I love how different the game looks from the 300 level at the UC then from the couch in my living room. So many things become clearer and the big plays that happen outside of the camera's watch can shed light on a player's significance from game to game. The most prominent thing about the Hawk's game had to be the defenses ability to move the puck. With what seems like the final decision to go with speed and puck handling abilities over size and physical presence, players like Leddy and Hendry are getting consistent ice-time. This move is paying off and is a sign of where the system we have asked for is going in the future.
The Blackhawks Grab 2 points, but give the Coyotes 1 in the process.
The very recent signing of Seabrook is also telling to that organizational view on the Hawk's game. A fast and agile defense will make for a fast and explosive offense. I can not say enough about how great it was to watch this defense move the puck from their own zone tonight. I haven't heard anything about Hendry, but lets hope he isn't hurt too bad. He had a lot to do with the flow created by the Hawks early. Keith and Leddy had great games, although Leddy did make a few mistakes here and there. It was nice to see Keith looking more Keith-like.
Moving on, a win is great, but it is very frustrating to give up a point to the Yotes in the process. Having a 2 goal lead twice in a game should spell regulation win, but as this team has shown time and time again, they like to blow leads. An explosive 1st, and a well played 3rd, with a not so great 2nd period in the middle. I think the Hawks need that laser beam thing from "Men in Black" that erases memories to keep them from knowing they have the lead. What is the deal? I can tell you that penalties were a big part of the deal. Of the Yotes 3 goals in the 2nd, 2 came off of the power-play. The Hawks did a good job killing the first 2, but failed in the following ones. I had troubles seeing from my viewpoint, but it seemed like a few of the calls were kind of weak on the ref's part, and what was the deal with the waived off goal. How are the Hawks at the wrong end of that call so often?
Needless to say, a Hawk's 5 on 3 was cashed in on, and Toews would be the last hands to touch both of the 1st period goals. Those magic hands would not be finished before the end. Separated by a Hossa PP goal, Toews also notched the game winning shootout goal. Once again, Captain Toews was clutch for his team. Not only on the scoring sheet, but in overall play as well. He is everywhere and doing everything in every play he is a part off. Wish I could say the same for Kane, although Kane did seem to intercept a hell of a lot of Yote's passes tonight. Too bad he was out of sorts and couldn't convert on a decent amount of chances. The only reason he got an assist on the Hossa goal was because he wiffed on his shot, and Hossa came from behind and finished what he could not. Hey, Hossa has 2 goals in 2 games. Thank the hockey gods, lets hope his slump is over.
Someone who's slump is definitely not over is Frolik's. I kept expecting him to get the game winner because, I don't know if it translated to the t.v well, but Frolik is everywhere on the ice. He skates hard ever second of every shift and his back-checking was instrumental in the Hawk's win. I like what I see from him. Another player who was everywhere, but maybe not as effective at times was Kopecky. Im telling you, you could fuel a city on Kopecky power.
Note: I liked how Q used Johnson to take big faceoffs, and it payed off too. SB says the Hawks are looking for a center. I wonder what that means for the skaters we already have? Also, Brouwer continues to be a great force, although I imagine his points begin to dwindle with his new line.
The last minute of regulation was hard to watch. The 4th line was stuck out there due to an icing and they were tired. I feared the worst, and then the buzzer rang saving the day. In overtime the Hawks dominated like they did the majority of the 3rd period. I was really pissed to even be in overtime, but it allowed me to see how much the Hawks can dominate 4 on 4. My guess would be that the Hawks had possession for 4 of the 5 minutes. Still, into the shootout we go. You wonder how bad Toews has goalies wrapped around his finger when he continuously scores through the 5-hole, time and time again. Seriously, just put your stick there. Maybe it is the expectation that is killing them. Toews is smart, he doesn't show his shot at any point. He waits for the goalie to screw himself.
And Crawford was huge. He was so aggressive in this shootout. On every round he jumped out of the net and attacked the shooter aggressively, cutting off the angles for a shot, and moving back quick enough to stop a move. My hat goes off to Crawford in that regards.
Standings update: Calgary and Nashville won tonight which leaves the Hawks in a 4 way tie for 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th. Calgary has 1 point on the Hawks, L.A has 2 points, and Phoenix has 4 now. Another big game tomorrow night as the Hawks battle to be above the playoff line with Minnesota.