Change Of Heart: Hawks 2 – Lightning 1 (Hawks Lead 1-0)

Box Score

Event Summary

War On Ice

Natural Stat Trick

Have a narrative, why don’t you? With the Hawks top six not producing much, and after the residents here proclaimed it would be the Hawks’ forward depth that would prove to be the difference, here comes the third line providing both goals that put the Hawks up in this series. And no, of course not, there’s no way that Teuvo Teravainen coming up big makes me feel especially good after all the shit we got for extolling his virtues. Why would you ever think that? He’s not special in any way.

As we previewed this series, and most others did, I feel like it was generally agreed that John Cooper was a pretty good coach. And while he probably wouldn’t come up with some novelty for this, he would do what was necessary. Well, tonight he kind of fucked up.

In the 1st period, the Lightning pushed the pedal to the floor, which is the only way they’re going to hang in this series, pushing it to Ludicrous Speed. They had the Hawks on the run, got a goal through a ridiculous tip/shot/miracle from Alex Killorn, but Corey Crawford kept them only to one. The Lightning pulled a page from Nashville’s book, and tried to make everything happen before the red line, if not the Hawks’ blue line. Their D sat or pinched until they absolutely had to back up. Their third forward cut off an escape through the middle, their first two forwards crunching any time the Hawks had for a high flip or any clear out of the zone.

And then they just kinda stopped.

From the 21st minute on, the Lighting stopped trying to make the play happen at the Hawks’ line or from there and in between the red line, and tried to make things happen from the red line to their own blue line. It worked for a while. The Hawks tried too often to carry through too many guys. Or their dump-ins were too easily played by Ben Bishop, who could facilitate an easy exit. But give the Hawks enough time, they’ll clock it.

Suddenly Hawks d-men were jumping up more and more, because it was obvious the Bolts weren’t stretching them and they had nothing to worry about behind them. After a bit, those plays the Bolts were forcing at their own line got to be around their circles, and then it got to be below their goal line, which meant they couldn’t get out. Do that, and the Hawks will find a way. They did, and now the Lightning find themselves down 1-0.

Let’s do it.

DarylZero

The Two Obs

-Accuse me of gushing, but Duncan Keith is playing a sport at the moment that I’m not familiar with. Teuvo’s equalizer sprung from Keith receiving a pass at the blue line blind and on the spin, gathering it cleanly enough to take it down to the circle before finding Teuvo to find the corner. Sit back Lightning, Keith is going to find a crack. And that’s all we need. He’s just in another place.

-I want to say Teuvo picked that corner. I do know that he hustled JT Brown into that turnover that Vermette buried for the winner. And I also know that Teuvo’s instincts are pretty much off the charts.

-Leave it to Versteeg that his best play of the playoffs, hounding down Garrison into a turnover, eventually led to him tripping and getting called for a penalty while crashing his face into the post. If there’s a most Versteeg moment ever, I can’t remember it. And it’s kind of a shame, because Versteeg had a most acceptable game.

-The Hawks won a game where Jonathan Toews only won 45% of his draws and was -7 in Corsi. I suppose if Valtteri Filppula plans on going 11-0 in attempts with Toews out there the rest of the series the Hawks will have problems. I’m going to go ahead and predict that’s not how this goes down.

-Is that our Crawford game? You can get away with calling it that, only because Crow looked as confident and smooth as he has since… March? And yet, it was only 22 saves.

-Tyler Johnson had one shot. If that continues, Hawks will win this relatively easily.

-Still, it took the Hawks a while to come to terms with how fast the Lightning can play, which isn’t totally unexpected. They wanted too much time on the puck for a lot of the first 40, not knowing there was a Bolt right on top of them. I have no doubts they’ll start moving the puck quick enough to avoid that fate as this series goes on.

-Oh look the power play still wants to make plays at the blue line even though Tampa is pressuring them right there!

-Braydon Coburn sucks.

-The Bolts might not be able to win this trying to press it as fast as they can. But it’s still their best bet. I would expect that in Game 2. The problem is the Hawks already got what they came for and they got it with Toews not having his best night. What’s next, Coop?

  • ZigZags82

    Exactly Fels!

    Hawks got what they came for with the first 2 lines not doing much and disappearing. The first Hawk 2 lines disappearing, as mentioned, won’t happen again. And it’s not a narrative. It’s ultimately true that the Hawks superior depth will win out. With Tyler Johnson and Co. disappearing Tampa had nothing. With Toews and etc. disappearing, the Hawks still had their 3rd/4th lines. Hawks’ll adjust to the pace because they can and prepare for Tampa’s best shot Saturday night. Could really deal a kill shot.

    Let’s Go Hawks!

    • I think we’d all agree that if the top 2 lines continue to cancel out this favors us. So long as the top-2 aren’t giving up goals then we can take our chances.

