Quenneville hopes Corey Crawford is back in time for playoffs
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CALGARY, Alberta — Corey Crawford is still day to day. What that means is anybody’s guess.
Crawford missed his fourth straight game Saturday night in Calgary, and isn’t even on the Blackhawks’ road trip, which takes them to Vancouver on Sunday and Minnesota on Tuesday. The official diagnosis is an “upper-body injury,” but the nebulous timetable and lack of travel at least raises the specter of a head injury. Joel Quenneville was asked Saturday point-blank if Crawford had a concussion, or something similar to the vertigo that Bryan Bickell dealt with last spring. Quenneville demurred.
“Separate players, separate issues,” he said. “I don’t want to get too much into the injury.”
Crawford has been arguably the Hawks’ most valuable player this season, and is a legitimate Vezina Trophy contender with a 35-18-4 record and .926 save percentage. Scott Darling made his fourth straight start on Saturday in his absence, and likely will play again on Sunday in Vancouver, ahead of journeyman Michael Leighton — whose relief appearance in Tuesday’s loss to Dallas was his first NHL action in more than three years.
The most important question now is whether Crawford will be healthy in time for the playoffs, which begin in a little more than two weeks. He hasn’t even begun skating yet.
“We think he’s going to be ready,” Quenneville said. “He’s close, but we still don’t see him on the ice. I can’t answer that certainly, but we expect him to be ready.”
Big man back
Viktor Svedberg was in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 21 as Quenneville continues to seek the right combination for his struggling defense. The 6-9 Svedberg looks to be competing with fellow rookie Erik Gustafsson and veteran Christian Ehrhoff for the one open spot on the Hawks’ blue line.
“I’m just happy to be here, obviously, and just try to focus on my game and not worry too much about the competition,” Svedberg said. “Just do my best and do whatever I can, to play as good as I can, so I can stay.”
Michael Frolik remembers the Hawks taking their foot off the gas in March of 2013 after their record 21-0-3 start. He thinks the current team will be able to snap out of it just as well as that one did.
“During the season, you’re going to go through ups and downs,” said the Flames winger. “But I think they’ll be fine. When they need to, they will be good. I wouldn’t worry about them, they’ll be fine. I think they’re going to go far again this year.”