"Clash With Reality"
by Patrick Norton
The Blackhawks would be without Jonathan Toews (back) and Corey Crawford (appendix) as they took on the Winnipeg Jets to close out the weekend. The last time these teams met, the Blackhawks were beginning their circus trip and let’s just say, it didn’t go as planned for the road team. The Blackhawks were shut out 4-0 and played one of their worst games of the season. And that was without their captain and starting goaltender. Eric Semborski would not be in attendance either, as his Amateur Tryout didn’t pan out. Instead Lars Johansson was called up from Rockford to fill in as the backup goaltender for the next two weeks.
Neither team was shot out of the gate. The Blackhawks and Jets played possibly the most boring twenty minutes of hockey all season. The Jets finished the period with eight shots and the Blackhawks could only muster up two of their own. The only excitement of the frame came 2:22 in when Jordin Tootoo and Clayton Thorburn squared up and dropped the gloves. Even that was kind of boring. At the end of one, no score.
After a game in Philadelphia the day before, the Hawks stayed in bed for the second period, too. It reminded me of a classic Blackhawks first period with the amount of turnovers by Chicago and the total chances Winnipeg had. Somehow, nobody scored until the Blackhawks gave the Jets the first powerplay of the game and Winnipeg capitalized. With 43 seconds left in the period, Bryan Little gave the Jets the lead heading into the 3rd. I don’t know what it is about the game, but through two, I was beyond frustrated. The Hawks should be beating up on a team like Winnipeg, but we fall into the trap time and time again. Damn. Anyways, after two, the Jets had a one goal edge, 1-0.
The third period started with a great penalty kill by the Blackhawks (wait, seriously?) and it seemed like winds may be shifting when Dustin Byfuglien tripped Patrick Kane leading to the first powerplay for the Hawks. No. Not even close. The Blackhawks looked like they were trying to kill the penalty and the Jets put together multiple decent shot opportunities. Finally, with a quarter of the period remaining, a beautiful set-up from Kane to Panarin put the Blackhawks on the board. It wouldn’t last long, though. Andrew Copp, who had hit the pipe with a shot ten seconds before Panarin’s goal, didn’t miss the second time around. He broke the tie with a snap shot skating right and shooting left past the stick side of Scott Darling. Could he have saved it? Maybe. Should the Blackhawks have had more than one goal? Most definitely. The Blackhawks got lucky with just over three minutes remaining when Hinostroza drew a high stick and gave the Blackhawks a four minute powerplay. Chicago couldn’t capitalize. There were flurries, but nothing came of it.
- Richard Panik looked pretty good. Fighting for pucks in corners and hustling his ass off to create turnovers. He’s got some hidden speed, but tonight, he showcased it.
- Vinny Hinostroza looked pretty good, too. Seemed to have the puck on his stick a lot, but he kept trying to be a bit too fine, which led to a few mistakes. I liked his style of play, though.
- Scott Darling played his damn ass off, which is impressive after starting on short notice yesterday.
- Brian Campbell had his best defensive game of the season. And he still turned over the puck numerous times. Just goes to show.
- Pat Foley calling Dustin Byfuglien “Big Boy” made me laugh so hard I almost forgot about how crappy the Hawks were playing.
- The desperation powerplay to finish the game was pretty entertaining. They just couldn’t finish.
- Connor Hellebuyck was really good, especially in the final three minutes. Helps that the Blackhawks offense decided not to test him until them.
- The commercials for the new CSN show “In The Loop” make me want to turn my set off. I like the idea for the show, but the ads are cringeworthy.
- F*** Steve Konroyd. His takes are so bad, it’s not even fair to Blackhawks fans anymore. Goodness, take your crappy analysis elsewhere. It’s not even fun to make fun of you anymore.
- I’m just bitter because I have a cold and my mom made me shovel during the intermissions. I love the snow, but I despise shoveling, especially when I can’t even drink water because my throat is so sore. Also, I’m writing this recap instead of doing homework, but whatever, I already got into college.
- I don’t blame Eddie for this, but every damn time he talked about a play, the guy in charge of replays played the wrong clip.
- The Blackhawks offense generated TWO shots on net during the first period and the second shot didn’t look like it was even going on goal. Brutal.
- Turnovers by defensemen make me furious. Hjalmarsson had a few, but not terribly noticeably. Duncan Keith gave up some A+ chances stemming from his turnovers. IT just can’t happen.
- Classic shitshow penalty kill.
- Frustrating. Very frustrating game.
- The defense gave up what seemed like thousands of breakaways, but Scott Darling kept it close. Unfair to do to the guy who just played in another crappy game the day before.
- This game was so “Ugly” worthy, the “Bad” section was reserved for notes about the telecast and my life.
- The Blackhawks powerplay in the beginning of the third period seemed more like a damn penalty kill. More shots and chances for the Jets. Pure ridiculousness.
- Can’t blame him for the offense being nonexistent, but Joel Quenneville’s gotta throw the damn challenge flag on that second Jets goal. Not even close to being onside. Whoops.
- For the next practice, I’d appreciate if “putting the puck on the net” were on the to-do list.
- The Jets played last night, too, so what made the Blackhawks so flat footed for an entire 59 minutes? I just don’t get how they have so many points when they play like this. They’ve played way better. They’ve played worse. They haven’t played as frustrating. I would’ve shut off the TV had I not been writing the recap.
- The equipment manager had an off night, eh? Twigs were breaking left and right throughout the game, but most noticeably during that final powerplay when the Blackhawks were trying to sustain constant pressure on the Jets and Hellebuyck.
- After the game, Quenneville called the offense’s play throughout the season “sporadic,” which is good to know that the fans aren’t the only people who seem to think so. He also said the team didn’t deserve to be in this one. Thanks, Captain Obvious.
#Fatrick Stankus Fatsy Stats
- Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin both had Corsi’s above 10. They were the only Blackhawks in positive double digits.
- Brian Campbell had the lowest Corsi, -9, but spent a lot of his game in the defensive zone. Also, -9 was the lowest? Impressive, considering how outplayed the Blackhawks were tonight.
- Blackhawks won 31/58 faceoffs, but it doesn’t matter when those wins don’t translate to better possessions.