“Corey underwent a successful appendectomy today in Philadelphia,” Blackhawks head team physician Dr. Michael Terry said. “We anticipate a full recovery and for Corey to return to unrestricted hockey activities in two to three weeks.”
Head coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t aware of the exact details and couldn’t say if Crawford’s appendix had burst, but the injury will put the spotlight on backup netminder Scott Darling for a period of seven to 10 games.
“He’s the best goalie in the League; him and Carey Price, you can put them in a category by themselves,” said Darling. “He brings it every night. He’s been great all year. And he’s just a great guy. Just one of the boys. We missed him in the room today for sure.”
Darling took the start against the Flyers on Saturday, as Crawford developed appendicitis mere hours before the contest and was taken to an area hospital for treatment. The 27-year-old backup allowed three goals in a loss to Philadelphia.
Crawford, meanwhile, had been off to a good start in the 2016-2017 season. He’s 12-6-2 in 20 games, with a 2.27 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. He’s posted two shutouts thus far.
Darling is 4-1-1 across eight games, with a 2.81 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.
Quenneville says that Darling has the full faith of the franchise right now and will receive the start against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.
23-year-old Eric Semborski was signed to an amateur tryout contract. The Blackhawks are up against the salary cap, so the former Temple University player was tagged in the backup spot for Saturday’s action. Semborski wasn’t paid for his efforts and got the call less than two hours before puck drop.
“We knew we’re pressed against the cap, so we had our hockey ops looking for a goalie that’s not a professional and doesn’t have any money tied to them so they wouldn’t be counted [against] the cap, so that was a factor,” Quenneville said. “That’s why Jimmy [Waite] didn’t get a chance to play today.”
The Blackhawks are currently 16-7-3 on the season, good for first in the Central Division.