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Despite All-Star snub, Corey Crawford more than just your average Crow

Poor old Crow.

No, not Old Crow, the Kentucky whiskey, favored by the likes of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant and Hunter Thompson.

No, we’re talking Corey ‘‘Crow’’ Crawford, the Blackhawks goaltender, who is now all of 31, having celebrated his most recent birthday on New Year’s Eve.

The dude just cannot get respect.

Crawford has been in the NHL since 2005, became a starter for the Hawks — his only team — in 2010 and since then has won two Stanley Cups. He’s playing great this season, having gone 10-3 in his last 13 starts, making close to 30 saves a game in that period.

Maybe most important, the Blackhawks are red-hot, having won five in a row. Their 25 victories tie them for fourth with the Panthers, behind only the Capitals (30 wins), Stars (29) and Kings (26).

Crawford has 21 of those wins and leads the league in shutouts with six. You know what they say about hockey: no matter what, the wins go to the goalie. You can ride a hot one like a donkey through a barn full of snakes.

So did Crow get invited to play in the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 31 in Nashville?

Of course not.

Nobody respects him. You’d think he was a random guy who hung out with the Hawks, sharpening skates and fumigating gloves, rather than a genuine force.

The Florida Panthers are on a hot streak, too, having won 11 games in a row, with their fans pelting the ice with rats after each win. (Don’t ask — it’s a feel-good tradition down there.)

So Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo was named an All-Star for the Atlantic Division. Natch.

And so were the Predators’ Pekka Rinne and the Wild’s Devan Dubnyk in the Central Division.


Who he?

‘‘Very disappointing,’’ said teammate Patrick Kane, who with Jonathan Toews, made the All-Star team because of merit. Kane called Crawford ‘‘the best goaltender in the league.’’

Sure, Rinne — whom Hawks radio announcer Troy Murray pronounces ‘‘Pecka-reeny’’ — likely made the All-Star squad because he’s the hometown Nashville guy. And we know goalies are more or less screen doors in these defense-free games and could be replaced by cardboard cutouts.

But there is honor in the award. It means something to be chosen. Call it a feather in your cap. Or an air freshener in your helmet. It’s something Crow deserves.

The man has played in only one All-Star Game — 2015 — which is nice, but paltry. Indeed, how could he not have made it last season, when the Blackhawks started off like a car aflame, throwing up a 25-10-2 record through December, en route to another Cup?

It seems Crawford is stuck with an ‘‘Oh-yeah-that-guy’’ label. He’s not a fancy Eastern European who can put his feet behind his head or a cool-named Finn. He doesn’t leap out at you with TV highlights. He’s just good ’ol, dependable Corey from Canada.

His status might well be summed up by a sentence from the player profile: ‘‘He may not quite be in the elite tier of netminders, but Crawford’s just half a step behind them.’’

Half a step. Like he’s catching the storm door in his face as it closes behind the greats.

The problem might go back to the fact he followed goalie Antti Niemi onto the ice, after Niemi, who wasn’t considered a great goalie either, won a Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks in 2009-2010. Niemi wasn’t a full-time starter that season, and he wasn’t named the playoff goalie over Cristobal Huet until late in the season.

So if Niemi — the first Finnish goalie to win a Stanley Cup —could reach the top that fast and easily, who couldn’t? At least, that was the prevailing logic.

After the Cup, Niemi went to the Sharks for salary cap reasons, and here came young Crow, fresh from the Rockford IceHogs, taking his place. Easy. Just ride the breeze behind Kane, Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, kid. Let guys like Niklas Hjalmarsson stand in front of you and take bullets, and don’t mess up. Simple.

But it wasn’t. And it isn’t.

You don’t get half a dozen shutouts in half a season from luck. But in Crawford’s case, you’d think the opposite.

He won two Stanley Cups in his first five seasons as a starter, and yet he has never finished higher than sixth in Vezina Trophy voting.

So it goes. Crow abides.

Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.