The most important question for the Chicago Blackhawks' short-term future is what will be starting goalie Corey Crawford's status going into the 2018-19 season...
The goaltending situation in Chicago was a complete mess this past season and Crawford’s injury was one of the main reasons the Hawks missed out on the postseason for the first time in 11 seasons.
It all started when Crawford got injured at the end of December. He missed the final 47 games of the campaign with a head injury. It ended up being a season-ending injury and it was a shame since Crawford had the second-best save percentage in the NHL among No. 1 goalies at .929.
For the second half of the season, the Hawks needed to put their trust in many netminders, including Anton Forsberg, Jeff Glass, J-F Berube, Collin Delia and Scott Foster, who combined to post a .901 save percentage.
With the opening of training camp on Friday, Hawks fans held their breaths to see if Crawford would join his teammates for the first practice of the year. Unfortunately, he did not... he however skated and took a few shots ahead of the rest of the lineup jumping on the ice, and met with media members afterwards. The star goalie gave a crucial update on his condition ahead of the new season.
Crawford revealed that he suffered a concussion last year and is still suffering from some lingering symptoms. He did add that he felt like he was feeling better and progressing.
“Last year was a concussion and I’m still getting over symptoms. Most of them are gone, but I’m not clear yet."
“I’m close, I’m really close.”
There is no timeline of a return to action for the veteran netminder...
"It's hard to say right now, but things have been progressing really well," Crawford said. "It's really hard to put a timeline on it right now. It's nice to be on the ice and it feels like I didn't miss that much time, compared to being out this long. I was moving pretty good. Jimmy had a bunch of drills for us to do and overall on the ice, it felt great."
Crawford is now 33 and is signed for two more years with a cap hit of $6 million per season. Let's hope the Hawks can trust him to get better and move forward with their No. 1 goalie to become a Cup contender once again.
Let's hope that in the meantime, Cam Ward can take over and lead the way... or else the Hawks will need to find a solution before it's too late.