Corey Crawford Quieting Doubters (Again)

After a miserable start to the 2015 playoffs, Corey Crawford has rebounded to lead the Blackhawks back into the Stanley Cup Final. And his performance in Game One is arguably the biggest reason Chicago takes a 1-0 series lead into Saturday night’s Game Two in Tampa.

But, as we’ve seen since he took over the crease in 2011, Crawford plays extremely well when the lights are brightest.

  • Backs Against the Wall
    Since 2011, Crawford has led the Blackhawks into 14 games in which his team could be eliminated from the postseason. In those games, Crawford has stopped 403 of 437 shots (.922 save percentage). The Blackhawks are 11-3 in those games.
  • End of the Road
    Crawford has now appeared in three Western Conference Final series, winning two and losing last year’s heart breaking Game Seven to the eventual champion LA Kings. Crawford has also now played in seven Stanley Cup Final games. In 26 games (19 in conference finals, seven Cup finals), Crawford has posted a .913 save percentage.
  • Coffee is for Closers
    Since 2011, Crawford and the Blackhawks have played 11 games in which they could close out an opponent. In those games, Crawford has stopped 317 of 339 shots (.935 save percentage), and the Blackhawks are 9-2 (the two losses being Game Sevens against Vancouver in 2011 and Los Angeles last year).
  • Killer at Home
    Crawford has been significantly better at home than on the road (which should concern Tampa after his performance in Game One). Over the last two years, Crawford has a .907 save percentage on the road and a .925 save percentage at home. This season, Crawford has posted a .936 save percentage at home and the Blackhawks have won five of the six home games in which Crawford has appeared.



48 thoughts on “Corey Crawford Quieting Doubters (Again)

  1. WCF/SCF numbers would probably look a lot better if not for the “defense optional” series against the Kings last year.

  2. Crawford’s numbers since game 2 of round 1. GAA 2.05, SvPct .932. That would rank him 3rd in the league, but first is Craig Anderson, who only played 4 games.

  3. Brokerwayne- I was actually having this conversation on another site too… I feel if crow does get dealt, he would return the best value of anyone we could move.

    Teams know the hawks are up to the cap wall, and thus, the Hawks lose some leverage. But with Crawford, they can dangle him out there to a team in need of a goalie, and if that team tries to low-ball Chicago, we can say fine “we will just deal Sharp/Bickell/Versteeg/etc”… Our skaters can be moved elsewhere to get where we need to be cap wise. And then if they really want Crow, they will have to come back with a “good” offer.

    There are 8 spots that should be locked up for next year… 19/88/20/81/86/16/65/11. That leaves 4 spots to be filled. Right now we have guys like 10/91/80/29/23 filling those spots. Thats ALOT of money. now, that said, production wise they will be missed, but from a body in the fold aspect, we have Baun, Danualt, McNeill, Panarin, Nordstrom, Hartman, and anyone who we recoup in dealing 10, 29, and/or 23.

    We by no mean “need to deal” crow. and the way he’s playing, I dont see him getting moved unless someone really brings a good deal and is willing to take some of the FWD cap too… I mean just spitballing.. i would want something crazy like if EDM comes knocking only take Crow and Versteeg for Yakupov , Pick 33, Pick 86, and some cheap big body guy like Gazdic who can just fill space a few game of a long 82 game season. Yakupov and Versteeg cap are the same but Yak would be a Russian buddy for Panarin while also being a dangerous piece on this team. Then we pick up 2 solid picks in a good draft and cheap Big NHL body in case a guy like Baun isnt ready. Could be worth it…

    I cant see teams coming and saying “we will take sharp off your hands” offering much more than Pick 75+ and a 4th liner. They know the piece of the deal the hawks need is “cap relief”.

  4. Great post Tab, and very timely I might add. Listening to national media and specifically NHL Network talking heads laugh daily about Crawford based solely on 2 bad games in the ancient history Preds series. As you rightfully point out Tab, Corey has been a money goalie once he was given the reins. I hope Crow wins another Cup, gets hammered again during the parade day festivities, and tells the doubting media to go screw themselves. Lest we forget it WAS Crow that should have won the Conn Smythe in 2013 not Kane. Players all said it, especially Kaner.

