Bitter-Sweet: The Wings take the Blackhawks in OT.

Bitter-Sweet: The Wings take the Blackhawks in OT.

Entertaining game I suppose. Lots of action and drama to keep the fans engaged. It's just a shame how everything worked out. This is honestly one of the best all around defensive efforts that I have seen from the Blackhawks this year, but it still was not enough for 2 points. The result is a 3-way tie between the Hawks, Detroit and St. Louis in the Central. Aint that just peachy.

We saw some line changes entering this one (SHOCKER). Kane was reunited with Toews and Stalberg for a while, which I though to be fitting since they seemed fairly productive a few weeks back. More surprising was the Frolik at center thing, but everything changed once Sharp left the game with apparently, an "upper-body" injury. This simple fact might even be the element most worthy of taking about from last night. A Sharp-less Hawks could be a pretty bad thing.

  • Speaking of Sharp: He was a prime factor in a really big start for the Hawks. They had their first 2 goals by the first 5 minutes of play! Shame it was their only 2. Sharp's tally had the Wings looking more like the Hawks in their defensive zone. Two Wings seemed intent on clinging to Hossa while Sharp found wide open space and time right in the slot. Sharp most definitely knows how to finish and there you go. The play was due in large part to the fight Shaw put up to win posession of the puck.
  • Power-plays and such: In what can only be considered a miracle, the puck somehow found the back of Detroit's net while the Hawks were on their first PP of the game. Reason to think everything is better? Nope, they went scoreless in their next 4 opportunities, and this goal was all on Conklin if you ask me. Still, a PP goal that we will take. The rest of the mentioned power-plays for the Hawks were just about as bad as it gets. Crisis not averted.
  • Big start: I give more credit to Detroit for the Hawks early lead though. It seemed like the Wings came out extremely flat and gave those goals to the Hawks. I had a feeling things might change as the game moved along, and made a statement to friends and family watching with me, "If the Hawks don't get that 3rd goal, they will lose." I should have taken that one to the bank.
  • Defense: As I said, this was one of the best defensive efforts that I have seen in a while from the Hawks, and it still wasn't good enough for the win. That says a lot to me. They absolutely do not have the ability to hold leads, especially 1 goal leads. It was only a matter of time, even though some of the Wings comeback has to be attributed to bad luck on the Hawks. Whats that they say about making your own luck?
  • Officiating: What the hell is wrong with the refs lately? Seriously, it seems like every game I watch, I am making comments about them with extreme consistency. Even though the Hawks had 5 power-plays and a penalty shot to the Wings 2 power-plays, there were a ton of non-calls out there. There should have been calls on 2 of the Wings goals. First, Leddy was cross-checked from behind by Flippula which had a direct impact on the goal, and there should have also been a call on Franzen for grabbing Montador's stick and pulling him down during the OT goal. Sure, maybe Monty should have payed more attention to where the puck was rather than beating Franzen's face in, but I also understand.
  • Ice-time: Nice to see the 6th D-man get over 10 minutes of ice-time, but I still think we are seeing the results of miss-management here throughout the season. Toews was once again at 25 minutes. I don't know if everyone saw what I saw out of his effort, but it was worrisome. He is obviously completely gassed and maybe even injured right now. He had nothing left to give at the end of the 3rd and it was in large part to being over-played in a 4-0 loss 2 nights ago. I also think that Hossa is playing injured at this point, and have my reasons to think Hjalmer's poor performance lately is due to the same thing. Which brings me to Leddy.
  • Leddy: Everyone is really pointing the finger at him lately, and in some ways with due cause. But, is it his fault really that the defense sucks, and that the forwards are nowhere to be found when help is needed? I also think we are seeing a bit of cracking under the pressure in his case. Pretty much a rookie, he has been logging a ton of ice-time. This and other facts have really made the low-balling and eventual loss of Campoli a bigger mistake than some had wanted to believe. Tonight, Leddy was on the ice for 2 of the Wings goals. But, I can't completely blame him for them. On the first he was cross-checked from behind as mentioned above. On the OT goal, I am concerened with his reasoning to be positioned in the way he was, but also get that he was trying to block a potential goal and not help it into the net.
  • The Good: Seabrook was the player of the game from the Hawks perspective. His exceptional play had a lot of impact on how well the Hawks looked defensively all around, and he also had a huge role in the offense last night. Big game for Seabs. The newbies also came out to play hockey again, and especially Shaw. Can't really say enough about how well he looks out there. It is a shame I doubt he could keep up that level of play for too long.

