There was only 1 shot during the first 5 minutes of play. Pretty shocking given that the game ended with 76 shots on net. 40 for the Hawks, 36 for the Jackets. Sure, the Hawks gave 40 shots to Mason, but it was not rolling for the Hawks once again. I can not believe that I am going to say this again ( when will the hurting stop?), the Hawks lost because they failed to play 60 minutes of hockey. When they are on it is very pretty, but those 10-20 minutes of hockey where they lose focus is killing them game after game. The difference in this game is that when the Hawks had the lead they sat back and watched the Jackets come back, and when the Jackets had the lead they hustled to every puck like it was the most crucial moment of the game. Board battles, big hits, loose pucks. The Hawks are just missing that urgency.
Columbus Prevails Over the Hawks 4-3 at the United Center.
This was no game to take lightly, and you had to be expecting the Hawks to carry the momentum from the win 2 nights ago. I was feeling the win, were you? Apparently the Hawks were not. What they felt was the destructive hits produced by the Jackets. Yes, there is still lots of hockey to play, even though with every loss that playoff spot becomes less likely.
The Jackets started the scoring after Calvert blocked a shot by Keith and carried it the distance, topped it off with a beauty of a move on Crawford and put his team on the board first. For Keith, that was 1 of many shots taken that ended being blocked, and also 1 of many mistakes. Taking the good out of the play, did anyone see the hustle and speed shown by Leddy to attempt covering for Keith? This kid is special. I am still having problems figuring out the ice-times being posted by the Hawk's defense though. Is there any rhyme or reason to it? When Keith and Seabs ice was lessoning, their play was getting crisper.
The other reason to be okay with Calvert's goal was that Sharp would score shortly later with his own breakaway, and then again after a great feed from Toews on a play that was created by Kane. Kane carried the puck into the zone after a turnover and had no options (partly due to a ref in the way). He decides to hold up, buy time, and get the puck to Toews who centers a pass to Sharp and he finished the play with authority. The play is a great example of the great respect that defenders show Kane. He has a presence with the puck that is unmatched. For the first 10 minutes, neutral zone movement was everything but smooth for the Hawks, and this was when they started hitting their marks. When on, the Jackets had a hard time handling them like most teams do when the Hawks find their game. The question is what keeps them from finding it so often.
Hossa, Bolland, and Frolik came in 3 on 2 against the Jackets late in the 1st with a chance to open it up more. Bolland ends up centering the puck to Hossa who is still scoreless since just about forever. He has now scored only 4 goals in his last 35 games. This is a huge reason for where the Hawks are right now. Many people bring up the loss of talent over the summer as the reason for why the Hawks are not having success. I truly believe that this team has more than enough talent. After giving Frolik a few games I think that the talent was slightly lessoned by giving up Skille, but the talent is still plentiful. Absolutely, Skille is a more skilled player than Frolik, and if he got the ice-time Frolik is getting, he would have caused a ton of scoring chances, and created a handful more of big hits. More than the loss of talent, I think the loss of chemistry is hurting the Hawks. It might just take a year to click for the new bunch.
As already mentioned in the many posts throughout the year, the Hawks are giving games away at the result of a few elements. I listened to the radio after the game and found it frustrating to hear people point the finger in a million different directions. No one brought up the PK, missing big chances, or playing a full 60. The Jackets battled back in this game because the Hawks missed cashing in on a few prime opportunities, and then gave up 2 power play goals. After that, they kind of sat back for a little. 10 minutes of the 2nd was the total amount of time that the Jackets controlled the game and it cost the Hawks a win.
Bad calls by the refs have cost the Hawks a few games in the recent past as well.
Kane and Toews reignited that charge and intensity on a very loud goal. After which, I anticipated a Hawk's win, but like we have said here before, things are just not bouncing in the Hawk's favor this year. They would get their own power play chances eventually, with chances to set things right, and still couldn't convert. Hossa had a chance to stuff a point blank shot in the 5-hole, but failed to miss that gaping hole.
The Hawks would finish with a 6 on 4 opportunity, win an important face-off and again fail to convert. A timeout was called, so I was expecting some smarter play, but the Hawks seemed determined to shoot from the point and like every other shot from the point tonight, it was blocked. That leaves the Hawks to stay in 11th spot as the Jackets jump above them to 10th. The Hawks are now 20 points behind the 1st place Nucks. San Jose, a team that was recently behind the Hawks is now 6 points above them.
In the end I am left pondering a great many things. Should we still be happy about the Hawks prior season and just get over this one? I am pondering what the hell has happened to Seabrook and even more, Keith. I am flabbergasted over how a player with such a dominating talent like Hossa can only muster up 4 goals in 35 games. Oh, and of course I am still shell shocked that a player like Campbell can get paid 7 million a year (I am just never going to let that one drop). Will the Hawks make some big changes before the trade deadline? My guess is Seabrook if anything at all. I doubt his return next year with his contract coming up, even though he is probably just having a bad year. Keith the same. I would bet that Keith bounces back sooner than later, maybe next year later, but all the same, he has more talent than most. I guess in some way, I am trying to say not to give up on Keith or this team. They gave us a great year, and the price just might have been a disappointing one.