      • ZigZags82

        Agreed! I love having 4 lines lol.

  • Click_Down_Arrow

    Narratives. 10-80-86 is “depth scoring” for our team. These are lovely times.

    • Dangles-a-Plenty

      Lovely times indeed. Line 3… Anyone would be lucky to call them their second, or shit even first line (pushing it but there’s some shit ass teams out there). Deepest team I’ve seen since I started watching (09 Winter Classic). Holy fuck what a luxury to roll 4!

    • ZigZags82

      4 Lines wins Cups.

      • wihawkfan

        This. One of my favorite quotes from the 2010 Flyers after the loss:

        “They had four lines, we didn’t”.

        It may have been Pronger who said it.

  • Sopel the catfish

    LET’S GO HAWKS, Saad looked impressive with no points to show, Lightning came out with their asses on fire and then smoldered in some cold coals by the third. Lot’s of hockey left but things are trending in the right direction. Work is going to suck in the morning, but not as much as waking up and realizing you’re down 0-1 after thoroughly outplaying the Hawks after the first period. There is no quit, there is nothing else other than the objective, the one goal.

    • BigCSouthside

      The Hawks are just methodical

      It reminded me of the climactic scene in V for Vendetta, where he is in the sewer with all those goons, lets them empty their guns on him, then just says “my turn” and methodically kills every motherfucker in the room before anyone can reload.

    • ZigZags82

      Hawks actually outplayed them after the 1st period but yeah lol. Let’s Go Hawks!

  • jordyhawk

    I was quite surprised at Jon Cooper in the post game presser. He
    said that even though we (i.e. us) had all the 3rd period possession
    we were not getting good looks. I’m glad he said that because it is
    so wrong. We may not have been getting the looks but it’s the
    possession and eventually getting pucks through that will kill you.
    You don’t need good looks.

    TT scored because he has a knack for flinging the puck quickly and
    finding the high corners, and Kruger (please re-up this guy) took
    away Bishop’s eyes. I seem to recall a goal deep into the night in
    game 1 of the 2013 SCF that was also not a good look, but that may
    have been the most important goal we scored all that year.

    Hockey baby.

    • cza

      Hope we’ll get the puck up more consistently. TT’s goal was like Oduya’s shot, take two, after Bishop made an autopilot save because JO’s shot was low.

    • wihawkfan

      Excellent point jordy,

      The hockey IQ on this team is very high. I seem to remember someone before commenting that the ackward angle shots often turn out well because the goalie doesn’t expect them and hasn’t practiced those angles as much so he doesn’t have a good game plan for defending them. I think Kaner takes those shots on purpose for those reasons. TT had another goal in this playoffs that could be called flukey or seeing-eye. But the more he has goals like that I think the less you can call them flukey, there is a method to it.

      A similar thing to that is that we’ve seen Saad developed his game with Hossa like moves that he has probably learned from Hossa.

      These guys all feed off each other and teach each other how to “think” the game. The experience in the room has helped the younger guys develope so much quicker and better.

      • CurvedBlade

        Yep, I also noticed Saad is looking a bit like Hossa.

        Nobody wants to hear this, but I think darling defends the corner and behind-net angles better than anyone I’ve seen. He really seal his body against the post. There is no hole from top to bottom.

    • ZigZags82

      Cooper sounded rattled to be honest. This is gonna be fun lol.

  • Dangles-a-Plenty

    Cumiskey, as sheltered as he gets, continues to impress me. Also, Corey. My boy. I have to say Richards also looked good, played with some great pace and energy last night!! Go Hawks eh?!

  • Dangles-a-Plenty

    Also, were the bolts fans booing Richards? The MVP of their Cup winning run in 2004? Am I missing a story here or do Bolts fans a) know dick about hockey 2) are just salty he didn’t spend his career there or h) he actually did something to legitimately piss them off…

    • mazer_rackham

      I didn’t notice them booing Richards specifically. They seem to boo when on the PK, when the opponent is trying to enter their zone?

      • Dangles-a-Plenty

        Hahaha that would only make too much sense #hotweatherhockey #keeptheredout2.0

    • jordyhawk

      It was kind of muted booing. Odd and pathetic.

    • Harry Longwood

      They were booing Richards and Keith. I can see why they might have some reason to boo the former (“he left us for more money/Cups!”), but I have absolutely no idea why they would boo the latter (other than generally being frightened of his other-worldly play).

      • Dangles-a-Plenty

        Yeah I can see the Richards part…. But I mean the guy was the fucking MVP when they won it, feel like some appreciation would be in order. I hope he lights it up, fuck off tampa

        • wihawkfan

          Right!?!?

          The Hawks did something special the first time Bolland came back to the UC. I know there’s a difference between regular season games and cup final games, add in competitive spirit and all, but still I don’t think it hurts you to be classy in that moment.

