If you have been following the Chicago Blackhawks in training camp then you are well aware that the goaltending situation for the Blackhawks has looked rather dire. Not knowing that they would be entered into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in an unprecedented 24 team playoff format, the Blackhawks made the decision to trade goaltender Robin Lehner to the Las Vegas Golden Knights prior to the National Hockey League's trade deadline, leaving them with goaltender Corey Crawford as their starter following that deal. The move was a perfectly reasonable one at the time but given the situation the Blackhawks found themselves in at training camp the move appeared to be a regrettable one.
That has been due in large part to the fact that Crawford has so far been entirely absent during the Blackhawks training camp, but on Friday night we began to hear the early rumblings of some potentially good news for the Blackhawks. Sportsnet NHL insider Mark Spector was the first to break the news when he revealed that, in spite of never participating for even a single minute in camp, Crawford had been placed on the Blackhawks 31 player list for the bubble in Phase 4. This was an indication that Crawford would at least be on hand with his teammates which appeared to open the possibility that he could play, but the likelihood of that has now increased exponentially.
Despite missing nearly the entire training camp on Saturday morning the Blackhawks got a very welcomed sight on the ice, the return of the aforementioned Corey Crawford. It is unclear at this time what kind of condition Crawford is in or even why he was forced to miss the start of the organization's training camp, but the fact that he is on the ice and heading into the bubble may be an indication that the Blackhawks will in fact have their #1 goaltender for the upcoming Qualifying Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Thanks to Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Chicago we now that Crawford was skating with his teammates and even faced some shots while warming up before the practice. Obviously these are all terrific signs for the Blackhawks, stay tuned for more on this developing story.