Blackhawks Confidential

Blackhawks lose in the end, but maybe it's not worth talking about

Every so often you have to eat a shit sandwich.

How that's for  a cogent analysis of a 4-2 loss to Carolina Saturday night?

It was a great 8-game trip, all in all. But I will leave it to our loyal analysts to tell me how they viewed it.

As for me, I need a few more martinis to wash out the bad taste of this game. Shit happens. It doesn't ruin what was an impressive journey if you take the long perspective.

But I'm going to wimp out and leave it to others to explain the big picture. Because the small picture sucks right now.

Jump right in and help me out. I'm seldom at a loss for words. But I have to go to church Sunday and all the words I can think of won't help me have a peaceful interlude with the Lord.

So I turn over the rough stuff to you. In fact, I might enter a monastery if every Blackhawks' game was like this.

Come on home, boys, and we'll make it right. Peace be with you.

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27 Comments

VegasHawksFan said:

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Didn't get to see the entire game, but have a couple of observations. It looked like the Hawks were playing as hard as could be expected in the last game of a long road trip. I think it says something that both of the first two goals scored against them came near the end of periods.

You can blindly bet thousands of dollars with total confidence that Versteeg will attempt to stick handle through four defenders when the Hawks are losing.

Cam Ward: nothing else needs to be said about that.

Not sure why I feel kinda bitter about this one when the Hawks go 5-3 on a long ass trip that included wins over Detroit and San Jose.

VegasHawksFan said:

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Didn't get to see the entire game, but have a couple of observations. It looked like the Hawks were playing as hard as could be expected in the last game of a long road trip. I think it says something that both of the first two goals scored against them came near the end of periods.

You can bet thousands of dollars with total confidence that Versteeg will attempt to stick handle through four defenders when the Hawks are losing.

Cam Ward: nothing else needs to be said about that.

Can't figure out why I'm bitter about this one when the Hawks have just gone 5-3 and beat Detroit and San Jose on the road.

Mike Kiley said:

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It's progress. We used to be bitter they couldn't make the playoffs. Being pissed about a single loss on a 5-3 trip seems progress to me. But what do I know. I'm waiting to hear if my monastery admission application has been approved. My wife is encouraging it. I recommend a little Bach, or a little Flogging Molly.

VegasHawksFan said:

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Yikes, sorry for the double reply. Dammit! the internets told me my first post wouldn't go through. GRRRRR.

Its my opinion said:

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Huet just does not inspire any confidence in Hawk fans. The 1st two goals were stopped, then quickly turned into softies. 1st goal he got up off the ice when he was on the puck & didn't know it. The second he fumbled right back into his own net. The last two were tipped but they were at a critical time in the game, Huet seems to never make the critical save. Yes the Hawks defense totally collapsed at times but so did Carolinas. Yet Huet folded, Ward didn't. I wonder if Huet really inspires any confidence in the locker room. I hope but I have my doubts.

FearlessFreep said:

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Come on, really? You're going to stick Huet with those last two goals? Two tips right in front of his face? When the defense gave up and was standing around watching?

And the goal that just got by him...Huet went nearly covered both posts on a cross-ice pass that never should have been made. Had he kept that puck from going in that would have made the highlight reel on NHL Network.

It is your opinion - but I thought he did just fine. And as far as "never" making a critical save, I guess you didn't see the big saves he made late in the SJ game that allowed the Hawks to win in OT.

Rag on Huet when he deserves it - he didn't tonight.

Mark Giangreco Roman Wrestler said:

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I have to agree. Cristobal Huet never makes any critical saves. Not in any of his 24 wins this season.

FearlessFreep said:

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Let me be clear about something. I totally agree that Niemi should have been in net for this game. I can't understand why Q didn't at least give one "fresh" player a chance to try to steal one.

However, let's also be clear that it is getting really boring hearing the same bullshit about Huet after every game the Hawks lose. He isn't going anywhere, and bitching about it isn't going to change anything. I just found it very irritating that someone would even post something along the lines of "Huet doesn't make critical saves" as one of the first comments, when it was pretty obvious that the whole team was running on fumes in this game.

Its my opinion said:

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Goal 1 Huet Saved the initial shot & had NO IDEA!...(not a clue, not a passing thought in the wind etc.) he was down on the puck.....rose to his skates & pow it got knocked in the net. Oooops, bummer, mistake. Goal 2...should of been buried in the left side of the net agreed(the entire left side was open) the shot was inacurate & Huet even stopped it initially!....only to see it dribble away from him over the goal line. Ouch, terrible mishandling of the puck. Yes a mistake & a mishandle, of course Huet doesn't try to make mistakes or mishandle the puck but he did! The D was out of the equation by then. So yes I blame Huet, a mistake is a mistake. You have to be accountable for your mistakes.

