All but one player on the Chicago Blackhawks training camp practiced Day 1 and Day 2. It begs the question, what will the Blackhawks have to worry about more come August 1st? The Coronavirus or the Oilers?
With Corey Crawford being ruled “unfit to play” the first day of training camp seemed a bit off in Chicago. This sheds light on who the real opponent might truly be on August 1st for the Chicago Blackhawks. The Coronavirus.
People may have wanted to celebrate the team’s first practice (or first anything outside video conferencing, to be honest) but the absence of the starting goalie for the Blackhawks was the most noteworthy story today.
It’s hard not to speculate on what Crawford’s absence means, and during the current climate I’d say you’re probably lying if you didn’t kinda, sorta think something like, “damn coronavirus”.
No one knows for sure or is at least not making that information public.
The Blackhawks have four other goalies, which under other circumstances might make you think, “Yeah!” However, none of the current netminders has any history as being a number one.
If Lazerus is right, then Chicago may be starting the “play-ins” without their starting goalie. That’s not a good thing. Despite not having a ton of experience, Subban will finally get a real chance at being a starter?
Crawford may just be the beginning. What if any other player on the Blackhawks is suddenly, and inexplicably declared, “unfit to play”? Sure, the Blackhawks have a lot of centers, but what if Toews falls ill? What about Kane or Keith?
Other teams are currently dealing with the same situation. According to TSN, the Montreal Canadiens had several players come back with false-positive tests for COVID-19. The players that were held out of practice for reasons that went undisclosed, just like Crawford.
Crawford from a suburb of Montreal, a city that had serious issues getting the virus under control. It’s entirely possible that he did contract the novel coronavirus, or has needed to be tested for it. This is the medical minefield that will likely be the postseason this year. I don’t wish this illness on anyone, but navigating this situation is going to be quite a feat.
I want to see Chicago defeat Edmonton, but it would take the shine off the victory if the Oilers, or any other team for that matter, were down key players simply because they fell ill.
It would be no one’s fault, but the whole thing would feel a bit compromised, wouldn’t it?
Here’s hoping that Crawford is healthy, and will be back on the ice sooner, rather than later.
The postseason is better when it’s the best players on one team against the best players on the other.