NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators

Like F’n Clockwork Eh Bear?: Hawks 3 – Preds 0

God, there need to be more Get Shorty references on this blog. That’s my fault.

First off. A shutout!

Now that’s out of the way….

12 games isn’t a sample size, and it’s impossible to know how topsy-turvy things will get in this season-in-a-can. But it’s not the blowouts or OT wins or other things that make you believe the Hawks could go deep into the spring as much as the efficient, barely out of third gear, completely controlled strolls like tonight.

Even after a scoreless 1st period, it already felt like the Hawks were never going to be in danger in this one. All it took was barely a minute and a half of ruthlessness,  and the Hawks were way out of sight of what was admittedly a legless Predators side.

But we know how hard the Hawks made games against Nashville for years, so it was refreshing (to say the least) to see them take full advantage of Nashville’s even-strength putridness for once — combined with the fatigue. They got pucks deep when they needed to and won all the races. But more importantly, especially Leddy and Hjalmarsson, there was no puck catapulting to the nearest area of safety. The Preds still came at them, they still jammed up the boards, but the Men of Four Feathers were patient and brave enough to find teammates’ sticks instead of just open space beyond the blue line. Once you break down that initial wave of Preds, then the joy can begin.

Clean. It’s a word we haven’t gotten to utter much the past couple years. Not spectacular, just clean. Efficient. Steady. Assured. No fuss, no muss. Happiness.

Not many in such an efforts, but let’s get to what bullets there are.

Observations

-The only thing to jump out other than the shutout was the puked-up-slushy condition of the Bridgestone ice. But I guess now we know what opposing teams feel when they come into the UC.

-It’s only 11 games for the Preds, but remember when we used to reference the small sample sizes of what Weber looked like without Ryan Suter? It looks like that.

-Brandon Saad drew what seems like his 48th penalty against this road trip. In true fact though, he’s second on the team behind Sharp for drawing penalties, at a flat 2.0 per 60 minutes. In fact, his physicalness is something the Hawks haven’t had against Nashville before, because at times they’re always going to reduce games to board-battles.

-You’ve got that release, Dream Warrior? Could we see that more often?

-Thanks to Dirk Hoag’s incredible determination to be the best at this, we can look at actual CORSIs tonight. The only Hawks who came out significantly on the negative end were Bickell and Shaw, which seems weird. I’m going to chalk it up to the 3rd period I guess, because the eye test didn’t see that.

-Hawks seem desperate to get Sharp a goal, but his assuredly upcoming hot streak will be much more welcome when the Hawks are struggling for goals, instead of now.

-Seabrook and Keith once again had a couple yippy moments, but just a couple. It’s all right Ma, we’re already winning.

-The only Hawks to break 21 minutes of ice time was Oduya. Oduya had a couple egregious turnovers, which isn’t encouraging as we fear what he will do against furious and intelligent forechecks like Nashville’s. But it’s only one.

The road trip is over without a regulation loss. The Hawks won’t face a trip longer than four games for the rest of the season. They have seven straight at home and 10 of the next 12. Yes, it’s only a quarter of the season gone, but these next three weeks really should be run away and hide time.

  • JesusMarianHossa

    The rest of the NHL is Terry Benedict. We, are Danny Ocean.

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=pN23LIO0V2I&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DpN23LIO0V2I

  • Joe Banks

    I long to hear Chelsea’s Dagger echoing through the UC.
    Bring on the Ducks.

    • FakeASeizure

      I don’t know that I’ve ever so much as imagined someone saying “I long to hear Chelsea Dagger”. What may be even more odd is that I agree…

  • Joe Banks
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Faker/558555424 John Faker

    One thing gets me excited about this team more than any other. They really havent been outworked this year(Aside from Calgary, but if they didnt have 4 games in 5 days i think thats a different story)

    They are doing what Q always says and its turning defense into offense. I was talking to a casual fan the other day and he asked about board battles and why the announcers said they are so important. Its as simple as usually the team on O has 3 guys down low and if you win the battle they cannot set up their defense. tonight this happened a ton and it allowed for a lot of easy zone entries, usually a sore spot against Nashville.

