45 minutes of strong hockey not enough, Hawks lose to Stars 3-1

Well, that sucked. The story line that will lead in most places will include cliches about needing to play for sixty minutes, and not taking things for granted, etc, etc. In the simplest of terms, that is exactly what happened. The Hawks controlled a large chunk of this game, were extremely effective at backcheckig and forechecking and scored a gritty goal that was the result of pure hard work. And after one bad mistake by Hossa, (two actually) the Stars scored three goals and the Hawks were absolutely helpless to stop the bleeding. For the most part, there's really nothing new here. When the Hawks play team defense for sixty minutes, they are going to win a lot of games, especially against teams that have a similar level of talent. Conversely, when they play a lunch pail team that grinds every night and that is currently desperate to get a playoff spot, they lose. We are likely to see this happen several more times before the end of the season and I am not really optimistic that there is some big trade, or small trade for that matter, that will fix what happened tonight.

This will probably ramble on anyway, but I'm going to try and keep it short. In general, I question the heart of this team right now. In the two previous games, against strong teams, the Hawks showed up. Though they were outhit, the counts were within about 5. Tonight, they were outhit 41-15. Yeah, the team controlling the game will get hit more, but they were also outshot 3-1 in the third which was a complete reversal of the second period. It's one thing to be pissed at the coach when you think he's an idiot. But it's another thing altogether to not show up on the ice. For two periods tonight, they were doing everything they needed to do to win this game. In the third, however, there was no desperation or seemingly hunger to put the Stars away. We can blame Q I guess, and in the comments I'm sure we will, but the Hawks are not the only team in the league who has had to wake the hell up and commit to winning. Even Babs had this to say about his players early in the season, "Do we want to be a real good team or not?'' Babcock said. “Life just doesn't go on for you. You make a decision that it's going to go good for you. You decide for yourself that you're going to be successful. You decide for yourself that you're going to make a difference. You decide for yourself that you're going to have a good career."

Throughout the season, there have been several whipping boys and on any given night, the whipping is probably deserved. Still, one thing I feel has been a constant is a lack of willingness to do what is called for in a particular situation. The Hawks have dropped a lot of stinkers this year to weak teams, in my opinion, for precisely this reason. During the slump, I would have loved to see an interview where some player snapped and said, "Losing sucks! I hate it and I hope everyone in this room hates it!" Instead, I heard players sounding not too concerned and speaking in cliches. After winning a couple of games, I think Sharp actually said to someone, "Well, maybe we needed that losing streak to wake us up." Really?! You needed to look like dogshit for nine games to get motvated? Keith made a similar comment last year that, though I sorta appreciated the honesty of it, was disturbing nonetheless. So, I guess that's about it for tonight. I'm not in sky fail mode, but I feel like we've seen the best and worst of this team this year and they can't seem to figure out for themselves which team they want to be on a nightly basis. Should be an interesting couple of games in California.

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  • Brent Seabrook left guys standing in front of crow all night. Each goal was directly attributable to unchecked stars deflecting pucks past crow, or seabs doing the honor himself. Just as crow is putting his game together he is abandoned by his D. I cannot understand how the fundamental defensive tactic of clearing the crease is blatantly ignored again and again.

  • I had actually written a para saying exactly what you did, but deleted it. I've said this before, but this team is built to score. It's built to get to the puck first and fling it up ice for a stretch pass. The forwards can and have forechecked and backchecked and usually have success when they do so even against teams for whom that is their bread and butter. But, it's not something they want to do night after night.

    I don't know if having Hammer back last night contributed to what went on. Granted, he ended the night even, but I can't help but wonder if seeing him back in the lineup gave other guys the encouragement to cheat up ice. But, in the end, this game became a complete contrast to what the team did defensively the last two games. And by the way, Keith AGAIN played 27 minutes while Leddy played nearly 25. This is not going to cut it.

  • You know guys, I get real tired of hearing Keith plays too much. That's just the way it is going to stay until your illustrious GM gets off his ass and does something to improve the defense, and even when he does, I'm not sure that that will make any difference. So long as Q, is behind the bench and the D remains the same, this is not going to change. So, get over it. Now, our top 6 consists of two 20 yr olds who are not ready for prime time minutes. Montador is a lost cause and Hammer, meh. All the coach has is Keith and Seabrook. Oh yeah, I forgot, Scott and Lepisto.

    You can say the 'hawks dominated for 45 minutes but really, can you recall more than about 3 good scoring chances? Yup, the line juggling was back, the rhythm was off and they managed to get away with it for a good portion of the game. Once again a physical opponent wears down the 'hawks, and the lack of a physical presence proves to be their undoing.

