USATSI_7925943_160885884_lowres

Now I Get Up Around Whenever, I Used To Get Up On Time: Hawks 3 – Kings 4 (Kings lead 2-1)

Box Score

Event Summary

Extra Skater

You know what’s weird? This is the first game this series where the Hawks have had the upper hand in possession, in terms of Corsi. You could make an argument that for most of this, they were pretty much where they needed to be. But that was the story when the PK was a sure thing. It most certainly isn’t now. That was the story when the Hawks didn’t make boneheaded mistakes or get bad bounces. They did tonight for sure. It’s why they find themselves trailing this series. It’s also probably why they don’t have any reason to panic. Hockey can be weird. It get weirder when you can’t kill the penalties you take, for whatever reason.

Let’s do it:

DarylZero

The Two Obs

-I guess it’s easy to decide where to start. And that’s not totally fair. I’ve been accused of harping on the same points here, and that’s true. I’ve done it because they were my biggest fear about this team and what I thought might hold them back from a second consecutive parade. But as desperate as I am to not sound like a one-note band (and honestly, I don’t), the numbers can’t be ignored. 30.8%. 30.4%. 29.4%. These are the Corsi percentages for Kane, Sharp and Handzus. Hey, a lot of lines will probably get dusted by That 70′s Line on the Kings. But the Hawks aren’t supposed to be “a lot of lines.” I long ago accepted the Hawks couldn’t have a four line attack. You probably did too. But the least I expected was that the top six would consistently make noise. Half of this top six is getting absolutely crushed.

Is it all on Handzus? No. Sharp hasn’t been very good since getting accidentally clocked by Shaw. But it’s mostly him For the record, tonight saw Handzus unable to beat Matt Fucking Greene to the outside which then resulted in a delay of game penalty. While Oduya should have gotten back to the front of the net for the Kings’ second that flipped the whole game, there’s no question that Zus fell asleep on Carter in front. He then forced Leddy into a 3rd period penalty with a neutral zone turnover. But hey, he won most of his draws?

I feel like this is a bit like World Cup 2010, if you’ll allow me the soccer analogy. Every game Q has to switch Smith to Kane’s center. It’s like Bob Bradley getting credit for his game-changing subs, with everyone ignoring why he has to make them in the first place by getting everything from the start wrong. Hey, you put out that fire really well, but why did you start it?

-Obviously not a night Johnny Oduya will put in the portfolio, as he got caught behind the net for Carter’s goal and then split for Toffoli’s. Though Carter’s was a result of a puck bouncing off the ref, which can be attributed to luck.

-That said, the past two games have seen the Hawks with a chance to really separate themselves from the Kings and they haven’t done it. You can credit Quick, or you can credit it to poor marksmanship, or it could be both. Game 2 saw Seabrook have the 2-on-1 (really just a great save). Tonight both Hossa and Kane had prime chances. You can’t miss these against this Kings team. That may seem harsh, but here we are.

-I guess I make too big of a deal about faceoffs. I tweeted asking if Shaw had won a draw tonight. Turns out he didn’t. He still ended up a plus in possession. But maybe he shouldn’t be playing center then?

-Obviously, it’s the Kings’ second line that the Hawks can’t handle right now. And they’re getting Keith and Seabrook tossed at them mostly, though both their goals came with Hammer and Oduya out against them. I don’t know what to do about this. It’s going to be hard on the road in Game 4. It probably involves constructing an actual checking line with Kruger in the middle. Shaw and Saad? You tell me.

-A lot of anger against Crow tonight. We didn’t get the bounce-back game we were expecting. You’d like him to get Toffoli’s goal, but that still was a breakaway that should have never happened. They let Voynov fire from the Ladies’ tees, Carter was three feet in front, and Oduya blocked out Doughty’s blast. Still, Quick made the saves that have turned these last two games. Crow hasn’t. Pretty simple.

-Pivoting for Game 4, the adjustments that can be made aren’t all that complicated, it’s just up in the air if they’re enough. The Hawks need a second line, which means installing Ben Smith there, or Andrew Shaw. I’d prefer the former. Ok, so what do you do about a 3rd and 4th line? Trickier. Kane needs to play with Toews. If Sharp has as much jump as he did tonight, Hossa-Smith-Sharp shouldn’t get you killed. Shaw-Kruger-Saad sounds pretty good to me. Which leaves putting together a 4th line, which could easily be Morin-Regin-Versteeg/Nordstrom. I don’t know if that’s enough, but I know it’s better than the one line plus one or two players attack you’ve got now. Because what you’re getting out of five minutes of Bollig couldn’t really be more obvious.

