Box Score: Game 52 | Game 53 | Game 54
Game Log: Game 52 | Game 53 | Game 54
Natural Stat Trick: Game 52 | Game 53 | Game 54

The Hurricanes are good. The Blackhawks are bad. We all knew this going into this series, and that things probably would not look good for the Blackhawks since their playoff push is over and they’re now pivoting to playing every young/inexperienced/new player that they can find. But it didn’t make this series any harder to watch for the first part of the week. At least we got a semisweet victory to finish it off in OT tonight. To the bullets:

  • The Hurricanes are such a fast team and for 7 of the 9 periods the Hawks couldn’t keep up. There were many times throughout the series where the Canes’ first line just outskated our defenders. One of the goals on Sunday was just tough to watch as Connor Murphy went down trying to break up the play, Wyatt Kalynuk was tasked with trying to defend against two people and Kirby Dach gave no help. Subban didn’t have a chance on that 3-0 goal.
  • The Hawks got pantsed at the end of the game two in two different occasions where we pulled our goalie for an extra (at one point two extra) attacker and the Hurricanes scored on us. It’s one thing for that to happen once, but it happened twice in a row. And you immediately knew it was coming, too. Someone give this young defense some structure, thanks.
  • Kirby Dach is officially out of the season because of wrist discomfort. And all I can think about is how he openly admitted his wrist was hurting but the team thought it was fine to let him play. He’d better be healthy by the return of next season, that’s all I have to say.
  • Duncan Keith is the greatest defenseman in Blackhawks history. And last night I was preparing to write about how it’s probably past due that his minutes get limited. But after getting literally speared in the head with a linesman’s knee tonight and not returning to the game, he literally forced the minutes issue himself. Now he and Connolly both have concussions and won’t be back this season. And the fact of the matter is he wasn’t looking much better the first two games of this series, as he had multiple horrific plays and giveaways this series. Limit this man’s time so he can actually be helpful to the defense instead of being the overworked horse on the defensive end for the 15th year in a row.
  • The Cat is a monster, a speedy little devil, but we already knew that. In the month of May, he was a contributor to 6 of the Blackhawks’ 11 total goals. He is the one generating the offense as of late, as Patrick Kane has only contributed to 3 goals and is a -7 so far this month. Kane’s either injured or probably just exhausted; there was a stretch of this season where he was pretty much carrying the team offensively, after all. But at least in the offensive zone we have someone that can pick up the slack when needed.
  • Collin Delia finally got some NHL time, and it was time he deserved and certainly earned. Considering what this season has been like for him, he played super well and admirably for both of his appearances this series with a .939 save percentage over these games. Plus, just seeing someone absorbing shots on occasion and not give up 700 rebounds was a welcome sight, not to mention his first win.

And just like that, the final two games of the season are upon us, as Hawks fans are getting ready to happily pay $110.00/ticket for 300-level seats to watch a circus team with only one remaining dynasty member on it. (Inflation is coming, folks.) The Hawks will finish out this season against the Dallas Stars, who seem to be falling out of playoff contention themselves and will need two wins against us to have a prayer of catching Nashville. Onward.


See the source image VS

Records: Hawks 22-23-6 (50) Canes 34-10-7 (75)

Puck Drops: 6:00 Mon/Tues/Thurs

TV/Radio: NBCSN and WGN 720

Teuvo Time: Canes Country


The second to last stop on the Train to Vacationtime for the Hawks makes it’s final appearance down in Carolina this week for a threesome against the Canes. After dropping both games to the Panth last week, the Hawks have fallen down to sixth in the division sitting a mere 5 points ahead of the Scum who managed to pass the Jackets this weekend. The fact that the Wings are as bad as they are and might not get the lottery pick they so desperately need warms my cold, dark soul. I digress, however.

