Blackhawks-Predators: All Eyes On Corey Crawford

When the Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night, the eyes of Chicago will be focused between the pipes.

After the night from hell on Friday, the Blackhawks desperately needed their number one netminder to have a big game in Nashville on Saturday. While the ugly loss that night wasn’t completely Crawford’s fault, he was the player removed from the ice in shame during the second period.

Looking into his numbers deeper, Tuesday night appears to be a critical start for Crawford’s emotional momentum and future position on the Hawks’ depth chart.

After emerging as the goaltender of Chicago’s future at the end of the regular season and in the playoff loss to Vancouver last year, Crawford received the multi-year contract the organization had avoided with home-grown goalies for over a decade. But since signing the deal, he has rarely shown the consistent dominance he did down the stretch last season.

If we employ common sense and remove Columbus from the discussion, Crawford has been mediocre against the contenders for the Central Division crown. In six starts against Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis, Crawford is 2-2-2 with an .886 save percentage.

And since the calendar rolled over into 2012, Crawford’s numbers have been bad. He’s posted a 3-3-2 record with a .888 save percentage and 3.26 goals against average. None of those numbers are good enough for a team that hopes to contend for a Stanley Cup.

In fact, Crawford’s save percentage numbers look more like someone that should be in a reserve role than those of a team’s number one. Consider the following:

  • 0 days rest: .899
  • 1 day rest: .897
  • 2 days rest: .888
  • 3+ days rest: .934

Now consider the same numbers for Ray Emery this season:

  • 0 days rest: N/A
  • 1 day rest: .932
  • 2 days rest: .930
  • 3+ days rest: .891

The skaters in front of the net, whether it’s Crawford or Emery, need to be better on a more consistent basis than they have been at times this year. But while the organization will tell you there isn’t a controversy in net right now, another poor performance from Crawford in a critical game on Tuesday night could change the team’s thinking over the All-Star Break.

And further inspection indicates the Hawks might want to think twice about starting Crawford at home. Consider the numbers of the two netminders at the United Center:

  • Crawford: 20 games (all starts), 11-5-3, .898 sv pct, 2.98 goals against avg
  • Emery: 10 games (8 starts), 8-0-1, .938 sv pct, 1.55 goals against avg

Crawford will look to improve upon those and erase the memory of Saturday night from the fans in Chicago with a performance that keeps the Blackhawks close to the division-leading Red Wings.

What’s on the line Tuesday? A regulation loss by the Blackhawks and Blues (home vs. Pittsburgh) would put Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis in a three-way tie for second in the division and fourth in the Western Conference.

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17 Responses to Blackhawks-Predators: All Eyes On Corey Crawford

  1. joey Zamboni says:

    Corey Crawford…… Your table also is ready & you will be sitting with Pat Kane……..
    Lets hope the boys come out storming & dominate like they are capable of…..

  2. wall says:

    Joey Z- do you really think the Hawks can come out storming w/out Sharp and Toews? The only chance they have is if they play a near perfect “D” game and Crow is on (very little chance). Or the kids play out of their minds!

    Of course, Kane can prove me wrong and show that he is a “true 6 Million Dollar Man” — step up and be dominant (like Hoss or Toews) in a big game.

  3. Brad Stevenson says:

    Another great article Tab, and very timely…I was thinking the same things after Saturday’s debacle. Tuesday night is KEY for both the Hawks and Crawford if we are serious about winning the division.

    When you dissect Emery’s numbers further, if you take away his Edmonton blow up, he has posted Top 10 numbers, for a goalie, during his time here…and yet he sits on the bench, mostly, while Crawford continues to implode.

    You get the sense with Corey that it is mostly mental. Because when he chooses to, he can be very solid with his positional play, however, he is far too often discounting this and “flopping around”, also, for a young net minder, he takes an ENORMOUS amount of time to recover once he is down. In fact, I can’t remember another young goalie, ever, that is this slow to recover. Thus his positional play is crucial.

    Look at the the centre ice goal from Saturday…sure, most goalies would have anticipated that the Pred’s DMan would simply blast the puck in along the boards, but once he squared and shot it on net, all Crawford had to do was square to the puck and it physically CAN’T GO IN…but he didn’t…he flopped to his knees, and forgot to hug the post. That’s awful, and pretty scary.

    Crawford proved to us that he can play last year. He has the talent to do so. He just has to believe in himself and this thing will turn around, and it had better be tonight, because a loss here, with the injuries we have, and the schedule fast approaching, we could easily find ourselves in a month looking way up at the Wings, Blues and Preds.

  4. Geno Randazzo says:

    I’ve heard some buzz about Stan Bowman having some interest in acquiring Ryan Miller. Do you think this is a possibility?

  5. wall says:

    Ryan Miller?
    He is ahead of Kane on top 20 paid/overrated players in NHL!

    Please No!

  6. Geno Randazzo says:

    Wow bro. Ryan Miller was about the only reason we won a Silver medal, and Patty Kane put the puck in the net to bring Lord Stanley back to Chicago.

  7. Tuke says:

    As I am certain that I have stated several times here before, THIS is Crawford. I was as surprised as everyone else at the season he played last year, but if you look at his overall numbers for his career this is it people. Does he have some talent? Yes he does, and when he is able to focus he can pass as a starting goalie in the NHL. However, as has been the case all season long (October wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t how he played last season neither) he is not focused and his movement between the pipes is horrible. I forget who scored the goal in the Nashville goal but they just held the puck and when Crawford fell flat on his face as he is known to do the scorer went right around him for an empty netter. Should the Hawks have signed him to an extension during the off season? yes, but only as a back up as that is pretty much all he is capable of. And by the by, Ryan Miller is not the answer to this particular question as he has had just as bad of a season as Crawford and carries a much larger cap hit.

