CHICAGO – Considering all that he went through just to get back to the ice over the past year, the sight was just terrible for the Blackhawks and their fans Sunday night at the United Center.
Here was Corey Crawford, who lost most of the 2017-2018 season to a concussion, being part of a collision inside the goal crease when Dylan Strome and the Sharks’ Evander Kane converged on the net late in the first period.
Crawford was knocked back, with his head hitting off the goal post. While he would start moving right away, a team doctor and athletic trainer helped him off the ice and back to the locker room.
It was diagnosed as a concussion before the 7-3 loss to San Jose, and on Monday the team put the goalie into concussion protocol. For that reason, Crawford is headed to injured reserve, which will keep him out a minimum of seven days.
Collin Delia will come up from Rockford to take his place after 17 appearances with the AHL IceHogs this season. He’s 7-5-4 on the year with a 2.34 goals against average.
Yet the moment of Crawford’s injury is another difficult one for the goalie and the Blackhawks in what appears at the moment to be a lost season. The goalie’s return to the lineup after missing the final four months of the 2018-2019 season was one of the highlights of this campaign, and so far he’d maintained good health even if he did struggle like the rest of the group.
Crawford came into Sunday’s game with the Sharks with a 6-14-2 record with a 3.28 goals against average and was in the midst of a particularly rough stretch. He’s lost nine of his last ten games in the net as the Blackhawks endured their second major losing streak of the season – and the first under new head coach Jeremy Colliton.
Yet the wins, losses, saves, or goals against weren’t really on the mind of the players after Crawford’s latest injury. The collision in front of the net raised concerns enough concerns.
“It’s sucks. Like I said, he’s such a bit part of our team, to lose him is not good,” said defenseman Connor Murphy. “You feel for him because for how much he, in a game like that, parts of it, he was hung out to dry and then for him to take guys crashing on him is not even fair either.”
Nor is another stretch out of the lineup for the hard-luck goaltender.