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

By Zachary Raderstorf
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Maybe it’s the pads Darling wears. For his first three starts in the league he had chosen to wear a kit that replicates the socks the Hawks wear on home ice. His pads, blocker and glove all solid red, with only two black lines and one white one wrapped around the bottom. I’m not telling you about his pads because they’re cool, which they most certainly are. I’m telling you about his pads because when I see him in those pads, he LOOKS like the Blackhawks goaltender – He looks like a BLACKHAWK.  And friends that’s because he is – he has been his whole life, remember!?

In the same manner as a Quarterback is the face of a football team – Chicago loves their athletes that not only play well, but look the part too. For Darling, he doesn’t just look it – he is it. In the last few years we’ve had some fantastic goaltenders. Some that have come and gone after helping win a cup, others that were Blackhawks for life.

In my opinion, the Organization is due for another long tenured net-minder that the city can truly fall in love with, just as they have Jonathan Toews. Toews has never and I’d be willing to bet, will never let Chicago down – that’s the confidence Toews requests from his teammates and requires from his city and fans. It’s time that the Hawks get a net minder they can feel that way about again.

You might be reading this and thinking I’m making a case to call for Crow’s head, his job and shipment out of Chicago. I can promise you at this point, in December, that is not at all what I am doing. What I am doing is pointing out some simple facts – if you don’t like obvious, I’d stop reading.

Corey Crawford is locked up in Chicago until the 20-21 season when he becomes a Free Agent and is going to cost the Hawks $6,000,000 dollars for each one of those next seven years. That’s a lot of money when the Hawks are in danger of being a cap shortage casualty.  Stan Bowman has done a fantastic job, again, of wiggling around the cap – but we all know the beginning of next year is going to be tricky.

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Whether the cap goes up like everyone is saying it won’t, or it stays similar to this year as the rumors allude to… there will be some changes in Chicago. Initially the world passes over the idea that Crawford could potentially be a part of that issue. That there’s no way the Hawks would do such a thing!! But the Blues just did it, trusting in two young talented net minders – they’re doing just fine. Minus the Broduer thing, which is just ridiculous – guess you can’t put anything past Saint Louis…

The funny thing, goaltending might be a huge help and the perfect answer.

What if I told you, that in order for the Hawks to get under the cap next season, they dealt away Corey Crawford and suddenly were only a million or two over? Now you’ve all but handled your cap issue and haven’t changed one thing with your skating corps. What if all we had left to do was deal Rosival, what if he retires?

The hawks are under the cap next season only losing Crawford and Rosival? I’d take that in a heart-beat, seriously, I would. When those backing him up produce the same effort and consistency – all for roughly, ah well, $4,000,000 million dollars less (combined). Darling just might be making the front office second guess the giant contract to Crawford – especially after last week’s debacle at the House of Blues.

The facts in the matter are this… In Chicago, they’re looking to win a Cup, every year that will be Chicago’s one goal. In a city, an organization such as the Hawks, stumbling drunk into an injury does not fly. And over the next couple weeks, while Corey is still in his walking boot, Darling has the chance to show the city, organization and league that he’s a serious goaltender and is here to stay. He has the poise, size and skill set to be an elite goaltender, hopefully he shows it now so the Hawks can keep him in town. Because I’d hate to see Crawford bust out in two years and Darling go on to be a multiple Vezina trophy goaltender in a city like Boston, Pittsburgh or god forbid somewhere else in the West.

Because when I watch him now, it’s clear why the Hawks are happy he’s between their pipes and not their oppositions. I could be way off or I could be spot on, only time will tell!

Follow the Hawks @Blackhawk_UP      Follow me @ZRaderstorf / zcraderstorf@gmail.com

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