Devils announce goalie Crawford taking a leave of absence

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP)New Jersey Devils goaltender Corey Crawford has taken an indefinite leave of absence due to undisclosed personal reasons.

The Devils made the announcement Friday after a week of uncertainty in which the recently signed 36-year-old goaltender did not practice.

The team said Crawford was given off on Monday and Tuesday for maintenance after a week of training camp. He was not on the ice on Wednesday and Thursday for personal reasons.

Coach Lindy Ruff has refused to discuss the reasons for Crawford’s absence.

Crawford signed a two-year contract with New Jersey as a free agent after helping the Chicago Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups.

MacKenzie Blackwood is the Devils’ No. 1 goaltender. Crawford was seen as a veteran backup in this compressed 2021 season.

Ruff said Scott Wedgewood has played the best among the other goaltenders in camp.

The Devils open the season Thursday at home against Boston.

Crawford went 16-20 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average during the pandemic-shortened season. He started every game as Chicago eliminated Edmonton in the qualifying round before losing to the Golden Knights in the playoffs.

Crawford was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2003 draft and made his debut with the Blackhawks in 2010. He helped the franchise to Stanley Cup titles in 2013 and 2015.

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