NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild

And Just Like That….It’s Gone: Hawks 2 – Wild 2 (Wild win runway walk-off 2-1)

Well, I guess you can’t win them all. Maybe you can win all the ones you don’t tie. Let’s see if that can be done.

But after all is said and done (and before they make me run), there isn’t too much to get upset about. Which is weird, because just about the time I was going to start getting itchy about how the Hawks were getting pressed into waffles at even-strength in the 2nd period, one penalty kill turned it around and the Wild were chasing shadows. The 17-6 shot-difference in the last two stanzas would be evidence of that.

Still, all that possession and territorial advantage didn’t lead to a barrage of chances, which I guess is a little worrying. But not all that much. I suppose it could be argued that the Hawks got better as the Wild got more tired, having played last night and in their 3rd game in four nights. But the Hawks will find that a lot this season, as well as the reverse.

In the end, the width of the crossbar kept the Hawks from extending the shootout where they might have won it. Or might not have. It’s a fucking shootout. Just flip a coin and be done with it.

Observations

-Ok, there is one issue the Hawks are going to have to deal with at some point. That’s their second line. While Kane’s power play points have masked it, but these three have simply abhorrent CORSI numbers now, and it’s hard to ignore the trouble they’re having at even-strength.

The most noticeable problem is that Dave Bolland can’t win a draw if he was taking it against a fraggle. He was the only Hawk to be below 50% tonight, and by some margin. He won six of 20. It’s an issue.

While we could argue whether this is a second scoring line or a checking/scoring hybrid, but it doesn’t matter. If it’s going to work, they’re going to need the puck either way. They’re not getting it enough now.

Bolland’s reputation has been built with Keith and Searbrook behind him a majority of the time. They were all sent out to deal with the top scoring threats. That’s not always the case now. But it should be. Bolland’s not going to win draws, he needs someone to help get the puck back. But if you send out Marlboro 72 consistently with Bolland and Kane, you’re putting them out against top lines. Will that work with Sharp and Kane?

A solution might be to flip Saad and Sharp. While Saad isn’t that much better defensively, he will give Bolland and Kane a forechecker and a physical presence to win back pucks and create space through his driving to the net.

Another is to have Sharp start taking some of Bolland’s draws. Sharp isn’t that great either, but last time he was at center, in 2010, he won over 50%. He at least has that on the resume. Bolland most certainly does not.

-Shaw’s line had its best game of the season, and that was after Shaw lost Cullen at the draw that led to the opening goal. Bickell was an absolute beast on the forecheck and on the boards. A smallish Minny defense just didn’t have an answer. Good to see.

-Brandon Bollig actually wasn’t a dunce tonight, with a couple of good hits and forechecking. If he’d do that more often, I wouldn’t bleed from the eyes when I see him. But Mayers ability to win a draw is still more needed.

-I haven’t checked, but I’m sure Cal Clutterbuck was credited with 87 hits tonight.

-Both Keith and Seabrook topped 26 minutes tonight. Don’t make it a habit, though some of that is OT where Brookbank can’t play due to his concrete skates.

-Crawford was fine, he didn’t have much to do, couldn’t help the two goals really, and made whatever he had to. Two goals per game will be just fine.

Could have won, didn’t, got a point. Move on.

 

 

  • 10thMountainFire

    The Mayers v Bollig comment is great to see. I too think Mayers is more valuable, largely due to his ability to win faceoffs.

    • Accipiter

      I mostly think Mayers is just too slow, not a Bollig fan either though.

      • 10thMountainFire

        I think we’re probably choosing the tallest midget… but Mayers at the draw is worth a bump over Bollig in my opinion.

        • justforkicks

          idk i don’t know what his FO% was the games he was in, but he seemed slow and not impactful to me. Last night Bollig played smart and had some good moments. He’s not the greatest but imo there is way too much hate on him.

          • Accipiter

            Mayers FO%’s were 40% v. DAL(TOI – 6:49) , 100% v. CBJ(TOI – 4:44), and 60% v. DET(TOI – 5:02).

          • justforkicks

            Cool, and out of how many actual draws? I’ll check GP’s final stats when I get home.

    • ArlingtonRob

      Bollig is largely a waste. Find a replacement SB.

  • girlphoenix

    I can never really get too upset about losing in the shootout. Duncs and Seabs both had about 3 mins in overtime and 3 mins killing penalties. If the team as a whole would do better about that, I wouldn’t worry about their time on ice.

    • QCBlackhawk

      Ditto. Might be the streak talking, but 13/14 has me pretty content… until the Sharks maybe win.

    • 10thMountainFire

      My thoughts exactly.

    • DesertHawk

      GP!!!!

      • Joe Banks

        Hey! You’re right! She’s here!

