You have to respect the Blackhawks.
Sure, there’s that whole Stanley Cup thing.
But also, there’s their never-ending goaltending controversy.
The goalies change, but the drama doesn’t.
The Blackhawks never have a cut-and-dried starting goalie.
It looked like Marty Turco had the starting job after he was signed in the off-season (and after Cristobal Huet agreed to go to Europe and Antti Niemi left for the Sharks).
But now, four games into the season for Chicago, Corey Crawford is picking up starts.
Crawford started his second consecutive game last night.
In his two starts, Turco has a .896 save percentage, 3.42 goals against and is 0-1-1.
These aren’t mind-blowing numbers, but it’s also the first week of the season.
Just how short a leash does coach Joel Quenneville have his goaltenders on?
Quenneville obviously likes what he’s seen from Crawford and wants to keep him sharp.
That’s fine, assuming Crawford is ready for a starting job. But if Crawford isn’t ready, will Turco be ready to step in? What will his physical condition be like? What will his mental state be?
Turco’s an NHL veteran who signed with Chicago to be a starting goalie. Whatever he says to the media (“The emphasis is on winning here and that’s still my most favorite thing about the Blackhawks. We have a ton of games coming up and [Crawford] played well and we won. That’s as far as I look at it.”), Turco wants to be the number one goaltender. And it’s probably safe to say, if he isn’t starting, he wants it to be because he lost the job, not because he started the first two games of the season a little soft.
If Quenneville needs to go back to Turco for starts, Turco might not be grateful for the opportunity. He might feel upset and burned. Those kind of emotions don’t scream ‘strong goaltending.’
Maybe there’s no goalie controversy here. Maybe Quenneville just wanted to give Crawford an extra start.
But going by the recent history of goaltenders in Chicago, I’m guessing last night was the first night of Chicago’s upcoming season of goalie drama.
But let’s be honest. It’s impressive Chicago made it two entire games without a goaltending controversy.