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Chicago Blackhawks Hometown Kid Darling Makes A Case For the Underdog!

By Zachary Raderstorf
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Oct 26, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) celebrates the win against the Ottawa Senators at the UC.

That hasn’t been the case for him here in Chicago – he has Corey Crawford to thank for it actually. Corey has now been injured twice this year, the first a slight lower body injury. The second go around currently due to a bumbled concert exit. Either way, Darling will take the chances and run with them.

After putting up stellar numbers in the preseason, meaning in 90 minutes of hockey he wasn’t scored on once. Let me repeat that, in his first taste of NHL hockey he DID NOT GIVE UP A GOAL IN 90 MINS! His first call came during Crow’s injury in October. Into the fold he went winning his first outing against the Senators 2-1. Two days later he made his second consecutive start at the United Center when the Hawks played host to the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks ended up edging out the Hawks 1-0 on a late goal that might have been prevented had Brent Seabrook not fumbled the puck at the blue line, consequently hanging Darling out to dry.

Then came the trip to Ottawa to finish the season series as quickly as it began with the Senators and Darling was back between the pipes. The result a high scoring affair that saw Hossa notch his 1,000 point and the Hawks hold on for a 5-4 victory that would require a shootout to decide. Did I mention, in that shootout, Darling faced all three shooters and turned all three aside? Oh, just for the heck of it, here’s his shootout stats… record: 1-0 SV%: 100

On November 1st he would head back down to Rockford and reassume the starting duties for the IceHogs from Michael Leighton. He returned November 15th to back up Crawford while Raanta got a start in Rockford to stay fresh. But when the Hawks called on December 1st, it seems Darling has made a decision; he’s not going to make life too easy for his fellow goaltenders, coaching staff and definitely front office.

Darling is massive, that’s the first thing you’ll notice when you look at him. Watching him stand on the ice, you almost want to put Zdeno Chara next to compare. To release the suspense, Chara is listed at 6’9. Were they to stand next to each other they’d look like Giants among men. And if you haven’t been able to see how easily Darling can see the whole ice from up in the clouds, you haven’t been paying attention.

Whereas other goaltenders are forced to move their heads around screens, bouncing their heads up and down, and right and left – Darling simply stands tall and watches. In his four starts, I have rarely seen him unable to find the puck, whether being shot at him or moved around the zone – you can clearly see it’s in his vision and he has it ALL THE TIME. Add the 232 lbs and pads and should he just stand in the net, he’d be hard to score on 2 out of 5 times – even if those shooting were Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, and Vladimir Tarasenko.

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  • That could be the most exciting attribute to Darling, his height, but it’s not – I’d be lying if I said it was. Scott Darling has been cooler, calmer and more collected than I have ever seen Crawford. Not to say that Corey isn’t able to keep a level head, but there’s always an element of insecurity with Crawford. Is this going to be the lob shot from the blue line that beats him? Is this where he deteriorates after being beat by a talented forward with a great shot?

    Whether you want to admit it or not, he’s a fantastic element to the Blackhawks and I enjoy him in the net – but could the winds of change be blowing in? When I see Scott Darling in the net I have flash backs to footage of Esposito, even Eddie Belfour – how they’d seem to float through the crease, lanky limbs flying about seemingly uncontrolled. But somehow, even while standing on their heads, they’d still make numerous, downright ridiculous saves throughout an evening.

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