The Chicago Blackhawks: Trounced in St. Louis 5-1.

The Chicago Blackhawks: Trounced in St. Louis 5-1.

Words that come to mind while watching this game are, pummeled, trounced, overcome, overwhelmed, overpowered, and conquered. All of  which made me want to turn the game off by the start of the 3rd period. Reading around a bit, I noticed an unwillingness to look at this game as too telling towards what kind of team the Hawks are. I am not going to go so far as too view it as a sign of impending doom, but I do think it showed us who and what this Hawks team is made of. Keep in mind, they play the Blues twice more before the months end. Still, taking 2 of the 3 road games without Toews is worth a nod, and is better than I would have thought possible.

There is little reason to get into the specifics of this game, as I would hate to relive them, or make you do the same. The Blues have confidence, and a great coach who helped them realize their skill as individuals and as a team unit this year. The Hawks have neither from my perspective. The Hawks have won games that were handed to them, and taken a few away as they did the other night in Detroit, but they have not shown to me that they can beat a team like the Blues consistently, who are better at playing a system game, are a physical threat, and who control the pace of the play.

All of the consistent issues presented themselves last night. The physical beating was a train wreck, the Hawks got clumsy in their zone again, had no flow through the neutral zone, the power-play was a giant reason for the outcome, the PK little better, and Kaner (who had been on a recent tare through opposing defenses) was neutralized by a physically, and positionally tough team. The only exciting moment was when Bollig and Reaves duked it out at center ice, old-time hockey style, and I am not one to enjoy the fights.

The power-play was a huge factor, but the Hawks lost this game as soon as it began, coming out flat, without any energy or will to play the game. Bollig gets mad props for asserting himself and attempting to generate some enthusiasm for the Hawks, but the following shift showed that there was nothing there to motivate. Eventually, a failed clearing attempt would end up in the Hawks net as the barrage on Emery was well underway. I felt good about how Emery handled himself in this one. He never seemed to get frustrated, kept his head in the game and made some big saves even though I am sure he knew it was going to be a long night.

The only offense ever generated was by the Sharp/Stalberg/Kruger line. Stalberg had a few chances, created some space within the Blues well positioned defense with his speed and could have been a difference maker if he had cashed in on a couple of his chances. Sharp also knocked on Halak's door a couple of times, but Halak is Halak, and he is on fire these days (only adding to the fact that St. Louis is most likely the best team in the NHL right now) which spells slim pickings for his opponents. Getting back to Sharp for a second though, who had a blatant opportunity in which he thought he scored on a one-timer, but it never crossed the line. This was a play that Sharp usually buries and could stand as an example for how much Chicago was on their toes in this one.

Seabrook seemed to be well aware of what the Blues bring physically, and he took it upon himself to step in and protect his teammates on many occasions, which is something I have not seen from him in a while. This might be a wake-up call for him, as he has looked lack-luster in recent games.

I really don't care to go on about this game. The power-play was so bad that it allowed a shorty, was a neagtive 1 on 5 opportunities, the Hawks were embarrassed at every corner of the ice and were destroyed as a result. Is this a sign of worse things to come? Given that the Hawks surprised me with strong play the few games prior, this game just washes all that away, leaving me once again completely unsure about what this team is truly capable of.

We have the Rangers, Kings, and then Blues again at home in the next 3. The schedule doesn't get much easier after that either, so I will look to how the Hawks respond in this home-stand before making any predictions on the future. As it stands, the Hawks are still in 6th, with the Yotes and Sharks right below them. The Kings are just outside looking in and pose the biggest threat to the Hawks not making the playoffs. At 74 points to the Hawks 79, the Kings have played 2 games less than the Hawks. To put it another way, if the Hawks do not play some really good hockey over these next 3 games, they could find themselves in a really bad place. Yeah, Im a little nervous right now.


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  • Had to look up the "Yotes" reference.

    Since I don't have cable, I turned off the radio at the end of one. Along with the Hawks not doing anything, I get the feeling from Troy that the Hawks always get called for the penalty and the opponents' don't, and every goal scored by the opponents is a fluke, although basically any goal scored in hockey (other than a slap shot on net) is. From what you indicate, the Hawks have far more substantial problems.

