There is obviously a lot to be excited about with this Chicago Blackhawks team in 2013.
They have yet to lose a game in regulation, their big names are coming up huge early on, and both the defense & special teams have shown major improvement. Perhaps most importantly, though, the goaltending has been miles better than it was during the 2012 season.
Both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery have been very strong to start the season. Crawford has only allowed more than two goals one time this season, while Emery has rebounded from a pretty poor first start to post a couple of fine outings in his most recent two starts.
The Hawks came into the season with plenty of questions about the state of their crease. Crawford was on the hot seat as the Hawks were believed to have looked at other goaltenders last summer as a potential replacement. But he’s been one of the best in the league to this point.
Emery has allowed just three goals combined in his last two starts, including a 45-save effort against the Calgary Flames. He was outstanding in that one, and looked much better in his third start of the season against the Phoenix Coyotes than he did in the first. His first start, which was in the second game of the year for the Hawks, saw an extremely slow and sluggish Emery moving around and surrendering four goals.
His recent pair of bounce-back games have sparked something of a discussion of whether or not there is a goalie controversy in Chicago. The answer there is that there is absolutely not any sort of controversy as to who should be starting between the pipes for the Hawks. It’s Crawford.
Crawford is starting to look like the franchise goaltender the Hawks were hoping they had when they signed him to a three-year deal. He’s been outstanding. Even in the outings when he hasn’t started off so well, he’s bounced back, like he did earlier this week after allowing three goals in the first 10 minutes of the game against the San Jose Sharks. Which means the confidence is there. It wasn’t there last season.
This same ‘controversy’ discussion took place last year, except it was for different reasons. Having two hot starting goaltenders is a good problem to have, no doubt, but the Hawks have a starting goaltender in Corey Crawford. Ray Emery is a more than capable backup, provided he can keep this up. Let’s just kill this conversation before it even really gets rolling.