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article imageNHL: Chicago re-signs goaltender Corey Crawford

By Dustin Pollack     May 20, 2011 in Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks made their first off-season move yesterday, resigning goaltender Corey Crawford to a three-year $8 million deal.
Crawford, who started the season as Marty Turco’s backup in Chicago, took over the reigns as the starter in December and played the majority of the games down the stretch.
He finished the season with a 33-18-6 record – the best record among rookie goaltenders – a 9.17 save percentage, a 2.30 goals against average and was a major factor in helping the Blackhawks squeak into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
In the playoffs Crawford started all seven games of Chicago’s first round matchup with the Vancouver Canucks. Although the Blackhawks lost the series, Crawford helped lead the Hawks back from a 3-0 series deficit to force a seventh game.
“I think for us, it was pretty clear as the year went on and Corey emerged as our go-to guy, that he earned the right to be our No. 1 goalie,” general manager Stan Bowman told the Associated Press and other media outlets during a conference call. “That's the way you always want it. You don't want to anoint people. You want to let them do the work for you, and I think if you watched the way Corey played -- he didn't play a lot in the beginning and once he was given the opportunity, he earned more time in the net. And he ended up being a very important part of our team.”
Its been a long road for Crawford towards becoming a legitimate NHL goaltender. After being drafted 53rd overall by Chicago in 2003, he spent several years in the American Hockey before getting his first long-term shot in the NHL this season.
"I wanted to be a part of the Blackhawks, and I think the management, too, and everyone there wanted me back,""Crawford told the Chicago Tribune. "It's great to get it done early. Now, I can just focus on workouts and getting prepared for next season."
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