Corey Crawford Prefers Pad Set Up For Long Rebounds
Chicago Blackhawks goalies Corey Crawford wears Reebok XLT pads for several reasons, but there is one that jumps out above the others, especially in light of recent discussions about his rebound control in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“You don’t want the puck to stop five, six feet away from you,” Crawford told InGoal Magazine after testing the XLT for the first time at a Reebok Goalie Summit in Montreal. “You want it to kick out a little bit further away from you and you want to give yourself a chance to get over and get to the rebound. I definitely like a pad that is going to give me time to recover with those long rebounds instead of short ones.”
It’s an interesting preference to note given some of the debate in the hockey world and on social media about the rebound off Crawford that led to the Anaheim Ducks winning goal 45 seconds into overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on Monday. Some blamed Crawford for producing a soft, room-service rebound on Ryan Kesler’s 2-on-1 shot that went straight to Matt Belesky, who made a nice play to control the bouncing puck and fire it past a diving Crawford to put the Ducks one win from a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.
Kesler and Belesky both referred to it as a “pad pass” and certainly the replays, especially from the NBC feed, seemed to confirm the puck went off Crawford’s right pad:
But the way the puck came off Crawford didn’t seem to match the “pass off pads” claim because of what we know about his pad preferences and choosing the Reebok XLT in part to produce more active rebounds. In other words, the kind of rebound that would have sent Kesler’s shot ricocheting back at Belesky with more speed.
A CBC replay from a different angle confirmed Kesler’s shot was headed higher than the 11-inches covered by an NHL goalie pad. Crawford was a bit late getting down – and for the record, even if it hit his pad, anyone who calls that a bad rebound on a shot from there to that location needs to give their head a shake – so it’s possible a shot that far off the ice could still produce a rebound off the pad. It’s also possible a shot that hits the outer roll on Crawford’s pad, which is softer, instead of flush on the face of the pad, could produce a softer rebound.
But with the benefit of that CBC replay and some added slow motion, it sure looks like that puck bounces straight down from the bottom of the blocker, rather than straight out off the pad:
It’s hard to blame Crawford either way, but understanding his equipment preferences helps interpret the play.
As for the rest of Crawford’s set up, it includes those almost rail straight pads with no breaks, something he once told InGoal Magazine was designed to keep loose pucks off this body contained on front of him:
“That’s because there is no break. I’ve worn it like that since junior,” he said. “I find when I make saves and it hits my body it will often fall in what we call the triangle (former by the pads closing out in front of him) and stay stuck in there and that will maybe get some whistles for you and I like that. And when I’m down sometimes I will flair out instead of having my knees together and that makes me a lot wider. If the guy has a hard shot it can squeak through the 5-hole but it’s just something for the shooters, when they see that they think it’s covered.”
You can read more about Crawford’s Reebok XLT pads and gloves in the InGoal Magazine product review. You can also find out more about all the custom options available in Reebok XLT and the new CCM Extreme Flex II pads in this downloadable PDF that also includes set up preferences for the entire Reebok and CCM Pro Team.