          • CurvedBlade

            Yeah, I can’t imagine doing anything but cheer for former hawks, especially for cup winners. That includes, unfortunately Darrel Sutter.

    • ky-jellydonuts

      I don’t remember who noticed it on Twitter, but apparently the Tampa Bay fans boo the first player to touch the puck on the rush during the power play. So it doesn’t matter who it is; that’s their Thing.

  • wardrums

    I tried ti figure it out but things move to fastfor me outthere. What line was Q thriwing out against johnsons line. (I’m so sick of hearing them called the triplets. They don’t even look alike.)

  • BigCSouthside

    My wife said in the first ten minutes “Wow, Tampa is really good”. I said “I think the Hawks are letting them get this out of their system and just keeping the chances down during the initial adrenaline rush”

    And that was one of the first times I have visibly seen veteran playoff experience be a clear edge. The Bolts came out flying, the Hawks stayed calm, kept the A+ chances low and trusted Corey and the D, and didn’t get flustered after the Bolts buried a one in a million goal.

    I don’t think the Bolts went into “prevent defense” to protect a one goal league as a lot have said. I think that if you have coached a team to the SCF and DON’T know that will not work agains the Hawks, you should immediately be fired. I think they saw the Hawks start to exploit their pinching defensemen, and Copper thought, “Oh shit, if we keep this up it will just end up being a parade of odd man rushes the other way” he said as much in the post game presser, saying “Do I think we can pin them in for 60 minutes? No. No one has been able to do that”

    What we saw was when the Hawks hit the gas pedal even slightly, the Bolts went 2010 Barry Trotz style Predators on Chicago, creating a Maginot Line at their blue line. Their defensemen were more reluctant to push as hard in the offensive zone, and they relied heavily on their playmakers to get something going instead of a 5 man offense. The problem is, the Hawks know how to defeat that style.

    Those Hawks goals were coming and it was just a matter of who’s name was going on the score sheet, and I don’t think you will see Toews, Kane, Hossa, or Sharp off the score sheet much longer.

    • Dangles-a-Plenty

      Well said, brother. I really fucking hate to use a Pierre reference here, but when he talked to Q on the bench, he said “You really started reeling it in” in reference to the Hawks weathering the bolts adrenaline rush and then completely taking over. And yeah, that goal by Killorn(?), I’m not even mad, that was a nice fucking goal.

      • BigCSouthside

        Thanks. I had a Ron Burgundy reaction to that goal

        “I’m not even mad, I’m impressed”

      • Bwana

        That’s exactly what I texted my friend after that goal, BigC. lol. If it ended up being the only goal, I would have, but glad it didn’t come to that.

        • BigCSouthside

          I honestly wouldn’t have been mad if we lost 1-0 playing exactly as the Hawks did and that was the goal that won it. The 2nd and 3rd just looked like a Hawks storm was coming.

    • Jim

      Yes, after a while the Hawks started doing stretch passes every time they gained a puck in their zone. And it was working. This forced the Bolts to stay home more on defense and it nullified the begining onslaught.

      The two top lines were quiet because they were busy with Tampa’s top guns. That’s OK as long as we have 2 bottom lines that can pressure. And Hedman can’t play 60 minutes for them.

      I like the way this is shaping up.

      Those goals were sweet. A seeing eye screen shot by TiVo, and a high corner, glove side deflection by Vermette. When a team like the Blackhawks get skill production from these third line guys, it just ain’t fair.

      • BigCSouthside

        I never like to be supremely confident (I am from Chicago after all), but the Hawks have a good shot here. All this talk about the Bolts taking out Original Six teams means nothing. There is quite simply no team comparable to the Hawks in style, depth and strategy right now. It ‘s not necessarily that the Hawks are the best team on ice, it’s just that they are the most effective. The closest were the Kings IMO, nearly like looking in a mirror.

        • Jim

          This is a team for the ages. Plus 77% of game 1 SCF winners go on to lift The Cup.

          And not many were better than this version of the Hawks.

        • GoldenJet

          Actually, from top to bottom, the Hawks are the best team on ice…the sum of their parts puts them ahead of everybody in the league.

          • BigCSouthside

            I thought in ’13 the Hawks were clearly the best team in the league. This year I never thought that, however I think they have been the best at series play over the past 6 years and that speaks to them being highly effective with what they have no matter what.

            Thats what I mean about best vs most effective.

          • GoldenJet

            “Certainly, you would love to win the President’s Trophy,” the Blackhawks President & CEO told Comcast SportsNet before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday. “But for these guys, we knew that when the clock struck midnight on April 15, we would be ready to go. This is a team that’s built for the playoffs.”

            -john mcdonough

          • BigCSouthside

            Absolutely, this team has consistently been a hard knock out in series play.

