NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks

Blood on the Rocks: Blackhawks 2, Blues 0

Box Score

Event Summary

Extra Skater

You waited long enough and tonight, Blackhawk fans, you got that goalie win you’ve all patiently waited for. Sure, the Blackhawks have had their share of playoff shutouts in the past 6 years but since Game 1 of the 2010 Western Conference Finals, there hasn’t been a more dominant performance by a Hawks goalie.

Unfortunately, goalie wins are generally the result of being supremely outplayed and that was no different tonight. With the exception of the first five minutes of the game and the last five minutes of regulation, the Hawks were unable to establish any kind of zone time.

Why did this happen?

The most obvious answer is that the Hawks (for the majority of the series really) are too casual with the puck in their defensive zone and it all feeds into St. Louis’ forecheck. What’s happening is the first Hawks defensemen to collect the puck is looking to his partner for an outlet pass. This pass, more often than not, is either in his feet, hits the back of the net, takes a weird bounce off the boards. The point is, the first pass is anywhere but on the tape.

This is what starts the fire drill. The St. Louis forwards wait for a misstep before they pounce. Then once they do, it turns into panic session 2014 where the receiving defensemen is just looking to unload the puck as quickly as he can before he becomes part of the Orkin advertisement behind the net. Complicating matters further is that a) there are very few forwards coming back to help and b) the Hawk defensemen can’t skate themselves out of the muck.

The one guy who could skate it out of trouble, Nick Leddy, was a rumor tonight and that was a significant reason why Extra Skater is scarier than The Conjuring.

Now with all that said, the Blues played about as perfect of a road game as they could and they still came up on the losing end. When this has happened to the Hawks in the past, we are the first ones to remind people that the course correction is coming. And if the Hawks don’t take better care of the puck and if their first breakout pass isn’t perfect, then the course correction is going to come and it won’t be pretty.

Other musings

–A 5-on-3 power play is essentially one big excuse to execute as many give and go’s as you can. For the Hawks, there’s plenty of giving but there’s not much going. After seeing this for the fourth (?) straight year, I can’t tell if the coaches aren’t communicating well enough or if the Hawks just give zero fucks. It’s hard to believe that players at this level don’t take matters into their own hands and do what they know is successful. Mind-bottling, really.

–Sheldon Brookbank played about as well as anyone could have anticipated. More of this, please.

–Brandon Bollig cracked 5 minutes of ice time. ROLE PLAYER.

–As I mentioned above, Nick Leddy seemed extremely passive and didn’t assert himself well at all in this game. Someone that could be a one-man breakout would diffuse a lot of the chances St. Louis is creating as their forecheck will have a hard time getting anything going without the other team making a mistake first. And if their forecheck isn’t creating for them, then the Sobotka line is pretty much all they have.

–Corey Crawford was as locked in as I’ve ever seen. It seemed from pretty early on that he wasn’t losing his net on goofy angle shots. This is probably Crawford’s biggest tell. If shots from the side of the net are turning into difficult saves, you know things are going to get urpy for a little. Tonight, though, Crawford looked incredibly confident.

I hate when people say try to read body language, but it was definitely something you could notice tonight.

–One down, one more to go to make it a best-of-3. I don’t know if Game 4 will be any easier on the nerves; I still think there’s going to be at least one game coming up here where the Hawks offense goes off but I could also be waiting for October for that to happen.

Until Wednesday.

  • ShatteredMyths

    Massive props to Crawford. He took responsibility for his sub-par play in the first two games, then stepped up big with a fantastic performance. Hope to see him continue to play at this level.

    We need more from Sharp and Hossa. I understand they’re weighed down by Zus, but both of them are better than they’ve been playing thus far. Did anybody keep track of who was matched up against that line through the game? Was it the Sobotka line the entire way through the game, even as it became clear the Toews line was dominating?

    If Bollig is only going to play 5 minutes, then why the hell is he waisting a roster spot? Are we to understand that if Morin were dressed, he would get even LESS time than that because Q trusts him even less? Crazy.

