Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cyanide, Living Dead Inside

The Hawks traveled to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets Friday night, who were without their best players in Steve Mason, and Rick Nash. One would think the Hawks could roll through this one, without incident, but that was NOT the case.

The first period was a very odd one. The Hawks had 2 goals on 4 shots early and then seemed to willingly turn momentum over to the Jackets. The period ended with the Hawks up 2-1, but that wasn't an indication of the play. The second period was a complete clusterfuck of Blackhawk penalties with a double minor and a 5-on-3. The Hawks couldn't even blame the refs, because the calls were straight forward and rightly made. The blame could only be out on the undisciplined play of the Hawks. The only goal in the period was the game tying powerplay goal. I'm tired of emphasizing the disappointment that has been the Blackhawks, later in games. On to the third period. In the third it looked as though the Hawks were going to finish the epic collapse with a late tip in goal by the Jackets, but they got a gift to ties up the game and send the game into overtime. The Hawks had plenty of chances in the OT but never dented the net, and had to win on the last shot of the shootout.

For the life of me, I cannot understand what is going on with this team. They have enough talent and experience to know what needs to be done. To my knowledge, none of them had lobotomies in the off season, but they look like the Hawks of 3 years ago. No one is taking pride in their specific jobs, and they seem to think they can simply coast through on the fumes of last spring. I've read elsewhere that some people think that if they just win, no matter how ugly, it's a moot point. I disagree strongly. No one can play this way, and make it past the first round of the playoffs, much less a team that will most likely face the first of second seed in the entire conference. If we want to sit and hope their find their coconuts in time for the first round, we're going to be sadly disappointed. There should be some panic floating around, becasue the team they just barely clipped last night was simply INFERIOR! The Blackhawks played 6 solid minutes of a 65 minute game and managed to get a win. That is embarrassing.

The Good
  • The Blackhawks opened up the scoring immediately after a huge Crawford save at their own end. Kaner and El Capitan had Fedor "Rootin" Tyutin filling his diaper, as they came in on a 2-on-1. Kaner looked off the defender, who backed off into Nowheresville and decided to undress Garon with a snapper. That, folks, was a big boy goal.
  • A few minuted later, on a Hawks powerplay, Kaner hit Brent Seabrook through a sea of bodies in the crease,on the back door, for a 2-0 lead. You would have thought the flood gates would be opening, but THIS is when it all came crumbling down.
  • Just a couple of minutes after Sammy Pahlsson put the Jackets up 3-2, Garon completely waved and missed a One Trick Bick wrist shot from about 40 feet out. Looked harmless enough, but ended up in the cage.

The Bad
  • Faceoffs were about one might predict. Toews was a hair under 50% with his tired legs. Snake only took 3, but won 2 for them. Kopecky was 38%, Kruger...O-fer, Frodo...O-fer, and our hero, Ryan Johnson was his obnoxious norm of 73%. Any way Johnson can take every faceoff for the remainder of the season?
  • After the two Hawks goals, the Jackets seemed to find some life, peppering Crow with an arsenal of shots. Just when you thought the Hawks were going to blow out someone, they turned retarded, and irresponsible.
  • The Jackets gained a score back at about the ten minute mark of the first. Maxin Mayorov redirected a long wrist shot up and over Crow. Not really much that can be done about that kind of goal, except maybe a defenseman harassing him. Really it was a lucky one, but he was allowed too much time and concentration.
  • After a Jacket penalty, with Frodo in the box, Matt Calvert came right out of the box and was able to work his way in on a break-a-way. He beat Crow and put himself in the net, but left the puck sitting in the crease. Seabrook hustled back and cleared the juicy puck, but the Hawks were playing with fire at this point.
  • After the Hawks had to kill several penalties, including a 4 minute double minor, Derrick Brassard took a pass on a 5-on-3 and tied up the game. Another wasted lead. This shit isn't going to work in the playoffs. I don't care how ANYONE wants to downplay it.
  • ANOTHER tip in front of the net resulted in ANOTHER Jackets goal for Sammy Pahlsson. I guess Deuce and Seabrook were far too busy to harass him. Might get their jerseys dirty or something. Why don't they care in their own zone?

The Ugly
  • The amount of Blackhawks penalties in the second period was just ludicrous. Wild sticks and sloppy play led the Hawks to wear out a path to the penalty box time after time. You're suppose to get better and more disciplined during the season, not worse.
  • Nick Leddy = 7:06, Dog Pisani = 4:16, Jake the Snake = 7:32. I understand riding your horses, but your horses aren't performing. If these guys are good enough to play all year, what has changed? They have been jerking Nick Leddy off all season, and all of a sudden he is a liability, and we are going to play with 5 D-men? The Forth line has been consistent all season, but now they aren't worth 10 minutes of TOI a game? Pisani is playing John Scott minutes, and as much as I think Pisani is average at best; he is MUCH better than John Scott. Rolling 3 lines and 5 D-men, in the playoffs, with this team, is going to result in a quick end to the Stanley Cup defense.
  • How about that Kruger kid? Doing about what I said he would do, eh? In a little over his head? Think Jeff Taffe could do the same job? Just a thought.

The Shootout
  • Maxim Mayorov couldn't beat Crawford.
  • El Capitan couldn't even get a flippin shot off.
  • Kubalik had the 5-hole shut by Crawford.
  • Kaner was stopped on the backhand, by Garon.
  • Voracek was beaten by Crawford.
  • Pick-to-Click Vik beat Garon on a backhand shot that squeaked through.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

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