Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford will make his first start in 10 months Thursday (7:30 p.m., NBCSCH) against the Coyotes at the United Center.
The Hawks have been targeting this game for a couple of weeks. On Wednesday, Crawford all but made it certain he would be ready to play for the first time since his season ended on Dec. 23 because of a concussion.
But Crawford and the team preferred to wait until Wholesale nhl jerseys
after today’s morning skate before declaring he was ready to return from the concussion-related symptoms that continued to affect him as recently as last month.
“I’m sure he’s looking forward to it,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’ll be a fun situation for the guys, seeing him back in the net as well. So we’re looking for everyone to be excited about tonight’s game.”
The Blackhawks are 3-0-2 to start the season with goalie Cam Ward playing in all five games. Despite the positive start, Ward has allowed 21 goals, most in the NHL, with a 4.07 goals-against-average and .879 save percentage. Among goalies who have played in four or more games this season, only Boston’s Tuukka Rask (4.08) has a higher goals-against-average. Ward’s numbers eventually would catch up to the Hawks if they hope to compete for a playoff spot.
The Hawks start a stretch where they play 3 games in 4 days, and 7 over the next 11. Just how often Crawford will be able to play during this span and beyond is yet to be determined.
“We’re fortunate that it’s this early,” Quenneville said. “We have a big stretch of games in front of us right now. We’ll see how he’s handling it in selecting his starts.”
To make room for Crawford the Hawks sent forward Luke Johnson to Rockford, the team announced. They chose to keep Anton Forsberg, a third goalie, on the active roster.