Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville happy to have Corey Crawford, Ray Emery
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org February 24, 2013 10:28PM
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford gloves a shot in the first period as the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday February 24, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: February 24, 2013 11:41PM
A healthy, hungry Corey Crawford returned to the net Sunday for the first time in 12 days. When asked why he went with Crawford over the red-hot Ray Emery, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville had a quick answer.
“Corey was going very well, too, before getting injured there,” he said. “It’s good to have both guys back.”
Emery won all four of his starts during Crawford’s absence, allowing only seven goals. He’s 7-0-0 with a 2.10 goals-against average. Crawford, meanwhile, is 8-0-3 with a 1.50 GAA. Emery has a .930 save percentage; Crawford has a .941 save percentage.
Regardless of whether that makes this a genuine goaltender controversy, the three principals involved are all saying the right things.
“It’s a great squad, and being any kind of part of this team is an opportunity,” Emery said. “I just take it one game at a time. And whenever I get the chance to be in there, I want to be in there and contribute.”
Quenneville said that he welcomed the difficult decisions, but he won’t have to make one for a few days.
With back-to-back home games against Columbus and Edmonton, it’s a safe bet Emery will be back between the pipes Monday night. Who gets the start Thursday in St. Louis, and who keeps the net beyond that, is anybody’s guess.
But Emery — something of an afterthought when the season began, watching Crawford start six consecutive games until his magnificent 45-save theft of a victory in Calgary — certainly has made his case to be a more frequent contributor, even if Crawford continues his own stellar play.
“[Emery has] been rock-solid,” Quenneville said. “He gives us a chance every single night. This year, he’s been even better. He’s been sharp, he feels good and [he’s making] quality saves at quality times. [He has good] rebound control. He’s on top of the crease and on top of the game. Guys have confidence in him.”