Willie Mitchell was the second leading possession player for the Kings tonight, behind Kyle Clifford. Once again, the Hawks are simply not getting at bottom pairs. I don’t know if the layout I just put forth would do so, but I think it might. It’s got enough speed to make Greene and Mitchell and Martinez blink.

Unless Toews is just going to this himself. Which he might.

We’ve been here before. The Hawks looked just about as toast after Game 3 against Boston. They only need one in L.A., and if they get Game 4 they’re in that 2-2 going home spot we know they excel in. They get better as the series goes on. They are the Borg, they adapt. You’re just going to have to tell yourself this a lot on Sunday and Monday afternoon.

  • PE-TER RE-GIN

    The moving of Smith up to 2C mid-game has happened more than once now, so why does Q act like he’s surprised that Zus isn’t up to the task and continually trot him out there? Frustrating. Zus seems like a nice guy, and I’m sure he’s a good locker room presence. As some were suggesting in the third period thread, let him pull a Mayers.

    I’m not worried because I think some lineup adjustments can put us at 2-2 after Monday. Certainly some things to improve though. Team defense was suspect, shot selection took a nosedive as the game went on, the powerplay was hot garbage most of the way.

    But hey, it’s 2-1, and they’re not so far off or horribly outgunned. Looking forward to seeing some adjustments made for game four.

  • DJ

    Your 2010 World Cup analogy was spot on. Just about everyone not named “Bob Bradley” knew Robbie Findlay and Ricardo Clark should never have been on the field, and there they were anyway.

    Five minutes of Bollig, none of which was in the third period. They couldn’t even trust him when it was a one-goal deficit.

    • SamFels

      Good to know. Sometimes my footy analogies miss.

      • TheFullAmonte

        I enjoy them but that could be because as a fellow Liverpool fan I understand more than most

        • SamFels

          Our pain is real.

  • amontesawesome

    Everyone knows the hawks can’t win without a second line center. Unless they do win, in which case they can win without a second line center, unless they don’t which means they can’t.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      Makes sense to me.
      But then again I’ve also been drinking heavily since Kings went up 4-2.

    • YoAdrienne

      Yep. Don’t know how they even made it this far without a second line center.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      It’s worth keeping in mind that we’re playing a team with arguably the deepest group of centres in the league, and each of them stellar two-way players. So our lack of depth in that area becomes a bit more glaring.

      It’s not so much the lack of a 2C that’s killing us imo, it’s Handzus’s lack of speed (combined with a weirdly dull Sharp). My problem with that line is that Kane’s at his best when he’s allowed to be opportunistic. He can’t do that with Zus.

      How often has he carried up the puck only to be forced to dump it in or ring it around to Sharp at the opposite boards (an easy play to defend and cover). Part of it is the Kings’ d gap, which has been great against Kane, but part of it is that he’s always skating 2-on-3 and doesn’t have the chance to carry it in under possession. Kane has no one there to pass to, not with regularity. Someone who can skate up in stride with Sharp and Kane would keep the LA d honest, and open up the chance for Kane to keep the puck instead of dump it.

      [Still, it's basically the PK that's kept us from being up 3-0! (Well, that might be generous ... but with a better PK and our normal number of penalties we'd have had a legitimate chance to be up 3-0.) And as Sam mentions, Hossa buries his chance, or Kane his? ... well, we have it in us to play a better game yet.]

      • Yachtsman

        Kane is amazing entering the o zone. Sometimes he has to resort to chipping/dumping into the corner to avoid the big hit. That’s when he needs a guy with speed to chase and grit to grind in the corners to develop the play. Not getting that from Handzus (great guy, agreed) and Sharp (obviously not himself). This is sabotaging a great scorer’s playoff run.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      Everyone knows the Hawks can’t win AGAIN without a real honest to goodness 2C…. Unless….

  • PE-TER RE-GIN

    Oh, and Shaw shouldn’t be centering, Sam? It’s not like there’s some center sitting in the press box or anyth…

  • eyemon

    Excellent write-up. Couldn’t agree more with the breakdown of the reasons for the loss. However, the trend of the Hawks getting better as the series goes on has been true since 2009 but may be reversing. The last two games have shown them giving up a lead, falling behind, AND losing possession stats and shot totals in the third period.
    Even in the King’s Cup season, if you went up on them, you beat them. The scary thing about this series is that they cannot hold the Kings down and then cannot generate chances from behind. The Kings outshot the Hawks 18-7 in the third this game and 12-6 in game two when you would expect the trailing team to drive possession and shots in order to catch up.
    Undoubtedly the Kings have improved while the Hawks are not as strong top to bottom from last season. Can the Hawks win the series? Absolutely. But Q really has some work to do. Will he sit Zus or Rosival or Bollig? I doubt it but I hope so. It will be a stressful watch on Monday but all is right with the world with a 2-2 series.

    Let’s go Hawks!

    • DJ

      . The Kings outshot the Hawks 18-7 in the third this game and 12-6 in game two when you would expect the trailing team to drive possession and shots in order to catch up.

      Taking bad penalties blows up that otherwise reasonable assumption. It’s a one-goal deficit, and you waste four minutes on the kill (and give up the game-icing goal at the end of one of them). Not good for shot margin.

      • eyemon

        Agreed. However, there were 14 minutes of 5 on 5 AND roughly 2 minutes of 6 on 5. The Kings kept things to the outside and the Hawks didn’t have shooting lanes (or passed up shots). At about 5 minutes left, scoring chances that period were 11 to 1 LAK.

      • 60MinutesBaby60

        Yeah the duece game goal came off that FO w/ like 4 secs left
        on the PK. I was sweating out the kill and they didn’t make it.
        #FUCK

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      Agreed. The not holding leads is driving me nucking futs.

    • eyemon

      Other observations troubling me before I attempt sleep:
      Patrick Sharp this playoffs is Sammy Sosa- king of the meaningless home run. It seemed to me that Sosa hit most of his homers when the Cubs were up or down 5 runs…
      LAK seem to be shooting high blocker this series with great success.
      Very concerning the Lu pose and minor tantrums Crow is showing after goals the last two games. Typically he seems to shake things off quickly.
      Oduya playing his way to the trading block (cap reasons too)?

      • thepuckstopshere

        Best to just go to sleep!

      • PE-TER RE-GIN

        The general consensus around here is that Sharp is injured. I’m just hopeful he can push through it a bit for some goals/assists.

  • http://eggmanwalrus.com evan

    If stubborn Q doesnt get Hamstrung and Bollig out of there and Kane and Shaep and even Hossa don’t start burying chances and creating more we will continue to suck, and it is wait ti next year i am afraid. I can’t watch Hanzus anymore, it seekslike he is out of it, like on the feed in front of net he doesnt defend, just stands still, although that is what he looks like when he is “skating” also.

    • Jim

      Not to be negative, but that’s how I feel.
      If we continue to negate our best offensive threat (Kane) with Handzus and Sharp (who is likely hurt) we will probably lose this. Because they are going up against a fast and skillful 2nd line.

      I’m OK with losing if we at least lose while making adjustments. If we make all the adjustments we can, and the Kings win, well, the Kings are then a better constructed team, and they deserve to win.

      But continuing to throw out the same faulty combination out there does not compute. The only thing I can come up with is office politics.

      • http://eggmanwalrus.com evan

        Well put Jim, thats it in a nutshell.
        Complete frustration, it will be hard to watch Tues. night’s game if Q trots Hamstrung and Bollig out there again.

  • birdhead

    Watching Carter skate around out there with Pearson and Toffoli makes me glum.

    • eyemon

      How do you think Flyers fans feel watching Carter? That should make you happier.
      He is a terrific player and unbelievably dangerous with those line mates.

      • birdhead

        He is fantastic. But what really gets me is the Kings’ willingness to skate him with a couple of really young guys while Kane’s out there dragging around Handzus.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      Hang in there bud. I dunno how but someway at final buzzer sound Monday, up on the scoreboard, Visitors will have >=1 more golas than Home.
      #Golas

      • birdhead

        You’re very encouraging. Sometimes confusing but very encouraging.

  • Dan D

    Great summary, love the line combinations, not a chance in hell Q ices those lines. As I said in third period post, if they don’t repeat, why were you wasting time on Zus and Bollig all year and pissing away minutes for Pirri and Morin?

  • Stockroom Snail

    Down against the Wings, Bruins, and Blues rather recently….those stories ended happily. No panic here.

  • CozBullsFan

    My thoughts on the game…

    -Shaw being back in the lineup provided exactly what the bottom six was missing. Except Regin sat, which negated any positives Shaw brought to the line up. Not exactly sure why Regin was sent to the press box. He did everything that was asked of him. On top of that, he made Steeger look half way decent. Versteeg needed someone like Regin on his line. The Kings know that he will always make mistakes when he is pressured.

    -At this point, Zeus provides no benefit to any line he is on. Q keeps him solely for his PK play. With Shaw back, I think it’s time for Zeus to take a seat. Regin is the obvious choice to replace him. The obvious advantage of the switch is Regin’s speed. I like Zeus. He is this year’s Jammer for the Hawks. Except Q continues to ice him.

    -Quick played well enough to get the win. He made some good saves. Much like Crow. Except, now the Hawks can’t take advantage of Quick’s excessive aggressiveness. He was way out of his net for most of the night. See Toew’s second goal as proof.

    -Crow was not bad tonight. The one goal I would even place any blame on him is the Toffoli goal. Granted, he shouldn’t have even been placed in that situation. One of bigger mental lapses by the Hawks tonight. Still, it’s one I’m sure he would like back.

    -Not disappointed with the outcome. They were much better tonight. A couple big mental lapses led to the Kings winning. They can be fixed.

    • YoAdrienne

      That’s a pretty good summary of things. I’d also like to add that it seems like the Hawks played the Kings’s game last night, instead of playing their own. And, when they do that, they lose. They out-hit their opponent, which is rare for the Hawks. And, as was pointed out below, the Kings kept forcing them to the outside. I think that may have made Quick look a little better than he was, which was pretty damn good as it is. But, like you said, Coz, nothing going on that can’t be fixed.

      As for Zus, I am the biggest Zus apologist around, but I reluctantly concur that he was awful last night. I also really like Regin, and would love to see him come back in. While it would be easy to suggest that these two swap spots, I’m a little more inclined to sit Bollig. If Q is only going to play someone for 5 minutes, I’d rather have the old guy in there, as he’s still the far more useful of the two. We’ll see what happens. Something tells me there won’t be much of a personnel change the next game, sadly, except maybe more Brookbank and less Rozie or Leddy.

      • Yachtsman

        How is it that a guy of Leddy’s ability seems to just fall down from a blow out or tripping over his own skates when under pressure? It’s getting scary watching that kid.

        • YoAdrienne

          Sometimes, it’s the ice. I’ve seen lots of surprising blowouts and apparent tripping over one’s own skates from guys that you wouldn’t expect to fall for no
          apparent reason. This time of year, since it’s so warm, it’s difficult to keep the ice in really good condition. It’s even harder in warm places like L.A. and Florida. Or, sometimes there are just ruts. I remember in the Wild series, guys kept falling down in the same spot along the boards at the UC in one game.

    • Yachtsman

      Not real happy with Versteeg in the d zone, not helping out enough. Saw him standing around waiting to fly out of the d zone instead of getting in there when the dmen were in trouble. But the same can be said for a lot of the forwards.

      • ChicagoNativeSon

        I really loathe this argument.

        Wingers in general are supposed to be floating high in the defensive zone, not chasing the puck like puppy dogs. Steeg was fine defensively, and typically is.

        • Yachtsman

          So wait, you’re happy with a 2 on 3 board battle that ends up with an extended offensive push by LA? That’s like allowing the opponent to play as though they’re on a power play. At some point, the forwards have to know when to jump in and bail out their dmen.

          • ChicagoNativeSon

            That hasn’t happened and you know it.

        • whenhabsscoreDougMohns

          I agree, prior teams had an embarassment of riches in
          d, makes one spoiled. Same as linebackers for Bears,
          you come to expect that attribute.
          I was suprised in nmy infrequent visit to Corsi land
          of Versteeg’s 92.8%

          • 60MinutesBaby60

            Any Doug Mohns reference gets an automatic +1 from me. Ditto Kenny Wharram & the great Bill White.

  • Ranjan

    LA has two rookies (Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, playing great with Carter). Meanwhile, the Hawks chose not to develop their young talent. They gave Pirri up and don’t dress Morin. Handzus is way over the hill. Even if I am wrong – why play him EVERY game??? Today he took a penalty, was -3, lost most of his face-offs, and rendered his linemates useless (Sharp scored while NOT playing with Handzus).

    Either the Hawks screwed up royally by giving up Pirri, or they just can’t develop talent.
    I would take Bollig and Handzus out, and put in Regin and Morin.
    I just can’t help keep thinking what if the Hawks had been smart enough to have played Pirri and Morin together all season long … The Hawks would be better.
    A good article (written before this latest Handzus disaster ishttp://blackhawkup.com/2014/05/24/michal-handzus-still-weighing-blackhawks-offense/

    All of that said – hopefully Coach Q will now adapt instead of being obstinate.
    Hawks will have to play great on Monday. Gotta feel bad for Toews.
    Handzus should volunteer himself not to play.

