I Just Checked In To See What Condition My Condition Was In: Michal Rozsival 1 – Hawks 3

Box Score

Event Summary

War On Ice

Natural Stat Trick

In the Hawks’ quest to make me look like a Grade-A moron (because that’s totally the only reason they’re doing it, duh), tonight wasn’t as authoritative as the win over the Kings or the measure of testicular fortitude that the comeback over Winnipeg was. It actually had the feel, if you’ll excuse the comparison, of how the Jordan Bulls went about wins in their heyday. An early thrust to see if they couldn’t end that one early, and when that didn’t work sort of biding their time until a short, unstoppable burst towards the end of the game that ends proceedings.

While the Hawks didn’t smother the Canucks in the 1st, they were certainly more in control and would have gotten out of it with a 1-0 lead or more if they hadn’t hit a post and THOU WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED didn’t serve up an equalizer like a virgin to a volcano. The Canucks were much improved in the 2nd without looking a constant menace, and because they didn’t take advantage it only took the Hawks two 3rd period minutes to cinch this one.

Anyway, let’s do it:

DarylZero

The Two Obs

-Clearly, the 4th line has to lead off any summation of this game. Not that I track this stuff that closely, but I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that two members of the 4th line were named stars of the game.

You know I want to get to Teuvo, but let’s pause on that for a second. On the front page of tonight’s Indian I remarked that two years ago we loved how Frolik and Kruger made the Hawks’ 4th line a real force. Last year, we watched as the 4th line didn’t miss too much of a beat when it was Smith and Kruger. Just a few weeks ago, it was Nordstrom and Kruger that we watched intently, or Shaw and Kruger. Now it’s Teuvo and Kruger. Anyone sense a theme?

It’s not that I haven’t always liked Kruger, but there have been times where I wonder if he can’t do more. Fuck that noise. The Wings always used to boast about how much Kris Draper meant to their Cup-winning teams, and we used to scoff because he was a whining diving dipshit. Or so we thought. Well, here is the Hawks’ Draper, and look at how valuable he is.

I also wondered if it made sense that the Hawks had told Phillip Danault to model his game after Kruger, as Chris Block wrote last year. I thought Danault had a higher ceiling. Yeah, no one’s going to complain if the Hawks get a second Kruger. He absolutely cannot be a part of the purge in the summer, and I think the Hawks know that.

-Now to Teuvo. His goal stemmed from a great cycle and most of all a pass to Kruger from the wall to the crease that I really don’t know how many other players would even conceive much less be able to put on tape. The angle on it couldn’t have been tighter and there were sticks to be evaded. Didn’t matter to him.

But what separates Teuvo, and the reason he’s entered the Q Circle of Trust that Pirri, Morin, and Hayes couldn’t crack, is the third goal. It was Teuvo’s back-pressure that forced Horvat into Kruger. Horvat had no other option because Teuvo closed off all passing lanes and Kruger just had to strip him, which he did.

If you’ll allow another Wings comparison, when Datsyuk first came up he was on the 4th line, as the Wings knew they had this weapon there that no other 4th line was going to be able to live with. And he was defensively aware enough to not get killed. Well, I’m not saying Teuvo is going to be Datsyuk, but…

-This was also Kimmo Timonen’s best game, and they have been ramping up of late. This was far more aggressive than we’ve seen him, happy to pinch to keep plays going and also tying off things in his own zone. It’s pretty clear he’s going to have to be the #5 d-man, because…

-Michal Rozsival… there’s just nothing else I can say at this moment. I will say Keith then played it kind of weird. He jumped at Dorsett’s shot-fake like he was guarding Nicola Mirotic’s ball fakes, which means he wasn’t particularly interested in blocking the shot. That second in the air left him open for Dorsett going around him to open up another lane, which I don’t think he would have had if Keith had just stayed planted. But of course, no one would be in that situation if his partner hadn’t barfed up most of his large intestine.

-I could nitpick about giving up another 36 shots, but it didn’t ever feel like Corey Crawford was under complete siege. And he probably needed a game like this after his past few starts.

-I got a kick out Mark Lazerus’s piece about Kris Versteeg, and how he can only play with Patrick Kane because “they both see the game the same way.” Yeah, I think lots of players can see the game the way Kane does, but they also know that they aren’t nearly skilled enough to pull it off and have to find another way. Versteeg is not this clued in. He needs to be on the bottom six, facing bottom pairing d-men, where his silly bullshit might actually come off. Because top-pairing d-men are laughing at him.

-The only time I noticed the Sedins tonight is when Rozsival got stuck out there against them. Hi Johnny Oduya!

