Feb 9, 2012, 11:40 AM EDT
Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times asks a provocative question in his latest column — is Joel Quenneville too impatient with Chicago’s goalies?
The ‘Hawks head coach admitted the line of questioning is fair.
“I accept criticism in that regard,” Quenneville said. “I thought [there’s been] tough stretches in that area, but goaltending here for the most part has been pretty good.”
Despite Quenneville’s assertions, Chicago’s netminding has been a sore spot for most of the season. Ray Emery and Corey Crawford rank 37th and 40th in the league in GAA (38th and 41st in save percentage) and neither has grasped the opportunity to secure the No. 1 job, which has been available for a while now.
Crawford entered as the starter after a terrific 2010-11 season (and an even better playoff effort), but has struggled to recapture his form. Emery, 29, is just a year removed from major hip surgery and five years removed from his last real starting gig. At times, the goaltending battle has felt more like a war of attrition.
Quenneville admits to going back and forth between the two netminders, but doesn’t necessarily think he’s lacking patience with either.
“I don’t know if I’m impatient with goalies. The last few years have been kind of different here, but at the same time, [Crawford] played the majority of the stretch last year,” Quenneville said. “I don’t know if that’s being impatient or not and this year he has had the bulk of the games.
“[Emery] has come here and he’s played pretty well when he’s gotten in net. He had one stretch where he got to sustain it. For the most part, he’s been very good.”
This isn’t the Quenneville’s first goalie carousel in Chicago. Last season Marty Turco was the starter before being usurped by Crawford; two years ago it was Cristobal Huet that lost his No. 1 gig to Antti Niemi.
All told, Quenneville’s gone through six different goalies in his four-plus years on the job: Emery, Crawford, Turco, Niemi, Huet and Nikolai Khabibulin.
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