    Agree with everything else you said, I would just add that the over-reliance on the stretch pass tonight was infuriating. They got one good chance off of stretch-passing with the Kane break-away, and then every other time they tried it, it was easily picked off in the neutral zone by the Blues, or the recipient of said pass was basically alone to contend with 3 back-checking Blues and no outlets.

    Mix things up. You keep jabbing, the other guy is gonna start guarding against it. So throw in a take-down or a kick or something (ANYTHING) to keep them honest and off-balance. The Hawks played right into the Blues hands most of the night by continuing to do exactly what the Blues expected them to do over and over and over without fail.

    Anyway, happy to be back in the series. I’m sure they’ll upgrade from a by-the-skin-of-their-teeth win tonight to a dominating win Weds.

    • denislemieux

      Was I seeing things? Was 88 really out there in the final minute protecting a 1-0 lead?

      • Commit88

        I thought I saw him dive in front of a slapshot as well.

      • Bobby Otter

        Seems like he got stuck out there.

  • DesertHawk

    “Sweet Jesus, thank you.” – Corey Crawford, 21 April 2014

    • ShatteredMyths

      After the EN goal?

      • DesertHawk

        Yep

  • Jeffro

    I disagree on the 5-3. I think they relentlessly shot at the net once after another and passed pretty well. Just some great goalie work by Miller. Just because all the other power plays have been garbage doesn’t mean that one was.

    • YoAdrienne

      I don’t think it was horrible, either. They pretty much kept it in the zone the whole time, so that’s something. A little less passing and a little more shooting, and they’ll pot a few more before we know it. I agree that Miller was a big factor in their not scoring.

      • Special Agent Dale Cooper

        Hossa had a great chance on that PP, Miller just came up big

  • Accipiter

    Agree on Crawford and the body language. He came up big to get the Hawks back into this series. The boys owe him some goals next game.

    Could Seabrook be an important part of this team ?

  • Bannerman

    I thought I saw Leddy save 2 goals. Perhaps he could have done more to stop those juicy opportunities from happening but he was still there when he absolutely had to be.
    If Handzus is going to basically only kill penalties, they just can’t play Bollig any more.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      At least one, if not a save, then saving Crow a major headache.

  • DunkDropsa2

    So Ben Smith has had himself a hell of a series so far. He continues to make smart plays in all three zones. More of 28 with 10 and 81, please.

    • Bannerman

      I’m not sure if it was coincidence or not thatSmith centers the 2nd line right after Shaw takes a dumb penalty and then doesn’t see the ice for what seemed like about 10 minutes.
      Speaking of dumb penalties, is Bickell playing his way into Q’s dog house?

      • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

        Bickel was all over the ice….

        Except right in front of the net, which is where we need him.

        • Joe Banks

          Well said.

        • VerStig

          He did have one of his patented Wicked Wristers™

  • SuperHawk27

    I’m glad Crawford got us a goalie win. I said yesterday we needed a goalie win and he provided. Hopefully he can channel is inner easter bunny and keep handing out eggs to the blues.

  • SuperHawk27

    And Versteeg was basically useless last night….again….

    • Guackyhawk

      I only disagree with “basically” in the sentence above

      • Guackyhawk

        Versteeg’s CF% rel: -21% — worst on the team. ‘Nuff said. Oduya also looked awful to me and his CF% rel was -2.3% so I guess I was overreacting, but his CF% rel, close was -22.1%, worst on the team . . .

        • SuperHawk27

          Looking through all the numbers he had one positive event and that was a blocked shot…which is when the Hawks were ON the Power Play….yikes. All this while being sheltered…..

        • Country_Bumpkin

          Oduya gets a bit yippy in the playoffs, so that’s almost a given at this time.

    • YoAdrienne

      Well, they called up another 9 Ice Hogs. Hope that was done to send a message to him and a few others that there are others who are ready to take their places.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      He kept Bollig off the ice for long stretches…. That is not useless.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    Halfway home to being halfway home….. Stay On Target, Red 5.

