There weren’t any pictures, so maybe that game didn’t happen?
Sharks-Hawks games are usually one the neutral enjoys most. Two teams that play fast and skilled with stars galore. I don’t think last night is going to fit into that category.
Sure, it was close and at times tense. But both teams were sloppy for most of the game. At times it felt like both teams were afraid to make a mistake. Others they were both playing so frantically and their passing was substandard that it basically looked like a game of hurling in the neutral zone. I suppose that’s what you get when both teams haven’t been playing all that well recently. At least not consistently well recently. What you get is a game that always looked likely to end tied and from there it’s a coin flip.
-While some will bemoan yet another point lost in the shootout, to me the blame goes to the NHL and not the Hawks. There’s nothing systemically wrong with the Hawks that is causing their shootout problems. They have tons of skilled guys who can score in the skills competition, they just consistently haven’t. Crawford has had his success in the past in the gimmick, but didn’t last night. So whatever. As long as the NHL is content with it’s enforced and fake parity, then randomness will affect the standings and good teams. Sure, it will suck if the Hawks lose out in the division or home ice because of points they didn’t get in something that doesn’t have much to do with playing hockey. But that’s the world we live in, as stupid as it may be.
-As for the OT problems, that’s just strange. The Hawks should be one of the more dangerous 4-on-4 teams in the league, and yet haven’t cashed in once. To me it’s just a statistical oddity, the most unlikely outcome possible. Sure, maybe they could press more because rare has been the OT where they’re peppering the other team. But that could also leave gaps behind. I guess that couldn’t go any worse than what’s been happening, though. I guess there’s a little worry that the OT problems could cause a lack of confidence when the real OTs hit in the playoffs. But mental strength is not something this team has ever really had a problem with.
-Encouraging is that Crawford was excellent again, backing up his effort in Vancouver. For the most part, Crow’s performances have mirrored those of his team’s, where he’s saved the best for the best. For things that will matter, the goaltending is one. We worry about the whole team “turning it on” when they want, and we’ll all feel more comfortable if Crow is getting in shape now.
-Every time I wonder what Kris Versteeg is really doing on this team, he comes up with a pass like that to Saad or the one to Hossa in Vancouver. I’m not sure it means that much to his overall contribution, but having another player who can come up with a moment of inspiration certainly helps.
-As for the goal the Hawks conceded, Patrick Sharp has greatly improved as a point man but it’s still something he hasn’t done for that long. Wayward passes will happen. They won’t always fall to Joe Pavelski. That whole power play was sloppy though and asking for trouble.
I don’t think there’s too much else to say. Both the Hawks and Sharks looked like teams that could use a break. Sadly, only about half the Hawks will get one. The Hawks need to take two of the last three on this trip to call it a success. Luckily the Kings are playing worse than the Hawks and I feel like the Hawks will bring one last punch against Anaheim. Onward.