The Hurricanes currently reign atop whatever they call this division right now, sitting 2 points ahead of Tampa with a game in hand. They’ve been on fire lately, currently rocking a 10 game point streak (7-0-3) in that span. Nothing really has changed for them since the last time the Hawks clashed with them, as they pretty much stood pat at the trade deadline. It really didn’t matter, as even though they could’ve used another scorer the Canes continue to be top 3 in the league in CORSI for. They push the play at a more than solid 54% average, while at the same time have allowed the least amount of goals in the entire league. They’re top 10 in shot suppression and 2nd in the league in shots for behind the Panthers.

They’ve managed all of this with having James Reimer and Alex Nedeljkovic in net for the majority of the season, and credit where it’s due they’ve done a solid job of keeping the puck out of their own net. Having one of the better shot suppression defenses in front of them certainly doesn’t hurt, and now reinforcements have arrived in the form of Petr Mrazek who returned from the injured list earlier in April from surgery on his right thumb. He’s looked good in his return, only having one speedbump 3 starts ago against the Wings when they had one of their games when 80% of their shots go in. It will be interesting to see how Rod Brind’Amour handles the goalie workload going into the postseason. Nedeljkovic has been the better of the two between him and Reimer, and Mrazek has had plenty of time to knock off the ring rust by now.

On the scoring end of the sheet, the Canes do it from all directions. They have 7 players with 30 or more points, and Sebastian Aho has 52 of them. None of those 7 players is Our Sweet Boy Teuvo, as he’s missed over a month with a concussion served up to him by (sigh) Nikita Zadorov back in the February 19th tilt between the Canes and Hawks. If he’s back at full strength, odds are the Canes have a top tier scoring weapon on every line they roll out. Sounds a lot like the Hawks teams in 2010-2016, and it makes my eyes misty just watching them.

As for the Hawks, offensively everything looked pretty good in their last series against the Panthers. New toy Adam Gaudette has acclimated well to whatever offensive “system” it is that the Hawks run under Coach Smoothbrain, with 4 points in his first 3 games. Both Alex DeBrincat and Domanik Kubalik have the hot hand right now, with DeBrincat’s goal in the 2nd period against the Panthers standing out as a particularly good sign. Even Kirby Dach has looked less lost in the last few games.

On the defensive side, everything continues to be a dumpster fire floating down a river comprised of sewage and toxic waste. The man to man system the Hawks run simply does not work with the personnel back there. Multiple times in the Panthers series Zadorov chose not only the wrong forward to cover, but sometimes picked a player that wasn’t even on the ice or technically in the building.

Riley Stillman, fresh off signing that new paper, was directly responsible for at least 2 goals against with one terrible pass, and then giving up on the play completely when Gusev scored his second goal of the night in game 2. Why Bowman decided NOW that Stillman needed to be extended before the Hawks had seen him play a week’s worth of games is a mystery to all of us here at FFUD. The only potential positive might be that his extension pushes Zadorov off the bus, so…yay?

In net, both Kevin Lankinen and Malcom Subban continue to have a rough go of it thanks to the clown rodeo in front of them. Neither of them has been particularly offensive, but also neither has been able to steal the games that the Hawks would need them to steal to remain ahead of Detroit. Still no word if Colin Delia will get any of these final starts, but if he’s not up now I don’t realistically see that happening, when it absolutely should.

With 5 games left in the season, the Hawks should have dual goals in mind: to play the kids as much as possible and have nobody get hurt. To this end, giving DeBrincat and Kane shifts off should be considered a good idea as well as Gaudette taking more shifts in their stead. While it may seem like nothing matters anymore, it’s experience like this that will help the young players show that they’re ready to contribute next year and that they can handle the rigors of an NHL season. It’s not nearly as fun as winning games, but at this point it’s probably more important for the team as a whole.

Let’s Go Hawks





Box Score
Event Log
Natural Stat Trick

Well that looks more in line with what’s to be expected. The Hawks play an obviously better team, keep it close for long enough through a couple of highly skilled plays including a flash from a kid, while the deeper truths about how far this team has to go are ultimately revealed. It’s not that losses are good, except when they are. It’s about the results matching the output, and the Hawks have been mauled for three straight games at times, and only once by a team with any kind of hope whatsoever. To the bullets.


