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Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford’s Health Needs to be Priority

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Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) skates off with an injury against the San Jose Sharks in the first period on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) skates off with an injury against the San Jose Sharks in the first period on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford left last night’s contest after a bad collision with Dylan Strome. Moving forward, his short and long-term health needs to be the top priority.

Last night, San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane was skating hard to the net as most hockey players do. Kane and Chicago Blackhawks skater Dylan Strome were making contact and Kane helped guide Strome into Corey Crawford.

Crawford’s head snapped back upon collision, and his head was the first thing to make contact with the goal post behind him.

It was the force of his head, and only his head, that knocked the goal off his bearings.

There isn’t anything malicious or ill-intentioned about this, but it isn’t a pretty sight.

After the game, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed that Corey Crawford has a concussion. It’s a huge blow to the team as Crawford was undeniably the most invaluable player on that roster.

Night in and night out he fought harder than anyone. He kept the ‘Hawks in games they shouldn’t have been in. He won them games they shouldn’t have one. Because of Corey, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to win 3 Cups in 6 years.

But now, this isn’t about any of that. This isn’t about how Crawford’s injury affects this team’s hopes at a turnaround this year. This isn’t about if he could be back for another run next year. It isn’t about whether or not Corey will play another game.

No.

This is about a man. A father of a one-year old child. A 33, soon to be 34-year old human being with a lot of life left to live. Take Daniel Carrillo’s word for it, far too often do people put their longevity and life at risk in order to continue playing hockey.

Carcillo, a friend of Corey’s, a fighter for enhanced player safety in the NHL and a very knowledgeable source on traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) and concussions, spoke to The Athletic’s Scott Powers about Crawford last night.

"“It hurts my heart,” Carcillo said. “It makes me really upset. I did a Twitter Live because it’s hard to get your true feelings out on 280 characters. There’s nothing malicious about the play, but I live with brain injuries and I know the fallout. It’s not like the flu. You can’t cure it.”"

Carcillo continued.

"“There’s treatment for it and you can improve your quality of life, but there is no cure for a brain injury, especially cumulative brain injuries. Then you’re more susceptive to be post-concussion syndrome, anxiety, depression, vertigo, suicidal ideation, slurred speech, light sensitivity, loud noises. It’s just really scary. You know I’m friends with Corey. I care for him and want nothing for the best for him.”"

So, Blackhawks fans, I encourage you all to truly listen to the words of Daniel Carrillo.

Don’t think about how his absence affects this season (we will do that soon enough). Don’t think about the hockey he could have played if he stayed healthy. For today, don’t even think about who could replace him, or what this means for the upcoming draft.

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Rather, think about the health, life and longevity of a man. If what is best for Crawford is to hang the skates up, so be it. At this point, all any of us should be concerned with is his health moving forward. Crawford supported the city of Chicago through two amazingly challenging Stanley Cup runs.

Now, it’s time for the city of Chicago to support Corey Crawford.

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