    Keep proving the critics wrong Crow, and

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  5. I trust SB to “re-invent” this team for next season. But for right now, who cares! The boys are within reach of a 3rd cup in 6 seasons. Let’s take game two tomorrow and let the boys hoist the cup on home ice on Wednesday! For those of you fortunate to have tickets, I hope that is the case. I live in Montana and have never been to the UC. Born and raised in the burbs, been to games at the old Chicago Stadium. To see the Cup raised live, “priceless”!

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  6. Tim G – Nothing is as exciting as seeing The Boys move through this playoff run, but second is the excitement of the offseason, and waiting for the moves that SB will make. The team should be way different next year, but nevertheless exciting as well. Go Hawks!!!!!

  7. Phil, with due respect… the only player I know who would say he deserved to win an MVP…. Jordan… of course Kane isn’t going to say Kane

  8. Easiest to blame the goalie I guess. Thought Crawford should have had the reins in 2010 as well. Whatever, if one can read a stat sheet then one ought to determine that Crow does a pretty great job and does it consistently which can’t be said for a lot of other goalies.

    Kind of funny how, aside from Toews, the national media largely ignores Hawks players in general. Its like they discovered this year that Keith was really good at hockey. ERMAHGERD SURPRISE!

  9. The Hawks don’t win in spite of Crawford. That’s obvious. He doesn’t get as many shutouts as other goalies but his stats are as usually better than those with more which shows he’s more consistent throughout a season/series. That Phoenix series was a long time ago.

  10. Nothing against Kane, but whoever awards the Conn Smythe made a big error in not awarding it to Crawford in 2013. And his play has been consistent since then with an occasional softy or blown game in less important situations but overall a very reliable goalie when it counts.

  11. My point Wall regarding Kane saying Crow deserved the MVP is that Kane didn’t come out humbly and say the whole team deserved it, which would have been easy. He specified Crawford. That’s all.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  12. Phil, don’t forget about the way he said it. Without hesitation, during the on ice celebration, that he might have snobbed it from Crow. That didn’t seem like a calculated media move, but rather an honest thought.

  13. I guess it’s always a possibility Crow could be moved next season, depending on whether SB can move Sharp, Bickell and Versteeg. I read that Rutherford is strongly thinking of putting in an offer sheet for Saad to bring the home town boy to Pittsburgh. I don’t think Saad wants to leave but it could mean the price the Hawks have to pay for Saad could go up.

  14. Here comes Wall: “corey sucks, we should put his money into D, hawks are going nowhere, they will not beat Tampa….. blah blah blah and other inaccuracies.”

  15. Stan the man says he has no plan to move Crawford at all. Makes sense to me. If you have a team going to the playoffs next year, you want him in goal. Stan has started the rebuilding process already and it looks good. Enough offseason talk. A second cup for Crawford should get him the respect he deserves. Hopefully, we’ll find out soon.

  16. Puff before you pass Scottie. Pretty sure Wall likes Crawford, he just thinks, and can reasonably back up, that teams are better off spending money on the team in front of the goalie rather than the goalie.

    In that same breath. Was reading the other day that poor Bruce Boudreau has had his goalies post a save percentage in the .860’s for all of the game 7’s he has lost. So arguments can be made all around. I still think the Ducks would have beat the Hawks if they had a better goalie.

  17. Yes, JS and hopefully Cooper and Bolts will be in the same boat with the Ducks in the next week or so with their keeper. I believe it to be so for what it’s worth.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  18. I think Crawford is severely underrated by the media and some local fans. However,
    if it comes down to a money decision between Crawford and Saad I would take Saad in a minute.

  19. Scottie, I disagree with Wall on a lot of things, including dealing Crawford but he has put thought into his position and has the data to back it up. All you are doing is being a troll. Instead of just bashing his position, try bringing some actual relevant points to the conversation.

    Crawford has been great during the series so hats off to him. We might not be where we are toady without him. The offseason is going to see some tough choices and as mentioned above, 50 vs. 20 might be in the discussion much in the way Niemi and Hammer were after 2010.

  20. re: 50 being a potential cap casualty trade this summer – there are other players who are more easily replaced internally (looks directly at 10 & 29)

  21. Don’t 10 and 29 both have a NTC? Or do those expire at the end of the season? Plus who is going to want to take 29 anyway? Does someone have Dale Tallon’s number handy?

