Well, the Blackhawks are losing some at the moment. As FF said at the end of the last post, "they are tired and not having fun." Duncan Keith pretty much said it before the game. He also added that it was a whole team issue, not just a single player, so don't point the finger at one or two guys. I found his little interview telling, and once again some of that subtle distaste for the coaching system started to poke through the propaganda. Tell me why we are able to criticize a players performance in the media, but not the coaches here?
Because here is the thing, If we are not pointing at one player, why is Q? Now, he might say that he isn't, but explain this to me, because it is the single factor of last night's game that I can't wrap my head around. First of all, Bickell on the 3rd line? Wait for it, here comes the real doozy; Leddy was sent down to the 6th spot last night, and O'Donnell, not Montador was moved up to the 4th spot. Here is where it gets really awesome, because this move had the 2 D-men playing on their opposite sides which meant getting used to a whole new situation, a situation that I can tell you is hard to play in. Let alone deciding that O'Donnell and not Montador would get moved up. I seriously couldn't even focus on anything after hearing about this move. But, we aren't punishing Leddy right? The issues don't fall on just one player. (Leddy was not on the ice for a single goal)
Morrison was moved down to the 3rd line, while Kruger was placed back in his old spot as second line center. Somewhere towards the end of the game, Q finally made the right move of putting Bolland in that spot, and having Morrison center the 3rd line. Just a bit too late.
- The Hawks came out of the gate exactly like we would have wanted them to. Everything looked pretty kosher. We have to be very happy with the 1st period, as the Hawks played a very tight, clean game and it looked like the advantage would be theirs.
- Seabrook would score in this period, after a great pass from Kane that followed an even better play where Toews worked the puck deep into the zone.
- The Hawks had a sense of urgency, they were playing with purpose, and looking smart.
- The 1st line was again overwhelming the opposition, but it also pointed to an issue that hurt them later.
- Things began to change in the 2nd period. Noticing the Hawks were top heavy in the 1st line, the Flames began to focus harder on them, and the other Hawk lines just couldn't muster the same productivity. Eventually, the Hawks snapped and Calgary quickly took the momentum of the game away.
- Part of the issue is that few of the Hawks are playing their best hockey right now. Hossa is especially looking slow, and might even be playing his worst hockey in some time. Sharp is just coming off that injury, which makes matters worse. This is where a good coach would recognize his team and make the proper adjustments. That 2nd line needed Bolland at center, if not only to help it back to full strength.
- Fatigue began to set in, the Hawks began to seem like prisoners in their own zone, unable to get that second pass out of the neutral zone, and losing battles in all ends of the ice. The Hawks have no system to fall back on when things really get rough. The need to establish consistency fits right into these back-to-back games when their bodies might not have that extra jump anymore, not to mention all of the players playing in the wrong spots IMO.
- I do like listening to other cities feeds though. Some of the other announcers have fresh, and unique perspectives on the Hawks. They too, did not understand why Bolland was not the 2nd line center. They too, see a giant whole in the Hawks system of play which is easily exploited. And boy do they love Stalberg.
- Stalberg was the best player on the ice, and I thought he just might have had enough energy to win it for the Hawks. His ice-time was still below that of 4 other players though. The Calgary announcers see what I have seen for a while now, a hockey player with a skating ability above anyone else in the league. I heard someone give credit to Q, "look at what he has done with Stalberg, that makes him a great coach," to which I can only laugh. If he had been used correctly throughout his time here, we might be seeing the superstar inside exploding right now. He could easily have 30 goals at this point if he had the right mentoring.
- Bolland was pretty low in ice-time, and I have to question why.
- Frolik was sat after taking a dumb penalty, because we don't blame any one player, and everyone gets sat when they take a bad penalty. It really isn't a surprise that Bickell and Frolik took bad penalties. They have the most reason to be frustrated.
- Speaking of penalties, they did not help the Hawks last night. I guess thats what happens when the whole team is tired and mentally beaten.
- Hey, Emery was pretty darn solid. He made some key saves, looked pretty poised, and almost kept the Hawks in this one. Are we done with this "goalie controversy."
The Hawks dug deep to find some energy in the 3rd, but it just wasn't enough. Eventually, they started making bad passes, and a lot of bad communication started rearing its head, which landed them with a 3-1 deficit.
Biggest point on the night: The Flames top players beat the Hawks top players.
The Hawks are frazzled, their mental approach is destroyed right now. Kane has 2 goals in 20 games, players are getting benched for bad plays while others are immune to Q's wrath. Hossa is at his worst right now, and the Hawks have fallen to .500 on the road, and with a few tougher teams coming at them in this road trip. There is most definitely hope. The Hawks still have enough overwhelming talent to pull themselves back into the light, but the darkside is creeping in and the 7th spot is calling to them.
Nashville and St. Louis play tonight, pick your poison.