Blackhawks' Corey Crawford 'needs time' after suffering concussion

CHICAGO -- The Blackhawks added another difficult question to their long list of problems when Corey Crawford suffered another concussion.

Suddenly, their goaltending situation is completely up in the air.

There was no update on Crawford's status a day after he was placed on injured reserve. The two-time All-Star got hurt in the first period of Sunday's 7-3 home loss to theSan Jose Sharkswhen the back of his head struck the right post during a scary goalmouth pileup.

"He just needs time to get better," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Collitonsaid Tuesday. "Obviously, you feel for him and want him, first of all as a person, just get back to 100 percent as quick as he can. Until then, we'll keep battling."

Crawford, who helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015, also missed most of last season and the start of this campaign because of a concussion. The pair of head injuries in a relatively short time period raises questions about whether he'll even play again.

"It looks rough, how he hit his head on the post," Chicago defenseman Connor Murphy said, "especially a guy like that who battled so hard to come back and was such a big part of our team. To me, he was our best player. ... Hopefully, he's back soon."

Collin Delia was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis when Crawford went on IR. Cam Wardstarted Tuesday night against theNashville Predatorsand had 30 saves in Chicago's 2-1 home win.

The 24-year-old Delia began last season in the ECHL before being promoted to Rockford and then making his NHL debut in March. He went 1-1 in two starts with Chicago.

"Just the adversity that I went through last season, starting in the ECHL and kind of working my way up, it's a huge character-building moment for me," Delia said. "I had to see where my game was at, see if this was something that I could take to the next level. I think I kind of proved to myself and teammates, coaches, staff that I had the capabilities."

Crawford's concussion is another tough blow for last-place Chicago, which missed the playoffs last season for the first time in a decade. Longtime coach Joel Quenneville was fired on Nov. 6, but the Blackhawks went 4-13-3 in their first 20 games under Colliton.

The Blackhawks also will be without one of their top defensemen for a while after they decided to loan Henri Jokiharju to Finland for the upcoming world junior championship. The 19-year-old Jokiharju has no goals and 11 assists in 32 games in his first NHL season. The international competition runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"It's a great opportunity, we think, for him, but also for our team," Colliton said. "We're thinking about what kind of player he's going to be months down the road and in years down the road. It's a chance for him to go there and be one of if not the top player, one of the top players, and help lead them to success."

On the same night the Blackhawks welcomed back forward Artem Anisimov(concussion) and defenseman Gustav Forsling(shoulder), they lost forwardMarcus Kruger with 3:29 left in the second period Tuesday when he got hit in the face by an inadvertent elbow from Nashville's Ryan Hartman. Kruger crawled on the ice for a bit before he made it to the bench, then he went back to the locker room.

After the game, the Blackhawks said Kruger has a concussion and won't make the upcoming trip to Dallas and Denver.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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