For any of those unaware, Corey Crawford has been hurt since late December of last season. There’s uncertainty surrounding when he’ll return, however Chicago Blackhawks fans only need to look to the Eastern Conference for comfort.
Current Corey Crawford Situation
The message from the Blackhawks organization on Crawford has been consistent since the season ended and beyond; they expect their star goaltender to be back in the net for training camp and the start of the season.
Coach Joel Quenneville said it consistently. General manager Stan Bowman said it consistently.
On the Friday of the Blackhawks’ Convention, not long before Crawford made his first public appearance in months, Bowman told us his understanding was that Crawford would be ready to go by training camp. Quenneville’s statement matched that when he said he anticipated Crawford being between the pipes opening night.
Then, we heard what Corey Crawford had to say on the matter.
“That’s hard to say right now, but it’s very possible,” Crawford said at the Blackhawks Convention that same day. “We’ve come a long way in the last couple months, and there’s a really good chance that could happen.”
Crawford told the media he’s “feeling pretty good right now, [but] I am not at 100 percent yet.”
Da Windy City
While fans are right to feel uneasy that the Blackhawks’ brass and Corey are not on the same page, there’s a reason for that. Crawford has been working with a specialist to help him in his recovery, so it’s understandable that everyone wasn’t on the same page as the Blackhawks were not working hand-in-hand in this process.
There was hope that Crawford could return at the end of last year. That didn’t’ happen. Then, there was hope, and reassurance of that hope, that Corey would be ready to go by training camp. Crawford doesn’t sound so sure. Given all of this, it’s easy to feel pessimistic, or at least cautious, when thinking about his situation moving forward. However, there’s still reason to have hope moving forward.
Sidney Crosby and Corey Crawford
In total, Sidney Crosby has missed 114 games in his NHL career due to concussion related problems. Between the end of the 2010-11 season and the 2011-12 season, Crosby missed 68 games. 48 of them came at the end of 2010, meaning he had the entire off-season to recover, much like Crawford has. Following the 20 he missed to start the season, Sidney came back to play eight games.
He went on to miss another 40 games directly after because of concussion-like symptoms. In total, that’s 108 games (which is a lot, I mean a lot, of hockey games).
Though in shorter time, there are a lot of parallels to be drawn between Corey and Sidney’s situation. Crosby’s eight game return reminds of Crawford’s attempt at a return this season. he began skating in February and then flew to Arizona for a morning skate, however he hasn’t been on the ice since.
Additionally, the timeline on Sidney’s injury was about as funky as Corey’s has been, too. Coaches and management were not on the same page as Sid, and rumors floated around in regards to his development and progress.
Sound familiar, Blackhawks fans?
After the 2010-11 season, management and Sid alike hoped he’d be ready for the start of the next season. However Sid and his agent steered clear of committing, much like Crawford has. Then, rumors started to surface that Crosby’s career could be in jeopardy. Those, of course, were denied by Crosby and his agent.
On November 21st, approaching a year after the first hit which contributed to this injury, Sid played in his first game. He scored two goals and tallied two assists against the New York Islanders. Impressive, to say the least. Crosby made a return to the injury-reserve list afterwards before returning to the lineup for good.
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Head injuries and concussions alike are awful. They’re unpredictable and cause more terrible things that can be written in a simple blog post. There’s a reason guys like Daniel Carrillo are dedicating a lot of their work into changing the NHL to better protect against CTE and TBIs (traumatic train injuries). It’s a shame that Crawford, or any player, has to undergo them.
However, Sidney Crosby’s experience is about as bad as it gets. Yet, nearly eight years removed from the start of his injury, he’s back and still producing at an elite level. Though it’d be unfortunate should Crawford’s return be put on hold once again, Crosby is unquestionably a place to look for inspiration and comfort regarding Crawford’s future.
And, should you need more to tie you over, I’ll let Crawford’s last words of his appearance at the Blackhawks Convention handle it for me.
“I’ll be back.”
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Additionally, should he not be ready to go, here’s the Blackhawks other options in goal broken down by our own Colin Likas.