Crawford (appendectomy) is nearing a return to Blackhawks crease

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Good news for the Chicago Blackhawks, as goalie Corey Crawford is approaching a return to game action.

Crawford had an appendectomy earlier this month, forcing him out of the lineup. He has missed the last eight games as a result.

According to reports on Sunday, Crawford could start on Friday against the Colorado Avalanche — the final game for the Blackhawks before the holiday break.

From the Chicago Tribune:

That would mean Crawford would return in the two-to-three week timetable doctors game him for returning to play after the procedure. Crawford skated in Chicago while the Hawks were on their recent three-game trip. He also skated Sunday and will skate Monday when the rest of the team is off.

In Crawford’s absence, Scott Darling has been busy in net, starting every game since Crawford underwent his procedure.

He had a nice run through the middle of this stretch, allowing a total of three goals in four games. But he has since allowed four goals in each of his last two starts — both wins.

Heading into Sunday’s game against San Jose, the Blackhawks had managed to win five of their last six games. Chicago had also appeared to be getting healthier, with the return of Jonathan Toews.

However, forward Artem Anisimov is now listed as day-to-day after suffering an injury in Saturday’s game versus St. Louis.