After the previous two games Corey Crawford has taken his spot between the pipes, the Blackhawks unfortunately were unable to walk away with the win but it wasn’t their weak defense that I listened to people complain about. Apparently the only person on the ice who was at fault for the losses was Crawford. So if you were/are one of those people who continues to complain about Crawford, please continue reading because I am going to be talking to you.
First of all, I will not deny Crawford let in at least one weak goal in both the game against St. Louis and the one against Tampa Bay. However, the far bigger issue in both those games as well as THE ONLY OTHER GAME THEY HAVE PLAYED THIS SEASON (before tonight) against Washington is the weak defense. Multiple defenders have made some pretty big contributions on offense so far this season. In the first game of the season against the Capitals, Hjalmarsson had two assists, Rozsival and Keith both had one. In game two of the season against the Lightning, Hjalmarsson and Leddy each had one. Clearly the Blackhawks are finding success when the defensemen are more involved on offense but that leaves a lot of opportunity for fast breaks from opposing teams that leave Crawford, or whoever is in net, far more vulnerable.
Aside from that even when the defenders are in their own zone the play is particularly soft. We have seen this before. The Blackhawks are not an aggressive team but when they do step up and battle for position in front of the net they have found more success. Hopefully the team will recall that success in the next couple games and realize they can not allow opposing teams to set up in front of their goaltender.
Another thing to remember in all this is that Crawford has never been the most consistent goalie. He tends to run on hot and cold streaks but when Crawford is on he can be strong, agile and incredibly difficult to score on. He also tends to warm up as the season goes on. Give him and the rest of the team a chance to reconnect with each other and learn the little intricacies of each others play. There are a few new faces on the ice and Coach Quenneville really enjoys mixing up the lines on a regular basis.
So please cut it out with all the negative talk, stop counting them out of the postseason FOUR games into the season and have a little bit of faith. If you happen to be a newer fan, I’d just like to point out you were spoiled last season. It is not common to open up the season without a regulation loss in 24 games. Settle in and enjoy the season, it is only just starting. A hockey season isn’t like football, there is PLENTY of time to turn things around. Give Q and the rest of the team a chance to work through the minor bumps. If things aren’t better in a couple weeks then please feel free to express your frustrations, especially considering the division the Hawks are playing in but for right now just enjoy hockey and work on seeing the entire game and the way things unfold and look for the weaknesses on other parts of the ice besides the goaltender.