Corey Crawford is doing more than trying to win the Stanley Cup.
The Blackhawks goalie has at the least played his way into the conversation to make the Canadian Olympic team for the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, and likely already has earned an invitation to the tryout camp this summer.
With Team Canada’s goaltending situation in flux, what with New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur now 41, Roberto Luongo the No. 2 goalie in Vancouver and Marc-Andre Fleury having a terrible playoff in Pittsburgh, the three spots are there for the taking for either Luongo, Fleury, Crawford, Montreal’s Carey Price, Carolina’s Cam Ward, Phoenix’s Mike Smith or Washington’s Braden Holtby.
It will all come down to who plays better over the first three months of next season.
Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman recently mentioned Crawford as someone he’d have to at least consider.
“When you look at the Canadian depth, it’s not as strong as it used to be,” said former Hawks goalie Darren Pang, now working the Stanley Cup Final for the NHL Network and NBC. “I think Corey Crawford, a year ago, wouldn’t have been in this conversation.
“But when you play as well and as consistently as he has played, and are as fundamentally sound and as big as he is, I think that Steve Yzerman and his staff have their eyes are wide open now with Corey Crawford.
“I believe he gets an invite now to camp and when you get an invite to camp that’s pretty special. Something like that can take a player from one level to another level.
“Even if you win the Conn Smythe and the Stanley Cup, that takes you to another level, but when your country comes calling, that’s something extremely special.”
Crawford maintains there are more important things on his mind right now.
“It would be an honor to play there (in Sochi), but I’m not thinking about that right now,” Crawford said. “We’ve still got some pretty important games to play.”
Hawks captain Jonathan Toews, who played on the last Canadian Olympic team and is a cinch to make the team that goes to Sochi, thinks Crawford definitely rates consideration for Team Canada.
“I’m happy people are asking me that question all week because I certainly think he deserves it,” Toews said. “I feel like to get to that level you need to have some sort of name in the media and have people know who you are.
“If they didn’t before, I think everybody knows who Corey Crawford is now.”
Crawford has had a great season and shared the Jennings Trophy with Ray Emery for allowing the fewest goals.
“The influence and effect he has had on our team all season and through this Cup run we’ve had, I don’t see why there’s even a doubt that he should be considered for that,” Toews said. “He has proven he’s a pressure player, and I think he’s got the talent and the ability and mental game to go with it.
“I think we all know in this locker room how good Corey Crawford is. You look at the other night and Crow made some huge saves to keep that game alive for us. We wouldn’t have been able to win without him playing like he did.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.