The Hawks did about what was expected the last three games, looking alive enough to win one game for Pat Foley before they ended up getting schooled by Nashville and Calgary, two playoff teams of differing skill levels that still skated circles around the Hawks. As is life on Madison these days.

Lukas Reichel’s first-year contract is now officially burned as he garnered around 31 minutes for a team playing for nothing. You would think doing this goes directly against the organization’s narrative of keeping all other Hawks prospects down in Rockford for the Tomato Can Playoff Push while players like Riley Stillman, Erik Gustafsson and others get NHL minutes instead of them, and turns out the front office realized the same, as it was announced last night he was heading back to Rockford this morning to go win the Tomato Can Hockey Cup. Good luck!

Thursday 4/14
Hawks 5, Sharks 4 (Hawks win! Hawks win!)
Box Score
Natural Stat Trick

The Hawks finally got their give-a-shit meters to work again, and all it took was their beloved announcer calling his last NHL game and a matchup against another garbage team on a losing streak of their own. Kane, the Cat, Strome and Amy’s Eldest had multi-point nights, while Raddysh with a Y extended his scoring streak to two games. On the other end of that spectrum, defense was nowhere to be found, Reichel took away a puck in the 2nd and then immediately gave it away again five seconds later for his highlight of the night, and Toews, Dach and newly signed Reese Johnson were pointless in this game that should’ve been a point-grabbing free-for-all for every player involved.

The Hawks and Sharks seemed to trade goals all night, as the goaltenders on both sides of the ice were downright bad. Lankinen’s positioning and rebound control were, of course, all over the place, and the Sharks always seemed to have an answer for whatever goal the Hawks scored. Overtime sucked, as both teams didn’t really do shit on either end, trying to get to the shootout, I guess. But the Hawks can still cling to shootouts as something they’re relatively good at, and were able to win the game because of it thanks to a nasty goal by the Cat. Someone’s gotta get it done.

Outside of all the offense, there was too much clowning in this game for my liking. The fact that the Hawks punched Timo Meier in the head because he did a snow spray on Kevin Lankinen was a choice, and then Stillman fighting Jeffrey Viel over it was also a choice, and then Jake McCabe taking a myriad of dumbass roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties was by far the stupidest, most exhausting shit of the night. Remember when this guy was signed to be an effective shutdown defenseman or whatever the fuck? You can’t do that when you’re in the box. It’s time to move on from this style of hockey, I’m exhausted.

Saturday 4/16
Hawks 3, Predators 4
Box Score
Natural Stat Trick

Starting this game out by watching Jeremy Lauzon’s knee bend in ways it should never be able to bend was certainly not the best, and the Predators were able to get out ahead soon after that to set the tone for the game. The Hawks led once thanks to efforts by goals by Kane and Dominik Kubalik later on in the 1st and 2nd periods, one in which Kane mouthed off to some dude in front row seats because that’s hockey baby. Reichel and his newly-burned first-year contract got his first NHL point in a pretty neat assist to Kubalik’s goal, however, and we’ve all been waiting for that. It was a good moment.

Lankinen didn’t look too terrible in this game either, making more impressive saves in this game than the previous. But right after Mackenzie Entwhistle and Boris Katchouk were assessed penalties—including one game misconduct—for REASONS, the Predators completely turned the game around in their favor, with Roman Josi scoring just a minute later to tie things up. Two more Predators goals at the end of the 2nd and the 3rd sealed the deal for the Hawks—the first goal on a Nashville powerplay thanks to Alex Vlasic and a dumb high sticking penalty, speaking of clowning. Despite Kane making a passing play that any Joe Schmoe, including Stillman, can put into the back of the net, the Hawks were pretty overpowered in this game and it showed as they came up empty in the points column.

Monday 4/18
Hawks 2, Flames 5
Box Score
Natural Stat Trick

I predicted this outcome, and I’m sure you did too. And the Flames spent no time making the Hawks look silly, scoring 22 seconds into the game with a fluky goal that Lankinen will probably see in his nightmares. In fact, the Flames had two goals before the Hawks could even register a shot on the fucking net, as I continue to be perplexed as to why Raddysh with a Y was the one tasked to try and stop Johnny fucking Gaudreau from scoring, a mistake I’m sure Derek King and his man behind the curtain will not make again.

