Yes, this is frustrating. It’s made even moreso because the of the Blues factor. It always has been and always will be. But there are still bigger things at stake considering what actually took place tonight, so let the river rats enjoy the two points for now.
Taking a lesson from last year’s Kings, the Blues seemed intent from the get go on trying to keep pace with the Hawks, or at least the one the Hawks are always trying to impose upon opponents. And they were able to do that for stretches, as a 16 shot period like the Blues had in the first is rarely ever bullshit or unearned. To the shock of exactly no one, Marian Hossa was able to take advantage of being on the ice against Robert Bortuzzo and Barrett Jackman, and one-man-banded his way to a blue line hold of a boned pass back around to the left circle to find a shockingly in position Kris Versteeg for a tap in to open the scoring.
But the Blues were able to capitalize on the opportunities they were given, specifically due to the generosity of Michal Rozsival. Yes, this is a different game. Rozsival took a needless and selfish penalty cross checking Alex Pietrangelo behind the Hawk net which led to the Blues’ opener, and then was caught flat footed in front by Olli Goddamn Jokinen of all people mere minutes apart in the second. Despite a thorough push from the Hawks in the final half of the game, Jay Gallon was up to the task, and now the Hawks find themselves as entrenched in the third spot in the Central as they possibly can be.
- This Rozsival thing could not have been more perfect on the day that Quenneville doubled down on him as “his guy” after practice. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of other options at the moment given TVR’s shutdown, and now Kimmo Timonen is day to day after getting hit from behind by Ryan Reaves, playing only 3 minutes this evening. Were the Hawks not down a defenseman already and were he not in the circle of trust, literally any other player would have had his ass stapled to the bench for the penalty Rozsival took. His ire at the ref looks only more laughable in retrospect. Giving the Blues too many looks on the power play is always tempting fate even without Steen and Tarasenko.
- The Hawks had 22 shots blocked tonight, and it felt like 27 of them were blocked at the point. It shouldn’t be shocking that a Ken Hitchcock team would employ such obstructionist tactics (clearly he’s so committed to them he’s employing them in his aorta), but it would have been nice if they had adapted just a little.
- For those counting at home, that’s 79 shots and 127 shot attempts at even strength against two of the league’s stingiest shot-suppression teams in LA and St Louis without Patrick Kane. Both games have been at home. And this is why home ice is is gravely important.
- Anyone who still maintains that Crapford/Crawstink cannot be trusted needs to get Clockwork Oranged with the Stastny breakaway just simply playing on repeat as their eyelids are forcibly held open. That sequence should be on any Saves Of The Year montage in a fair and just world.
- For any Andy Kaufman truthers out there, there could reasonably be a case made that Joel Quenneville is simply another character of his given his treatment of Rozsival and now that he has career center Antoine Vermette skating on Andrew Shaw’s wing, who he was supposed to supplant. Tony Clifton’s accent isn’t that far from a Windsor one, and he’s just as profane.
- Speaking of Shaw, while it’s hilarious that Barrett Jackman was on the receiving end of his cannonball-Steve Downie impersonation, it negated a Hawks power play in a game they had to have. By all rights he should be suspended for that. And at the very least he should have been benched.
- That’s the Blues first regulation win on UC ice since February 3rd, 2010. Enjoy it, dickheads.