Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blackhawks vs. Coyotes - Loss Recap

"I'm On My Way, Home Sweet Home"

"You, sir, sucked tonight"

Tuesday night's tilt with the Phoenix Coyotes is a welcome one for Hawks fans. They had been without a home game in three weeks, and were surly looking for some home cooking. The Blackhawks were coming off a "ho-hum" road trip where they embarrassed hated rivals Vancouver on their home ice, but were blown off the ice in two Alberta games. The Coy-otes were only 4 points behind the Hawks, despite all the ownership turmoil. Goalie Mike Smith was quickly becoming a cult hero in the desert with the usually posse of no namers just keep piling up points, and that's exactly what they did.

Even though the first period was no glorious effort, the Hawks were about even in scoring chances, and shots, but gave Phoenix the lead on a very soft goal. The second period was pretty much the same story, but Coyotes ramped up their defense to more of a Berlin wall style, and managed another fairly weak goal. The third period was just a formality, as the Hawks came out and gave up two goals to put this game far out of their reach. They managed a very late goal, but it was absolutely pointless. Yotes win 4-1 and, apparently, I picked a hell of a game to actually attend.

The Good

  • Car Bomb looked like he had a little attitude to his game early, laying some big hits early, and he had a nice pass to Pat Kane on 3-on-2 in the first period for tip on net, which ended up being one of the Hawks best chances.
  • Pick-to-Click Vik had a real nice chance in the first period, as he hesitated and blew the doors off Ekman-Larsson and drove hard to the net, but it was saved by Smith. PURE speed there, but why-you-no-finish?
  • Pat Kane made a nice move to the net in the closing minutes of the first period that left the Phoenix defender laying flat on his gut but, AGAIN, why-you-no-finish?
  • Everyone but Kaner (30%) was good at the dot.
  • That's really all I can salvage from this mess.

The Bad

  • Nick Leddy had some happy feet, early in the game. He decided to try and be a hero, only to turn the puck over at the Yotes blue line and leave Hammer to defend a 2-on-1 coming back the wrong way. Luckily it never ended up materializing.
  • Frolik must have been the "pick your forward" in Q's doghouse, at least to START the night. He opened up on the 4th line, and looked lost.
  • MegaMayers led a rush into the Coyotes zone in the first period, and made an absolutely terrible pass in Frodo's direction, or at least we can assume it was to Frodo, because he was the only Blackhawk in that area code. Chance averted.
  • The second period opened up horribly for the Hawks. They couldn't even manage to get the puck to the RED LINE, much less into the Phoenix zone. They didn't manage a actual shot on net until, just about, the 10 minute mark.
  • Once the Hawks finally managed some pressure, Hoss led a rush towards the Phoenix net and had a fairly good look, but decided to drop the puck Car Bomb, who was a good 7-10 feet behind him and never got a shot off. Great job passing up good looks, Hoss.
  • In the second period we got the pleasure of watching another Blackhawks circle jerk, literally. They proceeded to cycle the low circle over and over, and over, until they simply just turned it over. The cycle only works when you're working towards actually getting a scoring chance. When they look like they are just doing it because it's the "in thing" and they are just waiting for an opportunity to turn it over, the whole operation really defeats the purpose.
  • Trying to keep up with the line combinations in this one was POINTLESS, because they rarely seemed the same for two consecutive shifts. In the third Q had a line of Kane/Kruger/Hossa out there, and Frolik may have played on 4 different lines over the course of the night. It really didn't matter, because no amount of Quenneville's mad scientist line juggling made a blip on the radar.
  • This was one of the first games where we really saw the Car Bomb Jeckyl/Hyde change during one game. In the third period, he came out of the locker room BRAINLESS. He simply forgot it in the locker room. That's the only explanation. As good as he might have seemed in the first, he was that BAD in the third. He went absolutely apeshit following the Coyotes waved off goal, and negated a potential powerplay with a stupid retaliation penalty. Not to be outdone, he came out the box, and seemed to immediately take a dumb slashing call. That's the stupidity that will either land you back on the 4th line or back in the press box, my man.
  • The Hawks goal was pointless. They deserved to be shut out, at home, the way they played. I've heard blatherings about how it's rough to come home after a 3 week road trip, bla, bla, bla. Didn't we just hear the other night how nice it was going to be to finally play at home? Shut the fuck up; seriously! They had 2 days to get their shit together and make an effort, and they failed miserably. There were very few points where they looked like they should be on the same ice as the Coyotes.
  • Officially, we have a goaltending "concern". I'm not sure how the game looked on TV, but in person, it's obvious that Crawford is fighting the puck. He's not absorbing shots, he's waving at them like Huet use to do. Almost like there is one pesky gnat flying around in front of him. He doesn't look confident at all. I was just writing this off as a wrinkle in the schedule, but it's now officially becoming a "concern".

