Chicago Blackhawks: Scott Darling

Blackhawks reassign Scott Darling to AHL

December, 17, 2014
12/17/14
12:30
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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The Chicago Blackhawks reassigned goaltender Scott Darling to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL on Tuesday.

The Blackhawks were expected to reassign either Darling or Antti Raanta because Corey Crawford is set to return from a lower-body injury this upcoming weekend. Darling and Raanta both played well and helped the Blackhawks to a 7-1-0 record since Crawford injured himself leaving a concert on Dec. 1.

Darling went 3-1-0 and stopped 124-of-132 shots for a .939 save percentage since being recalled on Dec. 2. He is 5-2-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .937 save percentage for the Blackhawks this season. He is 8-2-1 with a 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage for the IceHogs this season.

Raanta started the last two games for the Blackhawks. He made 26 saves on 29 shots in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday he expects Crawford to start against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday or the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. Crawford is 12-5-1 with a 1.87 goals-against average and .929 save percentage this season.

Hawks thoughts: Quenneville can't go wrong with Darling or Raanta

December, 15, 2014
12/15/14
11:13
AM CT
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Here are five thoughts on the Chicago Blackhawks after their 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Sunday:

1. Plenty of teams around the NHL can only dream of having Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville’s goaltending problem. At some point in the next week, Quenneville will choose between Scott Darling and Antti Raanta to be his backup goaltender. On the one hand, you have Darling who is 5-2-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .937 save percentage this season. On the other, you have Raanta is 4-2-0 with a 1.85 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. Neither has played enough games to qualify for the league’s leaders, but Darling and Raanta would both be in the top-5 in goals-against average and save percentage with their current numbers. Since Crawford went down with his injury, Darling and Raanta have combined for a 6-1-0 record and have made 225 saves on 238 shots for a .945 save percentage.

2. Patrick Sharp is finding his groove. You could see he had more of a rhythm against the New York Islanders on Saturday. He attempted nine shots, seven of which were on net, and was a plus-6 Corsi against Islanders. He continued to have that aggressiveness Sunday and attempted seven shots, four on net, was a plus-15 Corsi and scored a goal. The Blackhawks have to like their chances of Sharp scoring when he’s getting four-plus shots on net in a game. Last season, he scored in 22-of-47 games where he had at least four shots on goal. He scored in 5-of-35 games when he had less than four shots.

3. All together, that third line of Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw and Sharp has been strong the last two games. They had the Blackhawks’ best possession numbers against the Islanders and the Flames. Shaw is a plus-27 over the last two games. He hasn't had better consecutive games this season.

4. Defenseman Tim Erixon’s debut for the Blackhawks went fine. He nearly made a massive mistake with a cross-ice pass to Michal Rozsival in the offensive zone in the first period. It just missed getting stolen and turned into a breakaway. Other than that, he held his own. He was a plus-7 Corsi with the Blackhawks having 13 shots for and six against with him on the ice in 5-on-5 situations. Considering David Rundblad has had four games out of 13 this season where he’s had a Corsi of plus-5 or better, Klas Dahlbeck was a negative Corsi in all four of his games and Adam Clendening was a plus Corsi once in four games, it’s a good start for Erixon. He also played 14 shifts and 10:43 of ice time, which says Quenneville had some confidence in him in a tight game.

5. I was curious how the Blackhawks’ lines stacked up according to their cap hits. The top line of Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa totals at $12,339,167, according to capgeek.com. It is followed by the line of Bickell, Shaw and Sharp at $11,900,000, then Kris Versteeg, Brad Richards and Patrick Kane at $10,500,000 and finally Daniel Carcillo, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith at $3,375,000.

Stress-free Raanta steps up for Blackhawks

December, 14, 2014
12/14/14
11:00
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Antti Raanta arrived to the United Center with a fresh mind on Sunday.

Raanta had been allowing himself to get caught up in the Chicago Blackhawks' goaltending situation. Scott Darling had started in net the previous four games prior to Sunday, and Raanta naturally began to worry what it would mean for him when Corey Crawford returns from his injury in the near future. The Blackhawks will eventually send either Darling or Raanta down to the AHL.

