NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks

Chasing All the Ants and Worms: Blackhawks 4, Red Wings 1

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.

  • Waylon

    All excellent points – but if I may just be a teensy weensy fly in the ointment, that game was much too close, given the Hawk’s dominance. And as for Dan Cleary being a giant penis? OK, but he still has to stand behind Kronwall and Abdnerdoubleday. Wish Rozy had taken that douche’s head clean off with his stick.

    • Country_Bumpkin

      I thought Konroyd said Carbomb went out and fucked with Abdelkader after he was running around being a penis. Number 8 was toned down a bit after that. I think Carcillo does have a purpose and that is not to hurt the team and do something resembling hockey.

  • Accipiter

    Kruger, 0 for 11 at the dot, he must be due to progress to the mean.

    • Z-man19

      Well he can’t regress from there

    • mad-hatter

      Next game he’ll probably be 80%, because that’s how Frogger rolls.

      • Z-man19

        Hops?

  • justforkicks

    1) The Patricks were insane tonight as the Corsi bears out (higher then everybody on the Hawks +16 for Kane, +14 for Sharp (Toews, Hossa, and Saad were 9,8,7 respectively), though only one of them had a 3 point night but against primarily the datsyuk line. Happy to see more of that forever please.
    2) Bolly getting fired about after Abdwhatever reminded me of him against Hamhuis in the Canucks series. They’ve unleashed the beast and will pay.
    a) And really, Bolly back on the 3rd line, where he can have a single minded focus and the role where he’s always excelled and with wingers he can work with (though I’d still prefer Frolik) AND its the playoffs where he always goes nuts even after a mediocre season, and he’s back to form. I don’t know why anyone is surprised really, I really don’t – what’s happening isn’t actually that different then what’s happened in the past only his regular season looked even worse also due to oh yeah the patricks on a checking line and oh yeah trying to be offensively inclined as well.
    3) i love this team i love this team i love this team

    • mad-hatter

      Also, on the Patricks: they were at one point +17 and +19 in Corsi. It didn’t matter who the hell was their center, Zus, Toews, Bolland, or Shaw, or who they were up against, whether that be Z or Dats or both, those two pistol-whipped Detroit when they were on the ice, getting into board battles, forechecking, both had great passes. Best hockey for sure.

      • Chesterfield King

        Both of them were just flying around out there

      • Joe Banks

        “Pistol-Whipped”… yeah, that pretty much covers it.

  • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

    Here are the line matchups for this game:

    1 – 4
    Toews 55% 31% 8% 5%
    Handzus 36% 48% 10% 6%
    Bolland 10% 16% 59% 16%
    Kruger 21% 3% 23% 53%

    Opp 1st 50% 36% 6% 8%
    Opp 2nd 32% 54% 12% 1%
    Opp 3rd 12% 15% 61% 13%
    Opp 4th 12% 14% 26% 48%

    All I can say is that this was Q giving a big FU to Babcock. “I’ll let you out-coach me all you want, I have the better team.”

    Hawks split the top two lines in whatever fashion Babcock chose. Didn’t try to protect Handzus in the slightest.

    Bolland played third line against third line. Really no checking responsibility at all. If this was “the plan all along” to play Bolland against the bottom lines then the Stalberg benching wasn’t because of strategy.

    Fourth line played fourth line.

    • cliffkoroll

      interesting.

      • JesusMarianHossa

        It’s only been that way all season.

        • cliffkoroll

          Bolland has played with Bickell all season?

          • JesusMarianHossa

            Lines have been rolled and matchups have not been played. It’s why Stalberg would have been/will be useful.

          • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

            That is not really true. Rolling lines and matching up are NOT mutually exclusive. Q has switched the order of his lines to change matchups all season long. Not so much last game.

          • JesusMarianHossa

            I guess we disagree. Again.

          • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

            This is the second home game of the Wild series:

            Toews 48% 20% 21% 11%

            This is the third game (away) of the Wild series:

            Toews 32% 14% 36% 18%

            Notice how when the Wild are at home they got their third line against Toews?

            Here is the 5th game in that series when the Hawks are back home:

            Toews 48% 16% 30% 7%

            You can match up even when you roll lines. Especially at home.