    • Ranjan
    • YoAdrienne

      There were reports that Pirri was traded because he had attitude issues. That’s on him, not the Hawks, who are better off without him, if that’s the case. Morin is sitting, in part, because he is doing a good Viktor Stalhberg imitation, and he doesn’t finish his plays. He is also lacking in the defense department. He’s been given several chances, and he hasn’t always run with them. He’s not the answer.

      As for the Hawks choosing not to develop their young talent, they have a hell of a lot more out there than Pirri and Morin. They’ve been doing fine with Saad, Shaw, Kruger, and Leddy. And, they have the likes of Teuvo, Danault, Hartmann, Johns, and a slew of other prospects in the pipeline.

      • Ranjan

        Rumors? I did not hear any, and it is very dangerous to put much stock on them. Pirri did everything that was asked of him.
        It just seemed that Coach Q did not trust him defensively, and if that is the case, then it is a matter of development. The Hawks also unloaded Olsen and Jimmy Hayes.
        From a year ago, we have stayed pretty stagnant. Saad has improved immensely and is the exception, but apart from that we are just a year older and no rookies were in the lineup this year. That is not healthy. Morin did not do a Stalberg impression … He was great down the stretch.

        • guesthouse

          How do you know Pirri did everything that was asked of him? You’re also forgetting Nordstrom.

          • YoAdrienne

            Yep. If Pirri did everything that was asked of him, he would be the 2C, and not Zus. Nordy has a lot of potential. If he bulks up, and gets a little more time in Rockford, he should be up with the big team in no time.

          • guesthouse

            And if we’re talking rookies, Ben Smith had only 20 regular season NHL games, spread over three seasons, before this season. So maybe not technically a rookie (don’t know/care to know what constitutes rookie designation), but first full year in NHL.

          • YoAdrienne

            I forgot about Smitty. Excellent point. Most guys seem to take the same path of up-and-down for a few years before they actually stay up. I expect that Morin might take another year, too.

        • YoAdrienne

          Just because you didn’t hear them doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. And, the “#freemorin” crap he spewed from Florida tells me all I need to know about his attitude. And, you and I have a far different definition of “great”, because I don’t think Morin was all that great. He was good at times, and not so great at others.

          And, no team is going to put in a rookie every year, especially if they have a line up like the Hawks currently have. So, the Kings have a couple of young hot-shots. Big whoop. Let’s see how they do next year, and how they do if they’re taken away from Carter, before we rave about them any more. It’s one year.

          • HawksRule

            Just because you heard them, doesn’t mean that they happened.
            Your statements are void of any substance. But hey Handzus and Bollig are better than the Regin, Morin, and Pirri. I do not know what game you are watching.

          • YoAdrienne

            LOL! Talk about being void of substance! Unless you call baseless accusations “substance”. Care to show me where I ever said that “Handzus and Bollig are better than the Regin, Morin, and Pirri”, or anything even close to that?

          • Jim A

            First of all, Toffoli played in the playoffs last year. In 2012, they brought in Nolan and King. This year it’s Pearson. I’d say there’s at least one team that brings in kids when they need to.

            Second, the Hawks, for some reason, have to “win” their trades in the press, even if it means every guy who is traded gets some kind of “treatment” when he leaves. From the days of Bobby Hull, things go out and the reporters explain that the guy traded because “he wasn’t good in the room” or he was “just a fifth defenceman” (Campbell). Amonte was a bad captain and fooled around with women while on Hawk business, Chelios demanded a trade to Detroit, it goes on and on. Pirri was bad in the locker room? Maybe, but it wasn’t heard about until he was benched in the weeks before his trade. I go back far enough to see a pattern here.

          • YoAdrienne

            They brought kids in because they had the room to bring them in. Just like the Hawks have done. It’s not like their roster is full of Rozivals and Handzuses.

            It wasn’t the Hawks that claimed Pirri had an attitude problem. It was the beat reporters, themselves, from what I understand. Sounds to me like they were just describing what they were seeing. And, like I said, his “#freemorin” crap is all I need to know about his attitude. The 2C was his for the taking, and he didn’t. That’s on him. As, was mentioned here earlier, Dale Tallon also said that he needs more development, so he’s finding the same situation there.

        • Commit88

          Morin hasn’t done much other than the last several games of the season. Pirri asked to be traded from what I’ve read.

