Marcus Kruger is close to returning but Daniel Carcillo may face left-knee surgery as the Chicago Blackhawks held another optional practice on Wednesday afternoon.
It's unlikely that Kruger will play on Thursday, when the Blackhawks host the Minnesota Wild. But coach Joel Quenneville said there's a chance that Kruger could be ready for the weekend. The Blackhawks play the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Quenneville said there's a chance that Carcillo will have surgery. Carcillo suffered his knee injury when he hit Edmonton defenseman Tom Gilbert on Jan. 2. Carcillo is currently serving the seven-game suspension he was assessed for that hit.
Ray Emery will start against the Wild on Thursday.
Corey Crawford was officially activated from injured reserve on Thursday and will start in goal for the first time since Dec. 23, 2017 when the Blackhawks host the Arizona Coyotes.
"It’s exciting," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I’m sure he’s looking forward to it and we’re all excited about it as well. It’ll be a fun situation for the guys, seeing him back in the net as well. So we’re looking for everyone to be excited about tonight’s game."
The two-time Stanley Cup champion was medically cleared to practice from his concussion on Oct. 1, but the Blackhawks wanted to give Crawford as much time as he needed to get his conditioning and puck-tracking skills up to game speed before putting him into game action.
"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said on Wednesday. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. It was a pretty long process. ... Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."
To make room for Crawford on the 23-man roster, the Blackhawks have assigned forward Luke Johnson to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Brandon Saad, who wore a white healthy scratch jersey all week at practice, will take his spot in the lineup.
For now, the Blackhawks will hang on to Anton Forsberg and carry three goaltenders as insurance as they get ready to start a seven-games-in-11-days stretch.
Crawford was 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals against average, .929 save percentage and two shutouts in 28 games last season. The Blackhawks were 17-30-8 without him and finished last in the Central Division.
Jimmy Greenfield, Connor McKnight, and Matt Spiegel join Kap on the panel to discuss Corey Crawford back on the ice for the first time in 10 months. The Bears have good news when it comes to Khalil Mack, who injured his ankle against the Dolphins.
Plus, Fred Hoiberg announces that Jabari Parker is coming off the bench for the season opener.
Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: