Saturday, December 31, 2016

Blackhawks at Hurricanes
3-2 Loss Recap

"Sad But True"

By Patrick Norton

One night after taking down the Nashville Predators in Tennessee, the Blackhawks took on the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. Although they were coming off of a victory the night before, the Blackhawks were having trouble getting their offense jump started. And while the offense had been struggling, the main storyline surrounding the Blackhawks going into tonight’s action would be the goaltending and the defense.

After Crawford guarded the 4 x 6 on Thursday, Coach Wizzo called #LemontNativeScottDarling’s number. Darling has openly expressed his interest in returning to Chicago when he becomes a free agent this season, but with the Blackhawks already bursting at the seams of the salary cap, it has become apparent that he’s auditioning for a starting job somewhere around the league. Darling kept the heart beating for Chicago in the absence of Corey Crawford while he dealt with injury, but no matter how well Darling performed, it was always a secure job for Crow.

The defense has been steadily improving over the past few weeks, so it came as a bit of a surprise when Brian Campbell was a healthy scratch in Nashville on Thursday, ending his 423 consecutive game streak. Another surprise took place tonight in Carolina when Michal Kempny was not listed as a healthy scratch. The defenseman had struggled in a couple of games and found himself watching a few too many games in a suit. A side effect of riding with eight d-men, but it was seemingly unfair to Kempny. Kempny wasn’t going to progress much if he wasn’t getting any game action, but that finally changed tonight.


The Blackhawks struck first in the opening frame. Wow, that’s a phrase you don’t see written too often. And who was responsible for goal? Michal. Fucking. Kempny. Gosh, I can only imagine our dear beloved Gatekeeper creamed his pants when he witnessed KempGod score his first goal as an NHLer. It was a slick little slapper from the left circle and Cam Ward had absolutely no chance at stopping his shot. Ward even got a piece of it, but it just wasn’t nearly enough. Another point for #OffensivelyHandicappedJonathanToews as he and Hartman picked up helpers on the goal. It didn’t take long for the Canes to get on the board, as Elias Lindholm picked up a rebound to knot the game at one. One minute later, a Teuvo Teravainen bad angle shot left a juicy rebound with little hope of a Darling save, Lee Stempniak gave the Hurricanes a one goal advantage. With three minutes left in the period, Vinnie Hinostroza nearly tied the game backup, but Ward denied him with two right pad saves.

The second period was empty. No scoring. Not many fantastic saves and some pretty hideous puck control coming from both teams left much to be desired in the frame. I made an argument that scoring isn’t needed to make a game exciting earlier today on Twitter. This period did not backup my claims.The period seemed to drag on like a #Fatrick game recap. A few rushes for each team, but nothing to brag about. In all honesty, the Blackhawks had a decent portion of time in the offensive zone, but with refusal to shoot gave the Blackhawks a hard time trying to score an equalizer. At the end of two, still 2-1, Hurricanes.

The started like the first period of oh-so-many Blackhawks game this season. It was only a matter of time until the Canes extended their lead to two goals. Sure enough, it was Jay McClement that scored on a treacherous turnover in the defensive zone, which left Scott Darling helpless. Then, the Toews line awoke and the Blackhawks mounted strong and sustained pressure. Vinnie Hinostroza finally broke through for the Blackhawks in the third and brought it back down to a one goal deficit. After an eventful final two minutes, in which the Blackhawks looked poised to score, but struggled to put the puck on net, the final horn sounded and sixty minutes had come to a close… with the Blackhawks still trailing, 3-2. In the final game of 2016, the Hawks leave North Carolina on a sour note, but will have a shot at revenge come January 6th when the Hurricanes visit the United Center.