It’s not a Hawks game if a late-period penalty forces the game to flash before your eyes, am I right? At least it wasn’t Andrew Shaw this time.

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised that the Blackhawks were hanging around in both of these games, and last night’s win was really important for the Hawks’ confidence. There’s some stuff to like about this team, especially when we all thought at the beginning of the season they’d be much, much worse than this. Some of these young guys are really fun to watch, and Lankinen is obviously a much better goaltender than any of us thought he’d turn out to be. Are we a playoff team? No. But at least we’re interesting.

Let’s break this one down. To the bullets!

  • Obviously you hope Martin Necas is okay. The way he landed last night was super nasty and tough to watch.
  • I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when Svechnikov went around Zadorov like a turnstile on Tuesday night, and then when he let it happen again with some other Cane near the end of last night’s game. Speaking of, who’s bright idea was it to have Zadorov on the ice so much in the last five minutes of the 3rd? Much of which was spent in the Hawks’ zone? Or putting him out on the penalty kill or on a defensive zone draw whilst tied? Why does he keep getting rewarded for his hideous play? I’m not sure what kind of 4D chess Colliton thinks he’s playing but he should put a stop to this immediately.
  • Philipp Kurashev is turning into a great player, a really fun one to watch. He had a good read of the situation for the 1st period powerplay goal on Tuesday and was right in front of the net to tip the puck in. (That whole second power play line—all younger guys, by the way—deserved a nod for that goal.)
  • Dylan Strome made himself known in both games, which I appreciate. His goal Tuesday was a thing of beauty and he had a bunch of big chances in last night’s game too. He had 4 shots on goal last night, which is the most he’s had since Tampa Bay crushed us at the beginning of the year.
  • DeBrincat also had 2 assists on Tuesday and was a huge difference-maker in that game. He also scored the game-winner (and an empty-netter on top of that) last night. The offense has been noticeably better since he came back and it seemed easier for the Hawks to generate chances this series.
  • In both games the Hawks were abysmal at the faceoff dot, last night losing more than 60% of the faceoffs. I’ve never missed Toews more than when watching them lose draw after draw both games, especially in the defensive zone.
  • Speaking of defense, these games may have had different outcomes if the defense wasn’t hot garbage. It is unacceptable to let a team like the Hurricanes back in like they did last night, allowing them to score two goals less than a minute into the 2nd period. For the Canes’ fourth goal, de Haan and Murphy were for some reason covering the two guys behind the net and leaving Brock McGinn wide open in the slot to score. And they did not seem to learn from this situation because they were woefully out of position again just a few minutes later. Just the Blackhawks being the Blackhawks, I guess.
  • When the Hawks are able to make their passing plays work, they are things of beauty. Goals in both of these games and from series before came thanks to highlight-reel passing plays between the players on the ice. Sometimes, however, these passing attempts turn into passes directly to the other team’s stick, so that’s something to watch out for.
  • Brandon Hagel had two breakaway chances last night where he was actually faster than the lightning-fast Hurricanes. This is good news. Both times Brandon Hagel was unable to beat Reimer. This is bad news. If he learns to score on these plays he might be…actually kind of good?
  • The Blackhawks will continue to lose games that get to a shootout. They are 0 and 6 for shootout attempts this year and just aren’t built for them. They have to win in regulation to get the two points.

The fact that the Hawks could hang with the Hurricanes, at least offensively, is good news. The way they were able to claw their way back into the game at the end of Tuesday’s 1st period is good news. Maybe it was because Peter Mrazek was injured and they were playing against Reimer, or maybe the Hurricanes are just overhyped. But I’m going to call it good news that the Blackhawks kept both games close, even with their blinding defensive issues.

