(Extra Skater site down)
Different day, same result. Unlike the previous game against the Avalanche, the Hawks weren’t nearly as dominant in a losing effort. They played the way you’re supposed to play against the Predators. That is to get chip pucks deep, get behind their defensemen and set up the offense below the goal line.
Unfortunately, the execution was less than crisp as either the Hawks struggled with their first pass breaking out of the defensive zone or the first pass after winning the puck in the offensive zone. The result was the Hawks looking like they lacked energy or were flat or whatever else people like to throw out there.
It’s been awhile since the Hawks played a full 82 game season but this is usually around the time of year where things start to look a little off. And it’s not any different this year. This year it seems to be the perfect storm of Olympic hangover, Cup run last summer and recent overexertion of their top 2 lines. Add the fact that the Hawks aren’t getting nearly enough scoring support from their defensemen or secondary scorers right now and it all looks impossible.
Other random thoughts
–I thought Nick Leddy was outstanding tonight and that was even before he meteored past all three Predator forwards to create a 3-on-2 from behind his own net. Really, Leddy has taken tremendous strides this season and that’s with playing the season with a three-headed monster as a partner. It all makes for an interesting dilemma as Johnny Oduya has become fairly inconsistent as Niklas Hjalmarsson’s partner.
Even against Colorado where he was singled out for great defensive plays, those were last second gasps because he was out of position and had to make up ground quickly.
–3rd goal can be pinned on a group of Blackhawks. Duncan Keith, obviously, for not being aware of the penalty expiring. Patrick Sharp for not putting any steam behind his shot. And finally Joel Quenneville for even having Patrick Sharp playing defense with a penalty set to expire. A lot of bad decisions on multiple fronts.
–The Hawks 3rd line was separated after the first period as Peter Regin was benched midway through the first. Then in the 3rd, they were brought back together and promptly scored. I don’t really have the energy to argue how silly this whole ordeal was but come on. Peter Regin is hardly the answer to any NHL roster riddle but he’s still a proven commodity, a decent bottom 6 player. It’s perplexing that he’s tossed to the scrap heap because he’s not a cross between Bryan Trottier and Glenn Anderson.
–Kris Versteeg was probably the most noticeable since he’s been acquired. It’s no coincidence that he also played with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad. If he couldn’t get anything going tonight playing with those two, he may as well have retired after the game.
That’s all for now.