When the dust settles on the 2013-2014 season, however it ends, that the Blackhawks have pissed away more than their fair share of points not only in the division, but to teams such as the Predators in their current state, could very well come back to haunt them.
The likely story among the bleating masses will be another game with no effort, no jump, no urgency, no whatever. In reality, the Hawks were dominant, as the Extra Skater numbers bear out, however any lack of attention to detail against Barry Trotz, particularly if it’s clear that Pekka Rinne is on, will net a result like this. Rinne stood tall during the opening minutes where the Hawks were all over the Preds, which allowed the Predators to capitalize on Hawk mistakes. Brandon Saad failing to close out on his point man Ryan Ellis allowed him to get a clean look at the net and get his shot through, and a reckless pinch by Brent Seabrook after his partner had already committed toward the hash marks are what sealed the Hawks’ fate. Rinne made it stand up, and just as quickly as the Hawks thought they might have been back in a race for the division, they’re right back where they started the week.
- Not that he isn’t missed every game he’s gone, but this is a game where Kane’s creativity could have been something that the Preds’ structure just can’t account for.
- The game basically turned on the four minute power play that the Hawks couldn’t convert on. That neither unit has their point men criss-cross and hand off at the blue line, particularly against teams that collapse like this Preds one was doing, is utterly baffling. That sort of shit is taught as early as at the PeeWee level (10-11 year olds), yet it is apparently a concept that either eludes or is too base for grown ass professionals.
- The incident that caused that power play, Eric Nystrom mugging Jeremy Morin after as clean a check as can be delivered in this league, was also an embarrassment. Yes, Josi fell awkwardly, but the two other Predators closer to Morin didn’t feel the need to administer some frontier justice, probably because they knew it was a clean hit. At least the penalties sifted out correctly, only for the Hawks not to convert.
- Yet another entry tonight in the voluminous tome of the “What The Fuck Was Kris Versteeg Doing Tonight?” scrapbook.
- Nothing to do at this point but put this one in the rearview and look ahead to Teuvo Tuesday.