The two teams’ meatheads in Nikita Zadorov and Jake McCabe went at it after Zadorov continued to show his ass by putting a big hit on Toews in the first period. Toews then got high sticked right off the faceoff, had to leave to get stitches, and the Flames scored again to put them ahead for the rest of the game, though Alec Regula scored the second and final Hawks goal in the 2nd period with a shot from the point that probably shouldn’t have gone in. Then the Flames rested on their laurels for a majority of the 3rd period, getting only four shots on net in those 20 minutes, probably because they knew they’d have multiple empty net opportunities with the Hawks yanking Lankinen for the extra attacker like always. Johnny Gaudreau isn’t going to miss those empty netters, and this game was no exception.

Thank God we’re almost to the end, and this schedule will be a tad easier as the Hawks revisit the Kings and Sharks near the tail end and face the Coyotes, barely an NHL team, tomorrow night. Can’t wait to see who will muck it up this time!


The Hawks seem very determined to end this season with a whimper, as the losing streak continues to stretch on for as far as the eye can see and quite possibly with no end in sight if the team’s play over the last few games is any glimpse into the future. McClure pretty much summed up how we all feel in his last wrap, which can be boiled down to “sick of everyone’s shit.” It also doesn’t help that we’re all jonesing for Lukas Reichel’s first NHL point, in which he was denied despite having multiple good chances in the most recent Hawks shellacking against the Kings.

There’s not a lot to look forward to as most Chicagoans have turned their sporting attention to whichever baseball team pleases them most, which can be easily seen in Tuesday’s crowd numbers at the United Center, appearing to be one of the lowest of the season. If you are one of the very few who will be tuning in to watch this dreck (or perhaps just tonight’s ceremony honoring the career of Pat Foley), here’s the rundown of the opposition.

4/14 vs. San Jose

Game Time: 7:30 PM CST
TV/Radio: NBCSCH / WGN 720
Nice Shark, Not a Mindless Eating Machine: Fear the Fin

It’s a battle of the bad teams, as the Sharks somehow beat out the Hawks for the longer losing streak, which is at seven games and against mostly playoff teams, though a 5-2 loss to Arizona is quite embarrassing. We should know, as we’ve recently been there.

The biggest news in the Sharks universe is that Doug Wilson has officially stepped down as general manager for health-related reasons. The team is already a bit of a tire fire on the ice, and now that an extensive search for the new GM has begun in San Jose, there aren’t a lot of Sharks who should feel safe. Like the Hawks, the goaltending situation for next year is very much up in the air, as none of the five goaltenders who have played for the team this year have particularly stellar numbers. James Reimer, with the majority of the starts, and Kaapo Kahkonen, traded from the Wild at the deadline, are looking at .915 and .913 save percentages respectively, which is about as average as it gets. Kahkonen is probably a lock as the veteran netminder who stopped 40 of 41 shots in the Sharks’ brutal 1-0 OT loss to Nashville, but there’s also Adin Hill to look at as well, who has started the second-most games this year and probably wouldn’t clear waivers. I do not envy whoever’s job it is to sort that out.

On the offensive front, there are only three players on the Sharks with more than 12 goals this season, and only two players over 50 points (though Logan Couture is at 49). In many ways, this team mirrors the Hawks with these kinds of stats, except that the Sharks organization is still in denial about their situation and is still trying their best to get back into playoff contention next year—that is, if owner Hasso Plattner has anything to say about it. Either way, this game could be high-scoring and amusing if both teams come out to play. Or not. The Hawks have nothing to play for and look it.

4/16 @ Nashville

Game Time: 11:30 AM CST
Team from the North Country:
On the Forecheck

The Predators are currently fighting for their playoff lives against the Stars and Golden Knights (I guess) and find themselves currently sitting in the first wild card spot in the west. It seems unlikely they will be able to catch St. Louis for the third spot in the Central Division with a 7-point gap between the two teams. Dallas is only a point behind them in the 2nd spot, which neither team will want to be in, as the 2nd wild card team will have to play a game called “How many playoff games can you survive before the Avalanche inevitably crush you?” To make things more amusing, the Predators have the hardest schedule down the stretch with 7 of their final 10 games coming against playoff teams, including Colorado, Calgary twice, and Tampa Bay. This Hawks game is essentially must-win for the team, as it is far and away their easiest on the docket.

The Predators can mostly thank Roman Josi for being where they are now, as he has gone on an offensive tear that blows all of his previous stats completely out of the water. He has 19 goals and 68 assists for 87 points on the year, good for being in on 13% of all goals and assists the Preds have scored this season. To give more credit where credit is due, Matt Duchene bounced back from his horrific season last year to score career highs in goals and points. Filip Forsberg is also blowing away all his previous stats with 72 points this year. And let’s not forget the time-honored tradition (if you can call 2 seasons a tradition) of Juuse Saros putting up a .920-something save percentage. And considering your backup goalie is David Rittich (I shudder at the thought), Saros will likely be ridden hard into the playoffs and depended on for every game.

