Somewhere, hidden deep within the bowels of a nondescript Toronto strip mall, there’s a complex group of powerful individuals who have a bone to pick with Corey Crawford. A secret “No Corey’s” organization (they have one, either Schneider or Feldman) headed by some Scrooge-like character that not only runs the NHL Network and the league’s website, but also holds the secret recipes to Coca-Cola, KFC and keeps Two and A Half Men on TV.
I hate secret organizations.
I hate when deserving individuals are overlooked for the flashy, safe choice. It’s why I rejoiced when Sergei Bobrovsky won the Vezina and also why I fumed when all people were talking about was Crawford’s “weak glove” en route to a Stanley Cup victory and Conn Smythe snub.
Somehow, the attention that No. 50 deserves isn’t making it onto the league’s agenda. Somehow, we Blackhawks fans are left to squabble over who counted him out and who had his back this whole time. Somehow, it looks like Crawford is going to have to start 60 games.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Last season, the tandem of Crawford and Ray Emery were able to tell science “f— off, we got this” while playing off one another spectacularly enough to win the Jennings Trophy. Unfortunately, science is a surly subject and has returned with a Russian accent, an .818 save percentage and 4.74 goals against.
It’s the Hawks preference – or at least has been – to have a veteran serve as backup to their starter. It’s sound logic when you think about it. Think long and hard enough and eventually you too will come to the reasoning that a 40-year-old, while a veteran in almost every definition, isn’t necessarily the best option.
Development still ranges in infancy with Antti Raanta at AHL Rockford. Take a trip down memory lane and recall Crawford’s winding road to the crease. Some will say it was being passed over; others will assure us that he needed every game in Rockford before becoming ready. Both are correct. Neither changes the fact that the Hawks sooner rather than later will need to address the backup role yet again.
Is it fair to argue the organ-I-zation may have abandoned any plans for Carter Hutton too soon? He’s served amicably in Nashville in more time early this season than most would’ve anticipated. Usually Pekka Rinne is greedy with starts throughout the season, but a serious hip infection has put the spotlight on Nashville’s backup goaltender.
You can take away Old Man Wirtz, but it doesn’t make monetary decisions disappear. Crawford is going to get a raise of just under $4M starting next season. Raanta is currently at$925,000 and an RFA next year. Nikolai Khabibulin is a short-term band-aid at the cup of coffee price $1.7M.
The thing that scares me the most is the chance the Hawks refuse to address the backup situation because of the one-year deal Khabibulin is under. They might figure the team is good enough to ride out any occasional dump taken by their No. 2 and not lose any ground in the standings – and if so – then why rush Raanta?
Since when is counting on an offense to score four or five goals to maybe win a good plan?
Kane for Miller? Okay, bad joke. Anticipate Khabibulin to get two more chances in net to turn his play around. Anything less than, as Joel Quenneville would put it, “Okay” and we’re looking at a roster move or two.
- Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov was charged with second degree kidnapping and third degree assault stemming from an altercation with his girlfriend. He then proceeded to bond out, travel with the team to Dallas (because the judge allowed him, because America) and earn the 3-2 overtime victory
- Brandon Bollig scored his 2nd goal of the season his career (GAME WINNER TO BOOT!) and was a fight away from the Gordie Howe Hat Trick
- Gordie Howe, probably most famous for the Gordie Howe Hat Trick (right?) only accomplished the feat of Goal, Assist, Fight twice in his career
- No one can convince me Dustin Byfuglien is worth anything
- Fact: The Blackhawks’ penalty kill is the worst in the league
- If Ray Emery was looking for the “Lost Secret of Winning More, Again” there’s better options than Braden Holtby to beat it out of
Everything Brennan says on Twitter is an outtake from this article. Find him at @midway_brennan