Yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks announced that backup goaltender Ray Emery would get the start tonight at the United Center for the team's bout against the San Jose Sharks. Starting netminder, Corey Crawford, has earned a heavy workload thus far in the season, making the Emery announcement yesterday less than riveting news. Coach Joel Quenneville usually finds some rest for Crawford by giving Emery a start here or there, so this simply appeared to Emery's turn.
However, no one in the media has seen Crawford since yesterday's practice. This morning, the Blackhawks recalled recently-acquired goalie Henrik Karlsson from the Rockford IceHogs. What is going on?
The explanation could be something as simple as the flu, or a family/personal issue. Any guesses as to why Crawford has seemingly disappeared from public view in the last 24 hours surely are speculation, but the lack of any other information is intriguing. If the reasons are simple, then why wouldn't the Blackhawks simply report the situation, in order to be the ones breaking the "story?" If the worst case scenario is true, and Crawford suffered some sort of freak injury, why sit on the information and allow the media to find out elsewhere?
Truly, nothing seems to quite add up at this point. All we know is that the Hawks have added a goalie to their roster, Ray Emery is starting tonight, Corey Crawford is nowhere to be seen and the Blackhawks have provided no insight into the situation as of yet. Perhaps the Robert Luongo trade is in the works? I doubt it. For any of you secretly hoping for that, Crawford has been playing at a high level, and making an unnecessary move for a polarizing goalie from a rival team does not make any sense right now.
Whatever is going on, one would hope for Crawford to return to the ice as quickly as possible. The goalie has been fantastic thus far in the season, answering a number of questions critics had about him entering this year. In 2013, Crawford is 7-0-3 with a .935 save percentage, a 1.65 goals against average and one shutout. Questions answered.
The Blackhawks certainly do not want their starting goaltender to lose any confidence or momentum that he has earned with the start that he has had. Crawford is playing like the goalie that the Hawks need to make an impact in the playoffs, so its fair to say Crawford needs to get back on the ice as soon as possible in order to continue this spectacular start. Sure, if there was a serious issue with him, he could still come back just as strong, but thats something no Hawk fan should feel comfortable enduring right now. The team is rolling, and I would like to see it continue to do so.
So, the question remains: where is Corey Crawford?