The Predators will be desperate for an easy win, so I’m sure this game won’t go poorly at all.

4/18 vs. Calgary

Game Time: 7:00 PM CST
You Don’t Care for Me, I Don’t a-Care about That:
The ScorchStack

An absolute ass kicking will commence here. Kevin Lankinen or Collin Delia or whoever Joe Schmoe the Hawks will trot out in net will get absolutely pummeled, shellacked, lit up by the Flames and their fearless leader Johnny Gaudreau, fourth in the league with 101 (!) fucking points because of course he is. There have only been 8 other Flames in the franchise’s history to hit 100 points, so Gaudreau hitting that milestone in their most recent game was a pretty big deal, and a big reason why the team is currently on a 5-game winning streak. (Feasting on the Seattle Kraken for two games in a row doesn’t hurt either.) His linemates, Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm, are both having career-best seasons offensively, but are just as much of a pain in the ass defensively as well—God help the Hawks as they try to get by or stop these three.

Other than the first line, secondary scoring is probably a bit of a concern for Calgary as they head into the playoffs. As everyone knows around here, it takes contribution from more than one line to win the Stanley Cup. The Flames have been doing well thanks to their solid defensive metrics, including having the third-least scoring chances against them in the league this season. It also helps when your goaltender Jacob Markstrom has a .924 save percentage, and Flames fans everywhere breathed a sigh of relief when Connor Mackey made his debut for the team against the Sharks, putting old pal Nikita Zadorov on the bench. Anytime his ass can be stapled there will improve the defense on whatever team he may be on.


So after dropping 2 of their last 3 (one in mind-numbingly dumb fashion against The Leaf), the Hawks return to West Madison for an extended session of home cookin, with only the Stars matchup on the road until the Wednesday after Christmas. The issues the team faces remain the same (lack of scoring outside of Kane and Cat, questionable goaltending when Fleury isn’t in net), but there may be a glimmer of hope as Jonathan Toews potted 2 goals over that span, and has actually looked more himself than in quite awhile.

With Dylan Strome becoming more dangerous while actually getting meaningful minutes (who knew?), the Hawks are kinda sorta getting some of the secondary scoring the team so desperately needs right now. Even Domanik Kubalik was able to get one past The Leaf on Saturday night, so perhaps things are trending upward?

The Hawks will have to make due without having Reese’s Johnson (candy porno name) out of the lineup for at least a month or so, as he landed on IL Sunday with a broken clavicle. The Hawks also punted Mike Hard Man back down to The R, and recalled Brett Connolly and MacKenzie Entwistle. Hopefully Johnson being out means more meaningful minutes (alliteration!) for guys like Phillip Kurashev and Brandon Hagel.

With the game Monday night against Cal and Gary postponed to a Rona outbreak in the Flames locker room, the Hawks catch a break from what would have been (and still kinda is) a tough stretch of games. The Caps are still rolling, having gone 3-1 in the span since the Hawks beat them in the skills competition. The Preds are also hot, having won 7 of their last 10 (though 4 of them came against The Scum, Isles, Habs and Devils) and Dallas had a 7 game win streak before they dropped 3 straight. It’s not going to be easy, but 4 of 6 points here would go a long way to showing that this team is more than just a bottom-feeder right now.


12/15 vs. Capitals 

Game Time: 7:00 PM CST

TV/Radio – NBC Sports Chicago, SportsNet, WGN-AM 720

Bulldog Front – Russian Machine Never Breaks


After securing their first win in DC since the 2nd Bush administration, the Hawks look to take the season series against the Caps. The offense (and some of the defense to be honest) still resides in the orbit of the best hockey player of the last decade, Alexander Ovechkin. He’s had 7 points in his last 5 games and 44 overall (good for 3rd in the league behind the twin wizards in Edmonton), 10 more than the guy behind him. 20 of those 44 points are goals, good for 2nd in the league. The guy is still a dynamo, and his shot is almost impossible to stop if he gets it off from his spot low in the circles. Adding to the Hawks misery in this game is that TJ Oshie has returned from the land of wind and ghosts, giving the Caps another scoring option.

Defensively the Caps line up pretty well against the Hawks, with John Carlson having another very solid year resulting in Washington having the 2nd best goal differential in the league behind Carolina.  In net, the tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanacek have pretty similar numbers, and actually kinda look like each other too. They’re basically the same guy, with an average GAA and Save % to go with it. Just goes to show how often the Caps score if they can have an OK goaltending duo and still be tops in differential. Professional Assbag Tom Wilson is still here, so if the Hawks powerplay could find it’s way in from the cold, that might go a long way towards giving themselves a chance in this one.


