Hockey

VS

Records: Hawks 7-5-4 / Wings 4-10-2

Puck Drop: Monday & Wednesday @ 6:30 Central

TV/Radio: Monday NBCSN/WGN 720 Wednesday: NBC “Rivalry Night”

Your Move, Creep: Winging It In Motown 

 

Now we come to the second dance with our ancient enemy, the Detroit Red Wings. While the Wings themselves may be a subway car filled with dead clowns, they managed to blow the doors off the hovercraft filled with sexual predators that is Nashville on Saturday night. Just goes to show that in any given game, even the shittiest of NHL teams can pull one off.

Before their skulling of the Preds, the Wings had gone through a 1-8 stretch that saw them give up the kind of numbers usually seen at Wrigley when the wind is blowing out. They managed to give up 30 goals in that span, and that includes the one game where they held the Panthers to a whopping two goals.

The Wings on the back end are a mess, as they just threw former Cornerstone of the D-Corps Danny Dekeyser and his 5 million cap hit on waivers this morning. Dekeyser had only played 10 games this season due to various maladies, but was originally thought fairly highly of by the front office (clearly, since they signed him to a contract with that kind of paper attached to it). Now assuming he clears waivers (based on that contract, a virtual certainty) he’ll find a home in Grand Rapids or on the Wings taxi squad.

Other than the dearly departed Dekeyser, the Wings D includes such stalwarts as Marc Staal, Patrick Nemeth and Filip Hronek. Despite this rotating cast of characters the Wings D-men have still managed to give up 3 less goals than the Hawks, which can be directly attributable to the presence of Nikita Zadorov.

Behind that Chinese Fire Drill you have the recently returned from injury Jonathan Bernier and Thomas Greiss, who actually haven’t been terrible thus far. Together the two average an 83.33 save percentage on high danger chances, which is good enough for 9th best in the league. Bernier’s stats, while fairly ugly on the surface, have kept the Wings in games long enough for them to merely lose by 1 or 2, as opposed to the 4 or 5 it could be.

Despite all the issues with the D listed above, where the Wings truly shine in their incompetence is on the offensive side of the puck. I had to look up to make sure this was the case, but the Wings don’t have a single player who has scored double digit points thus far. Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin and the aforementioned Filip Hronek have 9 each, and Bobby Ryan has 8. Some of this is due to the fact that the Wings are completely unable to create any high danger chances for their forwards. The team as a whole has only generated 93 high danger chances so far, 9th worst in the league. If you adjust that for games played, they’re 3rd worst. Only Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin have more than 35 shots on the team.

As for the Hawks, after their comeback in the 3rd Saturday night despite getting domed in possession, they currently sit tied with Carolina, Columbus and Dallas for 2nd overall in the division with 18 points. They lose out big time, however, if the league decides to go to win percentage as a tiebreaker (as they will almost certainly have to do, due to the fact that some teams have a higher viral load than the playpen off the Chicago shoreline in July).

Kevin Lankinen bounced back nicely from urping all over himself in the first game against the Jackets, only allowing an absolute top shelf snipe from Laine and a tip shot from Cam Atkinson. He should get the cage in at least the first game, though I wouldn’t be shocked to see Malcom Subban take one as it appears he’s locked up the backup job after his performance in Dallas.

On the scoring side of things, the Hawks PP continues to be weapons-grade and should prove to be too much for the scattershot PK of the Red Wings. Last time out, the Hawks netted 3 power play goals in the series, and that was before the unit really found it’s stride. Look for DeBrincat and Kane to continue their psychic connection with the man advantage.

As for the 5 on 5 play, the Hawks have managed to actually pot a few goals recently at evens, though the team continues to be underwater most nights possession-wise. Some of this could be helped if players like Ian Mitchell, Beaudin and Boqvist (if he can get out of the pressbox) are allowed to carry the puck out of the zone using their speed and creativity. This would take the pressure off the wingers attempting to move past the blue line and into the neutral zone, allowing them to enter the attacking zone with some speed. We’ll see if Colliton is willing to live with the mistakes that can occationally pop up with those things.

The Hawks D continues to be an adventure in their own end, as without Connor Murphy to take up minutes Duncan Keith has been forced to shoulder a larger load. Duncs averaged about 25 minutes per night in the Columbus series, and despite his superhuman training regimen will not be able to keep up that kind of pace. Ian Mitchell played almost 40 minutes in the series and scored his first career goal, as did Nicholas Beaudin. Both are still fairly raw in their own end, however, and Zadorov isn’t helping. Also scratching Boqvist in favor Lucas Carlsson and letting the kid actually learn from his mistakes might be helpful in the long run. Which is the entire point of this season, if you think about it.

