Corey Crawford was absent Monday when the Chicago Blackhawks practiced for the first time since the NHL season was suspended, casting doubt on the goaltender's availability for their qualifying series against Edmonton.
The 35-year-old Crawford was “unfit to play or to participate,” coach Jeremy Colliton said — sticking closely to the league's strict language for discussing missing players in the COVID-19 world. There was no further word on Crawford's situation.
The potential loss of Crawford is a big blow as the Blackhawks prepare for the Oilers and their high-scoring duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Game 1 of their best-of-five series is Aug. 1 at the NHL hub in Edmonton.
Malcolm Subban, Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen each will get a long look in goal while Crawford is away from the team. The Blackhawks also have Matt Tomkins on their training camp roster.
“At the end, we’re going to have to make a decision, but we want those guys to make it as difficult as possible,” Colliton said.
Crawford was in net when Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015. He is 48-37 with a .919 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against average in 87 career playoff appearances.
Subban, Delia, Lankinen and Tomkins have played a total of 84 NHL games with no postseason appearances. The Blackhawks had Robin Lehner on the roster before he was traded to Vegas in February in a deal that brought back the 26-year-old Subban.
“The way we are handling this is, you know, we’re looking at the guys that are here and ready to play,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “And when Corey is in that group, then we can talk about Corey. But the focus today was to get ourselves back going. And we’ve got four goaltenders here.”
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.