Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford Not Solely to Blame for Early Exit
They ran into a hot goalie named Mike Smith and failed to solve him before they were eliminated from playoff contention.
The finger pointing will start soon for the Hawks and someone will take the blame for this first-round exit. One thing is for sure, it should not all be on the shoulders of goalie Corey Crawford.
Inconsistency has plagued Crawford all season long to the point where backup goalie Ray Emery saw significant amounts of ice time.
There were many times in this series that Crawford was put on the spot; either by bad defensive positioning or from a bad neutral zone turnover.
Sure, Crawford wasn't as stellar as many of the goalies that are in the NHL playoffs; but with the way this Blackhawks' team is built, does he have to be?
The Hawks are build as a puck-possession team thus they will have the puck more and should be able to generate the better scoring opportunities.
The top-line defensive pairing of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook should be able to clear the puck from their own zone without turning it over.
Most importantly, the Hawks should have one of the best power play units in the NHL with all the skill that they have on the top two lines.
Why did the Hawks lose to the Phoenix Coyotes?
Simply put, none of this happened and Crawford was left to pick up the slack; obviously he wasn't able to and the Hawks are now out of the playoffs.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews talked about the frustration of not being able to get things done in the playoffs. (Via ESPN).
"It's frustrating," Toews said. "It's not like we weren't trying or we didn't care. There's a lot of skill out there. We just couldn't get it done. It was kind of that way all season and we can't come into the playoffs and expect to turn on the switch and see a better power play."
Blackhawks' fans would love to find a scapegoat and place all the inconsistency of this season on them. But the troubles of this team go beyond one player and Crawford doesn't deserve all of the blame.
Two bad overtime goals in Games 3 and 4 will be remembered and seen as the turning points of this series. While Crawford deserves the blame in those he should receive some credit for leading his team into the overtime.
Without a few key saves from Crawford the Hawks would not have even managed to make it into overtime.
Regardless of what happens in the offseason; Game 6 will not be the last that Crawford plays as a Blackhawk. That's a guarantee.
Follow Featured Columnist James Maahs on Twitter for all the latest Blackhawks' news and updates.
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