    • Bannerman

      cover me, Porkins

    • Joe Banks

      Net presence sounds good.

  • ballyb11

    If you say the last 5 minutes of play we’re tolerable, I’ll use that. In the 5 or so minutes before that, “Panic Session 2014″ isn’t even close to describing the debacle it was. I’m sure if the players were mic’d up, all 5 of the Hawks would have been heard screaming “GET IT OUT! GET IN OUT! GET IT OUT! ……….”

    • YoAdrienne

      I wouldn’t use the word “debacle” to describe it, since they managed to hold the shutout. But, damn, it was frustrating to watch. It was one big, giant “WTF?”. I can only imagine what kind of words Crow had for his teammates once they got back to the locker room. They owe him big-time, and they damn well better make it up to him on Wednesday.

      • ballyb11

        I agree re ‘debacle’ and no goal. Hows “just fucking ugly”?

        • YoAdrienne

          Perfect.

    • cliffkoroll

      Jesus man, keep your shit together. “Spoiled by Possession” is all I can think. St. Louis is very good. Deal with it.

      • ballyb11

        I love your optimism, Cliff, and you know a lot more about the game than I do. But “Spoiled by Possession” isn’t an appropriate way to explain away my concern for that shit show.

        And…………I know the Blues are good.

        • VerStig

          This is what it feels like to play *against* the ‘Hawks.

          • ballyb11

            Not in 2014.

  • cliffkoroll

    Duncan Keith is awesome. So is Alex Pietrangelo. Backbones.

    This is a WCF caliber series- shame it has to happen in the first round.

    Crow picked a wonderful time for maybe his finest NHL performance last night. I think it pulls this team together.

    Kane looks to be about 85%.

    Still, 29-19-88 needs another game together. Bickell will score.

    Also, 10-28-81 needs a full game together.

    The brilliance of 10-28-81 is that it disrupts Q’s binky (52-16-28), cutting Bollig adrift and forcing Q to reconstitute a real checking line with 20-16-23.. Do it, Q.

    • Country_Bumpkin

      Q wont though. He’ll continue to trot out the same shit and then look pissed off when it doesn’t work.
      What does Bollig really do, and for that matter, what does Versteeg really do? Q had no problem benching Jammer for almost the whole playoffs last year, so what gives?

      • VerStig

        I know Versteeg was pretty invisible on the stat sheet last night but do people really think that Morin or Nordstrom or even Regin would bring more defensively than he does?

        • The Doctor

          Regin yes. Morin would be a lateral move in that department. Nordstrom shouldn’t even be playing in the postseason.

          • Country_Bumpkin

            Where would you slot Regin at, 2C or 4C?

          • VerStig

            Not sure I see it the same way — obviously each of these guys are a different type of player (not least of which is Regin being a C) but Regin strikes me as the only comparable player defensively. Not sure where people are getting their impressions of Morin from (to the extent where Q wouldn’t shelter the heck out of him in the playoffs) and while he scored fine his 2nd trip up to the big leagues, that’s not an awfully large sample size to go off of.

            Just worried that we’re applying a narrative-induced eye test to the guy when he’s at least getting ice time (unlike Bolliig).

          • SuperHawk27

            Versteeg seems to just throw a bunch of shit at the wall and hope something sticks. Q always talks about skating with a purpose, but Versteeg seems to be the biggest offender against it. What he offers doesn’t work against good teams, and he doesn’t seem to be playing with puck possession in mind.

          • VerStig

            Oh I totally agree that Steeger’s worst free jazz tendencies come out when he has the puck. I’m just saying that he plays well enough without the puck and in his own zone that I don’t get all the calls to bench him already (that said, he hasn’t been stellar either — could use a few steps up from him).

          • SuperHawk27

            A single step up would be good start.

          • Joe Banks

            Versteeg has been a turnover generator. How defensive is that?

          • SuperHawk27

            It’s offensive how many turnovers he has…..

          • cliffkoroll

            Through three games, Versteeg had been charged with zero giveaways.

