Corey Crawford back at practice after long concussion layoff

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has been medically cleared to play, coach Joel Quenneville announced on Monday.

Crawford will accompany the team on its season-opening trip to Ottawa and St. Louis, though Quenneville told reporters in Chicago not to "read too much into that."

Quenneville said last week that it "might be stretching it" for Crawford to play in the Oct. 4 opener against the Senators.

The 33-year-old Crawford last played in a game on Dec. 23. He was placed on injury reserve with a concussion on Dec. 27. He hadn't practiced with the team since Feb. 12 until Monday, when he took shots from teammates at practice. Prior to Monday, Crawford's training camp mostly consisted of meeting coach Jimmy Waite on the ice for 30 minutes before practice to do individual work.

Crawford played in 28 games last season, going 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .929 save percentage before the injury. With Crawford out, the Blackhawks missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

Crawford has played in every Blackhawks season opener since 2011-12.

The Blackhawks signed longtime Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward to a one-year, $3 million contract in free agency as insurance. Ward will likely start the opener with Crawford slowly making his way back.