Its my opinion said:

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The last two goals were tough misdirected shots but you blame the defense, well what about Carolinas defense? They folded, gagged & choked more then the Hawks defense & yet Ward was the man with save after save & Huet was the goalie giving up the momentum swinging goal minutes after the Hawks had tied it.. Simple as that.

FearlessFreep said:

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We're talking about Huet, not Ward. Yes, I agree Ward played a great game. Huet did not play as well as Ward. That does not mean that Huet should have stopped those last two re-directs. If the Hawks had Byfuglien in front of Ward like he should be doing but rarely does re-directing shots like Sutter did, they would have scored, guaranteed.

iplagitr said:

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As knuckle mentioned, all things considered, I thought they played as well as they could have. Just another one of "those games" again. The Hawks have an edge in play, fire 41 quality shots on goal, and end up losing.

I don't really blame Huet for any of the goals. That being said, however, the Hawks goalies, be it Niemi or Huet, HAVE to start making some bigger and better saves on a regular basis. No more excuses. The Hawks offense could have scored about 30 goals tonight but for Ward's unbelievable play. Then the Canes come down and throw some garbage at the Hawk net and score on us. Other teams' goalies outdo us all the time. The Hawk goalies need to start making some great and unbelievable saves with regularity, not just once in a while. This team is way too good to be losing games over dumb goals scored by opposing teams who are being outplayed.

Although I don't blame Huet for the goals, overall I still don't think he had a very good game. He was out of position a lot tonight -- on his knees way out of the crease as passes came across the middle, etc.... and the D bailed him out on a bunch of occasions early.

Tonight I thought the Hawks could have done better with a little more passing in the scoring zone. Kind of the opposite of the start of the season when we all wanted them to shoot more. Tonight they had a lot of solo chances on Ward, and didn't have much success. I thought if they did more side-to-side passing and got the puck up off the ice on their shots it might have helped. (?)

Dave Morris said:

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Hey Mike, was that sandwich grilled or toasted, and was it on white or pumpernickel?

A valiant effort by DaBoyz...clearly they just didn't have enough left in the tank after this road trip.

And you're right, fans *are* spoiled. Some of them anyway.

Cheers.

SpawnOfDitka said:

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That was a perfect example of a goalie winning a game. We need that from our tandem.

Grant said:

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Understandably, the Hawks seemed burned out from the long road trip early in the game. Their intensity, pressure, and attitude they usually play with was, for the most part, absent against Carolina. A few days of rest is certain to help and overall, the Hawks should regard their long, difficult road trip a success. Dropping one game against a mediocre team at the end of your away streak should not subtract from the big wins in difficult and more important games like San Jose and Detroit.

Well done and don't let up after a lame game in Carolina... you're right, it's not even worth talking about.

Jerry Kayne said:

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The boys looks fatigued, mentally and physically. It was a game Niemi should have played to keep the hot goalie hot. I felt like I was watching a high school game. Bodies flying out of control everywhere. Oh well, back to home cookin'.

Dean Youngblood said:

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People, please stop referring to "Carolina" as a place. There are second-graders reading this blog.

Ward cannot be blamed for winning the game as Huet cannot be blamed for the loss. Huet played his position. There were enough mistakes and holes in the defense that cost the game.

dresser said:

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I recently re-read Dryden's "The Game," considered by many the best sports ever written by an athlete. Dryden makes an interesting point that reminds of me of our goalie situation. When he came up in 1971 (and defeated the Hawks), he was the one who won the game. Later as the Habs got great, his role shifted to the one who could lose the game. He writes about the different pressure- to standing on the stick (famous Dryden pose) because the action was always on the other end, then quickly adjusting to a break going at him. Our goalies are in that role- look at our opponents' shots on goals, and our save %. I just don't think Huet is able to cope with that pressure. And this may be the first time anyone has put Dryden and Huet in the same paragraph!!!