12/17 vs. Predators


Game Time: 7:30 PM CST

TV/Radio:  NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720

Getting Smashvilled:  On The Forecheck


Since the last time the Hawks saw the Preds they’ve managed to go on a mini-heater by going 11-5 in that span. As noted above, however, a good chunk of those 11 have been against lower-tier teams. Granted, the Preds can only play the schedule barfed out by the league office, but that record can be taken with a grain of salt. Nashville’s advanced stats look like one of my old training reports back in the day, which said “does nothing well,” which describes them to a tee. They’re not top 10 in any meaningful metric other than PP% (and even then they’re 9th), and yet they currently sit in 2nd place in the division. Much like in every year past, this is due to their goaltending, and playing the part of Pekka Rinne this year is his countryman Juuse Saros. The Juuse keeps the Preds playoffs afloat all by his lonesome, and does so with a 2.24 GAA and a .925 save percentage. On the surface those don’t look like superior numbers, but when you combine those with the Preds style of game and Saros’ excellent save percentage of high danger chances you get a Nashville team that does just enough to be very annoying. If the Hawks plan on pulling themselves out of the basement, this game needs to be won in regulation. Having a coach that understands the benefit of matchups could go a long way to making that happen.


12/18 vs. Stars 

Game Time: 7:00 PM CST

TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720

Jerry Jones Runs This Town: Defending Big D


Last and most certainly least on this list are the Dallas Stars, who have lost 3 in a row during a down road trip. The Stars are actually statistically better than the Preds in a few categories, but are not great inbetween the pipes. Anton Khudobin has turned back into a pumpkin after a few years of relevancy with a 3.73 GAA. After leaving Washington for greener pastures, Braden Holtby has been a pretty mixed bag, with a terrible year in Vancouver and now a slightly above average one in Dallas with a 2.40 GAA and a .920 save percentage. That comes from a team that is one of the better ones in the league in shot suppression, currently ranking 7th in the league in that department at evens. The fact that the Stars are only slightly better than the Hawks at scoring 5 on 5 and you get all the ingredients for a thrilling game. Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski lead the way for the Stars on “offense,” with Hintz leading the team with 11 goals and Pavs with 21 points respectively. Russian expatriate Alexander Radulov is still here, and his production has gone off a cliff, with only 1 goal and a -11 to his name thus far. With the Hawks actually improving over the last few weeks under Derek King at evens, this game looks to be their best chance to pick up an easy 2 points in regulation.


Records: Predators 24-21-1 (49) Hawks 21-19-5 (47)
Puck Drops:
7:00PM (4/19, 4/23), 6:00PM (4/21)
NBC Sports Chicago (4/19), NBCSN (4/21), NBC Sports Chicago+ (4/23), WGN-AM 720
Kings of Leon Fans, but Unironically:
On the Forecheck


It all comes down to this. All the garbage (and not-so-garbage) games we’ve watched all season long have culminated into this three-game series against the Nashville Predators, one of now multiple teams who are vying for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central.

Since we last saw the Nashville Predators, they’ve gone 4-3, beating Detroit, Dallas, and Tampa Bay, respectively. However, they are currently on a two-game losing streak thanks to the Carolina Hurricanes putting a stop to the hole they were tearing in the Central Division spacetime continuum. (The Predators have gone 0-5-1 against Carolina this season.)

Nashville fans are feeling the same sort of upcoming dread about this series as we are, understanding the importance of these next three games as it will likely determine their playoff fate the same as ours. If anyone remembers, the Predators were as good as dead just a month or so ago, getting completely pummeled with injuries and getting ready to sell everything they had at the deadline after going 11-16-1 to start the season. The injuries never end, in fact; since we last faced off it was announced Mathieu Olivier would be missing 4-6 weeks due to injury, but I’m sure Nashville won’t mind that since the only hockey statistic he cares about is getting 29 penalty minutes in four hockey games.

As for the recent trade deadline, the Preds acquired Erik Gundbranson, officially their 14th defender to dress for Nashville this season. And he sucks, by the way. He has a 44.4 CF%, a 31.6 FF%, and just take a look at this:


To make things even better for the Predators, Matt Duchene was finally activated from IR to play in their loss Saturday against Carolina. He hadn’t played since March 4, which is high comedy to everyone outside of their city considering the team has looked much better without him over the past month-plus. Duchene only has 8 points the whole year, and when you look at his cap hit and do some quick division that means he is getting paid exactly $1 million per point this season. He didn’t have a stellar game on Saturday by any means, posting a -1, although he did have a 60 CF% in almost 15 minutes of play?

