Blackhawks Confidential

Blackhawks vs. Blues Part Deux

The Blackhawks will shoot for their 5th consecutive victory tonight as they take on the St. Louis Blues.  One has to believe the mighty music notes have spent all week drooling over the chance to wash the taste of Marian Hossa out of their mouth.  Just like the Blues are in search of revenge,  the Hawks are in search of an identity.  Yea the wins are beginning to pile up, but even as the point total continues to grow my sense of who these Hawks are is not.  Are we really going to give up 40 shots every night?  Are Hossa and Sharp bigger pieces than Kane and Toews?  Those are just a few of the questions that many are asking about this Hawks squad.

Unfortunately for you loyal readers, answers to these questions is not something I possess.  I'm not sure any does to be honest.  And if you're hoping to have some questions answered tonight I would definitely think twice.  Hawks games at the Scottrade Center tend to be a struggle.  I spent plenty of dollars I didn't have in college paying to watch my Hawks come into town and roll the Blues.  Some nights I saw victories, others losses,  but one thing I can assure you is that I never witnessed a game in St. Louis where the Hawks came out and played like the team I knew they were.

So with that being taken into consideration, I don't intend to tackle serious questions concerning the Hawks until their game against the Blues is in hindsight.  The Hawks are definitely capable of beating the Blues on the road tonight, it just probably won't be that pretty.  Look for Jackman to be even dirtier than ususal this evening after a fairly clean performance on Monday.

I leave you today with some other Hawk thoughts that have been running through my mind.  Some kind of serious, most not at all, but nonetheless maybe things some of you have seen or heard or noticed as well.  I haven't been able to work them into anything that resembles coherency so I'm just going to spew them out like they're Duncan Keith's teeth:

-Have you ever seen a goalie who uses his blocker the way Turco does?  A fellow Hawks fan and I have been referring to him as Captain America lately.  He loves to stand straight up on his feet and thrust out his blocker like a shield deflecting the rays of Iron Man.  I have no complaint with it, I've just never seen another goalie who does it like that.

-Is it true John Scott got a nose job before coming to the Hawks?  I've heard rumors he had his face revamped this offseason and is hesitant to fight because of it.  If that is indeed the case someone should throw him a high stick in practice.  Making his nose crooked again would straighten out the universe (that universe being the one where John Scott thinks he can be an asset to a team using his skating abilities).  

-Has anyone noticed the stretch passes from Brent Seabrook lately?  Not really known for his offensive ability, Seaby has really impressed me lately.  He has sprung numerous Hawks on breakaways or odd man rushes the past few games.

But that's enough randomness for one blog.  Enjoy the game! I look forward to hearing back with your take on tonight's action.
     

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15 Comments

borg said:

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I didn't think the Hawks would fall off much from last year, but it's starting to look like I was wrong. The puck possession game is all but non-existent. The replacements just aren't capable of it. Keith has been horrific and Seabrook not much better. Boynton is exposed playing more than 8-10 minutes. Scott is useless. Toews and Bolland are MIA while Brouwer and Kane are not far from it. Kopecky is a threat killer, not a top-2 line skater. Stalberg and Skille can fly but neither can finish and Dowell's barely an NHL caliber player. And now Turco's twice allowed a terrible goal to break 3rd period ties.

And that's not even delving into the Hawks' refusal to fight back when repeatedly beaten to a pulp by the Blues.

VegasHawksFan said:

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Yeah, I was kind of thinking the same thing about Keith too, but at half hour plus a night he's not going to be sharp. Halfway through the first period, Edzo was telestrating a Hawks turnoever, and I noticed two blues in the defensive zone while all three Hawks forwards were already near center ice. Against a tight forecheck, you just can't do that. Last year, they got away with a lot, but this year are giving up tons of turnovers. Defensive struggling against a forecheck is not new, it happened all last year and it's still happening. The third goal was a bad bounce and Turco trickle, but that last goal was blown coverage. After winning four games straight, they were going to lose sometime. They beat the blues once in the last week and the Blues had a long time to sit and reflect on that. I'm not bitter about this one except for that stupid fucking delay of game penalty. But I have thought that rule was shit since they created it.

iplagitr said:

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Wow, they really laid an egg tonight, didn't they? What more is there to say after Borg so nicely summed it up? They looked dangerously close to a rec-league team at times in the first.

I think I figured out the Hawk game-plan within 5 minutes of the start: be as lazy and slow as possible and try to get the Blues to follow suit. When that doesn't work, turn the puck over every chance you can get. I can't believe it was even as close as it was in score. Yes, Turco let in another dawdling game-winner, but he was the only reason they were even in the game at that point.

Giving the new guys just a little slack for now... but hello Kane and Toews? Combining for 3 goals in 9 games isn't gonna cut it. And what's the deal with Bolland and Brouwer besides nothing? At least Scott found a way to be useful tonight - get a bunch of offsetting fighting minutes so he can't come out on the ice for a while.

pilote3 said:

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mindblowin to me is Keiths turnovers.. if its to nuch playin time say somethin!As for Toews and Kane dont know either.

QStache said:

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Looked like a bench full of Stanley Cup champions expecting the Blues to bow down and have the win to go to the Hawks by default. I think Kane leads the pack in that mindset.

Jerry Kayne said:

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Kane, Pisani, & Bolland should be a healthy scratches for Wednesday's game. Boynton released and Leddy brought back up. He can learn what he needs at the big team and take over Boynton's minutes. When Campbell comes back Leddy can still have Boynton and Hendry/Scott's minutes.

