Everything Else

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Corsica

Let’s just be honest—the steaming pile of dog shit that was the first period tonight ended things just as they were getting started. Sure, they managed another goal but that did nothing other than temporarily hide how embarrassing the score actually was. To the bullets:

–So the aforementioned pile of dogshit…really the first was a comedy of errors. The first and third goals were squarely on Forsberg, who got pulled after giving up three goals on six shots, before they even reached the halfway point of the period. The second goal was a direct result of Kampf and Gustafsson just dithering over who would take the puck in the corner, and Armia stepped in and helped himself to it. Moments later, Wide Dick Arty got completely out-muscled at the blue line, which led to Roslovic’s goal (OK, so maybe that one wasn’t ALL Forsberg’s fault). Then with Berube in, a shitty change led to Little’s goal, and on and on it went.

–The saddest part is this all happened after Saad caught a break and they let his goal barely 10 seconds into the game stand, when it could have been called back for being offside. IMHO, in the parlance of our times, it deserved to be a good goal because there wasn’t indisputable evidence to overturn in (and you know we’ve dealt with this shit before), but I was truly surprised the dumbass war room didn’t overturn it in their infinite lack of wisdom. The fact that they couldn’t muster a camera angle that showed the entire blue line and thus had to give us the shruggy emoji as their explanation of the call is really a perfect metaphor for the league as a whole right now. But that excitement and stroke of luck was authoritatively crushed by the Hawks’ incompetence within minutes.

–That’s not to say that Winnipeg played badly; they didn’t. They led in possession all night, which kinda makes sense when you’re scoring a shitload but they kept it up in the second as well, ending that period with a 52 CF%. In the third both teams were even with 50, but again, by then the outcome was a foregone conclusion. And jeebus is Patrik Laine a beast. He only made the score sheet once with an assist, but he was rolling right past guys like they were standing still (well, in a lot of cases they pretty much were, but you know what I mean). He ended the night with four shots and a 66.7 CF%, and if you went by the eye test alone, he played even better than those numbers.

–Speaking of numbers, the top line actually tried to play, and they managed to be above water in possession and get six shots. Saad had flashes of what we’d been hoping to see this season, but Toews missed the net a bunch as usual and Kane’s give-a-shit meter was down around a 2.5. They were not the truly embarrassing part of the game, even though they weren’t that great.

–The defense was pretty embarrassing, as you might expect in a game where they give up a half dozen goals. Murphy and Keith were caught in that shitty change, Gustafsson’s turnover led to the third goal, and Oesterle and Rutta were mostly invisible. But those re-signings, THAT’S what they needed to do to improve the blue line.

–OK, one bright spot: Despite being thrown in unexpectedly and seemingly struggling at first, Berube looked mostly solid. Yes, he gave up two goals, but let’s pretend he started the game and had given up a total of two…that would be a decent performance for a back-up. By the second he had settled in, and he made some impressive stops in both the second and third periods. Unfortunately by then it was too late, but he handled 30 of the 32 shots he faced and finished with a .938 SV%. Although neither he nor Forsberg has really seized this opportunity to become a top-tier goaltender, he’s definitely made the stronger case for himself as a serviceable backup.

In a way I wished they had given up one more goal just so I could have posted the monkey-peeing-in-his-mouth video, because really that sums up the night quite vividly. Maybe next time. We only 10 more to go, guys!

 

 

Everything Else

In 2011, the Bruins won their Stanley Cup with a lockdown penalty kill, and a power play that bordered on comically bad. Stop me if this sounds uncomfortably familiar. Finding no reason to fix what isn’t (totally) broken, the Bruins are on much the same trajectory as they were two years ago, though the Blackhawks certainly should not take that as a cue to tempt fate by marching to the box as they have to this point in the post season. Furthermore, the Hawks finding a way to somehow take advantage of the Bruins’ penalty kill will go a long way toward mitigating the physical liberties Boston will no doubt plan on taking.

Everything Else

For the last two straight seasons, the Stanley Cup champion has been able to emerge with the chalice in spite of the fact that their respective power plays bordered on abominable. In 2011, the Bruins were able to withstand having an only 11.4% conversion rate on the advantage, and last year’s Kings were only marginally better at 12.8%, both historically bad percentages. And unfortunately for the Blackhawks, this year’s Kings don’t appear to be tempting fate by trying the same method that had worked the previous two seasons.

Everything Else

For the last two straight seasons, the Stanley Cup champion has been able to emerge with the chalice in spite of the fact that their respective power plays bordered on abominable. In 2011, the Bruins were able to withstand having an only 11.4% conversion rate on the advantage, and last year’s Kings were only marginally better at 12.8%, both historically bad percentages. And unfortunately for the Blackhawks, this year’s Kings don’t appear to be tempting fate by trying the same method that had worked the previous two seasons.

Everything Else

Moving on from the spotty goaltending, we now meander into the real minefield, the Blackhawks’ special teams. Feel free to interpret the word “special” however you deem fit. In a shortened season with minimal lead in time, special teams figure to loom large over every team’s proceedings, and the Hawks will be no exception. So shield your eyes, and let us gaze at the macabre.