          • VerStig

            He had a pretty nice Kaner-like sequence last night where he was able to circle up to the top from the half-boards and hold the puck against a swarm of Blues.

            I mean, let’s be honest, the problems with the giveaways stat are well-documented here, but he’s somewhere between “terrific” and “terrible.”

          • amontesawesome

            “Not sure where people are getting their impressions of Morin from (to the extent where Q wouldn’t shelter the heck out of him in the playoffs)”

            Well said. No player was *more* sheltered than Jeremy Morin during the regular season. I can’t imagine the Hawks would give him significantly more responsibility in the playoffs.

          • SuperHawk27

            Home games are the best place for him to be protected if he needs it.

          • amontesawesome

            My point is, during the regular season there was no player trusted on the ice less than him. Regin, at least, was relatively unsheltered. If Morin cracks the lineup I can’t see him getting enough shifts to actually make a difference.

          • Bobby Otter

            Agree. He probably doesn’t play enough to make a difference. But I think it’s a conversation that’s worth having: is Morin’s offensive upside in 5 minutes worth more than Bollig’s “physicality”/defensive ‘non-liability compared to Morin’ in 5 minutes? Bollig has 7 goals on 109 shots in 82 games this year. He isn’t an offensive threat at all with easily the worst shooting percentage of any Hawks player that doesn’t play D. Morin does a better job at getting the puck on net and getting the puck to go in (5 goals on 46 shots in 24 games).

            In theory, sitting Bollig hurts the Hawks defense. Sitting Morin hurts the Hawks offense. Seems to me that sitting Morin on the road *may* make sense. However, with last change making it even easier than usual to shelter Morin at home, I’d really love to hear the reasoning behind scratching Morin in Game 4.

            I’m sure the answer would be something like this: Q uses Bollig on the 4th line with Kruger. That line is deployed in their own end nearly all the time. Q can’t swap Bollig for Morin because of thus. To play Morin would require changing the lines, which, apparently, Q doesn’t want to do. So here we are.

          • Bullitt315

            He’d play 3 minutes and everyone would complain that he isn’t getting 10 instead of calling him useless for playing 3 minutes.

          • neo1978

            The only player as defensively weak as Jeremy Morin on the Chicago Blackhawks is Andrew Shaw. And it is hard to hide multiple defensively weak players in the playoffs so Morin is sitting.

            Now I could see the argument of replacing Shaw with Regin. Hawks are getting crushed by that Lapierre/Cracknell/Porter line. And if you aren’t getting offense from Shaw and are getting stupid penalties, well…

          • amontesawesome

            I am honestly shocked no one else is calling for Shaw to be sat.

        • Country_Bumpkin

          Morin can at least score consistently and not turn the goddamn puck over. Kaner is now Versteeg 2.0 as evidenced last night.

          • zacked

            His “consistent scoring” was shooting 37% the second time he came up. He didn’t score at all in Nov/Dec.

          • ballyb11

            37% is good.

          • zacked

            If you are expecting him to continue shooting 37% you are going to be sorely disappointed.

          • VerStig

            If you are expecting anybody to continue shooting 37% you are going to be sorely disappointed.

  • Country_Bumpkin

    After last night’s win although part of me is happy, the larger part is pissed off. When is this team going to begin playing like its normal self? The Hawks want for turtling up on a lead is very disappointing and will ultimately lead to their demise in the playoffs.
    Also, does Q think he’s the smartest coach to ever coach in hockey? How can he not see the deficiencies in front of him and make the changes most of us agree he should? His line blendering to no avail are really frustrating.
    Bench Bollig, play Morin, move Sharp or Smith to 2C, move Zus to the 4th line, and so on.

    • ballyb11

      This has been their “normal self” since the end of the year.

      • Country_Bumpkin

        Well I don’t fucking like it.

      • amontesawesome

        *Hawks win despite being outpossessed* “Yeah they won but they looked bad doing it.”

        *Hawks lose despite outpossessing* “Who cares? They lost so they’re bad.”

    • Bobby Otter

      Also think we have to get the Blues credit, they were really good last night.

