CHICAGO – “You can thanks da good man upstairs for dat win,” said Chicago Blackhawks season ticket holder Al Aviloni of Stone Park. “If it weren’t for dat stupid Crawford in net, we wudda haddis ting back in reggelation!”
Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks goaltender, stopped 26 of 27 shots to help the Blackhawks defeat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. However, for many fans like Aviloni, the result didn’t make them feel more comfortable with Crawford in net.
“Dis guy can’t move to post to post like Tony Espositoz. Dat guy had 15 shutouts in 1970! I know, coz I was dere in da Stadium shouting from da rafters after dey swept the Red Wings. Dat wuz a man! Dis guy? He looks afraid! Did you see dat shot Clutterbucks from dee, uh…Nort Stars got in? Aw, shucks. I meant da Wild. I keep callin’ ’em da Nort Stars because dis reminds me of dose series’ when Ciccarelli wud cheap shot guys from behind? Remember Secords? That guy was ananimal! Ananamial! I was in da ole Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota back in 1985 when Sutter put ’em away. We kicked back a few celebratory Old Styles back on da way home from Minnesota. Dat was back when Pat Foley still drank durin da games and Bannermans was our goalie. I still hate dose Oilers. Dose were da days!”
When it was brought up that Crawford has the third lowest Goals Against Average in the NHL, Aviloni got visibly perturbed.
“Youse guys and your stats! Your tellin’ me dat matters! Dis is duh NHL Playoffs, my frent! You need guys like Kenny Dryden, Bernie Parent, Billy Smiths, uh…Fuhrs, Vernon, Barrasso…who was the oleuh…Canadiens guy? Yeah. Pat Roy. You needs a Pat Roy. Dees guys don’t look at Goals Against Average. They look at things like Stanley Cup championships, and playoff winning percentages! Things that one Atney Niemi had. God rest his soul. He’s a departed soul in my book. Atney Niemi. Living or not. San Jose or Timbuktu, it don’t matter. He’s not here. Dat guy was a champion. He won games. Save percentage matters, not goals. Blackhawks defenders have been getting it done all year! I’m still upset at dat Clutterbucks! Short side! Short side! Inexcusable.”
It was then brought up that Crawford is #5 in the NHL in save percentage…a spot above Antti Niemi.
“Even if he’s high on dat list, he looks uncomfortable on all dose saves. You watch Hasek? That guy was never uncomfortable on dose saves! He moved post to post like Espositoz. He should be payin money to Johnnyoduyuh, Brian Pickell, and Stallerg. Dose guys bailed him out for dis win!”
Aviloni was finally asked if he’d let up on Crawford if he got the shutout instead of giving up the one goal.
“No. I can’t wait until Game 2. I’ll be lookin’ to boo his ass da moment dey come outtuhduh tunnel! We can’t win wittout a real goalie! We’re gonna need to do what we did tonight: Get more hits, win da loose pucks, make sher Bolligs is out dere for about six shifts to hit some guys in da teef, and pray dat Kane or Hossa can do one-uh-dose ‘dipsee-doo’ deal where dey score fancy goals. Dis should…mark me…should be Hawks in four. But wit Crawfords? I’m not sure dey can beat dese Nort Stars.”
Aviloni stated he is planning on taking off of work for Games 5 and 7 because “wit Crawfords, dis’ll be close!”