As for the Men of Four Feathers, once again the absolute bare minimum amount of winning necessary happened last series against Detroit to keep this team’s playoff hopes alive. I don’t have a good feeling personally about this series, since Colliton’s Blackhawks have a reliable track record of spitting up all over themselves in games anywhere near the area code of having playoff significance, and there are no other games this season that will count more than these next three. You can also combine that with the fact that the Blackhawks have zero (0) regulation wins against the Predators all season long. What more fun could be had this week than watching these games?

Guess what else? Alex Nylander is finally skating! What great news! I know we should be excited, but then I remember his play from last season and I don’t know, people. Calvin de Haan was skating today, also, which hopefully means he’s back in the lineup soon and that Nikita Zadorov once again gets stapled to the bench, although it more than likely means it will be Ian Mitchell who is the odd man out of the lineup.

Colliton once again refuses to give us tonight’s line combos and starting goalie until minutes before puck drop, but I would expect Lankinen in goal for two of these games, if not all three, and maybe even some line shakeups to get things going if things go bad quickly. Lanks will have to be nails this series, and the Hawks will need to be taking zero penalties and actually convert on the powerplay in order to get these wins. Nashville’s penalty kill percentage is garbage, just three hundreths of a percent higher than ours, good for 28th in the league. Score on the powerplay and score relentlessly, thank you.

The Hawks will really need to win two out of these three games, in regulation, to have even a chance at sniffing the playoffs this year. Three regulation wins would be preferable, but I’m certainly not holding my breath. It’s now or never. Let’s go Hawks.




Records: Predators 19-18-1 (39) Hawks 17-16-5 (39)

Puck Drops: 2:00 pm

TV/Radio: NBCSN and WGN 720

Why Don’t You Have A Seat Over There: On The Forecheck 


As if things weren’t bad enough, the Hawks reward for pissing away points against the Hurricanes in the last 30 seconds in game two on Thursday night is another game against the team that owns them up and down the ice, the Nashville Predators. The last meeting against Smashville went about as poorly as you could think, and if it wasn’t for the impressive effort of Alex DeBrincat most likely would’ve resulted in the Hawks only netting a single goal.

Nashville just plays the type of game that completely pulls apart whatever you would call the breakout “system” employed by Jerry Manuel-Colliton. The forecheck of the Preds completely exposes the inability of the Hawks D  to move the puck out of their own zone. A large majority of the goals scored by Nashville in the last series came off of panicked turnovers by Hawks players in front of their goalie as they tried to fire the puck up and out of the zone by going right up the middle of the ice. This resulted in interceptions by fuckwaddles like Rocco Grimaldi, and were usually deposited right behind Kevin Lankinen.

So what can the Hawks do to flip the script on the Preds? By trading Brad Morrison to the Panthers and bringing back Vinny Hinostroza, duh! On the surface, this is pretty much a nothing trade for the Hawks, as Morrison hasn’t been anything of note. That being said, it’s the most Stan Bowman thing ever to bring back yet another former player. There’s definitely a spot for Hinostroza right now, since everyone’s favorite 3rd liner Brandon Hagel was thrown into the league’s COVID-19 protocol on Friday. Hinostroza plays a very similar North/South style game to Hagel, and the fact that Stan jumped on the phone to replace him this quickly makes me think that Hagel may be out for an extended period. This should not, however, be taken as a sign that the Hawks are going to be buyers at the deadline. The price for Vinny was essentially zero, so Stan can still try and keep the Hawks in the mix and yet gain assets next week by trading players that aren’t going to be part of the plan (whatever that may be) going forward.

As it stands right now, both the Hawks and Preds have the same amount of points, but Nashville has the tiebreaker thanks to the fact that they have the stunning ability to earn points during regulation, a feat that continues to elude the Hawks. After their single game this weekend, the Preds schedule (other than 3 more against the Hawks and two against the Scum) turns more difficult with matches against Florida, Carolina and Tampa all on the docket. It will be very interesting to see what the Preds do a week from Monday when the trade deadline rolls around. Both teams have to know what awaits them even if they make the postseason, so I can’t imagine Nashville being buyers, as hilarious as it would be.

Regardless of what they decide to do at the deadline, if either team has deigns of making the dance they’ll have to stake their claim over the next few weeks against each other. Based on what’s transpired thus far, I don’t like the Hawks’ chances. We’ve yet to see any adjustment by Jeremy Colliton to alleviate the pressure created by the Preds forecheck. As the guys mentioned in the podcast this week, even doing something simple like chipping the puck up and out of the zone off the boards and allowing the faster skaters like DeBrincat to roll with it could help. Really, I’d just like to see ANYTHING different than the piss poor shenanigans that define the defensive breakouts thus far. It’s not a super high bar to clear, but I’m also not holding my breath.