  • One of the thoughts I took away from watching that game was that the Blues, like the Hawks in 09-10, have finally reached relevance.....after sucking badly for a long time. Slowly they picked up players here and there and finally brought in Mr. Systems, a coach ideally suited to the players in house. What he's done is remarkable. However, a system is not the only thing that has helped that team. What has helped is a system that fits the players the team has. Right now, the Blues are a team that has everything going for it, and the Hawks are not.

    Looking around various blogs, I can see enthusiasm fading for the Hawks and most folks, myself included, are just repeating themselves. So I'll talk about one thing I did enjoy watching last night, Johnny Oduya. He's made some really bad plays and bad passes since he's been here, but I really like watching the way he plays positionally. He gets really low and, I think, makes himself a tougher target to hit. Though he's made some passes, he's also impressed me with his ability to move the puck. He's also come into this inconsistent team cold and gone right to eating up 20 plus minutes a night. I'd like to see him stay next year.

  • Well, here's a question folks. Let's say the 'hawks make the playoffs and advance beyond the first round, or, even the second round. Would you feel good about this team? I'm at the point where I really don't care if they make the playoffs as this would send the wrong message to management, I think. The changes that need to be made are just too exhaustive to list.

    So, make the playoffs and flop, or miss, and start looking forward to next year with some much discussed, much anticipated change?

    It would be painful to watch this team get beaten down like last night again.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    I don't think anyone actually feels good about this team as it is. They could still surprised team or two. But it's not likely.

  • What a mess. One guy, ray emery, came to play. How can this be? They just refuse to engage. Trying to think their way around the rink. The power play is nothing more than nervous nellies making dinky passes. The hawks don't know what to do and it is miserable to watch.

  • Angry fantasy of the day: I would love to watch someone catch Kronwall not looking and destroy him with a hit and then skate over to the wings bench with a teammate and fist bump each other in front of the Wings. Kronwall isn't old school hockey, he's just a Phaneuf like douchebag.

  • I think the "pussification" of the NHL has gotten to you Vegas when you whine about a guy like Kronwall all the time- Look, he is a tough player and plays a strong physical game. I know it is not always perfect, but those are the risks and mistakes that come with that style of play. I assume that your recent "angry fantasy" stems from the hit he made during the Flyers game?

    The hit against the Flyers Voracek wasn’t dirty at all. This is the f*ing NHL! Guys have got to start being ready for it, they've got to know when he's out there. He tries to keep it as clean as he can, but when a guy is skating with his head down and his head forward, it's hard to miss. He steps up. He keeps it clean. He's got his arm down. He's trying to hit with his whole body. What else can you ask him to do? I mean, if pulling up and letting him by is the answer, then it confirms that you may in fact prefer the "pussification" of the NHL of which I do not.

    KEEP YOUR HEAD UP! That’s stuff you learn in Pee Wee league!

  • In reply to OneTeam:

    That's a specious argument. Your point is either he blows him up with a "clean" shot to the head and leave him shaking on the ice, or he let's him get by for an inevitable goal. Lidstrom and White each have about the same number of points as Kronwall, yet Lidstrom has a +/- of 25 while White has a +/- of 30. Kronwall, +/- 0. Guys like Kronwall play the game to destroy people. His latest wrinkle is take a few strides and jump up and turn and plant his ass into the chest of another player.

    He is very good at what he does. He knows how to cause a lot of damage and not get whistled for it and "rugged" fans like yourself enjoy his selfless and tireless effort to free the game of players skating with their heads down. Compared to other defensemen out there, who play the puck or the body, Kronwall plays to make the hit and lives for the chance to send someone flying off their skates. He's not a complete player, but for your fanbase, he's entertaining.

    If you had to choose between having Hossa or Kronwall on your team based on which player gives your team a better chance to win each night, who would you pick?

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    I must have missed this last part the first time through- I dont even understand why you would ask the question- Its not as if my remarks (above) made some suggestion that Kronwall was the best player in the league or even of the highest level- I was simply saying he wasnt dirty and that I enjoy that he LOVES to make yard sales outta opposing players-

    So, even though the question is totally ridiculous I will give you an answer simply for fun:

    I would take Hossa for the regular season. Kronwall for the playoffs.

    For two reasons:

    1. 82 game schedule requires a lot of sustained scoring and Hossa has an obvious edge in that department. No question about it, Hossa would be my pick. (


    2. I have always maintained that Hossa is a no-show come playoff time. So with his scoring no longer something he brings to the table, I would rather go with tough defenseman during the second season grind and with a guy that doesnt seem "injured" in every series.

