Thursday, April 11, 2013
No. 1 playoff goalie difficult choice for Q
By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Time is running out with nine regular-season games remaining, but Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is still patiently waiting for Corey Crawford or Ray Emery to emerge as his No. 1 playoff goalie.
So far this season, Crawford and Emery have been neck and neck for the top spot. Crawford is 15-4-4 with a 2.01 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. Emery is 15-1-0 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.
Emery has started and won the last three games, and Crawford will start against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
"I think in the past a lot of times the decision is always made for you," Quenneville said after Thursday's practice at Johnny's IceHouse West. "It's clear who is going to be the guy. This year, I can honestly say, both guys definitely get strong consideration based on performance. I think we're a position where, well, let's see how it goes right now without showing our hand. If both guys continue doing what they're doing, we'll be in a real nice situation.
"We'll see how it all works out. We'll see how it all plays out."
Both goaltenders complimented each other Thursday and said they wanted what was best for the team.
"We get along great," Emery said. "I think we like to kind of bounce things off each other and learn things from each other. I know I enjoy watching him play. I think it's a team thing; we just want to win every game when we get in there.
"You don't control who gets in the net. Whenever one of us gets in there, we try to win the game."
Crawford believes the competition has helped both of them, too.
"We're definitely pushing each other to be at our best," Crawford said. "So far, it's been great for both of us. The team's winning. He's done a great job the last couple games. We work hard in practice. Like I've said a million times, it's just game by game."
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said whatever final decision Quenneville makes will be fine by the team and the goaltenders.
"I don't think it matters to them," Toews said. "I think they both want to win. They want to do whatever it takes to help this team win. If it's not playing every single game; they're willing to do it. They're both great team guys, and they have shown that the last two years playing alongside each other.
"Whatever the case may be, I think as players we understand that's the situation, too. If you're not scoring goals or you're not hitting or you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing, someone else might be stepping up and doing it. That's kind of why hockey is a team game, I guess."