Goals Against Average-2.72
If you opened up the dictionary and opened it to the picture of sophomore slump there would be the picture of Corey Crawford. Before the 2011-2012 Chicago Blackhawks season began, one of the areas that the Blackhawks front office had to believe would be a strength was the goalie position. Corey Crawford ,after being handed over the reigns of the position after Antti Niemi left for San Jose, had a very successful full rookie season and had posted even better playoff statistics against the Vancouver Canucks during the Hawks first round playoff exit. All things pointed to Crawford settling in as the Hawks #1 goalie for the foreseeable future!
A strange thing happened on the way to being the permanent backstop for the Hawks! Crawford became Mr. Inconsistent, One night he would be solid and only let a goal past him, and then the next night 5 goals would be in the back of the net. Also. for the first time since the end of the Tony Espisito Era the Hawks didn’t record a single shut out for the entire season. It’s not that Crawford has ever been asked to being Jonathan Quick or Martin Brodeur on a nightly basis, since the Hawks were tied for 6th in goals in the NHL, but he was asked to hold the fort down and not let in the bad and momentum changing goals. Crawford was unable to hold down the job all year long and watched Ray Emery play a lot more than expected. During the 9 game losing streak it seemed like a new mid-game tradition of watching Emery and Crawford high five each other as one was replacing the other in net.
The last few weeks of the season Crawford seemed to get his act together and looked ready for an extended playoff run. The Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde act that had seemed to disappear at the tale end of the season reared its ugly head at the most inopportune time in the Phoenix Coyote series. Crawford painfully let in two of the softest playoff goals of all time. Crawford who played remarkably well in every third period to get the first 5 games into overtime was unable to carry the momentum into 3 of the overtime periods.
The question entering the 2012-2013 season for Crawford will be, was this past season a true sophomore slump and will the disappointing playoff play lead to harder work in the off season and better 2012-2013 results, or will he go the way of Cristabol Huet and never be able to recover and never be able to return to his playing potential
Crawford is signed through the 2013-2014 season for a salary cap hit of $2,666,667
Next season will be huge for Crawford! Is he the long term answer at goalie, and will be able to grow his talents to be able to rival those of Pekka Rinne and Jimmy Howard ,or will the Hawks have to start looking for the next answer at the goalie position?
D+ A very disappointing regular season that was followed up with an even more disappointing postseason.