[+] EnlargeRaanta
Bill Smith/Getty ImagesAntti Raanta made 23 saves Sunday night, including all five of the Flames' power-play shots.
Raanta pushed all those thoughts aside Sunday before starting his first game since Dec. 5. Focused on the task at hand and feeling loose, Raanta went out and made 23 saves and helped the Blackhawks to a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames.

"I was feeling really good," Raanta said. "I was relaxed. I don't want to take that kind of pressure if I lose the game or if I let in two goals or three goals, that’s it, game over. I just tried to come to the rink, I was like, 'We're going to play. I'm going to do my best. And we'll see after the game what's the results.'"

The results fell in Raanta's favor against the Flames. With the Blackhawks coming off the second game of a back-to-back, they weren't exactly flying early against the Flames, and Raanta protected the net. He stopped all nine shots he saw in the first period, nine of 10 in the second period and all five in the third period. He denied all five of the Flames' power-play shots.

Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg was impressed by Raanta.

"He hadn't played since [Dec. 5]," Versteeg said. "This is a heck of a challenge for him tonight on a back-to-back. He kept us in there in the start."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville also praised Raanta.

"I thought he was very good," Quenneville said. "He did a very good job, excellent."

With the win, the Blackhawks improved to 6-1-0 since Crawford injured himself at a concert on Dec. 1. Raanta is 3-0-0 and has 101 saves on 106 shots for a .953 save percentage during that stretch, and Darling is 3-1-0 and has 124 saves on 132 shots for a .939 save percentage.

Quenneville hasn't tipped his hand regarding which goaltender he prefers yet, but he said Sunday he's liked how both have responded to the competition.

"I think it's healthy," Quenneville said. "I think competition is not a bad thing. Organizationally, you got to commend all of our goaltenders pushing each other in the right way. They want to play. They take advantage of the opportunity when they get in there. They've done exactly what you hope for them to do."

Raanta has especially been mindful of making the competition friendly and still being a good teammate even if that's not how he's always feeling.

"Of course, this is all the time like fighting for those games, but I think me and Scotty are pretty much the same kind of guys that we just try to do our best and that's it," Raanta said. "If you start thinking too much, then it's like if Scotty plays a great game and he gets the win, then that's it. You still have to be like a good teammate. You can't start doing anything stupid because you only hurt yourself.

"Just come here every morning, even though sometimes you can feel a little frustrated and be pretty sad about the situation, it's just hockey. Just come here with a smile on your face and enjoy the moment."

That plan worked out just fine Sunday.

Corey Crawford expected back next week

December, 14, 2014
12/14/14
6:22
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is expected to return to game action next weekend after being out with a lower-body injury, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday.

Crawford suffered the injury while leaving a concert on Dec. 1. He hasn't played in a game since Nov. 29. He began practicing again last week. He could play against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday or the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 21.

"I would expect him to be ready next weekend," Quenneville said Sunday. "Probably wants to play Tuesday, but we'll see how that all plays out in the next couple of games."

Antti Raanta and Scott Darling have shared the net in Crawford’s absence. Darling started four consecutive games prior to Sunday's game against the Calgary Flames. Raanta will start against the Flames. The Blackhawks are 5-1-0 without Crawford.

Quenneville said he's liked how Darling and Raanta have played.

"[Darling's] made big strides every time he's been in the net," Quenneville said. "He's been good for us. He's been big, solid, really consistent. He's done a tremendous job for us.

"Antti's done well himself, so it's a good situation to have, a healthy decision to make. No matter who's been in our goaltending's been outstanding. We're just looking for continued consistency, and that's what we've been getting."

Darling or Raanta are expected to be reassigned to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL when Crawford is ready to play.

Nick Leddy excited to face former team

December, 13, 2014
12/13/14
1:17
PM CT
By Tal Pinchevsky
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UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- After four seasons and one Stanley Cup win with the Chicago Blackhawks, defenseman Nick Leddy admits that it's going to "be weird" facing his former team Saturday night as a member of the New York Islanders. But he's mostly looking for two crucial points as the Islanders look to snap a three-game losing streak.

