The Blackhawks are hopeful Corey Crawford will be able to return.
Crawford, who has not yet been seen at the Blackhawks’ summer training camp, has been labeled both “unfit to participate” and “unfit to play.”
“We are hopeful on that,” general manager Bowman said Tuesday of the goaltender’s ability to join the team in time to travel to Edmonton for the qualifying round against the Oilers. “We’ll be able to give you a better idea toward the end of the weekend. It’s something we’re still shooting for, but I don’t have a definitive comment. Still hoping that’s the case.”
The 31-man roster the Blackhawks will have traveling to Edmonton must be finalized Sunday, and players are not allowed to join later, excepting emergency circumstances.
The Blackhawks have four goaltenders in camp, including Malcolm Subban, Kevin Lankinen, Collin Delia and Matt Tomkins. They’ve continued to rotate the top three for the starting job with Crawford out.
Day 1: Subban/Delia
Day 2: Subban/Lankinen
Day 3: Delia/Lankinen
Day 4: Subban/Delia
Day 5: Subban/Lankinen
Day 6: Delia/Lankinen
Day 7: Subban/Delia
Day 8: Subban/Lankinen
Crawford, however, is expected to be the starter should he join the team any time before departure.
“At this point, nothing’s been ruled out,” Bowman said. “We still have a fair amount of time before Aug. 1 and the first game. We’re not thinking that far ahead right now. We’re really here day to day. Right now he’s not here, so we’re focused on the other four goalies. If and when Crawford’s ready, we’ll have that conversation. I think it’s best to stick with where we are today and not jump too far ahead.”
Crawford was 16-20-3 with a 2.77 goals-against average, and among goalies to play at least 40 games this season, he was tied for fifth in the NHL with a .917 save percentage this season.
Even if Crawford has not been on ice before Sunday, it would not be strange for the Blackhawks to include him in the 31-man roster if he can be expected to participate at all. The Blackhawks will have room for three goalies, and one of them should be Crawford, barring any looming extenuating circumstances.