Well, now we know why the Chicago Blackhawks had to sign an emergency goaltender for Saturday afternoon.
The team announced that starting goalie Corey Crawford is going to be sidelined after undergoing an appendectomy in Philadelphia on Saturday.
When the morning began the Blackhawks revealed that Crawford would not be available for their game against the Flyers due to an illness, resulting in backup Scott Darling getting the start. The team then had to sign an emergency backup — 23-year-old Eric Semborski, a former club hockey player at Temple University — to sit behind Darling.
Blackhawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry issued the following statement: ““Corey presented this morning with acute appendicitis. He is undergoing an appendectomy today at a Philadelphia hospital. We are anticipating a full recovery and return to play. We will provide details regarding the timeline of his return after we have more information about the surgery.”
In recent years the timeframe for players returning from an appendectomy has ranged from just a couple of days (Ryan Callahan and Jonathan Ericsson) to several weeks. Goaltenders, due to the movements that are required because of the nature of the position, seem to take longer to get back into the lineup than forwards and defenseman.
In the meantime, the Blackhawks will likely rely on Darling to get the bulk of the starts in Crawford’s absence. They will also have an opportunity to make a call up from the AHL.
Update: Crawford is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.
Crawford has been outstanding for the Blackhawks this season in his 20 starts, currently owning a .927 save percentage. Over the past three years he has developed into one of the best and most consistent goaltenders in the NHL.
After playing in Philadelphia on Saturday, the Blackhawks return home on Sunday to play the Winnipeg Jets and then are back in action again on Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes.