When McClure and I were in our seats prior to Game 1, I asked him how he felt about facing the Wild this time around. Like many Hawks fans, I was a little nervous this time around. There was no hotter team in the league than the Wild (save for maybe the Sens) and there was just a bit of thought around the league that the Wild might just have the Hawks number this year. McClure however just argued that the Wild were pretty much a paper tiger… it’s annoying when he’s so right, isn’t it?
In four straight games, the Wild never so much as even held the lead. Somewhat of an opposite of the last series when the Hawks went two games without ever holding a lead (despite a 1-1 record). The Hawks were surgical for large stretches of the game. Despite a close score, there wasn’t any sense of danger. The Hawks were up 1 going into the third and we all know the stats there. I tweeted that it would likely be the most difficult of all the thirds they’d seen so far. And I was right.. but not until we all pretty much thought the game was already over. Kaner scores on a pretty little goal in which Bicks was able to knock a bouncing puck between defenders. I’m not sure if Kaner settled it down or just was able to whack it between Dub’s legs. Either way, we started to let loose. When Marian Hossa scored from 185 feet away into the empty net, the celebrations began. Little did we know it would actually end up being the game winner. That Hossa… so clutch.
- OK – so lets get right to it. That was just a gruesome injury to Rozi. If you’re reading us, you’re likely to know none of us have ever been anywhere remotely close to Camp Rozsival. It seems we always have a whipping boy and Rozi was our go-to for most of the year (though Versteeg is a close second). That being said, we’ve given him credit for actually being pretty damn alright since around Game 3 or 4 of the Preds series and it’s just a shame to see him go out on that ugly of a play. As someone who is really just learning to skate for the first time, seeing it all go that wrong is horrifying. It wasn’t some freak contact or any dirty play.. he was just turning around and got tripped up. It happens all the time in the course of a game but everything went haywire. At his age and with what appeared to be so gnarly of an injury, that could possibly be the last time Rozi ever plays in the NHL. We’ve said a lot about him.. but he deserved better.
- Oh, and few people have been more critical of him than us… but if you’re one of those assholes who was cheering after his injury. Go drink bleach.
- Lets not kid oursevles though. There seemed to be an overreaction to Rozsival’s injury that thought the Hawks were in trouble, if not for the remainder of the playoffs than at least for the game. I can understand those panicking right after the injury. It seemed to mean the Hawks would have to lean harder on Timonen than in previous matches and he hasn’t exactly panned out the way many of us had hoped. Didn’t really work out that way either though. Timonen finished with 8:25 TOI in total… up less than 3 minutes more he saw in a close game on Tuesday. He still saw the fewest minutes of any Hawk in the third by just about a full minute. As is his wont, Q pushed harder on Marlboro 72 and the Swedes.
What will be interesting is to see who replaces Rozi in the lineup for the next game and how those pairings work out. I can’t imagine Q would pair Rundblad or Cuminsky (the two clear choices) with Keith in these situations. If he didn’t trust them to play before, he’s certainly not going to ask them to play against the same guys as Flash.
However it plays out, Keith, Seabs, and the Swedes are clearly going to be asked to play and absurd amount of minutes in the upcoming games. Getting a few days off is a godsend. If the Flames wanna go ahead and win that one to give the Hawks more needed rest, that’d just be swell.
- On Shaw’s goal, didn’t it seem like Prosser started to lift himself up off the ice, allowing Shaw to go underneath him for a shot that Dubnyk never even had a chance of seeing? If he had stayed prone, he likely could have at least blocked any attempt from Shaw.
- Odd to have two teams face each other 3 times in the post-season (plus all the regular season matches) and for there still to be no real bad blood between them. When the Hawks faced the Canucks this often it was some of the most spiteful and angry hockey we’ve seen in a while. With this, there really doesn’t seem to be much bile. There hasn’t been as much after the whistle scrums and dirty play (despite Cooke’s best efforts), so that has a lot to do with it. In good rivalries, it seems like the players genuinely hate each other… I just don’t get that feeling at all in this one. Maybe that’s just because, as Hawks fans, we’ve been on the winning side.
- Patrick Kane. Oh boy. 104 points in 103 playoff games. 5 straight games with goals and one in each in this series. He used as much black magic to heal that collarbone as he does on the ice.