          • ZigZags82

            Once they acquired Vermette and Desjardins, and Kane got back to 100%, they had the best roster in the league. Bar none. They became the best team in the league again with these 4 lines.

      • Maurice Cheeks

        Yep, the stretch pass is what opened up things against the Preds, too. Granted, the Bolts are better than the Preds, but if they owned possession for 40 minutes…..look out when the Hawks control the majority of the game.

        • Black JEM

          I really saw this as three games – TB coming out of the gate on fire – shots were like 10-3 after the first 10-15 minutes of the first. They were winning like 75-80% of the faceoffs as well.

          The second period saw things begin to turn to a little more even – clearly from the 5 minute mark of the first period the Hawks outshot the Lightning.

          Third period was complete domination, whether TB pulled back too much or realized they were exposing themselves with the Dmen coming to far forward. All I know is they were trapping like crazy in the third period and the Hawks eventually made them pay. I thought it was a pretty even game.

      • ZigZags82

        It is very fair lol! I like depth and winning!

    • juniorgilb

      BigC, excellent analysis!

      • BigCSouthside

        Many gracias

        • Black JEM

          Cooper and a number of the TB players said they were trying to play the same game they did against the Rangers in game 7. Not a shell, but being difficult to get chances against. The problem is that no one has 4 lines who can hurt you except the Hawks. Tampa never could find a moment of relief like they could against NY. And they got pushed deeper and deeper until the ice might as well have been tilted. It almost worked to their credit. I still like the Hawks in 6 but I wondering if it could be quicker now. Toews will adjust and have better games, if we can keep Johnson quiet eventually the slow footed paperweights of defensemen after TB’s first pair will get opened up just like the Duck’s.

    • mazer_rackham

      Yeah, during the “Lightning storm” I just kept reminding my wife (and myself) how Nashville took a 3-0 lead in the 1st of game 1, and how that turned out.

  • Jim

    BIG WIN. This was a game the Hawks would have been OK losing, because I’ve noticed they use the first couple of games to get reads on the opponents.

    But the Hawks got their reads AND won the game. For Tampa, this is a bad loss to take. TB is now on their heels, and Saturday is a must win for them. Yes, the Bolts won in MSG, but the Hawks are much deeper and more skilled than the Rangers.

    Looking good for Chicago.

    • wihawkfan

      Is it wrong that I am totally enjoying the image of Captain Stairwell watching from home because the team he chose didn’t even make it to the final series while the team he snubbed is going about their business?

      • SuperHawk27

        I was just thinking that yesterday. Win or lose, Captain Stairwell is sitting at home. *chuckle*

        It is probably a big selling point for StanBo to entice free agents to sign with the Hawks. They just point this out and say. Don’t be this guy.

  • T.M.

    I love seeing the comments in the press and other places that the Hawks stole the game. It wasn’t stolen. When the game’s on the line, they just ramp up their effort to an absurd level. Kinda like how the Jordan and Pippin Bulls did it.

  • Bannerman

    Is it just me or does Tuevo look a lot bigger now than he did when he first came up? He’s certainly more aggressive and more confident.
    Shaw taking dumb penalties has to stop.
    Anyone that plays chess knows that a bishop is not as valuable as a rook- which is what Crawford would be if this were chess.
    Last night wasn’t so much the top lines not showing up so much as they used up the Lightning’s best defense pairing. Making Stamkos play defense sounds like a better good strategy to me.

    • Bob Lanz

      Shaw didn’t take a dumb penalty, sorry but he is in the middle of a check and losing balance too. That call was iffy at best, and with all the other no calls i was surprised he got called for tripping there. With two players tied up like that and they both go down. That’s as weak a call as versteeg goalie interference getting hit and tripped into bishop and the pipe

    • wihawkfan

      Nice word play bannerman!

      When you said rook I actually thot you were going to say TT is a rookie.

      One announcer said that the Tuevo you watch in the first game of the playoffs and the Tuevo you watch in the last game of the playoffs will be drastically different players. He said that this kind of experience for a talent like Tuevo will bring about a huge metamorphosis. That’s not good news for the rest of the league.

  • William Diedrich

    Verbeauty looked vintage and excellent. No abstract puck-work, excellent pace and reads, he was very conservative around the enemy blue and even rolled back to cover a pinching Johnny-o when he was deep and across the ice.

    Also wik: Dragon is daysyukian. Totally serious. Been saying it in my circles since the WJC, his instincts are ahead of the curve of the game, he has the mind of a college student taking a high school test, just different level, and the hands execute. He knew exactly where that shot was going the moment Keith pinched, you can see him almost shuffle into position and just wait for a two count, confident to certainty about what Keith was doing.That pass to verm was buddha-esque awareness. Fifteen pounds and a year or two in the league and he’ll be an all-star 30 goal scorer, no doubt in my mind, possibly even next season if he’s kept on the wing.

