The Hawks continue to suck out loud and for some reason we all continue to watch this team limp slowly toward the finish line that is the end of this season. Despite a faux reprieve from offensive terribleness on Friday with a double hat trick win against the disastrous Devils, it was bookended with two horrible losses against actually contending teams, the Panthers and Blues, successfully washing away any optimism that could possibly surround this team.

The real news around these parts is that they ripped off Kyle Davidson’s “interim” tag like a Band-Aid to name him the permanent GM over Mathieu Darche and some shmuck from the Cubs (hey, how about you fix my baseball team’s on-field product before you try to switch sports?). People are justifiably skeptical about the whole situation, which is understandable, but personally I’m still thanking God that Peter Chiarelli is not the Blackhawks GM—what a scare. Davidson has been able to take a deeper look internally at what this team is missing over the past four months, something the other two GM candidates haven’t been able to do, and theoretically this means he won’t fuck things up come the trade deadline.

In case you were trying to block it from your mind, the Hawks have needs in a lot of areas: drafting, prospects, goaltending, any amount of offense at all, way less infinitely replaceable clones that can only play bottom-six positions, a permanent head coach, and maybe a better player development department as Kirby Dach becomes a giant red flag to more and more people. It all begins at this year’s trade deadline at the end of the month, where any amount of wheeling and dealing could be done by Davidson that could make us see the departures of Kubalik, de Haan, Fleury, Strome—honestly fuck it, who isn’t available at this point besides Kane, Toews and the Cat?

Anyway, we have some games this weekend to preview, and it’ll probably end ugly.

3/2 vs. Edmonton

Game Time – 7:30PM CT

TV/Radio – NBCSCH / WGN 720

It Is Better to Live One Day as a Lion Than 1,000 Days as a Lamb – Copper N Blue

The Edmonton Oilers have briefly taken a stop off of the Hot Mess Express ever since Dave Tippett got canned for letting his team get beaten by…well, the Hawks. Since his firing, the Oilers have gone 7-3 in their last 10, clinging to dear life to the final Wild Card spot they currently hold for the West. Oilers fans shield their eyes and pretend not to notice they were able to harvest wins from crappy teams such as the Islanders, Sharks, Kings and struggling Ducks, whereas nearly all of their matchups against contending teams in this stretch have led to losses. It’s mostly because Oilers GM Ken Holland has quite possibly ruined everything by not signing a competent goaltender. Once again I must assume that this team might try to make something work out to bring Fleury to Alberta, though why Fleury would want to go there is beyond me.

In other news, two of the greatest Hawks defensemen of all time, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith, return to the United Center tonight in what will likely be an emotional affair. Had things worked out differently and if the front office hadn’t completely soiled the legacy of the 2010 team forever, the place would be packed and there would be positive vibes abound. Understandably, some fans may not want to see or hear tribute videos to anyone associated with that era, but I am personally pushing some of that aside for now as there hasn’t been a negative story about Niklas Hjalmarsson since I’ve been following the team. The man was a shot-blocking legend, a minutes-eater, and probably one of the best defensive defensemen of his era. His recognition is well-deserved and he seems like a good guy.

Keith will be honored in a smaller own way tomorrow, though he’ll be on the opposing team with the Oilers. Keith is my favorite Hawk of all time—he literally sacrificed seven teeth in the name of the sport, of winning the Stanley Cup, and whether or not you think that’s something worth sacrificing, you have to respect his dedication to the craft. That dedication has made it so he is still playing in the NHL at 38 years old, and he’s not doing so terrible, no matter what you may hear from Oilers fans. He’s having better numbers in Edmonton both offensively and defensively than he had with the Hawks last year; take a look at Natural Stat Trick.

Of course the great Boomer Gordon’s theory about ceremony games meaning automatic losses to the home team will probably come true, so expect a Blackhawks loss.

