Crawford, Raanta expect 'easy transition' with Jimmy Waite

Crawford, Raanta expect 'easy transition' with Jimmy Waite
July 20, 2014, 4:45 pm
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Corey Crawford and new Jimmy Waite are hardly strangers to each other.

The Blackhawks goaltender has a great relationship with Jimmy’s brother, Stephane, when he was the goalie coach here, and the two usually talked at Stephane’s goalie camps in the Montreal area.

The familiarity is there. So when Crawford and Jimmy Waite start working together soon, it should be a smooth transition.

Jimmy Waite, who the Blackhawks hired as their new goaltending coach last week to replace Steve Weeks, talked Friday about his new job and looking forward to working with Crawford and backup netminder Antti Raanta. Waite, who was drafted and played for the Blackhawks early in his career, said he and brother Stephane, now goaltending coach for the Montreal Canadiens, share the same philosophy with this work.

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“I’m my own person, but we do think the same way about goaltending,” Jimmy said. “For 20 years, we’ve been talking goalies all the time, so Stephane and I think the same way.”

That philosophy is pretty simple.

“To me, goaltending is all about position,” he said. “Guys are big nowadays; if you’re in the right place at the right time, that’s all it is. You don’t want to overplay or get yourself out of the net. This is how I see the game: be aggressive at the right time. This is a big part of my coaching.”

Jimmy Waite will be Crawford’s third goaltending coach in the past three seasons, although he and Stephane worked together for many years. Crawford sees the transition being a smooth one.

“I’ve heard they teach the same way and have the same philosophy,” Crawford said. “Steve was a pretty easy transition and was real easy to work with. Now Jimmy, I feel, will be the same thing. It’ll be an easy transition and easy to communicate with. The work part will be tough; he likes to put the work in like Steph did, but there will be good times, too.”

Raanta isn’t worried about the transition, either.

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“My last three years in Finland, I had three different goalie coaches. I’m used to it,” Raanta said with a smile. “You want to learn something from every goalie coach. Everyone has a different style just try to get a little something from all of them.”

Raanta had a quick chat with Jimmy on Friday before the Blackhawks convention began and looks forward to working together.

“It was nice to talk to him today and we’re on the same page straight away,” Raanta said. “I’m ready to get to work with him and wait to see what he has on his plan what he wants to do.”

Jimmy Waite said he’ll talk to Stephane, “get all the info I can,” when he returns home next week. Waite doesn’t plan on changing Crawford’s game; he likes what the goaltender is doing.

“What I like about him is he’s big in net,” Waite said. “He’s a good reactor, he can read the shot very well and he doesn’t get caught out of position too often. That’s what I like about him. We’ll make sure he does that next year.”