God’s honest truth, had there not been two, reeking-of-shit junkies passed out where I was currently standing just hours prior, I would have gotten down on all fours and kissed the ground I stood upon the precise moment I caught wind of Corey Crawford’s imminent return to the Blackhawks.
Not because I think of Crawford as some messiah figure whose destiny is to triumphantly ride in on horseback and single-handedly salvage what days ago looked like yet another lost-cause Blackhawks season. Because if that’s what you’re expecting, I’ve got some bad news for you. In fact, it has nothing to do with Crawford’s ability on the ice at all.
I was just happy to learn Corey Crawford was okay after 9 months of being kept in what was essentially total darkness on the matter.
Like you and seemingly every other literate person on the planet not in the super exclusive, borderline cult-like Blackhawks inner-circle, I, too, found myself caught in the endless and undying web of rumors and speculation surrounding Crawford’s well-being.
Was it vertigo keeping the fan favorite off the ice? Was it concussion issues? Was Crawford checked into rehab because of substance abuse? Was he abducted by the Looney Tunes and guilt-tripped into tending goal against their ice-faring adversaries, The Monstars? Okay, that last one I made up. Although, I wish it wasn’t the only work of fiction in that paragraph.
Uncertainty is a devilish thorn in the side. And the rumors fueling this uncertainty act as a piston pushing this thorn ever-so-slightly but further into the ribs. And when asinine rumors, no matter how farfetched, how unbelievably exaggerated, how utterly ridiculous begin to develop a head of steam, there is but one force in the world that can convince its hardline truthers otherwise: those who actually knew what the hell was going on.
The Blackhawks knew Corey Crawford was dealing with lingering concussion issues this entire time. Nine months to be exact. The Blackhawks were aware of the web of degrading rumors besmirching their anchor’s good name that continued to develop and amplify over the course of these nine months. The Blackhawks knew damn well of the fallacious and damaging hyperbole infiltrating the Facebook and Twitter feeds of millions across the city and the devastating toll such fabrications could have on the human psyche.
Not even the slightest peep or attempt to protect their franchise goalie from the wrath of what would predictably prove to be a network of invasive, clickbait, internet bullshit. Hearsay that now, in hindsight, shares more in common with the “Obama is a Muslim” Facebook memes your one pissed-at-the-world uncle shares on Facebook than actual rational hypothesis. Worst of all is that this silence only seemed to reinforce the confidence of those mouth-breathers convinced of more nefarious whispers.
I guess at the end of the day, though, it just wasn’t in the best interest of the organization to simply admit that Corey Crawford was dealing with one of the most common ailments plaguing professional athletes today. For some inexplicable reason I guess it was more beneficial for all parties involved to allow hurtful and degrading rumors to run rampant rather than just, well, uh, you know….revealing the far less demeaning truth.
Listen, I get hockey’s shroud of secrecy in regards to injuries. I get that it’s meant to protect a player’s future well-being on the ice. But when said player’s personal life comes into question as a result of this secrecy, that’s when it’s time to abandon primitive convictions and accept the fact that real life is more important than a game.
I’m just glad we can all go to sleep tonight knowing that the well-being of Corey Crawford is trending in the right direction.
Lets just hope the Blackhawks learned a valuable lesson in the dangers of total secrecy. Perhaps the organization will live up to its word and be more open in the future as a result of this nearly one year debacle-turned-shitshow that left one of its own hanging out to dry.