Posted by: kristagolden | June 12, 2011

Goalie Alert! Chicago Blackhawks Edition

I came late to the season – in February – and the first game I watched was a Chicago Blackhawks game on NBC (their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, to be exact). That game was the one that reeled me in as their fan, and I’ve loved every minute of it since then. I was really impressed by their goalie, Corey Crawford, and was shocked to hear that this was his rookie season. Amazing saves like his aren’t expected in one’s first NHL season, I guess. So it was a happy day for me to hear that the Blackhawks signed Corey to a three year, $8 million contract.

This means that the Blackhawks will have Crawfishy’s extraordinary talent in net this fall. And with Marty Turco as a free agent this summer, Corey will become the team’s active starter on the roster.  He’s comfy with that – he’d been starting since late fall and very rarely missed a game.

Corey Crawford: looking forward to three more years in net for Chicago.

Corey’s enthusiastic about the future. “I wanted to return to Chicago; obviously, it’s a great place to play hockey,” he said in an interview posted on the Blackhawks website. “I’ve known my teammates for a long time and they’re great guys, as is everyone else around the team. It’s one of the best places to be.”

Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman had said that signing Corey was the organization’s top priority over the summer.  “It was obviously, like I mentioned [at the end of the season], a top priority for us. I can say I was confident all along that we were going to get Corey signed… He made it clear that he wants to be a Blackhawk. That means an awful lot to us. Obviously we’re very thrilled with the season he had and the future that he brings for us in net. We’ve finally got some stability in goal, which we haven’t had for a while.”

(Um, a while? Stan, methinks you’ve forgotten about Antti Niemi already. It wasn’t like he was a big reason why the team won the Stanley Cup. Oh, wait…)

On top of this news, the Blackhawks signed Alexander Salak to a two year, $600,000 deal to be Crawfishy’s backup. Salak, who played this past season in the Swedish leagues, came to the Blackhawks through the mid-February trade with the Florida Panthers along with Michael Frolik.  The contract Salak signed is the one-way kind, meaning he’ll make the same amount of money whether he plays in the NHL or the AHL for Rockford or Norfolk. But lately the buzz has been that with Turco not returning, Salak will be Corey’s understudy.

So now that the team has their net pairing, I hope we can sign our other free agents, namely Chris Campoli, Michael Frolik and Troy Brouwer. They were important to the past season, and they’d be an integral part of the season to come.

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