Corey Crawford's goaltending evolution
CHICAGO - It's tough to stay focused when you're tired. The comparison Ray Emery made is when you wake up early and you're still not quite sharp or making good decisions. Like those moments before the first cup of coffee.
"If you're groggy, you might forget to put your socks on," Emery joked Friday.
So when Game 1 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins started pushing toward record length and extending into overtime, that's what stood out to Emery. Just how Corey Crawford was able to make save after save after save when he knew his fellow goalie had to be absolutely exhausted.
"It's pretty amazing," Emery said. In all, Crawford made 51 saves, with 29 of them coming in overtime. To do it, he kept things as simple as possible. His thought process went like this: Each save in this moment is huge, so just make the next one.
"I can't explain it. I was just able to stay in it and make sure that [my] mind [didn't] wander," Crawford said. "'Make the next save and our [goal scorers] will score the next shot.' Constant repeat of that. Repeated that over and over and over."
But let's be honest: It didn't always look pretty. Crawford is 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, and when he's settled at the back of the crease, using his strong technical skills in making saves, everything looks fine. When he begins to battle for rebounds and is diving around desperately to make that next save, it can look cumbersome and a bit awkward. He's not the best skater and sometimes takes longer than you'd like to get from Point A to Point B. And even he joked that he would have liked to hold on to his stick more than he did in overtime.
"I think I lost my stick six more times than I would have liked," he said. "I don't know why that happened."
He was just doing anything to keep the game going.
"I just had to do it or else we would have lost the game," he said.
And perhaps that's why it has taken this long for the appreciation for Crawford to roll in.
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