It seems impossible to have to turn to on-ice concerns after what came to light yesterday, but that’s seemingly the case. For those looking for more reaction to what the hell is even going on anymore with all of this, Sam obviously has it covered, and this might be the rare instance where listening to the podcast might actually be beneficial. In any event, yesterday coupled with the fact that with literally every second that ticks off the clock as the game starts tonight, the Hawks will be extending an NHL record for futility to start the season, this could very well be the nadir of the franchise, and if it’s not, it’s certainly a low point of the past 40 years.

The fallout from yesterday’s revelations is far from over and is wide spanning, as there are bound to be consequences in Winnipeg, Sunrise, and potentially at the NHLPA. And on the ice the Hawks will be missing more players to covid protocols (including two lettered captains who were on this team when all of this happened) while they face far more skilled opponents. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.


10/27 vs Toronto

Game Time – 6:30PM CDT
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, SportsNet 1, WGN-AM 720
God I’m So Tired – PPP

As if to drive home the point of just how endemic sexual assault is in the culture of hockey, a day after these horrors are brought to light, the Leafs come to town, whose own current coach and GM are each separately involved in sordid, disgusting, and horrifying tales of sexual assault from their past. On the ice, the Leafs are off to a 2-4-1 start, which of course is causing all of THE SIX to rend their garments and self-immolate given the expectations of what this team is supposed to do after the longest cup drought evere and another flameout, but the fact remains that this forward corps is still one of the most talented in the league even if it’s getting by the PDO gods right now, Mitch Marner in particular. This defense still likely isn’t deep enough and entrusting Cup aspirations to Jack Campbell is undoubtedly a fool’s errand, but for late October, there should be more than enough here to help right the ship for them tonight.

10/27 at Carolina

Game Time – 6:00PM CDT
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Mop & Slop – Canes Country

The Hurricanes have started the season 5-0-0 with all five wins coming in regulation, and are second in the league with a +14 goal differential, and once again are solidly in control of the shot attempts ledger with a 52.24% share 5v5, good for 10th in the league. They are getting balanced scoring up and down the lineup, with 5 players at a point-per or better in the early going, led by Andrei Svechnikov at 9 points and Sebastian Aho not far behind with 9. Freddy Andersen has played all 5 games and has a .946 overall save percentage, .950 at evens. And no one gives a shit. This has all happened before, for a couple years now, and it has only translated into a couple of playoff round wins. It seems fitting that Andersen landed here, as this publication has always branded him “Just Good Enough To Break Your Heart”, and that’s what this entire Canes team has been for the past handful of years. None of this matters unless it translates to silver in the spring, and at a certain point the team has to know that. Tony DeAngelo is a racist piece of shit.

10/30 at St. Louis

Game Time (not that one) – 7:00PM CDT
TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Oh God Dammit – SLGT

The Blues are also currently 5-0-0 with all five wins coming in regulation and have a +14 goal differential, however they are not as territorially sound as the Canes, being underwater with a 49 share, good for 18th in the league so far. They’ve feasted a little bit on the dog food (GET IT) that is the Kings (twice) and the Coyotes, but they’ve looked sound in doing so, but also have wins against the Knights and Avs too, two teams that the Bene Gesserit prophecy has foretold of meeting in the West finals for a couple years running now. Old friend Brandon Saad is currently in covid protocol, but if indeed literally everyone in the league other than Tyler Bertuzzi is vaccinated, he’ll likely be available for this game. David Perron has six goals to lead the Blues so far, which undoubtedly pleases Allan Walsh, and thusly pleases everyone, because Allan Walsh is a very normal person that everyone likes and roots for, and who has never ever done anything remotely weird.


A completely fucking banner 96 hours for Stan Born on Third. Bowman dug deep into his throbbing Krang’s-body brain to:

1. Cut his franchise goaltender with nary a negotiation.

2. Trade a solid top-6 LW for a defenseman whose greatest contribution to the sporting world tops out at “piques Vince McMahon’s interest.”

3. Piss off the guys who sell the tickets.

The easy argument would be “This is what a rebuild looks like.” Bull fucking shit.

Why Zadorov and why the FUCK now?

There are many, many things to be pissed about regarding the Saad for Zadorov trade. Let’s start with the easiest thing to be pissed about. Zadorov is a Vince McMahon wet dream. He’s big, he’s muscly, and he sucks big ass at defense. Don’t believe me?

“The 25-year-old is a member of the Chicago Blackhawks now because the Avs became tired of his inconsistent play and they probably didn’t want to deal with another contract negotiation for the restricted free agent.” ­–Mike Chambers, Denver Post, 10/11/2020

“Zadorov is adored by fans and has become a favorite over his five years in Colorado. His teammates also rave about his humor and ability to keep things loose in the locker room. His character might be the only thing he has going for him these days…because defensive ability certainly isn’t.” –Scott MacDonald, Colorado Hockey Now, 9/11/2020

“This looks like a very obvious improvement on behalf of the Avalanche. Zadorov was getting pushed out of the defense group and his defensive mistakes were becoming too much. He now goes to Chicago where their level of defense is much lower while the Avalanche get back a really really good offensive player.” –Hardev Lad, Mile High Hockey, 10/10/2020

Inconsistent play? Bad at defense? He’ll fit right fucking in!

As we’ve vomited out ad nauseum, the Blackhawks learned all the wrong lessons from the Blues winning the Stanley Cup. Saad for Zadorov itself shouldn’t be surprising, given that Stan Bowman has absolutely no idea what a good defenseman looks like. But Zadorov doesn’t have “future contributor” written anywhere on him on a team with any serious intention of being a contender, now or in the future.

Here it is in neurotic nerd form:

From (@IneffectiveMath)

McCurdy’s graphs above give a snapshot of a defenseman who’s simply “a guy” at best. He provides little to no offense, which, whatever. His best defensive year was in 2016–17, and his last three years in Colorado were a hobo’s listless shrug.

