Oh man am I tired: The Canucks get the extra point in OT over the Blackhawks.

Oh man am I tired: The Canucks get the extra point in OT over the Blackhawks.

This is going to be really short as I am about to fall over in exhaustion. Long, early day tomorrow for me, so it might be a while till I get to some big, more important points on the game, as there was ample excitement in this one.

Not a night to lose. The Preds scored 4 goals in the 3rd period to win their game, and the Wings cruised to a win as well. 2 points was needed to start this long as hell road trip off, but we all have to settle for 1.

Crawford was good, especially good in OT when he out-right robbed the sisters of making the Hawks look silly for a bit. Schneider was unfortunately better, and eventually the Sedins got their game winning goal. Bummer, cause the Hawks were actually the better team for the majority of the game. Most definitely not in the 1st period though.

Before Vancouver won the game, Toews and Stalberg absolutely exploded into the Nuck's zone on two different rushes that had game winning breakaway all over them. Toews' move to get in on Schneider was absolutely sick and took everyone to school, including all of the Vancouver fans in the building. Stalberg was slashed on his hands just as he was about to shoot, surprise, no call. Can we all agree that speedy von speederson is a giant asset to this team? He exploded between those traffic cones (Oh wait, they were actually moving) to get that opportunity to win it. He is going to get better, and better. Mark my words.

But, the Hawks should have never even gone to OT with the Nucks. Too many Hawks had goals written all over their chances, and somehow Schneider was there. Morrison was robbed of his first Hawks goal. Shaw had a few near misses, and the 1st line of Stalberg/Toews/Kaner had as many looks as one could hope to have as they continue to be just too much for anyone to handle.

Stalberg would have been the player of the game had he scored more than 1 goal on his plethora of chances and credited 7 shots on net. He was a beast out there, and earning every minute of his ice-time, save for his giveaway that ended in the Hawks net because the Hawks were all caught between the center line and Nucks blue line. Yeah, but lets trade Stalberg, I am sure we can find someone better and at only about 5 times his asking price.

The Hawks looked good. The D was mostly solid, and aggressive. Funny how those 2 things go together. The forwards were helping out, back-checking and I liked what I saw of Morrison with the 2nd line. Placing Kruger on Bolland's wing had me scratching my head, but how often does Q not make me do that?

For whatever reason, we saw Scott tonight, and I'll be darned, Keith skated for over 30 minutes. His buddy Seabrook was right up there with him and I am kinda pissed about it. It is down right negligent to play someone that much, and the Hawks didn't even win. That just goes to show you how bad the Hawks wanted this one.

I have more to say, but no more energy to say it. More at some point tomorrow. Bummer of a game.

I have thought it over: I am impressed with Kruger this year, but Frolik is better suited for the 3rd line. Neither of them are scoring goals, but Fro is a better skater. Move that around, Sharp will start feeling better soon, and I like the way all of the lines look. Morrison looked pretty good for a first game with a team. My 2 cents anyway.


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  • That about sums it, HH. Hawks played a good game and should have salted it away in regulation. They win way more than they lose if they play that way.

    I thought Keith was the best player on the ice tonight. Hawks sucked on the draws and I'm looking at Bolland there.

    Too many missed ops, they just couldn't get the two goal bulge.

    Scott, did he see the ice after the first period? What a wasted roster spot.

    Morrison, was ok. He'll get better. Reminds me of Kruger with a little more in-game smarts.

    Take the point and move on.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    I have to disagree on Keith, he was standing still guarding the left post while the Sedins potted the game winner. I also remember him blatantly turning the puck over 3 different times on one shift. Probably the result of playing half the game. It drives me crazy when they dress Scott and then play 5 d for most of the game. That is insane! Either have Scott on regular shifts or put in Lepisto! End of story, (until they trade for another D-man). Overall though a very solid game by the Hawks, hopefully they will carry that effort (and better finishing ability) into the next two rinks that were houses of horror on last trip.

  • I've defended Q and Scott, but I cannot defend what I saw tonight. If you dress Jolly Green, then play him. Keith 30 min, Seabrook 27, Leddy 24. This will not work no matter how many days of rest Keith gets before or after. It is a glaring admission that this team does not have what it needs defensively.

  • Now that I have had some time to wake up, a few things I have to add:

    Faceoffs were pretty bad, but I am willing to deal with it given an injured Toews, and a new center in the mix.
    (If I were Q, which I am obviously not, I might have tried to get Mayers out there a tad more considering that, and given he skates hard).

    How long are power-plays going to be the achilles heal of this team? And that brings me to a coaching rant.

    Even though the Hawks played well, and should have won, I whole-heartedly believe that we can chalk this loss off to coaching.

    It can be the little things that kill, and they did last night. The final goal was scored because 2 defensemen who had played damn near the entire game were too tired to move. Thats what you get for over-playing people.

    Shaw had more ice-time than any other forward (pretty sure it should have been Stalberg, if anyone, given his performance). I like the guy, but that points to a lack of judgement in rolling the lines. And, like I said, Kruger as a winger? If we are not going to play Frolik on at least the 3rd line, then we have to say goodbye.

    Bolland looked confused for some time, and line combos might have had a hand in it. The second line was definitely confused of the greater part of the game.

    All of these little things, the power-play, a bad start, management of player's ice-time, the right people taking face-offs are all results of coaching, and most likely would have been the difference regardless of how good Schneider was.

    Scott did not look half bad last night. He was at least good for a few shifts against the Nuck's 4th line, and if he isn't, then why was he there at all? Saying he rolled only 5 defensemen is actually an understatement. Montador's time was also down as a result. Monti could have eaten up some of Keith's Seab's, or Leddy's minutes.