Hostile Hawk said:

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Regardless of Huet's play last night, I am just at a loss for words as to why Niemi's chance to prove himself was not seen through. What does it say about our coaching staff, what does it say to Niemi, and are people really okay with Huet being the guy in the playoffs. Loosing to Carolina is an example of how a couple of hard goals can be the difference. When playoffs come around, it might kill us.
Did Huet play good? No. Did Huet play bad? No. We was just there, mediocre. Yes, every one of the four goals were stoppable, especially the first two, but I don't completely blame him for them, nor do I blame the Defense.
The defense was amazing in every game on this trip. It was mentioned that Hjammer had over 16 blocked shots in the last three games. Seabs and Dunc neutralized two of the biggest stars in the game against the Sharks.
With the exception of the second period against the Sharks, the Hawks dominated in puck possession, including last night.
And yet, the Hawks gave up 9 goals in the last 3 games, when two of those games were against struggling teams. Something is wrong and I have to turn to Huet on the matter. Defense will break down from time to time, it is the reason we have a goaltender between the pipes.
Though I am not sure about Niemi, he still deserves a better look.

I thought that the Hawks played well last night, Kane could have had a couple of goals, Hossa could have scored a few more too. They looked good considering coming off of a long trip and they should have beat the Canes. Shit happens and bounces don't go your way sometimes. It seems like our shooting accuracy could be better, but that is probably due to shooting on Huet in practice. I also agree that the Hawks started shooting prematurely, but you are damned if you do and damned if you don't sometimes.

Dean Youngblood said:

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puckpowwow said, "The defense was amazing in every game on this trip."

No way. Worst performance of the season was against Senators. Against Canucks was only a bit better. I think Niemi lost his chance when he was yanked after the first period, even though Huet did not save the game anyway.

Hostile Hawk said:

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Maybe I over stated my point by saying "in every game on this trip," but you get my point. The Hawks defense is the foundation of this teams success, so I wouldn't rush to criticize it. A few slip-ups here and there, bad bounces maybe, but they are solid most of the time.
How many times have they been unbreakable, how many times have they saved Huet from looking bad. My assessment on Huet often comes from his non-saves, how he reacts, where he is at, his movement's, and his positioning. I can tell you that the Hawks have bailed him out plenty of times. Where is the payback when it counts. Not a miraculous save in the last seconds of the game when your team is leading by 2.
If Niemi lost his chance there, why is Huet in net considering the times he allowed the same amount in net in one period, or allowed more against lesser teams?
No offense Mr Morris, but when Hall was playing it was a completely different game and those stats are not comparable to todays game.

Dave Morris said:

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Mr Youngblood, the Huet Haters look for every reason to cover Cristo with merde. But then, if they'd been around when Glenn Hall was tending goal for Les Hawques, they'd be flinging dung at him too.

BTW, with a .709 winning percentage thus far, Chicago is on pace for their best season since 1971-72. For those of us who remember those days...

Dean Youngblood said:

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Hi, Huet is not my favorite, I just hate seeing one player thrown under the bus for a team loss. As far as this team goes, they might be the best Blackhawks team, ever!

beaverwarrior said:

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It was a warm spring day, when the hawks blew a two goal lead against the habs in the seventh game. I remember that day all too well....

VegasHawksFan said:

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Just curious, would people be happier for us to have Cam Ward and be in the position that team is? No need to answer, I realize some people genuinely would. Management may make a trade or two, but the gameplan of this team is already set in stone and it is not "ride the hot goalie". As much as this team is committed to Huet and his big ass contract, they are also committed to the Defense being central to everything the team does. If Huet was the only weakness this team had, boy would we be in great shape.

I don't have a problem with the viewpoint of Huet bashers, but it just seems decidedly narrow and misplaced. In my eyes, the Hawks have had several dominant goalies who stole A LOT of games for the weak team in front of them, and we still haven't seen a cup here for decades. Having a great goalie and a great team doesn't need to be an either or proposition, but in this case, the great team and weaker goalie is what we have. I don't think anyone on any of the Hawks blogs is afraid or unwilling to criticize Huet for a shit game or even admit he's no Cam Ward. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, I just wonder why anyone who is convinced we can't win with Huet would bother to keep watching and complaining when it is clear he isn't going anywhere.

Rich said:

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We lost to the Hurricanes, you know, the team that made it as far as the Hawks did last year! There is no shame in losing to them on the road. They are a better team than their record suggests. And Cam Ward was on his game, so again, this loss didn't surprise me and doesn't worry me. Go Hawks!

VegasHawksFan said:

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No, not shameful, just disappointing. Despite the trap, they still got a lot of shots on net, and not all of them were unscreened, no traffic shots. The canes may be better then their record suggests, but they really didn't look all that good to me and that's the disappointing part. Meh, it's a 5-3 record that included two road wins over conference foes. A win there would have helped downplay limogate.

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