Have you ever read The Jungle? It’s a terrifying look at early 20th century work conditions in practically any growing city across the country. Even though its characters and their doings are works of fiction, the base was rooted with realism – child labor, unsafe working conditions, and ridiculous hours with minimal pay. Even that wacky character Socialism makes an appearance!
Somewhere, in Upton Sinclair’s Mac or iPad, is the deleted chapter in which he discusses the overworked and approaching fragility of Chicago Blackhawks’ goaltender Corey Crawford. Any chance for rest has been snatched away. All that’s missing is a cartoon of wiry mustached robber baron carrying bags with the ‘$’ printed on them.
“There is one kind of prison where the man is behind bars, and everything that he desires is outside; and there is another kind where things are behind bars, and the man is outside.”
You’re never going to hear an NHL goaltender say he needs a break. What you’ll get is something that sounds like a stock answer – loaded with “best for the team” and “always ready” dialogue that normally goes in one ear and out the other. Likewise, you’re not going to hear many guys offer up the chance at starting 70+ games either.
The Blackhawks have played 24 games this season heading into Edmonton. Crawford has been in net for 22 of them, amassing a 15-4-3 record. His highest games played are 57, which happened twice. Last season, in 30 games Crawford went 19-5-5 and played 1761 minutes. He’s already sitting at 1250.
It isn’t the totals that have me worried.
Simple addition will show playing in a certain amount of games will total a certain amount of minutes. The issue is the threat of burnout. Or even worse, injury. If Crawford goes down with injury, how far into the barrel is the brass willing to reach to fill roster spots? I know you shouldn’t deal in “what-ifs”, but if there’s a glaring weakness to this team, it sure as hell isn’t 2LC.
But what course of action is right? Can the Hawks afford to let Antti Raanta take the reins for a week and play three in a row just for the sake of resting Crawford?
There’s no “softies” in this schedule, and surely not the Western Conference. Boston, the leader in the East would be tied for 8th place in the West with 32 points. Its likely Raanta gets the call against Edmonton, but since when have the Hawks played a good game against the Oil? Maybe the better question is “when was the last time Edmonton didn’t play well against Chicago?”
“And we shall organize them for the victory! We shall bear down the opposition, we shall sweep it before us-and Chicago will be ours! Chicago will be ours! CHICAGO WILL BE OURS!”
– The forward pass celebrated 100 years of being allowed, recently…. It’s that thing the Hawks sometimes do and/or do too much
– As mentioned before, the Eastern Conference is really bad. Specifically, the Metropolitan Division. Enter “LOLs” at your own risk
– During Olympic play, the restrictions to pad size won’t follow the new NHL guidelines. This has some people wondering if the netminders will choose to go bigger. The real trick is still figuring out who is going to wear them
– I’m beginning to think I’ll never receive my “free gift” Blackhawks beer cozy from The Hockey News. I don’t remember checking the “Would You Like To Be Lied To?” box when I renewed my subscription
Honesty is a big turn on for Brennan. Find him at the most honest place on Internet, Twitter! @midway_brennan