    • zacked

      Morin is not the answer. He’d be lucky to get Bollig’s ice time.

  • VerStig

    So many hoists to clear the zone last night… given the outcome I’ll take it, but that was incredibly nerve-wracking.

    • Country_Bumpkin

      My bhole chewed a hole in my garanimals

  • Bullitt315

    I still love the post moving on Bollig. If he plays ten minutes “Why is Bollig playing ten minutes” If he plays 5 minutes “If he’s only going to play five minutes why is he even out there?” Make up your minds people. If Morin plays and only plays 3:30. I doubt I hear “He’s useless because he only played 3 minutes”

    • wanker751

      I think that is the point… He is useless…. obviously Q agrees he is a liability or he would play him for more than 8 minutes in 2 games…. So why is he in the lineup at all?

    • SuperHawk27

      So what is Bollig’s skill set that makes him a better option than the healthy scratches of Morin or Regin?

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      You’re screwing up the cause and effect. He’s not useless because he only played 3 minutes, he only played 3 minutes because he’s useless. His uselessness is also why most of us get terrified when he gets 10+ minutes and would massively prefer to see Morin, Regin, or even Nordstrom in the lineup instead of him.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      Clearly the solution is to trade him to Florida.

      • MySpoonIsTooBig

        Could probably convince Uncle Dale he’s worth at least a 3rd round pick…

  • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

    I hate to say it, but Saad looked really tentative out there at times, and Bickell and Kane had some awful giveaways. They all need to be better. It’s a source of confidence, actually, because I think we have a good few players who are yet to play their best.

    Hjammer. That guy. He’s amazing.

    Last, what the fuck is Lapierre/Cracknell/Porter? That line is playing amazing. Normally you can count on a opposing line or two to help us; it’s where we’ll often turn the tables and establish our o-zone time, but their “inferior” lines are regularly keeping play in our zone, and we’re having to move the puck 200 feet (under pressure) a lot, lot more than we usually do. Time to reverse that. It’ll make for “easier” minutes all the way through the line-up.

    • jordyhawk

      Agree on Saad, especially covering the point. He chases the forward, then has to scramble back to the point but gets caught in between and ends up covering on one. He looks like a Keystone Cop.

      On Bickell, under 5 minutes left he had clean possession along left boards on their side of center so he dumped it deep right? No. He fired it directly cross ice so it was picked off and is immediately back in our end. I lost hair on that play.

      Last, Barrett Jackman should not be able to skate the puck to center. He is not Bobby Orr.

      Glad we won though.

      • berkley

        That Bickell play was maddening, especially since it was the first time in the last 15 of the third that they had clean possession going towards the blue line

        • ballyb11

          It was unbelievable.

          Exemplified their hysteria.

    • VerStig

      Yeah I can’t figure out how Cracknell keeps finding soft spots on the ice. Moar better coverage would be nice

    • cliffkoroll

      Their bottom-6 deserves a ton of credit.That’s why I say this feels like a WCF match-up. This is not Calgary, or Nashville, or Phoenix, or Minnesota. Deep breath, lotta hockey left.

      • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

        Their bottom 6 is the reason we’re down 2-1 right now, imo. The main reason, anyway. That’s usually OUR strength.

        • VerStig

          Well… on offense it’s our entire forward corps. Our D men have all our real goals.

          • Accipiter

            Who has the fake goals ?

          • VerStig

            Well Kaner’s was a pretty legit move, but Tazer’s was one of the softest goals I’ve seen this year, and Kruger’s was an empty-netter.

            You know what I mean…

          • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

            Yes, this is true. I just sort of meant that we’re spending a lot of energy and effort in our own d-zone. It’s keeping us scrambly and sloppy and focused on getting pucks out (VERY generally) rather than being focused on getting pucks in, cycling, and applying pressure. Our top line is faring pretty well in the main, but all the rest are kind of getting eaten, and usually it’s that dept that helps us eat.

