Joel Quenneville on Corey Crawford returning: ‘That’s our expectation and hope’
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Coach Joel Quenneville said Friday that the Blackhawks ‘‘haven’t seen much progress’’ with goalie Corey Crawford but that he still expects him to return before the end of the season.
‘‘That’s our expectation and hope,” Quenneville said.
Crawford has been out with an undisclosed upper-body injury since the Christmas break. Three sources told the Sun-Times that Crawford is dealing with ‘‘vertigo-like symptoms,’’ and senior adviser Scotty Bowman told a Toronto radio station that those symptoms were because of post-concussion syndrome. Bowman later told the Sun-Times he merely was guessing. There has been a growing concern in the organization that Crawford might be lost for the season.
Quenneville said Crawford hasn’t done much in the way of workouts while recovering in Chicago. He said he’ll have a better idea about a timetable when Crawford can start working out and can get back on the ice.
‘‘Injuries aren’t a pleasant part of a team’s year, but everybody deals with them, whether they’re top guys or other guys, as well,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘We’ll go with what we can control, and [goalies Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass] are giving us a chance every night. That’s all we can ask.’’
Players danced around Crawford’s injury, saying the Hawks — who are on the outside of the playoff picture — can’t spend time worrying about who’s hurt.
‘‘That’s out of our control,’’ winger Patrick Kane said. ‘‘We just do what we can in here and come together as a group. Whoever’s in here is in here, and that’s the group we’ve got to play with.’’
Captain Jonathan Toews, who said he has exchanged a few texts with Crawford in the last month, said the Hawks are taking things ‘‘day by day.’’
‘‘We wish him the best with his recovery, and when we get him back, we know he’s always going to be a great addition to our team,’’ Toews said. ‘‘But for now, we’ve got to focus on what we have in our locker room. . . . We’ve played a lot of games the last number of years without some of our top players at times, and we find ways to win. We find ways to make up for that void. It’s the same with Crow.’’
Crawford’s prolonged absence has overshadowed a more pressing concern for the Hawks: the standings. They come out of their bye week in 12th place in the Western Conference. And while many of the Hawks escaped to warmer climates for the break, they all kept a wary eye on the scoreboard and couldn’t help but notice how many points Western Conference teams racked up.
‘‘I can’t handle much of the sun — only 20 minutes of it a day,’’ defenseman Connor Murphy joked. ‘‘So I’m on my phone most of the other times.’’
The Hawks have done a decent job of rallying around Forsberg and Glass, who have posted solid-if-unspectacular .910 and .915 save percentages, respectively, in the last month, with the Hawks going 5-4-1 in those 10 games.
The Hawks insist they haven’t changed their style to better protect their first-year goalies, but they have been stingier in January in terms of shots allowed per game, if only mildly (32.6 to 30.4).
Kane said the Hawks have shown enough flashes this season to give them hope, despite the dire circumstances and the uncertainty about Crawford.
‘‘You look at where we’re at, it’s not a good spot,’’ Kane said. ‘‘It’s going to be a challenge to make the playoffs. But we feel we have the group in here [to do it]. Just got to put it together for a consistent stretch here and get on a run. And if we do that, we’ll probably be hot going into the playoffs, and hopefully good things can happen.’’
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