Yesterday afternoon it was reported that Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford practiced for the first time since suffering a head injury back in December. The Hawks’ starting netminder hasn’t seen game action since Dec 23rd and his team has gone into a nosedive ever since. So, while yesterday’s development was a positive for the team in an otherwise bleak season, it still doesn’t mean the cavalry is coming. Crawford isn’t the shining White Knight the team needs to save their season.
When asked how he’s progressing and when he’ll be back, the 33-year-old goalie was non-committal. ‘‘Not bad,’’ he said to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus. ‘‘It takes some time. I want to get back playing, but it’s a process to get there.’’
There’s no target set for Crawford’s return, but Lazerus dropped a suggestion that has Hawks fans torn: September. As in, shut Crawford down for the rest of the 2017-18 season and hope for better luck in 2018-19. As Lazerus puts it:
The Hawks should shut down Crawford and stop flirting with the idea that he might return and somehow save this lost season.
Ouch. Lost season. When was the last time the Hawks had one of those? Over a decade ago, at least.
Complicating matters even further is the nature of Crawford’s injury. Everyone recovers differently from a head injury. While some individuals can bounce back with no ill effects, others, like Crawford, suffer through months of concussion symptoms with no end in sight. If the fog is now finally lifting for Crawford, what’s the rush to get him back on the ice? Why not afford him the luxury of time to make sure he’s fully healed?
The problem, of course, is that no one in this organization wants to admit defeat, including Crawford himself.
‘‘First of all, our team always has a chance, every game,’’ Crawford said. ‘‘You never count this team out. We’ve gone on streaks before, and no one has doubt that we can go on another streak and fire off a bunch of wins and put ourselves in a position. There’s no question about that at all. As far as I’m concerned, right now, for me, we’re just looking at it day-to-day to try to get better to put myself in a position to play. That’s all.’’
What’s your take? Should the Hawks shut Crow down for the rest of the season? Or do you like their playoff chances if he can get healthy for the stretch drive?