I’m here again defending Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford. Why? Because it constantly needs to be done in today’s NHL landscape.
NHL fans can be a fickle bunch. A player can be popular with them one minute and a leper the next. Perhaps no player exemplifies this better, at least across the Chicago Blackhawks fandom, than goaltender Corey Crawford.
Crow took over in net after Antti Niemi‘s departure following the 2010 Stanley Cup win in Chicago, and he’s seemingly faced an uphill battle to gain anything resembling full fan respect ever since. This despite being part of two Stanley Cup runs himself to go with a pair of Jennings Trophy tie wins and finishing within the Vezina Trophy voting’s top eight three of the last four seasons.
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So I’m back again, ready to defend Crow, because he’s my favorite current Blackhawk and gets a ridiculously bad rap in some circles.
I know, starting goaltenders are often the first guys to get thrown under the bus when things are going bad, but considering the Blackhawks have two Stanley Cups since he took over in net and are currently one point out of the Western Conference lead, I fail to see how Crow continues to get beaten up.
Yes, he has a $6 million per year contract. Guess what? Seven of the eight guys with a similar or larger AAV contract have exactly zero Stanley Cups, the lone exception being Boston’s Tuukka Rask. Winners get paid in this league, and in many other pro sports leagues.
Of course, this isn’t a satisfactory answer for some. So when I saw this tweet yesterday …
… from SportsNet contributor Andrew Berkshire noting a list of leading even-strength save percentages in the last four years — a list on which Crow is second at .930 (behind Carey Price‘s silly .938) — I decided to look at some more statistics.