By Chris Emma–
CHICAGO (670 The Score) — The Blackhawks were back to work at the MB Ice Arena on Friday with a renewed mindset but still without goaltender Corey Crawford.
Coach Joel Quenneville remained mum on the status of Crawford, who has been out nearly a month and is reportedly dealing with vertigo-like and concussion-like symptoms, while Blackhawks players declined to speak on his status as well. Quenneville did say that the “expectations and hope” is for Crawford to return this season. All the team has confirmed is that Crawford has an upper-body injury.
Crawford has remained in Chicago, Quenneville said, though he declined to answer whether he’s being treated by team or outside physicians. He also declined to say whether there’s concern to the long-term health of Crawford, whose reported symptoms have occurred in the past.
“We haven’t seen much progress, but that’s where we’re at with that,” Quenneville said without specifically referring to the injury.
Crawford hasn’t played since a loss to the Devils on Dec. 23, one in which he was pulled after surrendering three goals in the first period. He had taken a hit during a game two days prior against the Stars and appeared to be shaken up.
“I don’t think it was a defining blow,” Quenneville said.
Crawford missed nearly three weeks with symptoms of vertigo during March and into April 2016 but returned for the season finale and postseason. Earlier this week, Blackhawks senior advisor Scotty Bowman said on Sportsnet in Canada that Crawford has been dealing with symptoms of a concussion. The Chicago Sun-Times first reported the possibility of vertigo-like symptoms.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has exchanged text messages with Crawford but declined to elaborate on the symptoms of his injury. Forward Patrick Kane took a similar guarded approach.
“I don’t know if that’s really anything for me to comment on,” Kane said. “We know he’s trying to get better, and we know he’s doing everything he can to get back and playing hockey. That’s kind of where we’re at with that situation, I guess.”
The 33-year-old Crawford was enjoying one of his best seasons before being injury, posting a .929 save percentage and 2.27 goals-allowed average in 28 games.
During the absence of Crawford, the Blackhawks have gone 5-4-1 and alternated between Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass in net.
The Blackhawks are currently seventh place in the Central Division at 22-17-6 overall, good for 50 points. Entering play Friday, they trail the Avalanche by three points for a wild-card spot.
Fresh off a bye week, the Blackhawks host the Islanders on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the United Center. Forsberg will be in net.