But Zadorov often finds himself out of position. And one of his supposed strengths is he’s A BRUISER. Which means he takes penalties. Which means he’s off the ice. Which seems like a really bad place for a supposed defensive defenseman—which is how they’ll sell him if they aren’t already—to be. Seems especially bad given how bad the goaltending projects to be relative to what it was when Crow was here. He makes it more likely that we’ll see Malcolm Subban, Collin Delia, or Kevin Lankinen up against a power play behind THIS defense and THIS system (last year’s good PK performance be damned).

This isn’t a brick in the rebuild. It’s a brick you throw through the window because the owners have abandoned the fucking house.

Though Brandon Saad isn’t Hossa Jr. like we wanted him to be, he’s without a doubt a good, possession-conscious, two-way responsible top-6 forward. All Bowman got for him was a guy who likely won’t be here next year. No picks, no prospects, no nothin’, AND they’re retaining $1 million of Saad’s contract. And if you think Zadorov has potential or whatever, congratulations on being Pierre McGuire, I guess.

Trading Maatta and not re-signing Koekkoek was a step in the right direction. They’re depth guys at best, and doing so sprang hope that Mitchell and Boqvist would get real, big boy minutes from the word go. But after seeing how Colliton turned Boqvist into a kicked and scared puppy, you wonder what that opportunity would be worth to him.

Then, after unclogging the defensive toilet, StanBo immediately stuffed a full box of jagged-plastic-applicator tampons down and said, “This is good.” And he lost a solid top-6 winger to do it. And I’m just now realizing that this is how Alex Nylander gets back onto the top 6. Shit on me.

In short, Stan Bowman traded for a defenseman who will likely take time away from Mitchell or Boqvist, and whose most attractive skill is BIG TOUGH. They’re going to throw him into Colliton’s Pollack-on-Krokodil chase-the-shitty-dragon system, despite the fact that the Avs didn’t want him because he sucks at positioning. Oh, and they signed him to a one-year, $3.2 million contract.

That’s not part of a rebuild. It’s fucking hubris.

But wait, there’s more! No Crawford negotiations but money for Zadorov?

Losing Crawford was bad enough. But as Scott Powers reported over the weekend, Bowman didn’t even bother to negotiate with him.

“There just wasn’t much negotiation,” Crawford said. “We thought there would be more talk. I think it was at $3 (million). We just didn’t go back and forth at all, so it just kind of ended there. There’s not much more I can say about that.

“I don’t think it was necessarily (the term). We just didn’t negotiate that much. That’s all it really was. I can’t really say much more about that. Let’s leave it there.” –Corey Crawford, 10/10/2020

What’s done is done, but in light of this Saad for Zadorov trade, it’s even more upsetting. Crow ended up signing in New Jersey for two years and $7.8 million. That’s a $3.9 million cap hit a year for one of the best and most consistent goaltenders in the league. The Hawks have committed $4.2 million in cap space between the Zadorov signing and keeping $1 million of Saad’s contract. That on its own should be grounds for firing. Fuck off with “It’s just this year though.” I do not care.

If it’s about rebuilding, you maybe get them jettisoning Crow. But which moves has Stan made that you trust to help reach that goal?

And that’s not all! The Core is pissed, too

The fucking cherry on top is that Toews, Kane, and Keith are pissed about these moves. They’re especially pissed about the lack of negotiations with Crawford. Most of all, they’re mad that no one seems to have relayed that they’re rebuilding. You may recall earlier in the year that Patrick Kane made mention of The Core wanting a say in the team’s future. In response, Bowman said something along the lines of “Players play and managers manage.”

These players have won three Cups. They play. When the fuck is Bowman going to start managing this team? If your reaction to The Core’s upset is “It’s not their decision to make,” it should horrify you that Bowman is indeed the decision maker here.

Bowman has ridden this Core, which was almost entirely handed to him when he arrived, to three Cups. Now, after beginning to install his vision—which includes Jeremy Colliton as coach, trading for Alex Nylander on purpose, and failing to build a blue line to give his young goaltenders any hope at success, just to name a few moves—his answer to their concerns is “screw.” Yeah, he’s within the realm of his responsibilities to do so, but outside of drafting Dach and re-signing Kubalik for a song of a bridge contract, what’s Bowman done recently to give you the confidence that he’s at all authoritative about what makes a good hockey team?

In the end, this is less of a rebuild and more of a pursuit of stubbornness. Bowman is going all-in not with The Core that’s won him three Cups; not with a core of young talent combined with a coaching staff that can foster their strengths and patch their weaknesses; but with this Pretty Little Coach and his Shitty Little System that makes anyone in it for long enough worse. No one listens to, respects, or wants to play for Colliton, because he’s a bad coach with a bad system. Instead of admitting fault, Bowman will shift blame and build around his good-looking hunk of walking hubris, because that’s what being born on third is all about.

Toews, Kane, and Keith each have no-movement clauses. Toews has made it abundantly clear that he’s not going anywhere. Keith doesn’t sound interested in moving either, presumptively with how tough it’ll be for him to find a mover who can safely transport whatever crystals he’s healing with these days. And if Kane decides to waive his NMC, it’ll likely put the team’s budget actually in the red. All the while, the actual young talent is under the tutelage of a coach whose biggest possible contribution would be not teaching them anything he knows at all.

The goddamn plane has crashed into the mountain.


Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

They got farther than they should have. Some of the kids showed flashes of brilliance. Others looked everything from odious to unusable. We got a couple more classic games from one of our favorite guys. And all the while a coach. My oh my, a coach.

Jeremy Colliton is so revolutionary and paradigm shifting that even the things he does right he does wrong. Waiting until Game 5 of a Quarterfinal you didn’t belong in to scratch Alex Nylander had all urgency and foresight of cleaning out a toilet full of shit only after you’ve begun suffering from ambient sepsis. But given how exceedingly low he has set the bar for himself, that he scratched him at all is praiseworthy.

