A few days ago goaltending was a subject in this cyber space. Well, were talking goaltending again.
Corey Crawford is back in net after his strong outing against Montreal on Wednesday. Ray Emery was superb in starting six straight games and winning five of them. Coach Joel Quenneville potentially has his ideal situation: two goaltenders feeling confident and comfortable in their games.
Now heres a new question: how should he handle their playing time moving forward?
History shows Quenneville is a play-the-hot-hand kind of coach when it comes to choosing his goaltenders. Thats why Emery got two weeks worth of consecutive starts. Thats why Crawford became the guy last season when Marty Turco was inconsistent through the first three months.
But if Crawford keeps building off that Montreal game, keeps regaining his form, then the Blackhawks will have two solid options. Would a different scenario mean a different way of handling the goaltending starts?
Asked if hed play it by ear or go with the hot goalie, Quenneville said we want Corey playing. Weve confidence in him at the start and that hasnt changed. Ray gives us something to think about but we want Corey playing.
OK, so its no surprise that Quenneville isnt going to tip his hand. Crawford is still the No. 1 guy, the one the Blackhawks will have in net come playoff time. Nevertheless, Quenneville has options now. He doesnt have to wait for one goaltender to get to the end of a hot streak. He can interchange them, benefit from each of them.
Something to think about, in this case, isnt so bad.
Both goalies have played well, had real solid stretches, Quenneville said. Ray had the chance to keep the net for a while but we still want Corey playing. And the fact that Ray can play at any moment and give us strong goaltending is a good situation.
After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.
Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.
"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.
"What was said this time around crossed the line."
The Capitals released a statement about the incident:
"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."
The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.
Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.
"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."
The Capitals released the full interview.
Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.
Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.
Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:
After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: