Corey Crawford retires on eve of NHL season

Blackhawks
Corey Crawford, Tyler Ennis, Dominik Kubalik

FILE – In this March 5, 2020, file photo, then-Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford watches the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against Edmonton in Chicago. Lots of new faces at the New Jersey Devils training camp, with the most-well known being 36-year-old goaltender Corey Crawford, who was signed as a free agent along with defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Corey Crawford, who helped the Chicago Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups, has retired less than three months after signing with the New Jersey Devils and less than a week before the start of the NHL season.

The 36-year-old goalie made the announcement Saturday after a week of speculation about his future. He did not practice this week. Devils coach Lindy Ruff said the decision was for personal reasons.

“I have been fortunate to have had a long career playing professional hockey for a living,” Crawford said in a statement. “I wanted to continue my career, but believe I’ve given all I can to the game of hockey, and I have decided that it is time to retire.”

Crawford said playing in the NHL was a childhood dream and he was proud to have been a part of winning two Stanley Cups.

He played for 10 NHL seasons and 488 regular-season games. He signed a two-year, a $7.8 million contract as a free agent with the Devils in October.

New Jersey opens its season at home Thursday against Boston. MacKenzie Blackwood returns as the Devils’ top goaltender.

Crawford was a second-round draft pick of the Blackhawks in 2003. He won 260 regular-season games and recorded a franchise-high 52 playoff wins, winning the Cup in 2012-13 and 2014-15.

Crawford made his NHL debut in 2006. He became Chicago’s starting goalie in 2010-11 when he also finished fourth in Calder Trophy voting, winning 33 games and posting four shutouts with a .917 save percentage. He earned his first William M. Jennings Trophy in 2012-13, together with teammate Ray Emery, for Chicago allowing the fewest goals thanks in part to his 1.94 goals-against average.

Crawford led Chicago to a tie with Montreal (Carey Price) for the fewest goals allowed in 2014-15, earning his second William M. Jennings Trophy. In the 2014-15 playoffs, Crawford helped lead the Blackhawks to another Stanley Cup victory thanks to his 13 wins and two shutouts. He set career-best marks in 2015-16 in wins (35) and shutouts (7) while finishing fifth in Vezina Trophy voting.

The Blackhawks released the following statement:

“Corey has an unforgettable place within our organization, in our fans’ hearts and in Chicago sports history. We congratulate Corey on a Hall of Fame-worthy playing career – one we celebrate with him today as a member of the Blackhawks family forevermore. 

‘Crow’ is not only one of the greatest goaltenders in Chicago Blackhawks franchise history but was also a pillar in our local community throughout his entire career. With 260 career regular-season wins and a team-record 52 postseason wins, he thrilled a generation of Blackhawks fans over the last decade-plus while bringing the city of Chicago two Stanley Cups. We wish him, his wife Kristy, and sons, Cooper and Camden, nothing but the best in this next chapter.” 

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