The picture was either going to be this one, of Patrick Sharp scoring a goal, because he did that a lot this weekend, or of Raanta letting in a goal, because he did a lot of that last night. Since I didn't post after the big win, I find myself in an interesting position of critique. There was a lot to praise, and a lot to complain about from a Hawks fan perspective. What I am left thinking the most is that the Hawks have had the same little holes in their otherwise superhero-like exterior through the course of this season, and even before it. These issues might end up being a problem by the time playoffs roll around, and they might not be. The strength of this team most definitely has it in them to overcome their shortcomings, and Patrick Sharp scoring 4 goals in 2 nights while Kaner continues his point streak are 2 of those strengths.
Okay, so the Hawks blow the Avs out of the water thanks to Sharp's hat-trick. We have spent quite a bit of time promoting the awesomeness that is Sharp this season, in every aspect of his game, so I don't need to say much more here, but if this guy is not on the Olympic roster then there are some serious issues in the selection process.
And while we are on the subject of players buying for a spot on the Canadian roster, how's about that Seabrook? It kills me that Seabs has been racking up points and killing it in the plus/minus department, because others have such an argument against my contempt for his play this year, which has been better than last year, and has also been better in the past 5-7 games, but not last night. Yes, he has great vision with the puck, can make a great breakout pass, and pinch at the right times, but he costs the Hawks far too many goals and scoring chances against for just plain brainfarts and lack of effort.
Raanta was not good last night, and he allowed his customary 2 goals against to an Avs team that should have been shutout, but he doesn't even have to screw that equalizing goal up if Seabrook can clear the puck on his 2 tries, and not let a slow skater blow past him. Raanta, same issues as before. Get out of your net and learn the angles better. You aren't big enough to not do it. I suggest a few nights of watching Jonathan Quick videos and how aggressive he is on shooters and the puck. I was burned last night after talking Raanta up to friends, not that I don't acknowledge the work he needs. At the end of the day though, goaltending has not been a friend to the Hawks.
Friday night's and the heavy list of injuries to the Blues set up a pretty good scenario for the Hawks. A 1st and 3rd period 2-goal lead presented a must win situation, and being the powerful team the Hawks are, it should have been easy to squeeze the Blues out. But, they didn't, the players got lazy, and so did the coaching staff. Bad match-ups in the end, and bad management of the lines and players helped blow this game.
Giving Smith more ice-time, I'm all for it. The kid does everything right, and what do you know, he also seems to kill it at the dot in important situations. Somebody who wasn't winning important face-offs was Shaw. So, I find it curious that Shaw was sat in the 3rd to play a Kruger/Smith/Saad line in the 2nd game in as many nights only to put Shaw out there for an important face-off in the defensive zone.
So, Shaw, Bickell, and Bollig all get sat in the 3rd period, again, in a back-to-back game situation when Q's main goal should be keeping his stars healthy all year. Okay, does that mean Q agrees that we would be better off having Morin up, a player that kills it in puck possession stats and in generating offensive chances, instead of sitting Bollig for an entire period? The Blues are the one team we should have a player like Bollig for, and Q can't even play him with a 2-goal lead in the 3rd.
It was a rough night for all, but small choices, and little plays were the difference last night. The Hawks have the skill to overcome these oversights, but wouldn't it be better not to see them at all? Still, 3 points in 2 games should be considered a victory even if they gave 2 points away to their biggest threat in the league.
Leaving you on a high note: That play in the Avs game, when Sharp came from behind Matt Duchene (one of the fastest skaters in the league) on the breakaway, lifted his stick, cleanly took the puck and turned it around for a stretch pass to put put Toews in on a great rush for an easy goal was one of the sickest plays of any Hawks this year. These are the kind of plays that will overshadow the little holes of the team.
Filed under: Game Recap