          I like toews-kane-bickell
          Smith-hossa-sharp
          Krugs-shaw-saad
          Handzus-versteeg-morin

          The 4th line won’t give you much and maybe not the 2nd. That leaves it up to the 1st and 3rd lines imo.

      • Hockey

        Versteeg does a much better Stalberg. Talk about deadweight.

        • YoAdrienne

          Part of Versteeg’s problem is that he’s coming off of knee surgery. Stan knew he wasn’t going to be 100% until next season when he got him. That’s how they got the Panthers to eat half of his paycheck. I wouldn’t call him a “deadweight.” Yes, he passes too much, instead of shooting, but he’s been decent defensively.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      Pirri I understand. He has a lot of potential on offense, but he’s a liability on D.

    • HossasPierogi

      You’re absolutely right. Q had all year to develop talent yet chose to consistently ice Zus and Bollig.

    • ahnfire

      Pirri asked to be traded. Chris Block writes up about the Pirri situation quite extensively here (http://thethirdmanin.com/2014/03/14/thoughts-on-brandon-pirri-the-tallon-link-and-whats-become-of-the-hawks-center-depth/)

      “The Pirri deal surprised few inside the organization. Pirri, or his agent, had requested a trade after the team acquired Regin. Pirri’s in a place now where he’ll be given more rope to earn a permanent spot in the NHL.”

  • beefman73

    I may be wrong but mental mistakes and no disrespect to the King’s PP but the Hawks seem out of position and not as willing to block shots on the PK, Zus and Kreuger were automatic on the PK , could the Hawks be tired? It seems
    like the Kings have more jump in their game.

    • wowwowweewoo

      The structure of the Blackhawks pk leaves the sharp angle one timers open, the kings are the first team since the Oilers to consistently attack it. Having drew doughty to QB it helps too.

      • beefman73

        Kings have had the same PP system since our very own asst. coach left LA and the Hawks know what they do. The Structure is something the Hawks haven’t had on PK/ EVEN STRENGTH in last couple games, however it simply shouldn’t be that easy for the Kings to score with some sticks or bodies getting in their way, there’s a need for desperation from our boys.

  • LavalPhantom

    I wish Kane was more of an asshole and that he would kick Q’s office door screaming that he’s fed up of dragging the corpse of Zus.

  • Ranjan
    • ChicagoNativeSon

      Honestly, I don’t understand why people keep posting this guy’s piece of shit redundant articles? The reasoning sucks and the writing sucks worse still.

      And of course, he never offers a legitimate solution, if any. Just mindless bitching and yearning for traded players or lesser players to be in the lineup simply because the Hawks lost a couple of games and he doesn’t understand why. Therefore bitch. It’s the easy way.

      Try putting together a lineup with Pirri, Regin, Morin and Brookbank in and see how it looks.

      • YoAdrienne

        I think somebody just wants hits on his web site, given how many times that link has been posted i this thread. Glad I didn’t click on the link. I’ve read some of that stuff a while back, and I wasn’t impressed. Sounds like nothing has changed.

        • DJ

          I read it. Won’t make that mistake again.

        • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

          heh

      • flahawkfan

        I can’t even read that, so you’re a more persistent (nay, stubborn?) person than I am!

      • HawksRule

        Sam is saying the same thing and he is right!
        Handzus and Bollig are not playing well, and Regin and Morin would do better.
        You guys do not seem to understand the game.

        • ChicagoNativeSon

          Yes, that’s exactly it.

          And this is Sam’s site. He can write that Tim Fucking Tebow should be playing 2C for all I care. And at least I understand most of Sam’s reasoning most of the time, whether I agree with it or not.

          But if people are linking to that guy in an attempt to support Sam’s argument or their own, that’s embarrassing. The guy is more likely coat-tailing off of Sam, but doesn’t seem to know how he reached his conclusion. Just a big echo chamber with no insight.

          Man that place has sucked since Bartl left. And I believe McClure will even support me on that.

      • Hawkeytalk

        Not to mention all of the upboats by “guests”. Something is not right, miss clavelle.

  • Oregon_hawk

    It was about this time last year that Bickell-Toews-Kane became a thing, the hawks found a level the Kings didn’t have at the time, and that was the end of the series.

    I think that the team has the parts needed to win the series, but I don’t really have confidence they’ll be used. I just don’t see Handzus and Bollig taking a seat.

    The lineup posted in the article would work. But I don’t think it will happen.

  • derlemke

    Oh my ulcer.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      LOL & t/y for it.