-This Central race could be a real mess this time tomorrow. The Hawks have the biggest gimme putt you can get against the Sabres, and the Blues are in Dallas to face a Stars team that’s through as well. If those two games go as you’d figure, the Blues and Preds would be tied atop at 103 (Nashville has the tiebreaker) and the Hawks would be sitting on their shoulders with 102 with everyone having four games to play.

Shameless self-promotion department: I’ll be on The Score 670 AM tomorrow at 9:40am with Jason Goff and Laurence Holmes. This will be the first of weekly spots I’ll be doing on middays, so please tune in before I swear on air and ruin it all!

  • Guest

    Regarding your page 2. You weren’t the only one that was annoyed this team was up the season. I think we’re all happy to see what we’ve seen since. And if they have to play to their level of competition, they better forget that shit tonight, because they need the “easy two” vs the Sabres before moving on the the grind that will be the next three.

    The fourth line bringing the pressure is GREAT, but it’d be nice to see a reliable third line (despite Saad driving possession frequently alone), though we all know that starts with having a sound center. Similarly, I’m ecstatic Kimmo is doing what he needs to be a reliable 3rd pair, he just needs a damn partner (unfortunate that TVR seems to made of glass). Because Seabs is playing better than the start of the year, and Oduya is being exactly what he needs to to be Hjammers best friend.

    Not flawless (special teams are an issue, Rosie, 3C, etc) but a worlds better than we looked a week ago.

    Oh, and if anyone wondered about this division being a grinder, anyone notice in this TCI that every other division has 2 teams eliminated and even the lowly Av’s were TECHNICALLY not eliminated.

  • WookRN

    Regarding your page 2. You weren’t the only one that was annoyed this team was collapsing at the end of the season. I think we’re all happy to see what we’ve seen since. And if they have to play to their level of competition, they better forget that shit tonight, because they need the “easy two” vs the Sabres before moving on the the grind that will be the next three.

    The fourth line bringing the pressure is GREAT, but it’d be nice to see a reliable third line (despite Saad driving possession frequently alone), though we all know that starts with having a sound center. Similarly, I’m ecstatic Kimmo is doing what he needs to be a reliable 3rd pair, he just needs a damn partner (unfortunate that TVR seems to made of glass). Because Seabs is playing better than the start of the year, and Oduya is being exactly what he needs to to be Hjammers best friend.

    Not flawless (special teams are an issue, Rosie, 3C, etc) but a worlds better than we looked a week ago.

    Oh, and if anyone wondered about this division being a grinder, anyone notice in this TCI that every other division has 2 teams eliminated and even the lowly Av’s were TECHNICALLY not eliminated.

  • Aaeismacgychel

    I thought tonight was a fantastic game, especially coming off that dominant win against LA. They really came out with a lot of energy and effort tonight and controlled large swathes of the game. My comments:
    1. I’m going to start off talking about tomorrow’s game against Buffalo. I think that anyone who thinks it’ll be an easy two points might and probably will be in for a rude awakening. The Hawks play down to bad competition, this game is coming off of three straight really good performances, and considering the rest of the games down the stretch, if the Hawks are going to take a game off it’ll be this one. I know we all think the game is super important, but to the Hawks, it’s probably going to be a low energy game. And with no Kane who seems to love scoring in his hometown, this may be a very lackluster and ugly affair that’ll probably bring out a ton of frustration. I think we should agree ahead of time to just not take anything from tomorrow’s game.
    2. I think it’s time to give Q a little credit. True we all know about the decayed corpse known as Rozsival (more on that later), and how Shaw isn’t a center, and some of his more questionable lineups, but let’s forget that for just a moment. Brilliant move by him putting Vermette as a winger on Richards’ line. Yes, Vermette is a better center than Shaw will ever be, but he was severely underwater as the 2C. He was getting outplayed on a nightly basis and compounding it by making terrible decisions in his own end. He was having major issues controlling the action on his line. Enter Brad Richards. While he is bizarrely criticized by many on here as “underperforming”, despite all visual and statistical evidence otherwise that puts him as a clear top 6 player for the Hawks this year and the best player on his line most nights, he really has been a force out there for the Hawks. His activity and energy, and yes, even his backchecking, has allowed Vermette to simplify his game and stop forcing things that aren’t there. Richards is an incredibly smart player and with his area passing and vision, and Vermette’s willingness to do dirty work on the board, you basically have a possession monster especially given that they don’t have to face the opponent’s top line. Richards has improved every line he’s been on since his early season struggles and he has started looking like a holy possession terror out there recently. That might not be leading directly to a bunch of points right now, but it’s leading to a ton of dangerous chances and is completely wearing down whatever line he faces.
    3. Andrew Shaw. Don’t know what Q said or did to him either, but he’s finally remembered how to play his game. While he does get a good amount of hate on this site (and for the most part this season appropriately so), when he gets to the front of the net, screens the goalie, and gets himself facepunched, tripped, and slewfooted, he really helps this team out. If he keeps playing the way he’s been playing, the Hawks just got back one of their playoff X-factors.
    4. Michal Rozsival… Yeah… So… Ummmmm… All I’ll say is that I would not be surprised at all if a report came out in the next few weeks that he actually died while celebrating the 2013 Cup over that summer and that he’s been a reanimated corpse all this time. He needs to be benched.
    5. That 4th line. Kruger and Teravainen, man have those two looked great together. I’m still not sold on Desjardins at all and I think he’s just been along for the ride, but hey, if it works, it works.
    6. Playoffs, baby! Now let’s get some home ice (unless it means we have to face the Wild in the 1st round).

