming pools. Place a call to any franchise headquarters, and you wouldn't even get a switchboard operator. (A certain organization near and dear to our hearts didn't even have one of those during the winter.)

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THE VERDICT: Blackhawks, Oilers to Renew Playoff Rivalry

Chicago and Edmonton went toe-to-toe three times in eight seasons in the 1983, 1985 and 1990 Stanley Cup playoffs

by Bob Verdi / Blackhawks.com

Embracing that call to action, Return to Play, fans can rejoice over hockey picking up where it left off in mid-March, when the world's fastest sport screeched to a halt.

Also, given the intriguing Stanley Cup Qualifiers matchup between the Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers, some of us harken an era when those franchises were elite postseason rivals.

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ONE GOAL III: Blackhawks Outlast Lightning in Tight Cup Final

Insight from 14-time Cup winner Scotty Bowman, who knew both 2015 Stanley Cup Final teams like a book

by Bob Verdi / Blackhawks.com

The following story originally appeared in 'One Goal III: The Inside Story of the 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks'

Scotty Bowman, the Blackhawks' Hall of Fame Senior Advisor to Hockey Operations, has earned 14 Stanley Cup rings and counting. Beyond that, he knows both 2015 Stanley Cup Final teams like a book. Here, the oracle of hockey shares his knowledge.

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THE VERDICT: Ultimate Teammate Wilson's Individual Accolade Long Overdue

After 24-year wait, former Blackhawks defenseman Doug Wilson will rightfully be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

by Bob Verdi / Blackhawks.com

Doug Wilson gladly fielded a call he neither craved nor anticipated, then quickly handed the phone off to wife, Kathy. Lanny McDonald was on the other end. He's the chairman of Hockey Hall of Fame, which had been skating a man short for too long.

"She's the rock of our family and always has been," said the Class of 2020 inductee Wednesday. "Raised our kids while I was playing games, gives love to their kids now. Put up with me. The call came at 11:24 this morning. We were married on the 11th. Today is the 24th. And yeah, 24 was my jersey. Don't know if you're into that numbers thing. I know you have trouble with words."

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THE VERDICT: Why Hossa Should Be a First-Ballot Hall of Famer

Marian Hossa eligible for first time as Hockey Hall of Fame set to announce 2020 Inductees on Wednesday

by Bob Verdi / Blackhawks.com

If it were up to Chicago fans, Marian Hossa would have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday.

A regal presence on the ice and on the bus, Hossa was part of a Blackhawks cadre that earned three Stanley Cups within six seasons, the most productive stretch in franchise history, a reign that defines a dynasty.

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ON THIS DAY: Blackhawks Sign Bobby Orr

On June 8, 1976, the Blackhawks shocked the hockey world by signing the eight-time Norris Trophy winner and future Hall of Famer

by Bob Verdi / Blackhawks.com

On this date, June 8, 1976, the Blackhawks made headlines, in English and French, throughout the United States, Canada and beyond, with a momentous free agent signing.

Bobby Orr, the incomparable defenseman, was leaving the Boston Bruins for Chicago. His enormous contract, $3 million over five years, staggered the sports world. But Orr stood as one of a kind, and 44 years later, No. 4 is revered as a soloist and conductor of an unfinished symphony.

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