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?