Blackhawks' Corey Crawford 'should be ready to go' for training camp

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comBlackhawks Corey Crawford signs autographs for the fans after returning from missing half the season last year. He was in town for the 11th annual Blackhawks Convention in Chicago on Friday.

    Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comBlackhawks Corey Crawford signs autographs for the fans after returning from missing half the season last year. He was in town for the 11th annual Blackhawks Convention in Chicago on Friday.

 
 
Updated 9/7/2018 6:52 AM

Good news, Chicago Blackhawks fans: It appears that goalie Corey Crawford will be ready when the team opens training camp next Friday at MB Ice Arena.

General manager Stan Bowman told the Daily Herald that Crawford "should be ready to go" and team president and CEO John McDonough added that "we're optimistic." Both men were attending a news conference at the United Center on Thursday for the 2019 Winter Classic in which the Hawks will take on the Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium on Jan. 1.

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Crawford, who has been on injured reserve since Dec. 27, admitted he was not 100 percent at the team's convention in late July and there was concern he wouldn't be ready for camp.

"We're making small steps," Crawford said. "I'm getting a little better. It's a process. It's been a process since I left in December."

Now, though, it appears the Hawks will have their No. 1 goaltender on the ice in time for their first practice, which is set for 10 a.m. next Friday at the United Center.

McDonough said Crawford has been "working out on a regular basis."

While Crawford's on-time arrival would be great news for Joel Quenneville and Co., it hardly means the Hawks suddenly are a Stanley Cup contender. After all, even when Crawford finally faces an NHL opponent, it will be his first game action since Dec. 23.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Can he be the top-of-the-line goaltender we all remember from the past few years? It's tough to say, but NHL Network's Kevin Weekes a former goalie himself -- cautioned fans about getting too optimistic when I talked to him in late July.

"He's got a long road ahead of him," Weekes said. "You know and I know the NHL talent doesn't wait on anybody.

"Am I worried? I wouldn't say I'm worried.

"But I know him and (goaltending coach) Jimmy Waite certainly have their work cut out for them. And I'm sure they know that. They know it'll be a long road back, trying to regain his health, No. 1.

"But (also) his feel, his confidence, his situational awareness, his reads, his depth perception. Goalie is a very feel-intuitive (position)."

• Follow John on Twitter @johndietzdh

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