Thats more like it, Hawks 5, Stars 2

Thats more like it, Hawks 5, Stars 2

Or is it?

The rematch between the Stars and Hawks last night produced much more pleasing results than on Friday nights matchup. Namely, the Hawks scored some goals. Could this have been the reaction to a goaltender change by Dallas, choosing to start Raycroft over Lehtonen? There is a good chance it helped, but the Hawks still made positive changes in their game over the 24 hours between games.

Is the only real difference in this game that more pucks went in the net for Chicago, or was there something bigger happening? I tend to sway towards the pucks in net idea, but they did one particularly important thing to allow that last night. They put bodies in front of the net. Case and point: Brunette scored after picking up a rebound doing exactly what the Hawks pay him to do.

The other important factor was that the core produced an abundance of goals. Bolland's return, always a welcomed event, added 2 goals to the cause. Never mind how flukey they were. Sharp and Toews also added 2 goals that were of the highlight reel variety. Kane is only a few inches away from 3 goals in 2 games easily.

I had my concerns before the game even started. Pirri was sent down in exchange for Kruger, and the Hawks were dressing 7 defensemen again. I am really waiting for a good justification on the 7 D-men thing. But, by the first 5 minutes of play you could tell this game would render a different result. I give Bickell mad props for coming out of the gate with 2 really big hits. He helped jump start his team to a much improved 1st period over the prior night, and this might have been the other huge factor leading to the win.

My observations on game #2

  • Why the hell was Scott dressed? He didn't even play past the 1st period and it allowed for another night of double shifting forwards. This leads to the next point.
  • The Hawks have to get out of the habit of relying on the same players to do everything night in and night out. Toews saw too much ice. Lets dress a full roster of forwards on Thursday, huh.
  • Montador didn't look crappy. I only noticed one significant mistake. Nice to see him look like a hockey player.
  • Keith kinda looked like Keith.
  • Seabrook's cross-rink passes are a thing of beauty.
  • Kruger had the best game of his career and I still prefer Pirri. Wise up Q.
  • The core was everything we hope for them to be.
  • Not as many forced passes, the Hawks took shots and crashed the net.
  • The PP needs to be better moving forward. Anything under the top 3 in the league in this category would be a shame with that skill.
  • The officiating was horrid, absolutely terrible. If this is what we can expect for future games, then the team with the best PP will win it all.
  • Bolland is a mandatory body in the line-up. Maybe not the best thing.
  • The Hawks positioning needs a great deal of work. The D is getting caught too deep too often, and if the defensive zone coverage doesn't get better, we will see a Crawford heart-attack by December.

A win is a win, and a 5-2 win is something to celebrate. The long break until Thursday nights game offers ample time for the coaching staff to address some much needed improvements. I hope to see a much more organized team take the ice against the Jets.


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  • Two of your bullet points seem key to me, the core was everything we expect them to be and Bolland in the lineup is a necessity which might not be a good thing. I think that was the difference between the two games. Goaltending played a role in both games, but not enough I think to explain 1 goal versus 5. Two reviews ago, I said I was interested in seeing whether the team actually got better. Talent wise, I'd say there is no question there is more talent on this team then last year's team. That said, this two game sample looks very familiar. If the other teams top guys are better then our top guys, regardless of gap in talent, we claim we lost to "a hot goalie" as if the rest of team is insignificant.

    I don't think anyone was bigger pest then Bolland last night, and that's saying a lot against a team like Dallas. Not only did Bolland do well, but his linemates did as well. When he plays, you have two scoring lines and a shut down line. Without him, I think you either have to retask Toews for shutdown or you have to hope Bickell can hit hard and Frolik can dent empty twine which are not guarantees on a nightly basis. Strangely, I don't think Saad or Pirri or going to have as much impact on this team this year as will guys like Carcillo and Mayers and Ben Smith. With a true energy line that can outplay other teams fourth lines, I think we win games like Friday's wherein the top line just isn't getting through.

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  • Totally agree - the key players should not log tons of ice time through the regular season. The Hawks will make the playoffs - period. The top liners need to be ready to go at crunch time and the supporting staff will be better prepared to play at a higher level if they are given a chance during the 82 regular season games.

  • The tenth bullet point makes me laugh. I have noticed that this complaint has become more and more common in Chicago over the last three years. There are some that used to say that complaining about officiating was just "making excuses" and something that was almost entirely exclusive to Red Wings fans.

    I guess having a contender will make you notice these kinds of things. Believe me.....I understand!

  • In reply to OneTeam:

    The bad officiating went in the Hawks favor. There were missed calls both ways, but what I am really pointing at are the calls that should not have been made at all. At least 5 calls should not have happened. The refs were ready to blow the whistle at the touch of someone's stick to a body, but missed some blatant penalties elsewhere. I just thought it was bad enough to make a note of.

  • Oh, I don't think you were incorrect in your assessment of the NHL officiating and I don’t disagree at all! Just making a friendly jab at those that have given this Red Wing fan so much grief over the years for commenting on the same issues. This is one area where we can agree all season long!!!

    The NHL does the same thing every year. They will start the season oddly focused on one aspect of the rules or a rule. They will be consistently inconsistent in making those calls throughout the year and then when the playoffs come, they will inexplicably stop making those calls altogether and then focus on something entirely different! As far as I am concerned, you can make note of the poor officiating after nearly every game and have a damn good argument for doing so every time!

    Go Lions!!! (haha)

  • First off, Happy Turkey Day to FF and everyone else north of the border.

    A few thought for y'all...

    I don't think we'll see much of Mr. Scott once Ben Smith & Viktor Stalberg are back. Wouldn't be surprised one iota if he's send to Hogs when they do.

    Brandon Saad has exactly seven games left as a Black Hawk this season. There's no way Stanbow is going to start the RFA clock ticking for at most 10 minutes TOI. He and the Hawks are better served by him playing top line minutes in the OHL.

    Mark McNeil is going to be a beast. Made the road trip up to Ptown to see the Winterhawk/Pirate game Saturday night. McNeil had two assists on a couple pretty passes. Was named third star. Could count the number of times he went into the corners to fight for the puck and lost on one hand with fingers to spare. Once he had the puck, he didn't lose it and went straight to the net and couldn't be stopped. Was above 50% at the dot. The bad, wasn't overly physical when not fighting for the puck, don't recall many hits. Skating needs work, didn't look very fast but that could be due to playing the night before in Seattle.


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