Hockey

Guys…I think Pekka Rinne has a terminal case of shit hip! After basically laughing publicly at the Hawks’ terrible performance a couple weeks ago, Rinne got himself laughed right out of the game tonight, giving up 4 goals on 14 shots. Ya hate to see it. And this shit went full-on DLR. Let’s get to the bullets:

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

–Yes, Rinne was bad and Saros wasn’t great either, but the Hawks do deserve credit for playing better this time around. At first it didn’t seem that way—they spent way too much of the first period in their own zone, but they capitalized on bad goaltending and also a beautiful play from Kirby Dach to Dominik Kubalik. So it was a bit of luck and skill combined. And the pass from Dach to Kubalik was exactly why I’ve been complaining about Dach being marooned on the fourth line. He makes plays, he’s already improving his ability to hold onto the puck, and playing him with other skilled linemates will help the team now (see: tonight’s assist) and Dach’s development overall. Playing him with fourth-line bum slayers like Zack Smith will not. (Nothing against Smith even, I’m just making a point.) Doesn’t seem that hard to figure out playing Dach on the wing with Kampf and Kubalik is better than Dach centering two oafs, but whatever.

–The other funny thing about tonight was that the Hawks got domed in possession, but stats be damned I suppose. They had just a 45, 37, and 29 CF% in each period, respectively, and they were outshot 41-24, but thanks to ‘Ole Shit Hip not being able to stop much of anything and Saros not being much better, the number that really counts was in our favor the whole time.

–And let’s just be honest, the air raid offense was in full effect tonight. Seabrook’s goal was a fluky one that Rinne should have had, but Kampf’s goal was off a fantastic end-to-end play, where the Hawks got control behind their own net, moved the puck up and out, and passed it perfectly from Maata to Shaw to Kampf. Kubalik’s aforementioned goal came off a great play. Same with Nylander’s first goal. And you know what? I’ll be magnanimous about Nylander’s second too because it was a damn good shot set up by a great pass off the boards by Saad. The Hawks didn’t always control the puck or the play but they were able to get rushes and bury their shots. Would be nice if they could maybe hold onto the puck and stop giving up over 40 shots a night, but you know what they say about gift horses.

Alex DeBrincat was excellent tonight even though he didn’t actually put the puck in the net. His ability to keep plays alive, and in particular getting the pass to Patrick Kane on the fifth goal, were outstanding. Piece of Shit Austin Watson wanted to obliterate him but couldn’t, and Garbage Dick didn’t miss once he got the pass.

–Lehner was fantastic again as well, let’s not forget that. Granted, facing 41 shots seems like an easy night with this team, but he still finished the night with a .951 SV% and absolutely kept the Hawks in it in the early going before the game was definitely in hand.

And with that, let’s not delay this DLR any longer…

 

 

Line of the Night: “That was a bad goal.” —Eddie Olczyk, stating the very obvious after Seabrook’s knuckleball on Rinne

Beer de jour: Mercury by On Tour Brewing

Everything Else

The 69th game, a DLR, a hat trick by Brendan Perlini…are you not entertained?! Nothing makes any sense but it certainly was fun. Hell, the Hawks are at .500, if you can believe that. And this weird on-again-off-again playoff race is, well, on again. To the bullets!

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

– The Coyotes are ostensibly the better team out of these two. Not by a huge margin, if you go by their records, but nonetheless that’s what the numbers say. But that didn’t happen tonight. Even after they went down a goal early, the Hawks were the better team. Brendan Perlini tied it shortly after old fan favorite Weiner Anxiety scored, and they never looked back after that. Brandon Saad had an effortless-looking tap in from a beautiful backhand pass from Toews (which is not actually anything close to effortless but he made it look that easy). The give-and-go passing that resulted in Kane’s goal in the second was textbook, and from the third line no less. Perlini nearly had a hat trick about 15 times, an then with literally three seconds left he finally made it happen. Chris fucking Kunitz scored, I mean really, what the fuck was going on with the Coyotes?

– Part of that answer is that Darcy Kuemper sucked out loud. It was probably just an off night, maybe the Hawks got lucky, I don’t know. I should credit their skill, I know, but I’m jaded and just think they rattled him early and it allowed the Hawks to jump out to the lead, which they amazingly didn’t surrender.

– And that really is the story here. This makes two games in a row with a downright solid defensive effort by one of the the worst blue lines in the league (will I have to stop calling them that?). The Hawks only gave up 25 shots, and that follows Saturday’s 27 shots given up…it’s nearly competent. In the third the Coyotes dominated possession but otherwise it was the Hawks (63 CF% in the first, 70 CF% in the second), and only two defensemen—Gustav Forsling and Nachos, no surprise—were underwater in possession all night. For the record Foreskin had a 46 CF% and Seabrook a 48; the rest were over 60.

— The corollary to that is how bad the Coyotes defense was…and they were bad. Even Hjalmarsson and OEL had a 38 and 31 CF%, respectively. I don’t have a real explanation for it, just like I can’t explain why Kuemper shat the bed. This sounds like a perfect time for them to bounce back strong tomorrow and kick the shit out of the Blues because why not.

