Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford will miss two or three weeks with a lower-body injury, coach Joel Quenneville said following Tuesday’s morning skate in Dallas.
A source said it’s a groin injury that knocked Crawford out of Sunday’s game against Florida and will keep him sidelined for possibly the rest of the month.
That means, for now at least, the Hawks goaltending duo is Antti Raanta and Kent Simpson, who both started the season in Rockford.
Simpson, a 21-year-old second-round pick in the 2010 draft, was recalled Monday and participated in his first morning skate on Tuesday. Quenneville wouldn’t commit to if and when Simpson would get a start, but said, “I know he deserves a chance.”
Simpson was 6-7-0 with a 3.38 goals-against average and .900 save percentage with the IceHogs this season. He spent most of last year with Toledo of the ECHL, going 20-14-5 with a 2.36 GAA and .912 save percentage.
“That’s what you work all summer and your whole life for, is to get this opportunity to show that you can play at this level, show that this is where you want to be, and this is where you belong,” Simpson said.
Raanta, who is 3-0-1 with a 2.16 GAA and .923 save percentage this season, will start tonight against the Stars, and will hold the reins until either Crawford returns or general manager Stan Bowman decided to pursue another goalie.
Raanta said he’s ready.
“Of course,” he said. “That’s the job I came here to do.”
Simpson was actually the Hawks’ top goalie in training camp, allowing four goals in 120 minutes of scrimmage time. Crawford, by comparison, allowed eight. That’s all Quenneville really has seen of Simpson, and while it’s not much, it’s at least something.
“He started off camp and was ahead of everybody,” Quenneville said. “So it’ll be a chance for him. We get to see him in practice first and see how he progresses.”
Simpson described himself as “not a boxy goalie, I like to be athletic.” He has no idea how long his stay will be, or how much (if at all) he’ll get to play. For now, he’s just trying to take it all in.
“[I can] learn a lot,” he said. “Even just the way the guys prepare for a skate, the way they cool down after a skate, the lifestyle on the road, at home, how they eat, how they prepare, all the little things that they do so well here. I’m just trying to soak it all in, really.”
The IceHogs signed goalie Allen York, who played 11 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011-12, to a tryout contract.