"It will be a lot of fun. Playing against your buddies is always a good time," Leddy said. "The past few games we haven't had our best games but we're looking to get back on track tonight."

Leddy wasn't sure what to expect as he faces his former team for the first time. But if the way he's handled the challenge of taking on a larger role with the Islanders is any indication, he should be fine.

Leddy's trade on Oct. 4 to the Islanders, who acquired veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins on the same day, was the centerpiece of a busy offseason for the Islanders. Practically overnight, the 23-year-old went from being a complementary piece on a championship team to a prominent player on a club looking to improve following a disappointing 2013-14 season.

So far he's shined in his new role. Entering the game Saturday, Leddy and Boychuk were tied for the team lead with a plus-7 rating, and Leddy's five goals led all Islanders blueliners. After averaging 16:22 of ice time with Chicago last season, he now plays 20:16 a night for the Islanders, which ranks fourth on the team.

"Every player wants to play more. Every player wants to be in the big situations. That's the type of player I want to be. Hopefully I can keep improving," Leddy said. "I just had some guys [in Chicago] who were very good players in front of me. I took it as a learning experience and learned a lot from those guys."

Leddy's true value to the Islanders has only increased during their recent skid. He has four points in four games entering the contest Saturday and has taken on more responsibility since Boychuk and Travis Hamonic recently went down with injuries.

"I think his skating ability is phenomenal. The way he is able to control the play by beating that first guy and carrying the puck into the zone. It's been huge. He's really elevated his game with the injuries that we've had," forward Kyle Okposo said. "We're just happy he's not over there on the other side anymore."

Back to Darling: Chicago goaltender Scott Darling will get his fourth straight start Saturday against the Islanders. Since being recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on December 2, Darling has gone 3-0-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. His strong play has even led to speculation he may steal the backup job from Antti Raanta once starter Corey Crawford returns from a foot injury.

"I think he's really helped himself, as far as how he's played and his consistency. When he's been in there he's been rock solid," coach Joel Quenneville said of Darling. "Both goalies this year have been good. It's a healthy situation and a good discussion as we go."

Hawks thoughts: Plenty to discuss following hit on Toews

December, 12, 2014
12/12/14
11:06
AM CT
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Here are some thoughts on the Chicago Blackhawks after their 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday:

1. The Bruins’ Dennis Seidenberg's hit on the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews and Toews’ subsequent injury overshadowed everything else that happened in this game. The hit was undoubtedly a bad one. There wasn't intent by Seidenberg and it's difficult to let up in that situation, but Seidenberg needed to do just that. Safety has to trump everything with a player approaching the boards as Toews was. According to a league source, the NHL Department of Player Safety "looked long and hard" at the play and decided Seidenberg didn't require a disciplinary hearing. The source said the boarding hit didn't meet any of the required criteria for discipline -- lengthy tracking by the hitter, hitter only seeing the opponent's numbers for a long time and finishing with force through the hit. Bruins coach Claude Julien’s comment about players needing to be educated on how to protect themselves better in such situations seemed like the wrong time to address that.

It does appear Toews is going to be okay. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Toews will be re-examined on Friday, but he thought Toews would be all right. The Blackhawks are not practicing Friday, so there won’t be an official update until Saturday.

Toews’ possible injury also brings into question the NHL’s medical protocol for possible head injuries. The team trainer went to check on Toews on the ice, but it’s unrealistic for a full examination to take place at that time. Toews remained on the ice after being looked at and took part in a power play. Quenneville said it was up to the whole staff to decide whether Toews was fine to be on the ice. Toews was whistled for a hooking call shortly later and went to the locker room after his penalty was served. He didn’t return to the game. I get it’s a fast game and hockey players will play through a lot, but a player should be forced to leave the game to undergo a more thorough examination when it’s head-related.

