After three-game stint, Chicago sends Darling back to minors

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Antti Raanta will keep his backup gig in Chicago after all.

For now.

Scott Darling — who, after getting called up from AHL Rockford, started in three straight games for the ‘Hawks — has been sent back down to the IceHogs, the Blackhawks announced on Friday. The decision to send Darling down came after he went 2-1-0 in his starts, with a sparkling .933 save percentage and 1.98 GAA, leading some to wonder if there was a budding goalie controversy for the No. 2 gig behind Corey Crawford.

More, from CSN Chicago:

Dare we call it a goalie you-know what?

“I don’t know if it’s a controversy,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I would say it’s an opportunity right now, internally, where the situation has played out the way it has. Organizationally, we think it’s a healthy position. Like any player or individual, everybody wants to play. Everybody wants to play more. That’s what makes it so competitive in our business.”

So what to do? It’s a good problem to have, for sure. The Blackhawks, so thin at goaltender for so many years, now have a wealth of talent there. They could send either Darling or Raanta to Rockford without going through waivers; Raanta signed his first contract at 24; under the current collective bargaining agreement’s exemptions, he would need to play two years or 60 games to require waivers.

It’s possible last night’s game played a role in the decision. While Darling did get the win over Ottawa, he allowed four goals on 32 shots — twice as many as he allowed in his first two games against the Sens and Ducks.