  • Jim

    What’s frustrating is everybody called this before the series.

    If you play Handzus with Kane, you are negating your best weapon.

    If you play Bollig (with Regin and Morin in the pressbox) you are handicapping yourself on purpose.

    Yet, here the Hawks are, down 2-1.

    The Hawks got away with it before because we have not played another team as good and deep as the Kings. But now they can’t be sloppy, they have to be 100% to win (strategy and skaters). As it should be. If they want to play with one hand tied behind their backs then what happens next is exactly what should.

  • flahawkfan

    I keep trying to think what my “dream lines” would be. I’m not sure, but I would really love it if Handzus and Versteeg were removed, and Regin and Morin were inserted. I’m beyond even caring about Bollig at this point, but Handzus isn’t adding anything right now and Versteeg is driving me absolutely crazy. I would also like to see Brookbank for Rozi, even for just one game.

    I guess I would like to see:

    29-19-81
    20-28-88
    11-12-10
    65-16-52

    Pipe dreams. But I’m not in a panic and I’m trusting these guys to figure it out.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      I hear ya, but I think it’s less about WHO we’re playing than HOW we’re playing.

      • flahawkfan

        I agree, except about Handzus, unless you’re talking about how he’s being played. The Hawks have to get Kane involved in scoring and he can’t do that with Handzus as his center.

      • ballyb11

        “How we’re playing.”

        Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    When the Kings began their comeback on the Sharks and I started to think about home Ice, I had a premonition that we would go down 2-1. No idea what happens next, but we’ve been here before. We struggle in games 1-3, rule in games 4-7.

    We need to put our best skaters on the ice.
    We must stay out of the fucking box.
    We need to get Sharp and Hossa scoring.
    We need to take care of the puck, Kings take advantage of every miscue.
    We need to counter Carter (is our lack of a true 2C finally hurting us?)
    And of course, we need to do all these things for sixty minutes.

    Fatigue? Lack of Depth? Lack of Hunger? Overconfidence?

    Probably a little of all of the above.

    Not worried. We will always have the 2 in 4 and the 17 seconds, and despite the 2 in 4 I can’t think of a team with a brighter future.

    • Bannerman

      The problem is that, from a depth perspective, the Hawks replaced Bolland with Regin and Frolik with Bollig. Regin is no Bolland. Frolik killed penalties, brought speed to the lineup and even chipped in some goals- none of which we can or should expect from Bollig.

      I’m not necessarily pining away for these former players so much as lamenting that their skills were not replaced.

      • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

        Were not replaced ‘yet.’

        There’s a reason no one has repeated in nearly twenty years, there’s a reason only one team has won more than one cup in the sal cap era.

        • YoAdrienne

          I think Ben Smith has been a great replacement for Frolik. In fact, I think he’s been better than FroFro. He’s way more versatile. Besides being pretty good on the PK, he’s also a decent C. I don’t recall Frolik ever being used in as many ways as Smitty.

          • 60MinutesBaby60

            #28 has won me over – I was a skeptic. Not anymore.
            He’s a definite + in the mix.

          • Jim A

            Frolik was played at center when he first got to the Hawks. He did it, even though he hadn’t played there in years. I’m not knocking Smith; I love that guy. Just don’t want to see a good guy not get his propers

          • birdhead

            I remember Frofro scoring a few goals on the top line at some point last year, too. Maybe Sharpy went down? Or Hossa?

          • YoAdrienne

            Not saying Frolik was bad. Just saying Smith is way more versatile. Frolik may have played center in the past, but he wound up staying on the wing for the rest of his tenure with the Hawks. That tells me he wasn’t good enough a center to be used as one when needed.

        • Bannerman

          Agreed. They will have options and the future looks bright. Nordstrom can grow into a 4th line role player like Frolik. They already told Denault to practice being the next Kruger. Tuevo is coming. Lots of other ways the Hawks can get better.

      • Jim

        I had that same thought yesterday, RE: Bolland/Frolick. A healthy Bolland would be nice here, and Frolick did add value.

      • Bobby Otter

        Or… Smith replaced Frolik; ‘Zus* replaced Bolland; Bollig replace Stalberg.

        It doesn’t really work perfectly, but that’s more how I see it. Of the 12 forwards who played most of the Boston series, it seems like Zus is counted twice, but really he just put Bollig and Carcillo’s butt on the bench (until Q thought it was a good idea to play Bollig over Stalberg). Regin is more of a replacement for Mayers imo.

