Hockey

Game #61 – Predators 1, Hawks 1 (Hawks win Jimmy Jab Games): A Night To Remember

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

That was one of the better games to watch in a long while. But instead of the steely-eyed and acerbic analysis you come for, there’s just a couple things I want to talk about.

-I don’t know if that was Corey Crawford’s last start as a Hawk. If the Canes were watching, they should be absolutely salivating at bringing Crow aboard to take advantage of their contender-worthy roster instead of trusting everything to James Reimer. Unlike Robin Lehner, Crow is playoff-tested and passed.

The purely factual, analytical way to look at the Hawks right now is that they should trade both goalies. Sell everything, get as many pieces back as you can for anyone that another team will give you something for, and try and reload this up next season. But being a sports fan isn’t just about being analytical and results-based and only viewing things as a process to wins. When it gets like that, you get the fucking Houston Astros.

One the one hand, Crawford deserves the chance to go somewhere where he’ll be appreciated in a way he never was here, take a team deep into the playoffs one more time, and possibly win the Conn Smythe and break it over Pierre McGuire’s bald head for costing him the one he more than earned in 2013. That would do my heart and many others’ well.

On the other, I and many others never want to see Crawford leave. Too many Hawks fans haven’t appreciated what he’s been, and seeing as how he’s the only goalie living that’s won two Cups for the Hawks, that’s pretty fucking weird. Tonight was another vintage Crow performance, standing up to a barrage that lasted for 40 minutes at least and required 39 saves just to get the Hawks to OT. He was brilliant, as he’s been thew past six weeks or longer.

It’s obviously more than one night with Crawford. He’s been made to eat shit by the organization itself, the media, and the fans for very little reason. Not only that, but he’s had to face his hockey mortality more directly than any player on this team. When he hit his head against the post against San Jose last year, most of us didn’t just wonder if he would ever play again. We were pretty sure he wouldn’t. And a lot of us thought he shouldn’t. And while he said he never considered retiring, it must have been discussed in that household at least once.

And yet Crawford has answered the bell again by doing what he does after every challenge faced. Simply ball out. After McGuire called out his glove hand simply because it was an easy-to-reach story, he gave up three goals in two games to the Bruins to provide a parade. After struggling in the opening round of 2015, he went .931 in the last three including giving up two goals against in the Hawks last three wins of the Final. He returned from missing nearly a full season to concussion last year by balling out again. He watched the Hawks bring in someone meant to take his job this past summer (and that was the plan for the Hawks, don’t you doubt it) and has just outplayed him for the past two months. He’ll even grease Lehner’s tracks out of town.

Crow is just about the easiest Hawk to root for, and I don’t know why more people aren’t doing so. He never complained when the front office hung him out to dry, nor pointed any fingers when the defense simply turned to dust the past couple seasons. He just gets on with it. Maybe the fandom or the league in general doesn’t know what we have here, but we do.

And I’d hate to see him go. He doesn’t have the NTC that the other four vets have. But ask the four of them and I bet they’d tell you he should. Just as I’d love to see one more run with them, I want even more badly one more run for Crow here. Maybe then he’ll finally get the appreciation he’s lacked in this town and league-wide for so long.

It makes way more sense for the Hawks to cash in on Crow. But we’re not in this for sense. The heart wants what it wants.

-Anyway, quick story. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a lovely, elder gent names Harold tonight from London, Ontario. He has been an occasional billet for players for the Knights. A few years ago, his wife and him decided they wanted to see a game in all 31 arenas. Sadly, his wife passed a year or two ago. But Harold decided he would do the trip anyway for her, at the age of 81. Tonight was #28, and St. Louis, St. Paul, and Winnipeg will round it out next month. Oh, and at 81 he also has two full sleeve tattoos, so he’s basically a vision of my future.

You don’t get that kind of thing anywhere else but sports. It’s kind of why we’re here. It was nice to be reminded of that again.

 

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