Finally, the Blackhawks took some criticism again for not retaliating. Blackhawks analysts Steve Konroyd and Jamal Mayers said on CSN Chicago they thought the team didn’t do enough against Seidenberg. The Blackhawks also dealt with some criticism when they didn’t go after Brooks Orpik after Toews was injured by a check last season. Orpik's hit was legal, and Toews had no issue with it. It'll be interesting to see if this one has legs like the discussion over the Opik hit had. It could depend on how Toews is and what he says.

2. Ben Smith was the player of the game. He created the first goal by battling for a puck behind the net and setting up Klas Dahlbeck. Smith scored the second one. He then stepped in and filled Toews’ role. To go from fourth-line right wing to first-line center, that says something about one's versatility. He was also again effective on the penalty kill and was also put back on the fourth line in the game’s final minutes to help ensure the victory.

3. Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling continued the outstanding start to his career and again found a way to limit a team to two goals. He has a 1.80 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in six games this season. Antti Raanta actually has a higher save percentage at .942 in five starts, but Quenneville has been favoring Darling. It likely means Raanta gets sent to the AHL when Corey Crawford returns.

4. The Blackhawks still don’t have a consistent third defenseman pairing. Quenneville limited Dahlbeck to 9:30 of ice time and just 2:55 in the third period. Michal Rozsival played 15:19, including 6:40 in the third period, but it wasn’t a great game for him. He was outmuscled for the puck a few times, had a turnover behind the net lead to a near goal in the first period and was on the ice for both of the Bruins’ goals. Trevor van Riemsdyk isn’t coming back for a long time, so this will be something to continue to keep an eye on. David Rundblad was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game on Thursday and now has been a healthy scratch in 15 games this season.

5. The Blackhawks are the first team to 20 wins this season and are on an eight-game winning streak, but just think where they would be if they could get their power play going. They rank 19th in the league with a 17.2 power-play percentage. They were empty on four power-play opportunities against the Bruins and have scored one goal in their last 24 power plays. The Blackhawks especially struggled in their 5-on-3 chances on Thursday. Their first one lasted 1:08, and they had 18 successful passes in the offensive zone and attempted just one shot, which was on goal. The second was for 47 seconds, and they put together five passes in the offensive zone and attempted one shot, which wasn’t on net. They had two shots on goal in total on their four power plays. On the other hand, Brad Marchand nearly scored a short-handed goal against the Blackhawks’ power play.

6. Although Patrick Kane had a slow start, he's come around and really hasn't had any substantial droughts this season. He hasn't gone more than two games without a point. He snapped a two-game points slump Thursday with a goal. He’s just under a point a game for the season. He has 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) in 29 games.

Smith, Darling step up, 'keep the Hawk train rolling' to eighth straight

December, 11, 2014
12/11/14
11:59
PM CT
By Kyle Brasseur
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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Marcus Kruger, Ben SmithAP Photo/Charles KrupaBen Smith, a former Boston College standout, had a goal and an assist in the Hawks' victory.

BOSTON -- In rattling off their eighth straight win with a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, the Chicago Blackhawks showed it doesn't take any parlor tricks to put together such a successful run.

In fact, it can be as simple as a player stepping up when he’s called upon. And during a game in which the Blackhawks lost top-line center and captain Jonathan Toews to a nasty hit in the second period, the team received strong efforts from several lesser-known talents to keep its streak alive.

Rookie defenseman Klas Dahlbeck scored his first career goal, goalie Scott Darling enjoyed yet another strong start and fourth-line winger Ben Smith posted his first multipoint effort of the season, and the Blackhawks were able to hold off a late surge from the Bruins offense on the strength of an early three-goal cushion.

“It was nice today getting out to a lead,” Smith said. “That’s kind of been something that we’ve been doing over the last 10 or 12 games and it’s helped us a lot. Getting out to a big lead, we were able to hold on.”

It was only fitting that Smith would be one of the players to give Chicago a spark. Having spent four years at Boston College, including serving as an assistant captain his senior season, the trip represented a homecoming for the fourth-year player, something he fully embraced. Smith said he went to visit BC on Wednesday, reacquainting himself with his former coach, Jerry York, and the team’s trainers.

