Easy call: Crawford gets start in net
November, 30, 2010
By Jesse Rogers
It wasn't a tough decision.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesJohn Scott has some history with the Blues, so Tuesday's game could be interesting.
The way Corey Crawford is playing, he deserved another start. He'll get it when the Chicago Blackhawks take on the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
It's Crawford's third in a row, and his teammates aren't surprised. The praise keeps coming.
"He's moving quicker. He's worked with our goalie coach and he's quicker in net," Brian Campbell said after the Hawks' practice Tuesday morning. "He has his reflexes really going, and it seems like side to side he's just bouncing in the net instead of having to be a struggle sometimes. He's moving pretty smooth."
Joel Quenneville has said it often: Crawford "looks big" in net.
"He's square to the puck, and when you look at an opportunity of where are you going to put it, he denies that first instinct," Quenneville explained. "He closes a lot of those opportunities, and he anticipates well and has some movement."
Crawford has won four in a row after starting the season 1-4. He has stopped 98 of 103 shots for a save percentage of .951 during the win streak. He ranks sixth in the NHL in save percentage (.925) and goals against (2.07) for goalies with at least nine appearances. Tuesday marks the first time in his career he'll start three consecutive games.
Jeremy Morin was recalled to take the place of the ailing Marian Hossa. It's Morin's second stint with the Hawks this season.
"I think I'm a little more comfortable out there," Morin said on Tuesday. "The first time was a little more nerves and excitement. There is still a little bit more of that, definitely, but getting my feet wet was a good experience for me and hopefully I learn from it."
As for Hossa, though it's a tough break for him and the team, the Hawks have been one of the few with a completely healthy roster over the past few weeks. So for a short term injury to occur, Quenneville wasn't lamenting it or when it happened -- during practice instead of a game.
"Things happen like that," Quenneville said. "It can happen away from the game, too, so it's all part of it. You deal with. It's an opportunity for Morin to come up, and hopefully he can take advantage of the chance and the challenge. We'll just go from there."
First Game Back
It's often talked about how the first home game after a road trip can be a difficult one.
"I think maybe you think you can let up a little bit," Campbell said. "Not in hockey sense, but in everyday life sense. It's just like 'Oh, finally [we're home]', you know. Maybe that's a reason you're not ready for the next game. Maybe you have to stay in road mode at least for this game."
The Hawks have done a good job of it, at least recently. They've won five consecutive first games back at home after the "Circus Trip." They are 6-3-1 since 1999 at home after the annual western road swing.
"From experience it's a tough game," Campbell said. "You look at records around the league and they're probably not too good, so I think that's why he [Quenneville] stressed it the other day to us and we really need to be prepared."
Pisani out/Scott Ready
Fernando Pisani will miss a second straight game with an upper-body injury. He's day to day. It gives John Scott another opportunity coming off a game in which he broke the nose of Kings forward Kevin Westgarth in a one-sided affair.
"That's what I figured," Scott said. "He was bleeding so much on the ice. I've gotten my nose broken before. It happens. I don't feel bad for him."
Scott was asked if the feisty Blues may have gotten wind of his pummeling of Westgarth.
"I've got a couple of buddies form other teams, and they called me up and said like 'nice job' so sure, people talk about it," Scott said.
Scott fought Blues forward Scott Winchester earlier this season.
With Hossa out, there are several new trios for Tuesday's game. Patrick Sharp will center Jeremy Morin and Troy Brouwer while Dave Bolland is between Tomas Kopecky and Bryan Bickell. That leaves Jake Dowell to skate with John Scott and Jack Skille. The Hawks top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Viktor Stalberg remains the same.
Quenneville isn't the only one switching up lines. St. Louis head coach Davis Payne broke up his top line for this game after the Blues scored just five goals total in their last three games.
Andy McDonald, Brad Boyes, and David Backes won't start together. Alex Steen replaces Backes.