Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford broke his silence Monday at MB Ice Arena when he spoke to the media for the first time since his concussion in December.
Crawford said he feels “great” and “back to normal” after being sidelined since Dec. 16, when his head hit the left goalpost during a collision in the first period against San Jose at the United Center.
Crawford — who practiced for the second time in three days Monday — did say he experienced “a few similar symptoms,” but not to the degree of last season that caused him to miss 47 games and 10 months.
“It was obviously a little bit quicker,” he said. ”It was nice to not wait that long. But I don’t know what to say, it’s just try to stay patient, try and be confident that it won’t last long. It’s nice that it’s back to normal.”
“I’ve been working out pretty hard the last week or so,” he said. “I think I’m in good shape right now. This was the first full practice, but I felt better today seeing pucks than… Saturday. Just keep going. Hopefully, nothing trickles back and I can just feel good from here on.”
Despite many people believing he might need to retire after suffering his second concussion in less than a year, Crawford wasn’t thinking about that.
“No, not at all,” he said. ”I was gonna come back as soon as I felt 100 percent. I’m not worried about that. It is what it is. Some guys have to do deal with other injuries, it’s just what I had to deal with. I feel good, I feel ready, just going to work our way back into the lineup.”
Prior to his head injury, Crawford was 6-14-2 with a 3.28 goals-against average and .902 save percentage in 23 games. He missed the first five games of the season as he was working his way back from his first concussion.
In Crawford’s absence, Cam Ward and Collin Delia have shared the starting netminder duties, and have helped the Blackhawks climb within four points of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
On Jan. 6, general manager Stan Bowman said “if (Crawford is) medically cleared to play, then he’ll play again.”
“I don’t know, it’s pretty tough to jump in right now,” Crawford said. ”Deals and Wardo have been playing so well, we’re on a pretty good streak right now. Obviously, I would jump in the net right away, but honestly we haven’t really discussed that at this point.
“We’re just trying to figure out days when I could practice with the team and kind of get timing back. That’ll come hopefully sooner than later.”