Patrick Kane isn’t a third liner, this goes without saying. But at this point who gives a shit? If CCYP needs to spread out the scoring and it results in six goals, so be it. I think it was actually a nice gesture to put Dylan Sikura on the top line with Toews and Saad because jesus that guy just needs to score already (who hasn’t heard that before amirite?), and Kane can produce anywhere and with any jamokes. Again, it makes no sense to screw with the lineup this way but I can’t argue with the results.

— Good for Brendan Perlini! Fuck the Coyotes and this guy’s been on a hot streak so if anyone deserved a hat trick, it’s him.

— Also good to note is that Crawford had another solid game. Yes the defense in front of him was on tonight, which of course shouldn’t be such a notable thing, but either way he was well positioned most of the night and looked solid. He ended with a .960 SV%, which they’ll certainly need if they’re going to do anything with this supposed playoff push.

And now, without further ado, your DLR…

Everything Else

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Corsica

Sometimes you want something so badly that you become fixated on it, you turn the image or idea over and over in your mind, and eventually you build it up into a magnificence that’s totally out of proportion. And when you finally get it, the reality can’t possibly live up to your imagined ideal, and the chasm between desire and result is painfully clear. I am happy to report this situation did NOT happen tonight with my defensive pairing fantasy-turned-reality of Kempny-Murphy while Seabrook sat in the press box. Let’s get right to it:

– I was, dare I say, elated to hear that Seabrook was getting sat tonight. No, I don’t hate him—in fact I have an inordinate amount of affection for anyone on the Cup-winning teams (I know, I know, I’ve bashed him all season but you’ve got to believe me). So honestly, I felt pangs of guilt over how happy I was. And I still feel some now over how happy I am with the defensive play tonight generally. Yes, Rutta got de-pantsed by Duchene in the first, yes, he and Foreskin were scrambling like meth-addled gerbils in the second which led to the first Senators goal, but we knew they were going to pull shit like that. What I care about was that Michal Kempny and CONNOR MURPHY! had, respectively, a 71 and 69 CF% (NICE). Two of the Hawks’ goals included assists by both defensemen on the ice at the time. This was a defense I could live with, even if I’m still confused by Forsling-Rutta (whatever). As my esteemed colleague Adam mentioned earlier today on Twitter, we can make fun of Seabrook and still think good things about him. I’ll be thinking of warm fuzzy memories while he enjoys nachos from the comfort of the press box (fingers crossed).

– Wtf where has this power play been? The Hawks scored three—count ’em three—power play goals tonight, which I’m pretty sure ties their pp goals for the season. Schmaltz had two of them, which more than made up for his rather dismal possession numbers (25 CF%?? Hey, you get a pass tonight, pal!). All the way around, they had better traffic in front of the net, and while the Senators’ PK definitely blows (28th in the league), the Hawks power play actually blows worse (29th). So if this is what it takes to get some creativity and confidence on the man advantage, so be it. Better they’re the punching bag than us.

– I know there’s been a lot of chatter about the Hawks somehow waving a magic salary cap wand and getting Erik Karlsson at the trade deadline, and the merits of this idea are best saved for another time and place, but I can’t get over his dejection at taking a needless interference penalty in the second which led to Rutta’s goal. Karlsson finished the night with a 63.9 CF% so it wasn’t all doom and gloom—he just pulled a great Denis Lemieux.

– Speaking of Ottawa defensemen, I truly forgot that Dion Phaneuf was still in the league. I found he’s still a useless oaf, and I hope he goes away soon.

– Patrick Kane had five points tonight, and apparently that’s the first time he’s done that, which seems odd. It would have been better if Schmaltz had gotten a hat trick instead of Kane getting the 8th goal in the third period, but isn’t this a nice thing to be complaining about?

– Anton Forsberg was solid again tonight. He finished with a .926 SV%, and I couldn’t even hold the first goal against him. The Senators had about 35 chances while Forsling and Rutta do what they do in the defensive zone, and Mark Stone eventually capitalized after about 17 of those 35 chances. Forsberg made key saves when he needed to and he looked confident and well-positioned. Keep it going, guy.

You couldn’t ask for more than a DLR when going through a rapid sequence of games right before the bye week. It’s not only that points are important, which they most certainly are, but the Hawks also need to take advantage on nights like this and beat shitty opponents (check), and some momentum through this week when they’re facing the Jets in a few days definitely helps too. Also, you can’t tell me it’s a coincidence that on the night when the entire team sees that membership in the Circle of Trust actually has limits, they explode like a pimple and score eight goals. Yes, the Senators suck, but the Hawks have played plenty of shitty teams and not had a DLR.

On that note, I’d just like to point out that the last DLR this season was game #1, when I was doing the wrap, and now at the halfway point of the season, as I’m writing the wrap, they do it again. Clearly it’s me, so you’re all welcome.

Beer of the night: Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ by Lagunitas