All told, if Lankinen and Subban do their part and the PP doesn’t suddenly fall off a cliff the Hawks should (SHOULD) handle the Wings this week. Granted now that I’ve gone from clinically depressed to cautiously optimistic about this team, this is where the wheels will fall off and the Wings will double up their offensive output in a single series. Hopefully I didn’t just motherfuck this into existence. It’s highly unlikely, as if you take out the first game against the Jackets the team has looked fairly competent overall…and dare I say FUN.

Let’s Go Hawks

 

 

Hockey

VS

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.

Hockey

Game 1 Box Score / Game 2 Box Score

Game 1 Natural Stat Trick / Game 2 Natural Stat Trick

 

Here we have the first series of the young hockey season where the Hawks dominated most stats in the column and ended up not winning both games. If it were not for the efforts of Joonas Korpisalo in the first game stopping 31 of the 32 shots, the Hawks would’ve walked away with at least 3 if not 4 points in the series. Korpisalo stoned multiple Hawks in the 2nd and 3rd frame, most notably on the mini breakaway by Carl Soderberg. Ultimately there was a lot more to like than dislike about the Hawks effort in the series, and any progress has to be viewed in a positive light this season. Could Coach Smoothbrain be getting his message through? Perhaps…

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

-For the first time this entire season, the Hawks not only were able to avoid getting crushed in possession metrics, they were the ones doing the crushing. Game one they owned the CORSI by a 55% to 45% share, and 52% to 48% in the 2nd. As noted above, if it were not for the Herculean efforts of Korpisalo the first game would’ve ended quite a bit differently. There are times when CORSI doesn’t accurately depict what the flow of the game looked like, but this was not one of those times. The Hawks clearly had the edge in play for both games, and were the better team for long stretches.

-The powerplay is still nails, and was responsible for the only time the Hawks were able to dent Korpisalo’s armor in game one with a nifty roofed backhand by Strome. He’s definitely found a home being a pest in front of the other team’s netminder recently, and if his ceiling is “Thomas Holmstrom Lite,” I can totally get down with that.

-Nikita Zadorov on the PK is just…not good. He’s constantly leaving his spot down low to go look for HITZ and leaving his partner and goalie out to dry. The need to put a meathead out there like that because you “have to have that guy who can clear the front of the net” becomes utterly useless when he wont STAY BY THE FUCKING CREASE.

-In ice time news, Colliton has rolled out a new plan. That plan apparently involves giving Patrick Kane the kind of minutes that Duncan Keith would get 10 years ago. 27 total minutes without the game going into OT was insane in game one. I realize you’re chasing a goal in the 3rd, but if this continues Kane is going to burn out before the snow melts. Hopefully this is just a function of not having DeBrincat right now, because it’s not sustainable.

-As good as Korpisalo was in game 1, his timesharing partner Elvis Merzlikins (amazing name) was as bad. There wasn’t anything he could do about Kurashev’s sick tip in the first, but Tortorella is going to have a coronary if he keeps playing the puck so poorly behind the net. Pius Suter will take gifts like that all year long, I’m sure.

-In the opposite crease, Kevin Lankinen continues to be a pleasant surprise in net. He doesn’t do anything spectacularly, but he’s very positionally sound and has adjusted to the North American sheet of ice much quicker than I expected. Winning the puck possession battle in games will do wonders for his shot volume because once teams set up in the Hawks zone it’s difficult for them to be removed from it.

-Kurashev being on the top line with Kane is a good thing, and the CORSI bears that out as they carried a 59% share when they were on the ice. More please.

-Next up for the Hawks is the return of Our Sweet Boy Teuvo and the mostly COVID free Carolina Hurricanes. This is going to be the first real test for Lankinen as the Canes are a possession monster and pounce on every mistake teams make. Should be fun.

Hockey

Game 1 Box Score / Game 2 Box Score

Game 1 Natural Stat Trick / Game 2 Natural Stat Trick

 

So this series is a little tough to judge. On the surface, the Hawks got beat in both games while getting outshot by a collective 61 to 40. Which, ya know, isn’t good. If you dig a little deeper, they also got skulled in possession metrics AND their coach got all angry face and yelled at them. BUT! Malcom Subban and Kevin Lankinen played very very well and may have gotten the team two points by themselves where they should have gotten zero. The Hawks now are the proud owners of a 5 game point streak. Hockey is dumb sometimes, folks!