  8. joey Zamboni says:

    Wall – Can they….? YES Will they……. Well that’s one of the mysteries of this team, when they are focused & motivated they can play with & beat anybody……. And I agree that this is a huge opportunity for Pat Kane to step up…….. Again it depends on if he’s focused & motivated…… When he is he’s dominant…….

  9. James M says:

    I don’t know about anybody else, but when Crawford plays the puck, I wince. Just stay in the crease, Crow, let the D fetch the puck…

  10. KC Hawk says:

    Joey : hit the nail on the head : when focused and motivated this team can beat anybody . Whose job is it to get the team focused and ready ? The coach ! Q is vastly overrated .

    The Wings, Preds,Blues& Sharks come ready to play every game . Why don’t the Hawks ??

    The problem is Q . He has exceptional talent on this team and yet they continue to show up unprepared . His fault . Bottom line !

  11. Anthony P says:

    The sad part is out of the four games I’ve gone to, I have hoped for Emery starting each time. Haven’t been disappointed with a 3-1 record for games…in which Craw started the only lose. Still baffles me how Emery is not getting more starts.

  12. Andy deShazer says:

    Grest posts everyone.. I have been saying all season that Crawford is terrible. I’ve even been laughed at by Blackhawks post game show guy Jud Sirot,, who before being assigned the Blackhawks, did baseball games I believe. He laughed at me for CCalling Crawfiah out and saying the Hawks had placed him on waivers a couple times before.. Which is true. Back to the point.. I have watched the goalies play in Chicago since I was a child now I’m 39.. Talent and skill wise, Crawford is one of the worst I have watched.. He can’t play the puck, he can’t skate, and his most famous move is laying on his stomach when the puck crosses the goal line.. I have no clu and am completely baffled as to why he has gotten way too many chances.. What an insult to the real fans, the other Hawks players, and mostly to Ray Emery.. Who has gone through hell and back to play again.. A big part of it is Q.. Playing Crawford in games Emery would have won, trying to build Crawfords confidence back up.. With Crawford it’s not confidence he lacks… It’s over all talent.. He should never be the starter of any Original 6 team.. He is a disgrace..

  13. Andy deShazer says:

    Another quick comment.. I believe Ryan Miller would commit a homicide to play for the Hawks.. He is great and the only reason Buffalo ever remained relevant.. His career would be reborn if he played here.. And we would win more cups.. Something we will never do with Crawfish..

  14. Tab Bamford says:

    @Andy – LOL… you just criticized a goalie by saying “he can’t skate.”

    To your comment about Ryan Miller, can we please try to employ some logic and/or common sense when just throwing sh** at the wall w/ trade ideas? Miller isn’t coming to Chicago. Judd Sirot was appropriate in his response.

  15. jessica B says:

    Tab, what is your problem? Goalies are judged all the time on their ability to skate..Why LOL on Andys comments? He obviously is pretty in tune with the goalies that have played in Chicago for a long time..Why do you take these comments personally? If you dont agree just say so..instead you LOL about other peoples comments. Havent you ever played on a hockey team before? Not sure, but to defend Andy, Corey Crawford was placed on waivers by the Hawks..you can google it or look it up..He might have played well last year…but he has been given way to many chances this year…We are in bad shape…but just realize that people that comment on your articles are all Blackhaawks fans …you treat them like they are Detroit fans…Come on Tab…lighten up…

  16. Tab Bamford says:

    You’re absolutely right, Jessica. Corey Crawford was indeed placed on waivers by the Chicago Blackhawks.

    In October of 2009.

    I LOL at the idea that the Blackhawks should trade for Ryan Miller because not only is he not likely to hit the market, but there’s little/no chance that the Blackhawks would pay the premium to bring him here via trade or put that cap number on our books moving forward. Read what I wrote about Crawford. In no way did I sugar-coat his season to date and nowhere do I give him a hall pass for a mediocre performances. Could the Hawks be better in net? Certainly. Do they need to be? Absolutely. Are they going to trade for an expensive #1 netminder mid-season just after handing a multi-year deal to Crawford this past summer? Probably not.

  17. Jennifer S says:

    I’m with Andy and Jessica on this one regarding Crawford, but first things first.
    Facebook is a place for opinions. If you can’t handle opinions or don’t agree with opinions, you don’t belong on FB. Being a huge Hawks fan I get crap all the time, especially considering I have several friends who are Wing’s fans. If I were to laugh them off or get p*ssed off at them for having opinions, I wouldn’t be surprised if they no longer appeared on my friend’s list one day. By their choice. FB is a free country, so to speak.
    Crawford…look closely at his numbers this year. I don’t need to rattle them off for you. You’re the hockey expert. But I too have been a hockey fan for over 20 years and I know a crap goalie when I see one. As a good friend of mine always says, the Hawks are not going to win the Cup with Crawford in the net. Watch him, watch him very closely on Tuesday night. Seriously, for one game try to watch nothing but his “abilities” as a goalie and perhaps you’ll see what Andy and Jessica (and me) see. I had a lot more faith in him at the beginning of the season, but no longer. He’s proven what others were already saying and what I hoped wasn’t true. He sucks. Time for him to get off his stomach and off the ice.

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