A Hard Earned Record Setting Victory.

A Hard Earned Record Setting Victory.

It was anything but pretty, as has been the case with so many NHL games thus far in this shortened and rushed season, but in the end, it was as sweet, if not sweeter than any other regular season victory before it. The Blackhawks had beaten an old time rival, securing a place among the Blackhawks record books, and the win was accomplished through nonconventional methods.

I thought Steve Konroyd said it best, "They had a million excuses to lose this game, but they got it done."

I say nonconventional methods, because it seems the Hawks have found a way to win 6 games in a row through different tactics each time. Blowing a team out of the water, a shooting match, winning little battles, holding on for dear life, fighting for it  and what ever else last night was.

To start, the Hawks looked like the far superior team over Detroit. It felt kind of good seeing the Hawks expose themselves as too much to handle for the newly struggling Wings. Simply, our guys were just too quick for their guys. This would soon change as the game progressed, but not because of skill.

Knowing they were outmatched, the Wings turned to physical methods,  and knowing very well how effective it could be against the Hawks, and that this was their 2nd game in as many nights. The Hawks were already tired as shown in their performance the night before, and Detroit put themselves in a good position to win. Unfortunately for them, this Hawks team seems determined to stay together and fight it out for every win (unlike last year).

I thought that Detroit got away with more than a few in the 1st period, but again, the Hawks were dominating, so I wasn't too worried. Somehow in the 2nd, everything changed as the Hawks racked up penalty upon penalty, including the always annoying too many men. It was a hard period to watch.

This resulted in a very tired half of the bench, and a very cold other half. The PK was great, but they gave everything they had in them to do it, and there was still another period to play. I had hoped Q might mix it up a bit, trying to use those who are not on a PK unit, but Q looks like he is trying so hard to stick to his new found skills of not messing with the lines, that he just let it roll.

Lucky for the Hawks, Duncan Keith is still playing like a madman, blasting the first go-ahead goal early (enough to hold them for most of the game), and Nick Leddy felt like joining him later on in OT.

Let's see:

  • We had another solid performance from Crawford, though I fear he just doesn't have a shutout in him, because that goal against was very stoppable. I still think he is shady in net, and fear a replacement is will end up being necessary, but with every game I feel a little better about him.
  • Saad is going to start scoring soon.
  • Not sure Shaw is going to be the permanent fix for that 3rd line, and I think it might be time to give Frolik a shot at some more ice.
  • This game could have been won in the 1st by the Hawks. I will give that up to a rough schedule thus far. Too bad it isn't getting any better for the next 2 weeks. As was said, they had a lot of excuses not to win this game. Thankfully, the Hawks are beyond excuses right now. In some ways, Detroit has passed the torch of being the hard working team in the division to the Hawks.
  • Keith is playing great hockey, and Hjalmer continues to do the same. I hope Seabrook joins them soon.
  • First game that Kane did not factor in a goal. I will factor in that he didn't really play during the 2nd period. Still, that's quite a good sign for the young winger.
  • Another power-play goal.
  • Nice to see Leddy get a game winner. Notice how much the Detroit defense respected Stalberg to open that up? Yep, that is going to be happening more often. Now they just need to get players on his line who can give him options.

Sorry about the late post. Busy day.

Filed under: Game Recap

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  • Got everything covered HH. Wings game looked similar to the Blues game where Hawks came out smoking and then had the game steadily taken away from them. But they do not quit. That IS different from last year.

    Thought Q starting Crawford was a mistake. Proved me wrong, crow has been pretty solid. But that hot hand thing bears watching. Funny comment of Q white
    knuckling it and sticking with 4 lines. Strong PP, PK, really, how has this happened?

    Lastly, agree that Seabs' head is elsewhere. He looks slow and fat. Hawks could really use some toughness in front of the net from him.

    6-0 and they earned every one. Great stuff.

  • Nice wrap HH. Your third para, for me, says it all. Successful teams, over the long haul, win because they are able to win with depth against a variety of opponents. It's a welcome change from the last two years.

    A few words about Crawford. I remain a bit puzzled by the scrutiny he gets, and it goes way beyond anything said on this blog. I listen to a lot of hockey podcasts, and every single one of them had the same take, "It's all going to come down to goaltending in Chicago". Last season, Crawford ended the season ranked 16th on the team that ranked 10th overall. He gave up two bad goals that directly contributed to their playoff exit last year, but if we are being honest, I don't think anyone can say the Hawks were a cup team last year.

    The top six salaries on the Hawks adds up to 35 mildo, which is over half of next year's cap. Stalberg is a UFA after this season. Leddy is an RFA after this season. Crawford makes 2.6. First and foremost, can the team even match what Crawford brings at that salary? going further, what are we willing to give up to pay for a better goalie? Admittedly, I was never of the believe that Niemi was a league dominant goalie. He had a great season with a very deep team in front of him. He certainly has not carried the Sharks, who were lucky to get him below his arbitration award.

    If this team was built to be a defense first team, I think it would make sense to pay up for a more dominant goalie. But, this team is instead built to be dominant and score. I can live with what Crawfords strengths and limitations are.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Good point about the cost of a "better" goaltender.

    I think Niemi is a far better goaltender than Crawford. I have been watching the Sharks a lot this year, and he is capable of making saves not many others are. Plus, he seems to have figured out his positioning and rebound control. A few of the goals against him have been flukes, and he hasn't let too many in.

    I would take Niemi in a heart beat.
    Look out for those Sharks though, they are just as hot as the Hawks. Looks like their time has finally come.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    Niemi also got called out in the media by his coach last year and was told he needs to be better. He might be far better then Crawford, but what is always most important to me is where the team winds up. His team ultimately fared no better then the Hawks last year and though he finished higher in stats then Crawford, he could not overcome the weakness of that team. I look at Niemi and Crawford and the teams they have played for in the last two years, I see a few things that look familiar.

    As for the Sharks, I'm am watching a bit of that game tonight as well. They look like a much better team and I would agree it might be a year they finally jump the hurdle. If not, they will be jumping the shark. Sorry, couldn't resist that one.

  • Congrats on the hot start. In a shorten season, it is the equivalent of going 12-0! Impressive. Scotty Bowman always used to preach about the first 20 games of the regular season being extremely important. He would say that taking wins during that time while other teams are still "figuring themselves out" were wins that would count more in late January/February when a slide was mostly likely to occur. Unfortunately for me, I guess my team is in that "other" stage.

    I knew the Hawks were coming off a battle the night before and was hoping that it would be enough of a factor for my team to steal one away. I wasn’t too confident in my squad going in as we still have a lot of rust, bugs, injuries and an entire blue line to figure out.

    At this point, I will have to trust Ken Hitchcock when he said "[It will] probably six weeks total, before everybody gets up to speed". While I would rather be on a run like the Hawks, simply staying over .500 in these first weeks may be a more realistic goal.

    Good luck tonight with the Wild and that crazy roster they assembled. Here's to 7-0!

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