    You guys can harp about the players, the "team", all the great deals SB has made over his time here, but the facts are SB is running this team into the ground by refusing to do anything about the glaring holes in his lineup. There's still 72 hrs so we'll see … I thought he might be up to something big, but I fear that was just wishful thinking. That, or he thinks every other GM in the NHL is an idiot by trying to fob off his own mistakes on them.

    So now, 5 of 6 on the road, and quite possibly another losing streak to go along with that. They'll not be easy games and if JT is out any longer, look-out. Once again, missing the playoffs is a distinct possibility … very possible, IMO.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    I wouldn't say they dominated for 45 minutes. 20, yes. As for harping on Keith, LOL, we all have our windmills to tilt at. Five years from now, I think discussions about hockey are going to be a lot different when the full effect of the cap is something people accept. I still think Bowman needs to make a trade this year, but have you really been ecstatic about any one player from free agency this year or the trades around the league this season? Stan acquiesced to ditch Campbell and his contract and I agree he has screwed the pooch this year in addressing that hole. What we lost in Campbell has not been replaced and it has been unfair to put Leddy in such a heavy role in just his first full year.

    Still, what's been out there to grab? There's a lot of mid tier guys, but I think a harsh reality is this, Campbell was overpaid at 7 million a year, but not at four which is about the net that was gained on that trade. I don't think you are going to see many teams change their fortunes through free agency or big trades any more. If you don't draft well and don't develop your talent well, you will be screwed. The Kings took Richards and sent away Simmonds, a player I would have LOVED to see come to the Hawks. Simmonds has more goals then Richards this year and has put up 20 in addition to adding some genuine grit.

    If you truly want to win, I think you have to have an attitude that very few players are truly untouchable and the team has not shown that attitude yet. I'd be okay to see Q go, but honestly, I'd rather see the coach being the last piece changed rather then the first. A defensive minded coach for this team would be a disaster considering it consists of offensive minded players, see LA KINGS for description. Tallon built his team and added Q at the end. Coaches are easier to change then players.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Windmills, ha, I'm laughing at that one. I'm probably the biggest windbag here! Let's see, which way is it blowing today?

    What's done is done and Campbell is not coming back and the 'hawks, in essence, have nothing in return to this point in the season. They gambled and have lost with Leddy as far as I'm concerned. I like the player but clearly he's not ready to assume that role yet. Let's hope they don't ruin him.

    I agree, nothing being bandied about as possible new acquisitions is going to do the trick in the short-term which is why I was thinking SB has larger irons in the fire that could impact this team in the years to come. I'm hoping for that. Maybe SB's a good poker player and will go all-in right at the last minute once all the players have put their cards on the table. We'll see.

    Yes, coaches are the easiest to replace, and yes, you're right, there's just too much coddling of the core players and as some have said overvaluing what they have on board. So, if a deal is going to happen, I'm expecting a Stalberg, or maybe even a Hammer (if he's healthy) to be included in that and maybe more.

    If 97 points is the low water mark for making the playoffs, the 'hawks will need to win 12 of 20 to get the final spot. It may be more and may be less but that's a 60% clip from here on out. Ouch, that's going to be a tall order given their opposition.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    LOL, is the wind NorthWest today? I think Bowman really believed Montador would be a second line guy. With Leddy, I think they have put themselves in a bit of a trick bag. If SB can go out and find that true second pair guy, who drops to the third pair, Leddy or Hammer? Moreover, does dropping to a third pair and playing ten to fifteen minutes a night benefit Leddy at this point? I honestly don't know. I guess if I had to choose between Hammer and Leddy on the second with another veteran D man, I probably pick Leddy to stay.

    12 out of 20? Hmmmmm.

  • I really thought they had their first shut-out in the works, and I think the problem is that they felt the same.

    Agreed on all accounts so far. The frustration, and tipping ability read in all the players, especially Crawford once goal #1 went in, was seen easily in their reactions, and subsequent goals against.

    The Hawks will simply not win playing one type of game. They focused on defensive positioning, and their offense looked pretty weak, and that couldn't even work out. The players as a result of something (system) have a limited ability to play 60 minutes of 2-way hockey.

    That Seabrook was standing inches away from every goal is telling to the larger issues at play here. Also, that Hossa was in direct cause of the first goal against, because of cheating the zone.

    But, it was almost win #5 and Crows first goose egg. We can really see the importance of Toews on this team, and that he is healthy.

    All in all, this game was brutal to watch. I find the season to be a total head scratcher at this point, with any number of possibilities in their future. Guess thats a result of all the inconsistency we have seen all year.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    Well, HH, as you're working on the wrap for the game tonight can we start with Q and the wonderful job he does getting this team ready for big playoff games? Thanks.

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