When he finally gets a chance to block off a few days to study his new team, recently hired Blackhawks goaltending coach Jimmy Waite will first watch every game the Hawks played last season and then call his brother — and predecessor — Stephane to find out what the tapes couldn't tell him.
"Once I get home next week I'll sit down with Stephane and get all the info I can," Waite said.
Stephane Waite coached the Hawks goalies for 10 years, aiding in the development of starting Corey Crawford, before joining the Canadiens before last season. Jimmy was the Hawks' No. 8 overall draft pick in 1987 and spent parts of seven seasons between the pipes in Chicago.
Now he'll have a chance to continue what Stephane started: maintaining Crawford's status as one of the league's top goalies. For Jimmy Waite, that doesn't mean changing up too much.
"He's a good reactor and he can read the shots really well," Waite said of Crawford. "He doesn't get caught out of position too often. We'll make sure he does that next year."
For Crawford it's just a new chapter in an old narrative.
This will be the third time in three years that Crawford will arrive at training camp with a new goalie coach waiting to get his hands on him. At least this time around there's a sense of familiarity.
"I've heard that they sort of teach the same way, sort of the same philosophy," Crawford said of the Waite brothers. "I think it will be an easy transition again and he'll be someone who is going to be very easy to communicate with and we can exchange ideas."
Waite said his coaching philosophy won't affect Crawford's style of play. He likes the way Crawford can make himself big in the net and will use that to make sure he's in the right spot.
"To me, goaltending is all about positioning," Waite said. "The guys are bigger now. If you're in the right place at the right time that's all it is. That's the big part of my coaching."
Core additions: The Blackhawks' vaunted core generally has been thought to consist of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Hawks players and management aren't so sure that's the case anymore.
"Andrew Shaw is moving into the core," Hawks Vice President Al MacIssac said. "And (Brandon) Saad is in the core group."
Hossa also mentioned Saad and some other young players when talking about the core.
"We've got better young guys coming up," Hossa said. "The expectations are going to be really high. We want to be in that position."
Line dance: Even after his success playing with wingers Kane and Saad in the playoffs last year, Shaw is expecting to head back to the third line where he has played most of his career.
Shaw noted that moving back down gives the Hawks more depth and makes them better as a unit, but that doesn't mean he's not looking for a chance to rejoin the top six forwards.
"Anyone would want to play with those types of players," Shaw said. "I'm going to keep pushing myself and keep working."
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