Look, the Tampa Bay Lightning are a far superior team to the Chicago Blackhawks. There is little debate about that. And looking at the box score, it would appear that the Hawks put up a valiant fight despite being hopelessly outgunned even if Kucherov and Stamkos didn’t play. But that would be the incorrect conclusion to draw, and once again a pants shitting was on display from top to bottom given how the game actually played out and the circumstances in the standings surrounding it. In the end, however, water finds its own level and this was yet another shining example of just how far away from being actually competitive the Hawks are, no matter how FUN they were for 10 minutes two months ago.
- The question in the preview was posed regarding how Kevin Lankinen would handle his soft benching coming back into the crease after the Predators series, and the answer was a resounding “Not good”, giving up three soft-ish goals on 7 shots and getting yanked again after the first period. Earlier in the season, one of the few things that this coaching staff did given the abbreviated season and the question marks in net was identify a guy and let him sink or swim with a starter’s workload. Lankinen was excellent for a stretch, but now is floundering a bit during the games that ON PAPER are supposed to matter the most, and this administration responds by jerking both he and Malcolm Subban around, who in his own right did everything that was asked of him and did it well. Of course, Lankinen playing well solves all of this, but the team can’t be in between on him if any post season play this year was supposed to be gravy. Let him work it out in the games that “matter”, and again, sink or swim as a result. Likewise, it’s not fair to Subban to have him come in and out based on incredibly small sample sizes, and is impossible for him to gain any sort of rhythm as well. Just the latest in an impossibly long list of coaching disasters from this beautiful idiot.
- Riley Stillman wasted no time in shitting himself after getting an unfathomable 3 year contract even at the dirt cheap rate it’s at with a drop pass to no one at the offensive blue line against THIS team, literally his first touch of the puck. He did not drape himself in glory either chasing his check to the other side of the crease (as THE SYSTEM calls for) leaving the post wide open for Brayden Point to tuck in a clownish wrap-around.
- Even a Nikita Zadorov fight deters less than nothing in terms of other teams taking liberties, as Luke Schenn beat Zadorov’s ass after the two threw down in retaliation to Schenn’s hit on Kubalik in a fight Zadorov picked. Of course he naturally showed his ass on a goal against too, where the Hawks put a combo platter of their faults on display where a blind ring around led to a keep at the line and ended with the late man hammering home a pass served up on a platter. Just scintillating stuff, really.
- Adam Boqvist has a broken wrist, but hey, he at least did so in a game he got paid for.
- Pretty sure Andrei Vasilevskiy was pants shitting drunk tonight and it didn’t end up mattering at all.
- The Hawks only played 7 different teams this year, and two of them took 15 of a possible 16 points in the season series. That takes a truly impressive level of ineptitude and a lack of any kind of ability to adapt in the case of the Preds, who just happened to give up 56 shots tonight to the Panthers, whom the Hawks play next over the weekend. Good times indeed.