In the end, a big game could be won or lost at the result of a penalty shot. I personally believe that the puck crossed the line on the play that resulted in the penalty shot, but a certain Wings glove was covering it as it laid on the other side of the goal-line. Seeing the act of covering it, but not the actual puck in the net, the officials took away a goal and awarded a penalty shot instead. Big moment in the game and who does Q go to for it, a player who was in his 4th NHL game. Really smart. Now, I am aware that Eddie O, and some of the other announcers thought he was a good choice, but I have a hard time thinking that throwing a kid who has no experience into a situation like that is exactly why we saw the poor example for a penalty-shot that we saw.

After all of this penalty-shot business had transpired, I feared the worst and it did come true. Bad luck tends to poor down and not drizzle. That about covers it from my stand point. Good, and entertaining game with an unwanted result. Some out there think we are seeing the Hawks hitting a bump in an otherwise smooth road to the finals, and others are seeing the Hawks finally realizing their issues from an entire season of inconsistency. I suppose we shall see. A 3-way tie in the standings with 2 certain teams sure as heck makes it interesting though.

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  • Two evenly matched teams played a pretty evenly contested game. "Hawks won last week and lost a tight one this week. Rubber match next week.

    On the penalty shot, it had to be someone who was on the ice. I'm not sure besides Montador who was out there at the time. I thought Hayes was a good choice.

    I thought that Q actually handled the bench pretty well, especially after Sharp went down. All players were seeing ice in the third period so I'm happy with that aspect of the game though apparently, the minutes were still skewed.

    In the end though, it was Detroit and the 'hawks rarely pull a stinker against them. Turnaround? Could be, but I'll reserve judgment 'til the end of the week. Big games coming up.

    Agree HH, Hossa looks off and Toews only has spurts. Kane is MIA and now Sharp is questionable. I knew these guys were going to cool off and now that lack of scoring depth is rearing its ugly head.

    Slip sliding away … ?

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    I actually meant to say that I thought ice-time was better last night. However, we saw the results of certain players being over-used up until this point. So yeah, I agree.

    Was going to say something about Kane, but didn't want to get into it really. There are people who are calling for his trade, and others who think those people are crazy. I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. Not happy, not agonizing over it, can see the gains involved in such a move, but doubt it would ever be a reality. Few players have his skill-set. He just needs to amp it up. Most likely another result of the poor atmosphere built around work-ethic.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    And on the penalty shot: I actually did think Montador made more sense, but would have gone with Mayers if it were up to me. Both were on the ice at the time.

  • Stressful game for this fan. Handing out 2 goal leads is becoming all too common for my team. I wasnt sure if we were about to see a repeat of our last tilt (penalty shot and all!) and am just happy to come away with a win---regardless of how we got there. Im kinda sick of seeing the Hawks get blanked (0-2 vs LA last week, 0-4 vs COL on Fri) a game before the Wings play them and then get this kind of defensive effort! lol! Whats up with that?

    Wings definitely got away with a non-call in OT with too many men on the ice. If the shoe were on the other foot, I wouldnt have felt to good about the refs either. But as you pointed out above, 5 PP's and a penalty shot should have been enough to make that a non-issue. Im sure things will even up in the rubber match. I am looking forward to playing that one at the JLA!

    Sick angle for Datsyuk! Not too shabby for a 171st pick! Till next time!

  • The good Hawks-the guys with the jump in their stride- showed up. Great wrap and great game. Hjalmarsson played like he used to and made things a bit better for Leddy, who really is struggling. Ain't no shame losing that game.

    An observation on Jimmy Hayes- I don't know if he can shoot. He has a nose for the game though, always in the middle of the action.

