Why that Horse-Poop the Blackhawks call a Power-Play kept them from winning some hockey.

Why that Horse-Poop the Blackhawks call a Power-Play kept them from winning some hockey.

Not even a single shot on net. Not one. That is how many shots the Hawks registered in their 3 power-play opportunities, and it happens to include a full minute of 5-on-3 hockey. Honestly, I was fairly happy with the overall performance of the Blackhawks tonight against a pretty darn strong Devils team. I would even go so far as to say that the Hawks deserved the 2 points in regulation, that is, if they could have mustered something, anything, at least a chance during their 3 power-plays. I am disturbed that it has gone this long without any sustained improvement, and it has me questioning their chances come playoffs, if they make it in.

Luckily, the other 4 teams in the running, besides the Sharks lost their last games, which helps the Hawks stay 5 points up with only 5 games remaining. However, they have to face the Blues, and Preds once more, and the suffering Wings who are riding the injury train before finding out their place in this season's festivities. At worst, I see the Hawks grabbing 5 of the next 10 possible points which should have them playing hockey well into April.

So lets get to this game, shall we?

  • This game was a good measure for the Hawks and the way they play hockey. It started out looking bad for them. The defense was not getting any help from the forwards, and the transition game was faltering as a result. The Devils were pressuring hard, getting the majority of the chances and it eventually landed them a power-play goal. It got better, just stay with me.
  • That one goal was almost enough for the Devils, as Brodeur played some awesome hockey in net. It boggles my mind that he is still playing, but man did he show us why tonight. As I mentioned, the Hawks most likely win this game in regulation, and besides not scoring on the PP, it was Brodeur who was the reason why it did not happen. The shots were 39 to 22 in the Hawks favor.
  • Crawford was decent in his own right at the other end of the ice, but I am still not sold, and he was still beat by the opposing goalie. Question, would Emery have started if he was not ill before the game? I would have started him, and I stand behind that statement. Not worth going into though, since Crow was sharp tonight.
  • Seabrook would be the eventual goal scorer for the Hawks, but it was his fault that the Devils received their PP goal. He turned over the puck, and was guilty of the penalty as a result, which sent the Devils into that power-play where they looked just about as bad as the Hawks for most of it, but found gold at the end of the rainbow in the form of a god-awful bad time for a line-change. It ended up costing the Hawks 2 points, as Sykora made them pay in a 3-on-1 situation while still killing that said power-play. Terrible timing for a line-change.
  • The response to this goal was pleasing however, and it centered around the Sharp, Stalberg, Kruger line. As mentioned, it was Seabrook who scored the loan Hawks goal, but I thought it would be one of these guys. Stalberg, and Sharp were everywhere, and had the majority of offensive chances for the team. The momentum picked up by these guys carried on into the 2nd, where the Hawks established control over the game from then on.
  • As the defensive coverage was weak in the beginning, and the support nowhere to be found in the 1st, the Hawks kicked into gear by the 2nd, and held it up for the better part of the next 45 minutes of hockey; making a believer out of me.

Do we need to waist any time talking about the wretched power-play anymore? Do we need to restate the obvious, that when you don't score during the 5-on-3, you have no right winning the game? All I ask is to see something different from them. Maybe a change in the line-up? How about not even sending a power-play unit out at all, just keep rolling the regular lines as usual, paying no attention to the man-advantage. Or, and this might be a stretch, we actually see something that resembles a play that might have been worked on during practice. What we get is the same old horse-poop where nobody moves and nothing happens. Well, I actually did see them attempt a dump and chase scenario for once. That is a start (that should have started months ago).

  • There was a moment not long after the failed 5-on-3 that Stalberg made an unbelievable play to keep things alive in the offensive zone, but no other Hawk moved in as support. Other than that, I was happy with the play for the next period and in OT. The Hawks looked good.
  • Seabrook's goal in the 3rd was at the hands of a nice forecheck that took possession away from the Devils, in which Bolland made a smart pass to Seabs, who blasted it passed a screen on Brodeur who essentially stopped everything he saw throughout the night. Surprise, get in front of the net.
  • There was a big moment when Leddy was rushing up the side and somehow lost control of the puck, even though he seemed to be blasting passed everyone. He did not give up though, and skated back hard to assist Oduya in putting out the flame. This caused a rush up the ice for the Hawks involving Stalberg and Sharp where they came very close to notching the game-winner. My props go out to everyone involved in that play. It was almost the game changer, and it did end up drawing another penalty from the Devils with 2 minutes left. HA!
  • Hossa ended that PP with a penalty of his own. He had a rough night all around, and it has me worried that he might be getting into his usual playoff form a little early.
  • I kept yelling to see Stalberg out there during the OT, and I finally got my wish. Oh, he almost scored alright, but isn't that how it goes with Stalberg? Do everything right until the finishing moment. Seabrook also had a pretty big chance of his own, but Brodeur was better again.

