Delia in net, Jokiharju back for Blackhawks vs. Predators

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia (60) defends against the Calgary Flames during the first period of an NHL hockey game on Monday Jan. 7, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

by Scott King
@ScottKingMedia

Blackhawks goalie Collin Delia will start for the second consecutive game on Wednesday vs. the Predators. Delia is 3-1-1 with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage in five starts since being recalled on December 17.

“It’s great to see,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said of Delia. “It’s not easy to be a young goaltender and find a way to earn an opportunity to play the way he has in this league, and then when you do get the chance to take advantage of it and play well the way he has is pretty incredible.

“It’s tough when you see your star goaltender go down again like Crow (Corey Crawford), especially with what he’s been through in the last couple years here, but we’ve all tried to be better around our goaltenders. That’s not always the case, but I think Collin’s been incredible at helping us in tough situations and he’s shown a lot of poise as a young player.”

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton got a long look at Delia in Rockford last year.

“He’s done a great job with the opportunity he’s been given,” Colliton said. “The circumstances of it – you never want to see that, but that’s a lot of times how young guys get a chance. Last year he did a really good job preparing himself for this.

“He did get a little taste. He got a game or two (in the NHL). He came in here, I feel, with belief that he can do the job. He’s shown that when he gets in. He’s super calm and never looks like it’s too much for him. He’s given us a chance to win every night he’s been in.”

Welcome back champ

Blackhawks defenseman Henri Jokiharju will return to the United Center ice Wednesday when Chicago takes on the Nashville Predators. The Hawks loaned Jokiharju to Finland for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship where he and Finland won the tournament.

“Yeah, it’s the NHL over here, you want to play in the NHL,” Jokiharju said about leaving Chicago to play in World Juniors. “But when I headed on the plane over there I was getting more excited and it was fun and memories for a lifetime.”

According to Henri, the win meant a lot to the folks at home.

“A couple days ago it didn’t feel that big, but the players now in Finland and Finnish country is going crazy, so it’s awesome seeing,” Jokiharju said. “You feel it more right now, a couple days after, and it’s a huge thing for Finland.”

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