Corey Crawford started the 2011-12 season with two things: a new $8 million contract and positive momentum from an impressive playoff performance.
The 28-year-old still has the contract, but the positive momentum is gone after a challenging second year as the Blackhawks’ starting goalie.
“I feel like I need to kind of redeem myself a little bit,” Crawford said Friday, per the Chicago Tribune. “I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting and finally it’s here so I’m getting excited and ready to go.”
Crawford, along with backup Ray Emery, struggled all season to give their team consistent goaltending. But barring a trade (for, say, Roberto Luongo), the same duo will be back between the pipes.
In July, ‘Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said he expected Crawford to bounce back.
“I’m very comfortable and confident with Corey,” Quenneville said. “You look at the history of goaltenders around the league…there is a little bit of a bounce factor in that second year. A number of top goalies have had that career path. We anticipate Corey getting right back on track.”
The Blackhawks could certainly help their goaltenders by playing better in front of them.
Said GM Stan Bowman after his team failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs: “Our goaltending in general was not our strength this year. [But] I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame on Crawford. You win as a team and you lose as a team. We need to be stronger defensively and that includes our team commitment to defense, not simply the goaltender and not simply the defensemen. It’s really a team concept.”
The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins are going to take their rivalry outside on Saturday.
The Flyers visit the Penguins in a Stadium Series clash at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. You can catch the action on NBC or online with the NBC Sports Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Goalie nods: Murray, Neuvirth get the call at Heinz Field
Kris Letang won’t play in outdoor game; Schultz game-time decision
NHL On NBC: Penguins, Flyers meet in Stadium Series
Giroux: ‘It’s all business’ between Penguins and Flyers at Heinz Field
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes have made a minor league trade.
The Bolts on Saturday acquired right winger Stefan Fournier from the Coyotes in exchange for right winger Jeremy Morin, who has played 82 career NHL games between the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Fournier stands six-foot-three-inches tall and 226 pounds. He has two goals and four points in 29 games with the Tuscon Roadrunners in the AHL.
Morin, who has spent the majority of his pro career in the Blackhawks organization, has been a productive minor league player over the years. He has nine goals and 21 points in 43 games this season with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.
The New York Islanders entered today with a three-game winning streak and holders of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
But yeah, it’s been a disastrous start for the Islanders on Saturday. The Blue Jackets scored three times in the first period, chasing Thomas Greiss from the New York net after he stopped 14 of 17 shots faced.
Jean-Francois Berube entered the game to begin the second period and promptly surrendered a goal to Josh Anderson, who scored his 12th of the season.
Oh, look at that: Another heated melee involving the Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings.
You’ll recall a first-period fight fest in a pivotal Pacific Division game between these teams almost one full year ago. On Saturday, in another meeting between these California rivals, the Ducks and Kings were once again at odds.
This latest conflict? Well, Corey Perry was involved. Again. (Last year, order had been restored during a brief scrum before Perry gave an extra shot to a Kings player, resulting in mayhem.)
Perry was called this time around for interference on Anze Kopitar. Kings players, as you might expect, suddenly rushed over before Nate Thompson and Brayden McNabb squared off in the main event.