In last night's 8-4 loss to the "mighty" Edmonton Oilers, a lot of things went wrong for the Blackhawks. Once again, the defense was standing around watching Oilers parked in front of the Hawks' net. When they did actually try do disrupt a play, it was with a weak poke check. The forwards stopped backchecking after 20 minutes. They did manage 47 shots on goal, but I don't recall a really spectacular save by Devin Dubnyk.
The Hawks need to change a lot of things, both on the roster and in the locker room. Stan Bowman is on the clock to make a deal, but he also can't panic right now and get hosed on a trade. It's a tough place to be.
The one thing the Hawks CAN change right now is in goal.
Corey Crawford hasn't been good enough. Plain and simple. Of the five goals he surrendered last night, 4 of them would fall under the "questionable" variety.
Edmonton's first goal, scored by Taylor Hall, was brutal. Hall had a partial breakaway, but Brent Seabrook effectively eliminated him from any quality scoring chance. Regardless, Hall was able to flip a weak shot past Crawford. The Hawks had been dominating up to this point. Players talk about how demoralizing a weak goal can be. Well, we saw that made real last night. 2-1.
The Oilers second goal was scored by Sam Gretzk...I mean Gagner. Crawford made the initial save, but kicked the rebound right on the Gagners stick, who took it behind the net for a wrap around. Crawford, who's as slow post to post as any starter I've seen, couldn't get to the other side in time. 2-2.
While Crawford had no chance on the Oilers' third goal, the fourth and fifth were brutal. The fourth, scored by Gagner, demonstrated Crawford's all too common "overplaying" of the puck. He couldn't get back in the net, and Gagner tucked it behind him.
The fifth and final goal surrendered by Crawford was the worst. Cam Barker (yes...Cam Barker) flipped a wrister that Crawford waved at as if he was a debutante in a fashion show. Game over. Any life the Hawks had at that point was gone.
Ray Emery came in, and couldn't stop the assault, but it's hard to blame a goalie cold off the bench getting blitzed by a red hot offense.
Last night's game was hardly the only time Crawford has been sub par. I know he was outstanding in Vancouver Tuesday, but those great games are too few and far between for a starting goalie on a Cup contender.
With all this said, I think it's time Emery is named the starter. He carried the work load when Crawford struggled before the break, and has to do it again. The troubling part of this situation is that Emery didn't really "win" the job as much as Crawford has lost it. Emery can't be worse, can he? Hawks fans better hope not.