3/5 at Philadelphia

Game Time – 2:00 PM CT

TV/Radio – ESPN+, ABC / WGN 720

It’s Like When I’m Doing Good In The Game, I’m Doing Good In Life. – Broad Street Hockey

The Flyers are doing much, much worse than even the Hawks are at this point of the season, at find themselves in the basement of the Metro and continuing a similar aimless march toward the trade deadline. In this city, it is longtime captain and center dot staple Claude Giroux on the chopping block. Giroux, as old as Patrick Kane, is still a team leader in goals, points, even-strength goals, OPS and faceoff percentage. Trading him away would be…well, how much worse could it get? They’re also trying to deal Keith Yandle, who is at a team-worst -32 for the year and his other defensive metrics are just as terrifying, so good luck with that.

Flyers fans are probably excited that Carter Hart has had a bounce-back goaltending year from last season, although that just means he’s been putting up a middling .912 save percentage and a 2.87 GAA. For the Flyers, however, it’s better than the alternative, as Martin Jones has lost his last eight starts to teams like Buffalo, San Jose, LA and the Islanders. He also hasn’t started since February 22, but considering their schedule he might be in the crease against the Hawks just to give Hart some rest between games against more talented teams like Minnesota and Vegas.

3/6 vs. Tampa Bay

Game Time – 6:00 PM CT

TV/Radio – NHLN, NBCSCH / WGN 720

Are You Really Sure You Want To Watch This Slaughtering? – Raw Charge

Tampa Bay is once again really goddamn good, currently atop the Atlantic Division with 76 points, good for 3rd in the league. The Lightning are also currently on a 5-game win streak and considering they only have to play the Penguins and Red Wings before facing the Hawks, it’s very likely that streak will be extended to 7 when they arrive at the United Center on Sunday.

Despite the Lightning not being offensive analytic darlings like their cross-state rivals the Panthers or the even teams like the Avalanche out west, they allow the second-least shots in the league because of their solid defense and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have one of the league’s most reliable goaltenders in Andrei Vasilevskiy between the pipes every night.

The Lightning are also finally healthy, as it seems only Zach Bogosian is on injury report list, and he won’t be missed too much. Steven Stamkos at 32 is also top on the team in goals, points, powerplay goals, the whole nine yards—as usual. Nikita Kucherov is 9th on the team in points so far this season after he spent nearly all of last season on IR, but that’s fine with Lightning fans since he usually pops off in the playoffs when the games matter most. The Hawks are outmatched and outclassed up and down the lineup against this team, and I do not have high hopes for this game by any means.


In retrospect, Duncan Keith’s exit was paved nearly three calendar years ago when Joel Quenneville was fired and Coach Cool Youth Pastor Jeremy Colliton was brought on to do whatever it is he’s been doing since. Keith had just turned 35 and the signs of wear were finally starting to show, and what that deterioration would look like was without true precedent, as the closest comparison to Keith has always been Scott Niedermayer, who retired at age 34. Adding to that fact was a coach whom Keith was older than and had zero respect for and his passive aggressive undermining bordered into outright contempt. At long last, what it finally took for Keith to ask out was a third straight year without a playoff appearance (sorry, the bubble doesn’t count and it never did) and yet another sex crime scandal for the Hawks for him to say “Fuck this” and want to finally be closer to his son, and the Hawks accomodated him in sending him to Edmonton for Caleb Jones (Seth’s kid brother) and a third round pick while moving his salary off the books.

