The Chicago Blackhawks could be without Corey Crawford for quite some time. Word came out that Crawford is dealing with a head injury that has sidelined him since March 15th. If Crawford is out for a significant amount of time or cannot return, the Blackhawks will have to turn to Scott Darling. While Darling has appeared in playoff games before, does he offer enough talent to guide the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Championship.
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Here are three reasons why Darling can guide the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Championship.
- Playoff experience: Darling appeared in five playoff games and he started four of them. He was 3-1 with .936 save percentage and a 2.28 goals against average. Let’s not forgot Darling’s 42 save performance in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
- Darling can be good in short starting stretching. He is currently 9-8-3 with . 914 save percentage and a 2.51 goals against average.
- Darling has faced adversity before in his career. Darling was kicked off his college team at Maine. He had to battle his way through the SPHL, ECHL, CHL, AHL to get to the NHL.
While those were the three reasons Darling could lead the Blackhawks, here are three reasons he will fail the Blackhawks if he has to start long term.
- Darling lacks NHL longevity: Darling’s NHL career consists of 45 NHL games including the playoffs. In his 39 regular season games, his numbers are 18-12-3 with a .923 save percentage and 2.29 goals against average.
- Darling lacks playoff experience: Darling has appeared in exactly 5 NHL playoffs none outside of the Western Conference Finals. The playoffs only get tougher the farther you advance and the pressures builds as you advance.
- Darling does not have “series-stealing” ability. Scott Darling is a nice story and a nice backup goalie, but does he have the ability to steal a series in the playoffs. Darling has stolen regular season games and had a 42 save relief performance, but does he have the ability to steal a whole series in the playoffs. Crawford has stolen playoff series before. He stole the Minnesota Wild Series in 2012-13 and the 2014-15.
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All of this could be moot if Crawford returns before the playoffs. Coach Quenneville announced that Crawford is progressing toward playing. It might not matter who is in if Duncan Keith is suspended for a significant amount of time in the playoffs. Don’t forget if Crawford cannot go and Darling get hurt, the Blackhawks will have to turn to Michael Leighton.