          • JesusMarianHossa

            Yes, I notice how Mike Yeo matched up his 3rd line with the opponent’s top line. What exactly is the point of this exercise again? And why are you just using playoff data?

            Nevermind. Don’t answer those.

          • justforkicks

            Wouldn’t qual comp be closer together if lines were just rolling since I would think in that case each of our lines would see the other teams top lines at some point in the game, but that wasn’t the case. Real question btw, I’m still iffy on the statsy stuff

          • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

            If Q was strictly rolling lines then when it was “Toews’ turn” would be easily predictable. Then it wouldn’t matter who had last change. You could just offer your preferred matchup whenever it was “Toews’ turn.” So there wouldn’t be much of a difference between home and away matchups.

            And yes, JFK, over the course of a season, a coach that was simply rolling lines would have players with very similar qual comps. Not so much when only facing one team, though.

  • jackattack

    Despite winning 7 of 11 draws, Handzus was pretty abysmal tonight. He made a couple nice plays in the defensive zone, but he’s horrible at breaking out and supporting the Patrick’s as they cross the offensive blue line. He’s a liability offensively, and that’s not good for what is supposed to be our scoring line. Q needs to think long and hard about either moving Kruger up to the second line between Sharpie and Kaner, or axeing Handzus altogether and moving either Stalberg or Shaw up, with Sharp taking the draws. I’m eventually hoping he’ll go to…

    20-19-81
    65-10-88
    29-36-25
    13-16-67

    • mad-hatter

      With the way Kane and Sharp are playing right now, that’s all Handzus needs to do though. Win the faceoff, and then let them wipe the ice with the opposing teams. Granted, you could get the same effect if you just made Sharp take the draws and let either Shaw or Kruger take Zus’ spot, but Q likes him because veteran presence, or something.

  • Preacher

    Was at the game tonight (It’s been over 10 years since I could say that!) in the 6th row, in the corner off the Hawks’ net (in periods 1 & 3). A few observations:

    While I was marveling at the speed of these players, I couldn’t believe how slow Handzus looked. Rozy plays with the puck too much. Crow should stay in his net at all times. I was surprised at how much space Scum gave Kane. Bickell had a solid and smart game. Tazer’s line went off exhausted several times from having spent so much time in the offensive zone. Hammer got a little yippy at times, simply launching the puck out of the zone. The lone Scum goal was a bit fluky, with Seabs blocking the shot right back to the shooter, who then sort of lifted it toward the net, where the puck seemed to go up Crow’s arm, over his shoulder and into the net. Scum’s Nyquist seemed really fast. Meeting Sam in person was pretty cool. I wish I could go to more Hawks’ games.

    • jackattack

      Is it safe to say that Bryan Bickell has been the Hawks best player in the playoffs so far? Dude hasn’t had a single poor game. In fact, he’s been above average in every one.

      • cliffkoroll

        I’m all for Bickell Bickell Bickell, but no, that is an unsafe thing to say.

      • Country_Bumpkin

        The Handsome would beg to differ I think. Playing physical and sniping like a motherfucker. Glad he’s back.

  • Preacher

    And if you were at the game, who was out there in warmups for the Hawks without his helmet on? I thought it was Jamal Mayers at first.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Lanz/1096106155 Bob Lanz

    We won! 11 more. Why do I still feel… Nervous. Cause IMHO I believe Zeus needs to be benched not stalberg. That bollig and carcillo should not dress again as a hawk in 2013 and there are at least three rockhawks that are available and ready to contribute now! Ben smith being an already proven nhl playoff asset. Q- stache wtf? I know ur a future hall of famer and I but a meatball fan, but this shit is so obvious it’s a freakin joke

  • ballyb11

    I don’t like your overconfident tone.

  • Villainy

    My girl’s name for Abdelkader is Tampon Applicator.

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      Is she some kind of misogynist?

      • cliffkoroll

        heh

  • Spottie

    Long time reader, first time poster here :-)

    I feel the Stalberg Comments are spot on, not a move because of strategy and certainly a move of a confident coach. My guess is that it’s not something major, just unhappiness with Stalbergs effort, maybe in games, maybe in practice. (Such a benching worked wonders fur Lucic – or was it Horton? – in Boston a couple of weeks ago). A wakeup-call of sorts. I’d guess that he’s back in the lineup the next game.