There simply are not enough superlatives to lay upon Keith’s career, and again it’s equally as decorated as Scott Niedermayer’s minus the WJC that Niedermayer has under his belt 30 years ago. But with the Hawks Keith earned three Cups, two Norrises, two gold medals for Canada, and a unanimous Conn Smythe in 2015. The way Keith played the game however, was quite different than Niedermayer. Keith’s stride was far choppier, and basically all of his offense came as the result of his unbelievable defense. It has long been the lament of this outlet that Keith was never a natural power play quarterback, but that didn’t stop him from firing a million and one pucks into shin pads. His assissts came from breaking up plays at the Hawk blue line as opposing forwards were funneled there in the prime era by the relentless backchecking of Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews, leaving Keith to knife the puck away if a forward tried to carry it across the line, or beat that player to the corner if they tried to dump it in. He was like a shutdown corner in football, just completely eliminating an entire side of the field. Keith also had a tremendous red ass streak both towards the press and on the ice. He made some vaguely sexist remarks when pressed by a female reporter in 2010, and flat out refused to be a part of McDonough’s PR (and coverup) machine by wearing team hats in locker room interviews. He nearly decapitated Daniel Sedin, Jeff Carter, and Charlie Coyle, receiving suspensions each time, so putting him now in the same division as the Canucks ought to be entertaining for everyone involved. And then there are all the rumors surrounding everything that transpired in 2015, some of the rumors of which are very not true, and some of them very much are.

But after all is said and done, Duncan Keith is more than likely the greatest defenseman in the history of the franchise, and one of the best to ever play the game no matter how his career ends in Edmonton. Chris Chelios might have been meaner, Doug Wilson may have scored more in the cocaine-addled and goaltender averse 80s, and Pierre Pilote might have been more graceful, but none of them did it all at once for so long, and when it mattered most. And the fact that he has asked out of this radioactive situation should not be held against him in the least going forward.

As for what the Hawks got in return, well, at least credit Bowman for not retaining any salary. The third round pick this year is a lottery ticket, and the Caleb Jones aspect of this is interesting and slightly disconcerting. As far as Caleb Jones the player is concerned, he’s 24 and has played a total of 93 NHL games with 5 goals and 14 assists for the Oilers, and has played 125 games in The A at Bakersfield putting up 11 goals there, so the offensive upside is tepid at best, and he’s certainly not the behemoth his brother is at 6’1″, 194 to Seth’s 6’4″ 215. But therein lies the intrigue. Clearly this is a precursor to making a full on push for Jones via trade, as he has asked out of flailing Columbus, with whom he has a No Trade Clause he can submit a list of 10 teams he does not want to go to. As John put it on twitter, this is Stan signing Yonder Alonso in the hopes of landing Manny Machado. As far as a player goes, Jones at 26 (27 in October) still should have plenty of time left being a two-way force and power play weapon as he has been to this point in his career, and is as legit a #1 defenseman as there is in the league, though playing in Columbus did nothing for his possession metrics. And with only one year left at a $5.4 mildo cap hit this year before hitting unrestricted free agency, he figures to be motivated. However, putting all of that into Jeremy Prinze Jr.’s absolute horse shit defensive “system” isn’t likely to improve any of those metrics, and that system is so bereft of any structure that even a player of Jones’ caliber can’t make any difference in team results. Furthermore, while no one should expect athletes to be great people or agree with them, the fact that the culture in Columbus was on the record as being so conspiracy-minded in the locker room that Pierre-Luc Dubois asked out of it is certainly not nothing, and Jones was one of the stronger voices in that room as a lettered alternate. A quick glance at the Jones’ social media feeds (along with their mother’s) backs that claim up, and is a very real concern as far as public health goes. But if nothing else has been made clear over the past 13 years, the Hawks clearly don’t give a shit about the greater good when there’s money and winning at stake. Either way, take all of this with a massive grain of salt.

In any event, farewell Duncs. It was a great run. See you at the number retiring ceremony.



Game Times: 6:00PM (5/9), 7:00PM (5/10)
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network, SportsNet (5/9), NBCSN (5/10), WGN-AM 720
JerryWorld: Defending Big D

First of all Happy Mothers Day out there to all whom it may apply to. And anyone who actually cares for the mother figures in their lives would be best served to keep them as far away from watching these games as possible. Seats still available!


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.


Box Score: Game 37 | Game 38
Game Log:
Game 37 | Game 38
Natural Stat Trick:
Game 37 | Game 38

It’s what the Hawks are doing – treading water when they should actually be sidestroking away from the impending sea monster that is the Nashville Predators, leaving them in our wake. Instead, the Hawks did the absolute bare minimum possibly required to stay tied with Nashville in the playoff race.

