This is one of those obvious assertions that can be lost in the midst of a bad break for a team, but the Chicago Blackhawks cannot let Corey Crawford‘s injury become one that could cause the entire team to collapse like the Marian Hossa injury did to them in the 2012 playoffs, or what the Derrick Rose injury did to the Chicago Bulls that same year.
There is no doubt that Crawford is a vital part of the Blackhawks as he helped them to their second Stanley Cup championship in three years in 2013, but the Blackhawks must soldier on — for however long it takes for him to recover.
To their credit, the Blackhawks handily beat a struggling Florida Panthers team, so at least in the short term, Crawford’s injury may not be of huge concern and the Blackhawks might be able to soldier on without him. Still, it’s best to make it clear early on that Crawford’s lower-body injury should not in any way impact the team.
It became obvious that rookie Antti Raanta would have to go through a trial by fire as the Hawks’ starter for the time being. Judging by his play against the Panthers — aside from giving up two goals and a major helmet-losing scare thanks to Dylan Olsen — the former SM-liiga MVP will be up for the challenge. He is 3-0-1 now after making 29 saves against the Panthers.
Of course, this might also be a good opportunity for the Hawks’ defense to make the necessary adjustments after struggling for much of the year. What better way to give their rookie goaltender some confidence than good defense? No, really, the defense does need to get its act together, but the Hawks’ penalty kill managed to recover in this game. So again, there is good news.
If it will make things any easier, the Hawks are not yet in the playoffs, and judging by how bad Crawford’s injury is, he might not be out for very long. Of course, this is merely speculation, but it never hurts to be optimistic.
But, it also helps that the Blackhawks have soldiered on while their other leaders were injured. Jonathan Toews was out with a concussion for a few weeks back in 2012 and they were able to move on. For their part, there doesn’t seem to be any panic among the Blackhawks, so that also bodes well. It seems as if they know they’ll have to deal without Crawford for a while.
That attitude will be vital as the season goes on. It’s unsure how long Crawford will be out, so until he comes back, the Blackhawks will have to stay focused and not let it get to them.