Corey Crawford misses Philadelphia game for appendectomy
Through seven games so far this season, Chicago Blackhawks backup Scott Darling has yet to lose in regulation. He’s gone 4-0-1 and recorded a .909 save percentage, standing backup to consensus team starter Corey Crawford.
That will change, though.
It was announced on Saturday morning, via NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman, that Crawford is undergoing an appendectomy in Philadelphia. The news came out just minutes after the team started their game against the Flyers – obviously, without Crawford in the lineup.
To replace him, Chicago inked former Temple University ACHA netminder Eric Semborski to an ATO, and he’ll sit as EBUG to Scott Darling during the game against their Eastern Conference foes. Semborski, 23, is wearing Crawford’s number – and while he likely won’t draw into the game, he’s still getting a chance to live the dream.
His feel-good story, though, is somewhat overshadowed by the grim position this puts Chicago in.
The Blackhawks rely heavily on ‘Crow’, their incumbent franchise number one since 2010. Depending on how long he’s out, this leaves the team relying on Darling – who is good, but certainly isn’t Crawford – to carry the club and maintain their first-place position in the Central Division until Crawford returns.
How long will that be, exactly?
Per Kimelman, the team won’t give a timetable until after the surgery has been performed, but it shouldn’t be longer than a few weeks. Former NHL goaltender Chris Mason quipped that he was barely given any time with his own recovery years ago:
Spent 3 days in hospital then a week later Rick Wamsley was blasting clappers at my stomach to see if I could take it. Haha Love that guy !! https://t.co/hIzcZlqHCI
— Chris Mason (@cmace30) December 3, 2016
Whether it’s a week or a month, though, it still leaves the Blackhawks without easily one of their best players. That, in itself, should hurt them – while they’ve managed to continue riding high this year, the loss of a key piece could easily be what causes them to crash back down to earth.
Through the first period of their Saturday afternoon game, Chicago leads 1-0 despite being outshot 16-6. One can only hope they’ll manage to keep up those kinds of odds for as long as Crawford is out.