All season long, Corey Crawford heard the critics. They got louder in the first round of the postseason after he temporarily lost his starting job to Scott Darling. His teammates heard it, too.
But it didn't matter to them or the Blackhawks netminder, who responded in the biggest way possible: by having one of the best stretches of his career to capture his second Stanley Cup in the last three years.
And that's all his teammates care about.
"We know who he is," winger Brandon Saad said of Crawford following a 2-0 series-clinching victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. "He's a big time player. He anchors our team and we love him. He's a great goalie and obviously the rings speak for themselves."
Crawford acknowledged this year's postseason run "didn't start start like I wanted," but concluded that after regaining his net, "it just picked up from there."
But it wasn't smooth-sailing.
When the Blackhawks fell into a 2-1 series deficit to the Lightning, it was easy to point the finger at the goaltender. Crawford had allowed a combined seven goals in two straight games, which wasn't going to cut it against the NHL's best offensive team in the regular season.
The Blackhawks searched for answers, and when they needed their goaltender the most, he was there.
“We’re not here if it weren’t for guys like that who put their own ego aside time and time again," captain Jonathan Toews said. "He’s not out here to be loved by the fans. He sticks it out no matter what. There’s a couple of games where the media, the fans put everything on his back.
"He absorbs it and he keeps going and he bounces back."
Did he ever.
Crawford guided the Blackhawks to three consecutive victories in the last three games of the Stanley Cup Final by stopping 80 of 82 shots (.976 save percentage), good enough to sneak himself into the Conn Smythe Trophy consideration.
His 25-save shutout win in the series-clincher tied Tony Esposito for most career postseason wins (45) in franchise history, and did so in 24 fewer games. One more and he'll stand alone at the top of that list.
[NBC SHOP: Buy a Corey Crawford jersey]
The most important one, though, came on Monday night.
As if his first Stanley Cup victory wasn't enough, Crawford's second one isn't providing much ammo to those that believed he couldn't do it again.
“He was awesome, he was unbelievable," forward Patrick Kane said. "Any word you can use to describe him. He was special. He’s one of those guys that nothing fazes him, nothing really bothers him. We’re lucky to have him.”