  • BigCSouthside

    At the very least, they didnt try to play like the blues. Clean up your passes and its all good. If Toews Kane Hossa Sharp even catch a whif of time and space and get one solid pass, Shit is gonna get real.

    • Joe Banks

      Shit is gonna get real. – This.

  • MySpoonIsTooBig

    This is what I’d really like to see, not that I think it will happen – Keep the 29-19-88 line together, move Smith up to the 2nd line between Sharp and Hossa full time, bring Morin into the lineup to the wing on the line with Shaw and Saad, Kruger between ‘Zus and Versteeg, and Bollig to the press box. Does that solve every problem? No, the ‘Hawks still have to stop playing like complete garbage, but it’s a start. Smith is much better for Sharp and Hossa in terms of actually being able to keep up with them, a line of ‘Zus-Kruger-Versteeg can actually be used as a shutdown line and it can be used sparingly enough 5-on-5 so that ‘Zus has legs for the PK (Kruger too, but the tiredness concern is more pressing with old man ‘Zus) and Morin-Shaw-Saad is a legit energy line with some offensive ability that ought to be able to slay bums without Versteeg dipsy-doodling and turning the puck over near the blue line.

    • ballyb11

      To summarize:

      ‘Hawks still have to stop playing like complete garbage…….”

      • To Summarize

        Your constant bitching is so tiresome. You think the Hawks completely suck; we get it. From where the lurkers are sitting, you’re one of the people on this board that actually WANT them to lose, if only to validate your non-stop “WAAAAAHHHHHH!!!” for the last four months.

        Why don’t you just come back after they’re knocked out of the playoffs and say “I told you so. See, I was right all along!”
        Give the doom and gloom a rest.

        Hive mind. Shouting down dissention. What. The. Fuck. Ever.

        • SuperHawk27

          meh. Welcome to the internets…

        • ballyb11

          Bug off.

          • Korab22

            Bally, The anonymous comment was utter bullshit and worthy of my downboat. Now, regarding your feelings, I cannot change them but do try and enjoy a goalie win. They’re rare for us. Not because of Crow, but because of the team that plays in front of him. We typically never need one. Game 4 tomorrow. Yes, we got outplayed last night, but dammit, one more win, however it comes, and we’re best of three and in the hunt!

          • ballyb11

            I like wins. Now re my “feelings”, I’ve spent many hours with therapists…….

            Honestly, I’m hopeful. But their performance in 2014, mediocre at best, weighs heavily on my mind.

      • cliffkoroll

        Statements like that are why I really can’t stand Hawk fans sometimes.

        • YoAdrienne

          Yeah, that statement needs to be qualified. There were several moments of “complete garbage”, with the exception of Crow’s play, of course. But, there were also many moments where they were pretty damn good. I think the way Handzus set up Saad, who assisted Kruger in his goal was one of them.

          • Accipiter

            Miller can remember one garbage moment.

          • YoAdrienne

            Yep. But, he also had some really good ones, and they are the ones that made the Hawks look worse than they really were. The guys did better last night at getting to the net, but there is still lots of room for improvement. If they can fix that, Miller will have a lot more garbage moments.

          • ballyb11

            Ha Ha.

    • G Man

      Love it, but I would keep 52 and sit 23. 23 has been playing with a constant brain cramp. Complete turnover machine, without the hustle in his own end.

      • MySpoonIsTooBig

        I agree that 23 has been hot garbage, but 52 brings absolutely nothing to the table. In the d-zone he’s almost always far too low along the half boards and way too slow to be able to effectively get back out to his point man and close off the shooting lane, and in the neutral and offensive zones he does literally nothing. His patented move is to be 2 steps too slow and end up laying a useless hit on a guy who long since got rid of the puck.

        23 has the ability to actually contribute if he stops fucking around. If Q sits him down and tells him he’s playing a primarily defensive role on a line with ‘Zus and Kruger and if he can’t pull his weight there he’ll get booted to the press box in favor of 52, 12, or maybe even 42 I’d bet (hope) that he gets the message and adjusts his game accordingly.

