NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Blackhawks didn’t get in to Nashville until around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, but there was never any doubt that Corey Crawford was going to start again.
With Scott Darling out about three weeks with an upper-body injury, there’s a good chance Crawford will get every start in his absence. The Hawks did recall 31-year-old KHL veteran Jeff Glass to serve as the backup during Darling’s recovery. But considering they’re in a tight race with the Wild for the Central Division title, it might take some unusual circumstances for Joel Quenneville to turn to a goalie who’s never appeared in an NHL game.
Glass spent seven seasons in the KHL before returning to North America this season, splitting time between the Toronto Marlies and the Rockford IceHogs. He was 5-7-0 with a .910 save percentage in 13 appearances in Rockford.
“We’ll see how things are, how [Crawford’s] workload is and how he’s handling it,” Quenneville said. “Sometimes there are reasons you may want to keep playing him, and [sometimes] there are reasons why you say, ‘Let’s give him a break.’ It’s tough to forecast that. Performance is part of it, as well. But right now, it’s going to be his turn, and we’ll see how long [it lasts].”
When Crawford missed 10 games in December after undergoing an appendectomy, the Hawks recalled Lars Johansson from Rockford. He never played.
“We’ll get to see him a little more when we get him in practices and get a feel for him,” Quenneville said of Glass. “But could he play? Yeah. We’ll see. I can’t say he’s going to get a start, but you never know.”
Given the increasing intensity of the playoff push, and with the Hawks finishing the season with 17 games in 30 days, the timing of Darling’s injury is less than ideal. But it has coincided with a sudden rash of injuries for the Hawks — Artem Anisimov (lower body) returned to the lineup Saturday, Nick Schmaltz (illness) did not and Johnny Oduya (ankle) and Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) were slated to skate in Chicago — who managed to stay largely healthy for the first three quarters of the season.
At the very least, it has kept the Hawks on their toes.
“With injuries, I don’t think there’s any good timing,” Quenneville said. “I think that’s all part of our game. The last couple of days have been a little bit uncertain as far as our health, or our lineup and our look. I commend the guys staying focused, getting through the trading deadline or going through [Friday’s] game with the lineup in flux. [And] the lines over the course of the game were a little bit all over the place.”
Work in progress
Tomas Jurco had no points and four shots on goal in his first three games with the Hawks. With all the injuries and illnesses the Hawks have been dealing with, he has bounced around the lineup a bit, switching between the third and fourth lines, and left and right wings.
“He’s been all right,” Quenneville said. “We’ll see [he’s] a work in progress. He’s trying to get established, getting comfortable, whether a regular line or side.”
With Schmaltz out, Andrew Desjardins and Jordin Tootoo were in the lineup with Dennis Rasmussen for the second time in four games. Saturday marked Michal Rozsival’s 70th NHL game since the start of last season, which makes him eligible to be exposed for the expansion draft in June.
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