Toews: ‘Don’t know why there’s any doubt’ about Crawford for Team Canada


Corey Crawford has one significant backer for a possible spot on Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Jonathan Toews, Crawford’s Chicago teammate and gold medal winner with Canada in 2010, said his goalie is a legit candidate to wear the Maple Leaf in Sochi.

“I don’t know why there’s any doubt,” Toews told reporters on Friday, as per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “He’s a pressure player.”

Toews has a point.

Crawford has been outstanding in the clutch this postseason — his performance in Game 1’s triple-OT victory was terrific — but his inclusion into the Olympic mix comes not just as a result of solid play.

Simply put, the current state of Canadian goaltending is in flux.

While there’s no shortage of candidates to claim the three ’14 Olympic team spots — Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Cam Ward, Mike Smith, Marc-Andre Fleury Martin Brodeur — there’s concern about Canada’s lack of a sure-shot No. 1.

Luongo, who led the country to gold in Vancouver, was resigned to a backup role with the Canucks. Price struggled for Montreal down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Ward suffered a season-ending knee injury in March, Fleury got benched in favor of Tomas Vokoun, Brodeur will be nearly 42 years old by the time the Olympics start and nobody’s sure how Smith will fare outside the Phoenix system.

So, maybe Crawford’s the guy.

If you were selecting goalies based solely on current form, he’d almost have to be. The 28-year-old is 13-5 this postseason with a 1.73 GAA and .936 save percentage. He’s out-dueled Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Quick en route to the Stanley Cup Final and, according to online sportsbook Bovada, is the odds-on favorite to win the Conn Smythe.

How about we wrap this up with a poll?


CHL will phase out European goalies

PHT Morning Skate: Yzerman expresses concerns about Canadian goaltending

Four key position battles for ’14 Winter Olympics

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?