Crawford Returns, Jagr Ties Messier & More News

Christmas came early for the Chicago Blackhawks when they activated Corey Crawford from the injured reserve Tuesday night. The team had just come off of a loss to the Ottawa Senators after winning five straight games, and the return of Crawford should add even more consistency to their lineup. Crawford has been out of the lineup since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3.

While Crawford has been sidelined, the Blackhawks have played backup goaltender Scott Darling for 10 consecutive games. The Blackhawks continued to roll out Darling, despite injuries to other stars such as Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook, Artem Anisimov and now Marian Hossa all playing a role in the team’s strategy. Still, it was becoming evident that Darling was getting overworked as he had allowed four goals in three of his last four games. Though the Blackhawks won three of those games, it was clear that the backup netminder needed some help.

To make room for Crawford on the roster, Lars Johansson was reassigned to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. Johansson didn’t receive any game action during his call-up, serving primarily as a backup and a last-resort option for the Blackhawks should something have happened to Darling.

Joel Quenneville, the Blackhawks head coach, had previously said that the Blackhawks game against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday was their target date to start Crawford. With the activation of Crawford coming Tuesday, it’s likely that he’s ready to go and will indeed start that game against the Avalanche. Crawford is 12-6-2 this season and has compiled a 2.27 goals against average and a 9.27 save percentage.

Jaromir Jagr Ties Mark Messier in Points

It isn’t every day that an NHL player passes a top-five player in the point-scoring standings. For Jaromir Jagr, however, it was more of an inevitability than a potential occurrence that he would approach Mark Messier for the second spot in the all-time scoring race. On Tuesday night, Jagr did just that when he tied Messier by recording his 1,887th NHL point.

Jagr reached the milestone point mark at 94 games fewer than Messier did despite leaving the NHL for a few seasons to play in the KHL. Had Jagr not left, it would be interesting to see how many more points he could have scored in the NHL during his prime years; though his age seemingly hasn’t made much of an impact on his ability to score points, even now.

At 44 years old, Jagr still hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down the way most athletes do at even 34 years old. Last season, the veteran forward recorded 27 goals and 66 points in 79 games at 43 years old. Those statistics are a testament to his durability, and incredible playing ability despite his age. At 44 years old, Jagr is still very much one of the focal points of a very young Florida Panthers team that showed a lot of potential last year before taking a big step backward this season.

 Odds & Ends

– Both Ben Bishop and Jimmy Howard left Tuesday’s game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings with apparent injuries. Neither goaltender returned to the game and while there hasn’t been an official word from either team on the severity of the injuries, though Howard is expected to miss at least the Red Wings next start which comes on Friday against the Florida Panthers.

– The mayor of Edmonton recently stated that he wanted to name the old Edmonton Oilers’ arena after the former Oilers’ legend. Gretzky made a name for himself as part of the Oilers’ Dynasty in the 1980s and is widely recognized as the greatest hockey player to ever live. If any player is deserving of having an arena named after them, Wayne Gretzky certainly fits the bill, even if the arena is no longer the home of the Edmonton Oilers following their debut at their new arena this season.

– The Columbus Blue Jackets set a franchise record Tuesday when they won their 10th consecutive game. The Blue Jackets are putting together a solid season after finishing near the bottom of the standings in the 2015-16 seasons and have all the makings of a Cinderella story should they continue on this pace for the remainder of the season and throughout a playoff run