Blackhawks activate goalie Corey Crawford, send Collin Delia to minors

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Corey Crawford has been out since mid-December. | Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

A quiet trade deadline for the Blackhawks? Hardly. They added an All-Star goalie with two championship rings just in time for their West Coast trip.

While the Hawks didn’t make any actual deals leading up to the deadline Monday, they finally activated Corey Crawford from injured reserve. Now that he’s medically cleared to return from the concussion that sidelined him in December, he is eligible to play Wednesday at Anaheim.

‘‘He’s an important part of our team, so the fact that he’s been activated is a great sign,’’ general manager Stan Bowman said. ‘‘Can’t wait to see him on the ice.’’

Bowman declined to say whether Crawford’s first game back will be against the Ducks and deferred the question to coach Jeremy Colliton, who usually doesn’t disclose his starting goalie until game day.

If it’s not Wednesday, it’s likely to be soon as the Hawks continue their playoff chase with Crawford and backup Cam Ward. They sent rookie Collin Delia down to Rockford because there isn’t enough playing time for three goalies.

Crawford, who has missed 28 games, has been practicing for more than two weeks and recently said he was healthy enough to play. Colliton, whose own career was derailed by concussions, has been more cautious.

Bowman said the organization used an abundance of patience and took every possible precaution to ensure it was prudent for Crawford to play again. For his part, Crawford said that was his intent all along and that he never considered retirement.


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After giving Crawford ample time to train and recover, the Hawks think he’s ready to play as proficiently as he was before the injury.

‘‘He’s been seeing a lot of pucks,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘When you’ve been off the ice for a while, the game action — there’s really no replica for that. But he’s been practicing quite a bit, so I think he’s tired of practicing.’’

Crawford missed 47 games with a concussion last season, leading to a late start this season. He posted a .902 save percentage and a 3.28 goals-against average in 23 games before going down when a collision at the net knocked the back of his head into a post.

He matched his career-high save percentage at .929 in limited action last season.

As for Delia, he remains the Hawks’ goalie of the future at 24 after signing a three-year, $3 million extension. Ward is on a one-year contract, and Crawford’s deal runs through next season.

Delia realized the possibility of being sent down once Crawford started progressing and said, ‘‘We’re rooting for him to come back, regardless of what that means for me.’’

Delia started brilliantly when the Hawks called him up after Crawford’s injury and has a team-best .909 save percentage, but he has been hit-and-miss lately and allowed 13 goals in his last three games.

‘‘It’s a normal progression for a young goalie,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘He’s had some ups and downs, but he’s had a lot more ups than downs. The thing we like about Collin is he’s a competitive guy, and he’s shown the ability to grow his game even in the short time he’s been a pro. . . . The future’s bright for him, so we’re excited he’s part of it.’’

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