Circus Trip Fatigue, The Blackhawks grab another 2 points in Dallas.

Circus Trip Fatigue, The Blackhawks grab another 2 points in Dallas.

Not that the Dallas Stars are anything to laugh at, but it seemed like we were watching the circus trip catch up to the Hawks last night. They just didn't have the fire and edge we have seen lately. Give credit to the Stars, they played a tough and surprisingly quick game which could have easily won them the 2 points in regulation. Both goaltenders were tough to beat, with the exception of a total brain fart by Crawford. In the end, the Hawks proved yet again that they can win those hard fought 1-goal games as well.

Dallas looked so much quicker on their skates than I am used to seeing. Their place in the standings doesn't exactly do their team justice, but the strength at which they played the Hawks last night was beyond anything I anticipated. The circus trip is a tough one though, which is wearing on the team and brought out some fairly bad play at times from the guys in white. Too many bad plays to count, especially from a certain pair of defensemen. There just wasn't much effort.

Observations:

  • Keith and Seabrook were really hard to watch last night. Not only were they making less than smart plays, but they seemed uninterested in catching people who got around them after a not so smart play. 
  • In related news, Pirri's time in the doghouse continued from the Calgary game. After seeing next to zero minutes of playing time in the second half of the Flames game, Pirri was the only Hawk to play fewer than 10 minutes last night. Keith and Seabrook can make all the boneheaded plays they want, but Pirri knows that he has no freedom to do the same. Isn't that just an awesome way to coach a player!
  • In what might also be related news, Pirri's doghouse resulted in him being taken off of the 2nd line to be replaced by Handzus, and Patrick Kane ended his point streak on that same night. Now I know that this was not the main reason for Kane not scoring, I'm just saying. Kane was not the dominant player we have seen in the past few weeks, but neither were any of the "core" really.
  • Save for a continually aggressive Patrick Sharp, who's energy driven play resulted in the Hawks only regulation goal. He helped force a turnover with an aggressive pursuit of the puck and check, and then got to the front of the net for a tip-in.
  • Like I said, besides Crawford's ugly hiccup, both goaltenders were perfect. Crawford played the rest of the game wonderfully, but i hope he gets an ear-full for leaving his net and crapping his pants after doing so. Crawford should have a tight leash in his leaving the net allowance. He just isn't strong on his skates, and god help his puck handling skills. It was a rare treat watching Raanta make plays behind his net with ease the other night.
  • When the Hawks are forced to play a lot of defense, things can get ugly. Too many Hawks players standing around and not moving their feet resulted in a very successful forecheck and backcheck by the Stars. The Hawks lost so many small battles, which is almost never the case.
  • Smith had another good game, and when he was picked to finally end that redundant shoot-out, I looked to my wife and said, "It's over, Smith is putting this one in the net." There was just no creativity from either teams in that one. I thought about just turning it off.

Hawks get the extra point, which gives them 10 out of a possible 12 in this trip so far. It is already a success. Can't say I am anticipating tonight's game, and I would guess that the Hawks aren't too excited either. I wonder if Raanta gets the start after a rough one for Crow? To be honest, I sort of expected Raanta to start last night.

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  • "Keith and Seabrook can make all the boneheaded plays they want, but Pirri knows that he has no freedom to do the same. Isn't that just an awesome way to coach a player!"

    Really, HH? You're comparing Keith & Seabrook to Brandon Pirri? I think one of the premier defensive pairs in the NHL can have an off night once in a while, without fearing repercussions (and if I remember correctly Quinneville sat Seabrook, and or Keith last year when they slacked off, too). Hey, I, too like Pirri, and would love to see him succeed, but, on the other hand, he still needs to have almost flawless shifts (both offensively, and defensively) to prove he belongs with the big club, because there are a plethora of others in Rockford, and other places waiting to earn his place on the roster. You're a teacher, aren't you a little harder on the students you know have the talent, and ability to do better, but didn't give you their best effort?
    And, oh yeah, we get it- you don't like Quinneville. One of the winningest coaches in the NHL, you know, the one who brought us two Cups in four years (with another one possibly on the way). What's your suggestion for an alternative? Please don't tell me anyone could do the same with the talent the Blackhawks have (that theory has been debunked in every major sport). Let's see..., Tortorella, and Vigneault were available last year, so was Lindy Ruff. I'd love to see one of those three mopes at the helm, wouldn't you?

    Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • In reply to DeerTech:

    Fair response.
    Seabrook has been playing terrible hockey all year, and it wasn't much better last year, save for some moments in the playoffs. It took a lot for Q to finally sit him, and he hasn't done anything about his play this year. Keith had a bad game, which made Seabs look even worse.

    As a teacher, I expect a lot out of my students, but I also leave significant room for failure, because failure is one of the things that teaches us the most. I don't like the super short leash he keeps on Pirri, and a good coach should know what works for his players. This is obviously not helping Pirri in any way.

    No, I am not a fan of Q, and there is significant evidence to support why in this blog. At the same time, the numbers are in his corner, and the Hawks have won 2 cups under him. Yes, I think many other coaches would have done the same (but that is just an opinion). What I will say is that my perspective is supported by other knowledgable Hawks blogs out there. If Q didn't have the packed roster, he would not be a winning coach. It is easy for me to like people, and Q just hasn't ever won me over. I did however mention in a recent post, that watching Tortorella coach makes me happy to have Q. I would puke if Vigneault were the coach.

    Why can't I have higher standards for people who are supposed to be the best at what they do, and that make 5 mil and year? Q has his strengths, but I see far too many flaws, and he can take the critique.

    Q had other coaches in the NHL telling him how to coach his team last year, when he had no solution for the power-play, a power-play he fired someone else for. He gets out coached on most nights. He has a powerhouse roster that covers it up.

  • Maybe you guys have talked about this in the column before, but as you bring this topic up here's a question:

    If you could dump Q and replace him with anyone in the world to coach the Blackhawks, who would you pick?

  • My first thoughts are Mike Babcock, and Barry Trotz. I'm a fan of Ken Hitchcock even if he is of the same traditional mindset that Q is. I think Todd McLellan would bring a player's coach mentality and I also like his mindset. I think Dave Tippett has out-coached Q pretty often, and I like how he has adapted to different roster situations.

    These are all coaches that come to mind right now, but I often admire certain moves from other coaches around the league.

    One thing I can say that Q does well is give the players their space and freedom. He also does a pretty good job in front of the media, but I often find his remarks to empty about the games.

  • The only coach I would swap Q for at this point would be Babcock. Trotz or Tippet, coaching this team, would have the effect of stifling one of the most awesome collections of offensive talent we are going to see for probably quite some time. McLellan lets his team play a little more open. Tippet and Trotz have outcoached Q at times, and still haven't won a cup since he's been here. As for Hitchcock, I'm not so sure I'd want to see him come here.

    It's hard for me to not take don't fix what isn't broken attitude. I'd like to see Pirri stay in the 2C slot, see Morin up with the club and see Raanta get some more time. That said, I can't say I feel like the team is somehow chained to earth because those things aren't happening. Someday, Q is going to get fired, and I doubt we will be happy with his successor. This is how sports work.

  • How does two out of three work for you, Vegas ? Morin is back with Shaw out and it is a safe bet that Raanta will see more ice as the back to backs continue. Pirri will get to play 2c in Rockford.

    As to Q, he is similar to most coaches in that he can raise the ire of the fan base. I abhor the way he allocates ice time but acknowledge that two Cups in 4 years is better than his predecessors did in the 49 years after 1961.

  • In reply to Pilotefan:

    Ha, I saw that after I hit send. I'm okay with it. I generally like what I was seeing out of Pirri, but I think that any 2C that plays with Sharp and Kane needs to be more defensively aware. On a team that is so ridiculously stacked with four of the top six having won two cups together, I just don't think it's easy for a rookie to break into that.

    I agree with your comments on the Q and take the good with the bad. He is not a developmental coach and I kind of think that any coach in the NHL who is good at development is likely there because the team sucks and he has just been called up from the AHL to replace a sacked NHL coach. I think most coaches at the NHL level are going to keep going to veterans because they believe that's what will win tight games. It doesn't do the kids any good, but with how well Q knows this team now, I think he's going to get away with winning by using a bad strategy more often then not.

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