Corey Crawford will be taking an indefinite leave of absence due to personal reasons, the Devils announced on Friday.
The 36-year-old Crawford has not practiced since training camp opened for the team last week. After his absences were first described as “maintenance days,” head coach Lindy Ruff said the netminder was taking personal days Wednesday and Thursday this week.
“We need to give him his space,” Devils forward Travis Zajac said Thursday. “Obviously, no one knows himself better than he does, so obviously we want him to be part of this team, but I think going forward, he’s got to make that decision. I think he can take all the time he needs. We want him here.”
“I reached out to him; I think it was Sunday or Monday,” said forward Kyle Palmieri. “You want to give him his space. It’s a personal issue for him and his family, what they’re going through. We’ve gotten to know ‘Crow’ a little bit over the first couple days. I think you’re there to support him as a teammate and as a guy who, obviously I have a ton of respect for, for what he’s done in his career.
“But I’m sure [Zajac] kind of said it the same way. It’s a personal issue for him and we’ll be there to support them no matter what happens over the next couple days.”
After 13 seasons with the Blackhawks, Crawford signed a two-year, $7.8M contract with the Devils in October.