“It was nice -- nice having some friends in the crowd and being close to home,” Smith said. “I went over to BC and met with some people. I think it was energizing for me.”

Little did he know that extra energy would come in handy, as Smith served as the main fill-in for Toews on the top line. It was a reward for his play in the early going, when Smith dished out an assist on Dahlbeck’s goal and scored one of his own through the legs of Bruins defenseman Torey Krug and past goalie Tuukka Rask to put Chicago up 2-0.

Being on the ice for two scores was a strong showing for a fourth line often lost in the shuffle of the star power playing ahead of it.

“They play the right way. That line really has a real good checking mentality, and they're relentless in the puck area,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “Some lines you look at, you think it’s a bonus when they score, but there it’s about their due because they always start in their own end and end up in the offensive zone quite a lot a lot of nights. Tonight they went in early, got a 2-0 lead with that group.”

Then it was up to Darling to protect that edge. Through the majority of the first two periods, Darling was pitching a shutout, keeping a stale Bruins offense off the board. But after forward Reilly Smith scored Boston's first goal in the expiring minutes of the second period, Darling faced a relentless attack in the third that included 10 shots on net. In the end, he made 32 saves on 34 shots, the highest total he’s faced this season.

“Pretty much the whole third he stood tall, was square and made some big saves for us,” Smith said. “We needed it, and he came up big.”

Such has been the storyline for the Blackhawks’ success so far this season. Even with recent injuries to players such as Patrick Sharp and Corey Crawford -- and now Toews as well, though Quenneville said he thought the forward "looks like he's going to be all right" after being checked into the boards -- the team has continued to surge out to a lead in the Central Division. Veteran Brent Seabrook described the success as a result of a complete effort, starting in net.

“Our goaltending has been really solid, really good, and it goes from the defense right to the forwards,” Seabrook said. “The forwards are doing a good job of helping us break plays up by coming back hard and having good sticks. Anytime that’s happening, it’s good for us, and we’re confident right now. I think we’ve had a good stretch here, and we have a good feeling in the dressing room. We want to keep that going and keep that good feeling.”

To do that, the Blackhawks will need to continue to rely on their role players stepping up. Even with the idea of losing Toews for a time on the table, the team remains confident, something that is sure to help as the Blackhawks look for win No. 9 against the New York Islanders on Saturday.

“It’s a solid team effort from top to bottom,” Sharp said. “If someone goes down, our organization has great depth, and people can fit in and keep the Hawk train rolling.”

Prospect watch: Goalies Carruth, Darling, Tomkins have big week

November, 25, 2014
11/25/14
6:54
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Here’s a look at how some of the Chicago Blackhawks’ prospects are doing throughout the world:

Mac Carruth, goaltender, Indy Fuel (ECHL), drafted 7th round in 2010
Carruth, 22, made 23 saves and recorded a shutout in the IceHogs’ 3-0 win over the Chicago Wolves on Sunday. It was his first AHL game of the season. He is 0-2-2 with a 3.69 goals-against average and .872 save percentage with the Indy Fuel in the ECHL this season.

Scott Darling, goaltender, Rockford IceHogs (AHL), signed as a free agent in 2014
Darling, 25, picked up two wins for the IceHogs over the weekend. He had 22 saves in a 4-3 win over the Iowa Wild on Friday and 38 saves in 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday. He is 7-2-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .932 save percentage this season.

Matt Tomkins, goaltender, Ohio State (NCAA), drafted 7th round in 2012
Tomkins, a sophomore, was named the Big Ten Second Star of the Week on Tuesday. He had a 1.54 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in Ohio State’s series split with Michigan State last week. He recorded his first career college shutout with 29 saves in a 3-0 win on Friday. He had 17 saves in a 3-1 loss on Thursday. He leads the Big Ten with a 2.11 goals-against average. He is also 3-4-1 with a .917 save percentage.

Ryan Hartman, forward, Rockford IceHogs (AHL), drafted 1st round in 2013
Hartman, 20, had two goals in the IceHogs’ 4-3 win over the Wild on Friday. He has four goals and four assists in 19 games this season.

