Blackhawks fans everywhere collectively exhaled when two-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Corey Crawford led the Hawks onto the ice for warmups before Game 1 of the Blackhawks-Oilers qualifying round series in Edmonton, signifying he'd be the starting goalie for Chicago, on Saturday afternoon after recovering from COVID-19.
For most of Chicago's Phase 3 training camp it was a bit of a question mark as to if Crawford would even make the trip to the Western Conference's hub city.
The 35-year-old netminder missed the first 12 days of camp, and didn't appear to participate in the team's Phase 2 small group voluntary workouts leading up to camp, but returned last Saturday — when the Blackhawks held their final practice in Chicago before traveling to Edmonton for the NHL's 24-team postseason tournament — to join the team for some drills and to participate in a scrimmage before going in early.
Following last Saturday's practice, Crawford revealed that he had been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and quarantined at his home in Chicago before joining the team.
According to Hawks head coach Jeremy Colliton, Crawford joined Chicago for all of their practices in Edmonton. On Wednesday, he played half of the Blackhawks' lone exhibition game ahead of the tournament against the St. Louis Blues, remaining in net for half the game and saving all 11 shots he faced to help the Hawks to a 4-0 victory.