NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks

Something In The Way – C.I.’s ’15-’16 Season Preview: Corey Crawford

I feel like this is going to be one of the things I harp on all season and you’re all going to get sick of it, so just be forewarned. Other than maybe Duncan Keith, Corey Crawford is probably going to be the most important Hawk this season and the biggest bellwether on how this season goes, good or bad. And for a team that has done its best to take the goalie out of the equation (which they really haven’t done all that well the past two seasons), it’s kind of an uncomfortable spot to be in.

2014: 57 Appearances, 2.27 GAA, .924 SV%, .931 at even-strength (6th in the league among starters)

2014 Playoffs: 20 appearances, 2.31 GAA, .924 SV% .929 at evens

It’s always funny with Crow, because there’s so much noise surrounding him and a fairly noisy section of the fanbase (and possibly organization) that’s always looking to move on from him that any chink in the armor is blown up as evidence. You don’t even realize that Crow put up his second-best regular season performance and playoff performance of his career, and what he has basically always given the Hawks. Crow’s career SV% is .917 and GAA is 2.34. Basically, those are above average, not other-worldly, numbers. Which makes Crow an above-average goalie.

However, if you look at Crow’s numbers through a slightly different prism, that 2013 shortened campaign (that would be the first of two he took home a Jennings, for those scoring at home) he only saw slightly over 26 shots per game. This past one (the other Jennings one), Crow was seeing basically 30 shots per game (29.9 to be exactly). His SV% only wavers by two points between the two seasons, and the greater shot volume explains the difference in GAA, 2.27 vs. 1.84. Crow was what he always is, but he had to do it facing a lot more rubber.

Of course, Crow missed some time with an injury sustained during a lost argument with an HOB staircase, and the team certainly hung him out to dry for it (I bet they thought that would be their biggest PR headache they’d deal with over the next year then. You want to hear God laugh…). It took Crow a while to get back from his injury and clearly shaken confidence from whatever, be it the organization’s handling of him or just the rust from missing a month. Crow’s January and February were only just ok, but his March and April were nothing short of exemplary (.933 and .944 SV% respectively, and on some nights his teammates clearly didn’t care).

’15-’16 Outlook: Sadly, it’s unlikely that Crow is going to see less shots than he did last season, now that the defense has been stripped of Oduya and Hammer, Keith, and Seabrook have another Cup run’s worth of miles on the legs. And Trevor Daley sure as fuck isn’t going to be confused with the term “shot supression.” If the third pairing is even out there, TVR is going to have to prove to be something special to keep the shots at bay as well with whoever he’s paired with. 

Quite simply, the Hawks are going to need Crow to maintain a SV% around .922-.924. I would expect they see somewhere around 30 shots per game as they did for the last four months of last season (and most of the playoffs, really), and anything less than that is going to see the Hawks giving up three goals per game and requiring some real fireworks offensively to keep winning.

He’ll have to do that while it will be something of an open secret that some in the fanbase,  organization, and possibly the coach, will be dying for Scott Darling to prove to be an NHL starter (spoiler alert: he won’t) so the Hawks can get some cap relief in the summer of 2016 by moving Crow along. There would be a long line of suitors, which should tell you something.

There’s no reason to think Crow won’t provide those numbers though. Other than his 2012 blip, the dude’s been pretty metronomic in his production. He certainly won’t be a disaster, and is more than likely to be as he’s always been, above-average. Whether that’s enough for this Hawks team… well, that’s going to be a real question. It really would help if Crow can produce his best season ever. And even that won’t be enough for some.


  • Thank you for supporting Crawford. I don’t know why some Chicago sports fans pick certain guys to hate for no reason at all even though they’ve done more than enough to earn support. It’s a shame really.

    • Cip

      Some fans picked Seabrook for LVP.

    • Jimnhlnut

      No reason? OT goals against vs PHOenix? Drunken injury? I am not a hater, and Crow has done plenty to exorcise those demons….but just sayin that there are some reasons….

      • JayGee

        That PHX playoff series is stuck in our minds…it’s hard to shake

    • SuperHawk27

      Haters gotta hate something while football season isn’t on TV. People who hate Crawford almost universally hate Cutler too because of his facial expressions….

      • Joe Banks

        I LOVE Crawford, HATE cutler…
        and never noticed his facial expressions…

  • Get some balls

    So Mark Giangreco just said on Waddle and Silvy that his “rock solid Buffalo source” who reported that the case was a “as close to a slam dunk” against Kane as it gets, has since called Mark and said that information that Mark reported was a few weeks old. Mark reported that the source not states that, according to the local authorities / legal community, are not saying that the “pendulum is changing” and that it is looking like Kane will probably not be charged after all…..

