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Joel Quenneville: Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford medically cleared to play

The goaltender practiced Monday for the first time in nearly eight months.

Arizona Coyotes v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Corey Crawford is medically cleared to play, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Monday after the goaltender practiced with the team for the first time in nearly eight months.

Prior to Monday’s practice, Crawford did on-ice workouts with goaltending coahc Jimmy Waite throughout training camp. At the start of camp, Crawford admitted that he suffered a concussion last December which causes him to miss the majority of the season, and that he was still dealing with symptoms from it.

Last week, coach Joel Quenneville said it’s unlikely Crawford will be ready for the team’s season opener Thursday at Ottawa. Quenneville even said the team has discussed Crawford playing a game or two in the AHL before returning to the NHL lineup. But Crawford said Monday that he doesn’t think he needs to play for the Rockford IceHogs to get ready.

Prior to his injury, Crawford posted some of the best numbers of his career with a .929 save percentage and 2.27 goals-against average and a 16-9-2 record. He was placed on injured reserve Dec. 27 with an undisclosed upper-body injury. The Sun-Times later reported he was experiencing vertigo-like symptoms. In February, he participated in a morning skate with the team in Arizona, but was later shut down for the rest of the season.

The Hawks currently have three goalies on their roster with Crawford, Cam Ward and Anton Forsberg. Ward, 34, who was signed to a one-year deal worth $3 million in July, is expected to be Chicago’s top netminder until Crawford returns. The 25-year-old Forsberg will have to clear waivers to be assigned to the AHL.