Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is expected to miss up to three weeks after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Saturday, forcing him to miss his scheduled start against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"His procedure went pretty well today, he's probably going to be out two to three weeks," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Chicago's 3-1 loss. "Thanks to our medical staff and the Flyers medical staff today, they did a great job of helping us out."
Crawford, 31, led the Blackhawks to Stanley Cups in 2013 and 2015. Before Saturday he had started in 20 of the Blackhawks' 25 games, going 12-6-2 with a 2.27 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and two shutouts, ranking second among NHL goalies in wins.
Darling takes starting role
With Crawford unavailable, the Blackhawks inserted backup Scott Darling as their starter against the Flyers and signed 23-year-old Eric Semorski to an amateur tryout contract.
Darling allowed three goals on 30 shots in the loss. He fell to 4-1-1 and is expected to start most of Chicago's games leading up to Christmas.
"It's a huge loss," Darling said. "He's the best goalie in the league. He and Carey Price are in a category of their own. He's been great every night and great for us all year. He's also a great guy, one of the boys. We missed him in the room today for sure. I hope he's getting better."
"He's a good friend, and I want him to be well and be able to play to help the team."
Semorski gets surprise call
Semorski is from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and currently lives in Philadelphia. He was a goaltender for the Temple University club team and played for the Empire Junior Hockey League's Jersey Wildcats in 2010-11.
Semorski said he received a phone call from the Flyers a little after 11 am and arrived at the Wells Fargo Center around 12:30 for the 1 p.m. game.
"I hit some traffic, of course, but I got here as fast as I could in my street clothes," Semorski said. "No time to put on a tie."
Quenneville said he thought about putting Semorski into the game after the Flyers scored the goals in the second period.
"You almost saw it," the coach said with a smile.
"That," Semorski said, "probably would have been a mistake."
Semorski said that if the Flyers had scored into the empty net near the end of regulation Quenneville would have inserted him into the net for the final seconds.
"That would have been so cool," Semorski said. "But I wouldn't change a thing. The experience was awesome."
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