We’ll talk about how the numbers say the Hawks should have won this game. We’ll look at three goals that Forsberg had no shot on and wonder. We’ll take long-term solace in the fact that most of the younger assets looked good again tonight. But at the end of it all, the Canucks were a $100 gift card that the Hawks carelessly threw in the trash. To the bullets.
– Let’s start with the positives. Toews played an inspiring game for most of the night. He was everywhere in the first and assisted on Top Cat’s teaser in the third period. He drew two penalties, one on a good read followed by some much missed speed, and the second by dancing then brute forcing his way past Troy Stecher. We may have to come to terms with the fact that his 10% shooting percentage might be what he is now, but at least he was positively noticeable tonight.
–Even more comforting was that when Q decided to hit the blender in the third, he kept the Top Cat–Toews–Duclair line together, as he should.
– When the Jurco–Kampf–Vinnie line was together, they were by far the Hawks’s most effective line. Whether that’s because they’re so fast or because the underbelly of the Canucks is so soft is grounds for debate, but they dominated all night. Jurco and Kampf finished with respective CF%s of 75 and 78+(!) at 5v5, while Vinnie, with his bouncing around at the end, ended up with a healthy 60. Kampf looked to double shift a bit in the third too. It’s hard to shake the idea that Kampf could quietly develop into a strong bottom six defensive center, and aside from maybe Toews, he was the best Hawk out there tonight.
– The PP didn’t score again, because by this point it’s obvious what whoever is in charge of it simply slams six Steel Reserve Tall Boys, drops five tabs of acid, shoves the ass-end of a paintbrush as far up his urethra as he can, then humps a wall until he crashes. That said, the triangle of Seabrook, Kane, and Vinnie created a few good chances during the second PP in the second period. But chances aren’t good enough at this point.
– The Saad–Schmaltz–Kane line got completely domed in possession. At some point, we’re going to have to talk about what’s eating Brandon Saad. To this point, the underlying numbers have been good, which has been a fallback defense for the lack of scoring. But tonight’s effort was wanting.
– Seabrook–Gustafsson was on the ice for two goals, and Seabrook looked egregiously bad on Gaunce’s second goal. Seabrook had a 0 CF% through the first and managed to settle at a team low 35% at 5v5. What’s most frustrating is that Gustafsson might be a really good passer and a passable third-pairing guy. His CF% WITH Seabrook at 5v5 was a paltry 40, but away from him, it was 63+. But we’ve been here time and time again. It’s no use shouting for Seabrook to sit, because really, what else do they have? Forsling? Franson? Slava fucking Voynov? Six more years.
– Ryan Hartman didn’t see many, if any, shifts after his tripping penalty on whichever Sedin submitted his Oscar clip in the second. It hasn’t been a good few weeks for the former first rounder. But then again, what exactly is it that his line, with Anisimov and Wingels tonight, is supposed to do?
– Tough break for Forsberg, who looked good early. The first goal was on him, with Oesterle deferring to the passing lane. You’ll usually take even a backup goalie one on one against Gaunce, but Forsberg let it slip by. But from then on, it was the same old shit, with an unfortunate redirect, a tip, and Brent Seabrook dropping his pants and pissing in the crease doing him in.
– Off the ice, I loved listening to Eddie during the intermissions. He was no bullshit about not letting this game get away, and it was nice to hear.
– At the beginning of the second, Foley practically fell victim to the vapors as he tripped over himself to say how much he liked Bettman’s stance on goalie interference. For those who missed it, Bettman commented about how referees need to trust their instincts and “watch the replay at full speed” instead of slow motion. If that’s really what Bettman thinks, then what’s the fucking point of the goalie-interference replay in the first place? Isn’t watching at full speed and trusting your instincts precisely what referees do for a living? Fuck off, Gary, you no-responsibility-taking wet fart.
This was a game the Hawks had to have, and they filled their diapers. But DeBrincat and Schmaltz scored pretty goals, Kampf led all players in possession at 5v5, Kempný and Murphy led the possession share for Hawks D-men at 5v5, and away from Seabrook, Gustafsson was good. If the Hawks make the playoffs, it will be on a wing and a prayer, but the future isn’t as terribly bleak as the present looks.
Beer du Jour: Tommyknocker Imperial Nut Brown, then High Life.
Line of the Night: “Unlucky break halfway up the guy’s shaft.” –Steve Konroyd, describing a shot in the second period, I assume.