Chicago Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford Starting Season Vezina-Worthy
By Keith Schultz
- Corey Crawford has always been considered just an average goalie on great Chicago Blackhawks teams by the national media since he became the full-time starter in the 2010-11 season. Chicago Blackhawks fans know he’s more Vezina-worthy than average on a nightly basis.
Corey Crawford is off to his normal hot start for the Chicago Blackhawks. It seems every year he starts the season off playing like a man possessed in between the pipes. The reason the ’Hawks were first in the Western Conference last season is the fact that Crawford stole some games in October and November before the offense finally woke up.
When you look at his career, Crawford has been very consistent. If you throw out the lockout-shortened season, Crawford wins an average of more than 30 games a season, and is right around .920 with his save percentage.
The problem for Crawford throughout the years is that he gets off to these incredibly hot starts, and then something bizarre happens to slow down his progress. The most famous bizarre thing to happen was him misstepping up some steps at a concert, which cost him a month. Last year, he missed a month with an appendectomy. So it’s been one thing after another that has kept Crawford from getting serious Vezina Trophy consideration.
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This year, he’s off to another great start allowing in only one goal in each of his starts except for the Minnesota Wild game, when he allowed three. But two of them came after a ridiculous offsides review that should have seen an overturned called, and the resulting powerplay when it wasn’t.
Anyway, look at his statline so far this season. Crawford is 4-1-0 with a .960 save percentage and a 1.39 goals-against average. That is playing rock-solid, and the ’Hawks have needed it this past week with the offense stumbling a bit without Nick Schmaltz in the lineup.
Last night was a prime example of Crawford winning a game for his team, when he stopped all but one shot all game long. He was especially important in the first two periods, when the Nashville Predators were having their way with the Blackhawks.
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Crawford has proven he can come up big in the big moments, and that is why he has two Stanley Cup wins in his back pocket. I hope he can do this thing all season long and get in the Vezina Trophy finalist talk so everyone around the NHL can finally say he’s a great goalie on a great team, and not just a goalie that got to play with great teammates!
Corey is off to a hot start, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season goes for him!