The Chicago Blackhawks are tied with the Anaheim Ducks for the best record in the NHL, but maintaining at least a share of the President’s Trophy lead is about to become much more difficult for the defending Stanley Cup champs.
Head coach Joel Quenneville announced on Tuesday that starting goaltender Corey Crawford will miss two-to-three weeks with a lower-body injury.
Quenneville, on whether Kent Simpson is a long-term solution with Crawford out 2-3 weeks: "We'll see. He deserves a chance." #Blackhawks—
Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 10, 2013
Crawford suffered the injury during the first period of Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers. He is 17-6-3 with a .907 save percentage and a 2.47 GAA in 27 games played this season.
Complicating matters for Chicago is that veteran backup Nikolai Khabibulin is also unable to play with a lower-body injury, which may force Quenneville to start talented youngster Antti Raanta. The 24-year-old Finnish goalie hasn’t lost in regulation yet (3-0-1), but his lack of experience (four career NHL games) is certainly a concern. The Blackhawks may also use 21-year-old rookie Kent Simpson in a backup role after he recently joined the roster.