The United Center went deadly quiet last night after the Blackhawks hosted the Coyotes for Game 4 of the Playoffs series. Captain Jonathan Toews summarized the game as "disappointing", and it's doubtful anyone other than the Coyotes and their supporters would disagree.
The game started out with an incredible 10 minutes from the Blackhawks but after that, things just sort of went right through the 5-hole. Coincidentally, that's exactly how the game ended.
A lazy score of 0-0 dominated most of the game, until the Coyotes finally caught a break and managed to score 2 goals within 44 seconds of each other in the 3rd period. Veteran Player Brendan Morrison, who hasn't been seeing much ice-time lately, stepped up for the Blackhawks and got them their first goal of the game; Michael Frolik followed suite to tie the game and take it to OT for the 4th time in 4 games.
That's where the 5-hole of Corey Crawford ended the game within 5 mins. Final score: PHX 3, CHI 2 (OT).
Many were outraged and heatedly lashed out with all sorts of criticism for Crawford's "weak goaltending", and called for back-up Goalie Ray Emery to start the next game; but, was this loss really all on Crawford?
Maybe that goal was indeed soft, and maybe he "should have had it", but my opinion is that Crawford was one of the only ones who showed up to play and did some good things during game to keep them in it until OT. I'm not saying he is the best goaltender in the league, nor am I saying he was the best player out on the ice last night; but things like this could happen to All-Star Goalies like Henrik Lundqvist, too. There is nothing right about saying it's all Crawford's fault without looking objectively at some of the other things that contributed to the loss.
Like not taking control of the game. Toews commented that "it didn't feel like we took control of that game at any point, and we had our opportunities to score and we had our opportunities to take advantage, whether it was on the Powerplay or whatever, [but] we didn't work hard enough for that offense to try and go ahead in the game."
Control will have to be the priority in Game 5, because Game 5 is do-or-die for the Blackhawks who now sit at 1-3 in the series.
Coach Quenneville was not pleased, saying it was a "brutal ending" and further that "there are certain guys who need to pick up their game."
In other Quenneville news, the NHL announced yesterday he would have to pay a fine of $10,000 for his statements after Game 3 in which he called the officiating a "disgrace" after a non-call was made on Torres' cheap shot on Hossa.
Once I released my pro-Quenneville thoughts on the matter I was predictably met with challenges from the Canucks camp like "Really? Quenneville didn't have much to say after Duncan Keith elbowed Daniel Sedin. Hypocrite".
Well, random Canucks fan, I'm glad you piped in. Here's your answer: The two incidents are not comparable so forgive me if I am lost on how you drew the parallel. Yes, both Hossa and Sedin were unfortunate victims of an attack but, these are two different cases. The bottom line here is simply that Q was outraged a call was not made on Torres for attacking Hossa.
Very different than in the Sedin/Keith instance, where a call WAS made. There was no injustice there as Keith was dealt with and the rules were upheld; fair. Conversely, in the Torres/Hossa instance, nothing was done; not fair, so Q had a right to speak out and stick up for his team.
Again, this turn of events cannot be compared to what happened with the Canucks, but I'll indulge you and show you how you've made this into a pot calling the kettle black situation: Q is not a hypocrite as you claim because unlike Vigneault who defended Raffi Torres last year after attacking Seabrook, and unlike Tippett who also stands behind Torres this year for attacking Hossa - Q did not defend Duncan Keith's actions against Sedin. He probably could have called every Canucks fan personally to apologize, but let's not get petty here.
Quenneville made no official statement on which Goalie would be starting for the Blackhawks in Game 5, and Marian Hossa did not travel with the team to Phoenix. Torres, meanwhile is suspended indefinitely and had his in-person hearing this afternoon. Most anticipate a 10 game suspension, but we will have to wait 'til Saturday to hear officially.
Saturday is also the day the Blackhawks absolutely MUST WIN to stay alive in the Playoffs.
Game time is 9p CT/10p ET.
Tags: 5-hole, angry, AV, bad goal, beards, Bissonette, Biznasty, Blackhawks, Bollig, Brendan Morrison, Canucks, chelsea dagger, Chicago, Coach Q, Corey Crawford, Coyotes, fans, fight, Fine, game recap, Goalie, hawks, Joel Quenneville, Jonathan Toews, Madhouse, Marian Hossa, Michael Frolik, Must-win, NHL, Officiating, Phoenix, Playoffs, Raffi Torres, Ray Emery, Referees, Tippett, Toews, united center, Yotes