The Stars are next. Let’s see if this team can keep the good vibes going.



Gametimes: 7:00 Both Nights (2/2 and 2/4)

TV/Radio: NBCSN and WGN 720

Rod Brind’Amour’s Nose: Canes Country


Ahhh yes, the Carolina Hurricanes. The team that is essentially Stan Bowman’s own personal A Christmas Carol. You know, the classic story that tells the tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge. A hockey GM of middling talent and the backing of a liquor distribution magnate who is forced to reckon with the ghosts of his failures past (Teuvo), present (whatever this team is), and what he wants his future teams to be like (the Canes).

The Canes arrive at West Madison after handling the Dallas Stars pretty easily in their last 2 games out and bring a 5-1-0 record to the madhouse. That 5-1 record was compiled with the loss of various players at various times due to COVID protocol restrictions, but they seem to be getting healthier as the season goes along. Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin and Teuvo are all planning on returning to the lineup tonight, leaving only Jesper Fast by himself in the COVID restrictions list.

That group returning to the active roster does not bode well for the Hawks defense and goaltending. The Canes forward corps is one of the fastest and most creative groups the Blackhawks will see this season outside of Tampa Bay. The Canes currently sit atop the Possession Metric Mountain, with an average of a 56.76% CORSI per game according to Natural Stat Trick. They’re able to control the play, and keep the puck in the offensive zone for minutes at a time. Teuvo, Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov were a doomsday line last season, but coach Rod Brind’amour has split them up out of necessity thus far this season. Also one of the Staal brothers plays here. Jordan maybe?

On the back end, the Canes getting Jaccob Slavin back from the COVID list should further shore up what is a pretty solid defensive core. They’re a mobile group, created to flip the ice at a moments notice and send the play toward the opposing blue line. They also have one of the best PKs in the league, 2nd only to Colorado.

Really the only glaring weakness for this squad showed up suddenly the other day when goaltender Petr Mrazek got run by his own defenseman Max McCormick in the first game against the Stars. He came up from the collision clutching his blocker arm and it’s now said that whatever it is might require surgery. This leaves the bulk of the starting duties to James Reimer, who’s been a slightly above league average goaltender in his career, with stretches of above average play. He’s prone to hot and cold streaks, so if this Death Star of a hockey team has an exhaust port, he might be it if caught on the right night.

As for the Hawks, the Canes aren’t the only ones getting reinforcements tonight, as Alex DeBrincat and Nicolas Beaudin return to the lineup from their Rona Retreat. Getting Top Cat back in the lineup would most likely send Highmore back to the pressbox and move Janmark to the 3rd or 4th line, but we will see if Coach Smoothbrain wants to break up Janmark, Kurashev and Kane which as a whole looked pretty dangerous against the Jackets.

Kevin Lankinen gets the net tonight, and should probably be getting the bulk of the starts from here on out until he proves that he doesn’t deserve them. The top ranked Hawks PP will have their work cut out for them against the 2nd ranked PK unit of the Canes, but one sample size is considerably smaller than the other because of canceled games due to COVID.

This 2 game series is a stout test for a young group of Hawks forwards, and should be a nice benchmark to see the progress they’ve made. With the speed the Canes have, expect to see the Hawks D pinned in their end for considerable periods of time. Mistakes need to be limited, because Carolina thrives on taking those and making you pay for them. Any Hawks counterpunches need to be buried in the net behind Reimer, because the chances are going to be few and far between. If the Hawks play like they did against Columbus, they stand a chance at taking a few points from this series.  Strap in, grab a few beers, and let’s light that lamp.


Let’s Go Hawks.



