Remember when these teams played in the same division? I’m glad they don’t anymore. If they did, I would have ripped out every one of my fingernails in frustration of watching Justin Abdelkader grab a handful of the closest sweater to him up and down the ice.
I’m getting annoyed just thinking about it. Let’s get to it.
–The Hawks were victimized tonight by not making the Wings pay early. This game could’ve been a lot different if the Hawks found one or two pucks past Jimmy Howard in the first period. Tonight’s first period was a vintage Hawks performance where the shots were flying from all over the offensive zone and the Wings were left defending for 90% of the period.
Even the power play got into the action. With Hossa and Saad now joining Kane, Toews and Seabrook on the top unit, the Hawks generate much more movement and don’t wait around for a back-door play that isn’t available. Seabrook and Hossa set up regularly for one-timers; Kane will fire off the left boards when he wants to back the defense and Toews and Saad look for loose pucks. See how easy?
The Hawks didn’t score in their two power plays but it wasn’t due to a lack of chances or lack of strategy. They were all over the Detroit penalty killers. Howard and a couple unfortunate bounces prevented the Hawks from scoring tonight.
And hey, that’s all right.
–What’s not all right? Seeing Michal Rozsival trying to chase down Darren Helm on a semi-breakaway in overtime. Give Rozsival credit for taking a solid angle and not allowing Helm to drive the lane. But still. You could see that play developing as soon as Kane made the pass back to Rozsival at the point.
The fun didn’t stop there as Rozsival then committed two more turnovers allowing extended Detroit zone time. This is Michal Handzus all over again and it sure seems like the Hawks don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
–Patrick Sharp TOI watch: 16:50. Carry about with your day.
–The Kyle Cumiskey thing…I sort of get what the Hawks see there. He’s an outstanding skater and if you squint really hard, you could almost envision him being a guy they like on the third pair that can skate you out of trouble. On a team with a bit more depth on defense, it may just work.
You can look at the team the Hawks played tonight as an example. They won a Stanley Cup (and nearly a second) with Brett Lebda as their 6th defensemen who is essentially a carbon copy of Cumiskey. The difference, of course, was that the Wings had much stronger defensive depth 1-5 that it didn’t matter.
–Yes, Marian Hossa was offsides on Saad’s goal and the Wings had 7 guys on the ice when Riley Sheahan touched the puck leading to Detroit’s first goal. So let’s move along.
–Weird to think the Hawks never led in the game when it felt they had control of it for about 40-45 minutes.
–Ryan Hartman may have found his way into the Quenneville Circle of Trust which is always pretty critical for a young player. Hartman was given a shift at the 5 minute mark of the third. He seemed a little yippy with the puck along his wall but he was able to push the puck out of the defensive zone. He didn’t get another shift for the game but the fact that he wasn’t benched for the majority of the 3rd should tell you all you need to know.
I like the potential of pairing him with Bickell and Shaw. The idea of him and Shaw running around looking to commit voluntary manslaughter should have meatballs drooling in anticipation. For now, it’s probably better that Hartman concentrate on clearing pucks that get broken out on his side. That will be the most important thing he can do to stay with the big club.
(And yes, I fully anticipate him being sent down tomorrow after writing this.)
–There’s not enough muscle relaxers in the world for me to survive a Stanley Cup Final featuring these two teams.
–The Hawks have gained a point in 7 straight games. This is usually how it goes before they start to rack up wins. Deep breaths.