    • Joe Banks

      I’m not sure what you’re not saying here?

      • Bob in EP


  • Pilotefan

    Crawford is a battler, something I’d rather have in the play-offs than the slightly better stats of those other keepers he has vanquished. In 2012 he was hung out to dry by his team.
    He’ll be there at nut cutting time.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      @ Pilotefan’s – Right on dude. Best synopsis of Crow I’ve ever read.
      Way to go & t/y.
      A guy who loves & not so loves Crow but LOVES that image we all have now – forever – of the guy ripping off his mask and flinging it away
      in TRIUMPH.

      And I don’t care if it’s woosy to say but that moment in time brings a tear to my eyes. The Hawks HAD done it and #50 HUGE in games
      5 & 6. ALL HAIL CROW.

      And now let’s get busy defending the silver!

    • Joe Banks

      Crow eats “elite” goalies for breakfast!

  • Jane Doe

    Not to be *that guy*, but wouldn’t an increase in shot volume explain Crow’s lower save %, not GAA? I mean, you can take 40 shots a game but if they’re all from shit angles b/c the d is forcing play outside, more shots won’t matter.

    • bennicksic

      Also, wouldn’t rebounds given up by Crow be partially to blame for increased shots on goal?

  • strych9

    I think crow is above average. But he lets in too many softies. I always joke that other team should shoot from blue line. But he was fantastic in last 2 games in the final. Crow makes you pull your hair out.

  • Sopel the catfish

    It just sucks that I’m part of the problem with perpetuating this rape culture (apparently), since I don’t understand how Toews saying “we support our player” means that he is calling the accuser a liar as Julie puts it. He isn’t saying we support the raping of drunk girls, but rather as a team we try to support each other and focus on hockey (isn’t that what we expect of pro athletes? “You’re getting money to play a game, focus on the game!” says everyone). Rarely are things ever black and white, but rather all gray with some shades of black and white thrown in occasionally.

    • rhodes

      I understand that coming forward as a rape victim is very difficult, and a person should be supported when doing so. Part of that is to be careful making public statements that would cast doubt on the veracity of that person’s claim without any facts to back it up.

      I personally don’t think that is what Toews intended with his statement—but, clearly, it has been interpreted that way by others. Probably reason enough for him to take the safe route and just say nothing in response to the question.

      At the same time, I find it odd that some of the same people who go to great lengths to protect the image of the accuser (an admirable thing to do), will so easily dump all over the accused and their supporters with absolutely no facts in hand. And what’s worse, to do so using insulting stereotypes: “What does Toews know about it? He’s a rich, white guy,” to paraphrase one denigrating remark I read today. This is both lazy and hypocritical.

      • Sopel the catfish

        Yup, Kane isn’t the only person whose actions have disappointed me in regards to these allegations.

        • WookRN

          And since this very site frequently mentions the image that the team puts out, Toews was probably all but reading off a cue card….
          Also, since there’s NO news regarding this for the last X weeks, why are we talking about it?
          Let the legal system do their investigation. You can think Kane is an asshole if you want (he probably is), but right now, it’s two people with different stories. I’ve mentioned before, I WANT this to be not true, just because I want a girl to not have been raped, sports aside. But for now, we know nothing more than we did a month ago.

    • Joe Banks

      If you look objectly at the entire context of Toews interview, he did fine. I’m growing weary of everyone waiting in the weeds, soapbox in hand, ready to jump on it over ANYTHING.

  • bmarlowe

    In response to today’s diatribe:

    Juie DeCaro: “Because when teams and players say “We support our guy” before facts come out, they are basically calling the victim a liar.”

    Indeed, but so what. If Toews, for whatever reason, thinks Kane is innocent, he can’t say or imply that because it’s not PC? This is beyond ludicrous.

    McCLure: “One, that the friend had to be subpoenaed implies that she isn’t cooperating, and if it is to be believed that she was the original party who wanted to return to Kane’s home, that’s not surprising.”

    That statement can only make sense to one who has lost all of his critical thinking capabilities. Let’s see, the girl who wanted to go back with Kane is OK with Kane raping her friend – yeah, that makes sense

    • bennicksic

      McClure is delusional as hell. That should be the only thing taken out of that article.

  • SuperHawk27

    Since comments are disabled I can only assume that the latest post about
    the Kane situation is a bunch of click bait. Certainly reads that

  • Bannerman

    Winning multiple cups didn’t do it. Playing well enough to deserve the 2013 Conn Smythe didn’t do it. The only way that Craw can get the respect he deserves from a lot of fans in Chicago is to go to another team and have the guy that replaces him suck.