RECORDS: Canes 12-7-1   Hawks 9-7-4


TV: NBCSN Chicago


In the ashes of the Bears demise, some hope has risen about the Hawks. They’re playing well, or at least they’re getting results. They’ve taken some scalps off teams that either used to give them a ton of headaches (Knights, Preds) or have name recognition (Leafs). They’re scoring goals. However, this week is when we’ll see just how much the Hawks can handle opening up the throttle. The Canes start it off and are still one of the best possession teams in the league. The Lightning are scuffling but also have the biggest collection of scoring around and throat-fucked the Hawks twice last year. The Stars are the hottest team in the league. The past two weeks has seen the schedule cut the Hawks some favors, as all of the Knights, Leafs, Preds, and Sabres have been fighting it of late. Not so much here.

The Canes kick it off, rolling into town on the back of three straight wins, though two were in OT over the just-vanquished Sabres and the simply unfortunate Wild. Before that, the Canes had some ugly losses to the Senators, Rangers, Flyers, and Devils, which are not teams the Canes should be losing to. It’s a bad look. This will also be the end of a mini road trip for the Canes, so the Hawks might catch them already thinking about the flight home.

As always with the Canes, they are a dominant even-strength team. They rank first in team Corsi-percentage, third in expected-goals percentage. And this time around, they’re only having problems at one end of the ice turning all that into actual results. The Canes are 8th in the league at 3.45 goals per game, and have spread it around nicely with seven guys having four goals or more. Erik Haula on their third line has eight, to give you some idea. Their power play has actually been a threat too, ranking eighth in the league at the moment.

But as is the Canes’ way, they keep buying into illusions of a goaltender. They got a remarkable run from Petr Mrazek last season, doubled down, and now stand gobsmacked that he suddenly turned back into Petr Mrazek. He has an .886 in November. He’s not this bad, but he’s also probably not last year’s .914 either. He’s been all over the map in his career, so it’s hard to guess. James Reimer was brought in to at least stabilize the backup spot and provide something of a safety net if Mrazek went to the dogs again. That hasn’t really worked out yet and suddenly the fear that last year’s flop in  Florida portends to a career-downturn are real. The Canes aren’t really getting saves, but filling the net at the other end to make up for it while limiting attempts and chances against so their goalies can’t torpedo them completely.

Again, this feels like a real test for the Hawks’ rediscovered UP AND AT THEM ways. They’ve passed the other ones to be fair to them, with the help of some shoddy goaltending at the other end. They may get that tonight as well. But the Canes defense is probably the best in the league and among the most mobile. They won’t be fearing getting caught with forwards behind them, and can pinch more aggressively in the Hawks zone because they can recover. The speed the Canes have at forward as well should be an utter nightmare for the Hawks’ defense, who will have less escape routes.

But again, the Hawks don’t have to break even on attempts and chances. They have the better goalie who is playing better (Lehner), and they have higher quality finishers. Stay in the neighborhood, as the Hawks have been doing, and they can rack up some more points. On the flip side, the Canes have utterly destroyed the Hawks the last three times they’ve played, because they just play at a higher pace than the Hawks can manage.

We’ll see how far this new “style” goes tonight against a team that’s been doing it better and for years longer. Get the feeling this one will have some goals in it.



If you’ve followed us for a few years, or really paid attention to any analytic-inclined coverage of the Canadian Disease, you’ll know that the Carolina Hurricanes have been something of a darling for a while. Only last year did the results on the ice match the metric-love (great Prince EP), as the Canes finally made the playoffs and then streaked to the conference final after that. Before, they weren’t even much of a nearly team, as they didn’t come close to the playoffs often and hadn’t actually made them since 2009. So the crusty portion of hockey coverage could always scoff at them, because at the end of the day, it is about where you finish and not really how you got there.

The Canes were actually the inverse of what we talked about yesterday with these Hawks. They were a football team that could really move the ball between the 20s. But hockey games are decided at what happens at the ends of the ice. And the Canes couldn’t get a save, and they couldn’t get goals consistently. In the past five seasons, the Canes have never had a team shooting-percentage over 7.3%, and have finished in the bottom-10 of that category every year. So even if they were generating a ton of shots, or certainly way more shots than they were giving up, who gives a fuck if you can’t get the puck to go in enough to make it count?

