Jonathan Toews’ response to Corey Crawford question fuels uncertainty

Will anyone just say, even vaguely, what’s going on here?

The last time Corey Crawford stepped on the ice for the Blackhawks was over three weeks ago, and in that time, we’ve learned nothing about why he’s not playing or when he’ll come back. But on Sunday, captain Jonathan Toews offered a bit of a peculiar response when asked about the goalie’s situation.

“We’re always concerned about our teammates first, and then our team second,” Toews said, via the Daily Herald’s John Dietz. “Crow knows he’s trying to get better. He’s one of those guys that we know we can rely upon as a person, as a teammate.

”He’ll do what he can to get himself better, so he can get back to playing and get back and help our team.”

Well, that’s at least a response of sorts.

We don’t have any inkling of exactly what Crawford is dealing with, but these comments add fuel to the idea that it isn’t exactly a standard injury situation. Whatever’s going on, apparently the bigger priority is his own health, which suggests this could be a more complicated matter than the team is letting on.

Crawford didn’t leave the Dec. 23 game against the Devils as a result of a big hit or anything, so fans have been left in the dark regarding what he’s dealing with. Could it be a head injury? Or is it something personal going on outside of hockey? The team’s lack of transparency and comments like these from the team captain don’t exactly silence the concerns.

As Toews said, the top priority here is obviously for Crawford to recover from whatever’s ailing him. He’s signed through 2020 on a deal with a $6 million cap hit and a partial no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to up to 21 teams each season. He’s required to give the Blackhawks a list of 10 approved teams if requested, per The Athletic.

Still, this situation has gotten undeniably weird, and even the reporters covering the team haven’t uncovered anything publicly about what’s going on. The team may have very good reasons for its reticence, but it’ll be compelled to say something sooner or later because the fans are getting antsy.