The Ugly

  • The first Coyotes goal was absolutely ATROCIOUS. Barely five minutes into the game and the Hawks actually had some pressure, but the Coyotes caught the Hawks trying to sneak in a change. Hammer started towards the bench with Leddy and realized that the troops were a headin his way. He got caught trying to take the blue line and was spun in some odd position. Langkow got in behind Hammer and then worked a "tic-tac-toe" with Doan, Whitney between Ron Burgundy and Hammer. This actually really left Langkow in a tight spot to shoot from, to Crawford's left, but he threw it at the net, anyway. Somehow; someway, It ended up in behind Crawford and dribbled in the net. Commencing momentum shift.
  • The second Coyotes goal was another bad one. The Hawks were established in the Phoenix zone, and Leddy tried to take a big shot towards the net, that just happened to blast Stalberg in the foot. Of course, Vik would have been the highest forward/first back but the shot stung him, and he had to try and drag his dead leg back to the bench. This left the Yotes coming back 4-on-2 against Hammer and Leddy. Boedker took it up the right side and dropped it off to Doan at the top of the circle, who just let'r fly. Crawford had a good look, and seemed to just miss it. 2-0 Yotes.
  • Just as I had uttered the words, "As bad as they have played, they are only down 2-0", and merely over a minute into the third, Deuce tried to pull off one of those fancy pants little drop plays to Kaner at the Hawks blue line. Kaner then proceeded to have his pocket picked by Vrbata who sent it behind the Hawks net. It's anyone's guess what Crawford was looking at, but he ended up down on his knees, at the wrong post. Kaner then felt it was better float away from the action, toward the Phoenix end looking for that easy breakout than pick up the now wide open Vrbata. That breakout never happened. All it took was a quick second for Vrbata to grab the puck and backhand it past a lost Crawford. 3-0 Phoenix and the boo birds were heard throughout the UC.
  • The forth Coyote goal looked like a carbon copy of the third. The Hawks failed to get the puck out, and seemed to all get caught chasing the puck around like puppies. Hanzel ended up with the puck behind the net and was probably surprised to see Whitney sitting there, virtually wide open. He was wide open because all Leddy could manage to do is poke at Vrbata like you poke roadkill with a stick to see if it'll move, and cover the invisible guy in front of the net. Of course, Crawford was down at the wrong post YET AGAIN, so once Hanzel fed Whitney, it was a slam dunk. Quenneville pulled Crawford, but it really didn't matter, at this point. 4-0 and the boo birds were not only out, but a third of the crowd picked up their jackets and walked out.
  • 6:41 of ice time for Bryan Bickell. Ouch, man. Very Ouch! There is apparently VERY little room left in that Quenneville doghouse, as of late. If it's a dog eat dog world, Bick is wearing a Milkbone jockstrap.
  • Hammer responded to my thorough ripping by conveniently skating like Bambi on ice, and putting up a -3. Thanks for supporting my argument, kiddo! Keep absorbing those hits. There is a reason that every time the camera is on him, he looks like he's in serious pain. HE IS IN PAIN, from getting his ass beat nightly.
  • I can't wait to listen to three days of "we needed more Ben Smith and John Scott". If you are a person that even entertains that thought, you need to be euthanized, although once they start printing those #28 Smith shirtsies up, I'm certain Jesse Rogers will be the first in line to get one; or outfit his whole wardrobe. Could someone please remind him that this doesn't stand for "Smith".

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