Shift Chart – Not up yet
It was kind of our sincere hope that Tortorella and the Canucks would have totally blown up by now. I’m sorry to report that it really couldn’t be much farther from that. Torts has the Canucks playing a very solid defensive game, and choked the Hawks out of space for a majority of the game. It’s not the most exciting thing, because the Hawks didn’t have much trouble choking out the Canucks’ space either for most of the game. It really couldn’t have been more clogged or tighter. And sadly, the Hawks found a way to kick a two-goal lead to a team that played last night and didn’t look all that good doing it. Slightly disappointing, but hey, the penalty kill didn’t get its upper palate kicked into its brain which I assumed it would.
Let’s get to the objectivity and observations, shall we?
The Two Obs
-Ok, so on Twitter I blamed Bollig for the tying goal, and after reviewing the replay that wasn’t fair. It was Kruger who was kind of floating nowhere while Bollig covered his point. But there’s still an issue that can be addressed within this. Once again, Q decided to use Kruger’s line as the checking line the most against Shoot-y and Pass-y. And they got clocked. Again. They always get clocked. All three of their Corsi % was below 40%. Now, when you’re playing the top line of teams you’re not going to dominate possession. But let’s just say that you decided that a line of Saad-Kruger-Shaw was going to go up against other teams’ top lines. Would their Corsi % be under 40%? I like Ben Smith, I like him a lot. But he’s a 4th liner and should only have to slay other 4th liners. Why are we dealing with this experiment any longer? To beat the Canucks, half your task is to keep the Sedins off the scoresheet. Q sent out some of his worst equipped players to do so, and they didn’t. He’s gotten away with it for most of the year because Oduya and Hjalmarsson have been so good. But if it’s May and it’s 52-16-28 against Kopitar and Carter, or fuck even Backes and Steen? No one should stand for that.
-As for the first Canucks goal, Seabrook’s gap could have been better but Raanta was way off his angle. Which is understandable, as all European goalies struggle at first to know angles when shifting to the smaller ice. But Kassian had way too much of the near post to aim at.
Raanta’s rebound control was off all night, as it has been for most of his time here. The encouraging thing is that he’s hanging in through athleticism, and as he gets more comfortable with the NHL game and combines that with that athleticism, I’m pretty sure the Hawks will have a pretty fucking good goalie on their hands.
-I thought Kris Versteeg had his best game tonight since his return.
-While the constant drumbeat from the Hawks’ media for Keith’s Norris is cute, can you win a Norris when your coach keeps sending out another pairing to deal with the other team’s top line? Even if it is because of your partner’s previous performances? Because Seabrook was fine tonight and has been for a few games now, but not to the point where Q is entrusting Marlboro 72 with the toughest assignments.
-There was a shift late in the 3rd where Kruger was playing between Kane and Versteeg. Gee, that wouldn’t be telling us Handzus isn’t up to it, would it? Because Kane and Versteeg were a combined +7 in Corsi, and Handzus was a -2. And he plays on the same line!
-Nick Leddy did not do so well against the high pressure Canucks. I would like to be more encouraged by what I see from Leddy under these situations.
-Watching how much the Canucks pressure on the PK makes me hurt in places I don’t want to talk about, mostly because I know the Mike Kitchen was not paying attention.
-Even against a tight defensive team like the Canucks, Patrick Kane cannot be played. It’s awesome to watch.
-Here’s a lesson I learned tonight, just because the meatball sitting next to you is way drunk and hasn’t stopped yelling incoherent shit all night while trying to keep his over-the-hill girlfriend awake, you probably shouldn’t tell him to shut the fuck up during the shootout. Don’t worry, I refrained from kicking his ass but it was unpleasant.
Ok, that’s enough. One point lost. Whatever. Move on.