The nature of Corey Crawford‘s mysterious upper-body injury has finally been revealed.
Crawford announced on Friday at the start of Chicago Blackhawks training camp that he suffered a concussion last season and, perhaps most concerning, is still dealing with some lingering symptoms that are preventing him from returning to practice.
The Blackhawks and Crawford have been extremely secretive about the injury that sidelined him for the majority of the 2017-18 season and have been unwilling to put any sort of a timeline on his return. The only thing they have been willing to say throughout the offseason was that they expected him to be ready for the starting of training camp.
He was on the ice by himself before practice on Friday but did not skate with his teammates.
Crawford said on Friday that he is “really close” but that he is not quite ready to go yet.
“Most of the symptoms are gone, but I’m not cleared yet,” he said. “Until that happens, I won’t be back in.”
This, of course, should all still be very concerning for the Blackhawks and their fans.
He appeared in 28 games for the Blackhawks and was fantastic prior to the injury, helping the Blackhawks to a 16-9-2 record in his decisions.
Without him in the lineup, the Blackhawks were only 17-30-8 and finished with one of the league’s worst records, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season. They were never able to find a suitable replacement in his absence and only signed veteran Cam Ward to a one-year deal in free agency this offseason as a Plan B in case Crawford is not yet ready. And at this point, he is not.
It’s positive Crawford is feeling better and getting closer, but until he is actually symptom free and able to get back on the ice with the team this is going to be a major question mark and concern for the Blackhawks this season. He is one of the better goalies in the league and one of the Blackhawks’ most important players and it’s really difficult to see the team returning to the playoffs in a suddenly loaded Western Conference with the same level of goaltending they received a season ago.
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