On the eve of training camp, the most important storyline surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks has reportedly moved one step closer to a positive ending.
Scott Powers of The Athletic reported Crawford is expected to take the ice Friday morning for the start of training camp. Earlier in the day, NBC Sports Chicago’s Pat Boyle reported Crawford was back “on the ice last week for the first time since last February and that it went well.” Powers added that Crawford didn’t handle any shots or pucks last week.
In limited action last season, Crawford was putting up some of his best career numbers, sporting a .929 save percentage and 2.27 goals-against average with a 16-9-2 record for a team that was hovering around the playoff picture. But after Crawford went down with an apparent upper-body injury around Christmas, he didn’t play again. The season went south from there, with the Blackhawks missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
However, a return to the ice does not necessarily mean that Crawford is 100 percent healthy, nor does it guarantee he’ll be ready for the first game of the regular season on Oct. 4 against the Ottawa Senators.
But returning to the ice — without any setbacks in the days after — was one of the biggest obstacles in Crawford’s way and a bar he never cleared last season.