Just when you thought the Blackhawks were finally going to have a season without some sort of goalie controversy, Ray Emery takes over the crease and tries to cause one.
I’m still insisting that there is no goalie controversy in Chicago, but Ray Emery is damn sure trying to make it so there is one.
Emery put together yet another strong performance on Wednesday, as the Blackhawks were able to knock off the Western Conference’s top team, the Minnesota Wild. After facing just two shots in the first period, Emery was forced to step up his game as the tilt progressed, and he answered the call, stopping 27 of 30 shots on the night.
Currently sitting with a 7-1-2 record with the Hawks this season, it’s easy to see why Joel Quenneville has continued to start the veteran in place of last year’s rookie sensation Corey Crawford.
After that absolute disaster against Edmonton back on November 19th, Emery hasn’t lost a game in regulation. He’s filled in for Crawford in relief twice against Phoenix, not allowing a goal in either appearance, at least until the shootout in the second matchup. He’s won all four of his starts since surrendering seven goals against the Oilers, while allowing a solid nine goals in those four.
What was known about Ray Emery when he came in to training camp on a tryout was how much of a competitor he was. While it was considered an open competition between Emery and Alexander Salak to see who would become the backup to Crawford, it was pretty evident that the team wanted Emery behind Crawford, strictly because of that veteran aspect.
With every game that he sees action, Emery looks like he’s getting more and more confident with this Hawks team. You can still see some of that limited mobility that was a concern given his injury history, but Emery has compensated well and is performing at an extremely high level.
In all likelihood, it will be Emery back in the crease on Friday when the Hawks host his former squad, the Anaheim Ducks. But that doesn’t mean there’s a goalie controversy just yet.
I still firmly believe that the starting goaltender job belongs to Corey Crawford. Joel Quenneville has a history of playing the hot hand, just as most coaches would, and he will continue to start Emery until he fizzles out. It’s almost a guarantee that as soon as Emery has a questionable outing, then right back to Crawford the starts will go.
Nonetheless, it’s nice to see Emery proving his many doubters wrong here early on the season. He’s done some great work between the pipes for the Hawks and has proven that he was worthy of a spot on this roster.
While I might be in complete denial over the goaltending situation, I do think it’s still Crawford’s job. But until Emery falters, prepare to continue to see Razor in net for the Blackhawks.