LAS VEGAS -- Ex-Blackhawks Hall of Fame forward Denis Savard is quick to come to the defense of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, who has been benched and criticized for his lack of consistency this season.
"Everybody seems to think that Crawford has not played as well as he can, but I don't believe that," Savard told NHL.com Friday morning from the Bellagio. "I think the kid has played well most of the year. They haven't played well in front of him in the games that I have watched closely. I know Corey and he's a competitor, a winner and a really great kid. Of course you'd like to see him put a string of wins together so his confidence doesn't get shattered, but they just need to play better in front of him."
The Hawks are 0-5-1 in their last six games and have dropped to sixth in the Western Conference. Crawford hasn't played since he allowed five goals on 28 shots before getting pulled in the third period of an 8-4 loss to Edmonton on Feb. 2.
"People look at 28 shots and he gave up five goals, well there were probably 15 quality chances against him and that number has to get reduced," Savard said. "I always put on the board 21/7 when I coached. I would say, 'If we do 21 shots against and seven quality chances, we're going to win.' I think their mentality has to get back to that. If they do that, it'll help the kid gain his confidence back.
"I'm pretty sure that's the message they've been given, but they just have to start doing it now. They can't wait any longer."
Does that mean Chicago needs some help before the trade deadline, particularly on the back end?
"I think (GM) Stan (Bowman) would probably say, 'Hey, you know what guys, this is us, let's turn this around. We were a good team for the first 45-50 games,' " Savard said. "I know they have room under the cap and I'll tell you this, this organization is committed to winning and if they feel they need to make some changes they will. It's pretty clear that they want to win. The Hawks will spend right to the top of the cap to try to get it done."
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