The Hurricanes entire history is filled with a lack of true goal-scorer. Since moving to Carolina, the Canes have three 40-goal seasons. That’s in over 20 seasons now, keep in mind. Two of them were from Eric Staal, and one was from Jeff O’Neill somehow. In that same span of time, though playing eight less seasons, Alex Ovechkin has nine. So it’s been something of an issue.

In recent years, especially since they set Eric Staal free, they haven’t really had a player to even threaten that kind of finish. Jeff Skinner got to 37 a few years ago, but as we stated on Sunday, Skinner specializes in scoring goals that don’t matter. Sebastien Aho proved to be the genuine top line talent they’d been missing since Staal the Elder got old, but he’s more of a playmaker than finisher. Even if his 30 goals certainly played well last year. We know our Finnish Baby Jesus is also in the playmaking, two-way winger type.

The hope is that’s where Andrei Svechnikov comes in.

Svechnikov is off to a flier this year, with nine goals in his teams first 20 games, which would put him on pace for 37 for the year, which would tie for fourth-highest in Carolina history. The question is if this is what Svechnikov is. He’s shooting 17%, which is way over the 10.6% he put up last year. But top tier finishers live in the 15%-17% range, so maybe this is what he is?

Perhaps what will make Canes observers a little tentative is that all his measures from last year are down, in terms of the chances and attempts he’s getting off. Most of his good work has come on the power play, where he already has four goals and is shooting 21% so far. His PP time has been boosted by a full minute per game, perhaps soaking up the time Justin Williams would have taken, and he’s firing off a ton more shots, even if they’re not resulting in that much of a bigger likelihood of scoring.

“Svech” was drafted second overall because the Canes think he can be the finisher they haven’t had, off of scoring 40 goals in 44 games in his one season in the OHL. He won’t turn 20 until the end of March, and the list of players to break 35 goals at age 19 in the past 20 years isn’t very long. In fact, no one’s on it. The best mark as a teenager was Skinner’s tally of 31 in 2011. The Canes are probably hoping for better long-term than that.

If the Canes plan on taking another step, and that’s if their goaltending holds up which looks pretty shaky, they’ll need to fire themselves past the Perfection Line in Boston or the bevy of scoring in Tampa or DC or maybe all of them. At some point the collective isn’t enough and you need stars to drag you over the line. The Canes hope that Aho and Svechnikov are their answer.


Joel Edmundson – For the rest of his career, he’ll have that Stanley Cup sheen that blinds every GM and commentator to the fact that he sucks and is stupid. Edmundson has always been a rock that Blues fans worshipped because he hit Toews once, and he only fits in Carolina because they have so many other mobile d-men. But don’t you fret, this is still the same shit-for-brains you remember, leading the Canes in PIMs at the moment.

Dougie Hamilton’s Coverage – It’s not going to matter to far too many people that Hamilton leads the Canes in points, or is one of the better puck-moving d-men in the league and has been. No, all they’ll focus on, and you can bet Pat and Eddie will remark on it tonight at some point, was that he avoided one hit from Alex Ovechkin in the playoffs that led to a goal. Never mind the Canes won that series or the next one. They’ll do their best to make it seem like all of his teammates hate his guts for that one bailout while extolling the virtues of Edmundson. Bank on it.

Ryan Dzingel – And they may make time to mention how great of a signing Dzingel would have been because he’s from here and got Olczyk’s autograph once because his dad made him while he had no idea who Eddie was.


Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Shift Charts


Well, it was better? I’m not sure what else to say. If effort was indeed the problem on Thursday, and you won’t convince me that’s the only answer, the effort was better here. But teams that bitch about effort, and then think effort will cure all, simply don’t have enough talent. Look across the ice. The Hurricanes were barely out of second gear all afternoon, and they were never threatened. They never looked like this game would be a contest for them. The Hawks did work hard, and did about everything they could. They didn’t score.

