Mention the name Cammi Granato to any women's hockey player and they instantly know who you're talking about.
That's because Granato and the 1998 U.S. women's hockey team inspired thousands of little girls to take up the sport by winning the gold medal in Nagano, Japan. Chief among them were Downers Grove's Alex Rigsby and Palos Heights' Kendall Coyne, who were honored by the Blackhawks on Sunday for helping Team USA win gold in Pyeongchang last month.
"I remember coming to watch Cammi Granato play at the United Center, and I went to her hockey camp and she pulled out her gold medal and I saw it," Coyne said. "That's when I turned to my parents and said, 'I want to go to the Olympics.' "
Coyne is 25, yet she feels like a little kid whenever she's talking to Granato.
"I still get butterflies and anxious when I speak to her," said Coyne who had 2 goals and an assist in five games.
The U.S. beat Canada 3-2 in a shootout in the gold-medal game.
The 26-year-old Rigsby was the backup goalie and did not play. She helped the University of Wisconsin to a national championship in 2011 by going 27-1-2.
Before joining the Hawks and Bruins on the ice for the national anthem, Coyne and Bigsby proudly displayed their gold medals while addressing a group of reporters.
They may not always have them, but it's certainly worth asking if you run into them.
"It's fun whipping it out," Rigsby said of her medal. "You kind of show it to one person (and) the next thing you know there's a bunch of people surrounding you and wanting to take pictures. …
"For us to kind of try and inspire the next generation, you want to take as many selfies as you can with the little girls and boys."
The odds of Corey Crawford returning to play for the Blackhawks this season get slimmer and slimmer by the day, but coach Joel Quenneville refuses to rule out a possible return for his injured goalie.
Crawford, who continues to work out, has not been on the ice since participating in a morning skate at Arizona on Feb. 12. He has not played since Dec. 23 and has been on injured reserve with what is believed to be a head injury since Dec. 27.
As for what could be gained by Crawford returning for a few games, Quenneville said: "It would be a fun situation for him to get out there and feeling the puck again."
Anthony Duclair is expected to miss 1-2 weeks after suffering a leg injury in Saturday's game at Boston. Duclair fell awkwardly to the ice after a collision with Brad Marchand. Marchand, who leads Boston with 29 goals, played 20 minutes Saturday but did not dress Sunday. … Vinnie Hinostroza played in Sunday's win over Boston after missing Saturday's game due to a family emergency.