Not exactly how you draw it up, morons.
The Hawks got two points in just about the most unconvincing fashion tonight, giving up 44 shots to the Hurricanes (who to be fair, put up 38 in Minnesota not too long ago). And when the Hawks give up that many shots, you know something is structurally or fundamentally wrong.
Tonight, and for the second night in a row, the Hawks decisions with and management of the puck was a few zip codes away from suck. I lost count of how many times in the neutral zone they chose the wrong pass or option, or how many times they simply whiffed on either making or receiving a pass. And it was everyone. Even Toews looked like he was trying to juggle chainsaws on quaaludes at the other blue line tonight.
When the Hawks are this careless and sloppy with the puck, it basically tears down their whole defensive game. Because that is built on them standing up at their own blue line with furious back pressure forcing teams to make plays and decisions a whole lot quicker than they want to. But when the puck is just turned over, they can’t do that because their forwards get caught and beat up the ice, and hence the defense have to sink back and guard against giving up a 4-on-1 or something. They have no support from the forwards so can’t get aggressive. And that’s how they get trapped in their own zone.
There were more brain-dripping-out-the-ear moments. How many pisshead changes were there? Missed clearances, too cute at their own line. Kris Versteeg, the list goes on and on.
It’s happened too often to say that this was just a game the Hawks didn’t care about. Only against the Rangers were they tight and I’m tired of coming up excuses for the other games that weren’t. The record is nice, but more important at this time of year is the process, and the process right now is generally not there. Play like this starting on April 15th and whoever the Hawks draw will send them packing before you’d even require a razor. Unless Corey Crawford is going to continue to do his Tim Thomas ’11 impression.
We’ll know soon if it’s something they can just flip on, because this happy horseshit isn’t going to fly starting Friday when the schedule really turns up (you can throw the Jackets on that list, they’ve won seven of nine). The Hawks aren’t so far in front of Minnesota where coming apart at the seams the last two weeks against good teams wouldn’t see them fall down to 4th. They may not care, but that isn’t how you want to roll into the playoffs.
Let’s clean this up:
The Two Obs
-I’ve already gone too long without singing the praises of Corey Crawford, who has shoved it so far up the ass of the meatballs in this city who can’t warm up to him that he’s basically tickling their tonsils right now. That’s the fifth start out of his last seven that he’s had to make 35+ saves. In those five games he’s given up six goals. Hopefully the organization will learn to not hang him out to dry for off-ice antics and just deal with the goof that he is if this is what they’re going to get from him.
-I almost always defend Bryan Bickell, because I like to think I know what he is and isn’t and don’t care what his paycheck says. But the last few games he’s been utterly awful. Tonight was truly special, where I don’t think he received one pass cleanly and turned the puck over completely. That’s doubly worse because on the other side of the line…
-…has any player missed the message of a healthy scratch by a wider margin than Kris Versteeg? I doubt when Q told him he needed to play with more pace was to make his dumb decisions quicker and more often. It’s a wonder Richards didn’t leave his stick and gloves at center ice and just walk off being stuck with these two, because Richards was miles better than both of them.
-Q shuffled his top six, and I like the look of it, but if he really wants to change his team’s fortunes he’ll rearrange his defense into the top four we know he’s going to anyway. While Timonen may not be ready to have the training wheels of Seabrook removed, Duncan Keith needs him more. Rozsival simply destroys Keith’s game and the Hawks badly need vintage Keith right now. Shelter the ever-loving fuck out of Timonen-Rozsival/Rundblad/TVR for 12-14 minutes and turn your other pairs loose. Things will look better eventually. Trust me.
-I would be willing to bet that if Kane wasn’t hurt, and the Hawks weren’t so close to teams both in front and behind them, Toews would sit out a couple. Something is up here and it’s getting more noticeable with each game.
-Joakim Nordstrom is about four times the player he was last year. The Hawks must be praying that a full season plus at Rockford turns McNeill, Danault, et al that way next year.
-Teuvo vs. Faulk… that should be a trending video on PornHub by now.