Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has a knack for suffering December injuries, but there has to be concern after he was placed on injured reserve today for the second time this month and season
Corey Crawford was barely on injured reserve a minute earlier this month before returning from what was assumed to be a lower-body injury. He looked mostly great, too, until more recent games. Did the Blackhawks rush him back because they needed wins? Hopefully not, because he’s back on IR today.
Crow hit IR with what’s being reported as a lower-body injury. It wouldn’t be shocking if this was the same issue Crow had the first time, when he missed roughly a week after the Nov. 30 game against Dallas.
Since returning Dec. 8 versus Buffalo, Crow has posted five wins and single-game save percentages of .929, .969, .946, .964, .964, .818 and .571. Those last two, against Dallas and New Jersey, are obviously outliers that could hint the injury was starting to act up again. (Although it’s not like the defense was great in either game anyway.)
This is obviously bad news for the Blackhawks, whom Crow has been dragging around throughout the season. Anton Forsberg has not been bad in relief duty, and he does seem to play better with more regular time on the ice. But if the Blackhawks rushed Crow from injury the first time and worsened the issue now, Forsberg may get a ton of opportunities to carry the team himself.
Blackhawks call up two
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There is an interesting wrinkle to Crow’s latest issue. Jeff Glass was called up from Rockford to be Forsberg’s backup goaltender, which makes sense. However, forward David Kampf was also added.
Kampf had a fringe chance to make the opening night roster after signing last offseason from the Czech Republic. He was among the last cuts during training camp, and he’s been among the IceHogs’ best scoring forwards.
Kampf boast seven goals and 17 points, the latter fourth-best among the Hogs. He checks in at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds and uses that size to his advantage in corner battles. Dobber Prospects’ Tony Carr describes Kampf as playing a similar game to Patrick Sharp — presumably when Sharp was actually playing well. Carr also says Kampf is a strong skater who can create an accurate pass or utilize a strong wrist shot.
How the Blackhawks will utilize Kampf is anyone’s guess. They didn’t have to call him up — they only needed goaltender. So the assumption is coach Joel Quenneville will actually use Kampf.
For my money, I’d like to see him replace Sharp in the lineup. I’d also like to get Vinnie Hinostroza out there for someone, but Sharp needs to be taking a seat. With the Blackhawks calling up Kampf when they didn’t need to, it strongly implies he’s actually going to play, and he should play in place of Sharp.
What that means for Kampf’s lineup spot, however, is unclear. Sharp was moonlighting on the first line at random in the loss to New Jersey, and I’m not sure it’d be best to throw Kampf in the deep end that way during his true NHL debut. He seems like someone who could tear it up on the bottom six.