    Some other points: I don’t get why everybody tends to complain about Handzus. I think he blends in nicely with the Patricks because he balances the line. Sure, he’s the slowest skater on the team but he is responsible in his positioning, has good numbers at the dot (save for the Minny series, for whatever reason…) and is not shy about getting his handy dirty along the boards. I like this pickup AND slot on the team a lot. He certainly improved the line in comparison to regular-season Bolland. Zeus had a sub-par first period, but did everything asked of him afterwards. Your linemates don’t get Corsi-numbers like that if the center can’t play, that’s for sure.

    Overall, I felt that nobody had a sub-par game tonight, everybody did as expected or exceeded expectations. Even Carcillo made his dressing worthwhile as he directly contributed to the Kruger goal and did not produce major brainfarts otherwise.

    Standouts for me: Sharp, Saad, Hossa.

    The overall play on the backend was great as far as I’m concerned. One really bad turnover all game (Oduya, very late) and solid positioning and breakouts all night long. Add a goal for good measure and that’s about as perfect as you can play in a Conference Semi-Final.

    My only concern is that players and fans get complacent now…

    Oh and one more thing: The UC is currently occupied by silver-spooned brats. It’ almost becomming a “see and be seen” event. The building was next to dead tonight until the decisive 3rd goal. After that, the party people felt inclined to cheer a little. It was the same for most of the Minnesota Series as well. I hate to say it, but it’s the worst playoff crowd in the league this year. By far. Now enthusiasm. It’s just like everybody is expecting the inevitable Cup and acts like a spoiled child if the game has not been decided after 10 minutes of play. God forbid we go two goals down at some point, they very well might be throwing things…

    Well… other than that: No complaints!

    Greetings from Germany :-)

    • CozBullsFan

      Welcome!

    • cliffkoroll

      Sláinte

    • chichicagochi

      Totally agree a/b the crowd it’s like a library in there.

    • cliffkoroll

      Going 0-3 at home in the playoffs last year may have left the crowd a bit chary this year. At least I haven’t heard any booing.

      The dickwads in Boston were booing during the third period the other night- with 10 minutes left, then again with 2 minutes left. Then Something Happened. Now that’s an asshole crowd.

  • Skags

    Oh Babcock, you think you can dissect me with this blunt little tool?

    • mightymikeD

      I thought Andrew Shaw was the blunt, little tool?

      • Nineteen88

        Upboat!

        • Accipiter

          Where ?

  • mightymikeD

    however much faith you do or don’t place in Fancystats, the Fenwick/Corsi numbers here are.. well.. they’re quite something

    http://timeonice.com/shots1213.php?gamenumber=30231

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      Someone’s cutting onions over here.

      • mightymikeD

        I think, if you’re a Red Wings Fan, you’ve just been cutting chilis and then rubbed your eyes without thinking

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          Probably feels better than thinking about Ian White against the Hawks’ offense.

          • mightymikeD

            that’s “Chopping chilis, then going for a piss without washing your hands first” tears (you can hear the voice of experience here, right?)

          • Bullitt315

            Never done it with chilis but I have done it with bengay. Not pleasant

          • Accipiter

            Touching your nostrils is also unpleasant when in the midst of chopping chilis.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            …pretty much any orifice will suffice. I lived in NM for many years so chilis got everywhere. And when you ate too much of them, which was always because they’re served with every meal, you’re like a Bertuzzi Dragon.

    • Nineteen88

      That second line was B-A-N-A-N-A-S last night. Just all over the place playing stunning, amazing hockey, aided by Zus…well, he won some faceoffs. Sharp and Kane looked supernatural.

      • mightymikeD

        Aye. Went over to WIIM to have a gander this morning.. they’re just kind of shaking their heads in disbelief.

        • Nineteen88

          I can’t even get to SCH or the main SBN page, because Vox Media is shitting the bed so hard this morning. Nice work on the upgrade, guys! keep up the excellent work! And way to schedule it in the middle of the NHL and NBA playoffs!

          • mightymikeD

            it was the same yesterday.. I could get on the SBN sites before “America woke up” but as soon as it hit 8 am ET.. down it goes

          • justforkicks

            I saw a lot of ire last night on hossa’s “dive” – didn’t see it so can’t speak to how legit it was. And some comments on reffing.

