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Crawford unsure when he'll join Blackhawks at practice

Goaltender dealing with concussion sustained last season

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Corey Crawford said he has no timetable for joining his teammates for practice at Chicago Blackhawks training camp as the goalie deals with the remaining symptoms from a concussion he sustained last season.

"Most of the [symptoms] are gone, but I'm not cleared yet," the 33-year-old said Friday. "Right now, I'm feeling pretty good. I've gotten better and better over the last couple of months and I was able to skate a few times over the last two weeks. I feel good on the ice as a goalie. But right now, I'm not ready to go yet."

Crawford worked on the ice with goaltending coach Jimmy Waite prior to Blackhawks practice. He took shots and did other drills for about 45 minutes.

"It feels like I didn't miss that much time compared to being out this long," Crawford said. "But I was moving pretty good. Jimmy had a bunch of drills for us to do. Overall, the ice time felt great.

"We're trying to ease the intensity, not try to rush things. We've done a great job with that lately and that's why it's hard to put a timeline to really know when I'm going to feel 100 percent. At the same time, the last couple of months have been a lot of progress."

Crawford (16-9-2, 2.27 goals-against average and .929 save percentage) missed the final 47 games of the season. He last played Dec. 23, allowing three goals on seven shots in a 4-1 loss at the New Jersey Devils. Crawford said he didn't sustain his concussion in that game but didn't specify when it happened.

He tried to come back last season and participated in the morning skate before the Blackhawks played at the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 12. But as the Blackhawks continued to struggle (they finished last in the Central Division at 33-39-10), they decided to focus on Crawford's long-term status.

"Things just kept getting progressively worse," Crawford said. "It just got to a point where it was time to sit out and things just never really got better. We thought we'd try it when I went to Arizona [in February]. We were at a point where we were close in the standings, and then it just got to where it just wasn't, it didn't seem like it was worth it when we started to slide. It was better off to think about the long term instead of try to rush back."

The Blackhawks open the season at the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4.

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