January 15th, 2017: the day that everyone had to accept the Minnesota Wild and their dipshit coach as their new overlords. Of course, with the Hawks blowing a two goal lead at home to a team that played the night before, they certainly deserved to lose, even to this team.
The frustrating thing is that this played out exactly as it was laid out in the preview and as was discussed on the podcast. The Wild don’t really have a strategy other than to collapse around Dubnyk at all times, and there was nothing that could be done about it. Add in three preventable goals, and now the Hawks are 2 points back and have already played four more than the Wild, and seem destined for yet another fun-filled first round with the fucking Blues. The Wild won’t continue to take 93% of the points available for the remainder of the season, but in the loser point NHL, more than a slight dip will be necessary for the Hawks to grab the home ice throughout that they will desperately need. They’ll also need to take 8 of 8 points still left on the table against the Wild for the back half of the season, but considering the Hawks have now lost 8 straight against the Wild over the last two seasons, that doesn’t look likely either. From now until the second week of April seems like an absolute eternity for a team that rarely gave a shit (and has told told their fans that they don’t give a shit) about the regular season. Such fun times ahead indeed.
- The first Wild goal resulted from yet another Anisimov offensive zone penalty, and Duncan Keith not doing the one thing the PK is designed to do, which is tie up sticks and allow rebounds to go long, as Corey Crawford uses extra-bouncy pads for this specific purpose. The second two could have been prevented by neither Michal Rozsival or Trevor van Riemsdyk being in the lineup.
- The Toews line got its ass absolutely fed to it tonight by Mikko Koivu, which is kind of a thing that he does. The final tally, 5 attempts for, 19 against. And Toews himself did not put a single shot on net. Unacceptable.
- While it was as a result of what the Wild were giving them by not allowing any lanes through, the Hawks shot selection during the perfunctory final scramble was right out of the Michael Frolik and Trevor Daley playbook, with terrible angle shots sailing wide and not even needing to be cleared by the Wild, burning precious time. The Hawks also thumblasted away a good 30 seconds of 6 on 4 power play time and an offensive zone faceoff during the delayed call on Suter in the final minute.
- The rarely used 7 defenseman rotation for the Hawks tonight resulted in Brian Campbell with less than 10 minutes worth of ice time, and that number was only inflated after Michal Rozsival found his ass stapled to the bench after the Pominville goal. While not the wrong call, Rozsival’s partner once again looked completely lost out there. Trevor van Riemsdyk, standing flat footed, reaching mouth agape and out of position as someone walks out from behind the Hawk net will be on a loop (in watermarked GIF form naturally) when nuclear winter consumes this toilet earth and we are all suffering through eternal damnation in the fiery pits of hell.
- And if Quenneville is seriously going to toss out Passenger 57 and Rozsival, who is only even alive because of some kind of supernatural curse, then the Hawks are going to need to look for help outside the organization on the blue line too, because that shit is NOT going to cut it.
- Garbage Dick’s stat line was completely out of control. 27:09 of ice time, 2 goals, 12 shots on goal. Of course, with the Wild collapsing as they do, they tend to concede the blue line, which is no way to let that little trashball operate. There is 10 years of tape around the league that shows the teams that have success limiting his chances stand him up at the line as a back-checking, back-pressuring forward closes in on him. Bruce Boudreau’s coaching strategy everyone.
- The only reason anyone knows that Zach Parise even played tonight is because every single rejoinder from commercial featured a lengthy spotlight on him, none of which mention the fact that 14 coaches have been fired from teams he has played for, and Boudreau will absolutely be the 15th.
- The one bright spot of this game is that it has further given the Wild and Bruce Boudreau the inside track to get home ice, where he will absolutely end up covered in his own shit after a game 7 loss for a seemingly impossible 400th time. But until then, embrace the interminable slog that is the NHL season in the hopes that the Hawks acquire anything helpful. But until such time, all statement games and scoreboard watching are on hold.