But then, he didn’t stop at dressing John Quenneville, oh no. He started him on the first line with Toews and Kubalik in an elimination game. Yeah, alright, make your point, whatever it is. But then he kept putting Quenneville out there. On purpose. In an elimination game. That line ended up with a 30 CF%. And a goal against. And Jeremy Colliton kept running it out there. On purpose. In an elimination game.

Fucking check THIS shit out. At the end of the second period, Brandon Saad shared the ice with Jonathan Toews for 16 seconds. In that time, they had a 3 CF, 0 CA, and a goal. In seven seconds—7 fucking seconds, dear reader—with Dominik Kubalik, they had a 2 CF, 0 CA, and a goal.

In what incomprehensible galaxy is it acceptable to skate John Quenneville over Brandon Saad on the first line? In an elimination game. If the very point of this experience was to get younger guys playoff experience, how does skating John Quenneville over Sikura, Hagel, Kurashev, or even Mackenzie THE OX Entwistle accomplish this? Please note that I cannot possibly care fucking less that John Quenneville is 24. He is a nice fourth liner if you are being generous. Fuck, Sikura can at least possess the puck at a better than 30+% rate. What has Sikura done to deserve such a ratfucking?

They aren’t going to fire Jeremy Colliton, but they should. He’s not the coach this team needs, and given their overall performance this year, he’s not the coach this team wants, either.

– The Saad–Strome–DeBrincat line was strong tonight. They dominated possession to the tune of a 61+ CF%. They also played the least of any of the four lines. Goddamn it, can’t you just feel the MINDBRAINS pulsing through your fucking skull? In an elimination game. This fuckin guy.

– We will miss Corey Crawford most of all. We will have tons to say, and it’ll all be a roundabout way of getting at thank you. If this was it, it was a wonderful ride.

– Watching Connor Murphy pull off a spin-o-rama and have an all-around good game was nice. Probably worth more to me than Alexis Lafreniere.

Kirby Dach said hello several times these playoffs. We like what we saw all year. Could stand to shoot more. But we’ll have thoughts on that later.

Adam Boqvist was bad these playoffs. Yeah, he’s barely 20, coached by some guy, and had no reliable backstop to build his puck moving around. And yeah, he went up against an overpowering Vegas team right after two of hockey’s best forwards. But even so, he was totally helpless on defense. Overpowered, outskated, and constantly out of position. You bet your ass we’re putting a lot of that on the clown’s funeral that is this coaching staff. But you get a sense that Boqvist was fundamentally lost out there these playoffs. We didn’t even get a flash of offensive prowess worth writing about. This is our concern dude.

The Hawks would be foolish to give up on him. Still too young, still needs to grow, and any number of excuses. They traded Henri Jokiharju in part because of how much they believed in him. To give up now would be absurd, albeit in Boqvist’s best interest. And yet, you worry.

I think that’s enough of that for now.

Thank you for reading and sticking with us in these unprecedented times. It was fun to have a taste of meaningful hockey, if only for a few weeks and entirely undeserved. We’ll keep doing this shit as long as you all keep reading it, because you’re all alright as a lot.

We’ll probably have some podcasts coming up. Hockey might take a little time off, but we’ll get you your player and coaching reviews. We may have a stray thought or two about the goings on in the bubble. Follow our Sox stuff and our football stuff. And we’ll always be at the forefront of arriving late, drinking all the wine, and throwing up in the misused bidet that is Blackhawks breaking news.

Until then, stay safe and do what you can.

Coranon silaria ozoo mahoke.


Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

It’s not quite a surprise, and it’s not quite a disappointment. But there’s a melancholy about this loss. It’s partly the fact that Vegas comfortably coasted like a vegetable-oil-powered hatchback downhill and still stifled the Hawks. It’s partly the fact no matter how you slice it, this defensive system sucks shit. They didn’t get van Hagar’d, which is something I guess. Let’s pan for gold in this indoor outhouse.

– At least Kirby Dach was noticeable for the first half of the game. His greenness came through on his first instance of noticeableness, as he held the puck way too long on a 2-on-1 with DeBrincat while waiting for a passing lane to open up. Everything prior to his shitting the stage was good though, as he showed off hands by taking a pass in stride through the neutral zone before passing off to Kane, speed and power weaving the puck into the zone, and vision by looking for DeBrincat in the first place. But as we’ve found ourselves saying more than once during this run, just shoot that, baby.

But Dach learned quickly, taking a one-timer off a nice DeBrincat pass following a forced turnover. And later in that same period, Dach just missed Kane stalking in front of the net with a backhand pass from behind the goal line. He became less noticeable as the game went on, but there were things to like about what he did tonight. The Hawks have something in him. Whether they use him correctly going forward will be the big question.

Adam Boqvist isn’t a defensive defenseman. That would be fine if he also weren’t petrified of making a mistake with the puck. The whole point of drafting him was to develop him as a puck-moving play maker. At no point did he show any ability to do that tonight, while also getting totally pantsed by luminaries like Ryan Reaves.

Pairing him with Duncan Keith doesn’t help him at all. Keith simply does not give enough of a shit to pare his game back and play centerfield for Boqvist, which is what Boqvist needs if he’s ever going to develop the way the Hawks need him to. By no means should we or the Hawks give up on him. But they have to set him up for success, which they have utterly failed to do all season.

– On that note, I would like to double or even triple down on the notion that Jeremy Colliton’s defensive system sucks unwiped ass. On the Knights’s first goal, we had Duncan Keith chasing Reilly Smith from below the goal line up past the near-circle dot, leaving Adam Boqvist and Dylan Strome to defend down low. I’ll grant that this is a shot that Crawford should have had. But the system itself forces Duncan Keith to rove between the goal line and beyond the dot by himself, as Strome and Boqvist stick to their men down low. This gives Shea Theodore way too much time and space to create a play, whether a quick wrister or a potential rebound in an area where the alleged defenders aren’t defenders at all, but rather Adam fucking Boqvist and Dylan fucking Strome.