  22. No doubt Crawford was in command game 1. I think the first goal shook him up and got him moving a little faster- I still think, even though it was a crazy redirection, that he should have followed the soft shot that was going wide of the post to cut off any possible angle, rebound off the boards, etc. Had he done that, the redirect doesn’t go in. He was flat footed on the redirect after taking a good position on the entry. I might be in the minority but I still think it was a soft goal. After that, he was fantastic, as good and fast as I’ve ever seen him. He doesn’t have to pitch shutouts, and as we all know, that’s not his specialty. But his numbers are excellent, and maintaining his level of play from game 1 would be very bad news for TB. That said, the D was excellent in front of him, as they have been pretty much all year, he had a lot of clear looks. He still has to make the saves, and he did so in aggressive fashion.

    TB is going to play harder and uglier than they ever have in game 2, and hopefully the D can keep the crease fairly clean. I look for TB to slow things down half a click, send F1 or 2 to the net all game, and use their point men more in the offensive zone. I’m sure they’re looking long and hard at all their yippy passes and turnovers in their attacking zone, and at the Ducks effectively setting up their 5 man offense- The Hawks usually allow that anyway, they don’t pressure the point very hard, if at all. Of course, a big nasty forecheck enables that, but speed and interference can be effective too. If Crow can maintain his aggression and decisiveness, he can stem the tide… and it’s rolling in. A 1 goal loss is a moral victory for the Hawks in this one. A win would be nicer, but I think it’s unlikely.

  23. Crawford is a core player of this club in the same vein that Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarrson have been. And Saad has become. We don’t win a Cup in 2013 without Crawford. We don’t advance against the Ducks in the WCF without Crawford.

    The salary cap math will be solved. The money WILL be found to retain Saad and Kruger. Gone will be Richards, Vermette, Desjardins, Carcillo, Oduya, Rosival, Kimmo, Runblad, Raanta. Gone also via trade will be Bickell, Sharp and Versteeg, even if Bowman needs to add prospects to a deal in order to convince another team to take on their salaries.

  24. The Crow haters at this stage are just silly non educated Hockey fans. If you don’t like him that’s fine. He’s slightly over paid so he’s a convenient target and I get it. Some fans still haven’t let 2012 vs Phx go and that’s fine too. Crow is not Marty Brodeur, Patrick Roy or King Hank, but he is a very good goalie and a goalie who brings his game in the playoffs. He’s Chris Osgood 2.0

    I sat next to a bunch of dumb Hockey fans during SCF game 1 and instead of acting like a turd I just shut up and listened let people think whatever they want.

    Go Hawks!

  25. I wouldn’t mind have Vermette or Richards return but I know that is unlikely to happen. Its not like the Hawks have a Stud Center coming up anytime soon. Tuevo will likely stay a wing for another year or two.

  26. Crow lives the Rodney Dangerfield line of “never getting any respect”. I posted earlier in the playoffs that I can’t recall another elite athlete with his record that has to “prove” himself again and again. It may seem like another cheaper guy can do the job until you find out how wrong you are in the playoffs (See Andersen, Elliot, Dubnyk, etc.). I agree with RTF’s post regarding the core players however I will go one further and say that Shaw should be added to the list going forward. While he takes stupid penalties from time to time, his grit and compete level make a real difference.

  27. JS and Chev… thanks for Reading and “interpreting” for Scottie P… Perhaps he is from a foreign country and doesn’t understand my “agenda” as Hof once put it…

    I don’t think I ever said “crow sucks”… I do own “hawks won’t beat Wild” and Hawks are going nowhere (in My defense- mostly before Kane got hurt- opening door for $$$/trades at TDL)…

    JS- some still don’t get the “I will keep betting against Hawks” (cuz they keep winning) routine….

    And Panarin- does make 10 a lot more replaceable!!! So I am ok – if 29,10,23 go away to save Cap… But still Crow$$- would help- with keeping 27 and or adding another Solid D man… but w/o Panarin… there wasn’t a lot of immediate Prospect help in the works to replace 10… so things – change- kudos to SB
    Panarin – will be a stud!!!

  28. Yes Crow Stable and Steady!

    I would consider the Hawks “defensive strategy” that is played in front of him in any conversation of how good, great or outstanding he is. Not sure where Hawks fall in blocked shots, but they are outstanding with the sticks and deflections which is critical. Crow has a pretty good defense in front of him, one area he shines in is that the Hawks lead the league is give aways in their own zone, i wont even it call it a turn over just flat out ” give it away” so Crow really is focused and this sporadic rhythm is a challenge.

