There’s no timeline for his return, but Corey Crawford is working toward rejoining the Blackhawks.
Crawford was on the ice at the practice facility Saturday as he recovers from a concussion, and coach Jeremy Colliton reiterated this morning that the plan is to play him once he’s healthy.
“We want to get him a full 100 percent, feeling great, and obviously he’ll play in that situation,” Colliton said before Sunday’s game against the Capitals. “But we’re not there yet. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Crawford went down Dec. 16 when a collision at the net caused him to hit the back of his head on a goal post. He’s been on Injured Reserve since, and the Hawks have gone with Collin Delia and Cam Ward in his absence.
The concussion was especially alarming because Crawford missed 47 games with one last season. It’s logical to wonder whether this injury would prompt him to retire — he’s 34, played 12 years and won two Stanley Cups — but the last two days were full of signals he’s not ready to concede his career.
Colliton, whose NHL career ended at 26 because of concussion-related issues, has mostly been evasive when asked about Crawford over the past month and said he isn’t checking on him much. He did not see him skate or speak with him Saturday.
When they have talked, their conversations have been positive.
“Well, I don’t think he’s enjoying his current situation, but considering the circumstances he’s doing well,” Colliton said.
He declined a question on whether the Hawks would bother bringing Crawford back from IR if they’re out of it at that point. They went into Sunday’s game with the fewest points in the league.
Crawford’s return would create a roster complication that could force the team to carry three goaltenders, which is unconventional.
Delia, a rookie, has been the team’s primary goalie and started against Washington. Ward has been a spot starter, as he was when Crawford was active.
If Crawford comes back this season, the team wouldn’t want to send Delia to Rockford and has to deal with Ward’s no-movement clause. The Hawks can’t trade Ward without his consent and wouldn’t be able to let him go unless they agree to a buyout.
They would likely need to keep three goalies on the active roster and make one of them a healthy scratch each game.