When a team is winning, detractors and even moderate critics take an enormous load of crap from the meatballs who keep saying, "TWO CUPS IN FOUR YEARS MY FRIEND!". In between cups, a wide swath of the fanbase screamed for Q's head on a daily basis and found a way to pin pretty much every loss on Q's stupidity. And then they won a cup again and left the critics looking like that guy with a bullhorn on State Street telling the world to repent now. For the world that is not a fan of Q, however, last night had to be a near spiritual experience as nearly everything went bad and proved that he's kind of an idiot despite some namby pamby stats like best record in the league. I'm kinda meh, about the whole thing.
Before I sugar coat things, we should probably admit that last night was a perfect storm of doom. The PK sucks, Frolik is missed, Crawford's contract made him play bad, Q won't try Versteeg on the PK and somehow the replacement of Mike Haviland fits in there. Bollig got nearly 13 minutes of ice time and was a -1, Brookbank played five minutes of forgettable hockey and the Hawks were not very physical my friend. For much of the game, the Hawks flat out got stifled and you have to wonder, does the coaching staff not watch film of other teams? While that's a partial ball bust, I'm actually not disagreeing with it. Frolik is missed, different personnel need to be out there on the PK and it's probably about time that Q does at least one thing that gives the impression he's ready to shake up the whole team.
When the Wild basically turned the game into a grinding affair, I have to admit I kind of lost interest. They killed the Hawks cycling and in my opinion, succeeded in making the Hawks play a game they hate playing, which is to say the Wild played honest hockey. The finished checks, they didn't get caught pinching, they didn't leave a lot of room, they stood up the Hawks at the blue line and made them dump the puck, they out hit the Hawks and got great goaltending from their net minder. And they still almost lost. Even when you do all that to the Hawks, you still never really have them on the mat and out of it and they let the Wild know that with three unanswered goals. But, the Wild came back, kept at it and won. I tip my hat to the Wild for a well played game and for making the most of what they have to work with.
As for the Hawks, I don't think it was a very inspired effort and I'm gonna look in Q's direction there. The personnel decisions are still curious and the refusal to change the players is reminiscent of his refusal to change anything when the PP sucked badly. With Zus out, I see no reason for Pirri to be in Rockford and I certainly don't see the value in Versteeg playing center. The multi use of Brookbank remains curious, especially when he is not that physical. But, I will also say that I really thought Shaw was sorely missed last night. In a game like that, you need the pest, the guy who hits, crashes the net and appears willing to do any damn thing it takes to win. I didn't see a lot of that attitude last night. Crawford didn't suck by a long shot, but neither did he have his best game, and that's gonna happen. Like I said, I don't think it was one of the more inspired efforts by the team and I think they are getting a little complacent in their ability to come out from behind and steal games they have been outplayed in. Still, it's a long freaking season and they are not likely to stay at the top of the heap for the entire season and quite honestly, I don't mind seeing some pullback. While I typically don't go too far down the path of anti Q sentiment, the record seems to be that failure is the only thing that has some chance of making him stop doing what he is doing. Granted, it's a slim chance, but somethings gotta give.
I tend to think they will bounce back a little bit tonight and play a better game, though I am still thinking the Ducks probably take this one. I don't believe we are at the start of a free fall, but I think the team is going to come back to earth for awhile. That might not be the worst thing in the world.
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