Wednesday, April 18, 2012

PLAYOFFS - Blackhawks vs. Coyotes Game 3 OT Loss

"For Whom the Bell Tolls"

Game three brought the teams back to Chicago with the series tied 1-1. On the heels of the Andrew Shaw three game suspension, the fans looked for the Hawks to take the ice with some aggression, and enact some revenge. What they wanted and what they got were two different things. After taking the first two games into overtime, the Hawks were also looking to take control of the game a bit sooner than the last minute. With the fans behind them, and a chip on their shoulder, everyone was expecting great things Tuesday night. Instead, it was more of the same.

The first period turned into a shitshow once Hossa was carried out on a stretcher. The Hawks were out shot 16-10, but when all was said and done, they somehow took a late lead into the first intermission. The second period was a much different and controlled period, with the Hawks out shooting the Coyotes 10-6 and no goals either way. One goal game, going into the third period; remind me where have we seen this one before. The third period was, again, a completely different period from the previous two. The Hawks had goal on 11 shots, and Coyotes had two goals, in a minute, on 9 shots. For the third game in a row, the Hawks and Coyotes were going into overtime. The overtime period was sloppy and ugly, but the tired Coyotes were able to take advantage of an extremely soft goal to take a 2-1 series lead.

The Good

  • The Coyotes got an early powerplay on a weak Bollig penalty, but Crawford was outstanding, stopping several huge chances.
  • Andrew Brunette grabbed the lead for the Hawks with 28 seconds left in the first period, off a faceoff win by Marcus Kruger. Kruger won it back to Leddy, who turned it over to Kaner. Kane ripped a long wrist shot that was tipped by Bruno and the place went bananas. 1-0 Hawks.
  • After Hossa went down, Sharpie looked like a man possessed, throwing big hits and making some big plays in the Hawks zone. It didn't last all game, but he certainly looked motivated for a while.
  • Bolland and Frolik hooked up for a huge goal, just 30-something seconds after the Klesla goal, to grab the Hawks a lead. Bolland threw a shot on net and the rebound shot out to Frolik, who backhanded it past Smith. Unfortunately, that lead would last less than a minute. 2-1 Hawks
  • Seabrook whipped out his enormous coconuts, in OT, blocking a shot that stung him badly, but he stayed out for another minute or so and eventually threw a big hit at the end of his shift, on one leg. Game in and game out, he has been an example of steady play and dependability.
  • Frolik looked great, as well. He had a goal and several great chances, which makes one feel much more comfortable about Shaw missing two more games. With Hossa's status in question, that's another story. For the first time in forever, Frodo was noticeable on the ice. Maybe it's because there was really no pressure or expectations, but maybe something has clicked; MAYBE.
  • El Capitan, and Kruger had a great night at the dot (18-of-23 and 6-of-7 respectively), but Kaner and Bolland were ridden hard to the tune of 6-of-24. Mayers only took 8 draws, and won half. Can we please pull Kane out of the dots and have someone else take his draws?

