Corey Crawford saw the stories this summer, saw that the Chicago Blackhawks went after future Hall-of-Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur at the start of free agency.
As much as the Blackhawks said they were simply going after a good player, that it had nothing to do with their confidence level in Crawford, it seemed like there were doubts. But for Crawford, all of that didnt matter.
He had bigger concerns.
Having a chance at a guy like that, hes a great goaltender. At the same time, I cant focus on that stuff, Crawford said at the convention this weekend. I have to worry about what Im doing, how Im preparing myself this season. You start listening to that stuff, itll be a distraction.
Yeah, a teams seemingly wavering confidence in you can be distracting. But the Blackhawks didnt get Brodeur, and who the hell knows whats going on with Roberto Luongo hes going to Florida, hed like Chicago, but Florida is definitely where hed like to play, etc.
So after all that goalie hoopla this summer, one thing is clear right now: Crawford is still the No. 1 guy. And this season he has to get back to playing as such.
You cant win without goaltending; thats been preached throughout the league. The Los Angeles Kings exemplified that this season, especially in the playoffs. So this season Crawford needs to be back to the goalie he was his rookie season, the goalie the Blackhawks undoubtedly believed in when they signed him to a three-year deal in the summer of 2011.
And thats where he wants to be.
Im excited to play hockey. I just want to get out there and compete, he said. I just have to go out there and play well and show them. Thats all I can do on my part.
Goaltending coach Stephane Waite was asked at a coaching session this weekend what he does when his goaltender is going through low points.
Ill have an answer for him, and you have to be very positive, especially with goalies, he said. When hes not doing well, we adjust. Theres a lot of video and I just tell him, Dont worry, we know whats wrong and well adjust. Dont create a doubt in your mind. You fix the problem, turn the page and move on.
Waite and Crawford probably did that drill a few times last season, and at times it looked like it worked. Then Crawford would struggle again. So whatever the issue was be it mechanical or mental Crawford will look to eradicate it this season.
If not, the Blackhawks may be pursuing another goaltender next summer.
Im definitely motivated, he said. I want to do well, I want to be the No. 1. guy here. No matter what happens outside of my situation, it doesnt change what Im doing.