Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Winter Classic
Chicago Blackhawks at Washington Capitals
3-2 Loss Recap

"White Wedding"

by Gatekeeper and @Patrick_Stankus

The Blackhawks traveled to the Nationals baseball Park in Washington DC, Thursday, for a shot at winning on one of the biggest stages the NHL has available, the 2015 Winter Classic. After much speculation, and a post warmups conversation on the ice with both teams, the NHL and players decided that the sunny weather was not enough of distraction to delay the start of the game. As a result, the puck was dropped at 12:20 PM, in sunny and warmer than expected Nationals Park.

The Blackhawks were out shot 8-7 and out scored 1-0 in the opening half of the first period. After the 10 minute mark, the team switched sides as to not give either an advantage with the glare and shadow issues. The Hawks were out shot 7-5 in the second half of the first, and each team had a goal. It looked like the shadows and glare would no longer be a factor for the rest of the game, so

The Blackhawks came out slow in the second period, but rebounded nicely to out shoot the Caps 13-7 and score the only goal of the period. There was action, but it was nothing like the first period.

The third period was more like the second, but the Caps were on the offensive. They out shot the Blackhawks 13-9, and scored the only goal very late, to win the game. Perfect way to kick off 2015.

The Good
  • The first Blackhawks goal was with about 6 minutes remaining in the first period. Just moments after the Caps Backstrom was whistled for a penalty, Patrick Sharp beat Holtby with a long clean shot from the blue line through an Andrew Shaw screen.
  • After the Blackhawks slow start to the second period, and about 3 minutes in, Toews, Hossa and Saad jumped on a loose puck behind the Caps net. The puck literally died right behind the Caps net and Hossa jumped on it. He kicked it out to El Capitan, who immediately shoveled it to Saad, and into a wide open net.
  • Crawford was not terrible, nor was he great. Saving 32 of 35 is admirable, but the last 2 goals were just so-so at best.
The Bad
  • The Caps took a 2-0 lead after the halfway point of the first period. The Caps caught the Hawks 3rd defensive pair out on the ice and neither Rundbland nor Rozsival could get a hold of a rebound in front of Crawford. Ovechkin swooped in buried the puck, putting the Blackhawks in an early hole.
  • Late in the first period, Backstrom and Ovechkin had a clean 2-on-1 and all Blackhawks fans started sweating. Luckily for the Hawks, Ovechkin forces an awful pass and they never even got a shot off.
  • The adequate Kris Versteeg was hurt blocking a shot early in the third period and went off the ice in distress. That could be ugly for him and throw the recent chemistry off a bit.

The Ugly
  • Big middle finger from Pat to AT&T U-Verse after he lost his service midway through the first period.
  • The camera angles were fucking terrible. NBC insisted on using the stupid robocam on the wire, and it was useless. Here are a few examples of the annoying, useless angles:

  • The first goal of the game, a 4-on-4 goal, was a pretty ugly for Brent Seabrook. He was unable to control a loaded grenade and the bouncing pass squirted past him. Eric Fehr was on the move and blew right past Seabrook, resulting in a breakaway. Fehr made a little backhand/forehand move and tucked the puck in around Crawford's leg.
  • We have talked about Corey Crawford and the fact that he has started slow in almost every game since coming back from his injury, and this one was no exception. Not only has he been starting slow, but the way he has been waving his glove at the puck is wasted effort. Something is up.
  • The Blackhawks came out in the second period and gave up two quality chances off the post. Not the ideal way to start after a bad first.
  • The Hawks blew a long 5-on-3 in the middle of the second period that could have blown the game wide open. Instead they used it as an opportunity to show just what Clown Shoes their powerplay is, at this point. Enjoy our pain, NHL.
  • The final goal of the game, and game winner, was scored with 12.9 seconds. If you wanted a storyline, this was it. Former Blackhawk Troy Brouwer was able get a hold of a loose puck, on the powerplay, after Ovechkin was stopped by a Brandon Saad Paul Bunyan impression, and surprise Crawford. This was all set up by a terrible hooking call against Jonny Toews. All that said, the Blackhawks had the 5-on-3, and 6 total powerplays. You knew a makeup call was coming.
  • Even after Versteeg went out hurt, Gorilla Salad only played THREE shifts. Why is this happening? It makes zero sense. It was equally annoying that he ran around in his first couple of shifts trying to start shit.
  • Who knew? Gavin DeGraw is not this guy

    I wanted to see the guy from the Love Boat sing.
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