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Injury news sounds encouraging for Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger
CHICAGO -- Despite missing a few players from practice at the United Center on Thursday morning, there could be some good news on the injury front coming for the Chicago Blackhawks.
There's a chance that all three of their injured forwards -- Patrick Kane (lower-body), Marian Hossa (lower body) and Fernando Pisani (upper body) -- could return to skating on their own next week, when Chicago returns from a two-game road trip to San Jose and Colorado.
"I would say when we return, two or three could all be skating or close to their return (to action)," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
Even Kane?
"Could be," Quenneville said. "That might be optimistic."
Quenneville said on Tuesday that Kane could be out "upwards of three weeks" with his lower-body injury, which is believed to be his left ankle that he hurt last Sunday at home against Calgary.
Center Dave Bolland and defenseman Jassen Cullimore also missed Thursday's practice, but both will make the trip. Quenneville said Bolland's absence was a "maintenance day," while Cullimore sat out with the dreaded lower-body injury that seems to be contagious in the Hawks' locker room.
"Cully's going on the trip and we'll see how he is for Saturday," Quenneville said.
Two others who weren't at practice were rookies Jeremy Morin and Rob Klinkhammer, who were both called up from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Wednesday to play against Dallas. They were reassigned to Rockford on Thursday, so more roster moves can be expected before Saturday's game in San Jose. Morin scored the first goal of his NHL career against the Stars.
One last question mark that Quenneville addressed on Thursday was about forward Viktor Stalberg, who didn't play at all in the third period against the Stars. There initially was some concern that he was injured, but Stalberg termed it a "good old-fashioned benching" after Thursday's practice.
Stalberg has been playing minutes on the top line, but Quenneville didn't like what he saw on Wednesday night.
"We went shorter in the third period with different guys going in there," he said. "Everybody has stretches where you're playing better than at other times, and sometimes you go with the guys who are going better or who are probably playing consistently over a stretch of games or time in a game."
Crawford streaking: Blackhawks rookie Corey Crawford will likely get another start in goal at San Jose on Saturday night over veteran Marty Turco.
According to Quenneville it's mostly just going with the hot hand. Crawford has a personal winning streak going of seven straight starts, which is something that hadn't been done by a Hawks rookie since Darren Pang did it in 1988.
Quenneville said that Crawford, 25, is just showing the potential that made him Chicago's second-round pick (No. 52) in the 2003 Entry Draft.
"He's always been that type of goalie," Quenneville said. "He's always been square and each year he's gotten a little bit better. We like the progress and we'll see where it goes."
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