Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks’ Crawford Sidelined With Injury

By Colin Likas
Mar 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) faces the Dallas Stars attack during the second period at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) faces the Dallas Stars attack during the second period at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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In news that nobody wanted to hear, the Chicago Blackhawks announced Thursday that Corey Crawford will not make the trip to Winnipeg for Friday’s game due to an upper-body injury. It’s unclear what exactly the injury is or when it was suffered, but the team called up Michael Leighton from the Rockford IceHogs to back up Scott Darling in the immediate future.

Crawford suffering from any injury is obviously bad news, considering he’s having a career year and has been a crucial part to this team’s success, the recent stretch of games aside. Crawford has 35 wins while already matching his career high in regular-season starts (57) and boasts a .926 save percentage, 2.32 goals-against average and seven shutouts.

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But the report that he has an upper-body injury is especially concerning, considering Crow has a short history of concussion issues. Sometimes, the smallest hits or seemingly harmless shots can end up having a major effect on a player. There was no specific moment in Monday’s game against Los Angeles, the last time Crow played, in which you could point out an injury potentially being suffered. And the Blackhawks appear to be in “mum’s the word” mode, so what we have now is probably all we’ll get.

Of course, there’s also another option. As I just said, Crow has already reached his career high in regular-season starts, and it’s no secret he’s going to be critical to any postseason run, especially considering the Blackhawks’ defense and even-strength offense have struggled. So … why not give the guy a break with 11 regular-season games remaining? It’s not so easy to do that while actually keeping him on the bench, though, without repeated questions about whether he’s been replaced or if he fell down the stairs at a concert again, so the Blackhawks may be taking this rout.

I’d honestly prefer that be the reason for Crow’s absence, as any injury could really throw him off his game. Of course, recent outings haven’t been among his best, so regardless of how he’s getting a rest, it’ll be useful. It’d just be better if he wasn’t injured in the process.

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I’d imagine Darling draws the start Friday in Winnipeg, with Leighton backing him up. Leighton does have ample NHL experience, as you may remember him playing for Philadelphia in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. He gave up Patrick Kane‘s series-winning goal … no hard feelings, right?

Darling will need to step up his road game tomorrow, as the Blackhawks are mired in a four-game slump and Darling has struggled mightily on the road this season. While away from the United Center, Darling is 2-5-2 with an .895 save percentage and 3.19 goals-allowed average. The Jets are somewhat of a soft test for Darling, but they tend to play the Blackhawks hard every time out.

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