Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Three Weddings and a Funeral

Goodnight, Irene.

The Chicago Blackhawks were on the verge of becoming the only the fourth team in NHL history to come back from an 0-3 deficit, and at this point, there is no reason for fans to be greedy or cocky. No one expected anything from this team after the average regular season they had. Granted, 97 points is nothing to sneeze at, but it wasn't pretty or inspiring, whatsoever. YET, here they were, after battling back from the dead, they made us notice them again, and earned our trust back. The cherry on top would make all Hawks fans rabid, once again. We're all still out here, and we're still breathing. Did Vancouver "sweep the leg" with the Torres hit? The story was played out last night.

The Hawks looked like a team that has been through a long emotional series, in the first period. There were jitters, mistakes, and finally a goal against on a great Vancouver play. The stats said that the Hawks outshot Vancouver 12-8, but I just don't buy it. The second period looked much like the first, with the Hawks seemingly giving up many more chances against, and the Canucks having the edge in physical play. None of the fire burned, but they were going to be tired for the third. The only good thing is that they were within one goal. The third followed suit to the first two period, as the Canucks pretty much dominated. Again, the stats said that the Hawks held the edge, but that's just not how the actual action was. The Hawks caught a break with about two minutes left in the third, and scored a shorthander to send us to a second overtime game in a row. The Hawks had their chances in OT and couldn't cash in. In the end, costly turnover in their own zone sent the Hawks home for the summer. Hey, they made it one more game than I had expected. Nothing to be disappointed about here. Canucks, as much as I LOATHE you, this is what was suppose to happen, and it was suppose to be MUCH easier.

I want to get sentimental for a second and thank all the fans that take the time to come real my silly recaps and rants. I hope that I made you all smile a few times, and I've learned a lot, this year. I can't wait to start next season's recaps, already.

The Good
  • Crawford was his usual cool, calm and collected self, despite the onslaught of Canucks chances. He had a slight cross up on the second period powerplay, but he bailed the Hawks players out many more times. He's been completely unflappable. The three save flurry with about 6 minutes left in the third was as clutch as clutch can be. I was SURE they were going to score on that one. Whatever salary he commands this summer, is WELL deserved. Tell me he doesn't and I will show you THIS PLAY, over and over.
  • The fourth line of Pisani/Kruger/Johnson was actually the best Hawks line of the first two periods, which is not what you're looking for. For the first time all year, Kruger LOOKED like and NHLer.
  • It took the Hawks 58 minutes, and a powerplay against, for El Capitan to find his scoring touch. He singlehandedly took the puck through three Vancouver defenders and to the net, and then threw it to Boss 81. Boss chucked it at Borat, and Tazer picked up the rebound, while on his knees, and put it into the net to tie up the game and put it into overtime. Even when he's struggling to put the puck in the net, he's still got balls of steel. Game 7, Shorthanded, on the road, down 1-0 with under two minutes remaining. That's clutch, people.

The Bad
  • The Canucks were out to hit all people in red, and opened up the scoring with almost 3 minutes in, as they caught the Blackhawks in a bad change. Kesler made a great move around Deuce and fed Burrows, who had a MONSTER game, for a back door goal that saw Leddy getting a little too deep in his own end. Not how you open up a game 7 on the road.
  • The Hawks got away with several bad turnovers, in the first period, but none really bit them in the ass. They were definitely playing with fire and it was getting HOT! They were out hit, and the Canucks also blocked more shots.
  • I STILL dislike this first PK pairing of Deuce and Stromboli. The second pairing was Soupie and Hammer, which makes me think that Seabrook still isn't 100%, because his big body needs to be out there on the PK.
  • As much as Kane tried to avoid ANY contact at all, he got blasted with a high check in the third, and he just laid down on the ice like a slug. This all led to the final Deuce penalty, late in a 1-0 game. You're a money man, Kaner, it's time you did a "Kesler" and hustle your ass off the rink, or get in the fucking play. Instead, he pouted like a 10 year old, and almost cost his team a goal. If you're not getting a whistle for becoming a grasshopper on the Canuck's windshield, recognize that and adapt. Your legs are feeling that drunken past summer, now, aren't they? It looked like he was going to cry, while he was on the bench getting attended to.

The Ugly
  • The Hawks got their first powerplay in the second half of the second period and it was TERRIBLE. They gave up at least two solid shorthanded chances against, and none of their own.
  • The Hawks were out shot 15-6 in the second and things were going from bad to worse. Blame it on the long changes or whatever you'd like, but it was a ROUGH period, and the Hawks LOOKED tired.
  • With under twenty seconds gone in the third, Hossa's misguided pass led to a Burrows breakaway back the other way, similar to the Stalberg pass a few weeks ago that led to the Hawks losing a game. Deuce had to pull Burrows down for a penalty shot. You can't fault Deuce for that, at all. Crow shut the door, and the game was still 1-0 for the moment.
  • Other than that game tying goal, did ANYONE notice the Cash Money Millionaires out there? This is a HUGE game, and maybe you don't score, but you HAVE to create chances.
  • PAT! PLEASE? Shut the FUCK UP with your "Where's Daniel", and "Where's Henrik?". Seven games of that shit is making me want to blaze my remote through the TV. You're better than that, for fuck's sakes.
  • The Hawks had a prime powerplay chance in the overtime, and managed a nice chance, but never settled in the Canuck's zone, like they wanted. In the end, that was probably the death of them. Game on the stick of your leading goal scorer, in OT, on the powerplay, with no one near him, and he shot it right into Bobby Lu's gut.
  • AAAAAAAND it all ended on a lazy Stromboli turnover, in his own zone, to Alex Burrows, who took a few strides and blew it past Crow. Season over, thanks for playing. He had plenty of options, but Burrows made a nice play to grab the puck out of mid air, throw it to his stick and finish.

Here are the video highlights for your viewing pleasure:

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