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updated: 9/18/2013 7:03 PM

Crawford slaps aside worries about new pads

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  • Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford says he doesn't mind the shorter pads mandated by NFL officials in the offseason. Crawford shutout the Red Wings in the Hawks' preseason opener Tuesday.

    Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford says he doesn't mind the shorter pads mandated by NFL officials in the offseason. Crawford shutout the Red Wings in the Hawks' preseason opener Tuesday.
    Associated Press


Coming off a Stanley Cup championship, Corey Crawford has a lot of things on his mind, but the NHL's mandate to shorten goalie pads by two inches isn't one of them.

The league's thinking was it would open the five-hole area and increase scoring.

"I feel good in them right now," the Blackhawks goaltender said of his new pads. "That's not going to be a problem. It's not going to be an excuse either. I feel like I've been wearing them for like a full season now and I feel comfortable."

So is the NHL correct in its thinking that the five-hole will be open more?

"It depends on the situation," Crawford said. "If you open up a little too early, then it's a little more open. But if you play the situation right and are patient and let the shooter make the first move, it's fine."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville is taking a wait-and-see approach to the new pads.

"The goalies, they actually feel all right," Quenneville said. "We'll see how that progresses. The guys that are down there shooting every day might see something, but I don't know if you have that much time to get a look."

Crawford looked sharp in Tuesday's preseason opener, a 19-save 2-0 shutout of the Detroit Red Wings.

"That's the main goal, to not let anything in," Crawford said. "We didn't give up too much, and it wasn't the toughest night. Still, I felt good in there. I would've liked to get a little more key situations, a couple more shots in the slot or a couple more plays around the net just to get the hang of it, but it was a good night."

No Kostka update:

Wednesday was the Hawks' first training camp day off so there was no injury update on defenseman Mike Kostka, who left Tuesday's game 2:16 into the first period after being run into the end boards head first by Red Wings forward Teemu Pulkkinen.

Pulkkinen has an in-person hearing with NHL officials.

Kostka is having a solid training camp with the Hawks.

"He's had a real good camp," Joel Quenneville said. "We like what he brings to our team. He defends real well and is real active off the attack. He's good off the point, wants the puck, makes plays and sees plays. I think he's going to be useful."

Detroit had two players ejected for boarding. Mitch Callahan received a game misconduct in the second period for hitting Sheldon Brookbank from behind.

"I would have liked to have our two players that got kicked out," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. "You play your first game of the year and suddenly you've got nine forwards there and they're out of gas fast."

Getting the point:

Winger Daniel Alfredsson, who signed with Detroit after 17 seasons in Ottawa, appeared in his first game with his new team on Tuesday.

"It doesn't feel that different," Alfredsson said. "You dress for the team and you're playing a game and the only jerseys you really look at are the other team's. It hasn't been like, 'Oh, my God,' that kind of feeling for me so far. I'm sure once the regular season starts there'll be a little bit more attention."

Alfredsson played the right point on the power play.

"I think I play a pretty solid two-way game, and also being a right-handed shot on the power play I can really help out, because they don't really have a right-handed defenseman," Alfredsson said. "I'll try to play the point here and see how it goes."

Outdoor game:

The NHL will hold a news conference on Thursday at Soldier Field to promote the March 1 outdoor game between the Hawks and Penguins. Executives and players from both teams are expected to attend along with Commissioner Gary Bettman.

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