There is little use to get into the specific minutes of this game. If you missed it, you were the lucky one. This was a pretty bad performance on many levels. 0-6 on the power-play, one a 5-on-3, out-shot pretty badly, defense lacking and running round, this Hawks game showed little focus, no inspiration, turnovers everywhere, and just plain sloppy hockey by the guys wearing an Indian Head.
The best aspect of the game was that after Emery came in to save Crawford from another goal against, he never allowed one of his own. Like always, we are not going to blame the goals on Crawford alone as defense was a huge problem, but Crow was not great looking and his frustration blatantly obvious again. I found it interesting that Olsen and Lepisto had no goals against, while the "core" guys allowed all 4 goals. Coming off of the last game, with 3 goals given up late in the game, I had anticipated a much stronger effort out of the Hawks for this game. L.A. was going to be a hard fought battle given their talent and place in the standings, but the Hawks just gave them this one. There was not a strong minute of hockey out of the Hawks.
There comes a time when the coach has to look up and down his bench and ask who wants to play some puck, and who is going to grind for a goal? The game was already lost, but they have another contest today against a team that likes to give them a hard time. You need to get some momentum for today's game, but that didn't happen. Already down 4-0, the Hawks only mustered 4 shots in the 3rd which is when I really started to question the overall motivation of this squad.
The Hawks, already down a goal early, were handed a 5-on-3 later in the 1st, and it failed to generate any production. The Kings got their own power-play moments later and it only took 4 seconds for them to score. A quick face-off win, shot from the point, rebound in front, the D doesn't get position and the Kings go up 2-0. Like I said, the Hawks would get plenty of other opportunities on the power-play (almost as an attempt by the officials to even the game out), but all were futile. The game was over by the end of the 1st period.
There is just way too much talent on this team for so many games to look like this. Structurally, they look lost, unable to find lanes, not very inspired to do so, and the result is a complete lack of coverage. The Kings are also filled with talent, which seemed to awaken last night. They however, played with desperation and play a much better team defense. The woes of the team and this game culminated in a short-handed goal against. Brown's 3rd on the night, the hats rained down, and the Hawks went to their bench feeling shame. The issue here was hustle. Keith turned over the puck trying to enter the zone (surprise), and no one hustled back to stop the rush in the other direction. Brown found himself with a breakaway and put his opportunity into the net.
The game was embarrassing and it leads to greater questions. Some think a trade might fix things, but again, I see a talented team not living up to their potential. Furthermore, I also see a hinderance in the progression of many players, including the prospects. Guys like Stalberg, Frolik, and Bickell seem unable to reach the next level of their abilities. The only player that seems able to progress is Toews and that brings me to the final point.
The Hawks need Toews in the line-up to win. They are way too dependent on him, so much so, that he would hide a concussion to the team. They have showed moments of greatness, but the inconsistent efforts followed by the terrible bouts of defense have me doubting their worth in the playoffs. Toews can single handedly be given much of the credit for the Hawks even being in a playoff position. He should be a large part of the game, but he shouldn't be everything.
Another tough game ahead of them, they can turn the tide today against the Ducks, but another loss will severely impact the future outcomes of the season. In February, they have only won 4 of 12.