Dan Cloutier In The Goalie Mix
11/30/2009 4:35 PM - Mike Peck
A little bit of insight on the goalie situation going on here in Rockford: I know a lot of fans are probably wondering why Alec Richards was sent down despite two pretty decent games with the IceHogs. Corey Crawford will be out a little longer than expected and I’m sure Chicago wants an NHL ready goalie here in Rockford.
Joe Fallon has been outstanding since taking over for the injured Crawford in the #1 slot. Fallon went 4-2-1-0 with a .938 save percentage and a 1.84 goals against average in November. But one thing Fallon lacks is experience and the Blackhawks can’t afford too many bumps in the road as they should be fighting for the top spot in the Western Conference all season long.
That’s where Dan Cloutier comes in. Cloutier didn’t play last season and was currently unemployed, but reports I got said he had a very strong camp in Detroit this fall. Obviously a long shot to make the Red Wings, Cloutier is now getting an opportunity here in Rockford and is some good insurance for the Blackhawks if something were to happen to Cristobal Huet or Antti Niemi.
Cloutier was a top five goalie in the NHL in the mid-2000’s while playing with the Vancouver Canucks. He was the first Canucks goalie ever to record three straight 30 win seasons. To put 30 wins in perspective for you, only once in Rockford’s first 10 seasons has a goalie ever won 30 games as Michel Robinson won 33 with the 2004-05 UHL IceHogs.
I like the fact that the organization is taking their time with Crawford. He needs to get back to 100% (he has been nagged with injury since last season) and put him into the best possible position to succeed.
I know for some reason a lot of IceHogs fans have been down on Crawford, but he has been as steady as any goalie over the past two-plus seasons in the AHL. During his time in Rockford Crawford has a 2.64 goals against average and a .913 save percentage while playing in more games than any goalie in team history other then J.F. Rivard. He also has won 56% of the games he’s played.
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