          • mightymikeD

            oh, yeah, the comments… I skip those.

          • Accipiter

            I think Hossa did dive, for the puck, but I can’t say for sure if his intent was to draw a penalty. It was a soft call.

          • mightymikeD

            the first angle (which is the one that Babcock saw, I’m sure) made it look like a dive.. the other angle showed enough for a penalty.. but pretty soft, yes

          • justforkicks

            Ugh sbn being down pisses me off so much!

          • Nineteen88

            I know. All I want to do is taste the sweet sweet tears of the Detroit fans, and SBN is thwarting me at every turn.

          • mightymikeD

            well, Graham’s recap for WIIM is essentially “We got the shit kicked out of us everywhere, thank god for Jimmy Howard”

          • Nineteen88

            Seems accurate.

      • nextgame

        Maybe Zus knows how to stay out of the Patrick’s way better than Bolly?

        • Joe Banks

          Zus is kinda like a marker buoy, a point of reference, to help the Pats gauge the speed of Detroit’s defense.

    • http://twitter.com/Bobby_Otter Bobby Otter

      Not nearly as bad for the Wings as I thought they’d be.

  • MattC86

    WIIM is calling for Ian White. I’m excited.

    • mightymikeD

      saw that. Hilarious!

    • Nineteen88

      I finally got in over at WIIM…my favorite comment so far is “I want to murder that song.” I take an unholy level of glee at how viciously other fans hate Chelsea Dagger.

      • bizarrohairhelmet

        I am not that much of a fan of that song anymore and have been hoping we get something fresher, but then we won a cup with it so I suppose it stays. I guess other teams hate it and then there’s the whole “dagger” triple-entendre…MOAR DAGGERZ!

        • justforkicks

          As long as other teams and fans hate it, I want it

          • Accipiter

            Is that how we got Carello ?

          • justforkicks

            Dagger brings joy to most hawks and fans, Carbomb does not so faulty comparison!

          • Accipiter

            Other teams and fans hated Carello and then the Hawks got him.
            Please don’t yell at me.

          • justforkicks

            yeah but i doubt our team and fans ever loved him

          • Paul the Fossil

            This.

    • Joe Banks

      Another pylon to skate around…

  • HawkIPA

    Jimmy Howard was the only the thing that kept DLR at bay. Great play all around last night. Lines 1 and 2 were relentless, Bolland turned on his playoff switch, the D was smothering, the PK dominant, and even Carillo had a decent game.

    • cliffkoroll

      Yes. Great effort from Howard- wasted.

  • cliffkoroll

    As usual, you have all the acumen. Great write-up.

    Is it me, or does Kruger regularly get horsed at the dot on the PK (against decent faceoff men) and make it up in 4th line duty?

    Cuz the Hawks PK has been >100%, but damned if Kruger, Fro, and the d-men don’t spend the first 20 seconds of EVERY PK running around in their own zone. Weird.

    • Paul the Fossil

      It remains true that success at the dot has very little actual correlation with winning in the NHL. On the other hand puck possession has a strong correlation with winning, and logically faceoff success rate would correlate well with possession time, so…?? Really not sure how that chain of facts links up. But it is the facts.

      • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

        Just because you win a faceoff, doesn’t mean you KEEP it long enough to get a shot off. Or even get much possession time.

        • cliffkoroll

          C’mon Neo, it’s a numbers game. And I’m not talking about any ole face-off. On the PK, the face-off is a big deal. Fro and Kru have been great, but it really feels like they’re doing it the hard way.

          • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

            It is a numbers game. Winning a faceoff on the PP is twice as important as winning one 5o5. The starting number is just so small that “twice as important” is still not THAT important.

          • cliffkoroll

            Maybe poor word choice. Low probability event over many repeated trials amounts to something.

            Assume a 20% success rate on a PP. These goals almost always come after the attacking team controls the puck in the offensive zone. That happens what, maybe 3-4 times per PP tops. So, controlling the puck in the zone on a PP translates to something like a 5%-10% scoring chance.

            Seems like a lot to overcome to maintain a perfect PK, but they’re doing it.

          • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

            It takes 40 more PP wins to on average equal one more goal. So for a 42% faceoff guy that is one extra goal given up every 250 defensive zone draws (105w, 145l). Kruger had 136 total defensive zone PK draws this season.