    For whatever thats worth- Ha ha!

  • I respect your opinions but totally disagree-

    First: Speaking of specious arguments. Comparing ANY player to Lidstrom is a bit much to live up to and considering that Ian White has been Lidstrom’s defensive partner pretty much all season, it is no surprise to anyone that his numbers would blow up (literally) 12X's higher than his career season average. In fact, White hasn’t ever broken single digits (+/-) until this season and now he is at a +30?? Makes you wonder if the same would be true of Kronwall if he ever shared the blueline with the greatest defensive player of our generation. I guess I’m not really sure what the +/- stat brings to your point. But if you feel that Kronwall isn’t a complete player, then you can feel free to believe that. (BTW- Kronwall just happened to be named the NHL Second Star of the Week this past Monday and he has a career-high 14 goals, which is tied for second among NHL defensemen this season. Not bad of a one dimensional player)

    Second: "His latest wrinkle is take a few strides and jump up and turn and plant his ass into the chest of another player." Now Vegas, that sounds illegal. If what you are saying was actually true, then it sure is curious that Kronwall has never has been suspended in his career. I assume that either means he plays it clean or there is a VAST conspiracy to protect him. I mean, he isn’t Sydney Crosby- Why would the NHL go out of their way for a dirty, one dimensional NHL defenseman that isn’t even ranked in the top 20 and (as you so aptly pointed out) has a 0 +/- rating. How do you explain that?

    Third: With regard to the Voracek hit-- you should note that it isn’t just the opinion of this homer or other Wings fans-- Flyers main attraction and Assistant Captain Claude Giroux even said "(it was) a good hit. I didn't really see it either, if it was a head shot or not, but Kronwall is pretty good at those hits."

    So while the NHL, “rugged” fans like myself and even Flyer players see nothing “wrong” necessarily with that hit, it would appear that maybe you just don’t have the stomach for that kind of hockey. To each their own I guess. I happen to believe it is one of the best parts of the game. Perhaps Im a relic from the 80's and 90's when this style of hockey was more prevalent and players were less careless to admire their own pass, skate with their heads down, etc… It’s a contact sport. Players have to protect themselves and in most cases, not expect the league to do the protecting for them.

  • In reply to OneTeam:

    Giroux's comment is pretty spot on, finding the player with his head down and destroying him is what Kronwall is good at. Kronwall has had a couple of hits this year where he did the ass in the chest shot and it's only when you really slow it down that you see he is already off the ice. Even on a couple Wings blogs fans were surprised he did not get suspended for some of his hits. He's not a "dirty" player like Cooke, but his intention is the same.

    To me, it's not about not having the stomach for good hits. Instead, it's about seeing an exciting, flowing game of hockey. Plenty of players out there make huge hits, upend players and yes, even blast the guy with his head down. Yet, a lot of them find a way to do it without bringing the game to a halt. When Kronwall makes his hits, the game stops and he skates over to his bench and stands there to do his punk little fist bump. Is that old school love of the game? No. It's saying, look at what a badass I am. That's the punk shit the game doesn't need.

    The wailing that players are standing around watching their passes today is overblown. Several Hawks rookies have gotten blasted for having their heads down and I do fault them for skating that way. The difference is this, a player like Kronwall lives to punish a player for that crime. Other players may inflict just as much damage, but it's not the primary objective and they don't go and openly gloat about making someone look like Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

    Undoubtedly, we are not going to change each others mind on this and I'm good with that. Like it or not, and there are things I don't like, the game has changed. Hitting and playing physical still has a big and important place in the game. Hit's like Kronwall's disrupt rather then contribute to an overall game plan. Did it help his team win that night?

  • I agree... Heads up! Keep that head on a swivel. However it's not always possible to know where the puck is if your head is up looking for the next hit. Kronwall is mostly a clean player. However he seems to take advantage (more than anyone else) at guys with their heads down. I too would like to see Kronwall layed out big.

  • And if/when Kronwall does get laid out for having his head down- Thats the nature of the beast baby!- You wont hear me whine about it....

  • In reply to OneTeam:

    Much as I'd like to see Kornhole receive what he dishes out, I do want to be clear I don't want to see him or any other player taken away on a stretcher. However, I would like to see whoever lays him out skate over and taunt the Wings with a fist bump.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Fair enough.

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