When the Hawks went into the third period only up a single goal despite outshooting the Jets 27 to 6, there was simply a feeling that this one was going to slip away from them. When Brandon Bollig is the only one who can find the back of the net, things just aren’t really going your way. And so it was – for the second straight game the Hawks looks punchless as they entered the zone and despite the outrageous shot totals, they weren’t really dominating the pace of the game. Too often the chances were one and done without sustained pressure. Sure, Montoya was great and made some fantastic saves, but the Hawks didn’t have the same swagger they had in the previous matches.
Wheeler’s first goal was something you could just see coming, especially after the Jets came into the third looking like a determined group. Their goalie had been huge and it was time for them to bail him out. Cue the bad bounce and the Jets first goal. We’ve seen the Hawks try to hold a lead rather than attack but they couldn’t seem to get going after the game was tied. Hossa’s horrible pass/clearing attempt put the Jets up one and even with a final desperate late push, the game slipped away.
- The decision to scratch Bickell just before the game is of course a curious one but not surprising at all. Q’s treatment of Bickell has been edging that way for weeks now. Q hasn’t been afraid to “send messages” to his players by sitting them for a game. It’s maddening to us because it handcuffs what can actually happen in the game. Bicks sitting meant Kostka was moved up to play wing and the unholy alliance was formed in a line featuring him, Handzus and Versteeg. Just what the hell can be expected out of that kind of line is beyond my grasp. As is what Versteeg did to earn a role there. You’ve gotta fit them in somehow I suppose.
- The Hawks certainly had their chances just on some breakaways alone but when they weren’t missing the net, Montoya was there to make the saves needed. And hey, did you guys know he’s from Chicago? You might have missed it one of the 3 dozens times it was mentioned.
- Letting the Jets get 15 shots on goal without even the benefit of having a power play in the third was just embarrassing. You’d like to see Crow get to a shot like Ladd’s but the fact that the shot totals were more than doubled for the Jets is a major problem in a game.
- I really just want to write a ton more about Kostka… but what the hell is there to say? He’s almost useless as a defender and is totally out of place as a forward. Meanwhile there’s still talent to be had in Rockford. If Q wants to bench forwards, that’s his call. What they hope to accomplish by taking already mediocre players and making them play new positions just baffles me.
- So now the Hawks won’t see the United Center in over a month, they have a pretty brutal schedule and they’re playing some of their worst stretch of hockey we’ve seen this year. They seem to rise to their competition… or at least let’s hope so or things won’t look so rosy in March.