TO THE BULLETS

 

-After the game Tuesday night, Coach Smoothbrain put on his best Angry Face and told reporters that he was NOT HAPPY about the team’s effort that night. He was mad about the forecheck. He was mad about the backcheck. He was mad about Kane not getting enough shots. He was mad (FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT) that Zadorov is the hockey equivalent of an NFL endzone pylon. He was just plain MAD. How did the team react to all of this MADNESS? By increasing their shot output from 19 to 23 and only losing the position battle 56% to 44% instead of 62% to 38%!  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

-Seriously though, the first game was not good. As you see above, the Hawks got domed in possession and in shot totals. Kane went almost 21 minutes at one point without taking a shot. The reason the Hawks were able to steal a point in that game was goaltending. Pekka Rinne seems to have had age finally catch up to him, and Malcom Subban was channeling the ghost of Dominik Hasek the whole night.

-Another solid game from Kevin Lankinen with the same result for his efforts that Subban got. If he keeps this up, Hawks fans are gonna start telling him he’s really not that good and it’s the D in front of him that makes his stats look so nice. That’s how you know you’ve really made it as a goalie in Chicago.

-While the Hawks were playing without one of their best PP weapons in Alex DeBrincat, they still managed to notch another goal Tuesday night when Strome slammed home a pretty nifty backhand pass from Andrew Shaw off a rebound. Strome needs all the time he can get in front of the net to up his trade value the next two months and plays like this will highlight that.

-Another positive is the increased ice time from Dominik Kubalik, breaking 18 minutes in both games. Granted he was held off the score sheet in the 2nd game and had an assist in the 1st so we’ll see where DA COACH goes from here.

-In other ice time news, Kane lead THE ENTIRE TEAM in time with 27 minutes the 2nd game. If the goal is to have him fall apart like a Castlevania skeleton in the 2nd half of the season, having him on the ice more than any defenceman is the way to do it.

-Anybody thinking Nashville might be a playoff team should probably stop huffing so much ether.

-Brandon Hagel wasn’t able to get on the scoresheet, but he was very noticeable out there in game two. His speed is something this team is sorely lacking, and I’m waiting for the day when he nets his first breakaway goal by leaving both teams in the dust. As McClure said on Twitter, he may not know where he’s supposed to be or where he’s going but he can get there really fucking fast.

-More Kurashev and less Jan-Wall Mark plz.

-Next up is Columbus, which just banished it’s best young player to the Alabama of Canada because he wouldn’t play the shitty boring style of hockey that Tortorella wanted him to play and then somehow got Patrik Laine out of the deal. Hockey is stupid sometimes, folks!

Hockey

Game 1 Box Score / Game 2 Box Score

Game 1 Natural Stat Trick / Game 2 Natural Stat Trick

 

 

I want to get all sarcastic about the results of this series and say that, duh, the Red Wings are a subway car filled with dead clowns and every team should pummel them into submission. The reality, however, is that in hockey even teams like the Wings win sometimes (just ask Carolina, if you can break into their quarantine), and nothing is guaranteed. So to see the Hawks come out and slap 10 goals down on the Scum is pretty nice, and since we aren’t gonna get a lot of nice shit this year I’m just gonna crack several cases of beer and enjoy it while it lasts.

 

TO THE BULLETS:

-First off, let us all celebrate the hat trick of Pius Suter today. Playing with Patrick Kane can make anyone look better, but he was positionally where he needed to be, and finished the dishes that he should’ve finished and for that he should be congratulated. That 3rd goal was a thing of beauty and if he can keep burying shots like that, The Pope may move from “A Guy” status all the way to “A Piece Of The Puzzle.”

-In other rookie news, Lankinen (while not facing the type of shot quality that he did in the COVID Coliseum) looked much more comfortable these last two games. He kept his net, cut down on the angles and was not nearly as itchy overall as he was in Florida. The goal he gave up in game 1 was due to what was essentially a breakaway after the entire Hawks team lost a board battle by the penalty box and Marc Staal sprung Dylan Larkin. Game 2 one of the goals was on a 5 on 3, so that’s no fault of his either. Good progress thus far.

-The Hawks powerplay is now officially A Thing. The goal they scored with some sick tic tac toe passing that resulted in a wide open cage even Andrew Shaw couldn’t miss was pretty as hell. The Hawks PP has collected 8 of the 19 goals the team has score thus far. While it’s completely unsustainable, it’s nice to watch a competent power play for once in the last 5 years.

-Minus Captain Rockhead, the Hawks D had a great couple of games offensively with both Conor Murphy and Calvin deHaan notching goals. Ian Mitchell continues to impress in his time on the ice, with only the lost board battle and subsequent Larkin goal in the 1st game as a blight. More please.