    My only complaint is Crow is average at best in fact “not good at all” in playing the puck behind the net or anywhere beyond the blue semi circle. If he could “practice” that and improve he would improve his own Goals Against.

    Love Crow . . . everyone lets in a weak goal at times just part of the game but he does rise to the occasion and in those first periods where you need him to just keep ya in it! He does!

    go crow

  29. Hawks need Vermette to return for just DOT presence and balance up the middle he is still not on the right line combination with Sharp.

    Richards could well retire if Hawks win this cup and he is in no mood to play a full season again with the new baby and new life ahead of him, trust me.

    Vermette for the right price could “develop” into a great Hawks but he is in transition every game I LOVE WATCHING him because i see development, every game, He is putting in the effort now and keeping him is wise. Don’t want to start a fight but i’d lose Hossa before Vermette. But not Sharp!

    Anyway it’s cup time!

  30. Not sure bloggers can sort of at random mix and match and trade and bash or trash the current Hawks, chemistry even starting at Goal Tender it’s critical. Hawks continue to have great chemistry on and off ice, i remeber even this blog with Sharp and sex scandal just had no effect on team, and each little dna molecule (players) we add or subtract has a ripple effect and you just can not be certain as too the result?

    So you guess away . . . but the chemistry is pretty solid and the rest of the league is right there too. It takes a lot of luck too to make it this far along with a fist full of skill!

  31. Yes, keep Vermette! Agreed. As hard as it would be to say goodbye to Sharp, I have a feeling that is what will happen. No tears over 23 & 29, however, time to plug in some youth. Glad the Hawks are concentrated on winning this cup and not on next year’s team, as many of us seem to be. Gotta do something with all of this time off!

  32. ……..Corey is a good goaltender and a really nice guy…..but don’t piss him off…..or he will win the Cup again……..proud of him as a Blackhawk but not sure if he is similar to Anti Nemi or Ed Belfour…..only time will tell…

  33. This waiting is driving me batty…media fawning all over the Bolts, broadcasters, writers, even McIndoe for cripes sake, just like they did with the Minnesota Wild…how well coached the Bolts are, how genius the Coach is, how overwhelmingly effective their offense, defense and goaltending is, how any minute now they will score 73 goals in a game and the brilliant goaltender will never see a puck cross the line…each point coupled with a put-down on the Blackhawks, …how overused the D is, Keith will fall apart any minute now, the team is all bs luck…one more mention about the first period vs. Nashville/Crawford story and I won’t read anybody ever again in the sporting world. You see…I used to be a nice mild mannered well behaved Professor of Mining Engineeing and Exploration Geology but am now degenerating into an impatient and somewhat intolerant raving lunatic defender of everything Blackhawk! The Minnesota Wild…gimme a break.

  34. 1 >Henrik Lundqvist
    Goaltender $8,500,000
    2 >Tuukka Rask
    Goaltender $7,000,000
    >Pekka Rinne
    Goaltender $7,000,000
    4 >Carey Price
    Goaltender $6,500,000
    5 >Cam Ward
    Goaltender $6,300,000
    6 >Ryan Miller
    Goaltender $6,000,000
    >Corey Crawford
    Goaltender $6,000,000
    8 >Kari Lehtonen
    Goaltender $5,900,000
    >Semyon Varlamov
    Goaltender $5,900,000
    Any of these guys look better than Crawford right now?

  35. Wall, and anyone else that wants to come over to Swig and watch the game its simple. Just show up. If I know in advance I can get us some prime viewing seats blocked off for us. All are welcome, and it would be cool to meet up in person and way from the keyboard to cheer on the boys. I will try and get there an hour before the game and will be wearing my 65 Shaw red Hawks t shirt.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  36. I agree that Crow has done a very good for us. I also believe that he will continue to help us win the Cup this year. I would still trade him along with 10, 29, and 23 to get under the cap, and build around the rest of the core. He will be very desirable to the right team. I am able to multitask.. Talk and speculate about next year and still enjoy the heck out of this year. Go Hawks!!!!!