Last night’s loss was a tough one. We all thought they were going to get at least a point, but the Hurricanes scored at the end just because they felt like scoring. They didn’t have much riding on this game. Can’t say I can blame them as much as I blame our defense unable to play defense at the most important possible time.

To the bullets.

  • The Blackhawks started this series out as poorly as possible. The Hurricanes garnered 10 shots in the first half a period on Tuesday and it was truly a gift from God that they didn’t score. The fire the Hawks should have had after getting embarrassed by the Predators last weekend was nowhere to be found. It was honestly awful. Carolina won this period in shot attempts (25-14), scoring chances (11-3), and shots on goal (13-5).
  • After what we could singularly call the worst period of Blackhawks hockey all season, the Hawks scored a minute into the 2nd period, because hockey. And then they scored again soon after. Dylan Strome opened the scoring after returning from seeing the birth of his child and had a really great game on Tuesday. He also scored the big goal last night to tie it up. I hope we see more big goals from him in the future.
  • Kirby Dach being back is incredibly important, even if he is making mistakes. There was a specific instance midway through the 2nd last night where he took the puck on the powerplay into the offensive zone and passed when he should have shot. And that wasn’t the only time. Additionally, it’s hard to put Kirby Dach up against a faceoff guru like Jordan Staal, but it just kept happening and Kirby just kept losing. For all of these things he can improve on, though, you see just as many chances he generates all by himself and you see him starting to feel more comfortable on the ice after being out for three months, so he’ll continue to improve.
  • When the Hurricanes pulled their goalie with two minutes left on Tuesday, we all thought it was over. For two and a half grueling minutes, we all watched behind our fingers as the Blackhawks tried to cling desperately to their one-goal regulation lead. To make matters more terrifying, Nikita Zadorov was on the ice the entire time. And the Hawks never really cleared the puck during that stretch. It’s a miracle we got out of that game with a regulation win.
  • Duncan Keith was on in the ice for the first two Hurricanes goals last night, trying fleetingly but failing to keep the puck out of the net. It’s unfortunate that our defensemen are constantly out of position, always on one side instead of both, and all the other crap you’ve heard this website explain over and over. I’ve literally given up on this aspect of our game improving.
  • If Kane’s not producing, the Hawks are a’losing. Seriously though. There are only two instances all season in which Kane had 0 points in a game and the Hawks still won, and both of those games were back in February against the dredge that was the Detroit Red Wings and a terrible Dallas Stars team. And sometimes even if Kane produces, we lose anyway. Kane had no points last night, and we lost. Something to think about during the Hart conversation even though McDavid will probably win it.
  • Wyatt Kalynuk had a very nice point last night on Dominik Kubalik’s goal. And almost faster than the broadcast could take his point total off the screen, he passed the puck right to a Cane for a scoring chance. He’ll learn.
  • Is anyone interested in a Calvin de Haan at the deadline? Take him, seriously. On us.

The hell circus that is the Blackhawks’ schedule continues on Saturday, where they play a one-off game against the Nashville Predators, who are still red-hot and somehow still tied with us for 4th in the Central thanks to a loss against Dallas last night. Onward.


Game 1 Box Score / Game 2 Box Score

Game 1 Natural Stat Trick / Game 2 Natural Stat Trick


The Hawks just broke off their 3rd win in a row against teams with legitimate cases for deep playoff runs this spring/summer. Could this Hawks crew be more than what we thought they’d be at the beginning of the season, or is this merely a bright strech in what will end up being a dark river of despair that stops at a lottery pick? The answer is: I have no fucking idea anymore.

