As Ray Emery began his successful stint in the net about two weeks ago when the inevitable question was posted to coach Joel Quenneville: was this shaping up to be another goalie controversy?
He was having none of it.
We like the situation where both guys are playing well and were comfortable with the decision of whos playing in net every given night, he said.
Quenneville just may be getting that.
Emery was stellar in his five-game starting stretch, leading the Blackhawks to a plethora of points. And Corey Crawford, who returned to the net Wednesday night, looked like the practice had paid off.
Having two goalies playing well? Thats not a controversy folks, thats a pretty damn nice setup.
Now its understandable why the conversation came about earlier this month. After all, the Blackhawks have been here before: Guy named No. 1 goalie. No. 1 goalie doesnt look so hot. No. 2 goalie usurps No. 1 goalie, becomes new No. 1 goalie.
But this isnt the past few seasons. Its definitely not last season. Marty Turco entered Chicago having some brilliant seasons with the Dallas Stars, but his last season or two in Dallas werent so glowing. And his game continued to dissipate in his one and only season with Chicago. So there was Crawford: young and ready to take over.
Crawford is still the No. 1 guy and, if the Blackhawks go on a playoff run, it will be with Crawford between the pipes. Emery said it best recently:
You dont necessarily want your guy playing 65, 70 games a year. If Crows fresher come playoff time its better for the team. Maybe thats what my contribution can be to a successful playoff team is having a fresh goalie or a guy who has had some rest throughout the year.
And Emerys contribution this month should be lauded. He was not the shaky goaltender we saw vying for the backup job in September. Emery was big as Quenneville likes to say and reliable in his starts. There was no pressure to rush Crawford back.
Crawford looked more Crawford-like on Wednesday, and should ride that confidence into the post-Christmas schedule. Emery has the same feeling in his game, as evidence by his two-week stint.
The Blackhawks may just have a great two-goaltender tandem on their hands. Quenneville will take it.