This season will decide what kind of goalie Corey Crawford will be. Is he the kid who put up impressive numbers as a rookie two seasons ago and outplayed Roberto Luongo in the playoffs? Or is it the slumping sophomore, who wasnt helped at all at times by lackluster defensive play around him?
The team made a three-year investment in him a year ago, and there are no legitimate indications hes being aggressively shopped. At least without a realistic, sure-fire upgrade on the market.
Both Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville have stated with confidence that Crawford has learned his lessons and will bounce back. But that didnt prevent the general manager from pursuing the 40-year-old Martin Brodeur, who holds virtually every career goaltending record and took the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Final. Eventually, Brodeur re-signed with the only NHL team hes played for.
Having a chance to get a guy like that, hes a great goaltender, Crawford said Friday at Blackhawks Convention. But I cant really focus on that stuff. Ive got worry about what Im doing and how Im preparing myself. All that other stuff can just become a distraction for you.
Niklas Hjalmarssons name has been one thats come up in trade discussions for teams talking with Bowman. Its been associated with teams looking for veteran defensive help, including Edmonton and Ottawa.
Not really, Hjalmarsson responded when asked if any of the rumors affect him. I cant really do much about it or think about it too much. Its up to the management. I just try to control the things I can control. Thats never really bothered me.
That doesnt affect his focus at all?
No, he said, matter-of-factly.
That doesnt bother him?
No, Hjalmarsson shrugged, looking quite believable.
As for recent far-fetched reports of Dave Bolland being shipped to Vancouver in a package for Luongo, the newlywed smiled and said, next question.
What, he wouldnt mind being a teammate of the Sedin sisters, as he once called them?
Oh, there ya go, he smiled and laughed, not wanting to take the bait.