Corey Crawford one possibility for World Cup of Hockey goalie

Original Source: Kevin McGran - The Toronto Star

Posted on: Mar 14, 2016

Chicago Blackhawks believe goaltender should be a contender to play in the World Cup in September if Montreal Canadiens’ Cary Price is still injured.

There are two management teams keen on learning the fate of Carey Price.

One, obviously, is the Montreal Canadiens, who could well be swayed to shut down their star goalie, call it a season, and see if they can win a draft lottery and the rights to one of the best 18-year-olds in hockey.

The other is the brain-trust of Hockey Canada, the folks putting together Team Canada’s entry in September’s World Cup. The thinking is if Price doesn’t return this season, then the Habs won’t make him available for the World Cup. 

Price, who was in net for Canada’s gold medal team at the 2014 Winter Games, wants to play in the World Cup. But if he can’t, then who will play net for Canada? With the first 16 players on each roster to be announced March 1, it’s an important question to ask.

There was a time that question sent shivers down the spines at Hockey Canada. But now — certainly more than just a few years ago — Canada’s goaltending is solid. 

Roberto Luongo was Price’s backup in Sochi and having a fine season in Florida, but he’ll be 37 by the time the World Cup comes around. There’s Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals, who leads the league in wins, as well as Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild and Martin Jones of the San Jose Sharks, asserting himself as a young No. 1.

One name moving up the charts is Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks.

“I don’t know, we’re not talking about him as much as we should be,” says Hawks captain Jonathan Toews. “A lot of other goalies get all kinds of credit. He has won two Stanley Cups.

“For what he’s been doing for our team, the games he’s bailed us out of this year. It seems he never gets the credit he deserves, no matter what he does. He’s been amazing.”

Crawford is 31, in the prime of his career. His numbers this season stack up to anyone’s: 2.16 goals against average, .930 save percentage.

“I think I’ve been pretty consistent,” says Crawford. “That’s what you strive for as a No. 1 goalie. Consistency is important because you give the guys confidence going into the net. So far, this year has been good. But you never want to get comfortable.

“It’s always about the next game and next shot.”

If there’s an issue with Crawford, it’s more about his image than his playing. He doesn’t have the panache of Price or Luongo, or the pedigree of other World Cup-bound goalies like Henrik Lundqvist or Tuukka Rask.

Crawford is a second-round pick who paid his dues in the AHL before winning the No. 1 job in Chicago. Like Chris Osgood with the Red Wings a few years ago, Crawford’s critics say any goalie would be successful with a team as potent and powerful as the Blackhawks.

But that’s not how the Blackhawks see it.

“He’s making progress in regards to his credibility and winning big games,” says Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. “Each year he’s gotten better and better.”

Crawford will say yes if Hockey Canada gives him a call.

“Canada has a bunch of young goalies,” says Crawford. “That would be a lot of fun to play in.”

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