The Good

  • Michal Kempny… who knew? Gate knew. And on the next shoutcast, we’re all gonna hear about it. But on a serious note, Kempny looked pretty good. He totaled a goal and an assist and finished a +1. Good game for fresh legs.
  • The “Jonathan Toews can’t help the offense” narrative is coming to an abrupt end. His two game goal streak ended, but his point streak continued with two helpers on the only two Hawks goals. Another solid night for the captain.
  • Pisses me off, yet also puts a stupid smirk on my face to see Teuvo have a decent game. A secondary assist and he bodied Toews along the boards in the first period.
  • I don’t know how the Panarin - Anisimov - Kane didn’t crack the scoreboard, but they put together some incredible sustained pressure throughout tonight’s game.
  • Duncan Keith was playing with some nice speed. Always good to see, given how I’ve slammed him for half-assing some recent games.
  • Darling had some excellent saves throughout tonight’s action. I have absolutely no idea how the Canes only won the game by one goal. Darling may have lost the game, but it wasn’t a bad performance. 10-4-2? Not bad for a backup just halfway through the regular season.
  • Tanner Kero and the penalty kill looked pretty good. With Kruger listed as week-to-week, Kero might find himself with a bit more responsibilities and ice time. Let’s just hope Stan Bowman doesn’t trade him for Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann when Kruger returns.
  • Hinostroza and Hartman continue to impress me, especially as “rookies.” I’ve like Ryan Hartman for such a long time, the number 38 has been in my phone passcode since he initially came up a couple years back. The other two numbers? 57. Yes, for TVR. I was young.

The Bad

  • Steve Konroyd and Dan Roan sometimes make me hate hockey. And I write about (or aboat) it as a damn hobby. Their analysis is laughable and it doesn’t help that they look so cramped in the WGN intermission studio. Steve Konroyd’s GRADE A take on MS: “It’s not a death sentence.”
  • This happens when you’re double-shifted, but Patrick Kane didn’t have the best defensive game of his life.
  • Sebastian Aho… what an unfortunate name that must’ve been to have in grade school. “Hey, what’s up Aho?”
  • The defense, as a whole, had a pretty tough time defending their goaltender. A loss isn’t always indicative of poor defense, but tonight, it wasn’t difficult to see the miscues when goals were scored by Carolina.
  • The final two minutes of the third period were all Blackhawks with puck possession, but they kept trying to be a little extra with their passes. I feel like a lot of amateur hockey fans will yell this a couple of times during a game, but I mean it when I say, “SHOOT THE GOD FORSAKEN PUCK!” Kind of frustrating.
  • You can add injury prone to “Words to describe Marcus Kruger,” along with #Scoreless.

The Ugly

  • For no apparent reason, the Canes were throwing shade on Twitter with a GIF of Blackhawks fans leaving early. Jokes on them though because half of their stadium was empty.
  • Brian Campbell complains about being a healthy scratch, which I do have sympathy for the guy losing his streak, but if you want to earn your playing time back, then play some decent defense. I was disappointed with his effort tonight. Kind of seemed like he was phoning it in tonight.
  • I often forget that Andrew Desjardins is on the team. He has played fourteen of the previous fifteen games, yet has not scored a point all season. Yikes, man.
  • “Being too cute” took a big ol’ L tonight. Panarin and Kane have some incredible comfort and chemistry together, but when the passing lane isn’t there, stop forcing it and shoot the damn puck.
  • I couldn’t make out a single chant the Hurricanes faithful cheered. I kept hearing “Wets Go There!” C’mon, Carolina. Make some damn sense for once.
  • Was the ice shitty or did the players from both squads forget how to pass the puck? Or both? Seriously, that whole second period was a huge dumpster fire when it came to puck possession.
  • Since when did Carolina become Chicago South? When Campbell returned from Florida? I mean, come on. Viktor StÃ¥lberg, Joakim Nordstrom, Teuvo Teravainen and they’ve got Bryan Bickell on IR? When are Versteeg, Pirri and Klas Dahlbeck signing?
  • A crappy turnover led to the eventual GWG from Jay McClement. Turnovers happen, but they totally left Darling hung out to dry.


  • Stop turning the puck over at high rates in high risk areas.
  • Shoot. The. Puck. How many times must I plead?

Alright, it was a tough loss in a dumb game, but as 2016 comes to an end, I’d like to express how happy I am to be contributing to this site. I hope everybody had a fantastic holiday and Christmas and I hope everyone has a splendid New Year. Don’t go too crazy because the Hawks play on the 2nd at noon! Should be fun! See you all in

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