Statistically speaking, the underlying metrics for these last 3 Hawks wins should realistically result in them getting their doors blown off each night. One would be safe in assuming that if your team sported a CORSI of 44, 44, and 41 in 3 straight games you’d be thrilled at getting any points at all, yet the Hawks took 5 of a possible 6. Hockey is dumb and fun somtimes, folks





-Except sometimes they do? Honestly, the only reason the Hawks have been able to escape their massive CORSI deficet is the fact that the powerplay continues to be fucking nails. For the first time in recent memory, they have not one but TWO powerplay units that can not only move the puck efficiently, but can finish their shots after sick passing. Both DeBrincat and Janmark’s goals were set up by nifty passes from Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalik respectively. The Hawks ability to create passing lanes that set these goals up haven’t been seen since 2015-2016 season when the Hawks PP torched the league at an impressive rate.

-Another thing keeping this Hawks run afloat is well above average goaltending. Simply put, Malcom Subban and Kevin Lankinen are directly responsibe for the Hawks getting the points that they’ve gotten during this new point streak. Since the calendar flipped to February, only Cal Petersen from LA has faced more shots than Kevin Lankinen, and he’s had 3 more high danger shots. LA is obviously a dumpster fire on both sides of the ice, but defensively they’re pretty comparable to the Hawks. Hopefully Lankinen can keep this up, because once they regress to the mean on the PP they’re gonna need him.

-While the PP has been able to paper over some deficiencies for the team, on the defensive side of the puck the Hawks are still a borderline disaster. They are bottom 5 in high danger chancces given up, and are still unable to jump start the offense with a decent transition game. Obviously Zadorov is still a clownshow in his own end, but surprisingly Duncan Keith has been the 2nd worst defenceman in CORSI for since the start of the season. He’s also had the most partners on the team, so Coach Pretty has obviously been using Keith in all pairings in multiple situations, but it was still a shock to see. Especially since the eye test on Duncs has been pretty positive, but that might just be because Zadorov has been eye-bleedingly bad.

-Brandon Hagel has been more and more noticeable each night with his speed. Prince Pretty has rewarded him with more ice time, as he actually cracked 15 minutes in night 1 against the Stars. While he hasn’t been able to dent the twine just yet, with the appropriate matchups going forward it seems like only a matter of time.

-Speaking of rookies, the GWG by Pius Suter in game two came from a line of 3 rookies on the ice in OT (Suter, Hagel and Ian Mitchell) which was very nice to see after an overabundace of Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane in the first weeks of the season. More please.

-The Hawks now sit with a 6-4-4 record at the 1/4 point of the season, good for the #3 spot in the modified division. While this is awesome to see, if the team really does have aspirations to make the playoffs they need to stop being involved in these 3 point games. Winning in regulation has never been more important, as if the league continues to plan on using points as the primary measure for getting into the playoffs, giving up loser points will be a dagger. Though I’ve heard rumblings (as Foley himself mentioned on the broadcast last night) of the league moving to Win % as a statistic for breaking ties in playoff seedings. Being that the NHL is realistically not going to be able to finish the season on time with all the rescheduled games due to COVID, they may have no other option but to go that route.

-Next up for the Hawks are the Tortorella-led Blue Jackets again, who managed to go a whopping 2 periods of play before SENDING A MESSAGE to newly acquired goal whiz Patrik Laine. He was benched halfway through the 2nd and the entire 3rd periods of the last game against Carolina for “mouthing off” to an assistant coach. I’m sure Torts and Laine will be an endless source of entertainment for the rest of the season and definitely won’t cause the Jackets to implode like a dying star. Fuck Colombus and their stupid cannon.


Let’s Go Hawks


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

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.



Game Time: 9:30PM CDT
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, NBCSN, WGN-AM 720
Supporting Caste: Copper n BlueOilers Nation

It was never going to be as straightforward as it felt like it might be during the first 40 minutes of Game 1 on Saturday afternoon. That fact was smashed home with the force of Mjolnir and the speed of Evan from Superbad right away in Game 2, and it left the Hawks chasing a much faster team from Jump St. to leave the series tied going into a PIVOTAL Game 3 late this evening. Because ALL games are pivotal at the moment. It’s immutable hockey law.