Corey Crawford spotting: Blackhawks’ star goalie on ice before practice

SHARE Corey Crawford spotting: Blackhawks’ star goalie on ice before practice
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Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) defends against San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday Dec. 16, 2018, in Chicago. | Matt Marton/Associated Press

Corey Crawford hasn’t been seen much by the public since he suffered a concussion in a loss to the Sharks on Dec. 16.

But on Saturday, Crawford was spotted between two goal posts at the MB Ice Arena.

For the first time in more than a month, the Blackhawks goalie was reunited with his teammates on the ice — though it was for about 20 minutes.

Crawford joined goalies Cam Ward and Collin Delia for a workout before practice. He participated in drills and took some light shots from teammates and goalie coach Jimmy Waite.

Crawford was smiling and joking with Ward toward the end of his session. He left the ice before practice started, and he was out of the locker room before it was over. He left behind only his pads and gear, which were neatly organized in his locker at the center of the dressing room’s back wall.

Crawford’s mini session is a sliver of good news for the Hawks, who are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and are set to host the Stanley Cup champion Capitals on Sunday at the United Center.

But there are still a lot of unknowns in terms of how Crawford is feeling and where he is in his recovery.

Asked if Crawford would be practicing regularly with the team, coach Jeremy Colliton said: “I don’t know.” He also didn’t know what Crawford’s timeline is or if Crawford had been skating on his own.

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Ward said just as much when asked about his fellow goalie.

“I’m not his doctor,” he said.

Sure, but could he at least give some insight into how Crawford is doing?

“For me, he looks awesome,” Ward said. “He looks real smooth out there.

“He’s the only one that can really tell you how he really feels. But I think it’s definitely positive and encouraging to see him around the guys and see him upbeat and in a good mood.”

Crawford’s history with concussions makes his return even more uncertain.

He missed 47 games because of one last season. Nine months later, at the start of training camp, Crawford admitted that he was still dealing with symptoms stemming from the concussion. Crawford then missed the first two weeks of this season before making his season debut Oct. 18 against the Coyotes.

Captain Jonathan Toews was relieved to see Crawford back on the ice. But Crawford’s health and well-being are still the team’s main concerns.

“Not fun to see a teammate out for as long as he was last year,” Toews said. “It’s nice to see him taking steps forward. And hopefully he can be back.”

But nothing is guaranteed.

Ward has been sidelined by a concussion once in his career. He admitted it was difficult to return because of the game’s fast pace.

But he isn’t worried about Crawford, if and when he returns.

“Corey showed that he can do it,” he said. “When he came back after 10 months off and stepped in, it didn’t look like he missed a beat. I wouldn’t be the least surprised to see him do that again.”

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