Question 1: Corey Crawford. I almost went with Duncan Keith here, because of the way he quarterbacks so many plays and contributes such heavy minutes. But I’m gonna have to stick with Crow.
Crawford is the backbone of this team right now. He bails them out time and time again. Since the beginning of the season, Crow has been there to rescue the defense while they go through their growing pains.
Even when the offense has trouble scoring, Crawford consistently makes those timely saves to keep the ’Hawks in close games, and give them a chance to win. Yes, Scott Darling is an excellent backup. But I don’t have the confidence in him to do the kind of job Crow does night in and night out. And neither does the team in front of him. A Crawford injury would be a huge loss.
Question 2: Jimmy Waite. Waite was a first-round draft pick for the Chicago Blackhawks, and is currently their goaltending coach. That’s right, he inspires Corey Crawford and Scott Darling to be the best they can be.
I’d say he’s doing a pretty good job. Waite has been known to suit up and fill in when needed at Blackhawks practice. He also played in the Alumni Game this past February against the Minnesota North Stars as part of the Stadium Series.
In that game, he looked especially spry and made a couple great saves, including a memorable stick save on Mike Modano. It would be fun to watch him at work again.
Question 1: It’s been said plenty, but the answer here is Corey Crawford. Outside of last night’s game against Montreal, Crow has been seeing 30-plus shots per game on a regular basis. And he’s posting a better-than-.500 save percentage at even strength.
Even after a sluggish start on the penalty kill (that wasn’t entirely his fault), Crow’s numbers have been nothing short of incredible. His save percentage is heading south of 2.00 — the only time he’s finished a regular season below that mark was the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign (1.94).
He’s also started 13 of the team’s 16 games this season. At that rate, he’d be on pace to start about 67 games in the regular season — well above his career high of 59. If you lose someone who’s slated to play goal in that many games with the stats he’s posted, your team is going to struggle.
Question 2: I didn’t think anyone else would pick Daniel Carcillo for the Alumni Game question, and I was proven wrong. I think it’s especially strange to see myself selecting Carcillo for this, as I more or less loathed his existence when he actually played.
The guy was eating up minutes far more skilled forwards could have taken, and he actually seemed to be trying to injure some opponents. It wasn’t a good look for anyone.
Now, Carcillo is actively working on helping hockey players transition to everyday life after retirement through his Chapter 5 Foundation. It’d be great for this to get ample attention during the Alumni Game.