All teams would be very happy to have a goalie with a GAA under two. Most teams would be thrilled to have an goalie with a save percentage of 93 percent.
Yet somehow after allowing five goals in Game 4, some Blackhawks fans are calling for Coach Joel Quenneville to make a switch in net. Seriously this is happening.
Not taking anything away from Ray Emery but there is a reason he wasn't No. 1 goalie during the season. There is a reason Crawford was and has remained the No.1 during the postseason.
He has been fantastic.
Don't believe me just look at the stats. He has gone 14-7 with one shutout, a GAA of 1.86, a save percentage of 93.1.
Still don't want to buy in? He is outperforming the beloved Antti Niemi, who helped the Hawks hoist the cup in 2010. During the playoffs that year Niemi went 16-6 with a 2.63 GAA and stopped 91% of the shots he faced.
Crawford has gotten the Hawks within two wins of hoisting the cup and besides having one most loss has outperformed Niemi in everyway. But let's forget Niemi because it is now Emery people are calling for.
Personally I knew someone would ask the question to Coach Q but any reasonable person knew his answer. However I was shocked today when I visited the 4th biggest sports site, BleacherReport.com, and saw numerous articles saying how Crawford should have been pulled and Emery should start Game 5.
And the scary thing is people actually agree with this.
While Emery was great in the regular season (17-1, 1.94 GAA & 92.2 %) he has a history as being an awful playoff performer. He has only played in the postseason three times, and aside from helping the Senators reach the Cup finals wasn't good the other two times. All-time he is 20-15, 2.57 GAA & a lowly 90.3 save percentage.
Again there is a reason that Emery is not the man. There is a reason he didn't receive a big money deal either of the last two summers. The organization knows it, the coaches know it and the team knows it.
Thankfully Crawford has the support of Emery and the rest of the team. Crawford has evolved this season. He no longer plays soccer in the hallway before games. He now rebounds well after giving up a goal. He has matured and in turn taken his position on the team much more seriously.
Crawford is getting the treatment usually only reserved for the starting QB of the Bears. the old joke is the most popular player on the Bears is whoever the backup QB is. Over the past few seasons, it seems the same could be said for whoever the backup goalie is for the Hawks.
Hopefully after two more victories this can end and people will finally be able to appreciate Crawford for what he is....a pretty damn good goalie.
By the way, I think Game 5 might be Crawford's game. I guess we will just have to wait and see.