    • 334Rules

      Only saw the OT and coin toss, but I saw lots of chances in OT that just missed being fucking golden. And in addition to Sharpie’s iron, if Kane got that backhand elevated just another couple inches (something he’s totally capable of doing), we take 2 instead of 1.

  • QCBlackhawk

    I don’t know if it’s just Bolland losing the draws, but other than bits in the Detroit game, I really haven’t seen sharp stand out against the crowd. As my friend pointed out, he’s kind of streaky, but this is a little worrying being 1/7th (more or less) through the shortened season and not having rave reviews to give him.

    • 10thMountainFire

      As far back as I can remember, Shooter has been a scalding hot/arctic cold player. As long as he mitigates the cold scoring droughts with effective defensive-minded play, he’s still very, very valuable.

      • justforkicks

        I think that’s fair but then if he’s in a cold streak, and no idea when its ending, and bolland isn’t winning draws, then is that the best utilization of kane’s skills even?

        • 10thMountainFire

          No… and that’s a great point.

    • The Doctor

      Sharpie is my biggest concern with that line as well, particularly in this last game. Yeah, he’s got a decent amount of points on the season but he doesn’t seem all there.

      • Joe Banks

        I totally agree. Something isn’t right with him.

  • red palace

    /raises hand

    All right, it was me who about a week ago said he was tired of the Bolly-bad-at-faceoffs meme. You may commence with the flogging of the posterior.

    • The_FFF

      No, frankly, I think it’s okay to continue to be tired of it. I was just looking at stats for the past few seasons, and Bolly averages out to really not that terrible. Consistency is the big thing. So far this season, we’ve seen him be terrible (around 30%), and awesome (60%). Yes, his averages compared with Toews look pretty bad — but, then again, so does almost everyone else’s who takes as many draws.

      The Minnesota game was definitely bad. But Bolly hasn’t been consistently terrible at faceoffs this season or any other. He’s been consistently inconsistent (and, before this year, often taking draws against the opposition’s best).

  • laaarmer

    I want to vomit when Oduya has the puck in the corner

    • 10thMountainFire

      I think we were expecting our token ‘mobile defenseman’ to be what Soupy was for us… and that will disappoint us, no doubt. Oduya has played very well this season and, while he has his limits (as you mentioned), he’s still better than the alternative… that post-Soupy drought period.

      Oduya is likely not going to stretch the ice in the way 51 did but he’s filled a role well enough for me to give him a solid ‘B’ thus far.

    • Waylon

      I don’t know, the guy hasn’t made many egregious errors, and the fact that he’s been out there against some top lines at times must mean he’s doing something right. Still a good pickup for what his role is, methinks.

  • Preacher

    No mention of Crow’s lunging save on the 5-on-3? And what’s the over/under on how many more games we’ll go before Saad gets moved to another line just to get him a goal? (That will be Q’s answer in some postgame talk about why he moved Saad.)

  • amontesawesome

    Good point on the second line. It’s not quite working, but I don’t know what i would suggest for a solution. I’d be hesitant to move Saad just because his CORSI numbers with 19 and 81 are so freaking good and why mess up a good thing with a young player.

    But, yes, something probably should be done about that.

    • 10thMountainFire

      So you would swap 88 and 20?

      • amontesawesome

        I don’t know what I’d do, to be honest. I just love how Toews, Hossa, and Saad are playing together, but you’re probably right in that one of them has to move to the 2nd line to mix things up a little, because I don’t think elevating anyone from lines 3 or 4 would help things.

        • 10thMountainFire

          I don’t know that I swap 88 and 20 if it were my decision. I love Saad on that top line.

          • amontesawesome

            Me too. Personally, I’d be okay with shifting Bolland to the 3rd line and have Kruger center the 2nd. Then you would just go back to giving the 3rd line all the difficult assignments and give Kane, Sharp, and Kruger cushier gigs.

            It seems strange to have a line of 36-88-10 if you’re going to give them defensive assignments. But then again, Bolland has gotten by far the highest percentage of off zone starts amongst the centers, so I don’t know maybe Q is putting them in a position to succeed offensively and the sample size is just way to small to indicate anything in terms of CORSI Rel QoC.

            But, I do think it’s problematic that of the Hawks 4 centers so far this year, the CORSI Rels go:
            Toews: 12
            Kruger: 5.5
            Shaw: 3.4
            Bolland: -27.3

            And, as a I mentioned briefly, Bolland has been getting a good chunk of starts in the offensive zone (57.8%, Toews is 2nd with 39.6%) So, yeah, I don’t know what I’d do to fix things, but I certainly am a strong advocate of something.

            EDIT: Or, of course, maybe it’s just been 7 games and Bolland will be fine and I just need to chill.

          • 10thMountainFire

            This second line center thing is like a permanent Hawks meme. It hurts my soul more each season.

          • DesertHawk

            Become a ginger, no soul, can’t hurt anymore.

