Chicago Blackhawks Need To Address Backup Goaltender Spot

By Randy Holt
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks won in their return to the desert with a 6-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday night. That’s the important part.

Even better, they looked dominant at times, including on special teams.

However, one large concern that had to come out of that game was the play of Ray Emery who, simply put, was awful. From the first goal he surrendered early on, all the way to the back-to-backs that he gave up to make it a 5-4 game, it just wasn’t there for Emery.

Which probably shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise.

Despite the fact that Corey Crawford gets most of the negative attention in the Chicago crease, there’s a reason that he didn’t lose the starting job last year, as bad as he was at times.

Throughout the game on Sunday, we saw a lot of issues that plagued Emery even going back to last season. He had trouble locating the puck, and he was all over the place. Even worse, he was incredibly slow-moving all over. Whether it was in the crease, or attempting to handle the puck outside of it, he moved incredibly slowly.

In a 48-game season, Emery is going to be seeing a lot more playing time, just as almost every backup throughout the league will. That fact has to be a point of concern for the Blackhawks, if Sunday night is any indication. Sure, it’s only one game, but the trends in the tilt against the Coyotes were the same ones that we all saw last year.

Obviously, just two games into the season, the Hawks aren’t going to start looking at other options to play behind Crawford. But if this type of play from Emery continues, then it could force the Hawks to look at other options, whether it’s Carter Hutton down in Rockford, or at an outside source.

Emery isn’t the worst option out there and he’s not completely terrible – he’s just not very good. He’s not the type of guy that you want stepping in for Crawford in the event of a total meltdown, injury…or a shortened season that is going to require a great deal of time from your backup netminder.

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