    Why not dress an extra forward at this point?

    Oh, and I also disagree with playing Crawford in this one. He was stellar, so I would have been wrong, but Emery has earned more starts, and it should have started last night.

    Like I said though, the Hawks looked pretty good. It was a simple coast - to - coast kind of game and the Hawks like that. Against all of the weirdness, they played a decent game and a damn good 40 minutes of hockey.

  • Objectively, that second line last night was basically Hossa and two new players. Their lack of cohesion was to be expected IMO and it wasn't really that bad. I agree 100% on Scott. He looked serviceable, which is what a D man in his spot is supposed to be. If you dress him, you should play him. I can go with a lot of Q criticism, but not every loss is because he's an idiot. They played a good game last night against one of the stronger teams in the conference. While I don't think it was specifically on the defensemen last night, there were clearly (IMO) two situations of blown coverage of point men. At this point in the season, you almost have to play man to man every game. Overall, I thought Kane played a solid game and made some really good backchecks. That said, I think he got caught twice not manning the point and they gave up goals because of it.

    Without a doubt, the Nucks were the more physical team and it had nothing to do with the outcome. The Hawks still found ways to crash the net, and Shaw picked himself up after every hit and got back in the game. Moreover, the always hated "Active stick" philosophy worked fine. The Hawks forced a lot of turnovers and stopped a lot of rushes in the neutral zone. Whether I like it or not, the team as it is currently constituted is built to play this game. If they are not effective with the sticks, they are flat out not going to physically intimidate anyone. Here and there, the Hawks have some guys who can make a timely hit. But if they are going to succeed, they need to play to their strengths.

    Speaking of that, a word on Stals. I don't believe Stalberg has gotten "better" as much as he (and dare I say the coaches) have found a way to make use of what he brings. I was probably in the camp that was willing to trade him, depending on what came in return. My gripe was always pretty much one thing on him which is that with his size, he cannot be just another skill guy on this team. Since my early assessment of him this year, he has gotten involved in board battles and crashed the net. If he continues to do those things, he is extremely valuable to this team. I think the coaching staff deserves some credit too for his improvements, but I'm not thinking that's likely on this blog LOL.

    Anyway, I don't think it has to be spin to say the game last night was a lot better for the Hawks then the outcome suggested. From here on out, the team needs to tighten up defensively, and that means every single player on the roster. I still believe a trade for a solid D guy needs to occur and given that many teams in the hunt feel the same way, it may cost more then the Hawks want to give. Let's see how the boys respond in Edmonton, they have a lot to be fired up for in that game.

  • A few more things to add on the lines. I agree that Frolik needs to be on the third line with Shaw. I would also move Bolland up to the second line with Hossa and Sharp. With Morrison in the mix, let's use his skill as a two-way center on the checking line. Remember how good the Bolland, Havlat, Ladd line was a few years back in the playoffs?. I think Bolly has more upside offensive potential that needs to be tapped down the stretch here and he has had chemistry with Hossa before. Come playoff time if Morrison is not cutting it, move him back to the checking line. Kruger should center the 4th line and move Mayers back to wing.

  • First off, Stan, I agree about Keith on the gag. He needs to make himself large and shut down the pass that everyone knew was coming. He also had many giveaways but he was instrumental in many of the turnovers as the 'nucks broke the zone.

    As for the lines, I'd just chalk that up to no practice time beforehand. I didn't think they were that bad. They should have buried their chances and that was the game.

    We all know Q suffers from match-up madness and that's not going to change. We can also debate the ice-time fiasco, but given the relative skill sets and experience of who they have on D, it too is not likely to change with the mustachioed maestro at the helm. The best, I think, we can hope for is the addition of another D who can contribute on the 2nd or 3rd pairing and allow Q to rotate the D more appropriately. Clearly, Q has no use for Lepisto, Scott is Scott and shouldn't be playing if all he has is 240 seconds of ice. O'D is serviceable but not a viable long-term option for Q. That's three roster spots on D that need to be addressed. Throw in Bickell and you can easily see why these guys gets much ice. This lack of depth spells an early playoff exit for me.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Point taken on Keith, he did have a pretty solid game overall, but he still turns the puck over way too much for a top D-man. It is usually because he is trying to avoid contact or is just flat worn out from logging 30 minutes of ice. For once I would like for him to eat a puck under pressure take the hit and wait for help instead of throwing it away. That being said, the forwards need to be more responsible and break out as a unit instead of waiting for the stretch pass. Not sure Lepisto is getting a fair shake from Q, he has the wheels, give him a few games in a row to work the rust off and then re-evalute.

  • Keith gives the puck away more than John Scott and he doesn't even play. Leddy is a close second. Every team sends two guys after Leddy because they know he will cough up the puck everytime. This team doesn't hit and that means an early exit from the playoffs where checking and grit goals win games.

  • How can a team from Chicago be so passive. Teams know they can wear these guys down. They only have to concentrate on a few players. Hit them whenever you can. Shaw took abuse all game, no one answered the bell. Why send Hayes down, he has all the tools, and yet they keep sending Brunette, Frolik, and Kruger out there.

  • In reply to Justme:

    I agree about the Hayes note. I felt that way as soon as I heard the news that he was sent back down. Why make that choice when A.) he is producing points while many others are not, and B.) he is a big physical body who can cause damage in front of the net?

    If we are really rewarding hard work, as Q likes to say he does, then Hayes would have stuck around. But, he is also young and too many rookies could be a bad thing.

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