    • ZigZags82

      Kids a future superstar no doubt.

  • William Diedrich

    Also, how about the high play in the o-zone? Seemed to almost be running a cycle within 8 feet of the blue. Risky, but they were looking swell up there in the third.

    • BigCSouthside

      It was like a cycle in a phone booth

  • DJ

    The wisdom of Winston Wolf is foremost in my mind this morning…

    This is still a series of the narrowest margins. Their top two lines could go off; so could ours. Bishop could steal a game; it could be argued that Crawford just did. Cooper is a clever man who actually plays to his team’s skills (as opposed to Boudreau); Q has two Cups. I still think the difference is our third and fourth lines; maybe last night really was this series in microcosm.

    Aw, nuts. It’s great to be up 1-0. Time to go for a walk.

    • Jim

      I used to hedge in business and in life. But sometimes you need to just accept you are a bad ass. And the Hawks are that. Fun to watch.

  • Bwana

    So Nordstom will be taking Teuvo’s spot on Saturday now, right?

    • ZigZags82

      Don’t even joke lmao!

    • wihawkfan

      *spit-take*

      Morning coffee all over the iPad.

  • The_Cheeb

    Does anybody have a non smart-ass/sarcastic guess about
    possible roster changes by Quenneville for Saturday?

    • Razzberry

      Maybe TVR for Rundblad, but that’d likely be all the changes.

      • Dangles-a-Plenty

        I wouldn’t put it past Q. As soon as Rundblad makes another big boo-boo, I can see TVR. Which might not be a good idea since the kid hasn’t played since November(?) and has had two recent injuries

    • David Mac

      Would be surprised if any lineup changes. While we might hope for a few more meaningful minutes from 5 and 26 the fact that they’re not part of the narrative in close games is a significant positive factor for Hawks going forward IMO.

      • Jim

        What about putting in Nordstrom? 🙂

        • David Mac

          We’ve seen that movie. It ended badly for our heroes. Whom do they sit? 23? He was fine last night and brings a potential upside that Nordstrom has never demonstrated. Further only place for him is 4th line and why mess with that unless someone hurt IMHO. Cheers.

        • SuperHawk27

          Please. No. He’s like Frolik, minus any offensive talent. And Frolik had very little offensive talent.

    • GoldenJet

      Possibly Bickell for Versteeg, if Steeger has some delayed concussion symptoms, or broke something serious in his face or neck.

      • cza

        I was amazed he didn’t go to the bench first. But I just looked at the concussion protocol and teams have a lot of wiggle room: “If a player is suspected of having a concussion, that player shall be removed from play at minimum until the player is symptom free” and “has returned to his cognitive baseline.” Unclear whose suspicion matters. Anyone know if the refs can make this call?

    • BigCSouthside

      Just for shits, Q has called up the Section 328 beer vendor to step in for Rundblad

      • SuperHawk27

        While it would be an even exchange, I think too many of the Hawks players would get hung up trying to buy beer from the guy.

        • BigCSouthside

          It would be a short time before we got another Corey Crawford drunken “biggest fuckin bunch of beauties in the league” speech

          • Dangles-a-Plenty

            Would not be mad, would not be mad at all

    • Bob Lanz

      I think TVR for runbland or cumisky is possible but not likely after the win. Bucks stays out for now.

  • GoldenJet

    Cliches: Bend but don’t break…Weather the storm…Go to school on them…Stay within striking distance…No lead is safe…No quit…TWTW!

    Talk about a team hitting its stride at the right time!

    I guess this feeling of confidence could go right out the window on Saturday…but I doubt it. These guys are so poised, so determined at this point, there really is no room for any other outcome.

    This is rare air we’re breathing people…enjoy every breath!

    • I had forgotten the who TWTW cliche… Need to incorporate that from here on

  • Jane Doe

    Tyler Johnson, meet Brent Seabrook.

  • SuperHawk27

    Bolts got rope-a-doped.

    • GoldenJet

      Just like the Ducks before them.

    • ZigZags82

      And it will only get worse for Tampa……….

  • Brandon Murray

    My takeaways from last night:
    1. Even the lightning quick Tampa players couldn’t keep Patrick Kane from dangling and on a couple of chances he almost cast a black magic spell. So close and I think Saturday he gets one.
    2. Lightning used their sticks very well to disrupt passes and some in close scoring passes (88 to 19 was going to be a yawning cage).
    3. Finnish Baby Jesus is kind of a big deal.
    4. Corey Crawford stops pucks for a living. He may not have been supremely tested, but he weathered the storm in the first 10 minutes of the game and had 4 absolutely brilliant saves (Callahan’s breakaway, Stamkos in tight, Stamkos from about 12 feet out, and the shot redirected by Toews stick from up near the point).
    This series is far from over, but I’d rather be up 1-0 having already secured the split than staring into the barrel of 0-1 and needing game 2. Tampa will bring it on Saturday, so lets just go ahead and go up 2-0 for shits and giggles.

