Though many players were forced to leave town after the Hawks championship season, one of the hardest to departures to swallow was that of goaltender Anti Niemi. Niemi, one of the heroes from the Hawks' Stanley Cup run was unable to come to terms with Chicago in the offseason, and wound up being signed by Western Conference rivals, the San Jose Sharks. In an effort to replace Niemi, the Blackhawks signed veteran goaltender Marty Turco from the Dallas Stars.
Much like 2009-10, the 2010-11 season featured the demise of a starting goaltender. Last year, it was Christobal Huet who opened the season as the starting goalie, only to be replaced by Anti Niemi as the Playoffs grew close. In 2011, Turco began the season as the undisputed starting goalie for the Blackhawks.
As Turco struggled to settle in, Corey Crawford, like Niemi a year before, became the hot hand. By playoff time, Crawford was the Hawks starting goalie.
Although the Blackhawks were unable to upset the number one seed Vancouver Canucks, Corey Crawford was one of the bright spots of the series. Crawford kept the Hawks close to the Canucks and was a large factor in Chicago's three-game comeback on the verge of elimination.
With the Blackhawks now eliminated from contention, one former Blackhawk still seeks his second-straight summer of Stanley Cup possession: Anti Niemi.
Today, Corey Crawford has been re-signed to a three-year contract. Hopefully for the Hawks, this will solve what has been somewhat of a revolving door between the pipes.