VegasHawksFan said:

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Objectively, I think the Hawks won four straight and got tired. Four games in a row were pretty grueling affairs with opposing teams forechecking the shit out of them for an entire game. That they are blowing games in the third isn't surprising to me. I dunno, after losing so many players, I thought Q would focus more on developing a team wide gameplan rather then just letting the best players from the morning skate form the top lines. Last year, Q had a team that had basically played together for awhile and were talented enough to to work with his random line generator style of hockey. He seems as committed to that concept as he does having a forward on point for power plays, so it's probably not going to change. I'll be happy when Campbell comes back too, but I don't see that he's going to be that big of a difference maker. Maybe a few days of nothing but practice and rest will help take a little more edge off the hangover.

Jerry Kayne said:

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All that and Boynton's got to go. Campbell isn't a difference maker alone, but with a speed team like the Hawks the others get sprung to do their thing. Cambell's reputation makes the opponent play a different game. I bet Skille and Stalberg start scoring with Campbell on the ice. When Boynton is out there the pace drops and he has no business pinching. He blew the game yesterday by single-handedly giving the Blues life by handing them the puck in the slot and spinning himself into the ice on the other goal. I knew he would be my Byfuglien this season and I was right. Pisani better step it up or I'll fire him next. I'm willing to be much more patient with the rest of the guys that aren't producing ... yet.

iplagitr said:

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Jerry, good to see you back in the fray! 10 games in and I was afraid we had lost you. I agree with you on Boynton. I was actually starting to appreciate his game a little bit last week, mostly due to his shot blocking efforts. But these last couple games of his have been scary to watch. Of course, he was not alone...

VegasHawksFan said:

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And that's my take. Boynton is a third pair, cap friendly D man who has really stepped up his efforts to block shots. He's no star by any stretch, but in context, I'm hard pressed to really dump on him. He is what he is. He cost them a goal the other night, was appropriately pissed about it and got back on the horse. For the time he is spending on the ice, I'd say he's doing a pretty decent job or at the least is meeting a reasonable level of expectation compared to some other players.

Reading some of the other blogs, it seems like a lot of people think the team isn't giving enough effort and I'm not really sure that's true. As the cup champs, every team the play is going to bring a very strong effort even it's only the one game a month they step up to give that strong effort. Q's strategy of letting the veterans play way too long worked for four games and then two teams the Hawks beat came back to beat them. Boynton really screwed up, but Brouwers boarding hit put them out of the first quarter of the next period. I liked what Leddy showed a lot, but is it really in his best interest to be put in a position to shoulder a lot of responsibility on a team that is struggling to get back in a groove? I dunno, I think I'd rather have Boynton than risk the development of Leddy.

Jerry Kayne said:

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Nice to be back. I've had time issues and the fun Hawks blogging had to take a back seat. I'm back now and I hope to give my 3 cents more often.

Hostile Hawk said:

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Agreed, nice to see Jerry Kayne back, but you don't seem the object of optimism we have seen in the past. Campbell will make a difference, but Im not so quick to jump down Boynton's throat either. His mistakes are examples of the team's problems and there are others that should go before him. Leddy needs back in the roster and along with Campbell would lead to less ice time for Boynton.

System is the name of the game and the Hawks have none. The Preds are still without a loss and it is due to a strong system. But I agree with NKLHD, the Hawks had a rough schedule and became tired.

I did like Crawford in net again. He is such a contrast to Turco which is nice to have once and a while. I think Turco was getting a lot of play so that the Hawks could get used to his style, something that hasn't happened yet.
5-4-1, could be worse. Time for Kane to get his head out of his ass. Seems he has lost some of the ability to deal with the physical part of the game. Maybe he slacked during the offseason, or maybe people are just going after him more.
PuckPowWow.com

iplagitr said:

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I like Crawford too - he's looked sharp in his starts. The goaltending has been pretty strong lately with a few exceptions. This is definitely a plus since it was something everyone was worried about when Niemi took off for the west coast. As mentioned, my only slight concern is the stylistic difference between Crawford and Turco. They're not quite as interchangeable as some other goalie tandems. Not that it should be a big problem, but it was surprisingly noticeable in the Blues game after watching Turco for several straight starts.

Jerry Kayne said:

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Optimism! Me? Okay, yes. I'm still laying back with the "let's wait and see" attitude. But I have no problem calling out the slackers and underachievers.

I spend 3 hours watching each game and I'm entitled to a 100% performance. I give 100% every game coaching from my living room. I give a little more when I watch the game on my DVR after I get home from my own late game.

Slackers: Kane, Bolland
Underachievers: Brouwer, Pisani, Bickell
High effort doing the wrong things: Toews, Dowell

I was very surprised to see the change in Crawford. I have a new respect for him. Now put together a string of those games and we have a great goalie tandem and another run for the Cup.

One more thing: Kopecky is messing up Hossa's game. When he's on the ice he does a lot of the right things, but he only passes to Hossa. Even when he's standing still next to him. As if he's not worthy. He would be more productive if he skated with the puck and shot once and a while. Maybe get his own rebound.

iplagitr said:

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Bowman must be feeling like a genius right now on the subject of goalies. Niemi got booted from his last game with the Sharks after giving up 3 goals in 5 shots. His GAA is 4.49 right now. Perhaps just a few unlucky games, and too early to say anything, but it looks like he's headed for the backup role to Nittymaki.

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