Let us keep this wrap simple, since that is how the Hawks play was sold to use coming into the first game at home in a while. If you have seen my comment in the last post by Vegas, I mentioned that the Hawks were lucky to be sitting at the top of the standings. It is doubtful that they remain there much longer. I started writing this with 2 minutes remaining in the game, because I was bored and the Hawks just scored on the power-play. Well, thats nice to see, at least they weren't shut out.
Momentum started in the Hawks favor. For the first 5 minutes it looked like it was going to be a good hard game played by the Hawks. They were hitting, which was a nice shift. In fact, the Hawks ended the game just 1 hit shy of Phoenix. Haven't seen that too often. However, in the attempt to keep things simple, Phoenix started getting control of the puck by winning the little battles. Soon after things started shifting as the Hawks continually had issues in their own zone. The Hawks fell behind and into the Yotes type of game.
I also mentioned in that comment on the last post that the Hawks are going to start winning or losing games in the transition. I stand behind that statement with more vigor after watching tonight's weak display of hockey. The difference for the Hawks was in their individual efforts and how that translated to both their transitions leaving and entering zones. Don't skate hard in your own end and your breakout will suffer.
Give credit to the Yotes, their forecheck was highly effective and put that small, but powerful push on the Hawks D that sent them into blow-out territory. This and the subject of the last paragraph (effort) is highlighted in the 3rd goal against. To start the 3rd (when the Hawks still had a chance), the Hawks turnover the puck at their own blue-line, Kane fights to keep the Yotes from gaining possession, getting it into the corner, and then he just gave up and left it. This lead Hjalmer alone behind the net with 2 Yotes. He lost the fight and the puck quickly ended up in the back of the net. 2 turnovers on this play, and no effort to win the battle after giving the puck up. Need we say more?
Worth mentioning was how the first goal was the result of a bad change by the Hawks. The Yotes get an odd-man rush and cash in on it. The 2nd goal was at the hands of another odd-man rush. A 4 0n 2 because the Hawks forwards were caught too deep. I think every forward was behind the Yotes goal line at the point when it was being cleard from the zone.
The Hawks got out-worked again later in the 3rd and the Yotes made it 4-0. Whitney of the Yotes was left all alone in the slot, and every other Yote on the ice was pretty clear of any pressure for that matter. It was made 5-0 later, but who cares and the goal ended up not counting for some reason anyway.
Toews tried late in the game to work some magic, but it was too little, too late. This team was just coming up short and looked discombobulated. When will more blame be sent in the coaching staff's way?
- Bickell and Frolik were on the 4th line. Kruger has played well, but does he deserve the spot on the 3rd line over Fro?
- Carcillo was the best player in a red uniform.
- Bolland had a promising night. He might be getting back to normal form soon.
- THE HAWKS NEED TO GET THE PUCK DEEP!!! Oh my hockey lords. There were so many opportunities to just send it deep, but they tried to do something fancy and would get caught. What happened to keeping it simple?
- The Hawks had 0 shots after 8 minutes of play in the 2nd period. They kept trying to force passes that weren't there (bad support), and were unable to generate shots as a result.
- Bad puck management, little individual effort, no support in either ends of the ice.
- Puck control was also lacking tonight, maybe a result of some bad ice.
- The Yotes are known for letting the other team get shots on net, and the Hawks still couldn't generate anything. Phoenix forechecked the Hawks against the wall, and the Hawks just let it happen.
This adds to the recent blow-outs of Alberta, to the Nucks a week earlier, to the Hurricanes blow-out a week before that, and am I missing one? It doesn't matter, when the Hawks are losing, they are losing big and ugly. On the flip-side, they have won some games that seem like it should have gone the other way. Let it be said that the Hawks place in the standings is deceiving to their actual play and that is when the 11th place team is only 5 points behind with 2 less games played.
Hey, at least Sharp scored on the power-play to knock the shut-out.
The Hawks face the Islanders Friday night. Check back for something in-between now and then.