The Bad

  • Can we put to bed the theory that Dylan Olsen is fast, in any way? Raffi Torres opened up the game beating him BADLY to a delayed icing puck which turned into two excellent Coyotes chances. Quenneville cannot be playing this game in the playoffs. In a game that was over 70 minutes long, Olsen played a paltry 4:56. Keith and Seabrook will be cold corpses by game 7 if he keeps this up. They each played over 4 minutes more than anyone on the ice, and Oduya was third in minutes played. Play Sami Lepisto, for fucks sakes! Enough of this horseshit, already, Joel. We get it, you're stubborn. Lepisto can carry a puck, at the very least, instead of watch Oduya and Leddy get horsed from the best seats in the house.
  • The Hawks opened up their first powerplay of the night by giving up one of their infamous "shorthanded partial break-a-ways against". Luckily a tired Seabrook was able to catch a tired Boedker and Crawford was able to keep his eye on the puck. Obviously, this powerplay problem isn't magically going to improve, just because it's the playoffs.
  • I'm not sure how I feel about this, but Crawford and Smith passed each other at the end of the second period, on the way to to the locker rooms. Crawford gave Smith the hairy eyeball, the stink eye, and the "what have you". Had the refs not stepped in, there may have been a purse or two thrown. As entertaining as that would be to watch, that was not in Crawford's, nor the team's, best interest. Leave the shenanigans to the Flyers, Pens, Sens and Rangers. The Hawks aren't built for such theatrics.
  • For as great as Johnny Oduya was in the regular season, he's been THAT bad in the playoffs. It's like he has become Bizarro-Duya. Every time he has had the puck, he has treated it like a red hot hand grenade, been caught out of position, and has been out worked for the puck several times. At this rate the Hawks will be playing golf before he gets his shit back together.
  • A late 4-on-4 situation resulted in the Coyotes first goal by Rosty Klesla. An open slapshot from the high slot, beat Crawford to open a minute thirty of chaos. Leddy got worked behind the net, Oduya and Kane got caught out of position and the puck got caught in the net. Awful match-up on defense. 1-1 tie
  • Just 32 seconds after the Frolik goal put the Hawks up, Ray Whitney picked up a fat rebound in front of a fallen Corey Crawford, and put it in the net, tying the game back up. Another 4-on-4 situation with Leddy and Oduya out there, and another goal against. Didn't Quenneville learn his lesson a minute earlier? I understand that Hammer was in the box, but you need to have either Keith or Seabrook out there with one of those two, especially after the circus that they put on the first time. Sure would be nice if someone on the third pair, like Lepisto or even O'Donnell could log some PK time, wouldn't it? 2-2 tie.
  • So much for that "John Scott Theory", that Carcillo, Bollig, or Scott himself prevented other teams from pulling assclown stunts against the Hawks skill players. Bollig ended up with 14 minutes in penalties, in the first period alone. On the first powerplay against, only Crawford kept the game scoreless, with a couple of ridiculous saves. Clearly that first dumb ass penalty sent a message, as 8:28 later Torres pulled his horseshit, and he certainly looked scared doing it. Can everyone now agree that "enforcers" rarely deter anyone from acting like ballbag thugs? Thugs are thugs, and they always will be (unless you're Matt Cooke and received a frontal lobotomy in the offseason). They are too fucking stupid to care which fucking cementhead the other team dressed.
  • Meatball stat of the game. The Hawks actually out hit Phoenix, 41-39. Worked out well, didn't it?

The Ugly

  • Well, lets just say that Andrew Shaw got a game misconduct for his phantom hit on Smith, but Torres got nothing for practically breaking Marian Hossa's neck. League owned team. Coincidence? I can't even express what a mess of horseshit that Brendan Shanahan has created with this disciplinary committee. Now Marian Hossa's health is at risk and maybe his career. Let's hope for the best, because aside from his hockey talent, Hossa is a classy individual. Get well, Hoss!! I'm not going to go into huge detail here on why the Torres hit is dirty and completely different than the Shaw bump. Shaw was irresponsible, not malicious. Torres is trying to end people's careers. If Shanahan has an ounce of self worth, which is highly debatable, that is the last time Raffi Torres is seen until the 2012-13 season, no matter what happens in this series. I put this together last night and I hope Hossa's unfortunate injury can help inspire the Hawks to another level.
  • After an overtime of missed chances, Kaner passed up a chance, in the middle of the ice, which the Yotes turned around. While Kane didn't have a clean shot, he had enough space to flip the puck either at the net or towards the net. He chose neither. The Coyotes did the one thing Kane couldn't which is get the puck deep, and Hjalmarsson was caught looking over his shoulder, rather than making sure he was the only person to control the puck. Boedker picked up the puck in the corner and fired it at Crawford, who somehow let it slip through his pads, very similar to the cup winning goal 2 years ago. Goa line extended, with zero angle. VERY weak goal after an otherwise strong performance. Damn shame, in fact. Phoenix had TWO shots in over 13 minutes of overtime play, and one went in. That absolutely cannot happen.

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