          • Accipiter

            One does not simply become a ginger.

          • Joe Banks

            THIS. Totally THIS.

          • nextgame

            I like this idea best.
            Kruger between Sharp and Kane is enough of a bulldog to provide forechecing pressure, plus his faceoff work, while not great, has been better than Bolland’s.
            Bolland goes back to the third line between Bickell and Stalberg, and to the role he seems best suited for. Plus, if I remember correctly, this line was together at times last season and was pretty effective.
            Shaw goes to the fourth line between Frolik and Bollig (For now. In my fantasy where Q does what I tell him, Carcillo replaces Bollig when he returns). That would make a killer fourth line that would be extremely dangerous when matched against most other fourth lines.

          • Waylon

            I like Kruger’s play as much as anyone, but I don’t think calling him a “bulldog” is really accurate. The kid is fearless going into the corners, but that line needs someone with a bit more heft to do that kind of work effectively.

          • nextgame

            I absolutely agree about his fearlessness, and was what I had in mind when using the term ‘bulldog’. Granted, he may not outright win a lot of corner battles, but I don’t think he’d have to. If all he does is cause those end board and corner pucks to be coughed up and become loose puck 50/50 situations Kane can gain control and create off of enough of them to improve the effectiveness of that line.

          • zacked

            That was my first thought as well, but I think a lot of the reason the PK has been so effective is because Kruger and Frolik are essentially PK specialists now. The 4th line minutes allow them to be ready to go on most PKs, and there was an article just yesterday talking about how they now focus almost exclusively on the PK, talking it over and reviewing tape before each game.

            If Kruger is the 2C, then that link is going to be dead. Maybe it’s too much of a luxury, but for now it’s working.

          • justforkicks

            i agree with this. frogger and fro have embraced their role and are working their asses off for it, and it shows. I’d hate to lose what they have together and the impact on the team by splitting them up.

          • frictionjane

            I, too, like the idea of Bolland back to the 3rd line, Krugs to the 2nd. But, clearly Bolly wants to be on the second line, wants the opportunity to score more instead of being on a checking line.

            I wonder though, where would his head be if he was “demoted” this early in the season. I don’t think it would sit well from his perspective. Team first, I know and agree. I think Q has to keep that in mind though.

          • Accipiter

            If Bolland gets demoted for the next game I think his inner demon will revel at the idea. Hello Donk, Hello Honk.

    • PainSt

      I would swap kane and hossa at this point
      kane’s problem last year is that he didnt have a good enough striker to spike his setups ..he’s fine on either line but i’d like to see hoss and toews split into different lines ..
      you can call saad a power forward but at this point toes and hossa are our real bulls
      the bolland line needs a bull

  • Captain Cornhole

    Why not swap Kane and Hossa? Hossa and Sharp have been great together before, same with Kane and Toews. It will also give both Sharp and Kane a responsible/forechecking wing opposite of them. The last thing we need to see is both kane and sharp cherrypicking at the opposing blue line while the opponent creates a turnover. I do hate the idea of breaking up Toews and Hossa, but since Q won’t let Sharp take draws, the second line needs a defensively responsible winger.

    • Nagelbett

      ^ this. Improves the defensive balance of first 2 lines, which would also free up Q’s hand on the defensive match-ups based on who the opponent tosses out there.

    • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

      Hawks don’t like Hossa with a right handed center like Bolland. They want him with a lefty to give Hossa easier passes and setups.

      Hossa is a much better player than Havlat. But Havlat found a way to be productive playing with Bolland where Hossa has not. And I agree with you, Hossa being productive with Bolland would “solve” a lot of the lineup issues on this team. At least for Kane and Stalberg.

  • jackattack

    Why no mention of Crow’s superman save??

  • DesertHawk

    Crows save was apparently #1 on ESPN’s plays of the day.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Wait. ESPN recognized hockey AND cities west of Philadelphia?

      • DesertHawk

        according to my buddy who watches ESPN, yes.

      • Joe Banks

        As long as were on subject, is anyone else developing a “don’t give a rat’s ass” attitude about the Eastern Conference?

        • http://twitter.com/LBlissettUSA Luther Blissett

          I watched way too much of the Isles/Pens game on Tuesday… if the Pens are supposed to be good, the East sucks.

        • DesertHawk

          I’ve always felt that way.

        • justforkicks

          no but that’s because i have an eastern conference team.

  • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

    Wooooo 81-0-1 mother fuckers!

  • cliffkoroll

    Yeah- second line is too smurfish. OTOH- Kane and Hossa are magic together. If Hoss could play LW…

    I think I’d get out the blender- try ALL combinations. Or find a 2nd line center or largish LW.

    Bad play, no touch by Oduya trying to pass to Sharp on tying goal.

