Since the end of the dismal 2017-18 season — a year of promise that was derailed by Corey Crawford’s head injury in late December — the Blackhawks have steadfastly said they expect their star goalie to be back in time for training camp and the start of the season.
General manager Stan Bowman said it. Coach Joel Quenneville said it. They both reaffirmed that belief at the draft. Heck, about 15 minutes before Crawford’s first public comments since an ill-fated morning skate in Arizona on Feb. 12, Bowman on Friday said it was his assumption that Crawford will be at full speed for training camp. And Quenneville said he expects Crawford to be his starting goaltender on opening night.
Well, the only person whose opinion matters is Crawford’s. And he’s not nearly as certain.
“That’s hard to say right now, but it’s very possible,” Crawford said at the Blackhawks Convention at the downtown Hilton. “We’ve come a long way in the last couple months, and there’s a really good chance that could happen.”
Crawford said he’s “feeling pretty good right now, [but] I am not at 100 percent yet.”
In fact, his eyes reddened a bit and his voice wavered when he was asked about the last seven months and whether he, at any point, feared for his career or his long-term health. He wouldn’t go into specifics about the injury or the recovery process, but his voice betrayed his feelings.