-All is not rosy in HawkWorld, however. Neither Kubalik, Kurashev or Hagel broke 14 minutes in either game. Disregarding Kurashev and Hagel’s inexperience, you have one of the best players on the team in Dominik Kubalik not breaking 15 minutes of ice time in either game. That’s just flat out fucking stupid, and there’s no excuse you could sell me to believe that Coach Smoothbrain even realizes it. Le Sigh.

-All that being said, 4 points is 4 points and now the Hawks get to head to Music City to take on the Preds after they just had 7 goals dropped on their collective heads by Dallas last night. A repeat performance by the Hawks would just about make my month, so let’s see that happen.

Onward!

Hockey

Game 1 Box Score / Game 2 Box Score

Game 1 Natural Stat Trick / Game 2 Natural Stat Trick

 

While this series was different in form and function from the other Florida series, the end result is the same: the Hawks got broomed out of the building (and the state) without a win to their name. The offense was less offensive to the eye this series, but the defense and goaltending continued to be eye-meltingly bad, with Nikita Zadorov impressively the worst of the bunch. Colin Delia and Kevin Lankinen did nothing to settle the argument over who should be the poor soul forced to take the reigns and handle the majority of the starts going forward, and honestly if I was one of them I’d probably already have PTSD from the amount of rubber thrown their way. On the plus side, the Hawks now have 1 out of a possible 8 points. Yay?

To the bullets:

 

-Let’s get this out of the way at the start: If the purpose of this season is to fail, but in a way that the supposed future core of this team is learning from it, then they should probably BE ON THE FUCKING ICE to fail and learn from it. Kubalik, Kurashev, Mitchell and Boqvist being on the ice for less than 15 minutes each while Patrick Kane gets as many minutes as Duncan Keith (20) accomplishes less than nothing. Ian Mitchell and Boqvist not even seeing the ice in the 3 on 3 OT is borderline criminal. Then trying to throw the scoreboard operators of the COVID Coliseum under the bus as to why everyone’s ice time looked kinda low is almost stunningly ballsy. McClure had it summed up perfectly:

-This team is not built to win games, but it’s also not built to lose them in a way that creates future winning opportunities. It’s just…there. None of the signings that StanBow acquired this off-season are going to be anything the Hawks want on their team long term, nor are they the kind of players that teams are going to be clamoring to trade said young talent for at the deadline. It’s like he just walked into IKEA and asked for the “Mark” collection of forwards because, ya know, they practically build themselves. Trading Brandon Saad to the Avs for the hockey equivalent of an Easter Island statue on skates and not getting anything else AND having to retain salary is mind boggling. The absence of a plan is what’s most frustrating about all of this. Say what you want about the White Sox and Rick Hahn, but you could always see what the end goal was and it made the suffering a little easier to take. Looking to the horizon now, all you see is the volcanic mountains of Mordor.

-Speaking of the human obelisk, Zadorov’s play in these first 4 games shows clearly why the Avs were more than willing to rid themselves of his services. Night one featured the following from him:

That’s Zadorov at the middle of the left circle after he plowed through the crease from right to left, taking out his goaltender and Adam Boqvist. This is after he followed Boqvist’s man (along with Boqvist) into the corner. His lack of positional awareness is bordering on performance art, and I really need someone to explain to me how he not only has a spot on this roster, but is worthy of the 2nd highest ice time on the team. GALAXY BRAIN.

-On the positive side, the Hawks have finally discovered what the Caps and Ovechkin figured out a decade ago: creating a shot lane for your best snipers (Kubalik and DeBrincat) by moving the puck laterally and letting them bomb away actually is a successful proposition. Not having Duncan Keith firing rubber into the shinpads of the point defenders or holding the puck on the half boards with Kane seems to be working. More of this please.

-Despite not cracking 15 minutes of ice time with Coach Smoothbrain, Dominik Kubalik is already proving that last season was not a fluke. His shot is filthy, and he has the speed and hands to create the space that makes him dangerous. But hey, gotta find those minutes for Ryan Carpenter to do whatever it is he does.

-Kevin Lankinen showed some flashes last night, most notably whenhe was left to deal with a 3 on 1 in overtime and he stoned Weegar after a nifty passing sequence. I don’t know if he’s the answer going forward, but with Colin Delia and Malcom Subban pretty much known entities at this point, you may as well throw him to the wolves night after night.

-Next up is the rekindling of the old rivalry against the Red Wings, which might actually provide the Hawks the opportunity to get into the win column. The Hawks and Wings should be battling it out for a lottery pick this season, though none of us should feel comfortable about how Stan Bowman would use such a boon. Moving on.

