Need for improvement clear to goalie Corey Crawford, Blackhawks
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org April 25, 2012 8:50PM
Updated: May 28, 2012 9:00AM
Corey Crawford was the last Blackhawk to meet the media. Just like on the ice, he was their last line of defense before they broke for the offseason.
But on Wednesday, it was all about himself and the up-and-down year he had after signing on to be the team’s No. 1 goalie.
‘‘It just kind of gets magnified more at this level,” Crawford said. ‘‘I experienced that this year.’’
Although general manager Stan Bowman faulted others for poor defensive play in front of Crawford, Bowman also didn’t mince words when asked about the goaltending this season.
‘‘Our goaltending, in general, was not our strength this year,” he said. ‘‘I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame on one player. You win as a team and you lose as a team, and I think we need to be stronger defensively. . . . [But] individually, he has to be better. I think he would agree on that.’’
As it turns out, Crawford’s biggest hurdle was himself.
‘‘It just seemed like it was a year where maybe a little bit more frustration set in than it should have,’’ said Crawford, who had an .893 save percentage in the playoffs. ‘‘Overall, I look at it and it wasn’t as bad a year as most people would think. There was definitely a lot of good hockey, but I’ve just got to make sure that those down times aren’t as long or aren’t as bad for next season.’’
Staying and going
Veteran winger Andrew Brunette is still deciding whether to play next year, but if the 37-year-old does return, he doesn’t expect it to be with the Hawks.
“I think they’re going to go in a different direction,” he said. “I’m not going to be holding my breath thinking that they’re going to call or hang around by the phone.”
On the other hand, Bowman said the Hawks will talk to defenseman Johnny Oduya about re-signing.
‘‘He was an important part of that stretch run, so we’re very interested in continuing to talk to his group about where he fits in with our team next year,’’ Bowman said.
Winger Marian Hossa (concussion) briefly visited the United Center for his meetings with the staff and then left. Bowman said he expects him to be ready by next season.
‘‘We’ve had a lot of similar-type injuries with players in the past, and it’s too hard to predict a recovery time on these things,” Bowman said. ‘‘[But] there’s no reason to think he’s any different than any other player that has that type of injury.”