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Crawford 'not at 100 percent yet' for Blackhawks after upper-body injury

Goalie encouraged by progress, says 'really good chance' he's ready by training camp

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Corey Crawford is not completely healed from the upper-body injury that caused him to miss the final 47 games last season, but the Chicago Blackhawks goalie said Friday he's hoping to be 100 percent when training camp begins in September.

 

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"I am feeling pretty good right now," Crawford said at the Blackhawks Convention. "I am not at 100 percent yet. But we've come a long way in the last couple months, and I worked really hard to do whatever I can to get better."

Asked if he'd be ready for camp, Crawford said, "That's hard to say right now, but it's very possible. We've come a long way in the last couple months, and there's a really good chance that could happen.

"Treatments are going well and we're making small steps and I'm getting a little better, so it's a process," Crawford said. "It's been a process since I left in December. It hasn't been easy, but I'll be back."

Video: CHI@NJD: Crawford denies Noesen on a breakaway

Crawford, 33, was 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. He last played Dec. 23, allowing three goals on seven shots in a 4-1 loss at the New Jersey Devils.

Crawford would not say what the injury is.

"We can't disclose that, and I ask you just to respect that," he said. "There's been a lot of rumors and people tend to do that speculation, that's normal, but we're not going to discuss any of that."

Crawford said he is focused on getting back to 100 percent and is hopeful it will happen soon.

"Right now, it's just time," he said. "Injuries, they come with time, and for me it was just that. Right now, we're looking good. We've done a lot to get where I'm at right now, and I'm feeling good and hopefully I can get to a point soon where I can jump back on the ice."

Coach Joel Quenneville said he expects Crawford to be the starter when the Blackhawks open their season at the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4.

"He gets counted out a lot of times, doesn't get the accolades as a goalie who's proven he can win at that elite level," Quenneville said. "We all believe in Crow and we know he's excited about getting ready and being the Crow we've always seen."

Crawford has not been on the ice since the morning skate before the Blackhawks played at the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 12.

"I mean, getting back on the ice isn't a big deal right now," goaltending coach Jimmy Waite said. "We're still six weeks away from camp. If he can get on the ice a couple of weeks before camp, maybe the first week he'll be rusty, but it comes back quick. He'll be ready. I'm not worried about him."

In Crawford's absence, the Blackhawks struggled to win with their backup goaltenders. Anton Forsberg, 25, was 10-16-4 (2.97 GAA, .908 save percentage), Jeff Glass, 32, went 3-7-3 (3.36 GAA, .898 save percentage), J-F Berube, 27, was 3-6-1 (3.78 GAA, .894 save percentage) and Collin Delia, 24, was 2-1-1 (3.96 GAA, .889 save percentage).

Chicago signed goalie Cam Ward to a one-year contract July 1. Ward is 318-244-84 with a 2.70 GAA and .909 save percentage in 668 NHL games, all with the Carolina Hurricanes. Last season, the 34-year-old was 23-14-4 with a 2.73 GAA and .906 save percentage.

"That's why we got Cam," Waite said. "We're very happy with our goalies. Anton did very well under the circumstances last year. It wasn't an easy situation for him to come in. I thought he did a decent job. It's just healthy competition to have goalies pushing each other for the job, and it's only good for the team."

Video: CHI@DAL: Crawford stones Janmark with heads-up play

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