Chicago Blackhawks face a dilemma between the pipes

Chicago blackhawks

Nothing excited Chicago Blackhawks fans more than to see their golden boy goalkeeper, Corey Crawford, get back on the ice to lead his defending champs. However, after a series of close losses, one could only classify Crawford’s return as a bit of a letdown.

Crawford’s lower body injury versus the Panthers on December 8th put coach Joel Quenneville in a bit of a pickle. With backup goalie, Nikolai Khabibulin , also out with an injury, he was forced to put 24-year-old Finnish phenom, Antti Raanta, between the posts. After racking up 7 wins and a save percentage of .911%, Raanta seemed to be adjusting to the new position quite smoothly, but he knew there would be a change once Crawford was 100% healthy.

On January 2nd , Crawford faced the Islanders and a skeptical Chicago crowd. Since that game he has gone 0-2-3 which has to leave Quenneville with a salty taste in his mouth. At this point, we’re all wondering what would have happened if they would have kept Raanta in there. Raanta was on a roll, and the past few years tell us that the Blackhawks are the type of organization that stick with the goaltender that is on a roll. Yet, we can’t forget the 2012-2013 Stanley cup season where Crawford was chosen as the playoffs starter, even though Ray Emery had just came off of a 12-game winning streak. Does coach Quenneville have a method to his madness?

Despite only having 1 regulation win since his return, Crawford has only allowed 2.47 goals per game with a .910 save percentage. The only problem with these statistics is that it causes us to then blame the offense for the consistent losses, but that’s a story of its own.

The next few games for the Blackhawks are going to be battles, seeing that they are facing a tough road schedule that includes the Flames, Canucks, Sharks and Kings all within the next 6 days. Antti Raanta is a young, talented goal tender, but the Blackhawks are going to need the experienced Corey Crawford in the net in order to conquer the grueling schedule they have approaching.