Don't bring a knife to a gunfight, Wings 4 - Hawks 1

This write up is pretty simple, the Hawks got outplayed in just about every stat and got out coached. Undoubtedly, the two days off did the Wings a world of good and they were ready for this game. I thought the Hawks started off decent and they got the first goal. But in the second, I just had a feeling after the second goal that the Wings were going to win this game. Defensively, the Hawks were pretty bad today and I'm going to put some of this on Crawford. I don't think he sucked by a long shot, at least not any worse then the rest of the D, but his rebound control today was not very good and the Wings could easily have gotten a couple more. If Crawford stops goals 1 or 4 or both, it's a closer game but they still lose. I think that's an important point. Emery is back on the bench, but I don't know what he could have brought today that Crawford didn't.

Speaking of that, I chose the knife to a gunfight headline because I started to feel like that was what the Hawks did. The Hawks won the hit stat, but this is not a heavy hitting team, save for Kornhole, Smith and Abdelkader who like to give hits that deliver the maximum amount of douche. Bickell today did everything I imagine he was told to do as did Carcillo. Still, that wasn't what was needed today. What was needed, in part, was speed and we all know that is where Stalberg comes in. Given the defensive breakdowns, I'm not sure Stals makes THE difference. If he was out there embracing the third line role, then I imagine he and Bickell might have had themselves a nice game today. If Stals is out there as another version of Saad or Frolik wherein he gets in a dangerous spot and never finishes, then I don't think he makes much difference. Depth wise, the Wings do not have what the Hawks do and I think the series is going to be won or lost there.

Given the dominant performance the Hawks put up the other day, it's kind of hard to fault Q for bringing back the same lineup. Where I need to look at both Q and the players though is in desire. The Wings wanted THIS game, today, and it showed. Toews, again, was abused by several Wings players and though he is the puck beast he always is, he is being negated. Q did finally do some in game tinkering, but it didn't do much. For the next game though, I think there needs to be some changes. Stalberg coming back is one change and another change I'd like to see that will never happen is for Sharp to go back to second line center. Why they keep resisting this is something I don't understand. Handzus, Bolland and Kruger are not the answer for that spot and keeping Sharp out of that spot takes away the chance to move other wingers up to get some different looks. I'm not yet sure I want to see a third line of Hossa, Bolland and Bickell, but I'm ready to see a change in the top line. I guess that sounds kind of like wanting to blow it all up and start over, but regardless of who plays next, they have got to bring a lot more desire to beat this team.

Dropping this game isn't the worst thing in the world and there is likely going to be a lot of overreaction. If Q brings back Stals and sits Carcillo and rolls on with what he had before, that's probably not a horrible idea provided the Hawks come ready to play on Monday. Once again there is a two day break next week and that has to favor the Wings more then it does the Hawks and game five is on Saturday and likely another shitty, day game next weekend. With the reversal blowouts now completed, I would expect the games to get really tight from here on out.


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  • Way to go Quenneville, you sat Stalberg and then ran out of options in a close game in which the Hawks were having trouble creating space. You started mixing all of your lines, and didn’t want Carcillo on the ice because things were going bad, and your team was getting out-skated. Shaw gets been moved down to the 4th line, so that no one on the 3rd is used to playing together. This just resulted in less offensive pressure, and more blown coverages, leading to the Wings 4-1 lead.

    You apparently sat Stals for questioning a power-play that every hockey fan in Chicago wants answers for (and because of his effort in the Minnie series) and your team was supper flat today. Who are you gonna sit next? Great coaching, awesome coaching, coach of the year! Yeah.

    I agree with you Vegas, and I think you summed this one up well. The Wings played maybe their best game, and the Hawks their worst, but defensive coverage was at the heart of it.

    The forecheck was nonexistent, and Q had one of the best at it watching from the press box. I smell over confidence, and the Hawks got bit in more than one way.

    I also agree with your views on Sharp, and exactly, it would allow for a winger (Frolik) to move up.