Part of coaching is simply knowing your players’ strengths and weaknesses, but here’s Coach Nathan For You expecting a light-in-the-ass Boqvist and Dylan Strome to guard the net, and Duncan Keith to do everything else. Brilliant.

The second goal was a perfect example of how this Colliton system can do everything right and still trip over its own dick.

On this goal, it looks like everyone has their man covered. But that doesn’t fucking matter if your team is both too slow and too inexperienced to anticipate. Boqvist follows Roy past the dot by design, opening up space for Ryan Reaves down low. Reaves manages to pump fake Keith and curl back, leaving Keith flat footed. With Boqvist past the circle covering Roy, the system now relies on Matthew Highmore to stick with Carrier. He falls down trying to do so.

The biggest problem is that Ryan Reaves has both time and space to create a play because Keith has no real support on his back end. Boqvist is on the same side as him, and Highmore is overwhelmed by Carrier, who managed to shake Highmore off and get back to his feet to sweep the puck in. THIS IS WHAT THE SYSTEM IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE. It relies too heavily on guys who simply can’t match up one-on-one, and when one of those guys is even slightly out of position, the entire system falls apart. Where’s the upside to this?

– Though we can bitch and moan about the system (and we will at every chance we get, dear reader), we’d me remiss if we didn’t admit that this was not a good Corey Crawford game. Though there’s a lot to hate about how the first goal developed systematically, that’s a shot Crow should have. Neither Boqvist nor Stasny really screened Crow on this one. You can argue that system fucked Crow, but it’s a shot he should have had, regardless.

Reilly Smith’s goal (#3 for Vegas) was another inexcusable goal. Yes, Toews’s pass through the neutral zone was bad and directly led to the chance. But it was a straightforward wrister that Crow just failed to absorb. The Hawks need Crawford to be everything and more to have a shot in this series, and those two goals were backbreakers.

Brandon Saad was very good for some of the game. His pressure and power on Theodore led to Kampf’s goal on the penalty kill, and he was one of just three Hawks to be above water in possession tonight with a team-leading 54+% share. (The other two were Dominik Kubalik and Alex Nylander, which fucking rules).

– We can give the Hawks some credit for limiting the high-danger chances in the first and second, and even for controlling possession for the second. But watching this game, you get the feeling that Vegas was doing an after-morning-sex stretch with them through the first 40. Despite being down a goal going into the third, the Hawks only managed five shots in the third and only had the puck for 37% of the time. It’s one thing to play a faux trap early. It’s another to play to your weakness despite the situation, which is exactly what PARADIGM-CHANGING COACH Jeremy Colliton chose to do.

Robin Lehner lost two skate blades while the Hawks had possession, once on the goddamn power play, and the Hawks fired one shot on goal that technically wasn’t a shot on goal because it hit the post. But please, tell me more about how Jeremy Colliton is a coaching wunderkind whose players definitely listen to him and who has them all dialed in with the focus required to take advantage of a fucking goaltender without a fucking skate blade. Twice.

– Kane’s been awfully quiet for Kane these playoffs, which might throw a wrench in the one cool move Colliton has in the magic bag of tricks he stole from Felix the Cat’s loser fucking dropout cousin, Horace the Fucking Moron.

Vegas is just that much better than the Hawks. Unless Crow throws up a .950 for the rest of the series, there’s not much they can do except try to go air raid, which simply won’t work against a team that can gobble up the puck as much as the Knights can. The best we can look for is development and improvement from guys like Dach, Boqvist, Kubalik, and DeBrincat. We’ll take that.


Booze du Jour: Maker’s and Evan Williams

Line of the Night: “Edmonton could not check their hat in the qualifying round.” -Eddie O.


It was sloppy. It was confusing. It was a total fucking rush. Warts and all, the Blackhawks are now a win away from advancing to the next round of the playoffs. I’m way too drunk to taste this chicken, so let’s rush through whatever it was we just saw.

– As the Toews line goes, so go the Hawks. Each of Saad, Toews, and Kubalik ended up with 56+ CF%s at 5v5, and most of their time came against either McDavid or Draisaitl. Both McJesus and Leon the Ladies Man were underwater when up against the Toews line, which echoed the success the Hawks had in Game 1. It’s clear that when this line can possess the puck, the Hawks have a shot.

On top of it all, Jonathan Toews found himself in the right place at the right time twice tonight. Both of his goals were of the tip-in variety. On the first, he pulled a [insert whoever’s a good goal scorer in soccer here, I dunno, what’s that one guy’s name who committed tax fraud or whatever], toeing a loose puck past Koskinen without even knowing it. On the second, he tipped a point shot from our sweet boy CONNOR MURPHY for the game winner. This guy fucks.

And Saad had a game of almost himself, janking two pucks off the post. When this line is on, the Hawks can.

– Now THAT’S the Corey Crawford on whose hill I will die to have his number in the rafters. Despite The Harlem Draisaitls featuring Connor McDavid, Crawford managed to keep this fart-powered jalopy of a defense from completely dicking the outcome, with at least four high-quality saves at crucial junctures. Aside from a minor puck-handling snafu in the second, Crawford was poised and on his game all night. Had this been the Crawford of Games 1 or 2, the Hawks would have given up eight.

Kirby Dach. It’s amazing what this kid can do when given the chance. He came up with just one “excuse me” primary assist, but he contributed so much more. He had a 54 CF% for one. He managed to enter the zone with speed on a power play in the second period, which is as monumental a feat as discovering extraterrestrial life that shits Cheesy Gordida Crunches. He even played a decent amount on the penalty kill. Whenever he’s on the ice, the Hawks tend to find success, and it’s been a joy watching him grow into what looks to be a legitimate #1 center for the future.

– Although we love the outcome, the process of getting there is untenable. While it’s little surprise that the Hawks managed just one power play goal on six motherfucking attempts, it’s the reason why that continues to annoy.

