The Chicago Blackhawks experienced a big day of news ahead of their matchup against the Arizona Coyotes. Corey Crawford will be their starter tonight in net
For the first time since December 23rd, 2017, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford will start in goal. Only five games into the season, Crawford and the Hawks seem to have found the perfect time for the goalie to make his return.
Corey Crawford to Start
It’s been nearly ten months since Crawford last played a game in the Indian-head sweater. During that time, he’s been recovering from an ongoing head injury filled with many highs and lows along the way.
Head injuries are terrible to deal with and every hockey player and fan alike knows this (or should, at least). His battle back hasn’t been easy but he’s made a tremendous amount of progress in the past few weeks.
Crawford has accomplished a lot of “firsts” during this recovery and tonight is the biggest “first” there is: his first game back.
Though there is never a “good” time to come back from a head injury — Dave Bolland told Mark Lazerus that you never truly feel ready — the Blackhawks and Crawford couldn’t have picked a better one. Here’s why.
Why Today Is as Good as It Gets
Da Windy City
The Chicago Blackhawks are 3-0-2 to start the season and currently sit in second place. As a result, there’s no added pressure on Crawford to feel like he needs to “save” his team from the bottom of the division.
Additionally, Cam Ward has proven — for the time being, at least — that he is capable of starting for this team.
How long that lasts I’m not sure, however the fact that he’s hot right now is huge for the Blackhawks and Crawford as there is no rush to get him playing the heavy load of games he previously played in the past.
Though a flashier signing in the offseason could’ve been made, Ward has shown to be a cost-effective and efficient 1B to Crawford’s 1A.
Continuing, the Chicago Blackhawks are playing at home against one of the worst offenses in the league, the Arizona Coyotes. Though the Blackhawks defense has been relatively terrible to start the season, the Coyotes have only scored four goals in their first five games. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think we will see a better defensive effort out of the Chicago Blackhawks tonight.
These guys are professionals who know the situation. Any good teammate would surely do anything they could to ensure their star-goaltender recovering from injury has an easy first night back. I’m not a betting man, but if I were I would place a lot of money on tonight being the best defensive performance we’ve seen out of the ‘Hawks to date.
If that isn’t enough, not only is the Chicago Blackhawks offensive red hot right now — they’re tied for second in the Western Conference with 22 — but every person up and down this roster will be playing with a chip on their shoulder tonight.
Should anyone purposefully shoot high on Crawford or try to instigate extra contact — both of which I anticipate seeing a lot of early on in his comeback — you can be sure to see a swarm of angry red jerseys going after whoever the culprit may be.
While everything seems to be as good as it gets for Crow in his return, the only factor that truly matters is his health. For instance, Sidney Crosby came back and performed well after missing a lot of time due to a concussion, however after a few games his symptoms returned and he went on to miss another significant stretch of time.
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Translation: just because Crawford is back, that doesn’t mean everything is perfect. Only time will tell wether or not Corey is truly ready back to normal, but in the meantime we can support him fully and be grateful for this seemingly easy first game back.
We can do that, and we can all collectively hope I didn’t just spend 650+ words jinxing him.