The Chicago Blackhawks got more good news today as The Athletic Scott Powers reports that head coach Joel Quenneville said that goaltender Corey Crawford could practice with the team as early as Monday.
Crawford who has been out since Dec. 23 of last year with concussion symptoms said earlier this offseason that he likely wouldn’t be ready when the regular season begins as the symptoms have still affected him. That has been the case, but if Crawford is close to returning to practice, that could be a good boost for the team, knowing that he’s not far off to returning to game action, even if its a few weeks into the season.
The 33-year-old Crawford was having a solid season before going down as he posted a 2.27 GAA and a .929 save percentage in 28 games. If he can come back and post anything close to that, the Blackhawks may be able to work their way back into playoff discussions this year.
- In a separate story, Powers (subscription required) interviewed three NHL scouts about individual players on the Chicago Blackhawks and while there are many interesting comments about different players, two scouts had nothing nice to say about Chicago winger Brandon Saad. “When he’s not playing with top guys, he doesn’t respect who he’s playing and he’s selfish,” a scout said. “He’ll try to carry it himself instead of moving the puck. When he gets frustrated, he shows it with his body language. They have to recognize that and have a talk with him. Whether they put him with one of the big guys, he’s got to have a better attitude.” A second scout was equally unimpressed. “I think Saad is a guy who plays for a contract. I’m not convinced that he’s a guy who plays for you every night.”
- Fox Sports’ Jon Rosen reports that Los Angeles Kings prospect center Gabriel Vilardi, who has missed the entire preseason after re-injuring his back this summer, was in full gear working out on the ice with head trainer Chris Kingsley. There is no timetable on his return. Rosen added that Vilardi will either start the season on IR or as an injured non-roster player. The 19-year-old still has one year of junior eligibility, but posted 52 points in just 32 games last year with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs and many feel could be ready to take on a key role with Los Angeles if he can put his back issues behind him.
- Adrian Dater of BSN Denver writes that winger Sven Andrighetto will miss two to four weeks with a foot injury. The 25-year-old is trying to force his way into the team’s top-six . He tallied eight goals and 22 points last year in a bottom-six role for the Avalanche.