Usually in these recaps, I would point to the possession-share and point out the Hawks had the better of it. Or that the second period was pretty good, as they controlled the play pretty well. But we are in an age now where we’re moving beyond that, and we now know that the Hawks’ possession wasn’t worth shit. They didn’t create many chances, and even with limited time the Canes created better ones, hence their advantage in the expected goals count and of course, the real goals.

The Hawks just don’t have enough dash. We haven’t even gotten to the defensive problems, but at the other end, who really is going to conjure something? Especially with DeBrincat fighting it and Kane not at his best either. Saad and Kampf and Dach are doing their best, but one’s a second line winger at best, one’s a checking center, and one’s barely beyond puberty in his fourth NHL game.

Anyway, there’s more I want to get to so let’s get to the bullets, shall we?

The Two Obs

-Let’s start here: Can anyone tell me what in the ever living fuck this means?

And credit to Ben Pope for the long-forgotten art of a follow-up question.

It seems odd that after he made a special point of ranting after Thursday’s loss that the line combos weren’t to blame, he immediately switched them. Did the players ask for this? Did he not believe his own words? I don’t know, but the whole thing smacks of someone who is out of answers. If he had them in the first place.

-And while the combos were better and the top six really has needed Brandon Saad (and really Kubalik too) to start to open space for people, that doesn’t mean they were perfect. Then again, with this roster, there probably isn’t a perfect set-up. What I do know is that Dylan Strome has done nothing to deserve being demoted to a fourth-line winger, and the Hawks offensive woes aren’t going to be solved like that. That’s not why the Hawks lost, and it borders on minor, but it’s still weird.

-And none of this matters, because Brent Seabrook was on the ice for all four goals, and you could argue he was responsible for three of them. No, he didn’t take the penalties. But on the first goal, yes Maatta is in the way too (and that honeymoon is over), Seabrook comes out past the circles. That’s needless. But he then lets Svechnikov find a lane that’s the opposite one from where Crow was looking, leaving the shortside all the way open and one a sniper like Svechnikov isn’t going to miss. It’s dogshit defending.

The second goal was the same goddamn thing. Yes, he was tired after an extended shift after losing his stick. Yes, Maatta should have never passed him the puck to start the scramble. But again, Crow is covering the far side of the net because from his view, Seabrook is in the lane anywhere else. A simple move fakes Seabrook out of most of his gear, now the whole thing is open, and Crow has to slide to cover the shortside quickly that he thought was covered. Niederreiter isn’t going to miss that either.

The fourth one, well he simply loses a battle behind the net to Aho, who either batted Seabrook’s stick so that he ended up making a perfect centering pass to Svechnikov again, or Seabrook did it under pressure, Either way, it’s not strong enough.

The third goal is Maatta, who goes chasing out to the corner on the kill and leaving that passing lane open for Staal to charge through.

Brent Seabrook is not an NHL player anymore. Olli Maatta is no more than a third-pairing d-man, and I question that as the Penguins just made a get-the-fuck-off-my-roster trade of Erik Gudbranson, whom they played ahead of Maatta last year. We’ll call this season a win if the Hawks realize this by the end of it.

-Speaking of defending, here’s another thread for you…

This happens every game. The Hawks aren’t always punished for it. I don’t know if the message is getting through or the players are just ignoring it, but it’s not good enough.

-Let’s do some pluses before we move on with our Saturdays. Kirby Dach was very effective, though it’s still bewildering how he doesn’t get a look on the 2nd power play unit. Unlike most of his teammates, Dach seems to get that the game is about taking the puck and getting up the ice as soon as possible. He’s not afraid to carry into and through the neutral zone and make a man miss to open up things. At least in the first half of the game, he made an effective play pretty much every shift.

The only debate about whether he should stay has to do with what the Hawks actually think this season is about, not what they’re telling you it’s about. If it’s just about him, it’s clear he’s good enough to develop here.

