You can tell how far the attention to the Hawks has fallen, as we didn’t get a flurry of stories like we used to about how hard the first home game after a long road trip is. And the Hawks showed you why tonight. They were sloppy when they weren’t lazy when they weren’t stupid. And that extends behind the bench too, but we’ll save that for later. Even with a Knights team that played last night, they still play a team-wide “NO ONE BELIEVED IN US” card and are going to work hard and be fast. When the Hawks wanted to work hard and be fast, they had the Knights pinned. When they didn’t, they were paste. And then somewhere in between Q’s hunch in net gave up two goals you can’t let in. Good stuff here.
The Two Obs
-I get it with this Vegas team now. They’re fast up and down the lineup, and Gallant has them playing incredibly hard every minute. This will boomerang on them at some point when their opponents start to get more desperate (or stop watching the sun rise at the Mirage), but it’s working a trick now. This is Scott Skiles’s Bulls. As the SinBin Vegas guys pointed out in our Q&A, the Knights aren’t reinventing the wheel here. They have a fast team, so they’re just going to get the puck up the ice as fast as they can. Much like the Predators last year, their games can look frantic and up and down but not necessarily fluid. They’re not all that concerned if passes don’t connect as long as the puck is moving the right way. The Hawks on the other hand, at first, wanted to play their game which involves more precision. But when the Knights raise the temperature on it, it becomes very hard to play that way even for the most talent-laden teams. Which the Hawks are not.
When the Hawks just decided to do what the Knights did, get up the ice in a direct fashion and leave the style for later, they had the game.
-So that brings us to Jeff Glass. I’m gonna hear all about 38 saves and this and that. Once again, Glass makes some of his own problems. He can’t control a rebound to save his life. He’s a pitch-back. He can’t track the puck well, and has to rely on his athleticism to make up for it (which it is most of the time). And that panic spreads to his team, who are not calmly moving the puck out of the zone but whacking at it like it was a wasp that got in the house. It goes hand in hand.
While Glass certainly made some great saves, when the Hawks pulled within 2-1 that third Vegas goal can’t happen. Yes, Seabrook went for a wander for no reason and left another 2-on-1. Yes, he whiffed on the rebound. But Glass took forever to get back to his net because he’s relying on his athleticism to make saves and challenge. You gotta have that save.
Whether Forsling screened him on the equalizer in the third is debatable. Still, that’s Cody Eakin backing up near the blue line that beats him clean. Again, you have to have that save after you’ve come back from two goals down twice and taken the lead. Enough of this shit.
-That said, he didn’t get much help because once again the Hawks forward and d-men played as if they spoke different languages or played different sports. When d-men pinched, there was no forward to cover. When there wasn’t a pinch on, the Hawks d-men did anyway. The forwards broke out of the zone far too early for breakouts. This was October shit.
For the winner, Connor Murphy can’t pinch in there. But where the hell was Seabrook going? Schmaltz was fighting through two guys in the left corner. How was he going to thread a pass to Seabrook breaking to the net on the other side of the ice? Maybe Murphy just thought there was no way in hell his partner would do that. He should know better by now.
-Seabrook was awful all night, Keith wasn’t much better, and why the fuck Franson was out there at all I can’t figure out. Vegas is a fast, fast, fast team. So let’s dress possibly our slowest and defensively helpless d-man. Franson gives up a penalty three minutes in because he gets scorched to the outside in a “THIS JUST IN TOMORROW’S SATURDAY” level of shock, and the Knights score directly after that. That said, Franson did have the highest Corsi on the night. THAT said, he was on the ice for one defensive zone draw.
-The first period shot totals were U-G-L-Y, and a whole host of them came with Top Cat-Schmaltz-Kane on the ice on one shift. That line can’t battle its way out of the zone due to its size (or give a shit in Kane’s case tonight), so it has to pick and pass its way. But with the Knights buzzing around as they do, that’s not going to work. And you get what you got.
-I don’t know if Vinnie Hinostroza is any good. But he’s fast, and on a wing he plays in a straight line and opens up things for Toews and Saad so let’s just stick with it for now and worry about logic later.
Time keeps slipping away. There is ground to be made up with all these home games and the Hawks just pissed away one because they were disjointed, uninterested for too long, and their coach was too hunch-y. Feels like a familiar tale.