    • ZigZags82

      Kane will pot a few and let’s hope the Hawks take a kill shot on Tampa Saturday night.

  • juniorgilb

    Regarding the NBC studio team: Notwithstanding the Blackhawks being up 1-0 in the SCF (which is nice), it still bothers me to hear Keith Jones (who I usually like) attribute the strong contributions of Tuevo and Vermette to being scratched in Game 3. What a load of bullshit. The only impact of Q scratching TT and AV was to lose Game 3, and to unnecessarily push the Ducks series to 7 games. Q is not unique. The privilege of coaching this roster would make a lot of coaches appear to be competent, Jon Cooper included.

    • cza

      I noticed that too, and was equally annoyed.

      • Matt

        I’m not saying it’s likely, but isn’t it possible? These guys are still human beings with human emotions and motivations, and likely super competitive ones to boot. I don’t know why everyone would seemingly be shocked if either TT or Vermette mentioned that the benching lit a little bit of extra fire under them.

        It seems in vogue to bash Q in the smart blogger parts (the mirror image of #TwoCups would be #WritesLotsOfBlogPosts), like the Hawks are winning in spite of him. No credit is being given to his system, the fact that the players stay motivated year over year, the fact that the second Cup was with at least a 50% different roster than the first Cup (and everyone says you win Cups with depth, so that matters), and oh, he completely outcoached his opponent in the last three playoff games.

        You know who hasn’t won as many playoff series as the Hawks since Q started coaching? Denis Savard. And the Kings, with their firepower. And the Penguins, with Crosby and Malkin. And Babcock and the Wings. And everyone else.

        Q is not a perfect coach, and Game 3 was dumb. But he’s a damn good coach, and oh look, it worked out just fine.

        • cza

          I like Q (though I want him to give more minutes to the prospects during the regular season) and can’t think of anyone I’d want coaching the Hawks over him, but Keith Jones’ narrative was moronic. We can say that without detracting from Q; we’re just refusing to buff his nuts when he hasn’t earned it. Hockey involves a lot of chance. TT’s seeing eye shot didn’t go in because he had “extra fire”; it went in because he is awesome, and skill + opportunities should yield points. And given the same opportunities, great skill should put up more points than average skill. Which is to say, you want to give TT as many opportunities as possible over Versteeg! because he is much, much better than Versteeg!*

          *Always the caveat that we may be missing key health-related information on the Game 3 lineup changes.

        • Black JEM

          Q’s strength is in getting guys to play for him, and his in-game management of the team as the game progresses. He sees the long term season management of his teams health and stamina pretty damn well – be the Bull’s wish they had that for the past 5 years.

          He is not strong on deciding who should be on the roster and playing at the back end of the roster. He did give away game 3, Kane almost bailing out his ass notwithstanding. Playing Bollig last year cost us against LA and a chance for the Cup. That was on Q. This year’s stupid roster guy was Nordstrom. He brings nothing to the game – his lines are where offense goes to die. I’m not sure how well Q will ever do with the mid skill prospect who just needs time and experience. He will always gravitate to the grit guy – who has zero upside potential. The deadline moves gave us 4th line. Without that, we would be gone by now.

          • HostileHawk

            Agreed. Absolutely, deadline moves gave the Hawks a dominant 4th line, which has been the difference. This was in response to bad roster choices from Q that ended up costing a couple of strong prospects.

          • Black JEM

            And don’t get me wrong – Pirri just doesn’t skate well enough, and neither did the older Hayes – you have to earn it. Morin is another matter. But Morin was better than Bollig and Nordstrom – and he sat.

            But for the other guys down on the farm – Danault and those types – Q will struggle to give them the time they need. I will be interested to see how he does with the D next year – because the cap probably takes Oduya away, and potentially Seabrook the following year. He is going to have to be playing young guys lots of minutes on the back end next year – and he isn’t going to want to do that instinctively.

        • HostileHawk

          Q has many issues which have been documented thoroughly over the past 7 years. This decision helped the Ducks win game 3 in a 7 game series. It should not be sugar coated.

    • HostileHawk

      Agreed! It annoyed the hell out of me too. What garbage praise.

  • Harry Longwood

    This graph pretty neatly summarizes why the Bolts lost.

    https://twitter.com/NatStatTrick/status/606444525729411072

  • blackhawkski

    did that game remind anybody of our series vs. the Wings in 09? if i remember correctly, the pattern of those games was that we would come out flying, take an early lead and start thinking “we got this!” – then by the middle of the 2nd period, it was clear to anybody with a brain that Detroit was in control and going to win.

