It’s difficult to not be supremely overconfident after watching the Blackhawks pick the wings off of the…ahem, Red Wings like a demented child would to a harmless fly but I will give it a go. It’s why they pay me the big bucks.
Other than a first period where both teams were mostly feeling each other out, the Hawks put together a final 40 minutes that can only be described as dominant. The Wings defense didn’t help matters by giving the Hawks multiple chances to not only keep the puck inside the offensive zone but direct high-quality shots towards Jimmy Howard. And if it weren’t for said goaltender, things could have gotten very out of hand. In the end, it was the Hawks coming out of Game 1 with the victory and maintaining home-ice advantage thus far. Follow me to the bullets.
- Oh right, Daniel Cleary is a giant penis. Glad it took all of five minutes to remember that.
- After the game, the NBC Sports crew was breaking down the Toews line dominance and were throwing around the usual jargon of “will” “determination” and “guts.” Of course, what they failed to realize, and something that has been mentioned around these parts quite a bit, is that Detroit’s defense is so atrocious that they make world-class players look like the sons of Hercules. So while no one is questioning the will or determination of any of the players on the ice tonight, the equation is much simpler than trying to quantify effort. It’s called talent evaluation. Of course, with Mike Milbury and Keith Jones manning the post-game show, I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised.
- By the way, is anyone really that surprised the Toews line was laying waste to the lands? If you were, did you watch more than five minutes of hockey this year?
- I suppose it’s my turn to weigh in on the Viktor Stalberg thing even though it’s past and no one will remember it two weeks from now. The only thing that makes me curious is what really happened. Did Stalberg have a shouting match with Q or his braintrust? Did he simply ask a pointed question that was taken the wrong way? Did he bitch them out? All these questions and I doubt we’ll ever get a real answer. Either way, Quenneville’s decision was definitely one made by a confident coach. I don’t think if he was concerned about support from the front office or players he would have had the gusto to make a decision like that. Even if it’s ‘just’ Viktor Stalberg, a situation like that has the potential to divide a locker room and blow things up quickly. Based strictly on what we’ve been told and what we see, it looks Stalberg may have acted poorly because the Hawks certainly didn’t look like a team divided tonight. And that is good.
- Marcus Kruger took 11 faceoffs and lost them all. How is that even possible? You would think at least one drop would have been favorable or he fell on it or something. On the other hand, Michael Handzus was remarkably better at the dot and that makes him 5% more useful than his usual relatively worthless self.
- One game, yes, but Dave Bolland had more pep in his step than at any point this entire regular season. He also won 7 of 11 faceoffs. Imagine how good the Hawks can be when he’s not a cardboard cutout.
- Patrick Sharp, meanwhile, is arguably playing the best hockey of his career. If not, I’d like to see that stretch where he was playing better.
- For a defenseman, Johnny Oduya can really snipe it. Must have learned all that from his hockey in Thailand this summer.
- Speaking of the one game mantra, I doubt the Wings defense will be as bad as they were tonight. Brendan Smith was abysmal; Kyle Quincey makes it seem like he just discovered this weird game called hockey and Carlo Colaiaocavo learned how to play defense from Barrett Jackman.
- I still expect this series to be slightly more difficult than the last. The Wings may even take a series lead at some point. However, the Hawks are going to wear them down, be it five or six games. They’re simply too good, too young, too fast. Now look who’s become the insufferable, arrogant asshole fan? All it takes a two good lottery picks, shrewd trades and some cap circumvention. Welcome to the party.