Corey Crawford has been absent for the first three days of training camp 2.0 after being ruled "unfit" to practice by the Blackhawks, but there could be some positive news on the horizon.
If all goes well, there's a chance Crawford could join the team for Phase 3 by early next week, NBC Sports Chicago has learned.
The NHL and NHL Players' Association mutually agreed to keep all injury and medical information private during Phases 3 and 4 out of respect for the player, so it wouldn't be fair to speculate on what's keeping him sidelined. But a potential Crawford return would obviously change things dramatically for the Blackhawks as they prepare for the 2019-20 NHL restart.
Having said that, there would still be several hurdles for Crawford to overcome before he is actually ready for game action. Every practice is crucial, especially for goaltenders, who usually need extra time to get both their conditioning and timing right, and it's unclear how much he skated during Phase 2 of voluntary workouts.
The Blackhawks leave for Edmonton in nine days, battle the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in their lone exhibition game in 12 days and will suit up for Game 1 of the qualifying round against the Oilers in 15 days.
Would that be enough time for Crawford to get up to speed? It would be an awfully tight window, but the Blackhawks' only chance at making a playoff run is if No. 50 is between the pipes.