Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

Blackhawks to test the depth of their goaltending pool

Looks like Corey Crawford's injury is worse than first reported. Crawford didn't make the trip to Dallas with the team, and at this morning's press conference, Quenneville stated that Crawford will be out for about three weeks.

From Chris Kuc at the Chicago Tribune:

This leaves the Blackhawks with Antti Raanta and Kent Simpson as their goalies for the forseeable future. Both have been playing with the Rockford IceHogs; Raanta having his "get used to the North American style of hockey" season, and Simpson coming to the AHL after having spent most of the previous season with the ECHL's Toledo Walleye.

The IceHogs currently have Mac Carruth listed as their sole goaltender, and the Walleye are likely relieved that they're the affiliate for both the Blackhawks and the Red Wings.

The Blackhawks play ten games before the end of the year, with six  back to back,  involving travel. While Raanta played at an elite level In Finland, this is likely too much of  a load for him. The Blackhawks need to be watching for overuse injuries--if Raanta is out, that leaves the Blackhawks with Simpson and Carruth, both 21, and both untested at the NHL level.  

Would the Blackhawks be looking for a goalie "patch job" to back up Raanta? If the losses start piling up, they may need to make the decision to go after a goalie who has NHL experience and who may currently be in the AHL or playing in Europe. 

In any case, it's going to be an interesting three weeks for the Blackhawks.

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About 23 Intently Staring Goalies

23 Intently Staring Goalies comes from the 23 close-up photos of goalies that used to line the walls of my office.

On the good side, it kept down interruptions, but it also made sure I had to leave my trash outside my door if I wanted it picked up.

I've been watching and analyzing goaltenders for going on 40 years. Some of that was spent drawing goalies on my grade 8 math homework. Then it was taking my card decks and printouts to Indianapolis Racer games. Luckily, the Internet took off, and by 1991 I was half of the duo that would ultimately become the Plaidworks hockey mailing lists. I wrote "Handicapping the Goalies' for the San Jose Sharks mailing list, and took a lot of photos of goalies in action. I have around 5000 slides of mostly goaltenders in action from 1989 through 2001 from the WHL, IHL and NHL. Since I've gone digital, I've added about 10,000 more images to the library. During summers and when the league went dark, I was reading through multiple SF By area news papers, tracking ice hockey from the 1917 recreational leagues up through the California Seals.

We'll be talking about goalies and goaltending. We'll talk about whats going on now, who's in the system, and when the doldrums hit, I'll haul something out of the big bag of history, or something from the photo archives. We'll talk about who's hot and why, and who's not and what they can do to get back on track. We'll take a look at the trends in scouting goalies, and why a style may work for one team but not another. I'll battle with my dictation software to get it to understand Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.

It should be interesting--hope you want to come along for the ride!

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