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Strange Games, Indeed: Lightning 2 – Hawks 2 (Ning win Cutthroat 1-0)

Well, that was weird.

I had remarked on Tuesday how October hockey can be disjointed, sloppy, and a ragged. It can also devolve into what we saw tonight, which is just strange, like when streets are uneven. Obviously, it’s hard to say the Hawks did much wrong. Holding a team with exactly no shots is how you’d draw coming out in the first period at home, even if you don’t score yourself. Outshooting them by over 20 for the game is another thing you’d settle for.

And yet, it was only one point. Why? The only reason has to be… THE BISHOP! It’s been a while since the Hawks had a complete goalie steal against them, and this was one. We could moan about the Hawks not putting a team away, but Bishop came up with everything he needed to in the 2nd and 3rd periods to keep the Hawks from getting away. That kept the Lightning it bloop-and-a-blast range, and they found that. The Hawks had their chances, at both even-strength and the power play, but just couldn’t solve… THE BISHOP! We was too late….

Let’s get to the bullets:

-The 1st might have been the most boring period of hockey I’ve personally witnessed. I’d tell you what it was competing with, but the thing about those kinds of periods is you tend not to remember them for very long.

-Once again the kill surrendered a goal, and the tying one again as well. It came after Kruger lost a draw, which was a recurring theme on the night. It wasn’t the smooth efficiency of the Caps attack, as this one came off something of a broken play and Purcell found himself with a chance from between the rings.

-Of course, the other Lightning goal came after an icing where Kruger lost a draw to Stamkos, and while it wasn’t his man, Bollig didn’t track St. Louis for the rebound — though to be fair St. Louis did put a backhand in the top corner, which is highly impressive.

I find it strange that Kruger struggles so much at the dot, because along the wall and behind the net his hands are so quick. It’s how he makes up for not being all that big. Why doesn’t that translate to faceoffs? Should the Hawks play Smith with him just so Smith can take the draws? He could hardly do worse.

-Brandon Saad won’t score 24 goals this year, HE’LL SCORE 82!!!! But seriously, that kid was everywhere again tonight, and made up for Shaw and Smith who really didn’t do all that much.

-I saw some things on Twitter bemoaning how Hossa looked, but to me he just looks half a beat askew from what we’re used to, and that could be down to just timing instead of injury. But I was sure we’d already discovered he’s not very good in shootouts.

-I was harsh on Victor Hedman in the program today. Kid’s got a higher IQ than I realized, though he doesn’t move all that well. And Sustr, their rookie from UNO, moves a lot better than I thought. But that’s about it on the Ning blue line. Good to see Eric Brewer took a lot of St. Louis dumb with him to Tampa.

-The Hawks power play actually created more than just the fluky goal tonight, but I think it’s time they moved both Toews and Hossa out of the corner (sometimes it’s Saad) and into the high slot. It’s an area that they’ve ignored for years. Teams are on to whatever Toews might do from the corner. They block him taking the puck straight to the net. Someone follows Kane as he heads to the net for the pass. All that’s left is a pass back to the point, and with Kane having already moved toward the crease there’s rarely a lane for a shot from that point. Move Tazer to the high slot, and see what his wrister can do from there.

-Neither Nordstrom or Bollig cracked 10 minutes, and the smart money says Nordstrom will be back in Rockford before the Hawks do the Florida swing. He’s not ready for this yet. Might be before the end of the year.

-Mike Kostka played. I didn’t notice him. That’s what I want to happen when Kostka plays. But I guess it’s official now that he’s passed Brookbank on the depth chart. That’s another weird thing, because Brookbank is the exact type of supposed rugged d-man that Q loves. What’s going on here?

That’s it from here. Nothing to get hung about. Enjoy your Sunday. Go Pirates.


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