I knew this was going to happen. I saw it in my dreams.
On March 1st, the Chicago Blackhawks had just beaten the Columbus Blue Jackets in OT to push their record to 18-0-3. Ray Emery was now 10-0 as a backup goalie and that night as I slept like a giant, a buck-toothed beaver came to me in my dreams and said, “The Hawks are about due for a goalie controversy.” Then I remember falling. I was falling and shouting, “WHY!? WHY THIS SEASON??” But the Beaver wouldn’t answer me.
He never answers me.
And so here I am: sitting here drinking a cup of tea and reflecting on my conversation with a talking beaver.
Luckily it doesn’t require a dream therapist to answer my nocturnal question: the Hawks brought in a seasoned, veteran goalie with playoff experience to play behind a mental midget. It was only a matter of time before we came to this.
Chicago coughed up another game last night at the United Center by giving up two third period goals and allowing the St. Louis Blues to push them to a shootout. From there, they badly exposed goalie Corey Crawford and officially welcomed the 500lb. gorilla into the room.
Crawford’s in trouble. There I said it. He’s become Pillsbury-soft these days and now the Hawks look to be incapable of holding onto leads with just 3 weeks remaining in the regular season.
In the latest installment of his mediocrity, Crawford faced a mere 19 shots through overtime but never seemed comfortable. He was beat late in the first period by an Adam Cracknell slap shot to the glove hand side, which gave the Blues a 1-0 lead and silenced the “Madhouse on Madison.” Then in the third period, he tired of playing with a lead and so he gave up a soft wrist shot and a sloppy rebound to put himself back in hot water. Victor Stalberg eventually bailed him out with 4:31 to play and tied the game, setting Crawford up for the epic fail that was the shootout.
“I just didn’t feel that great in the shootout,” he said.
What does that even mean?
Was he sick? Depressed? Perhaps, he was chewing on the shame sandwich he’d just whipped up?
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville needs to seriously entertain the idea of giving Crawford some time to think about things. Emery’s 12-1-1 and has previously led a team to the Stanley Cup Finals (he took the Ottawa Senators there in 2006-07). He also has the type of alpha-personality that it takes to put the team on his shoulders and carry them should they need it. Last night, he managed to antagonize St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman to the point where a Blues trainer had to come on the ice and restrain him — and he did that FROM THE BENCH.
There’s no harm in giving Emery more time, and I’m sincerely hoping they’ll consider it since I’m not sure how many more nights I can stand with the Evil Beaver.