-Alex Nylander also was very straight-lined today, which is good. The Hawks need more of it.

I don’t know how it gets better. It might not.





RECORDS: Hawks 2-4-2   6-3-1


TV: NBCSN Chicago


Well now that the coach has laid down the gauntlet, how will his players respond? That’s the question facing the Hawks this weekend, as they face their first back-to-back of the year. They could have picked better opponents than the Carolina Hurricanes. You’ll recall that Jeremy Colliton‘s first game was against the Canes. It was 4-0 after one period. Colliton appears to be trying to reset his team’s focus. Here come the Canes again…falling on our head like a memory…

We’ll start with the Hawks, who were called out by their coach after their totally limp-dick performance against the Flyers. That saw them get one shot in the second period (but man what a shot it was!). The Hawks never created much outside Saad’s goal, and though they didn’t give up an avalanche of shots or chances, they gave away something like 143 odd-man rushes with shoddy puck management and some wayward positioning. It was ugly, and not the kind of thing the Hawks wanted to cap off their homestand with.

And the problem here is they only got one regulation win in seven games at home. That’s simply not good enough. They can argue hey were unlucky against the Caps and especially the Knights, but at the end of the day it’s about the points you got and the ones you didn’t. And the Hawks didn’t get enough of them, and now they’ll face eight of the next 12 on the road.

The most likely scenario here is the Hawks will look to have a little more verve this weekend, but that could just as easily be professional pride as much as responding to their coach whom they have debatable respect for. The real fear is that after going to the “Air Them Out In The Press” lever, what if the Hawks don’t respond at all? Well, there wouldn’t be anywhere left to go for coach Kelvin Gemstone, would there?

Because Colliton made it clear he didn’t think there was a problem with the lines, we can expect the same look to start, along with Corey Crawford in net. That doesn’t mean the lines will finish that way, because quite simply the top two lines haven’t produced enough. In the third period on Thursday we saw Brandon Saad and Dominik Kubalik shifted up to try and give both the top six lines a forecheck and puck-winner. It had some effect but not total.

One change you might see is Erik Gustafsson‘s ass seated in the pressbox for Dennis Gilbert. Gustafsson not only has been awful all season, but he’s a low-hanging target for the coach who can make an example of him without angering anyone on the team who really matters. But he might give Gus a chance to come good after a public peepee slapping.

To the Canes, who have hit something of a skid. They started the year with five straight wins, though only two were in regulation. But they’ve lost four of their last five, including to the Jackets twice and the Ducks once. Some of that is goaltending, as Petr Mrazek hasn’t given them too many saves and James Reimer has been ok.

System-wise, this is still the possession and metric monster it’s been for years, ranking second in the first category and on top in the second. You would have thought losing Justin Faulk would have harmed their possession ways, but Dougie Hamilton has been on one and Brett Pesce has used the free safety of Joel Edmundson to really accent his transition game. The Canes have been using seven D of late, with Jake Gardiner rotating in with Haydn Fleury and his missing letter along with TVR. Whoever they toss out there in the back has some serious get up and go, as they always have.

Sebastien Aho might be their only true top-liner, but as you know by now there’s a fleet of nifty, fast forwards here who don’t need a map in either end. Erik Haula has really taken to Carolina’s ways and has seven goals already. Teuvo Teravainen and Jordan Staal have been doing the same things as Kampf and Saad here, barely getting any offensive zone starts hut having metrics in the 60% range. They play fast and smart… all the things the Hawks can’t do.

The kind of effort the Hawks put forth against the Knights is going to be needed here. Which means short shifts, and your ass hair on fire when you’re on the ice. The Hawks have to be smart with the puck, which means getting it up and out of the zone as quickly as possible. Any dawdling or considering options is going to see the puck-carrier swallowed up by the quick and irritating forwards. Move it forward and move it quick.

Jeremy Colliton has played the biggest card he’s got. Let’s see if it wins him the hand.