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Toews: ‘Don’t know why there’s any doubt’ about Crawford for Team Canada

Jun 14, 2013, 1:20 PM EDT

CrawfordToews

Corey Crawford has one significant backer for a possible spot on Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Jonathan Toews, Crawford’s Chicago teammate and gold medal winner with Canada in 2010, said his goalie is a legit candidate to wear the Maple Leaf in Sochi.

“I don’t know why there’s any doubt,” Toews told reporters on Friday, as per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “He’s a pressure player.”

Toews has a point.

Crawford has been outstanding in the clutch this postseason – his performance in Game 1′s triple-OT victory was terrific — but his inclusion into the Olympic mix comes not just as a result of solid play.

Simply put, the current state of Canadian goaltending is in flux.

While there’s no shortage of candidates to claim the three ’14 Olympic team spots – Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Cam Ward, Mike Smith, Marc-Andre Fleury Martin Brodeur — there’s concern about Canada’s lack of a sure-shot No. 1.

Luongo, who led the country to gold in Vancouver, was resigned to a backup role with the Canucks. Price struggled for Montreal down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Ward suffered a season-ending knee injury in March, Fleury got benched in favor of Tomas Vokoun, Brodeur will be nearly 42 years old by the time the Olympics start and nobody’s sure how Smith will fare outside the Phoenix system.

So, maybe Crawford’s the guy.

If you were selecting goalies based solely on current form, he’d almost have to be. The 28-year-old is 13-5 this postseason with a 1.73 GAA and .936 save percentage. He’s out-dueled Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Quick en route to the Stanley Cup Final and, according to online sportsbook Bovada, is the odds-on favorite to win the Conn Smythe.

How about we wrap this up with a poll?

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  1. greenmtnboy31 - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    As a Canadiens fan, I would pick other before I would pick Price. Price has not lived up to his expectations and has proven he’s not a clutch goalie.

  2. valarmorghuliss - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Not giving Crawford the starting job based on a tiny sample. Sorry. He will be in the mix and can complete for it like everyone else. Lots can happen between now and then.

  3. Windmiller4 - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Being American, the guy I’d be most scared of facing is Cam Ward. His whole career he’s put up solid numbers on a Hurricanes team that is anywhere from subpar to just terrible at times. He’s also been a workhorse for the team, and doesn’t get the recognition because he plays in Carolina. Just my two cents, but i say your starter is Ward, then have Crawford and Loungo back up. Lou has that experience in case Ward falters, and Crawford should be in there just for experience, as he most likely will lead Canada in 2018.

  4. btlpper68 - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Fleury and luongo hahahaha

  5. jacketsfan7 - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Cam ward-starter
    Mike smith-backup

    • Windmiller4 - Jun 14, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Sorry but I can’t see mike smith making it. Just doesn’t make sense because he’s only excelled in front of a very solid defensive system in Phoenix. Although I believe you got the starter right

      • clefty1 - Jun 14, 2013 at 6:49 PM

        And you don’t think Crawford benefits from the team that is in front of him? Put Crawford between the pipes for the Yotes and see what happens to his stats…

  6. kicksave1980 - Jun 14, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    The important thing is that he will be in consideration. He’ll have the opportunity to compete for the job, and whether he’s the go-to starter or not, I’m sure he’ll do a good job.

  7. 19to77 - Jun 14, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Cam Ward with an Olympic-calibre defense in front of him sounds daunting, to say the least.

  8. Windmiller4 - Jun 14, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Haha I find that awesome that other got more votes than fleury

    • 19to77 - Jun 14, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      He’s our Ilya Bryzgalov. Most of us would sooner take our chances with a 47-year old Patrick Roy.

      • Windmiller4 - Jun 14, 2013 at 5:23 PM

        On the Ice he’s the canadian Bryz, he just isn’t a public headcase off it like his Philly counterpart

  9. endusersolutions2013 - Jun 14, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    I have mixed thoughts about this. As a stats-orriented hockey fan who particularly follows goalies, I think he should be seriously considered – surely for the team at least. Can’t imagine why Fleury or Price would be considered. And Brodour is likely too old to be a #1, especially coming off a season-ending injury.

    As an American, I’d really prefer to see Fluery;). And I’d highly recommend Nabokov for team USSR #1

    • 19to77 - Jun 14, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      Uh. “Team USSR”? Did you sleep through the end of the Cold War, or is that just what they call it in school down there?

      • endusersolutions2013 - Jun 14, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        Actually I just repeated what Hayoo Sports shows. And I knew better. Only reason I looked was to be sure he was not from the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan or some other part of the former USSR.

    • billranford - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      People don’t see Crawford in the same light as guys like Quick because he plays a different style. Quick and other guys considered elite are all ridiculously athletic, very flexible, and have lightning fast reflexes. Crawford is not particularly athletic or flexible (when compared to other NHL goalies); his success usually comes from solid positioning. He’s not nearly as flashy as some other guys. To his credit though, his flexibility and quickness have greatly improved over what they were last season. I’m not sure what he is doing, but it has been working.

  10. sjsharks86 - Jun 14, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    Bernier & Holtby should be in this conversation.

    • Windmiller4 - Jun 14, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      Don’t see why Bernier should be in the conversation, he’s a backup

  11. clefty1 - Jun 14, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    The only reason why Crawford’s numbers are so good is because of the team that is in front of him, put him between the pipes for the Wings and the Wings do not make the playoffs.

    • kicksave1980 - Jun 14, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      People always say that when a goalie has the fortune of playing for a good team. He may not face as many shots as some other goalies, but he faces some great scoring chances off of neutral-zone turnovers, which is the ‘high risk’ half of the high reward style the Hawks play. I haven’t always been the biggest Crawford fan, but he’s proven me wrong after watching him develop for so long. He’s a solid goaltender and deserves more credit than he gets.

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