    • jordyhawk

      I have been thinking this for a couple of weeks now (i.e. when it first became apparent that we might play them). We have the advantage that it is possible for us to be outplayed for long stretches and still win (far from guaranteed though). We did it to Wild last year as well. They can’t do that. That said, I really don’t want to let them back in it. They play some very good hockey.

      • ZigZags82

        Hawks won’t let them back in.

    • Jane Doe

      There was nothing worse than watching the Wings “flip the switch” (I’ve had enough of that term this year, too) in ’08&’09, hell, even ’10 a little, and know the Hawks could do absolutely nothing about it.

  • YouGaveUpOnThisTeamInMarch

    If you’re really going to pat yourselves on the back don’t forget giving up on this team in March…

    http://thecommittedindian.com/and-gettin-toasted-nicely-toasted-jackets-5-hawks-2/

    • SuperHawk27

      But read the last sentence:
      “I fully realize this could all come to bite me in the ass soon. If it
      does, I’ll happily accept it because that means things are going really
      well. But I don’t see it. Do you?”

      • ZigZags82

        We all see it now lol!

    • Sopel the catfish

      Troll harder

      • Dangles-a-Plenty

        He won’t get far. *sharpens stick*

    • Oldfarthawkfan

      Hey man he put it out there. Only was saying what most were thinking at the time.

      • Exactly. There were many of us wringing our hands
        (myself included) over the up and down nature of the team between the Classic and the end of the regular season. The
        prevailing thought was that the West was so damn tight that play-off positioning/home ice advantage would be crucial in determining who ultimately came out of the conference. I certainly hoped there was a ‘magic switch’ for this team, but I didn’t know if it was real or not…plus, there was a lot of uncertainty with Kane’s injury, the nutty dressing
        room rumors, etc.

        If the OP really had the utmost confidence in all of this happening, good for him/her. Personally, I was hoping for
        the best, but prepared for the worst. Luckily, we’ve gotten the former to this point.

    • GoldenJet

      Sam can be a bit like Glum from the old Gulliver’s Travels cartoon…”We’ll never make it…”

      I think he makes a good effort to be objective and sometimes goes a little more negative than he needs too.

    • Jim

      If Kane didn’t come back it was over. Kane helped get past a very tough Nashville team. Projections at the time of Sam’s article were for Kane to come back for the WCF.

      Not being an apologist, but your troll is taken out of context.

    • HossasPierogi

      Your point is?

  • William Retseck

    Could Teuvo or Vermette be this year’s John Druce?

    • ZigZags82

      Not sure how a future superstar Teuvo could be a John Druce but maybe Vermette even though he was a high profile acquisition.

  • Hags

    I didn’t get to watch much of the Bolts’ previous series, but on Twitter and other media outlets, it was kind of pointed out that 1-1-3 trap or whatever they were running in the 3rd was what allowed them to close out games (games 5 and 7 in MSG in particular). That stuff works against the Rangers, but your begging for the Hawks to beat you when you do that.

    The problem here is redlining it for 60 minutes with only 6 forwards that are a threat every night is awful tough to do over the course of a long series. Also, that puts Garrison, Sustr, Coburn, Carle, and Nesterov on an island against whatever 2 or 3 Blackhawk forwards come at them, and I’m pretty sure that’s an island that you don’t want to be on again and again and again.

  • Hags

    by the way, the picture adorning this wrap is so so perfect.

    • SuperHawk27

      It’s the Q ‘Nut Punch’ move.

  • DestinyandBalance

    Kind of repeating BigC’s point here, but no one in the league – save for maybe Tampa themselves – breaks out of their zone the way the Hawks do. No one has skaters who can consistently streak out past the blue line, receive a near-perfectly timed long pass from a d-man who just dug one out of the corner or corralled a rebound, and enter the offensive zone with a head of steam. I’ve watched probably half the playoff games available on TV this season and have yet to see another team that can come close to doing it the way the Hawks do. I am beginning to understand more clearly how exceptional this team really is.

    This doesn’t mean that Tampa can’t find a way or that the Hawks will roll this thing on autopilot. We’ve seen that a commitment to pressure or poor decision making in our own zone will lead to bad results. If I am Cooper I am going for a high scoring game each time – pressure the hell out of the Hawks in their own zone the way TB did in the 1st period with the understanding that their will be odd man’s going the other way as a result. Then over 7 games hope that the puck bounces your way more often than not.

    • ZigZags82

      Hawks won’t let them. Hawks have too much depth and can play and break down the controlled game or fast paced game.

  • Jim

    Did anyone notice Hedman going after Kane?
    Kane poked at Bishop’s glove a little, because it looked like a loose puck.

    What was Hedman going to do? He is 6’7″ while I think Kane is 5′ 8″.

    Then Shaw, a smaller player jumps in on Hedman to protect Kane. Supposedly
    Shaw bit Hedman, but it is not confirmed.

    Wonder what the repurcussions would be of a giant beating the shit out
    of Kane in the SCF?

