Could’ve-been MVP Crawford happy just to hoist Stanley Cup
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com June 24, 2013 10:23PM
Updated: August 24, 2013 2:26AM
BOSTON — Corey Crawford didn’t win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs — and didn’t care.
‘‘It was everyone together. We won as a team,’’ said Crawford after he stopped 23 of 25 shots but typically ended up lost in the excitement over the Hawks’ miraculous comeback that beat the Bruins 3-2 to clinch the Cup championship. ‘‘I’m so proud of the guys. What a group. And what a win. I still can’t believe the finish. That was crazy.’’
Even Conn Smythe winner Patrick Kane tacitly acknowledged he won in the second-biggest upset of the night.
‘‘There’s other guys that could have won it,’’ Kane said. ‘‘You look at Crawford — he probably got snubbed a little bit.’’
He did. But all that mattered to Crawford as he celebrated on the ice at TD Garden is that his name will be on the Stanley Cup and never can be erased. Four years ago he was beaten out by Antti Niemi for the backup goalie job with the Hawks and watched in Philadephia as Niemi helped the Hawks win the Cup.
‘‘It feels unbelievable, man,’’ Crawford said. ‘‘I’ve worked hard all my life. We worked so hard together this year. It was a great run for us. What can I say? It feels unbelievable.’’
The clinching game exemplified Crawford’s championship-caliber performance this season. He kept the Hawks in the game, stopping 12 of 13 shots as the Bruins fired 25 shots his way in the first period.
‘‘We kept playing our game,’’ Crawford said. ‘‘We never let anything bother us. No matter what happened in any situation, we battled through it.’’
As much as any player, Crawford earned the right to hoist the Cup.
‘‘I couldn’t believe it at first. It was surreal,’’ Crawford said. “Oh my god. It was unbelievable.”
The low-key Crawford was ready to let it all hang out after reaching the top.
‘‘I’m going to party,” he said when asked his plans. ‘‘The boys are going to have a party tonight.’’