Collin Delia has been a steady presence in net for the Blackhawks this season, given the circumstances. He's given his team a chance to win every night, and his sustained success in the pros earned him a three-year contract extension.
But Monday he faced his first real adversity in the NHL.
After giving up six goals on 37 shots in Boston in his previous start, Delia allowed three goals on 10 shots against the Ottawa Senators in a high-scoring affair and was pulled just 7:55 into the game. All three goals went five-hole, and he was quick to take ownership of it.
"It's easy to be positive when everything's going good for you," Delia said after practice on Tuesday. "But you really test your character when things are tough. Definitely was tested last night. A lapse in preparation for me, so to speak. Just felt like a little bit nonchalant out there and that's not the case. You have to be on every night and you have to be sharp. I'll be better next time."
Asked whether he'd ever been yanked that quickly, Delia had to dig deep into memory bank.
"It's been awhile," Delia smiled. "It's been awhile. I think the last time was junior. It's definitely a lesson you only want to have to learn once."
Even after Delia was removed from the game, the goals still poured. The Blackhawks scored six more times while the Senators scored four, with Anders Nilsson also being pulled before the first period ended. But Delia didn't find any solace into the fact it turned into a track meet. He felt he was part of the reason why.
"No, you just feel like the catalyst that kind of led to that," Delia said. "Maybe stop those shots and it's hopefully it's a more controlled game. Not to put that much on me, but that definitely sets the tone. It's definitely a wide-open game. I got to be better."
Corey Crawford has appeared in more than 500 NHL games and has two Stanley Cups on his resumé. He'll be the first to tell you life isn't easy as a goaltender, and games like this will happen.
"There's nothing to worry about after a game like that," Crawford said of Delia. "He's been great. He's helped us get to this point. Every goalie's going to have that game every once in a while. It wasn't the first one I'm sure, and it won't be the last one. He's fast in the net, he's got good hands, sees the puck well. I wouldn't be worried about that at all."
Jeremy Colliton has also been around Delia long enough to know he's got the mental toughness to overcome a tough night here and there, and showed zero concern about what transpired on Monday. It's part of the growing pains for a 24-year-old trying to work through the ups and downs in the NHL.
"If you don’t do it, then you’re going to have a tough time staying in the league," Colliton said on Delia putting the performance quickly behind him. "He has it in him. He’s got that maturity and mental toughness, and there’s going to be bumps in the road here. But we believe in him."
Delia is quick to turn the page on games, good or bad. He stresses not getting too high or too low. But he had to take a look at what went wrong on his three goals against before his head hit the pillow.
"Yeah, I looked at them that night," Delia said. "I just wanted some closure. The first one I just misread the play. I thought he was looking to pass down low and he kind of curved his stick at the last second and just completely caught me off guard. Bad read on my part. The second one I didn't get my knees down fast enough. My feet weren't under me so it was kind of hard for me to slide my knees down. On the third one, just tried to make one more save instead of popping out and trying to cover it, and he poked it over my glove.
"It's unfortunate but it's a new day. Sun comes up and back to work."
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