Crawford's new pregame approach working

Crawford's new pregame approach working
January 23, 2013, 7:25 pm
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Corey Crawford wanted to switch some pregame habits.
The Blackhawks goaltender thought it was time to make some changes, and hes applied those here in the early season.
Before I was playing a little bit of soccer, now Im just going into my corner and stretching, doing a lot more before a game, Crawford said. After our meetings, whether it be in the gym or something, Ill relax and stretch out and get ready that way mentally by myself.
It must be working, because Crawfords focus on the ice has been there in the early going.
After a rough sophomore stint, Crawford is finding early redemption. Hes 2-0 in his first two starts with a 2.00 goals-against average. No, he still doesnt have that shutout that has eluded Blackhawks goaltenders since the 2010-11 season. But hes been strong in his outings, especially down the stretch of the Blackhawks 3-2 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday night.
Hes a great goaltender. Hes played well since he came in here for us and we have all the confidence in the world in him, Patrick Kane said. You look at the two goals (the Blues scored): one was pretty much a breakaway, another was a backdoor rebound. Theres not much you could do about those. And they had a chance in the slot to make it 3-3. Hes playing great to start and Im sure itll continue.
Coach Joel Quenneville liked Crawford down the stretch.
When the game was on the line he was big. He was quick, he moved and anticipated well and made a couple of timely, big saves, Quenneville said. Hes had a nice approach. We talked about it over the summer: that second year some of the top goalies who had strong rookie years (struggled). Expectations are there and players know them better. Im not saying he was't at the same level but it was a challenging year. He wants to play, wants to get to that top level again.
Crawford shook off his training-camp rust in a scrimmage against Rockford last week. Hes been on top of things since, first against the Stanley Cup champion Kings and then last night. Crawford said he felt good and confident about his game before the season began, and he reiterated that on Tuesday.
Stretching and spending a little time solo were subtle pregame changes. But they may just be working.
I feel really good, Crawford said. I said last game that I was really focused and I was able to carry that into todays game. My preparations been better this year. And its just the little things.