Garret Ross, forward, Rockford IceHogs (AHL), drafted 5th round in 2012
Ross, 22, scored two goals in the IceHogs’ 3-0 win over the Wolves on Sunday. He has six goals, six assists and is a plus-10 in 19 games this season.

Brandon Mashinter, forward, Rockford IceHogs (AHL), acquired from Rangers in 2013
Mashinter, 26, had a goal and two assists in the IceHogs’ three wins last weekend. He has five points in the last four games and has four goals and seven assists in 16 games this season.

Dennis Rasmussen, forward, Rockford IceHogs (AHL), signed as a free agent in 2014
Rasmussen, 24, had a goal and an assist in the IceHogs’ 3-2 win over the Admirals on Saturday. He has four goals and two assists in 19 games this season.

Chris Calnan, forward, Boston College (NCAA), drafted 3rd round in 2012
Calnan, a sophomore, had two goals in a 5-3 win over Massachusetts on Friday and an assist in a 4-1 win over Maine on Saturday. He has five goals and two assists in 11 games this season.

Michael Paliotta, defenseman, Vermont (NCAA), drafted 3rd round in 2011
Paliotta, a senior, scored a goal in Vermont’s 11-1 win over UMass Amherst on Saturday. He leads Vermont as a plus-9 and is tied for second with 10 points. He has three goals and seven assists in 12 games this season.

Anthony Louis, forward, Miami Ohio (NCAA), drafted 6th round in 2013
Louis, a sophomore, had a goal and an assist in Miami’s 5-2 win over Western Michigan on Saturday. He has three goals and 11 assists in 14 games this season.

Tyler Motte, forward, Michigan (NCAA), drafted 4th round in 2013
Motte, a sophomore, had a goal in Michigan’s 8-1 win over Penn State on Saturday. He has four goals and two assists in 11 games this season.

John Hayden, forward, Yale (NCAA), drafted 3rd round in 2013
Hayden, a sophomore, had a goal and an assist for Yale over the weekend. He leads the Bulldogs with eight points. He has two goals and six assists in seven games.

Fredrik Olofsson, forward, Chicago Steel (USHL), drafted 4th round in 2014
Olofsson, 18, had a goal and an assist for the Steel over the weekend. He has eight goals, eight assists and is a plus-4 in 17 games. His 16 points set a new career high for him in the USHL.

Anders Nilsson, goaltender, Kazan Ak Bars (KHL), acquired from Islanders in 2014
Nilsson, 24, stopped 17-of-19 shots in a 3-2 win over Barys on Monday. He’s 10-3-4 with a 1.80 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in 18 games this season.

Nick Schmaltz, forward, North Dakota (NCAA), drafted 1st round in 2014
Schmaltz, a freshman, continues to be out with a lower-body injury. He has missed the last four games for North Dakota. He has one goal and seven assists in nine games this season.

Blackhawks make five roster moves

November, 17, 2014
11/17/14
4:51
PM CT
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The Chicago Blackhawks recalled defenseman Stephen Johns and goaltender Antti Raanta from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL and reassigned goaltender Scott Darling and forward Joakim Nordstrom on Monday.

The Blackhawks also placed defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk on long-term injury reserve. Van Riemsdyk suffered a lower-body injury against the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he would be out for awhile.

According to a source, the Blackhawks’ roster moves Monday may be temporary and could be followed up by other moves in the next day or two before the team leaves for a six-game road trip on Wednesday.

Quenneville said Sunday the plan was for Raanta to return to the Blackhawks after starting one game for the IceHogs. Quenneville wanted to get Raanta some action before the road trip. He hadn’t played since Oct. 25. He made 33 saves on 35 shots in the IceHogs’ 3-2 win over the Texas Stars on Sunday.

Johns has five assists and is a plus-5 in 16 games this season. He is in his first full professional season after spending the previous four years at Notre Dame. He was selected by the Blackhawks in the second round of the 2010 draft.

Nordstrom was recalled on Saturday and had 12:15 of ice time for the Blackhawks on Sunday. He has five goals and three assists in 14 games for the IceHogs this season.

