It's a 3-2 world. Blackhawks V Kings pregame

So said Darryl Sutter in an interview where he looked as emotionally excited as Henry Kissinger reading a horoscope out loud. The team is 2-0-1 since he took over, but remains in 11th place and at least one game out of a playoff spot. I dunno, if you read some LA articles, there seems to be a belief that all the Kings were missing was a coach "Who would let them know where they stand". However, listening to my friend and defensive partner out here (who is both from LA and a walking encyclopedia of hockey), this is just another completely idiotic move in a string of many the Kings are famous for. Anybody who believes they know what suffering is because they are Cubs fans should hear my friend talk about the Kings. Anyway, coaching change or not, the Kings remain a team the Hawks should beat. Without a doubt, Sutter will have his boys fired up to play the Hawks and they will be looking to "measure themselves" and "make a statement". Throw in that the Hawks have been giving to the Kings for awhile now, this has trap game written all over it. It won't be the worst thing in the world if the Hawks lose this game, but with only two games left in 2011 and with the Wings being up next, it would be nice to see them finish the month and the year strong. Enough about the Kings.

Since the Wings pulled yet another classic third period steal out of their ass tonight, they kept the Blues two games back from the Hawks and both teams have burned off all games in hand. Watching the Wings tonight was kind of like watching the Hawks. Though the Blues were surging for a lot of the game, the Wings came back in the third and stole a game they never really controlled. Don't want to look too far ahead, but the Hawks will play the Wings three times between now and mid January. Like the Blues, they are a team that can still give the Hawks a lot of grief and they are a team the Hawks need to at least play well against. I don't take anything for granted going forward, but if the Hawks truly have aspirations of going deep this year, they need to start playing complete games not only against teams like the Wings, but against all opponents. And they also need to start figuring out what their lineup needs to look like.

Since a coaching change is pretty much off the table now, that leaves only trades to consider. Anybody have an ideas there?

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  • Hello everyone,
    About to set out on the road and head for home after a nice "winter" vacation. I finally got the chance to watch parts of the game last night, and was definitely concerned with a few things. Given the score, and mostly positive vibes around the Hawks-o-sphere, I was expecting better than what they gave.

    I still say that the Hawks should stick to their offensive pressure no matter what the score and in any game, because it gets dangerous when they don't. But, what I did see as a result was a little better protection of their home when allowing 38 shots on net.

    The biggest concern though, falls back on Q. Stalberg scored 2 goals and both were the result of his hard work and new confidence with the puck. And yet, he only had 10 minutes of ice-time. Not a single forward had less. Is Q fully aware of his bench? On the plus side, not a single forward broke 20 minutes, although Toews came a little too close for a 4-1 win.

    Also worth mentioning is that Pirri was acredited with 3 hits.

    On tonight's game, the Hawks are most definitely in for some trap hockey. But, LA likes to work the offense from time to time as well. If the Hawks can be smart, play their game without pushing the issue too much, I anticipate an LA mistake that will open it up, which almost always plays to the Hawks favor.

  • No matter how many times you flip a coin, it's always a 50/50 shot to get heads or tails. Over time, the distribution evens out, but in any shorter period, you can have skews. And so it's been for the Hawks with the Kings; I think the Kings were due. I read comments on some other blogs post game and I'm just not that torqued about this loss. Quick is not the only reason, but he's most of it.

    Some things that did catch my eye. Since he was on the ice for another goal against, Bruno is now a -9. He's scored 8 for the year, which is a decent pace, but that +/- is horrible, especially when Frolik, dropped to -7 tonight to match Bickell's -7. That's 20% of Chicago's goals against in just those three guys. Leddy tonight drops to a -2 and was the closest guy on both goals tonight. The first was kind of bad luck, but on the second I thought he and Hammer both way overplayed that puck. I dunno. Not gonna start a hate on Leddy for that, but he and Hammer were not the most productive at getting rebounds cleared up. As for Crow, I don't really have anything to complain about there. Hats off to the Kings, they played a good game. If this fires the Hawks up for Friday, I can live with this one.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Disagree Vegas. While Crawford was not the reason for the loss, his lack of rebound control and his continuing inability to handle loose pucks in the crease were the reason for the two goals. The Kings knew he was weak in tight and continued to try stuffs, drive the net and peck at the loose pucks. I'm going to say again, Crawford has no clue in tight and consistently overplays anything around the net. His form is way off in my opinion.

    Quick, on the other hand, hoovered up anything that touched him or booted it out to the corner. That's a goaltender.

    Good game by the KIngs. Typical Sutter game plan. Pressure the puck and finish checks and the 'hawks had no answer. When they are constantly looking for the pretty play—forget about it.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    This isn't a straight defense for Crawford, but Niemi was sloppy with rebounds too and they managed to deal with that. My gripes with Crawford before Razor got that string of starts was that I thought his angles were off and he was giving up goals from too far out. Admittedly, Quick was better with his rebounds, but he gave up several very good chances when the Hawks actually went to the net. Bruno, Toews, Hossa and Kane each had at least one good chance at a rebound on the doorstep, but Quick was good on the second chances. It was a typical Sutter game though, that's for sure.

  • I thought Crawford played a good game and seems to be getting back to himself. Yes, he can overplay some pucks and gives up some rebounds, but no goalie is perfect. With 36 saves and a .947 save %, a person can't ask for much more. On most nights, keeping the opponents to 2 goals will mean a win for the Hawks.

    The first goal was completely Hjalmarsson's and Leddy's screw ups. Hjalmarsson just stood there looking around and Leddy got manhandled in the crease. That is not Crawford's fault at all. Crawford covered the puck, but it was swiped out by a King. The D has to clear them (or the puck) out of the crease. If the goalie makes the first save, there should not be a second save needed if the D is doing their job.

    The second goal was more of the same. Leddy got manhandled and knocked to the ice. Hjalamarsson did not realize and stood around. The goal was scored from Leddy's guy because he was just getting back off the ice. Hjalmarsson had no clue that Leddy was knocked down.

    Both goals were caused by D-men problems, not by Crawford. I thought he looked real good. It was nice to see him back again.

  • In reply to BigJack:

    On the first goal, I'm actually inclined to put a little on the forwards. On the first shot, Leddy actually did a pretty good job of boxing his man out. He didn't completely control the puck, but that player wasn't able to score from there. The puck did eventually squirt loose and it was an incoming player to knocked it home. Thinking about Hammer here, I'm wondering if Leddy was stuck in the crease fighting a player who should have been Hammer's responsibility. I'm not sure, but I thought the late forward back was Bruno. +/- isn't everything, but his is starting to look particularly bad.

    On the second goal, I really thought Hammer and Leddy were both shifted too far over. Leddy wound up on his ass and probably interfered with Crawford trying to get over. Again, I'm not going to start a hate on Leddy as I think he has done very well this year. Still, I look on him as being a lot like Campbell with the same strengths and weaknesses. When he gets a step on a guy to carry the puck from the corner, he does some dynamic things. But he, like Campbell, can be overpowered by bigger forwards. This is not going to change. Bruno and Fro were both a -1 last night. While I agree Leddy and Hammer both overplayed the two goals, I also think the defensive breakdown was already well underway on both plays.

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