One week later and one game that lacked an unnecessary Brent Seabrook pinch with under 30 seconds to play and it was pretty much the exact same result. A coin flip to decide the winner. No time to waste; let’s get moving.
–Save for his two shifts, Duncan Keith was below standard tonight. The Blues second goal started with a weak bank pass behind the Hawks net that was easily intercepted and sent back to the point. For good measure, Keith then put the puck into his own net just to make sure he completed the trifecta.
In related news, Keith led the Hawks in ice time by a solid three minutes. Nevermind that Niklas Hjalmarsson was by far the Hawks best defensemen tonight. Nevermind that the reason the Hawks (and Keith) were so successful last year was because they protected his ice times.
Even with the fact that the game went into overtime and Johnny Oduya playing even worse than Keith, the Hawks are deep enough defensively that they should never be relying on one guy to play close to 30 minutes. In 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, their options were garbage and they really had no choice but to play him half the game. Now, they have no excuse to be playing this excessively 7 games into the season, regardless of who the opponent is.
–Offensively, the shift distribution was even more wonky. Hossa, Sharp, Toews and Kane were all over 20 minutes which isn’t all that surprising for an overtime game. What is surprising is there are another four guys in Kruger, Nordstrom, Bollig and Pirri that are barely scratching above or below 10 minutes. That number probably needs to be cut in half. Nordstrom and Bollig are probably around the right around of ice time; Pirri and Kruger need to be out there way more. (Let’s just ignore the fact that dressing Ben Smith would give you three guys that are trustworthy for over 10 minutes a night because there’s no need for a blowtorch 7 games into the season and one where the Hawks are still 4-1-2.)
Again, tonight was just a bizarre game. The Pirri-Saad-Shaw line had an incredible start. Pirri could have easily had 3 points in his first 3 shifts. They had St. Louis pinned in their zone for the most part, save for a couple brief opportunities. It took barely 8 minutes for them to be broken up. Again, not surprisingly, this was around the time St. Louis started dictate a lot of the play.
In Quenneville’s defense, there was a lot of special teams play from the second period through the early part of the third so it should be assumed Pirri is going to draw the short end of the straw there.
–It didn’t take more than 15 complements from Foley and Edzo to Ryan Reaves for letting up on Brandon Bollig with his back turned before the Blues went back to being the Blues. Barret Jackman delivered a pretty nasty hip check to Patrick Kane with his back turned and nearly cracked his head open on the boards. Jackman got a penalty and the Hawks couldn’t do anything with the subsequent power play.
Not to be out done, Roman Polak delivered a nearly identical hit on Marcus Kruger in the third period.
By the way, who else thinks Reaves lets up there if it was one of the Hawks skill players with their back towards him? Then again, Reaves probably isn’t going to be out there when a Hawks skill player is on the ice.