Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman believes his star goaltender Corey Crawford will play again after suffering his second known concussion in less than a year.
Bowman told Scott Powers of The Athletic on Sunday night that “if he’s medically cleared to play, then he’ll play.”
Crawford missed 47 games last season with a concussion that occurred in December 2017. He didn’t make his season debut until Oct. 18, 2018.
The Blackhawks placed Crawford on injured reserve Dec. 17, 2018, after sustaining a concussion the night before following a collision in the crease. His head hit the goalpost after teammate Dylan Strome pushed him over while chasing down a loose puck as San Jose forward Evander Kane appeared to push Strome into Crawford.
The goaltender skated off the ice with head athletic trainer Mike Gapski and did not return after the injury.
Bowman stressed that the team cares about Crawford “as a person and a hockey player,” and that he’s “hopeful” Crawford is “feeling better.” It’s Bowman’s first public comment about Crawford’s status since the latest concussion.
Bowman remained silent for almost five months during Crawford’s first concussion before saying at the team’s season-ending press conference he expected him to return to his old form.
Chicago head coach Jeremy Colliton has taken a back seat approach to monitoring Crawford’s status.
Colliton said he had no update on Crawford: "I kind of take the tack, I know they're in the concussion protocol, when they're improving, I'll hear about it. Until then, I'm not going to ask. Having been through that myself, I don't need to be in the kitchen every day."— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) December 20, 2018
On Dec. 23, Colliton said Crawford was at the team’s morning skate, but he didn’t talk to him. When Crawford became eligible to return from IR on Dec. 27, Colliton said he expects the goalie to play once he returns. It was the first public mention from Colliton, or anyone within the Blackhawks organization, believed Crawford would play again as many speculated his career could be over.
One week later at a press conference before the WInter Classic at Notre Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, Colliton said “nothing’s changed as far as improvement.”
The Blackhawks have gone 6-2-1 since Crawford’s injury, including putting together their first three-game winning streak of the season.