Essentially the worst thing that could happen to the Chicago Blackhawks has occurred, as goaltender Corey Crawford was placed on injured reserve Friday
The Chicago Blackhawks have announced that goaltender Corey Crawford has been placed on injured reserve. The ’Hawks have recalled Jean-Francois Berube from Rockford. The injury makes sense because Crawford looked out of sorts against the Dallas Stars last night in a 4-3 overtime loss.
This is a huge blow to the Blackhawks. Many believe the ’Hawks would be a below-.500 team without Crawford in net. He has put up Vezina-worthy numbers during the early part of this season. Crawford is currently is fourth in save percentage and fifth in saves this season. His slashline is .930/2.29. He also faces the third-most shots in the NHL.
With Crawford being out, I expect the Blackhawks to split time with Berube and Anton Forsberg. Both players have limited NHL experience. Berube has 21 games of the NHL experience with a .900/3.10 slashline. Forsberg currently has 16 NHL games under his belt with a career slashline of .889/3.71. He has fared better than this season with a slashline of .904/3.71.
Crawford’s difficult history
The Crawford stint on IR should not surprise anyone. Crawford spends time on IR every year. Last year he missed time with an emergency appendectomy.
I think the big issue is his backups. While general manager Stan Bowman added depth to the organization, neither backup is very impressive thus far. In years past, the ’Hawks have felt reassured by Scott Darling filling in and playing well for the Blackharks during Crawford’s stint on IR.
The backups’ inexperience and the amount of shots faced are huge concerns. The ’Hawks are third in shots faced this season. That is the highest it has been during Crawford’s tenure as the Blackhawks’ starting goalie.
The one fact that could help the Blackhawks is their Corsi-for percentage. In years past, the Blackhawks have been better at possessing the puck. The Blackhawks are at 51.7 Corsi-for mark, fourth-best in the NHL this season. While the number is better than those of the last two seasons, it is still below those of the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup years.
With the Blackhawks in the midst of six games in nine days, this is going to be a real challenging time for the team. The Hawks first face a rematch with the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.