We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Faceoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Blackhawks raise their 6th Stanley Cup Banner on October 7th season opener against the New York Rangers.
Here we are at the half way point in our countdown to opening night and 6th Stanley Cup Banner getting raised to the rafters. The number 50 only means one thing to Chicago Blackhawks fans and that’s the 2-time Stanley Cup Champion Goalie Corey Crawford.
Corey Crawford isn’t the first Chicago Blackhawks player to wear the jersey number 50, but he’s the only one to have ever worn it and be remembered!
Crawford finally got his chance with the Chicago Blackhawks after waiting a long time in the minors for players like Cristabol Huet to find their way off the rosters. Crawford became the full-time #1 starter after Antti Niemi took his talents to San Jose after helping the Blackhawks win their first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
Corey Crawford had a rock solid rookie campaign, and he showed off his metal in the opening round of the playoffs when the Blackhawks lost the first three games to the Vancouver Canucks but came back to force a Game #7 which went to overtime. Granted Crawford got beat in overtime and the Hawks lost the series, but it proved that Crawford no matter what the circumstances were would fight his way back from any deficit.
The 2012 season and playoffs were a bit of a downer for Crawford. His stats weren’t the same in the regular season and in the playoffs he let in two of the softest overtime goals any goalie could ever allow in that setting after making huge saves to carry the team to overtime. Mike Smith was the superior goalie in the 2012 playoffs and the Blackhawks were out again in the first round with Crawford in net.
The 2013 season could have been a season of a lot of questions for Crawford, but the 24 game point streak to start the season finished those questions off real quick. With Ray Emery, both him and Crawford won the Jennings trophy for their regular season wins and Crawford should have won the Conn Smythe except that a 6-5 game where his glove became a question was amplified in the Finals.
2014 should have been a repeat season except for a Nick Leddy deflection in overtime of Game #7 that Crawford really had no chance on. In 2015 Crawford was Vezina worthy until a misstep at a concert derailed his regular season.
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The Great thing about Crawford is even when he’s down like he was in Nashville when he was pulled for Scott Darling for most of the series he always gets back up, and in the end he lead the Blackhawks to his 2nd Stanley Cup and their third in 6 seasons. The difference in 2011 Crawford and today’s Crawford is that back then the Hawks could win in spite of him, but today they win because of his play in between the pipes.
Who knows what to expect from Crawford in 2015-2016 but you can almost guarantee another 30 win season some complaints from fans and some great work from him when it matters most!
50 days until banner raising!!
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