The Corey Crawford saga has been a rather bleak experience for fans of the All-Star goaltender and it has been even more so for fans of the Chicago Blackhawks organization. The Blackhawks goaltending depth, or more aptly their lack of goaltending depth, was badly exposed last season when Crawford went down with what was initially a mysterious injury.
We of course now know that the mysterious injury was in fact a concussion suffered by Crawford, one that limited him to just 28 games over the course of the entire 2017 - 2018 season. That was bad enough for the Blackhawks, who would go on to miss the playoffs without a stable goaltender to replace Crawford between the pipes, but things got worsewhen speculation began to float around suggesting that Crawford could potentially miss additional time during the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season as well.
Thankfully there now seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for those frustrated fans as we now have the first string of good news regarding Crawford's status and his level of participation in the Blackhawks training camp. Over the past several days Crawford has returned to the ice prior to Blackhawk's practice and has begun skating again, something that he was not doing during the several month period in which he was out with the injury.
Now skating on it's own would only be some relatively minor progress but thanks to Blackhawks insider Scott Powers of the The Athletic we now actually have some evidence of Crawford working out with Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Jimmy Waite. According to Powers, Crawford and Waite were on the ice for roughly a half hour and although I do not know the extent of what they did while on the ice we do know that Crawford was in goal and was taking some shots on net from Waite. How quick those shots were coming in and just how much Waite was putting on them is also unclear at this time but the fact that Crawford was taking shots on net at all has to be a great sign for Blackhawk's fans.
It seems like head coach Joel Quenneville is very pleased with the progress that he has seen from Crawford thus far as well. Quenneville spoke to reporters over the week-end and indicated that the plan is to continue pushing Crawford forward in his recovery as the Blackhawks draw closer and closer to the start of the regular season.
"Good progress," said Quenneville as per Blackhawks insider Mark Lazerus. "Comparable over the last week and a half that when he's on the ice, he's better and he's stronger and he's feeling better. It's all encouraging."
Given the limited amount of time that Crawford and Waite spent on the ice today it seems fair to suggest that he may still be quite a ways away from being able to return to game action. That being said though this is the first series of updates on Crawford that have all been positive and the fact that he has had no setbacks is terrific for the Blackhawks.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press