Darling returns to Rockford after backing up Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford on Sunday. Darling is 5-2-0 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in the AHL this season and is 2-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in the NHL this season.

Hawks notes: Richards reflects on milestone

November, 16, 2014
11/16/14
5:22
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Blackhawks forward Brad Richards couldn't help but think of his past as he approached his 1,000th career NHL regular-season game on Sunday.

Such a milestone has a way of having that effect.

“It’s not a normal day, lots of thoughts and memories with all the talk of it,” Richards said prior to the game. “It’s amazing the amount of reflection you do. A lot of different people who have helped me are here in town. To see them last night for dinner and have them here tonight, it’s pretty special. It’s hard to believe. It really flies by so quick. It’s really hard to believe.”

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Blackhawks assign Raanta, recall Darling

November, 16, 2014
11/16/14
2:06
AM CT
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The Chicago Blackhawks assigned Antti Raanta to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL and recalled fellow goaltender Scott Darling from the IceHogs on Saturday.

Raanta, 25, was 1-2-0 with a 2.03 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in three games for the Blackhawks this season. He has been Chicago's primary backup goalie behind Corey Crawford since November 2013. Raanta is 14-7-4 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .901 save percentage for the Blackhawks over the past two seasons.

Darling, 25, went 2-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in three starts for the Blackhawks earlier this season. He is 5-2-0 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .935 save percentage for the IceHogs. He started for the IceHogs in a 2-1 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday night.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville opted to keep Raanta in the NHL over Darling last month. Both started in place of Crawford, who was injured, and Darling was reassigned to the IceHogs on Oct. 31 after Crawford returned. Raanta has not played since Oct. 25.

Darling with more to prove in Rockford after Hawks' stint

November, 4, 2014
11/04/14
2:44
PM CT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. -- Most players are depressed and disappointed when they arrive to the Rockford IceHogs from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Scott Darling was happy and optimistic when he recently rejoined the IceHogs after a stint with the Blackhawks.

“It just gave me a lot of confidence coming back,” said Darling of starting three games in net for the Blackhawks. “You never know you can play in the NHL until you actually play in the NHL. Just couldn’t be a better experience. Just grateful for the opportunity.

“Obviously everybody wants to be in the NHL. I still have a lot to prove in the American League. I’ve only played in 30 games in this league. I just want to play games and get better. It’s a long process before you can become an NHL starting goalie.”

Darling’s time with the Blackhawks made him realize he’s further along in that process. He started three consecutive games for the Blackhawks and went 2-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. He allowed just one shorthanded goal in each of his first two starts.

“It’s just you never know,” Darling said. “Those are the best players in the world. It’s really something to stare down the ice and see Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf coming at you, the guys you watch on the NHL Network every night. You never know if you’re going to hit your ceiling somewhere. For me, it just reaffirmed my personal beliefs I can play at that level. Now that I have had a taste, you really want to work hard to get back.”

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Crawford solid despite lack of support

November, 4, 2014
11/04/14
1:08
PM CT
By Kelsey Patterson
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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The Chicago Blackhawks may have been struggling to find the back of the net lately, but so has their opposition.

Twelve games into Chicago’s season and the team’s netminders -- starter Corey Crawford and backups Antti Raanta and Scott Darling -- are conceding an NHL fifth-best 1.92 goals per game.

Leading the way is Crawford, who is playing some of his best hockey for the Hawks. The Montreal native allowed just seven goals on 95 shots through his first four games of the season before an upper-body injury forced him out of the lineup for six games.

Since his return on Oct. 18, Crawford picked up where he left off. The 29-year old stopped 50 of 54 shots over his last two games for a .926 save percentage -- both losses.

“I feel really good in the net,” said Crawford, who’s allowing a career-best 1.78 goals per game on average this season. “Before I got hurt, I was playing some of the best hockey of my career so far. I’m just trying to continue to do that.”

Even though impressive performances between the pipes aren’t necessarily leading to points in the standings -- Chicago’s slumbering offense has scored just 12 goals in its last seven games -- Crawford is not getting discouraged.

