Tonight’s game was billed as a few things. We heard that the Blackhawks wanted to avenge their last ugly defeat in Dallas. We heard that the Stars were looking to halt the meteoric ascent of Chicago to first place in the Central. We heard that the Stars are looking to show they’re for real.
Frankly, I figured the Blackhawks would place just as much importance on this game as they have any February game over the past 4-5 seasons. Another factor is the annual tradition that has the Blackhawks having played the most games in the NHL plus a heated affair in the desert had me thinking this might be a sleepwalk through America’s most Napervillesque large city.
Full disclosure: I had planned to DVR the game and watch it later at night but human error got in the way and I’m left with some wonderful highlights and my imagination. That’s bad news for those of you who crave eloquent hockey analysis but good news for people who like ridicule and baseless accusations.
Here’s what I know:
-The recent spree of shorthanded goals reminds me of the days before the Hawks were any good when all they really had was a rabid penalty kill led by a not yet famous Patrick Sharp. In seeing Dallas go 0 for 6 on the power play the Hawks boosted their kill into the top ten. They’ve also got 7 shorthanded goals, good for 4th in the league.
-In the last two games since returning from the All Star Flu, Jonathan Toews has put together at least two, maybe three, ridiculous stick handling sequences that remind of that goal in Colorado. Here’s what I’m saying: it’s fun.
-Speaking of Sharp, his trade will be talked about for quite some time as it left the Hawks with the molted skin of Rob Scuderi. But Artem Anisimov for Brandon Saad will go down as a really good trade given the circumstance. It’s pretty amazing to see two trades from the same GM that range from brilliant to head scratching, even if I do mostly understand the way Patrick Sharp was jettisoned.
-His overall numbers suggest Marian Hossa’s decline is fully underway but that’s the thing about Hossa. When a player is as intelligent and hard working on both ends as Hossa is, he’s always an asset.
-As was the case in the first month of the season when Quenneville was deploying Tanner Kero and other assorted 4A players throughout the lineup, we’re still not seeing the finished product. Brandon Mashinter is still getting himself the née Bollig shifts and Dick Panik/Jiri Sekac seem like placeholders. Someone new will be wearing red and push a few of these guys down and out come spring. Also, Marcus Kruger will come back at some point. I keep forgetting about him – which is remarkable.
-Everyone thinks the rookie on their favorite team should win the Calder which is really a fun conversation. Let’s argue about individual awards unless you’d like to join me in something more fun like catching a missile with your face.
-As fun as it is to beat a division rival in front of some of their own fans (also a building half-full of Chicago fans – nice job, Dallas) this game doesn’t tell us much of anything. It’s as meaningful as the 4-0 Dallas win last time they met. What we know about Dallas is still true – they can score a lot, they possess the puck well, their goaltending is a joke, and their defense is shaky.
Here’s some stuff I made up :
-Jim Nill watched this game from a luxury box. Nill’s luxury box includes a giant, pink heart-shaped bed that is quarter operated for maximum shakin’.
-When asked for comment on his team’s performance, Nill was quoted as saying “I can’t say much about their performance but I know mine was excellent. This tantric sex stuff I’m into is mind blowing, man.” He then appeared to sniff his finger and rub something on his mustache.
-Asked what he thinks his team needs to keep up with the Blackhawks he said “Jim Nill doesn’t need anything to keep up with the ladies.” The Dallas reporter insisted that isn’t what he asked when Nill tightened his leopard print robe and let out a high pitched fart. “Fuck you, man.” added Nill.
Next up, the Hawks play the Sharks back at the United Center on Tuesday. Enjoy the football.