Two very important points sit out there for the taking this weekend, hoping they can get it done but also not gonna place any bets on it.

Let’s Go Hawks



Game 1 / Game 2

Natural Stat Trick

Game 1 / Game 2 


I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.

Nah, fuck that. I’m pretty mad too. With the Hawks early playoff points cushion all but erased by the butthole puckeringly difficult month of March, what was once just another series on the calendar suddenly took on a whole new level of importance to the team’s playoff future. During the coaching tenure of Jeremy Colliton, any time there came a game that took on an extra level of importance the Hawks routinely biffed the landing, typically not only losing that game but the next few following it. Would this series against the Preds be any different?


The Hawks, despite the triumphant early return of Kirby Dach (fresh off his broken wrist back in December at the World Juniors) managed to shit all over themselves this series with backbreaking turnovers and some fluky goals by the Preds. The Hawks complete inability to solve the heavy pressure of the Preds forecheck led directly to 4 of the 6 goals surrendered by the Hawks.  Instead of making adjustments as McClure mentioned on Sunday night, the Hawks just continued to try the same shitty breakout of their own end with absolutely predictable results. If it were not for Alex DeBrincat deciding “Fuck it, I’ll do it myself,” the Hawks very easily could have scored a single goal in both games.

Nashville now sits tied with the Hawks for the last playoff spot in the division, with the Jackets nipping at their heels 3 points out. While the Hawks still have 5 more games against the Preds to undo this mess, I don’t hold out a whole lot of hope that happening after watching just how easily Nashville dismantled them in the 4 meetings thus far.


Numbers Don’t Lie


-If the Hawks ultimate goal for Calvin deHaan is to have him playing well enough that the Seattle Kraken decide to snag him in the expansion draft, Stan Bowman needs to find every video copy of this series and destroy it. He had an absolutely miserable time, directly contributing to 3 of the Preds goals and assisting on another one. Granted not all of this is entirely his fault, as the defensive “system” the Hawks play can’t entirely be quantified by any known metric, but he certainly didn’t do himself any favors. On the first Preds goal Saturday night (video here), deHaan has decided to go on walkabout, inexplicably choosingto go pressure Eeli Tolvanen along the half boards, leaving Adam Boqvist to pick his poison between Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen. He choose poorly, and Johansen had a clean shot at the top shelf. On the third goal (video here), deHaan intercepts a pass and instead of playing it up the boards, he tries to fire a pass up the middle that’s immediately tipped then picked off. One pass to Granlund later it’s 3-1 Preds and the game is over.

-David Kampf didn’t cover himself in glory either (video here). He did the same thing deHaan did on the 2nd Preds goal, snagging an errant pass and without a single Nashville forechecker within 5 feet of him, he tries a home run pass up the middle that’s picked off by Rocco Grimaldi and ripped top shelf on Kevin Lankinen. All of these turnovers born of the fact that the Hawks had no plan or answer for the forecheck of Nashville. Panicky plays like this are made when there’s no structure for a zone exit and the defenders have less and less time each play.

-If the lack of adjustments weren’t damning enough, Colliton proved just what a Brain Genius he was by not calling a timeout with :46 seconds left in the 2nd game and the team with the goalie pulled and a draw in the Preds zone. No, he saved that timeout until there was .7 seconds left in the game so he could draw up his grand plan to win the draw and fire in the game tying goal in less time than it takes for a hummingbird to fart. BRILLANT.

-Malcom Subban had a pretty solid game, as only one of the three Nashville goals went in off the blade of a stick. The first was a bank shot off of (who else) Calvin deHaan’s skate after the Hawks D was pressured by the Preds forecheck (seeing a pattern here?) after a misplayed puck by Subban and then promptly losing a board battle. The 2nd was kicked in by the skate of (YOU’LL NEVER GUESS) deHaan after a shot from the dot by Jarnkrok snuck through about 3 people and in. He definitely played well enough to win, but so it goes.

-Kevin Lankinen, while not the victim of the bad luck of Subban, was the victim of his own defense. He really didn’t have a prayer on any of the 3 Nashville goals, as two of them were absolute snipes top shelf, and the other was a tap in after more terrible D in front of him. He actually kept the Hawks in the game a lot longer than he should have, making some excellent saves on some in close chances from the Preds after (DRUM ROLL) turnovers behind him due to forecheck pressure.

-Kirby Dach seems pretty healthy as within 5 minutes of his return he danced through 2 Nashville defenders for a pretty sweet chance that he was unable to put home. He also made a backbreaking turnover that lead directly to a Preds goal, so take all this with a grain of salt. He’ll get better once the rust shakes off.

