JONATHAN QUICK Vs. COREY CRAWFORD
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?
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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