    • Dangles-a-Plenty

      In this league? Probably nothing. But I noticed that as well. It between Boyle and Hedman for shitbag of the series. Just my predictions

      • Jim

        I guess their shitbags are pikers compared to the Ducks.

        • Dangles-a-Plenty

          Very rare a team could be as fuck offery as the Ducks. The Canucks were close in 09-10. But then a piece of shit from that shitberg landed in Anaheim

    • ZigZags82

      You mean Shaw beating the shit out of a giant.

      • Jim

        *biting* the shit out of a giant

        He may have just twisted his skin. A bite leaves clear teeth marks.

        • Brandon Murray

          When a 6’7″ guy has you in a headlock, anything goes……

          • ZigZags82

            When a 6’7 guy smashes the franchises head into the glass for a little tap on the goalie after the whistle, all bets are off.

        • WookRN

          I’m calling the “bite” shit talk until its confirmed. as you say, should ‘ve easy enough.

  • Ryan

    Great win.

    One observation- amusing to me that Cooper described TT’s goal as lucky but not theirs. Yes, a clean shot on goal is less deserved than a no-look, behind the back, swing-behind-you shot that bounces off the ice and goes in.

    If we win game two, I expect we’ll sweep.

    • To Saad be the glory

      Yeah,he said seeing eye single and i was thinking the same thing. Teuvo’s shot was planned and the deflection by Killorn was the lucky one.

  • GoldenJet

    Another observation:

    Kathryn Tappen

  • Bobby Carl

    Hey Sam, before you go on too much more about how great you’ve done predicting what would happen in game 1 of this series, let’s pause a moment and take you back 2 months.

    “The 2014-2015 Chicago Blackhawks are finished.” – Sam Fels

    • GoldenJet

      YouGaveUpOnThisTeamInMarch beat you to the punch…unless you’re the same troll.

    • cza

      But maybe that post lit a fire under this team?

  • meme gene okerlund

    There was a two or three shift stretch where Versteeg was flying around like an absolute maniac, but taking paint samples off the post with his teeth was the topper.

  • Sopel the catfish

    “Teravainen is the youngest player to have a multipoint game in the Stanley Cup Final since a 19-year-old Jaromir Jagr did it for Pittsburgh in 1991.”

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nhl/blackhawks-rally-to-stun-tampa-bay-2-1-in-final-opener/ar-BBkFcxG?ocid=ansspap11

    • Sopel the catfish

      Hossa also calls him a white walker in that article,

      “He’s growing more confident every game,” Marian Hossa said. “He doesn’t seem to have a heartbeat. He’s so calm. He’s Finnish cold.”

      • Brandon Murray

        Saw that in my phone this morning as a Scoremobile update. Apologies to Hoss, but I’m stealing it. Every time someone crushes it at work, I’m letting them know they are “Finnish Cold”.

    • CurvedBlade

      During the press conference I was dreaming that some reporter would ask Q if Vermette and TT would be scratched any time soon. No such luck.

  • B.I.G. Forever

    Back in Jan/Feb/March when the Hawks were losing one goal games LATE in games I questioned whether of not they had the mental toughness to win another CUP. The Hallmark of every great team is that mental strength and endurance + having role players produce. This team has both in spades.

    So the questions I’ve been pondering in me head all day: If the 2010 or 2013 Hawks played this most recent iteration over a 7 game series, which team would win?

    TERROR-Vainen is really, really good at hockey.

  • Hawkeygal

    Hey guys!! I’m a huge Hawks fan unfortunately living in Tampa!!! You Better believe I’ll be rocking my hawks jersey to the game Saturday!!! I was wondering if anyone knew where they’re hanging out in Tampa?? It’s a small city so just thought I would ask (:

    • The_Cheeb

      Wear a really short number 10 Hawks dress, you might even get a private hotel room tour…..

      • Hawkeytalk

        Really? Ugh.

  • HossasPierogi

    I thought both teams looked flat – yes, particularly the Hawks during the first period – but I didn’t feel Tampa’s first-period push was that great — if it was, they would have scored 3 goals. I think Cooper’s change was primarily due to the fact that his team was tiring and he knew the Hawks were coming. Remember, they only have two decent lines and two decent D pairings. I don’t think Tampa has the energy/conditioning to outskate and outscore the Hawks like they have other teams.

  • HossasPierogi

    A cautionary tale — Detroit, 2013. Remember when we won the first game, everyone thought the series was over, and then we lost 3 straight? This is a little different in that the first game we won this time was on the road.

    • SuperHawk27

      Hawks also completely dominated that game and won 4-1.

  • Lord Greypuck

    With depth that cannot be disputed,
    Hawk detractors are noticeably muted,
    Vermette’s found his stride,
    And Teuvo’s a find,
    So the bench,
    They should no longer ride!