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Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane take it personally

Corey Crawford will get start goal Thursday night against New York Rangers. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

Corey Crawford will get the start in goal Thursday night against the New York Rangers. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 17, 2012 10:27AM



NEW YORK — Despite their last victory coming nearly four weeks ago, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were able to crack smiles and joke around when the media came their way after practice Wednesday at Chelsea Piers.

“It’s good as it can be,” Toews said.

The whole experience has become personal for Toews and Kane — the 23-year-old faces of the Blackhawks’ franchise. They haven’t experienced anything like the Hawks’ nine-game losing streak since breaking into the league in 2007. They’ve mostly enjoyed success. Even last season, it never got this bad.

So, in many ways, the Hawks’ skid is just as much a shock to them as it is to everyone else, regardless of some of the on-ice concerns their team has.

“You’ve got to realize in this sport and in this business, there’s good days and bad days, and that comes with everything else, not just hockey,” Toews said. “For the guys who have been in Chicago for a while, we’re used to success, and we’re used to winning. ­Moments like these probably make you appreciate that a little bit more.”

Toews said he has been thinking about the losing streak “every moment of the day lately.”

“It’s tough to get some sleep at night,” he said.

Kane and Toews have talked about feeling ­immense pressure ­during the skid, and most of it comes from within.

Toews only has two assists since the All-Star break, and Kane has a goal and three assists.

“We’re all facing something we probably haven’t experienced much or ever,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “As a group, that’s a different challenge [because] we’ve had that success. . . . This adversity is going to make you better. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you.”

That’s probably more true for Kane and Toews than others.

“It’s definitely not fun for us,” Kane said. “You can definitely take it personally and try to do everything you can to help the team out of it. I think a lot of us, we know our top guys are going to have to produce for us to start winning games, which is fine. You want that pressure on you. You want to be able to be the man when that time comes.”

Crawford in goal

After Ray Emery started the last two losses, the Hawks will turn to Corey Crawford in goal for their matchup Thursday against the New York Rangers, who are by far the best and most consistent team in the Eastern Conference.

In his last outing, Crawford allowed five goals on 27 shots in a 5-3 loss Friday against the San Jose Sharks. His last victory was Jan. 18 against the Buffalo Sabres.

“[Crawford] wants the net, and he wants to play,” Quenneville said. “I’m sure Ray wants to play, as well. We’ve been going back and forth a little bit here. But we need a win.”



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