Here we go again: some Chicago Blackhawks fans have spent the past two days screaming about Corey Crawford’s performance on Wednesday. The five goals he allowed were all glove side, which led some to believe that Crawford has suddenly become a liability on the team and needs to be benched for Ray Emery. Instead of enjoying the Blackhawks’ victory, they’d rather complain about one negative aspect of the game.
“Last series they were talking about my blocker, so both sides are bad, I guess,” Crawford said with a laugh in his post-practice media scrum yesterday. He makes a good point: think back to how he performed during the Western Conference Final. That was Crawford at arguably his best. He’s saved the Blackhawks from going down in flames many times in this postseason. The criticism he received was unwarranted then, just as it is now.
Emery hasn’t played in months. Yes, he participates in practices, but that doesn’t guarantee that he’d be ready for such a high-pressure situation. People who think that he’d be better in net than Crawford are relying on Emery’s regular season statistics alone, and that’s not good enough against the Boston Bruins.
If Crawford is so bad, why aren’t Bruins fans demanding that Tuukka Rask be replaced in net? He allowed six goals on Wednesday, and they were on all sides. The two goalies have nearly identical stats, yet Crawford is the one who should be replaced. If Rask isn’t replaced as well, it’s a double standard.
Back in 2010, Antti Niemi allowed five goals in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. No one demanded that Cristobal Huet be put in to replace him. Five games later, the Blackhawks won the Cup. This time, it’s Crawford who had a bad night, but he’s bounced back from bad goals and stood his ground after them. The same will happen in this next game.