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.