Into the shootout: Crow was good, and Brodeur was better. I might sound like a whining broken record at this point, but can we please see something creative during the shootout portion? Come on Kane, you dazzled everyone with that quadrupole deek earlier in the year. Where can we get more of that? Stalberg, just use your speed here, and make the move to your forehand. Brodeur played you on that shot. Sharp found his hole, Shaw hit the post, and the Devils were more creative in their chances here. 2-1 Devils win in this 3 point game. This point might actually come in handy 5 games from now.

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  • I dunno, I didn't see this game, but I feel like I'm tired of seeing the words (opposing goalie) had an awesome game. Mason aside, they are all NHL goalies, they are all good. Against teams that do not lock the game with choking defense, the Hawks style of free lancing will frequently create a truly unstoppable chance. Against teams that know how to play defense, we get perimeter shots, blazing up ice rushes that end with luck going to the goalies chest and post game blogs talking about their goalie outplaying ours. If the Blue Jackets could play an effective trap, I swear to God we would be saying Mason played a great game and stole one for the Jackets. This is not a dig at you HH, I see it on every blog and media coverage of the Hawks. Yes, opposing goalies do have good games, but more often then not, I feel like the team is simply stymied but tight D. And of course , their inability to score a PP goal. Your idea is actually good, why bother with a special team any more, just keep the lines the same and stop putting forwards on the point.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    I see where you are coming from on the goaltending thing, and your right, we have heard and said this many times before. And, while I do not think the coaches have done the best jobs with our goaltenders in recent history, I am also not delusional about Crawford's abilities versus other goalies in the league. The problem is deeper than defense, and I think we can say the Hawks defense has dramatically improved as of late. There has been a boom in quality goaltenders over the past 5 years or so. They are so much better on average than they were 10 years ago. Brodeur was one of the first of a new wave, and showed again why he might be the greatest to have ever played the game.

    Crawford is not a reactionary goaltender, so he gets beat by really well placed shots, and surprises. He attacks the puck in a similar fashion on most attempts, just watching tapes tells you where to shoot. I had my doubts about him and then he had a good season last year. Goalies have a habit of doing that. One good season is not enough to prove your total worth. I think Crow is a good back-up goaltender, but as our starter, we are going to keep singing that tune of, the other goalie was better. Even in a game where the Hawks controlled the vast majority of it, and played smart D from the 1st period on, he was still outplayed by the opposing goaltender. Not blaming this loss on Crawford at all mind you, he kept the Hawks in it. He just will not ever be a Brodeur, or a Rinne, or Lundqvist, Halak, Quick, Rask, Thomas, Howard, Giguere, Miller, Lehtonen, Khabibulin, etc. He won't ever be as good as Niemi either, and we let him go.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    HH, you're talking about two different styles. CC and Emerey are what are known as Drop 'n' stop. That is, they make themselves large and try to block out as much of the 24sq feet as possible. They both play deep in the crease and both have relatively poor lateral mobility. They are shot blockers and yes, they can be easy to figure out. Neither attacks the puck in my opinion. They sit back and wait for it to hit them which is why they get beat from well placed shots so often.

    You're right too, CC will never be a Miller, Niemi, et al because these are athletic goalies who play angles and do attack the puck.

    My preference is for a more athletic goalie who is reactive and attempts to minimize the scoring angles rather than the static postioning approach that CC plays, if that makes any sense.

    I agree though, CC is not #1 material.

  • Take the important point and move on, even though it should have been a regulation win. It's going to take a monumental collapse by the 'hawks—which they are capable of— or an incredible run by any of the bubble teams to wrest 6th away from the 'hawks at this point. Can't see it happening. However, it should all come clear after the weekend games.

    After the first ten minutes the 'hawks looked good for the most part, and holding the Devils to eight shots through the last two periods shows they were in lock down mode for the better part of the game.

    Vegas, most of the shots did come from perimeter areas and, as usual, they chose to overpass when there really were good opportunities presented. For the most part the Devils boxed them out and it was the usual hit Brodeur in the crest when they managed to get some through.
    Hawks do make many goalies look good on any given night.

    The team doesn't have a lot of finish at the moment and last night there was nobody in the greasy areas often enough to make an impact.

    Q, once again baffles me, by choosing Montador over Frolik to play on the fourth line … last I checked he was a D man.

    As for the PP, standing around doesn't nearly describe well enough how pathetic this team looks with a man advantage. I actually do think it is a good idea to just roll the lines rather than designate units. Some teams don't even practice the PP, and just let the players play. I think the coaching should back off and just let the players free-lance out there.

    Tough to gauge CC's play last night since he really didn't have a lot to do after the first 5 minutes.

  • Once again, too much Swedish, not enough Finish?

  • Bring back Niemi and trade for Ruutu too!

  • every team has a few defensive lapses,when we do its in the back of the net ,my son and i were going over every teams goalies and if we would take theirs or ours and man i think we would take about ninety five percent of the other teams goalies,point being no way we go deep in playoffs with our goalies or our power play. saying that crawford will get first shutout of year tonight against blues

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