It’s cool that they managed to wet dream themselves a PP goal on a 5-on-3 with five forwards on the ice. But every other PP opportunity they had fell back into the old Carmelo Kane routine on the right-side boards. On top of that, Coach Nathan For You has continued to place Toews as a rover and Kubalik in the high slot, which is the exact opposite of each player’s strengths.

It’s easy to forget that the Hawks were a top 10 PP team last year. And as we discussed way back then, a lot of that had to do with Toews’s positioning in the high slot. He’s much more apt to tip a rebound or sweep a shot in than to fire one off a hard slapshot from the top circle like Kubalik can do. Had Coach Galaxy Brain had the wherewithal to understand that this was one the few things he’s managed to get right in his tenure, perhaps we don’t have to prolapse our collective anus in anticipation of a late game winner.

Dominik Kubalik ought to be the rover, not Toews.

– When the Blackhawks inevitably refuse to buy out Olli Maatta and point to his two goals in this series as justification, remember that he was not only on the ice for each of the Oilers’s three goals tonight but also a direct contributor to each of them.

On the first, Maatta tried to one-hand a pass up the end boards under pressure, despite knowing that the leading scorer in the entire goddamn motherfucking game was on the ice. While the puck took a funny hop off the end boards and eluded Koekkoek and Carpenter, there’s no reason for it to get to the point where Tyler Ennis (skypoint) can simply shovel a pass through the blue paint to a horny and prepared Draisaitl. But Maatta is too slow to catch up to plays like that. Thus.

On the second goal, Maatta had a front-row seat to watch Draisaitl pot a rebound after a good Crawford save following Highmore’s egregious turnover. If he had a speed greater than dripping pitch, it’s unlikely Draisaitl has a lane to crash as unopposed.

On the third goal, Maatta found himself on the penalty kill, which is a problem per se. Admittedly, it’s hard to blame Maatta for this one, given how fucking good Connor McDavid is. But also, the Hawks need to buy out Olli Maatta this off-season. So there.

–Feather’s guy Slater Koekkoek had himself a good night for Slater Koekkoek. He was a little bit underwater in possession, but he fired home the shot that Highmore tipped for the tying goal. That’s all you can ask.

– Alex Nylander was unnoticeable, which rules for a change.

Jesus Christ. It’s like losing to your virginity to a shy crush. Though McDavid and Draisaitl CAN do it all, if this Crawford shows up again on Friday, it might not fucking matter.

Drink that whiskey. Rock over London. Rock on, Chicago.

Booze du Jour: Firestone Nitro something, then about half a handle of Maker’s

Line of the Night: “He’s not going to beat you from out there.” –Jamal Mayers, describing an instance in which Leon Draisaitl beat Olli Maatta from “out there,” leading to McDavid’s PP goal.


Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

God damn it, I didn’t realize how much I missed this motherfucking game. From start to finish, it was a never-ending adrenaline rush of emotion. Before we get into the recap, an important reminder: We’re still in the middle of a pandemic. There are still millions of people who don’t have the same fucking privilege we do to have a moment to breathe through a sport. Donate blood, donate to your local food banks, donate to a bond fund, help your neighbors, help those you don’t even know. Do whatever you can to help those in need, because the so-called leadership of this country refuses to.

Matt Dumba’s speech was remarkable. I’m totally surprised that the NHL even let him do what he did, which is both a relief and troubling. You could feel the power in each quiver of Dumba’s voice. It was a wonderful, meaningful, powerful speech, something we should never forget as these play-ins and playoffs move forward. If there’s anything not to like about what Dumba went through today, it’s that he had to do it at all and that he found himself kneeling on his own. While it was touching to watch Subban and Nurse stand at his side, you wish everyone else would have joined him.

Nonetheless, Matt Dumba made a powerful statement that far overshadows anything else that happened on the ice. It was a pleasant surprise from a league that often doesn’t live up to its ideals. And if you have any problem with what Dumba did at all, eat fucking shit you dumb motherfucker.

– I guess even a drooling dog’s sore dick can shoot one off every once in a while. The Blackhawks were three of six on the PP, which was far better than even the most optimistic could have predicted. Yes, it’s a huge problem that the Oilers scored three of their four goals on their PP, but we can safely rest assured that we successfully pulled a Fels Motherfuck on the special teams thus far. While this one feels good, with the likelihood of Koskinen starting going forward, the Hawks oughtn’t rest on their laurels. The Oilers have proven they can do it regularly. The Hawks have not.

– Dominik Motherfucking Kubalik, my frents. His five points today set a playoff-debut record for points from a rookie (and Sportsnet called it a playoff record, so it’s official: The Hawks are a playoff team). And what a performance he had throughout. On the Hawks’s first PP, he backhanded a pass from Kane to a wide-open Toews, who hardly needed to exert any effort to snap the shot home. His assist on Saad’s tip-in off a Maatta point shot (FUCKING WHAT???) was art, as was his pass from behind the net through the Royal Road to Toews on the Hawks’s second PP.

But the best part of Kubalik’s game came on his one timer from Keith in the second period. It’s a pleasant surprise to see how good Kubalik has become at just about every aspect of the game, but his rocket shot is still Sue at the Field.

Whatever it takes this off-season, you have to re-sign Kubalik. Whatever it takes. Someone start the GoFundMe that forces Seabrook to trade contracts with Kubalik now. Thanks.

Jonathan Toews was the guy doing all the fucking early in this game. Two goals (both on the PP), an assist, and simply pulling it out and slamming it on the table at the dot against McDavid. The big concern here was how the Toews line would keep up with either Draisaitl or McDavid, and they simply crushed them.

– Early in the game, it looked like we might get the version of Saad that we don’t like to admit exists: the one who gets lackadaisical and isn’t giving MORE. It was evident on McDavid’s goal, when McDavid curled just past the blue line only to power himself toward the near-side dot to receive a pass from Draisaitl across ice. There’s no good excuse to leave the best player in hockey that wide open, even on the PK, but Saad did.

