Blackhawks' injury news encouraging

Tribune reporter

Things are looking up for the Chicago Blackhawks on the injury front.

Despite starting goaltender Corey Crawford missing his second consecutive practice with a sore groin, Tuesday, coach Joel Quenneville anticipates the netminder will return to practice Wednesday and "should be alright" to start against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night at the United Center.

"We had the luxury of this scheduling this week (with) the added days (off) to make sure we don't have to keep dealing with this and get it right," Quenneville said of Crawford's injury. "He's doing well, though."

Also encouraging was the progress of forwards Viktor Stalberg and Ben Smith. Stalberg, who is recovering from a knee injury, skated on his his own prior to Tuesday's practice at the United Center. The winger was injured during a preseason game when he had a knee-to-knee hit with the Detroit Red Wings' Justin Abdelkader.

"(Stalberg's) doing well," Quenneville said. "We'll see if we get him in practice (Wednesday). He's progressing a litte bit more each day. He feels good."

Smith, who is recovering from a concussion suffered during the same exhibition game against the Wings, practiced with teammates Tuesday.

"He's close," Quenneville said. "It's the first day he looked as good as I've seen him. He skated well, he looked like he had the pace. He said he felt well too. He's really progressing and he's real close to getting into a game."

Twitter @ChrisKuc

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