            Interesting observation on your part, though. Kruger has a 42% PK to a 52% 5o5 faceoff winning differential.

  • cliffkoroll

    Note to self- dept. of flawed analogies. 2013 Red Wings =/= 1988 49ers.

    • mightymikeD

      That was the Bengals/49ers Super Bowl, right?

      • cliffkoroll

        Misspent youth. I won $65 on a $25 parley on the coin toss: Bengals and tails baby!

        • mightymikeD

          heh. We got to miss Jennings’ Kickoff return, because the RTE talking heads were still yapping. My brother was a Bengals fan.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            wee Devine picks the wrong teams…a lot.

          • mightymikeD

            different wee Devine.. Geraldine wasn’t even a glimmer in Devine Sr’s eye in 88/89

          • mightymikeD

            although Ger is a Ravens fan, so your point is still valid

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Prodigious in the progeny that Sr.

    • Accipiter

      cliffnotes

  • cliffkoroll

    Wasn’t Sharp taking Zus’s draws (with some success) in the third period? I thought that was Zus’s thing, cuz it’s hard to see what else he brings. I dunno. Maybe the lines were jumbled.

    • RLWiener

      I would like them to jumble and see Zus and Carcillo in the press box with Stalberg and Ben Smith or whomever else is infinitely more useful.

      • RLWiener

        Now I’ve read through some of the other comments, I’m so unoriginal. *sigh*

        • Accipiter

          The banality of it all.

    • mad-hatter

      Sharp took all of the draws in the third for the second line and Zus was out there as well.

  • Country_Bumpkin

    Small sample size, but Oduya has greatly improved from last year to this year. Last year he got killed in the corners but seems to have more poise and more awareness when getting out of trouble. Him paired with Rozy, who is slow but skilled has helped.

    • Accipiter

      I would wait and see what he looks like if we play a bigger team, LA perhaps.

      • Country_Bumpkin

        100% correct. I meant to add that, but my brain was full. Penis McGuire was right in saying Winnipeg got fleeced.

        • Paul the Fossil

          Yea that’s the thing to remember: Bowman got Oduya and Roszival both for very little (trade wise and cap-space wise). That’s some real good GMing.

        • nextgame

          Ultimately I think it depends on what those two draft picks turn out to be. Won’t know that for quite some time.
          But yeah, as of now, that trade definitely favors the Hawks.

  • Country_Bumpkin

    BTW, still annoyed by the meatballs chanting, “Howwwwwward, Howwwwward”. So lame.

    • Bullitt315

      Chants are supposed to be meatball.

      • Marvin Lee Aday

        Would be better if they just chanted “Meatball”

    • Joe Banks

      Agreed. it’s so LA

    • cliffkoroll

      Amen.

    • The Doctor

      I was after he let in the second goal but letting in the 3rd so quick after I was ok with it. He was great all game but it’s supposed to throw him off and even it does that to a small extent than I’m alright with it.

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Absolutely. Don’t pick on Howard. He’s the only reason it wasn’t another 7-1 game or worse.

  • http://twitter.com/Bobby_Otter Bobby Otter

    BUT DIDN’T THE HAWKS GET OUT HIT?

  • Accipiter

    Patrick Kane Blackhawks, Matt Moulson Islanders and Martin St. Louis Lightning are the finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

  • http://www.facebook.com/bpeacy Brandon Peacy

    Very clear these days that there’s Regular Season Bolland and Playoff Bolland. Gotta think RS Bolland was saving himself so the metamorphisis into Playoff Bolland could take place. All I can say is GO HAWKS and welcome back to the playoffs, Rat!

    • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

      You can get away with certain things in the playoffs that you usually can’t get away with during the year. Bolland is good at those things. So I don’t think Bolland “saves himself” as much as the game opens up into his wheelhouse more during the playoffs.

      • Joe Banks

        Excellent point!

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Could it also be the difference between 2nd line rat (I have to create create create) and 3rd line rat back in his comfort zone?

  • Sparky_The_Barbarian

    Watching live, I thougt Oduya was taking way too long to line up that shot. Didn’t realize he was aiming for an aspirin tablet in the upper right corner. By the gods of hockey, did he ever hit it.