    In years past, i would think this team would never grow up, but it seems to me(like Fels said, small sample size) they might be learning to make the smart play rather than the skill play. At times you see Kane or Sharp try and stick handle through 4 defenders but for the most part they are playing very hard working smart hockey.

    This excites me greatly.

    • 334Rules

      I don’t mind seeing 88 and/or 10 stickhandling thru 4 defenders SOMETIMES. Because, quite frankly, they both can and it is amazing to watch. It’s just that now they’re actually picking their spots and not doing it out of perceived necessity.

  • Chesterfield King

    I’ve noticed Shaw in a more positive light the last couple of games; he’s playing much smarter and more aggressive in this stretch. I’m no longer annoyed at his general presence, as I was closer to the start of the season.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Hack made a great analytical observation just prior to the game where he replaced 36 between Kane and Sharp; Hack stated that Shaw’s forechecking could be just what the line needed and it looks like it’s worked out just as he predicted.

      • mightymikeD

        Hack is always right.. he’s the “Actual Inelligence”, remember?

    • Flavius

      Just about word for word agree…he’s making some positive contributions

  • cliffkoroll

    12 games is one-fourth of a season this year. Run away and hide Hawks, and use April to rest up.

    Really happy for Crow- I remember his first shutout, five long years ago. Still think they should find a credible back-up though.

    Kaner is out of his fucking mind.

    • Accipiter

      I remember my first beer.
      And I agree on all counts, especially Kaner.

  • http://whatisthebestadverb.wordpress.com/ I am not Chico Maki

    Two things I’m isolating to praise:

    We found ways the last couple of years to be on the fucked end of lucky bounces; what a relief to be seeing them help–not last night or in Phoenix so much, obviously, but over the course of these first 12 games. Creating your own luck … there’s lots to be said about that.

    Second, a fat thumb up to the “gentlemen” for getting these game recaps up so quickly. That can’t always be fun, even with wins … thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

    Not sure how Dirk is calculating Corsi. I had Bickell as a -12 for that game:

    P – CF/CA
    1 – 0/6
    2 – 3/3
    3 – 3/9

    Hawks have been playing third line against third line to pretty much a Corsi Draw. Bickell’s corsi season numbers are lower due to double shifting on the fourth line.

  • Sparky_The_Barbarian

    Really thought last night would end the point streak. Glad I was wrong. The schedule doesn’t get any easier as the home stand is a revolving door of the top teams in the west. Let’s go Hawks.

    Great first quarter of the season. Our wish list coming in was better PP, better, PK, and better Goaltending, and while the PP has reverted to Clown Shoes (Except for 5 on 3 where the open ice allows the back door play to actually work), the PP and Goaltending have been solid.

    This team can still get better as Marlboro 72 continue to fix their +/- and Sharp is bound to start hitting the inside of the post eventually. When he does, he’ll go on a tear.

    Who had the over/under for the first regulation loss at after the quarter poll.

  • http://twitter.com/LBlissettUSA Luther Blissett

    Well lookie here, Hammer and Keith both turn up their play a bit, the Hawks mature into a solid 4th line for the first time in two years, and Kane* plays like how we all hoped he’d play the last two years… and we’ve got ourselves a really friggin’ good hockey team again.

    If the Hawks get a second line center… wow. Saad has played some combo of Bollig/Mayers/Carcillo to the press box for the rest of the year. Then drop Bolland to the third where he can be the Rat, then some combo of Shaw/Carcillo-Fro-Kruger on the 4th? Only piss poor goaltending could stop the Hawks then.

    *Only 12 games, yada, yada, but Kaner has taken the leap, as a Sports Guy would say. Love it.

  • Bwana

    Away Bolland: 4-0-1, Home Hjalmarsson: 0-0-1, WC Kane: 4-0-0, Socks: 1-0-0, Hat: 1-0-0

    • Accipiter

      No pants 10-0-2.