    • YoAdrienne

      I like Smith between Sharp and Hossa, too. I hope it stays that way, although part of me would like to see 20-19-81 reconstituted, and the two Patricks back together with Ben as their center. I also like the suggestion of the Zus-Kruger-Versteeg line, although at this point, I think I’d rather see Regin there, or even Morin, rather than Versteeg. He did okay up with Toews, but who doesn’t look good with him? At least we know Q isn’t going to put Brookbank back on the wing.

  • HawkIPA

    This is the optimist in me talking, but teams that let the Hawks up off the mat generally don’t fare well. This reminds me of the first few games of the Boston series. Hawks weren’t playing their game and were getting stifled defensively. They were lucky to be down 2-1 after 3. Then game 4 happened, the Hawks adjusted to Boston’s defensive scheme, and the offense exploded. The Hawks can be frustrating at times, but this team does learn (for a hint of this, look at the last 5 minutes). Toews is dialed in. I don’t expect Kane/Sharp/Hossa/Saad to be dormant for long.

    • ballyb11

      I like this.

    • ahnfire

      another new intern for Stacie’s kool-aid factory!

      • Bullitt315

        Do the interns get paid?

        • ahnfire

          ask Stacie.

      • Country_Bumpkin

        Beats working for Jim Jones’ kool-aid factory.

  • Commit88

    I think the Hawks win Games 4 and 6. My only question is if they can win Game 5 or 7.

  • Bobby Otter

    Story of this series so far:
    I want to hit the panic button after the win, but I’m optimistic after the losses.

  • Paul the Fossil

    A good wrap which largely rings true. I might quibble a bit with the tone regarding the PP, thought actually that it was reasonably active and aggressive last night. Just couldn’t get quite a puck past Miller.

    I dunno if the Hawk D-men were being “casual” with the puck in their zone so much as jittery/panic-stricken. Other than Brookbank they all took turns treating it like a hand grenade. (And while I’m liking #17 fine as a third-pair guy these days he just doesn’t have the wheels to be any more than a bang-it-out-safely player. Not against a 111-point opponent anyway.)

    One thing missing though is mention of the Hawks’ PK: the Blues are now 1 for 16 in the three games and that one goal came on a 6-on-4. From the goalie on out the Hawks are doing a fine job there.

    • nextgame

      I thought the biggest issue for our D was that most times when they looked for an outlet to exit the zone the first jersey they saw was white with a blue note on it. Once again, as the TOS have mentioned ad inifinitum, far too often the Hawk forwards were not coming back deep enough to offer good available options to move the puck quickly and crisply out of our zone. Fixing this issue will go a long way toward easing the pressure of the St. Louis forecheck.

  • Bobby Otter

    Bollig barely playing in this series also shows how stupid extending him for three more years was.

  • fromheretoinfirmary

    Someone mentioned it below, but this game reminded me of the Bruins series as well. Like the Bruins, the Blues seemed to be carrying play for long stretches, but timely shot blocking, crease clearing and team defense in the D-zone saved them. Of course Crawford was stellar, but I think those things contributed more than given credit for.
    As ToS has been saying this whole time, I thought it was obvious that the Hawk’s biggest problem this game was an inability to deal with the Blues forecheck, both behind the red line and breaking out from the walls. I counted at least 5 or 6 times where a Dman seemingly had time, couldn’t find a pass even with space to make a decision, and turned it over. TCI has harped on what can be done to fix it, but I think that was the biggest problem.
    That said, I think that team defense that I was talking about is what wins cups. We saw it last year in boston. I have no doubt the goals will come. Just clean up the breakouts and I feel confident.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      Except the Bruins flat out beat us in two of the first three games, as opposed to us giving them away in the last two minutes.

      • fromheretoinfirmary

        True. Game 1 and Game 6 come to mind. I’m just saying that I think a lot of the playoffs is weathering storms cause every team will make a push, and the team defense I saw + Crawford when the Blues had sustained offensive pressure encouraged me.

