Updates from Thursday, May 29
According to a report from TMZ, Crawford's accuser is no longer pursuing charges:
Seems like Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford is gonna be OFF THE HOOK in his alleged water bottle squirting attack ... TMZ Sports has learned his accuser is backing down in a big way.
We broke the story ... L.A. Kings fan Clark Wong filed a battery report with the LAPD after Crawford allegedly sprayed him with water during Game 4 of the NHL Playoffs earlier this week.
Now, law enforcement sources tell us ... officials have reached out to follow up with Wong, but have not been able to reach him and he's not returning calls.
We also spoke with Wong who told us he no longer wants to pursue the case.
The play of Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford in the NHL's Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings has been puzzling to say the least. The confusion apparently doesn't stop there, though.
According to TMZ, the Los Angeles Police Department is reportedly investigating Crawford after he allegedly squirted a fan in the face with his water bottle during Chicago's Game 4 loss to the Kings in Los Angeles Monday.
This claim has been disputed by the LAPD, however, as a spokesperson told CBSChicago.com that no such investigation is ongoing.
TMZ is reporting that 27-year-old Kings fan Clark Wong, who was on the receiving end of the alleged incident, filed a battery report against Crawford. He claimed that Crawford's water bottle was filled with backwash and caused irritation to his eyes.
If TMZ's report is accurate, then Wong's eyes may indeed be irritated; but most are likely simply rolling theirs in reaction to the accusations against Crawford.
Among those who have brushed the situation off is Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times, who offered a sarcastic quip:
One person who has yet to comment on the allegations, though, is Crawford himself as he was not present to be interviewed following Game 4, per Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune:
#Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was not available for comment on allegedly spraying water in face of fan during Game 4 in L.A.— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) May 28, 2014
If Crawford indeed squirted a fan with water, should he be investigated?
This entire scenario could prove to be an annoyance to Crawford and the Blackhawks moving forward. It may ultimately cost Crawford some money as well if the alleged victim decides to pursue something, but the true concern is the fact that Chicago finds itself on the brink of elimination.
The Blackhawks trail the Kings 3-1 in the series and must rip off three consecutive wins in order to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second consecutive season.
Crawford enjoyed a fantastic regular season that saw him go 32-16-10 with a 2.26 goals against average and .917 save percentage. Crawford was largely spectacular in the first two rounds of the postseason as well, but things have gone south against L.A.
He has allowed at least four goals in each of the past three games, which prompted Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star to make a joke at Crawford's expense:
Every time I look, Corey Crawford seems to be bathed in red light like Kramer across from the chicken place— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) May 27, 2014
Despite Crawford's obvious struggles, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville hasn't pointed the finger at him. Instead, he has credited the Kings' excellent play, according to Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com:
He's been excellent for us all playoffs. They have some guys that we saw even in the first game that can make plays. They've got some finish. I think that's the difference in probably the first two rounds. Now they got two lines that are very dangerous offensively. They got a back end that's pretty active. I think it's a good hockey team out there, so let's make sure that the quality and the quantity we cut back.
There is plenty of uncertainty surrounding Crawford's situation off the ice since there are conflicting reports, but there is no mystery about the challenge that he faces on the ice.
Crawford simply cannot afford to have another poor showing in this series. Otherwise, the Blackhawks will be sent packing. Frustration has clearly set in if Crawford did in fact squirt a fan with his water bottle, but keeping his composure from this point forward is a must regardless.
The Kings have a cool and confident goalie in the form of Jonathan Quick, so Crawford can't worry about outside factors. He has to realize that this series is far from over and take things one game at a time.
If he is able to do that, then the Blackhawks still have a fighting chance.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter