A Nashville beating: Chicago Blackhawks 2, the Nashville Predators 5.

A Nashville beating: Chicago Blackhawks 2, the Nashville Predators 5.

Within the first 5 minutes it looked pretty bad for the Chicago Blackhawks. It is pretty safe to say that if a team has a weakness, Trotz will expose it and then hammer that team into the ground. The Predators are not exactly oozing out the sides with talent, but he knows how to use what he has. The part that worries me the most, and I don't want to over analyze this game, is that the Preds were actually ripe for the taking. Without a few of their biggest names and Pecka Rinne not exactly on his A game, this was as good of a moment for the Hawks to pounce all over Nashville.

Pouncing never happened. The Hawks were beat in just about any way imaginable. It was so bad in fact, that they could only muster up 10 shots by the end of the first 2 periods. Things looked somewhat promising when Hossa willed his way to the net and shoved the puck under Rinne, giving the Hawks the first lead of the game, but by the time the Preds made it 3-1 in their favor during the 2nd period, the game was long gone for the Hawks. Hossa would again will his way to a 2nd goal on the night, but you just can't come back from a 4-1 deficit with the Predators. Nope, never gonna happen.

I am going to go back to the Panthers game for a moment here. I mentioned a lack of killer instinct in my recap, and I sort of reasoned it off to playing smart when facing a more formidable opponent less than 12 hours later and in a different city. The fact is, the Hawks weren't exactly awesome in their win against Florida, and the only player to log too much ice-time was Keith. So, my question is this, do the Hawks have an excuse for the pathetic excuse for an effort in last night's game, because they had played only 9 hours earlier?

As I said, it was clear from the first 5 minutes that the Hawks had absolutely no life to them. Not only were they not looking all too sharp, but their legs looked they were caught in quick-sand. It was pretty bad, and the preparedness for this game was obviously non-existent. Besides the Hossa line, nothing was going on. Well, besides a couple of Stalberg's efforts. Give props to Hossa for showing up, as he has been kind of quite these past few weeks really. Glad he kept the score within some kind of reason. But, 5 goals for the Preds is an absolute beat-down.

Even Toews was out of it. And then he was gone, and the Hawks overall play showed it. They win or lose by their captain. I just hope he isn't too badly injured. He kept wincing in pain during the Panthers game, and it has me slightly worried now. I guess being out during the break is the best time to do it though. Oh, and throw in the fact that Seabrook (who has been the Hawks best defenseman) also looked injured all night and we have ourselves a few problems. Could it be that Q's management of certain player's ice-time is coming back to bite him?

And there is the goaltending thing. Im pretty sure that Crawford was not in the position to give an effort like that. Going into this game I was sort of sold on the fact that Ray Emery should be considered the #1 guy. I am now completely sold. Crawford has been good for at least 1 gimme goal to the other team every night he plays. That is just not going to cut it, and last night he gave them more than just 1 in my opinion. Sure, the defense was back to old ways, but Crow allowed 4 goals on 17 shots. Not good.

Just in case you haven't noticed yet, Detroit and the Blues won both of their games. This caused some shifting to occur, and if the Hawks lose their next game it could get really ugly before the  Allstar break. The Central Division is crazy close right now, and looks to stay that way until the end.

I could go further into the loss last night. I questioned the earlier calls against the Hawks which gave the Preds a power-play goal at the end of the 2nd one. I could look at individual efforts that were lacking, but it just seems better to move on, and to focus on winning the next one. The Preds wanted this game a lot more than the Hawks. So, the Hawks better want the next one more.


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  • HH, you forgot to mention that was their 5th game in 8 days. I'll give them a pass on last night except for Crawford who was rested. There's not been very many goalie losses this year but last night was one of them.

    Doesn't matter how well they play for stretches, the team is what it is. Weak defensively! Is it coaching, I think so—since Q advocates the stick check versus the body. They play like robots on the penalty kill and when defending 5 on 5. Stick checking promotes watching the puck and therefore not the body.

    Bottom line, unless a trade is made that has the effect of a semi-major shake-up, this team is going to remain soft and get pounded out in the first round.

    SB has the accountant mentality—brilliant observation, eh?—and is always trying to save a nickel. I've said many time before the difference between a player making 500k vs one making 1 or 1.5M is very significant. SB needs to recognize that difference and stop signing these marginal minute players. His reluctance or inability to part with the so-called core is going to be this team's undoing. He has to pick his poison, deal the prospects or dip into those who are tradeable like a Hammer or a Sharp, or maybe both. A deal like Pittsburgh and Dallas made last year, Goligoski (top four D) for Niskanen and Jame Neal. James Neal is a heckuva player. Both teams got value in that deal. All this trade Stalberg, Bickell, or Frolik talk is a complete waste of time. Who wants them, what will they fetch? Maybe a taker for Stalberg but what do you get back.? Trading 500k for 500k is not going to solve anything and is like those table (now called bubble for those of you who don't remember) hockey games where all the players looked exactly the same. Vegas is on record in one of these threads as saying that no trade is going to make that marked a difference, and given what I'm hearing from SB and reading between the lines, I'm inclined to agree. Major shake-up or why bother?

  • Lackluster as the first period was, and despite being outshot, the Hawks were not in horrible position. Into the second period though, things started to change. If it was mostly a matter of being tired, let's see what happens on Tuesday when the Preds will be in the situation the Hawks just came through.

    This team IS what it is. It has A LOT of money tied up in Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Seabrook and Keith. And I'm starting to think that there is too much tied up there to give SB room to truly balance this team. Campbell's skill set, in my opinion, is sorely missed right now. But, he was overpaid, and in light of the money he made, his skill set was not strong enough to offset not being able to spend money elsewhere. With the cap reality being what it is, I am starting to feel like we cannot have those top forwards being put in a position where they have to carry the team. SB didn't hit a home run this year, but neither did he screw the pooch. He's put some better talent around his core, but it's still taken bringing two rookies up from Rockford to establish a routine where nearly each line has a guy that will go to the net.

    This team, in my eyes, is still not balanced. Coaching is one aspect, but there are several more. I think SB will pull the trigger on something, but if it's not big enough to really make this team a cup contender this year, I'm not sure I want to see it happen.

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