The Chicago Blackhawks’ goaltending turnaround from the previous season has been one of, if not the biggest, stories of the year for this team. They have gone from a team in the race for Roberto Luongo, to a team with both goalies in the .920 SV% club. With this great tandem rises a question that Joel Quenneville and Blackhawks coaching staff will have to wrestle with in less than a month’s time; can they keep this rotation going into the post-season, or will one goaltender have to lead the way?
With their win tonight against the Nashville Predators, the Hawks ensured they are playoff-bound this season. In 9 games, those said playoffs will start, and the Hawks will need to have their goaltending situation under control, or they face an early exit.
In my short 15 years of being a hockey fan, (since birth) I can not recall one team that carried a tandem into the playoffs and had much success. However, if this was to be attempted by the Blackhawks, the first round would be the place to do it. They will most likely face a weaker team there, and this would be the best opportunity to give it a shot. I think that it could work, providing both goaltenders are focused on the main goal, and are ready to work together no matter who is on the bench and who is in the crease.
The most likely option will be that the Hawks follow the traditional route and go with one goaltender for the playoff run. This doesn’t mean that the ‘backup’ couldn’t make the occasional start, but it would imply that the Blackhawks would rely on one netminder to lead them to the Stanley Cup. Logic would think that the man between the pipes would be Crawford, as he has a strong future with this club, but if Ray Emery is the hot hand at the end of game #48, both goaltenders should feel confident in the team as a whole. Crawford has alot of time left in the Windy City, and there should be more playoff runs coming his way.
As the team from 2010 showed; it does not have to be an elite goaltender in the net. Either Ray Emery, or Corey Crawford could easily be that guy. It is a question that doesn’t have an answer right now; it might not even be solved until the night before game #1. No matter who is in net, the Hawks will be in the playoffs, and they will have to bring 110% every day during that time for a chance of Lord Stanley’s relic being paraded downtown again.
LETS GO HAWKS!!
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