  • Waylon

    Not to get too snarky about it, but if Leddy’s agent wants big bucks for his next extension, then by all means let’s see his progression to that next level we’ve all been expecting. Yes, he’s been a steal for the organization and has looked good at times, but either Q doesn’t trust him still or he hasn’t engendered that requisite trust. Either way, I hope he gets to show everyone just how good he can be in game 4. BTW, I don’t have a DVR, so can someone please tell me what’s going on with Hossa and Sharp these days?

    • VerStig

      Non-PK Zus

      • Bobby Otter

        I didn’t realize this: in 62 games Handzus has 51 shots on goal. That’s really really bad.

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          like Brandon Pirri bad

      • Waylon

        ah, thank you for the clarification, thought as much. I’m afraid Q isn’t going to do much for that line, given his past tendencies. Fairly maddening at this point.

    • Why

      Yep. There’s a big gap between Toews and everyone else.

      But you know what, Hossa’s looked pretty solid. The guy gets back, skates hard. I notice him on the ice.

  • Draftbeer

    I have not always been a Crawford fan, especially after game 2 and looking at his big payday of $6 million next year. However, I saw a goalie last night who came to play and made a statement that said “Yes, I won a Cup last year and I am going to do it again!”

    Crawford look confident, big, and really energized. His focus wavered and I totally congratulate him on taking responsibility and then showing what he can really do on the ice.

    Now the offense…

    I see Leddy’s name mentioned here a few times. Why is he not racing down the boards and taking a shot. He is one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and last year (before playoffs) he would just take off and setup plays. He has the speed to burn the St. Louis defense plus a booming shot. But now he looks tentative and does the one thing that I can’t stand in hockey..dump the puck in!

    The Hawks are dumping the puck in way too much and when they set up plays, you don’t need a dozen passes. Just a couple then shoot. With their elite players, their powerplay should be much higher.

    I agree, bring back Morin and sit Bollig..what a waste.

    By the way, besides the obvious fact of missing Seabrook, why is Rosival even playing?

    Kudos to Zeus for finally showing up.

    • Accipiter

      Leddy has not shown he can do anything substantial when he carries the puck into the O zone. He ends up behind the net wondering, “how did I get here” ?

      • Waylon

        exactly. We all know how awesome he can be when he brings the puck up from his own blue line and screams into the other zone, but then he abruptly stops and usually gets taken off the puck. I don’t know why that’s such a problem for him and the team, they could really use some more of those rushes, as long as he could finish.

        • ahnfire

          Leddy is all speed and no creativity. That’s why he gets in there and immediately turns into a lost puppy. I also think he also knows that, which is why he hesitates & dumps the puck in instead.

          • VerStig

            I hope he doesn’t turn into a D man version of Stalberg ><

          • ahnfire

            I’m hoping because Leddy is still young it’ll be ok.

          • Why

            Stalberg couldn’t really be bothered to get back. I don’t doubt Leddy’s effort level.

          • Why

            I totally agree with you so I’m moving on to some rhetorical questions.

            If those are currently his limitations, why would we want him trying to lead a break out at this point? He’s been a solid fifth defencemen up until this point and has done a pretty solid job in front of the net. If he can eat minutes and provide the odd moment of inspiration, isn’t he doing exactly what we should want him to be doing?

          • ahnfire

            Well for one, he has to learn sometime. If we accept that as his level and ask for nothing else, he’s not going to improve. Of course, playoffs aren’t the best time&place to ask, but it has to happen eventually.

          • Why

            Eat minutes. Work on making quick decisions with the puck and letting forwards lead the rush. Use his exceptional wheels to jump into the play after (the Keith way). I’m just not sure trying to be Bobby Orr in 2014 is the best way to maximize his skill set.

  • berkley

    I’m not pining for more hitsy hitsy, but it’s unreal at how the Blues are both out-hitting and out-shooting the Hawks. The forecheck has been nails, but it doesn’t help that the Hawks D men look like they’ve been playing with tree branches.
    I just can’t wait for the market corrections this team typically pulls off in the latter halves of series, especially at home. MOAR HAWKS GOALS