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Crawford practices, unsure of return date with Blackhawks

Goalie, who sustained concussion Dec. 16, feels 'back to normal'

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Corey Crawford had his first full practice with the Chicago Blackhawks in nearly two months on Monday, but the veteran goalie wasn't sure when he will return to the lineup.

"I feel great, back to normal," Crawford said after the 30-minute practice at MB Ice Arena. "It's nice to get back on the ice and practice with everyone and yeah, I'm feeling good. That's the most important thing right now."

Crawford has been out since sustaining a concussion in the Blackhawks 7-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks at United Center on Dec. 16. The 34-year-old was injured at 18:30 of the first period when Sharks forward Evander Kane collided with Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome, who crashed into Crawford. Kane received a penalty for goaltender interference on the play.

Feeling healthier, Crawford increased his workouts the past week and says he is in good shape.

"I would jump in the net right away, but honestly, we haven't really discussed that at this point," Crawford said. "We're just trying to figure out days when we can practice with the team and getting the timing back. Hopefully that (return to the lineup) will come sooner than later, but right now, it's just practicing."

Video: SJS@CHI: Crawford departs following collision in net

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said Crawford will not travel to Boston, where the Blackhawks play the Bruins at TD Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m., ET; NBCSN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NESN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV), but that his full practice was a positive.

"He hasn't done that yet, so that's good," Colliton said.

Crawford is 6-14-2 with a 3.28 goals-against average, .902 save percentage and one shutout this season. 

He missed 47 games last season and the first five games of this season with symptoms from a concussion he sustained against the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 23, 2017. He said he had some similar symptoms this time but is grateful that he's feeling better much sooner.

"Just try to be patient, try to be confident that it won't last long and it's been nice that it's back to normal," Crawford said. "I'll just keep going. Hopefully nothing trickles back and I can just feel good from here on."

Goalies Cam Ward and Collin Delia have shared duties with Crawford sidelined. Ward is 11-8-4 with a 3.67 GAA and .895 save percentage in 24 games this season. Delia, who agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Blackhawks on Monday, is 6-2-3 with a 2.98 GAA and .923 save percentage in 12 games.

Chicago (23-24-9) has won seven straight games and is four points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

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