But aside from that, Saad was excellent. He had an 81+ CF% at 5v5 to go with his two points (1 G, 1 A), which is hard to argue with. The Hawks’s top line was nails when it needed to be.

– Kirby Dach may have only had one assist, but he’s a future star. His aggressiveness on the end boards before Toews’s first PP goal led to a puck squirting onto Kane’s stick. Despite taking a hard check, Dach still managed to keep the puck moving. He’s special, and I take back saying that picking him over Bowen Byram was a bad call.

– We all thought this series would go through Crawford. It probably still will. But today wasn’t especially confidence inducing. On Draisaitl’s goal (the Oilers’s second in the game), Crow made an outstanding save at first, but struggled to recover in the crease after hitting the ice. He had enough time to find his feet, but he just didn’t. He looked lost at times, which could be a concern as the Oilers seemed to find their groove late. Nothing to light yourself on fire about just yet, especially with three of the Oilers’s four goals coming on the PP, but something to watch. Crow will need to find it a little more smoothly if the Hawks hope to advance. They can’t win without him being the rock.

– I said that the Hawks would lose any game in which they gave up more than three penalties. I might have Motherfucked them today. It’ll be crucial for Colliton to get his pretty head out of his skinny ass and avoid any more TOO MUCH MAN penalties. I’m willing to give a pass on today’s, but any more of that horseshit will bury this team.

– It’s only one game, but I have seen enough of Alex Nylander on the second line. He’s a lazy airhead who doesn’t finish. It doesn’t matter how fast he CAN be or how hard his shot CAN be when neither Kane nor Strome trust him enough to get him the puck. While we’d rather not see Dach fester with him and Caggiula, there were several spots where the Kane line had chances that Nylander’s stargazing stopped in its tracks. Flip Top Cat and Nylander. At least Top Cat has shown he’s willing to play bigger than he is.

– Watching Dylan Strome bank a goal in off Mike Smith’s dumb ass after his “No, we’re really going to an Escape Room, it’ll be fun!” puck-handling escapade ought to have cost $49.95. It rules that he not only got the start but also shat his pants. Fuck him.

It’s still a huge uphill battle for this team. With Koskinen likely slated to start the remainder of the games, goals won’t come as easy as they did today. Stopping the Nylander experiment and getting Crawford to be less wonky will be the focus on Monday. But they got Game 1, and that can make all the difference.

Let’s go Hawks.

Booze du Jour: Maker’s Mark, Evan Williams, and Miller High Life

Unironic Line of the Night: Everything Matt Dumba said.

Ironic Line of the Night: “The Blackhawks just winning the races to the pucks.”  –Doc



RECORDS: Hawks 27-26-8   Stars 35-20-6


TV: NBCSN Chicago


Well this is an interesting one. The Hawks will play their last game looking like this. How much they will change by the time they play again in St. Louis on Tuesday night, well that’s something of a mystery.

We know Erik Gustafsson is a goner, as he wasn’t even brought on the trip. The Hawks will probably only get a 3rd or 4th rounder for him, making the refusal to move him at last year’s deadline when he would have been worth a first even more frustrating. Corey Crawford is starting, which makes you think that Robin Lehner could be on the move as well, if not Crawford himself. But someone has to play in goal. If the Hawks keep both, you’ll know they either have no vision or plan whatsoever or the balls to execute one.

Is this Brandon Saad’s last game here? Dylan Strome’s? Drake Caggiula’s? There are more options beyond Gus and Lehner, but how many will the Hawks take? You’re not wrong to bet on the low end, but anything is possible.

That’s the intrigue off the ice. On the ice the Hawks will have a new piece to look at, which is Lucas Carlsson. Carlsson has been Rockford’s best d-man, and arguably best player, for a while now, and the Hawks have no reason not to spend the rest of the season seeing what they have here. They should do that with other players as well. Carlsson is definitely the type of player the Hawks should be looking at more often, i.e. one with skill and mobility that can move the puck and himself quickly. Instead we’ve gotten the Dennis Gilberts and Matthew Highmores of the world, which is how the Hawks have ended up here. Maybe Carlsson isn’t anything, but with nothing more to play for it’s an evaluation time. In fact, this is how the Hawks ended up with Gustafsson as a regular, though they’ve clearly botched maximizing his value.

As for the rest of it, the Hawks played a spirited game at home on Friday, which was at least entertaining. Can they keep that going on the road for four games against teams who have real stakes? Much harder to do, and while the Hawks will claim they’ve been better on the road this year, the last road trip that left their season in ashes makes its own testimony. And these games on either side of the deadline could see some killed spirits.

To the Stars, who have won five of their last seven and are still very much in the discussion for winning the division even though they’ve had to lose a coach and surf some injury problems this year.

How are the Stars here? THE BISHOP! and The Khudes, the lates emo band to storm Dallas. Has an emo band ever stormed Dallas? We’ll save that discussion for later. Anyway, the Stars are back to being the same boring-as-all-fuck outfit they were last year that locked up their playoff spot and saw them upset the Preds in the first round and nearly do the same to the Blues (sigh). They don’t limit attempts all that well but they collapse around their net and limit chances, and Bishop and Khudobin are rocking SV%’s over .920, leading the Stars to have the second-best ES SV% at evens.

Because they certainly don’t score much. The Stars don’t have anyone with 20 goals or averaging anywhere near a point per game. They’re 24th in goals per game, but you can get away with that when you’re third in goals-against. There is some spreading out of threats here, with Seguin, Benn, and Radulov now on three different lines, but it also tamps down their threat when not together. Benn particularly seems to be on the spiral down, and we know how he feels about going down.

It’s still a stout defense, which has been buffeted by the return of Stephen Johns after he missed a season and a half with concussion problems. He and Heiskanen have dovetailed well which makes for a hell of a second pairing behind Klingberg and Lindell.

This is the first time the Hawks and Stars have seen each other since right before Thanksgiving, when the Hawks played well enough to win twice but only gathered one point. Penetrating the middle of the Stars zone will be the order of the day for the Hawks, but that’s much easier said than done.

