The news is in on Corey Crawford, and it isn’t great.
Chicago’s No. 1 netminder will miss the next 2-3 weeks with a lower-body injury suffered on Sunday night against Florida, head coach Joel Quenneville announced.
While the injury isn’t serious and will only sideline Crawford for a couple of weeks, the Blackhawks are in a precarious spot with their goalies. With veteran Nikolai Khabibulin already on IR, the club will be forced to go with Antti Raanta as its No. 1 and Kent Simpson as the backup — a tandem that has spent almost the entire season with AHL Rockford.
For Raanta, this promises to be a big test.
He signed with Chicago in June after lighting up the Finnish league last season. He backstopped Assat to the ’13 SM-liiga championship (capturing the Jari Kurri Trophy, Finland’s equivalent to the Conn Smythe), and that came after he posted a 1.33 GAA and .955 save percentage during the regular season, winning the league’s top goaltender award and MVP.
Raanta didn’t play a ton in Rockford — just 14 games — but has looked good in Chicago, posting a 3-0-1 record with a 2.16 GAA and .922 save percentage.
The real test for the ‘Hawks will be how they adjust to life without Crawford. He’s been one of the league’s most steady presences this season — tied for first in games played (27) and wins (17) — and is coming off a ’13 campaign in which he backstopped Chicago to a Stanley Cup championship, then signed a six-year, $36 million extension with the club.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: All that’s been announced about Silfverberg is that he’s under evaluation and will not return.