Mar 9, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery (30) is congratulated by goalie Corey Crawford (50) for a victory against the New York Rangers at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Rangers 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Blackhawks head coach, Joel Quenneville has a gigantic looming decision to make by the time the Blackhawks have wrapped up their regular season on April 27th. Who will be his starting goaltender during the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Is there a wrong choice? Not really. Both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery have had fantastic seasons, this year. Crawford, is ranked 4th in the NHL with his 1.92 Goals Against Average. Ranked just ahead of him in 3rd place, is Emery, with a 1.91 Goals Against Average. Crawford is ranked 5th in the NHL with a .926% Save Percentage, while Emery isn’t far behind ranked 9th in the NHL with a .923% Save Percentage.
Take a second to think about how incredible of a luxury the Blackhawks are blessed with this season. It’s a remarkable accomplishment for a team to have one goaltender be ranked in the top 10 in either of these categories. The Blackhawks have two goaltenders that are ranked in the top ten of BOTH categories.
Typical goaltender controversies happen when a team’s number one goaltender struggles, and the team considers making their backup goaltender the new number one man, as a sort of desperate act. The Hawks are in an incredibly rare situation, where both of their goaltenders are playing at elite levels, and the unfortunate reality is that they will eventually have to choose one or the other. The wonderful thing for the Hawks is that there is no wrong choice.
If this writer was to choose one of the goalies, he would choose Corey Crawford. My choice takes nothing away from the phenomenal season that Ray Emery has had, because I would be completely comfortable with Emery being the choice also. My choice comes from the line of thinking that considers how Crawford has done nothing to lose his job as number one goaltender this season. Ray Emery has had a season worthy of usurping just about every goaltender in the league, so once again there is no wrong choice in this controversy.
Who would you like to see as the Blackhawks number one goaltender, come playoff time?