    • WookRN

      First. Sorry about the double post below. I dunno what I did there….

      1. You’re (sadly) probably right. “We” (the fans) know these two points are needed… we’ll see if the team thinks so.
      2. I think Richards is solid, and I’ve never disparaged him (I know what you are saying regarding his popularity here) but if we think Vermette is underwater on 2C, then let him go ahead and 3C and put Shaw back to where he excels, rather than being a defensive liability.
      3. I agree being down low, getting beat up is where Shaw excels, but that’s kinda hard for a center to be there tied up with a goalie and two other players if he has to make a quick change to defense. No one is asking him to be Toews on defense, but that’s not his bag of tricks, nor should we shoe horn it to be so. (Bring on the hate everyone, I have a Shaw sweater in my rotation).
      4. …
      5. Desjardins is… sufficient? I think he’ll be seeing press box with the return of Nordstrom, and both will be in street clothes once Kane is back.
      6. We took the Wild last year… and playoffs are a different sport. Q wants to prove he’s a genius, prove it against Yeo.

      I forgot to say (and shamefully so).
      Fels, congrats on the radio gig. Well done.

      • Jim

        You are saying Yeo is a genius?

        • WookRN

          Nope, but he sure plays against us well all year. He’s got a new goalie since we played last, but their massive possession is still down from when they out shot the hell out of us.

          My point was more that if Q wants to prove he’s great, drop this team, one of the fastest risers in the last 2 months.

  • TheRealBBOX

    Dunno if it’s an intentional reference or not but the title makes me smile since The Big Lebowski hit Netflix on Wednesday night and with no Hawks game available, I quickly reacquainted myself with one of my favorite movies that I had gone too long without seeing, kinda like my favorite team has reacquainted itself with playing good hockey in April . . . and hopefully May and June too.

    Looking forward to hearing you on WSCR Sam, just don’t talk about salsa and you’ll be just fine!

  • wardrums

    I”m glad you mentioned Teuvo’s back check that led to Freddy’s goal. Taylor, Zach and I had a night cap at Park Tavern. (Where jas the time gone, that little 14 year old who wantwd nothing more than to go to a hockey game witth her dad, is now 7 years later sitting in a bar with her Aussie beau discussing that backcheck with me. We both noted tje backcheck os what led to the goal)

    On the way home Taylor noted all the hilarious remarks Adam would put on her facebook posts.

    Warning-“Trap Game” tonight.

    Great wrap by the way – :”versteeg sees the game like Kane?” Its more like Kane sees the open man, (as does Teuvo!”), and Steeger would rather go one on three, sometines four, oblivious to open teamamtes. Screw that passing to the open man and then finding the open spot, steegs thinks he is the open spot!

    He does seem to be backchecking with more gusto lately.

  • Jim

    Rosival …. woof. I’m praying he’s not this year’s, last year’s Handzus in the playoffs. That Rosival play reminded me of Game 7 Campoli….barf

  • 334Rules

    Those of us who have been ’round these parts for some time recall “country stupid” Kris Versteeg. And yet, he’s still capable of taking you from “Fuck NO!” to “Fuck YES!” (or, not infrequently, vice versa) like very few other players. Enjoy the entertainment value is what I say.

  • Brandon Murray

    All I want for Easter is a Win against St. Louis. FTB Baby, FTB! (Fuck the Blues)

    • Brandon Murray

      Speaking of the douchebag team in blue and yellow. It was nice to see our old friend Brandon Bollig put a nice little hit on Jackman last night and then Bortuzzo immediately started punching Bollig, landing a few rights, only to see Bollig land a flurry of lefts as Bortuzzo held on like a little baby afraid of falling down. Sometimes……I said sometimes……I miss Brandon Bollig.

  • Glad you mentioned that pass from 86 to 16 that preceded Teuvo’s opening goal, Sam. I distinctly remember seeing Kruger set up near the net in advance of the play and thinking to myself, “Self, not even Teuvo can make THAT pass”…and damned if he didn’t do just that one second later.

    I LOVE watching this guy play.