It’ll be a stripped down Hawks team soon. They’re only playing for the future. But hey, maybe that’s when you find something.


Leave it to Elliotte Friedman to angry up my blood in his 31 Thoughts this week:

7. I do think Colorado checked out Corey Crawford. But Robin Lehner’s future ties into Chicago’s decision. Lehner’s performance during Chicago’s 5-3 loss to Edmonton raised eyebrows. Not because he was bad or anything, but because he was “quiet.” Lehner plays a “loud” game, both in terms of his voice and activity. The Blackhawks and his representatives are trying to find a match, but word is term is going to be a hurdle. Lehner has said that he deserves to be paid “fairly,” and it was so unusual to see him so placid that people were wondering if a lack of progress bothered him. He was back in goal for Saturday’s 8-4 win in Calgary, where he made a big save to preserve Chicago’s advantage when the game was still in doubt.

Carolina, meanwhile, has had a lot of interest in Lehner, and has that extra first-rounder.

I’m going to start with the trade idea, because that’s more exciting. Crawford to Colorado less so, but Lehner to Carolina…yes, yes please. First off, with the way Francouz has played in Denver, I can’t imagine the Avs have a goalie too high on the priority list even with Philip Grubauer on the shelf. And given their injuries up front, that has to be the priority. We’ll circle back to this.

Carolina, on the other hand, definitely needs a goalie. And this has been the case for like five years. While they were able to miracle a conference final run last year out of Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney, that was never a long term solution. And while they might not like the idea or even agree to it, the Canes are in their window right now. Metrically, they’re one of the best teams, as always, in the league. They’re still young, but with the uncertain budget in Raleigh every year it’s hard to know what is going to stick around and what isn’t. They’re clinging to the last wildcard spot, though are also only a point behind the Flyers for the last automatic spot in the Metro. And they’re better than the Flyers, or the Jackets who are behind them.

The only reason they’re even messing around with this kind of shit is Mrazek turning back into Mrazek. Now, Jame Reimer has been good for them so far, but if you want to turn your team’s fortunes over to James Reimer, that’s a great way to have your heart broken. It’s just not what he is, and if you’re the Canes you want to get back into the Metro spots because you do not want to have to negotiate Tampa and Boston in the first two rounds just to get back to where you were last year.

So if you’re the Hawks, you have to be circling the Canes as a main partner. And you have to start ignoring what your aims were this year. Your vets aren’t stupid. You’re eight points out of it with four teams to leap to get into the playoffs. They should be at least able to hear the argument that at least a second first-round pick is better long-term for this team.

And just a first-rounder should only be a starting point for Canes and Hawks talks over Lehner. If Blake Coleman gets you a first rounder and a prospect (one of the garbage Feet sons), then Lehner should be similar. Or you can pick off one of the extra picks the Canes have in the second and third rounds too. Or both. Or pry Jake Bean loose (or flick him loose, as it were). And then perhaps at the draft you can parlay the two first-rounders you have into a higher first-rounder, or package them for a real winger from a rebuilding team.

Would two first-rounders be enough to get you maybe Timo Meier or Tomas Hertl from the Sharks, who are going nowhere in a hurry? Worth a call, don’t you think?

As for the Avs. I am loathe to part with Brandon Saad for just about anything, but given that Mikko Rantanen is made of boogers and Gorilla tape, they need a middle six forward. And as he only has one year left on his deal after this one, it gives them flexibility. And if it sends Bowen Byram the other way, which would be the asking price for me, you’d have to think about that one long and hard.

If you could pull that off, you have Byram and Mitchell joining up next season, which means your defense could look like:



de Haan-Byram

Give me all of that. Not only that, but with the presence of the three kids, it’s cheap for at least two seasons. And when it gets expensive, Keith will be spinning off his hockey mortal coil.

Even if that costs you Saad, with that defense you’re only a forward or two away from being something serious. Play things right by buying out Maatta and telling Seabrook to do one somehow, and you’d also have Saad’s cap space. Would that be enough to tempt Taylor Hall? If Kreider makes it to free agency? Toffoli? Let’s say there are options.

Oh who the fuck am I kidding? They will do exactly none of this and sign Michael Frolik on July 1st.



You may have been surprised when you woke up and saw the Hawks score from last night (because I’m fairly confident you weren’t staying up late to see it–only losers like myself, Sam, Matt, and about four other cretins would actually spend a Saturday night that way). And you probably thought, wow, maybe some shaky defense but that’s a dominant offensive performance. The thing is, though, it wasn’t. The score doesn’t really reflect the game itself, but please understand I’m not complaining. I’m just scratching my head, and have been for over 12 hours now. I suppose that after getting shut out on a bazillion shots by Vancouver, a correction was due and boy did it happen. But it didn’t inspire the confidence that you would think an 8-goal performance would. Let’s break it down:

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

–The first period was all Jonathan Toews, and honestly I’m here for it. He scored 30 seconds into the game, on the first shot on goal, which should tell you how the night went for David Rittich. Not long after that, Toews made smart plays behind the net to hold onto the puck on the power play, and fired a perfect pass to Dominik Kubalik for the second goal. The captain was even busting out the Patrick Kane spin-o-rama move. And that was all fine and good. The bizarro nature of the game was already happening early on, though, with the Hawks ending the period up in shots (12-8) and possession (52 CF% at evens), and yet tied in goals and it felt downright shaky at times. Also strange (well, it’s kind of normal now but it SHOULD be strange) is their special teams–in the first period they were dominant on the penalty kill, and thank christ for that. However just moments later when the Flames pulled a Hawks and took a too many men penalty, the Hawks couldn’t even get out of their own zone, much less get INTO the offensive zone to do anything. It was, as I kept calling it on Twitter, confounding.