-Alex DeBrincat was unstoppable in game 2, putting the whole offense on his back and tying the game single handedly with a Herculean effort. The 2nd goal was particularly awesome, as he lowered his shoulder from the blue line in and muscled past Fabbro like he was made of crepe paper, then deked Pekka Rinne down and out to tie the game at two. Top Cat really is a pleasure to watch, and he’s put the struggles of last year deep in the rearview mirror.

-Nashville has now won 7 of their last 8 games to come roaring back into the playoff race after being left for dead at the end of the first week of March. While none of us believe that this is entirely sustainable, it’s nevertheless an issue for the Hawks as they’re being pressured from pretty much everyone but the Red Wings now.

-March ends for the Hawks this week with two more games Our Sweet Boy Teuvo and the Canes, before another game against the Preds. Things aren’t gonna get any easier, and when you’re fighting not only the other team but your own system as well, it can feel like you’re trying to skate uphill. Every game now takes on added pressure, and the Hawks under Colliton have routinely puked all over themselves in games like those. If they’re gonna flip the script, taking two out of the next 3 is almost a must do.

Let’s Go Hawks



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!



-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!


Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

That was one of the better games to watch in a long while. But instead of the steely-eyed and acerbic analysis you come for, there’s just a couple things I want to talk about.

-I don’t know if that was Corey Crawford’s last start as a Hawk. If the Canes were watching, they should be absolutely salivating at bringing Crow aboard to take advantage of their contender-worthy roster instead of trusting everything to James Reimer. Unlike Robin Lehner, Crow is playoff-tested and passed.

The purely factual, analytical way to look at the Hawks right now is that they should trade both goalies. Sell everything, get as many pieces back as you can for anyone that another team will give you something for, and try and reload this up next season. But being a sports fan isn’t just about being analytical and results-based and only viewing things as a process to wins. When it gets like that, you get the fucking Houston Astros.

One the one hand, Crawford deserves the chance to go somewhere where he’ll be appreciated in a way he never was here, take a team deep into the playoffs one more time, and possibly win the Conn Smythe and break it over Pierre McGuire’s bald head for costing him the one he more than earned in 2013. That would do my heart and many others’ well.

On the other, I and many others never want to see Crawford leave. Too many Hawks fans haven’t appreciated what he’s been, and seeing as how he’s the only goalie living that’s won two Cups for the Hawks, that’s pretty fucking weird. Tonight was another vintage Crow performance, standing up to a barrage that lasted for 40 minutes at least and required 39 saves just to get the Hawks to OT. He was brilliant, as he’s been thew past six weeks or longer.

It’s obviously more than one night with Crawford. He’s been made to eat shit by the organization itself, the media, and the fans for very little reason. Not only that, but he’s had to face his hockey mortality more directly than any player on this team. When he hit his head against the post against San Jose last year, most of us didn’t just wonder if he would ever play again. We were pretty sure he wouldn’t. And a lot of us thought he shouldn’t. And while he said he never considered retiring, it must have been discussed in that household at least once.

And yet Crawford has answered the bell again by doing what he does after every challenge faced. Simply ball out. After McGuire called out his glove hand simply because it was an easy-to-reach story, he gave up three goals in two games to the Bruins to provide a parade. After struggling in the opening round of 2015, he went .931 in the last three including giving up two goals against in the Hawks last three wins of the Final. He returned from missing nearly a full season to concussion last year by balling out again. He watched the Hawks bring in someone meant to take his job this past summer (and that was the plan for the Hawks, don’t you doubt it) and has just outplayed him for the past two months. He’ll even grease Lehner’s tracks out of town.

Crow is just about the easiest Hawk to root for, and I don’t know why more people aren’t doing so. He never complained when the front office hung him out to dry, nor pointed any fingers when the defense simply turned to dust the past couple seasons. He just gets on with it. Maybe the fandom or the league in general doesn’t know what we have here, but we do.

And I’d hate to see him go. He doesn’t have the NTC that the other four vets have. But ask the four of them and I bet they’d tell you he should. Just as I’d love to see one more run with them, I want even more badly one more run for Crow here. Maybe then he’ll finally get the appreciation he’s lacked in this town and league-wide for so long.

It makes way more sense for the Hawks to cash in on Crow. But we’re not in this for sense. The heart wants what it wants.

