By Chris Emma–
CHICAGO (670 The Score) — It was nearly a month ago that Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was optimistic goaltender Corey Crawford would be back in net this season. A lot has changed for his team since then.
The Blackhawks (25-27-8) are a longshot to make the postseason as their season spirals away and Crawford’s concussion-like symptoms have required a slow, careful recovery process. Those two factors have Quenneville acknowledging for the first time that 33-year-old Crawford may not play again this season.
“I’m going to say right now we’ll see on that one,” Quenneville said. “Before, we were (optimistic), and now, where we’re at (in the standings), but his health is going to dictate that.”
Crawford hasn’t played since Dec. 23, two nights after taking a hit in the crease that left him down on the ice. He surrendered three goals on seven shots and was removed from the game just more than 13 minutes into the first period.
The Blackhawks have been careful in acknowledging the status of Crawford, referring to it as an “upper-body injury.” However, Blackhawks senior advisor Scotty Bowman — the legendary coach and father of the team’s general manager, Stan — referred to the post-concussion sydrome on an interview with a Canadian radio station.
Quenneville said he and Stan Bowman speak frequently this time of year with the trade deadline approaching. Among the conversations at hand is whether it’s worth Crawford returning in a season with playoff hopes all but lost.
“Part of the (playoff chances) might be part of it as we go along here,” Quenneville said. “But once he gets healthy, then that will be the next decision.”