–And then the second period happened and I’m still confused. The Hawks were not good, not by any stretch. Calgary lapped them in shots (14-7 in favor of the Flames), and the Hawks managed just a 38 CF%, but they scored 4 goals in the period. Two of those were from Alex Nylander so what the fuck is that about? The first one from Brandon Saad was off a gorgeous no-look pass from Patrick Kane, so it was lucky in that the Hawks finally got control of the puck for a few seconds, and since Kane and Saad are both good, they took advantage. That’s sort of how the rest could be explained too, I guess. The few moments when the Hawks could hang onto the puck, they scored. There ya go, people, there’s some quality analysis for you. But in all seriousness, Nylander’s first goal was off a steal, perfectly executed in the middle of the ice, Alex DeBrincat‘s (yay for this guy finally!) was thanks to Dach’s work behind the net and a quick passing sequence from Dach to Strome to DeBrincat, and Nylander’s other one…whatever. They just exploded with a handful of really good plays, while otherwise they were chasing and running around like rabid raccoons and getting skulled in possession.

–So all that offensive production is great, but they also conceded a few, right? Unfortunately 50% of the goals given up can be laid squarely on Adam Boqvist, who did not have a good night at all. On both Sam Bennett s and Elias Lindholm‘s first goals, Boqvist just didn’t pick up his man and left Lehner totally exposed. The offense made up for the shitty defense so it was fine, and as we’ve said, Boqvist is going to have mistakes, but it still wasn’t a confidence builder.

–And then, to top it all off, the Hawks still sucked in the third and yet piled on more goals. The weirdness just didn’t stop. In fact, when Lindholm scored his second goal, on the power play about five minutes into the third, everyone was palpably nervous that the Hawks were going to blow it. I think the team themselves expected to blow it, given the fact they got outplayed in every way except the one that counts. The Flames outshot the Hawks 20-9 in the third. Please think about that–it’s more than double the amount of shots the Hawks had, and mind you, that’s following the second where they were equally terrible. The difference of course was Robin Lehner, who, up until the third didn’t actually look that great but he turned it on when he had to. As mentioned, his defense wasn’t doing him a lot of favors, but he was giving up a lot of rebounds and his positioning wasn’t too solid through two. He figured it out for the third, though, and definitely bailed the Hawks, until Kane’s empty netter put the game away.

–The Flames really should be kicking themselves in the ass for this one, because not only did they totally outshoot the Hawks on a night when our goalie wasn’t actually lights-out the whole time, the Flames also had three power plays in the third period and still managed to lose. Also Matthew Tkachuk is awful and made about 50 bad turnovers, so that was entertaining. Rittich got pulled in the second and rightfully so, but Cam Talbot wasn’t any good either (a .692 SV%, lmao).

So it was all very strange, but it wasn’t boring. And if the Air Raid Offense is the best we can muster because our defense sucks, so be it. (Let it also be known that Erik Gustafsson still sucks and Boqvist is not the only defenseman who wasn’t at the top of his game.) Onto Winnipeg tonight, where it’s once again a “must-win” if you’re still deluding yourself that this team has a chance at the playoffs. Onward and upward!


As the Hawks venture into the western reaches of Canada, let’s look at who’s hot and who’s not:

The Dizzying Highs

Brandon Saad. Playing on a line with Patrick Kane will always help your scoring no matter who you are, but there’s no reason to nitpick. Saad has been putting the puck in the net lately—three goals in his last four games to be exact. We need Saad to score and that’s happening, he’s currently sporting a 51.6 CF% at evens, and his shooting percentage is sitting at a career-high 15.2. Sure, it could level off a little but he’s been hitting his stride this season and quietly being just solid.

The goaltending. Since 2/1 and going into Winnipeg: Corey Crawford, .932 SV%, 2.36 GAA, 76 shots faced in 2 games; Robin Lehner, .950 SV%, 1.96 GAA, 40 shots faced in 1 game. Now I know, Crow gave up a couple late goals against the Jets, but when you’re on the PK for like 12 minutes a period, that can happen. Besides, he was the only reason that game didn’t turn into a curb stomping in the second period. The Hawks’ playoff hopes may be hanging by a thread, but imagine if we didn’t have this tandem and or if they weren’t playing this well. Actually, don’t imagine it. I just did and it was even more frightening than our current reality.

The Terrifying Lows

Nick Seeler. Just a big, dumb oaf. He had an assist in his first game against Winnipeg, but also a stupid penalty and useless fight. Please get better soon, Adam Boqvist.

Alex DeBrincat. Can somebody just give Top Cat a big hug and tell him everything is gonna be alright? Granted, he got a goal against the Bruins on the power play a few days ago, but aside from that he’s like the episode “Homer Defined” except the dictionary entry would say “snake-bitten” \adj.\: 1. Having been bitten by a snake; 2. Cursed, or generally unlucky without reason; 3. Alex DeBrincat.

Meanwhile, his xGF over the last 10 days is 54.4%, and he’s generating a lot of shots (hell, he had eight against Arizona). But the finish is non-existent, and against Winnipeg on Sunday night he was awful, finishing with a miserable 25 CF% and -36.1 CF Rel. Hopefully this is rock bottom and he can at least sort of contribute as this ship slowly sinks.

The Creamy Middles

Connor Murphy. Did you know this poor bastard has had 66% of his starts in the defensive zone since the break ended? Even with that shitty workload he was nearly equal in possession prior to Sunday (49.5 CF% at 5v5). He’s just doing what he does and not getting enough credit for it, so we’ll be the ones to say something nice about our Large Irish Son.

Kirby Dach. OK, this may be a little harsh and I honestly considered putting Dach in the Highs, but he wasn’t great against Winnipeg, so here we are. However, there’s no denying a point streak, and while Dach hasn’t been potting a bunch of goals lately he’s still managed to rack up six points in his last six games, with the streak ending against the Jets. Five of those points were assists and hey, we’ll take it. Beyond just that, his skating, puck handling, and general demeanor are surpassing his tender years, and he seems to be turning into a genuine top-line center. No, he’s not there yet, but it may not be that far off.