    Now that Sharpie is out the young guys will have to grow up fast. Baptism by fire. If our guys are gassed now the next 10 days will be be, to use a common word these days, brutal. Q has to spread the ice time around . No choice really. Toews and Hossa will collapse if he doesn't settle down and instill some consistency.

    I am a company guy and thought Q was OK despite the juggling. Now I am not so sure.

  • No Sharp for 4 weeks. Just what the doctor ordered. The kids will be playing a lot more now and you're right Ice, Q may not have any choice but to spread it around.

    I'm done with Q, he has systematically ruined the collective confidence of this team with his herky-jerky treatment of the players. The chemistry has been destroyed and what line combinations hasn't he tried? I guess we're about to find out. It's sad to think that an injury to Kruger could have been the catalyst that has this team in the swoon that it is.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    What got me to realize that you guys are correct about Q was seeing the exact same reaction my son's basketball team had to their coach. The coach is blustery and yanks guys out when they make mistakes. Which seems to lead to more mistakes and guys flying in and out of the game.

    Now the guys are thinking about not screwing up instead of putting the ball in the hole. They have become fear based. And presto, there is no cohesion, no plays, no intelligence. They are wildly running up and down the court.

    They lose to teams with lesser talent. Worst of all it breaks the kids down.

    That is exactly what the hawks look like, and their winning steaks, followed by losing streaks, followed by ........... say they're messed up in the head.

    That pisses me off. Q needs to settle or leave.

  • Yup, exactly what I think is happening. There also comes a time when every coach exhausts his leverage with the club and they start to tune him out. It is then time to go.

    Q was given the players he has and whether he had input in the decisions to bring on certain players is moot for me. It's his job to motivate and shape this team given the roster he has. I think he's very stubborn and refuses to adapt the "system" to the cards he has, choosing to try and reshape the players instead.

    Some of this is on Stan, and you have to wonder whether there's a tug 'o' war going on between SBjr and Q with SBsr calling the shots. Too many cooks not using the same recipe.

    In any event, the team is looking more and more like a bunch of miscasts who are not on the same page and that is reflected in what we're seeing on the ice. They don't look like they're having much fun. They're not a tight bunch, and I'm not just talking about the last two weeks.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    I said earlier this year that Q will be gone by the end of next season, and I still believe that. Q is not only problem in my book, but like you and I have said before FF, what he is doing with what he has to work with isn't getting the job done. For his part, SB's first job last year was to try and salvage something from his forced fire sale and with is acquisitions this year, I think he's about 50/50. He's essentially trying to do what Tallon did, which is to say he stockpiled picks and prospects and some of those prospects right now are looking better then people thought they might. Having said that, this team has Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Keith, Biscuit and Bolland, who all won a cup together. No matter where they finish this year, it will be short of a cup and on paper, this is unacceptable.

    I agree with quite a few of the knocks on Q and by the end of this season, I do believe he will have been tuned out by a lot of players on this team. However, I look at your last para FF and I think that really says a lot. Essentially, this team is tied for second in the conference, they've scored a ton of goals and they don't look like they're having a good time. And of course, as fans, none of us bitching here are having a good time LOL! At this point in the season, I personally feel the best I can hope for is that SB is able to somehow pick up a reliable D man for Frolik, Bickell and some magic beans. If that does happen, it aint gonna happen for at least a month and the Hawks have some tough contests coming up. Still, I think a D man is the best option they have.

    Looking ahead, the time is going to come and probably come soon where the Hawks are going to have to cut a core guy loose. And honestly, I hope that when they finally do it's when a new coach comes in. Q's "system" doesn't work with this current crop of players and from their side, I'm not convinced I see a lot of willingness to change from the players. The kids coming in are showing some spunk and willingness to get dirty, but I feel like they are out on a ledge doing it. Smith, Kruger- concussed. Shaw- worked over by a wing stick enough to re-open his cut eye. Leddy, cross checked by Filpulla and generally manhandled every night of the week. Worst of all, even Toews are starting to get bitch hit on a nightly basis. The pushback from the Hawks is nada. Not having fun indeed.

    Anyhow, let's hope tonight has some carry over from the wings game. I'm off to mexico tomorrow, so unless there's a wrap up tonight, you bastids have heard the last of my rantings for a week. LOL

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