“I don’t get frustrated because I think we’re going to end up scoring throughout the game,” said Crawford, who made 26 saves in a 1-0 losing effort versus the Winnipeg Jets his last time out. “I do my job and focus on stopping the puck. I believe every night that we’re going to score goals.”

Offensive threats like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who have not gotten the best starts to their season, know the first month of the hockey season could have gone worse for the 10th-place Blackhawks if Crawford wasn’t on his game every night.

“He’s been great,” Kane said. “He had a great start to the season. He’s played really strong since he’s come back, too.

"We all know he’s the guy, and we’re really confident with the way he plays back there. Obviously we try to play good defense in front of him, but when that’s not there he always seems to answer the call and does well with the challenge.”

Added Toews: “The stops he’s making have been unbelievable. He’s a huge part of our team. But we may be relying on him a little too much some nights.”

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Plenty of talent at Hawks' disposal in AHL

November, 1, 2014
11/01/14
2:49
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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The Chicago Blackhawks already came calling to their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, once this season for a goaltender, and that worked out well for them.

IceHogs coach Ted Dent often expects that to be the case when the Blackhawks need someone to step in this season. Whether it’s goaltenders Scott Darling or Michael Leighton, the number of NHL-ready defensemen they possess or an assortment of versatile forwards, the IceHogs are stocked with plenty of capable players for the Blackhawks.

“I think if they have some injuries, some situations where they need some help from us, I think there’s definitely going to be a lot of options for them,” Dent in a phone interview from San Antonio on Saturday. “We have a lot of good players here. Depth-wise in net, the depth is great. On defense, it’s probably the best as we’ve been here. Obviously some up-and-coming forwards as well.”

The Blackhawks got their first taste of that depth when they recently recalled Darling. He nearly earned himself a permanent spot in the NHL as he went 2-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in three starts for the Blackhawks. He’ll rejoin the IceHogs on Saturday after being reassigned Friday.

The Blackhawks’ organizational depth at goaltender doesn’t stop with Darling. Their offseason signing of Michael Leighton is already paying off at the AHL level. He’s gone 4-2-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .923 save percentage this season.

Add in Darling’s 2-0-0 record with 1.44 goals-against average and .948 save percentage for the IceHogs, and Rockford is a different place with their goaltenders than a season ago when their goaltenders combined for a 3.35 goals-against average and .893 save percentage.

“Both goalies have been great for us here,” Dent said. “Again, it’s a total-team effort defensively. But when they’ve been called up to make saves for us, they have.”

The IceHogs' goaltenders are an upgrade from the past, but so are their defensemen. The Blackhawks have a stable of quality defenseman prospects in T.J. Brennan, Adam Clendening, Kyle Cumiskey, Klas Dahlbeck, Stephen Johns, Ville Pokka and Viktor Svedberg.

“The players we have right now defensively, it’s probably the strongest defenseman group we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Dent, who has been a part of the Blackhawks organization since 2006. “They’re all puck-moving defensemen and join the rush and are active and as well responsible at their own end.”

The IceHogs have also shown some depth in their forwards while getting off to a 6-2-0-1 start to the season. None of their forwards have more than three goals, but eight of them have scored two or three goals.

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Darling reassigned to Rockford

October, 31, 2014
10/31/14
11:14
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The Chicago Blackhawks reassigned goaltender Scott Darling to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL on Friday.

Darling, 25, was recalled by the Blackhawks on Oct. 21 after Corey Crawford suffered an injury. Darling started the Blackhawks’ last three games and was 2-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.

Darling made his last start against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. He had 28 saves on 32 shots in a 5-4 shootout win. He stopped all three shootout shots.

Crawford backed up Darling on Thursday and is expected to start Saturday. Antti Raanta will remain the Blackhawks’ No. 2 goalie. Raanta is 1-2-0 with a 2.03 goals-against average and .933 save percentage this season.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Kane
PTS GOALS AST +/-
53 23 30 9
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 23
AssistsP. Kane 30
+/-D. Rundblad 15
GAAC. Crawford 2.32