The Chicago Blackhawks: Fall in OT to the Kings.

The Chicago Blackhawks: Fall in OT to the Kings.

Looking back to the way things stood on Friday morning, I was going to use this game between the Blackhawks and the Kings as a measuring stick towards a prediction on how far the Hawks would go. I might have already said this, but I anticipated a loss to the Rangers, and I also assumed the Kings would have won their game on Friday night. Both of those things happening would have set up an even more interesting match for last night's game. Basically, it would have put LA within close striking distance of helping to knock the Hawks down.

None of those things happened, and it sure does make me feel better about the Hawks chances this year. After beating the Rangers, I then saw last night's game as a statement game. With the newly acquired Oduya making a couple statements of his own, and making SB look like a genius, the back-end has started to seem pretty darn strong. I mean, when a guy like Hjalmer is your 5th guy, and he plays along Olsen, things look a little more kosher. This will be your starting defense rolling on into the playoffs, and I have to say it looks much more promising.

Now, we have an offense that is finding ways to win games without their captain carrying them on his back, which is also pretty promising for the day when Toews returns. Kane has been more consistent, and Bickell even decided to wake up a tad. The addition of Bollig to take Scott's place has added some depth, and even more grit, and we all know how Bolland shows up in May. What I have seen lately adds up to a lot of possibility for a deeper playoff run than recently thought possible, if and when Toews returns. Of course, Emery plays into that as well.

From what I gather, the Hawks played a solid game last night. Unfortunately, I only caught the first 10 minutes, which involved Emery keeping the Hawks alive. I know that the Hawks went on to outshoot the Kings by a pretty large margin, so the game must have turned in the Hawks favor at some point. I need all of you to fill in the blanks for me. Tell me what happened.

A first here, but why not? Lets let the readers break this game down for a change (not that you don't add a lot of awesome information all the time).

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  • I can't add a lot of color, but from the opening faceoff, the Kings looked hungry. I thought they were on the Hawks like stink on you know what. Watching after the fact, my thoughts are this, both Kings goals were the result of outworking the Hawks. Going the other way, both Hawks goals came from bumrushing a sprawled Quick. Without Kruger stuffing home Sharps shot and without Kane making a drive to stuff home Hossa's rebound, the Hawks quite possibly get shut out in this game. The Kings are rapidly becoming a team you will not score on if you don't crash the net.

    I sort of feel like there is no such thing as a statement game for the Hawks. Few teams have as much offensive talent, but amongst playoff teams, few teams show as much inconsistency. Every game the Hawks play is like getting into an argument with some crazy dude in a bar, you never know what he's gonna do and come playoff time, THAT will likely be the Hawks best strength. If a team underestimates them or overestimates them for that matter, they can play a game that makes your head spin. This is a dubious opinion at best, but if that was truly a playoff game, I tend to think the Kings would have worn the Hawks down and caught them in another defensive lapse.

    In other news, Carcillo has been extended for two years.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    As regards the Carcillo signing. I'm ok with that. At least he was a presence on the top two lines and does have a modicum of scoring ability.

    He's not going to be a cap killer but one has to wonder about his roster spot taking away from Shaw or Hayes or some other 'hog who may be ready to step up next year.

  • Vegas, were we watching the same game? Both KIngs goals were the result of Keith turnovers. One a gift-wrapped four on one and the second we he gave it up behind the net and left Leddy and Emery twisting in the wind.

    I still don't get this team. What is their system? They look like they are working hard but they accomplish so little. The shots on goal are totally misleading. The Kings just brought 5 men inside the hash marks and the 'hawks couldn't penetrate. When they finally did, they scored.

    The game was worse than the Rangers tilt. Uninspired, boring, some might say playoff, hockey.

    I don't think any team will underestimate them in the playoffs. Their lack of cohesive play and soft demeanor is easy to defend/play against.

  • I am again wondering if the Hawks deserve a playoff spot, as I did last year. Actually, I thought they flat out didn't deserve one last year, because they lost when they needed to win.

    I think I just see too much opportunity this year, and find some of the recent tweaking to have had desired effects. However, I also agree with FF in his critiques of the overall system (or lack there of), and of there inconsistency being an issue towards future success. As a few have mentioned here, it might be better for the future of the team to miss the playoffs entirely.

    Since I only saw the 1st period last night, what I saw was troubling. I agree that there is no such thing as a statement game with this team, but I deemed it as such for some odd reason. And given what that 1st period showed me, that lack of a system, inconsistent play, and passion-less approach could very well be their doom. SJ, and LA are 2 pretty good teams who are still outside looking in, and they just might want it more than the Hawks.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    I wonder too about the playoff spot. They may catch lightning in a bottle once Toews returns but that off/on switch doesn't really exist and I think many are banking on that emotional rush we got last year when they found their game for the last four vs the 'nucks. I don't think for a moment that they're coasting or "saving" themselves for the playoffs. If they are not a good sign.

    I watch hockey—much to my wife's dismay—every day. What I see more and more clearly is how each team has a system of play and sticks to it. I notice how easy they break out of their own zone, how easy they make entry into the offensive zone and how open the players are when the passes are completed and how at least one drives the net.

    When I watch the 'hawks, I see the same old thing, panic passes along the boards that are easily intercepted by a forward or pinching d man often resulting in a turnover. When they attack they rarely hit the line in unison, constantly creating offsides. When they do gain the zone it's stop up along the half wall, look for a trailer or try a lame shot into the crest of the goalie. The forwards are rarely open and teams quite easily box out the 'hawks and we get the perimeter play we're so accustomed to seeing. The other ploy they often try is the D to D pass and then the drop pass to (usually Kane) and he tries to gain the zone with some speed. The idea, of course, is to back off the D with the speed, but more and more teams just line three-up across the blueline and that ends the play with Kane trying to stick handle through and again turning it over.

    Anyway, it (system) doesn't work too well from my vantage point and teams can easily frustrate the 'hawks by taking away time and space.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Thought Keith was the lack person to touch the puck before it went in our net, look what the Kings are doing. Right before the first goal, Bickell was knocked on his ass twice, Shaw once, Bolland almost once and while those three were getting owned, Keith decides to skate down to the hashmarks. To me, that's the hard work I'm talking about, not a single forward was a threat and not a single one was in any position to get back. On the second goal, Keith is playing screw around behind the net when Richards skates in, hits Keith with a medium check and sent him completely out of the play. Keith has made some doozy turnovers in his day without any help, but I thought both of those were forced last night.

    To the point about a system, I agree wholeheartedly that every team in the league knows the way to stop the Hawks is to stack the blueline and give them the perimeter. This is the time of year when all teams start to win by taking away time and space. The Hawks are not incapable of playing that way, but they seem to fight against it as much as possible.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Ok, I get what you are saying now. KIngs earned them on hard physical play. I agree there. That's—as we all know—the easy way to beat the 'hawks and most teams are better equipped to do it than the 'hawks are to dish it back.

    Agreed too about time and space, but ther 'hawks don't have the divers to go deep into the nether world known as the slot.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    LOL, the deep nether world. You make it sound so nefarious.

  • My thoughts on the game: Keith was horrible and looked tired and/or disinterested half the time. On the second goal he weakly reached with his stick instead of taking the hit and protecting the puck, pathetic. Bolland missed two wide open nets which also could have made the difference. I think Quick got into their heads and it showed in the shootout. Faceoffs were also a killer and the powerplay was tentative at best. The beat goes on..

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