Quick and Craw­ford have led their teams to mul­ti­ple Cup wins, and they’re both off to great starts in 2017. But if you could pick just one, who would you choose?

The Hockey News - - BUZZ - BY TOM THOMP­SON

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BOTH HAVE ELITE LEVEL hockey sense, an­tic­i­pat­ing passes and rec­og­niz­ing the po­si­tion­ing of dan­ger­ous shoot­ers. Both re­al­ize the op­por­tune time to force a stop­page in play. EDGE: NEI­THER


HOW MANY BAD GOALS have you seen Craw­ford sur­ren­der? There are very few. At times, Quick, with his pad­dle-down ap­proach, is vul­ner­a­ble to high shots on the short side and bad-an­gle plays. EDGE: CRAW­FORD


THIS COM­PAR­I­SON IS NOT close. Craw­ford is fun­da­men­tally sound and con­sis­tent. A vet­eran NHL scout com­pared him to a “ro­bot,” well pro­grammed, square to the puck, with very few shots go­ing “through” him. How­ever, his abil­ity to move quickly for shots to ei­ther side of him is av­er­age. Quick is one of the most ath­letic goalies of this era. He moves lat­er­ally across the net with his pads and stick on the ice and his catch­ing glove in po­si­tion as well as any goalie I have ever seen. He is fast and agile on his skates and prob­a­bly reaches dumped-in pucks as quickly as any goalie in the NHL. EDGE: QUICK


BOTH ARE AT THE top of the chart. They bat­tle to find pucks in traf­fic, and nei­ther goalie ever gives up on a shot. In close games and in last-minute sit­u­a­tions, they are at their best. EDGE: NEI­THER


THIS IS ANOTHER COM­PAR­I­SON that is not close. Craw­ford can look awk­ward when forced to scram­ble. When Quick adopts the “spread ea­gle” po­si­tion with pads down on ei­ther side, he is the best I have seen de­fend­ing scram­bles since Do­minik Hasek in his prime. Quick is es­pe­cially good at deny­ing wrap­around at­tempts. EDGE: QUICK


CRAW­FORD HAS RE­ALLY IM­PROVED in this cat­e­gory over the years. He has more con­fi­dence now, and he can make ba­sic plays con­sis­tently. Quick has very good abil­ity to get out of the net and han­dle the puck in tight sit­u­a­tions. He has the con­fi­dence to make strong out­let passes and at­tempt higher-risk plays. He has masked the de­fi­cien­cies of some slow-footed de­fense­men who have trou­ble re­triev­ing dumped-in pucks. EDGE: QUICK


GOALTENDING ICON GLENN HALL once told me that, aside from stop­ping the ini­tial shot, re­bound con­trol is the most im­por­tant job of a goalie. To him, that was the dif­fer­ence be­tween sim­ply “stop­ping a shot” and ac­tu­ally “mak­ing a save.” Quick’s ath­leti­cism and con­fi­dence in his catch­ing glove give him the edge over Craw­ford in this cat­e­gory. He catches more pucks than Craw­ford and he is “softer” ab­sorb­ing shots. EDGE: QUICK


QUICK’S CA­REER NUM­BERS ARE slightly bet­ter than Craw­ford’s in the reg­u­lar sea­son and the play­offs, but both goalies have im­pres­sive to­tals. To make a proper com­par­i­son of their ac­com­plish­ments, we must look closely at the sit­u­a­tions of their teams. Craw­ford’s first Stan­ley Cup in Chicago was in 2013. The Black­hawks were with­out a doubt the best team in the NHL. They fin­ished first in goal dif­fer­en­tial and goals against and sec­ond in goals scored. They were the poster boys for the an­a­lyt­ics crowd in ar­eas such as puck pos­ses­sion and elim­i­nat­ing shots from dan­ger­ous ar­eas. Craw­ford’s role was to be con­sis­tent and avoid bad goals. He suc­ceeded, much in the same way Antti Niemi did in 2010. Chicago was not as dom­i­nant in the reg­u­lar sea­son in its next Cup vic­tory, in 2015, but in the play­offs, its cadre of fu­ture Hall of Famers was ter­rific. Craw­ford was not as good in that Cup run as he had been in 2013. When he fal­tered in the play­offs, he was re­placed by Scott Dar­ling, who had three of Chicago’s vic­to­ries.

Quick won the Conn Smythe Tro­phy in 2012 and could’ve won again in 2014. In 2012, the Kings were the No. 8 seed in the West, and in 2014, they were No. 6. Of their eight wins in the two Cup fi­nal se­ries, five were in over­time. No­body who watched the games will ever for­get Quick’s per­for­mances, es­pe­cially the two dou­ble-OT vic­to­ries over the New York Rangers in 2014. His goaltending op­po­nents in the fi­nals will be first-bal­lot Hall of Famers (Martin Brodeur in 2012 and Hen­rik Lundqvist in 2014). Quick out­played both. EDGE: QUICK


JONATHAN QUICK IS A bet­ter goalie than Corey Craw­ford. Re­mem­ber the Ken Dry­den test: when called upon, Quick can make a num­ber of spec­tac­u­lar, ath­letic saves, and he flour­ishes in sit­u­a­tions when one goal against would spell dis­as­ter. He can func­tion ef­fec­tively on a “bad team” or a “good team.” Craw­ford has been ef­fec­tive on a “good team.” He is solid and con­sis­tent but lacks the ath­letic abil­ity to per­form as a sav­ior. He would be ex­posed as an av­er­age goalie on a “bad team.”

Quick is ready to carry the Kings on his back. Black­hawks fans need only con­cen­trate on the rest of their team. If it is good enough, Craw­ford will not screw up their chances. I be­lieve Ken Dry­den would nod ap­prov­ingly. Tom Thomp­son has been an NHL scout/di­rec­tor/as­sis­tant GM since 1985


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