Born December 31, 1984 (age 27) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks
So for the last MotD of 2011, we decided to look at a man ringing in his birthday along with the new year. That’s Corey Crawford! Crawford started off minding net for the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats, including during a deep playoffs run in 2003-04. 2003 also saw him drafted, where he was taken by Chicago 52nd overall. Following his drafting, though, he stayed in the minors for a while more to hone his craft and rack up a few Moncton records here and there. He debuted with the Blackhawks in the end of January 2006 in a relief form, getting his first start the next month and his first win and shutout against Anaheim in March 2008. He kept bouncing between Rockford and Chicago thereafter, making a relief appearance in the 2009 Western Conference finals, but not really having a solid presence in the Windy City.
That all changed when Cristobal Huet went to the Swiss leagues and Antti Niemi went to San Jose. Crawford was promoted to back up Marty Turco and eventually ascended to the starter role late last season. While acting as starter, he got a 176-minute shutout streak and an eight-game consecutive win streak. He also won 30 games, the first rookie Chicago goaltender to do so since 1994. He also turned in a very good 5-0 shutout performance against the hated Canucks in this year’s playoffs. Following Chicago’s playoff exit, he re-upped with them for three years.
This year, with Ray Emery as Chicago’s other goaltender, the team has been dabbling with streaks of using either one goalie or the other for the most part. It looks like Crawford is getting another chance to shine. With stats like 57 games played last season, 33-18-6 record, a 2.30 GAA and a .917% in regulars, plus 7 games played, 3-4 record, 2.21 and .937% in playoffs, he’s definitely deserving of some attention and refining. Because he’s still pretty young, he could be an asset to the city for a while now! Happy birthday, Crawfish!