    I say this with all the praise in the world for this guy, but Saad has been looking a little lost in the playoffs. To be perfectly honest, I think replacing him with Stalberg might have been a big option in this game. 2 players create space when they touch the puck, simply because of the respect the D has to give them, and Stalberg is one of those guys. Toews needs space right now.

    And how the heck was Q losing the match-ups? Toews was getting hounded, and it could have been avoided.

    How they waited until the 2nd round of the playoffs to have Bolland back in his shut-down role is another question i think deserves some answers. We could have dealt with this during the regular season. Anyhow, Sharp to 2nd line center seems unavoidable. Handzus, takes a seat.

  • Took my kids to the theater this afternoon and forgot to set the DVR. Reading the wraps and post-game quotes, it sounds like I picked a great game to miss. It never ceases to amaze me how an entire team of professional hockey players can manage to come into a Stanley Cup playoff game and admittedly be sluggish. What's it take for these guys to get fired up and play their best every game?!

  • This is no excuse, but I think it sucks to have two days off like that and it's the same deal next week. In the first game, the team looked ready to play and three days later they don't. I'm not sure how much of that I can put on Q especially when so many of these guys have been there already. Splitting up Seabrook and Keith was a really good move, but in that game, Keith, Hammer, Seabrook and Leddy were all -2. I think a lot of it comes down to working hard.

    This year, in contrast two the last two years, defense has started with the forecheck which has taken pressure off the D and subsequently Crawford. A guy like Stalberg could be deadly with his speed on the breakout, but unless he is forechecking his ass off, he is not a difference maker. This can also be said of every other forward, especially the top six. If the top six isn't nailing the forecheck, they need to be scoring. Zetterberg found a way to abuse Toews and still record two assists. If they accept they played a shitty game and come back ready to make a statement, I think they will get back on track quickly.

  • I had the opportunity to attend the game- Seats right behind Crawfish (twice) .... just thought I would go for the jealousy card there.

    I couldn't believe my eyes watching the Hawks phone it in. There were a couple of occasions where I watched weak clearing attempts by the Wings trickle out of the zone without much effort by the Hawks D to hold the blueline. This is where the Wings KILLED themselves on Wednesday. Next thing ya know, my guys were gaining confidence in their clearing attempts, they stopped overthinking it and had success. This is an area that really helped us past ANA and their renewed confidence may prove detrimental to the Hawks moving forward. While I agree that dropping one game doesn't mean all that much and that the Hawks are far deeper and certainly the "Better Team" in this match up, I have to say....that doesn't always matter. We matched up better against ANA than we do Chicago but the desire and will to win seems to be there with my team and that is why I like our chances this series. There has been a lot of "overlooking" because of our seeding and I hope that attitude makes it all the way down to the Hawks bench. I think this will be a bigger challenge for the Hawks than most think and it will get really interesting in Detroit this week.

    I don't think either team has played their best game yet. The Wings can play far better than they did yesterday and I expect to see that on Monday night. My guys will have to take both at home to put this series on its ear. Looking forward to seeing what happens!!!

    Other than that, I didn't pay too close attention to the game as I was consuming as many $8 beers as the waitress lady could bring me!!

    Ps. Tip of the hat to the Hawks fans at the UC. Other than some good natured ribbing toward my Yzerman jersey.....they were all very respectful and nice. A major departure from pre Cup years. Kudos to them.

  • Tell us how you really feel HH, lol. Knew we were off the rails after the first and reacted appropriately by pouring two fingers of Crown.

    Big rebounds are part of Crawford and I feel the defence left him out to dry. Contrast what goes on in front of the Wings net with interlopers and what goes on in front of the Hawks'. Our coverage in our end was not good. Wingers looking for break-out passes instead of staying close and kiilling second chances. Shades of last year.

    Getting whupped should wake them up, if anything will. How Q could not win the line match ups puzzles me. Coaches can clearly have off games. They got Toews off his game, completely.

    Wings beat us, plain and simple.

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