Hockey

Ok, so as if the Hawks week can’t get any better as they get routinely thwacked by real-ass teams in their own division (oh, and they see a potential 60-goal scorer Thursday), evidence that they actually have no idea what they’re doing in the front office continues to mount. And I don’t mean getting capped out last night to the extreme of 17 skaters.

At the top, we should say that the Hawks are just in the same net with the rest of hockey, and their actions or behavior is more just a symptom of the whole damn culture than they being unique. What it does do is tear down this idea, that they are the biggest promoters of, that they are somehow the gold standard organization.

It started last week or so, when Akim Aliu said that he had been racially abused by Bill Peters while both were in Rockford. Now we know pretty much the whole story, and it involves team captain at the time Jake Dowell having a sit-down with Peters over what he had said to Aliu.

This is hockey, and if there is any sport where this kind of thing can somehow not make its way up the food chain, it’s here. Players are afraid to cause waves, organizations are terrified of media distractions, everyone else is in the middle. However, your AHL captain meeting with your AHL coach over this, it’s nearly impossible to think that this doesn’t set off alarm bells for everyone both in Rockford and Chicago.

And as friend of the program Chris Block has pointed out, there are other people in and out of AHL dressing rooms all the time. Agents, families, team personnel, some media, so the idea that this was completely contained in the dressing room and the coach’s office, there’s just no way to buy that. Peters was gone a year later to join Mike Babcock’s staff, so maybe the Hawks just thought everything was taken care of with that. Maybe they thought the gloss of a newly contending team washed away all. Maybe they were afraid of dulling that in any way. Whatever the answer, it isn’t enough.

And now they have to investigate their own assistant coach, one they brought in to babysit their struggling young coach/take over when that young coach finally drowned. Again, I wasn’t really aware of Marc Crawford’s past, but it wasn’t really my job to be. When doing due diligence on a new hire, you’d have to believe if you scraped anywhere beneath the surface you’d find his record of abuse. Y’know, because it was in a former player’s book and all? I didn’t read O’Sullivan’s book, but someone somewhere did and might have mentioned this kind of thing. Call me crazy.

It’s kind of amazing how recently this shit has gone on. We are 40 year beyond Woody Hayes punching an opposing player, which ended his famous career, and that’s in football which is the only sport that has a bigger attitude amongst its coaches of how tough they are due to how saggy their balls are and whatnot. We’re over 20 years since Bobby Knight was kicking and choking his own players (and son) at Indiana. All this in hockey is in the last five to ten years. Amazing what happens in this dark corner.

Again, on the other side, some would tell you that hockey’s culture of “just take it and shut up” handicaps them from acting. But we know that the Hurricanes went up the chain to Ron Francis. We know the Red Wings did the same to Ken Holland about Babcock. We know Dowell confronted Peters at the very least. So while there’s certainly an element of players afraid to speak up, it’s not like they’ve been totally silent either. The problem is that when they have spoken up, they’ve faced an indifferent or callous organization looking in the opposite direction.

If you’ve paid any attention, you know the way the Hawks paint themselves isn’t anywhere near reality. Any crisis they’ve faced they’ve royally fucked up, and combined with their current fucking up the on-ice product (what only anyone really cares about at the end of the day) they’ve been revealed to be one of the more balloon-handed organizations around.

But to restrict this as a Hawks problem would be unfair and silly. I’ve thought a lot about this lately and why hockey is so far behind everything else. And it’s mostly that it operated in the dark for so long, anything could go on because no one knew except for those in it. There was no one around to point out all the things wrong, because the only ones who knew were the ones in the culture and they could behave however they saw fit. Hell, the reason some of us became fans was because no one else was. So it’s not that hockey is upset that it’s being scrutinized now, it’s upset that anyone is looking at all. It doesn’t want to jibe with the wider world because the wider world was never aware of its existence for so long. But that’s not a justification, and far from it.

I don’t know why these GMs like Holland or Treveling or Francis or whoever knew here or whoever was Crawford’s boss just tried to shoo it away. The easy answer is callousness, and that might be it. I think it’s at least part laziness too. Because if they had taken action, that would only lead to more questions they would have to answer. Questions they aren’t equipped to handle. And we know how much they hate the media and questions. It’s just easier to say “man up” even though we’ve eliminated that term as a qualified answer years ago. It’s easier to hope that things just go away, which they did.

Well, they won’t now, and it’s a bigger mess. Who’s around who is actually equipped to deal with it?