-Anyway, quick story. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a lovely, elder gent names Harold tonight from London, Ontario. He has been an occasional billet for players for the Knights. A few years ago, his wife and him decided they wanted to see a game in all 31 arenas. Sadly, his wife passed a year or two ago. But Harold decided he would do the trip anyway for her, at the age of 81. Tonight was #28, and St. Louis, St. Paul, and Winnipeg will round it out next month. Oh, and at 81 he also has two full sleeve tattoos, so he’s basically a vision of my future.

You don’t get that kind of thing anywhere else but sports. It’s kind of why we’re here. It was nice to be reminded of that again.



Needing to fire Peter Laviolette isn’t a huge surprise. Hopefully, it’s a feeling we’ll get here one day, as that will mean the Hawks hired him in the first place. He’s a good coach, maybe even a very good one, but his style tends to grate on players pretty quickly. He burned himself out in Philadelphia, but the Flyers haven’t really been the same since, and it’s kind of amazing he lasted as long as he did in Nashville. It’s no surprise they had their greatest success under him as well.

But eventually the time comes when the players are sick of his act, and the Preds clearly were. This is not a team that should be floating outside the playoff spots, or even anything close. It was built to compete for the Western crown, not slap-fighting with the Coyotes over the leavings. And yet here we are.

But hiring John Hynes smacks of GM David Poile only having half of a plan. He knew he needed to fire Lavvy but didn’t have any idea who should replace him. And then he was forced to hire what was out there, which was Hynes.

Hynes’s claim to fame is that he happened to be standing behind the bench when Taylor Hall went on a “Fuck Edmonton” world tour after being traded to Newark, earned a Hart Trophy, and dragged a thoroughly unimpressive Devils team to the playoffs where they were promptly thwacked by the Lightning. The Devils never came close to the playoffs since, and in fact that was the only year that the Devils even finished above .500.

Sure, Hynes was never given a real roster to work with, and maybe that’s the best he could do. He certainly helped transition the Devils from a war crime to a fast-moving team, but that was a few years ago. The Preds already were that. So why is he here?

Poile will tell you it’s to improve their defensive game, as they’d become lax under Lavvy. Ok, how’s that going? Under Lavvy, the Preds were still one of the better possession teams around, ranking 8th in the league in Corsi-percentage at 52.8. Under Hynes, they’re 22nd at 48.2. And they’re giving up five more attempts per game than they were before the firing. But hey, they’re also generating four less attempts too!

When it comes to xG%, the Preds under Laviolette were again top-1o, ranking 8th at 52.5. Hynes has managed to fuck that up too, ranking 20th since he was hired (behind the Hawks!) at 49.6. Oh, and their xGA/60 went from 2.08 to 2.37 since the change. This is going well! We’ll give Hynes this, at least the attack has stayed steady at 2.3 xGF/60 per game. He hasn’t blown everything up yet.

Hynes has even gotten better goaltending than Lavvy did, with Juese Saros has at least shown some competence of late whereas before Hynes was hired neither Saros or Rinne could find their ass with either hand. And yet the Preds have still gone just 10-8 under him, which isn’t exactly the bump Poile would have been hoping for.

This isn’t a team built to play defensively, and if it isn’t skating with its hair on fire it can be awfully open. But that’s how they were designed, with their go-go defense. Hynes hasn’t been helped by Ryan Ellis being out for his entire stay so far, but there’s more than enough here to do better with. It’s also not Hynes’s fault that Johansen and Duchene spend most of their time having money-fights in the dressing room, but he was probably brought in with the idea that he could get them to snap to attention. Still waiting on that one. This is still a team where a d-man leads them in scoring by 17 points!

There probably can’t be a more clear exhibit of how in the NHL if you get one job, you get 17. Hynes never did much in New Jersey and yet somehow ended up with a better team in Nashville. And when this goes balls-up, which is looking soon, you can bet he’ll get another job because someone will think if the Predators hired him he must be good. And so it goes.


Ryan Johansen – Nothing pisses us off more than comparisons of Kirby Dach to this bloated jackass. The Preds had to sign Matt Duchene because Johansen kept eating his contract and not being a #1 center, and now they’re shocked to find out that Duchene isn’t a #1 center either. Clearly has played for a contract twice in his life, gotten those deals, and then just let the world pass him by. It’s ok, he’s only signed for five more years, so in 2025 the Preds can expect a comeback season…assuming RyJo can even get out of his dressing room chair by then.

Dan Hamhuis – You know he still got this.

Jarred Tinordi – Your father was an asshole and never left the Hawks alone. If Tinordi had another last name he would have been playing in a beer league three years ago. But no one believe in legacy quite like the NHL, and you can expect Tinordi to get another chance after this. And it’ll probably be in St. Paul, where old North Stars never die. Also your first name is spelled wrong, fuckstick.