An emotional Eddie Olczyk received a loud standing ovation from the sold-out United Center and later appeared with broadcast partner Pat Foley during the first intermission of the Blackhawks' 5-1 victory over Columbus on Saturday.
Olczyk is undergoing treatment for colon cancer and is scheduled to have his third round of chemotherapy at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Monday.
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The skinny: The Maple Leafs began their season with impressive victories over Winnipeg (7-2) and the Rangers (8-5). Eleven players have already scored for Toronto. … The Hawks and Leafs each have 15 goals in two games. Said Corey Crawford: "Definitely both teams have skill and we just have to be aware of their guys when they're on the ice, where everyone is and just play. Just keep making plays." … Auston Matthews (40 goals) and Nazem Kadri (32) led a Toronto offense that finished fifth in the NHL in goals scored last season (251). … Patrick Kane (2G, 4A) and Ryan Hartman (G, 5A) lead the Hawks in scoring.
Next: Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre, 6 p.m. Tuesday
"We're in a battle," Olczyk told Foley.
Olczyk went on to thank Foley, Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, President and CEO John McDonough, Dr. Michael Terry, his family, friends and Blackhawks fans all over the country who have sent him cards and well wishes.
"It's meant a lot," Olczyk said. "And when we do our shoutouts (during telecasts), we know how important it is to the people that we're extending a vine to. But I think when the skate's on the other foot, it really hits home. I'm overwhelmed with the support.
"But I'm battling. And hopefully I'll be back sooner than later."
Olczyk, a Chicago native who was drafted third overall by the Hawks in 1984, has been the team's color analyst for 11 seasons. He scored 342 goals and had 452 assists in a 16-year NHL career.
He hopes to join Foley in the booth at some point during the second half of the season.
Olczyk said to Foley: "Your incredible support -- the texts, the visits, the phone calls -- I love you. I feel like we're going through this together.
"I'm going to beat this thing. … I'm not going to stop until it's out, and hopefully get that clean bill of health."
Something to Crow about:
Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad and the Blackhawks' offense have received the lion's share of attention after the first two games of the regular season, but Corey Crawford and the defense deserve plenty of kudos as well.
"Crow's been rock solid," said coach Joel Quenneville.
Crawford has stopped 60 of 62 shots (.968 save pct.), plenty of which were of high quality. The veteran goalie gave plenty of credit to a back end that has consisted of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Connor Murphy, Michal Kempny, Gustav Forsling and Jan Rutta.
"I know we scored a ton of goals but our D has been great moving the puck up, getting in the rush, ending plays quick in our zone," Crawford said. "Every aspect of our game right now is looking good. We just have to keep that momentum going."
The Hawks honored Hall of Fame defenseman Pierre Pilote, who died in September, with a video tribute and a moment of silence before Saturday's game.
He said it:
"We were saying he's not a man-child anymore, he's just a man."
Patrick Kane on Brandon Saad, who leads the Hawks with 4 goals