Corey Crawford's potential return to game action took another baby step when the goalie took part in portions of morning skate before the Blackhawks were blown out 6-1 at Arizona on Monday.
Crawford told reporters he "felt pretty good" after taking a few shots from teammates, as well as working on drills before and after the skate.
Scouting reportBlackhawks vs. Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena, 9 p.m. Tuesday
Radio: WGN 720-AM
The skinny: Vegas, well on its way to becoming the first NHL expansion team in the modern era to reach the playoffs, is 19-4-2 at home and owns the third-best goal differential in the league. … Through Sunday, Willilam Karlsson was tied for third with 29 goals and James Neal was tied for 14th with 24. … Vegas is 8-5-2 since beating the Hawks 5-4 on Jan. 5. The Hawks led that game 4-3 early in the third period, but the Golden Knights prevailed thanks to goals by Cody Eakin and Reilly Smith. Eakin has not scored since that game. … Marc-Andre Fleury (16-6-2) is second in save percentage (.932) and goals-against average (2.07). Fleury, though, has allowed 3 or more goals in four straight starts.
Next: Anaheim Ducks at United Center, 7:30 p.m. Thursday
-- John Dietz
Coach Joel Quenneville shed no light on when -- or if -- Crawford could suit up and play for the Hawks this season.
"It's still too early to say," Quenneville said.
Crawford, who was reportedly out with vertigo or concussion symptoms, hasn't played since Dec. 23 at New Jersey. The Hawks are 7-11-3 without Crawford and 10 points out of the second wild-card spot.
With the hole that deep, it might make sense to shut Crawford down until next season, but he bristled at that suggestion.
"First of all, our team always has a chance every game," said Crawford, who is 16-9-2 this season. "You never count this team out. ...
"We've gone through streaks before. No one has doubt that we can go on another streak and fire off a bunch of wins and put ourselves in a (playoff) position. No question about that at all."
Give Crawford credit for being optimistic, but the Hawks (24-24-8) couldn't even come close to beating a Coyotes team that has the worst record in the NHL. They were down 1-0 after 92 seconds, 2-0 after 9:22 and 3-1 at 7:06 of the second period after Alex Goligoski snuck a puck past Anton Forsberg from a ridiculously bad angle.
Forsberg had a seat after stopping just 10 of 13 shots. Jeff Glass came in and allowed 3 goals on 9 shots as the Hawks lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
Alex DeBrincat scored the Hawks' only goal. It was his 20th of the season and it came on the power play.
"Sometimes it looks like (we're) almost getting there or an almost block or almost clear or almost completed rebound -- and those 'almosts' could turn into getting the job done," Quenneville said. "That's the difference. Finding a way to get it done."
As for Crawford, he was not asked how or when he was injured. As for if it's been frustrating alternating from good days to bad days and not having a timetable for a return, he said: "I don't want to get into any of that. Right now we're just trying to be positive and trying to look forward and see what comes."
Before back-to-back rough outings against the Stars on Dec. 21 and the Devils two days later, Crawford had gone 9-0-2 in his previous 11 starts and was on many people's short list for the Vezina Trophy, which goes to the league's best goaltender.
Crawford still believes he'll be back this season, saying "it's still looking good," but, like Quenneville, he wouldn't put a time frame on anything.
"I would say it takes some time to see shots and stuff," Crawford said. "It's a process right now to go through everything and to get to a point where I can get into a game. …
"Our trainers have been great for me. (So have GM) Stan (Bowman), the organization, all the guys. I want to get back playing, but it's a process to get there."