The Hawks just broke off their 3rd win in a row against teams with legitimate cases for deep playoff runs this spring/summer. Could this Hawks crew be more than what we thought they’d be at the beginning of the season, or is this merely a bright strech in what will end up being a dark river of despair that stops at a lottery pick? The answer is: I have no fucking idea anymore.
Statistically speaking, the underlying metrics for these last 3 Hawks wins should realistically result in them getting their doors blown off each night. One would be safe in assuming that if your team sported a CORSI of 44, 44, and 41 in 3 straight games you’d be thrilled at getting any points at all, yet the Hawks took 5 of a possible 6. Hockey is dumb and fun somtimes, folks
TO THE BULLETS!
NUMBERS DON’T LIE
-Except sometimes they do? Honestly, the only reason the Hawks have been able to escape their massive CORSI deficet is the fact that the powerplay continues to be fucking nails. For the first time in recent memory, they have not one but TWO powerplay units that can not only move the puck efficiently, but can finish their shots after sick passing. Both DeBrincat and Janmark’s goals were set up by nifty passes from Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik respectively. The Hawks ability to create passing lanes that set these goals up haven’t been seen since 2015-2016 season when the Hawks PP torched the league at an impressive rate.
-Another thing keeping this Hawks run afloat is well above average goaltending. Simply put, Malcom Subban and Kevin Lankinen are directly responsibe for the Hawks getting the points that they’ve gotten during this new point streak. Since the calendar flipped to February, only Cal Petersen from LA has faced more shots than Kevin Lankinen, and he’s had 3 more high danger shots. LA is obviously a dumpster fire on both sides of the ice, but defensively they’re pretty comparable to the Hawks. Hopefully Lankinen can keep this up, because once they regress to the mean on the PP they’re gonna need him.
-While the PP has been able to paper over some deficiencies for the team, on the defensive side of the puck the Hawks are still a borderline disaster. They are bottom 5 in high danger chancces given up, and are still unable to jump start the offense with a decent transition game. Obviously Zadorov is still a clownshow in his own end, but surprisingly Duncan Keith has been the 2nd worst defenceman in CORSI for since the start of the season. He’s also had the most partners on the team, so Coach Pretty has obviously been using Keith in all pairings in multiple situations, but it was still a shock to see. Especially since the eye test on Duncs has been pretty positive, but that might just be because Zadorov has been eye-bleedingly bad.
-Brandon Hagel has been more and more noticeable each night with his speed. Prince Pretty has rewarded him with more ice time, as he actually cracked 15 minutes in night 1 against the Stars. While he hasn’t been able to dent the twine just yet, with the appropriate matchups going forward it seems like only a matter of time.
-Speaking of rookies, the GWG by Pius Suter in game two came from a line of 3 rookies on the ice in OT (Suter, Hagel and Ian Mitchell) which was very nice to see after an overabundace of Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane in the first weeks of the season. More please.
-The Hawks now sit with a 6-4-4 record at the 1/4 point of the season, good for the #3 spot in the modified division. While this is awesome to see, if the team really does have aspirations to make the playoffs they need to stop being involved in these 3 point games. Winning in regulation has never been more important, as if the league continues to plan on using points as the primary measure for getting into the playoffs, giving up loser points will be a dagger. Though I’ve heard rumblings (as Foley himself mentioned on the broadcast last night) of the league moving to Win % as a statistic for breaking ties in playoff seedings. Being that the NHL is realistically not going to be able to finish the season on time with all the rescheduled games due to COVID, they may have no other option but to go that route.
-Next up for the Hawks are the Tortorella-led Blue Jackets again, who managed to go a whopping 2 periods of play before SENDING A MESSAGE to newly acquired goal whiz Patrik Laine. He was benched halfway through the 2nd and the entire 3rd periods of the last game against Carolina for “mouthing off” to an assistant coach. I’m sure Torts and Laine will be an endless source of entertainment for the rest of the season and definitely won’t cause the Jackets to implode like a dying star. Fuck Colombus and their stupid cannon.
Let’s Go Hawks