Crow continues to boost his Vezi na credentials
Corey Crawford couldn’t help but smile Sunday when he was asked if he ever allows himself to think about winning the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie.
“I don’t know,” he said, almost bashfully. “It’d be a pretty nice honor. But we have a bunch of games to play, and it’s always about the next game first.”
The Vezina has been Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby’s to lose all season, but Crawford has muscled his way into the conversation with his consistently strong play since the start of December. And since a rough outdoor game in Minnesota, in which he was pulled after two periods, Crawford has given up only seven goals in his last four games. Crawford has a careerhigh 35 victories, and his .929 save percentage is the best among goalies with at least 35 games played.
Patrick Kane is the front- runner to win the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player, but Crawford has been every bit as important to the Hawks. Getting picked for Canada’s World Cup of Hockey team this week was a sign that he’s starting to get the leaguewide respect that has eluded him. Being a Vezina finalist would solidify it.
“Maybe he has been part of that talk, maybe he hasn’t,” Jonathan Toews said. “But he’s got my vote, absolutely.”
Dale Weise only played 7: 43 against the Detroit Red Wings as coach Joel Quenneville leaned heavily on his top three lines when it was still a one- goal game. Weise, acquired before the trade deadline from the Montreal Canadiens, is still likely destined for the third line with Tomas Fleischmann and Teuvo Teravainen. But for now, he’s still feeling his way.
“He’s OK,” an underwhelmed Quenneville said. “For stretches, he looks all right.”
The Hawks hit the road this week for two huge games against the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars, with whom they’re jockeying for first place in the Central Division. Crawford cautioned against looking ahead to the Stars before they deal with the Blues.
“This first one’s really important,” Crawford said. “We have to put all our focus on that one. It’s going to be a stepping- stone for the playoffs.”
Corey Crawford makes a save on Red Wings center Dylan Larkin.