Keep that applause going for Corey Crawford (amazing game), keep it going for Johnny Toews, and keep it going for the fans too. Things might not have ended how we wanted, but that was a great run at history. Vancouver can sleep easier now that they have eliminated the Blackhawks in OT of game 7 in the first round. They almost blew it, but ended up on top. Really, what a ride. The better team in the series won tonight. Give credit to Vancouver for outplaying the Hawks when everything was on the line.
How About an Applause for Your Chicago Blackhawks! Remember that all good things must come to an end.
I want to stay on the positives for a moment. Vancouver was an inch away from being beaten 4 games in a row by the Hawks when a centering pass from Toews connected with Sharp on the back-door. A play where we have seen Sharp burry his shot more than a dozen times just didn't find the whole tonight. That was the game winner and I honestly can not believe that the Hawks dropped this one after the heroics of Crawford and Toews. WTF Toews? How did you do it Toews? Shorthanded with the final minute waining in the 3rd and you force the puck to the back of the net from shear will power. Once a champion, always a champion.
I did not think that a loss was in the cards after that goal and I am sure every Vancouver fan gave up for a moment. Way to shut them up for a second Toews.
I truly believe that this team will be better next year as a result of what transpired this month. This was a rebuilding year for the Hawks, and they took that all the way to game 7 against the President's Trophy winners. Not too shabby. They have a future goaltender in Corey Crawford and a lot of youth such as Ben Smith who have a ton of promise.
Before recapping this game, I want to make a point of stopping anyone who has harsh words towards Chris Campoli. He was maybe the only Hawk's player who hadn't turned the puck over up until that point and he played a well fought game. It is a shame that his turnover was the nail in a magnificent run, but I am sure many agree when I say that I hope to see him in a Hawk's jersey next year.
2 players I am not sure that I want to see in that jersey are Campbell and Hossa. I might catch a ton of heat for saying it, but both of them needed to be much better in this game and the series as a whole. Hossa was none existent besides that final seconds of game 6 and his follow up on the historical Toews rush tonight. If you can't produce in the playoffs when it matters most, I question your worth to the team. Campbell created so many turnovers I lost count in the first period.
And not to sound like a complainer, but that early whistle that took away what would have been the Hawk's first goal was crap. Like I said above, the better team won tonight, so it doesn't kill me that much, but still.
So, if you missed the game, here is a quick run down for you. The first period saw a slight Hawk's edge, but Vancouver scored the only goal. The second period was pure domination by the Nucks, and it started after the Hawks gave a pathetic power-play performance. The third period started where the 2nd left off, but the Hawks showed a little more fight. In the end, the fat lady began to sing, but Toews shut her up really quick with that late 3rd period shorty. A failed conversion on an OT power-play set the stage for a Hawk's loss and elimination from the playoffs. Now the Hawks can get that much needed rest, and Vancouver can run into a really difficult series against the Preds. No offense Vancouver, but I am picking Nashville.
Lets see, Kaner was in La La Land for most of the game and played almost 23 minutes, while a guy like Johnson who was playing with a fire in his eyes played under 7. Honestly, besides a few great shifts from the 4th line, the only players making anything happen tonight were Toews and Sharp. I thought Kruger had his best game as a Hawk, but he didn't deserve more ice than Johnson. Brouwer was alright (I am still on the fence about his future as a Hawk, but lean towards keeping him), the D was less than perfect, Crawford was amazing, the Hawk's passing was all over the place and neutral zone movement a pain to watch as a result,
And, oh yeah, Leddy really blew it on that first goal. His man was the eventual goal scorer and I have no idea where he was going by crashing so tight to the net with a high man following the play like that. Hand it to Burrows though, he had a hell of a night.
I choose not to mention Luongo because I felt like he was a non-factor. He didn't have anything to do with the Nuck's win, and he didn't throw it away either. Obviously shaky, I question wether or not he stands a chance with Rinne starring him down from the opposite end of the ice.
With so much more to say I bid you all a goodnight. This was an exhausting night, although a wonderful ride. I look forward to all of your comments and the eventual dialogue that will follow as we begin to look forward to next year.