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Former Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford to leave Devils

NEWARK, NJ — New Jersey Devils goaltender Corey Crawford has taken an indefinite leave of absence for undisclosed personal reasons.

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

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

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

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

MacKenzie Blackwood is the Devils’ No. 1 goaltender. Crawford was considered a veteran substitute in this compressed 2021 season.

Ruff said Scott Wedgewood 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 in the pandemic-shortened season. He started every game as the Hawks knocked out 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 for the Blackhawks in 2010. He helped the franchise win Stanley Cup titles in 2013 and 2015.