  37. Agree on the keep 80 comments. I believe SB indicated that his acquisition had the potential to be more than a rental. Of course Vermette will have final say on that matter. Can’t see the Hawks offering beyond a two year deal for 80.

  38. Good blog as always Tab. Crawford is close to becoming a 2 time Stanley Cup champ and remember it was Stan who gave him the lucrative contract, not Uncle Dale.

    I doubt if Crawford backstops the Hawks to another Stanley Cup, Stan suddenly thinks oops that was a financial mistake that needs to be corrected. To quote Patrick Kand after the 2010 Cup “not a chance”.

    Also read Brian Hedgers interview with Rocky Wirtz. It is very telling. He says Stan is a master of working with the salary cap and works on it for pretty much the whole year. Wirtz says there are no surprises really in late June due to constant planning.

    I think Tab is spot on – 10, 29 and 23 and i will add Raantta, are all likely moved for picks/prospects are June 26, draft day.

  39. Mike57 “1 >Henrik Lundqvist
    Goaltender $8,500,000
    2 >Tuukka Rask
    Goaltender $7,000,000
    >Pekka Rinne
    Goaltender $7,000,000
    4 >Carey Price
    Goaltender $6,500,000
    5 >Cam Ward
    Goaltender $6,300,000
    6 >Ryan Miller
    Goaltender $6,000,000
    >Corey Crawford
    Goaltender $6,000,000
    8 >Kari Lehtonen
    Goaltender $5,900,000
    >Semyon Varlamov
    Goaltender $5,900,000
    Any of these guys look better than Crawford right now?” – Interesting. And, NO, obviously. But, I don’t dismiss the “Money Ball” point-of-view completely either. In my opinion, King Henrik is not $2.5 a year better than Crawford, and Crawford is not $5 a year better than Darling / Raanta (small sample size considered). Access to the stats that support the (small) differences between goaltenders was posted here previously – it’s a valid argument. (I like Corey Crawford – he rises to the occasion, he is a “#1″.)

    Keeping Vermette – SB will if it’s possible. Boy Named Sioux, ” believe SB indicated that his acquisition had the potential to be more than a rental” – I sort of remember this too, he mentioned how Oduya’s stay was extended.

    I trust the Hawks will start better and *may* go up 2-0. GO HAWKS!!

  40. Mining man, couldn’t agree more, the media fawning over every team but the Blackhawks, who happen to have the best hockey leader and player in the world on their team, is indeed perplexing. I’m surprised Doc Emric didn’t mention the incredible Seidenberg and Chara in game one, not sure he said their names enough 2 years ago, but he’s got the incredible Hedman and Stralman to fixate on this season. Every single ESPN story focuses on Tampa Bay. You know what? GOOD. It fits the personality of this team, and it starts at the top with 19. Always affable, yet gives the media nothing controversial, ever. Q’s no slouch with the media either. Everybody on the Hawks buys in, no one rocks the boat, even after what could have been a meltdown-level media disaster earlier this season. Keep it up, media!!!! The microscope is on TB. Let me pre-quote Toews after game 2, win or lose: “Lots of hockey left to be played… Just gotta keep working.”

  41. Nick I am going to wait and listen to Toews say that exact line. You are so right about the media talking heads. Class runs amuck up and down the Hawks organization. Makes you laugh at the old days when cheap I ran amuck. Thanks again Rocky for saving this franchise and making a ton of new Hawks fans understand why us old timers have always loved this great game.

  42. DD yes the saving and re-portioning the money into “better” players is an option but without a guy in the net that has the fortitude to handle the pressure of that most stressful position in ALL of sports, it might not matter. I look forward to next season with some of the young players we have signed and that are ready to step up. Surrounded by the core players, we may struggle for a year but I would bet we will be right back in the finals in two years. If it takes that long to shake out the Pirri’s and Clendening’s that don’t have what it takes. If we gave up too many draft picks for our rentals this year, as some have expressed, so what. Look at who SB has signed and who he still might sign. The future is in capable hands I believe and not every move is a great move but this is a franchise that seems to be doing way more right than most franchises and I have faith in their plans.

  43. Tonight’s game will be all about getting traffic & screens in front of Bishop and Crawford. Who ever wins the battles in the blue paint will win the game tonight. Looking for Toews, Kane & Saad all to get on the board tonight. Go Hawks!

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