    Great save by Crow, another good game, long stretches of tumbleweeds, as the Hawks DOMINATED puck possession over the last 40 minutes, 2010 style. Great instinct to pull Harding.

    • cliffkoroll

      I could see Bolland as a 65 point guy on that line, but he’d be underutilized. His counterpunch game clashes with Kane’s style.

      Now Bickel Bolland Stalberg…

      • cliffkoroll

        And Frolik Shaw Bollig as a 4th line…

        The way these guys are playing, that’s a killer bottom 6. Roll 4 lines, size, speed, skill energy outta the bottom-6.

        I can wait, like Patience on a Monument, for y’all to work through the emotions on Mayers and the dawning realization that, while it’s awesome to have John Scott around as an all-purpose go-to gag, Bollig is no John Scott and Mayers is a tired old man.

        • MNHawkFan

          Do you put Kruger on the second line with Kane and Sharp then? He’s better at faceoffs than Bolland.

          • cliffkoroll

            Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. You match Bickel Bolland Stalberg against the top line and give Sharp Kruger Kane the marshmallows.

          • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

            Hawks have played a lot of away games and Q has been rolling lines more often and not matching up as much as in the past. So the opposing coach has far more influence than normal.

            The opposing coaches have been playing their top line against the Bolland line and NOT against Toews. When you play Hossa with Toews together the other team’s coach runs away from that line. And tries to exploit the Patricks…

          • cliffkoroll

            Fair point. Even last night, though, the Minnesota coach said that you can’t roll your top guys out against everyone, so a deep team like the Hawks is gonna enjoy some mismatches anyway you cut it. With Bolland on the 3rd line with Bickel and Stals, the Hawks can be like: we’re rolling, you go ahead and pick your match-ups. And at home, Q can get the second line the softer match-ups.

        • rhodes

          I’m totally down with this idea. I’d like to see the Hawks get back to using 4 lines more consistently. The production they got from bottom line guys in 2010 was a big reason they won the cup.

          You might be right about Mayers, but I still like him out there instead of Bollig. IMO, Bollig’s far more likely to cost the Hawks a goal or two with stupid penalties.

  • Bwana

    Away Bolland:4-0-1, Socks: 1-0, Hat: 1-0

  • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

    Agree on all counts.
    Must be the new site.

    • zacked

      Of course, the truth could just be that Bolland is not a possession player. Here are his relative and regular corsi numbers the last 4 years:
      -30.2, -23.26
      -9.7, -1.35
      -13.0, -4.30
      -12.8, 6.02

      He’s always had some of the worst on the team. I thought, and still think really, that had more to do with his usage than his ability, but it’s quite possible that he’s a destroyer (and one of the best at it) rather than a creator.

      • Paul the Fossil

        “A destroyer rather than a creator”, heh! My new favorite hockey player labels.

      • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

        Ignore the relative Corsi, because it’s completely deceiving on a possession team. His raw Corsi (the 2nd number) has aways been around 0, which is INCREDIBLE for a player getting only OffZone starts in the 30′s against the league’s toughest competition.

        So, his raw Corsi went from EVEN to -23 so far this year – getting Off Zone starts in the 50′s.

      • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

        Yeah, Relative or regular Corsi really isn’t fair on this team. You have the “core four” getting far more offensive zone starts than Bolland. They play against lower competition. And you have Bolland playing with far lesser wingers.

        When looking at the top 13/14 wingers over the last two completed seasons, Bolland’s numbers were:

        10/11 Corsi Rel Qoc – 1st
        10/11 O Zone starts – 12th
        10/11 Corsi Rel Qot – 12th

        11/12 Corsi Rel Qoc – 1st
        11/12 O Zone starts – 14th
        11/12 Corsi Rel Qot – 9th

        It simply isn’t fair to compare Bolland’s offensive numbers with the “core” 4 guys. They’ve been playing a different game.

        Also, I do think you want a LW dominant line with a “right shot” center like Bolland. Hawks offense is coming from the RWs with Kane and Hossa and now Stalberg.

  • http://twitter.com/LBlissettUSA Luther Blissett

    I thought the Wild basically packed it in and played for the tie from the second period on. Hawks looked a bit like Spain playing anyone in soccer (note: not comparing the Hawks to Spain, just an analogy). Weird game.

    Unpopular Opinion Alert: I though Crow’s save was pretty good, but not great. It looked better than it was imo.

    • frictionjane

      Yeah, it was a pretty weak backhand, not like it was a screaming one-timer.

      McDonough addressed the team before the game and told them they were behind on highlight reel stuff for the 2013 season video, and they would have to do double the Dominick’s appearances if they didn’t get it together.

  • 2883

    It’s an uncapped year, the Hawks probably should find a way to acquire a guy who can play with Kane and Sharp without destroying the farm. Something around one of our star Icehogs and a high draft pick.