I suppose if the Hawks wanted to throw a scare into their fans, giving up 17 real goals (not ones in OT) over the past four games would be a good way to do it. I still have a hard time believing this is anything other than boredom. The Hawks have the division salted away, thanks the Sharks completely going backwards they have the Conference sewn up, and though I suppose they have an outside shot at the Presidents’ Trophy I don’t think that’s something that concerns them. When you take any stakes out of these games, any urgency, you’re going to get a few efforts that look pretty lifeless.
If you want to get into structural things… well, Johnny Oduya’s 32% Corsi might be a place to start.
We make a lot of jokes about John Cooper, and will make many more over the years, you have to hand it to him. His GM kind of gave up the ghost at the deadline. He’s never given Cooper anything more than 1/3rd of a blue line. His team has been racked by injuries to guys who matter, and had his goalie forget how his limbs work before being shipped off to L.A. They’re making guys up to fill in the lineup. And yet they’re still skating as hard as possible and have at least given themselves a shot at getting utterly blitzed by the Caps in the 1st round.
The Lightning had like four guys worth watching on the ice tonight. Drouin, Hedman, Stralman, Kucherov, and one or two others if you want to be kind. They all played their asses off and were enough to get the Lightning a win in OT.
Let’s clean this all up:
The Two Obs
-We’ve seen this Tanner Kero movie before. It was called Ben Smith. Before that it was called Jake Dowell. Later, it was Andrew Desjardins for a couple months. Every season it seems, some 4th liner catches Q’s eye, simply because he doesn’t do anything demonstrably wrong. Then he gets over-promoted, turns out he was exactly what we all thought he was, before descending into the ether before they move onto the next one.
Tanner Kero is fine. As far as 4th line center options… cool. I’d rather see Schmaltz stick in the middle and have Kruger down there for the 3+1 model the Hawks most prefer. But Kero on the 4th line… again, it’s fine. You could do worse. And that’s all he is. By this time next year it wouldn’t be a shock if he’s not even on the team. 4th liners remain the middle-relievers of hockey. They’ll give you a couple months where they’re getting everyone out and then turn into straight gasoline, and the reasons will be simply because that’s who they are. It’s kind of random.
-Hockey is weird, as the Hawks got three goals off of bounces that landed right on the stick of someone in the slot. They did all the right things to get there, I guess.
-Boy, Pat and Eddie sure went out of their way to gush about TVR making two routine plays that you’d never think about otherwise but didn’t have a word for what he was doing above the circles on Drouin’s first goal or how he was basically a pylon most of the night as Drouin did whatever he wanted. So it goes.
-This was not Scott Darling’s best effort, as at least two of the goals saw him out of position or flat on his back. But again, you can’t ask Darling and Crawford to keep putting up the kind of miracles they have been asked every game.
-The 4th line with Hayden, Desjardins, and TOOTBLAN was very effective, and I look forward to seeing what it looks like when Kero replaces TOOTBLAN.
-Jurco got his first goal of the season. His line also got torched most of the night, and that shouldn’t happen with Hossa on the other side.
-There were two games tonight involving the race for the last spot in the East that went to OT. The fact that playoff spots are going to be decided because the Bolts got a bounce with no one on the ice and the Canes didn’t is just moronic. But it’s the NHL
The Lightning were clearly more desperate. The Penguins will have more to play for on Wednesday. See if the Hawks can match.