Corey Crawford’s offseason schedule has been a bit hectic, but he’s not complaining.
“It’s been pretty good. Busy,” he said on Friday. “I tried to take two weeks off, but there was a lot gong on.”
Crawford has had media surrounding him at the past few Blackhawks conventions, but the questions usually involved what he had to prove during the incoming season. There’s none of that this July, a month after Crawford silenced critics with the 2013 Stanley Cup run that also had him in the running for a Conn Smythe Trophy.
For Crawford, it’s been a whirlwind month of getting home, trying to relax and wrapping his head around everything that happened in 2013. He entered the season a goaltender with something to prove. He finished it a proven goaltender.
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“It hasn’t been that hard (taking it all in). It’s pretty special,” said Crawford, who was also invited to Team Canada’s orientation camp Aug. 25-28. “You dream of (winning a Cup) your whole life. It’s been crazy, but it’s been fun.”
But some things will be very different for Crawford this coming season. Yes, most of the team in front of him returns. But goaltending coach and good friend Stephane Waite departed for the Montreal Canadiens, and backup goaltender (who became a good friend) Ray Emery signed with the Philadelphia Flyers in early July. Waite’s absence will certainly be felt; the two have worked together for years, and live within an hour of each other in Quebec.
“To see him go definitely sucks, to say the least,” Crawford said. “I’ve worked with him for a while, even in the minors. At the same time, it’s part of the game, I guess.”
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The Blackhawks haven’t hired a new goaltending coach as of yet; coach Joel Quenneville, whose three-year extension became official on Friday, said that hiring is “a work in progress.” But Crawford said he won’t change his approach too much, regardless of the new hire.
“It depends on who the coach is and what he wants to do, but really, my job stays the same,” he said. “Maybe little adjustments; we’ll see how we can work that out. But the way I play doesn’t change.”
The Blackhawks won’t want that to change. Crawford has proven himself at this level, winning the biggest trophy of them all. It’s been a crazy, hectic time, but it’s all been worth it.