Everything Else

There’s still a bit of a glow about last night’s win, though around these parts we know there’s really no such thing as a signature win in the regular season. But still, holding the Rangers to 25 shots when they average 31, and to shut them out when they’re the 4th highest scoring team in the league when they’d had three days off and the Hawks were on the second in two nights and now this has become quite the run-on sentence but hey that’s how things go, there’s a half bounce in the step. So let’s check out some trends, shall we?

58.3%

That’s Brad Richards’s Corsi-percentage the past six games. As we’ve said all year, we’ve had a real fear that Richards would fade as the season went along as he did last year with the Rangers, which got him the buyout that landed him in Chicago in the first place. So this is pretty encouraging. It hasn’t resulted in an avalanche of points or anything, just a goal and an assist in those six. But if you keep pushing play this much, the points will follow (Bickell and Desjardins won’t biff every chance they’re presented you hope, and a motivated Versteeg would really help).

Everything Else

Few things floating in space today. Let’s clean them up.

-While the main goal of these last five weeks is tightening up the Hawks’ game and that alone, so that they hit the playoffs with momentum and a confidence, that doesn’t mean things aren’t up for grabs in the Central. Because of the Preds regression, anything is possible here. Though thanks to the Wild’s surge, there now really isn’t anything you’d call a “good” matchup. If you think getting the Wild at any point in the playoffs will be easy, then you’re very much mistaken.

Everything Else

Just some notes to cover.

-We never did get around to analyzing the Smith-for-Desjardins trade, mostly because most of us here think it doesn’t matter in the long run. At least hopefully it doesn’t. If Ben Smith becomes the difference between winning a Cup and not, then there were probably bigger issues at play.

By now, everyone’s realized this is a cap move. Smith was signed for one more year, and there are alternatives for his 4th line/PK role next year. While Nordstrom’s past few strong games are hardly sample size enough to have convinced the front office to do away with Smith, it does at least offer hope that any gap will be made up pretty quickly. Looking ahead to next year, Nordstrom, Hartman, and/or Danault could all find themselves on the 4th line. If Garret Ross gains 30 pounds, he might even get a look too. (I also have this sneaking suspicion that if Tyler Motte were to leave Michigan after this season he’s going to be the kid who surprises everyone at training camp. But I doubt he leaves Michigan this year).

Everything Else

predator vs oldschool

Game Time: 7:30PM
TV/Radio: CSN, SN-1, SNP, WGN-AM 720
Dollywood: On The Forecheck, III Communication

While the tradition of the Boxing Day game at the UC has now been lost to the new collective bargaining agreement, and the Hawks have already played once since the Christmas holiday, tonight’s game still has the the look and feel of a game on the 26th despite being on the 29th. It remains to be seen if the crowd will be as raucous, but with two of the top teams in the league going at it for Conference III supremacy nearing the halfway point of the season, there should be plenty to get fired up for anyway.

Everything Else

Box Score

Event Summary

War On Ice

Before and after the game last night, Darryl Sutter called the Hawks the best team in the league. Before it sounded a little strange, especially as Sutter was saying it because of different stats people should look at and Sutter always strikes people as someone who can’t add (but of course, the Kings are one of the more advanced metric team in the league and Sutter’s a big part of that). It also sounded strange to those of us who watch the Hawks every game, who get in a little deep with picking apart cracks we see because there’s just not much else to do.