        *Remember, ‘Zus replaced the revolving door of Bollig/Mayers/Carcillo last year.

        • Bobby Otter

          I forgot Versteeg… so swap him for Stalberg if you’d like and move Bollig for Bolland. And we’ll just ignore my Zus argument.

      • 60MinutesBaby60

        Man what impressive insight No sarc. T/y for putting in words
        the missing link I couldn’t. But one other thing too – chemistry.
        Bolly & Fro added that somehow to the mix.

        I realize the NHL $$$ structure means some guys gotta move
        but damn I miss those two – especially RIGHT now.

  • cliffkoroll

    Great write-up Sam.

    1. It’s time for Handzus to sit. He was bad last year but good in the playoffs. So, when he was bad again this year, I was like: wait and see. Now we have seen.

    2. Bickell is doing dick all, considering he’s slotted in the catbird seat alongside Toews and Hossa. If that were Versteeg, we’d get two paragraphs on the subject.

    3. Lack of a 2C starts to tell late in the playoffs. The fact that Bolland is no longer on the team is starting to show.

    4. Yes yes yes to figuring out a real checking line. They have the pieces. We’ve seen enough of Bollig at this point.

    • whenhabsscoreDougMohns

      but, but, but Bickell? He has been fantastic, what have you done
      for me lately. Still another 1.5 series where he will soar.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      1. Yep.
      2. Yep … but I don’t think Bickell’s the root of anything major.
      3. Yep. But I will say this, LA’s one of the worst teams to match up against in this context. They beat every team in the NHL down the middle, and especially any team where the centre is a positional weakness.
      4. Maybe to Yep.
      5. Special teams has been the true difference so far, imo. Had we won that battle the last two games, then [i]with everything else the same[/i] we’d quite possibly be up 3-0.

      I think this team can still be had, but possibly not three in a row at this point, so tomorrow is key. (Revolutionary thought, that one.)

    • TitanTransistor

      I don’t think Bickell has played badly at all…

      • cliffkoroll

        Your incorrect opinion is noted.

        • TitanTransistor

          His possession numbers have been fantastic. I think the correct move is to move Kane up to his line along with Toews, not to move him off of it.

    • ChicagoNativeSon

      Agreed with everything until the Bollig nonsense. He had a good game and made two nice plays defensively. Once they were down 2, he wasn’t going to get any ice time, as with any player in his slot.

      • cliffkoroll

        Can they just try it? Give it a shot? How is it he is the indispensable man? Let’s of guys are healthy scratches from time to time. Can’t Bollig be? Once?

  • CozBullsFan

    Jesus. Now we have another Chicago blog spamming here? Get the fuck out.

  • whenhabsscoreDougMohns

    The roster suggestions seem to again be
    agreeable. In desperation to beat the
    Saskatchewan Brookbank drum, I will venture
    in to the metrics of stats fans, bud men.
    The SV % has Brookbank FIRST at 97.6%
    granted only 6 games & 15.2 TOI with QOC 28.2
    This puts Ben Smith & Brookbank above D2K.
    The reason 17/8 still are a bit choppy seems
    to be lack of consistent time together.
    Rozsi’s down at 90.5% & QOC 27 & -31 hits.
    Bollig is 88.1% & QOC 26.1, if my rookie metrics are true.
    Bollig never really bothered me during the season, I always
    watch defense. But when you are left with 4 teams, you can’t have
    everything leaking out while trying to fill the jug.
    I can’t bring myself to criticize Zus, either, it’s fantastic
    to watch someone who knows what the hell he is doing. Even when
    caught texting by the cookie monster, he only went back a foot or so.
    But Q would be in trouble if he was a boxing trainer, they would be
    going out on slabs, sports are for the young.
    So, Rozsi & Bollig should sit & also minimize the slowdown,if must be, with
    Zus minutes.
    I just throw airplanes while the futoshiki is puzzled, but I will venture forth
    with this view of the obvious:
    Brookbank full game minutes with Leddy or other;with no blender on defense.
    (I been to the blender on a line with nine names, it felt good to get out
    of the strain)
    Smith +5 minutes or more from Versteeg.
    Regin +7 minutes from Zus
    You folks know better than me if Andrew (zero time in box)
    can skate left side or Regin can to get 6 minutes from Bollig.
    If the Kryptonite is not out there, Corey will keep his goal posts close
    with insulation & maybe just a bit of caulk.

    • 60MinutesBaby60

      Comment length challenged my ADHD limits but I hung it.
      Worth it.

  • VanDorp’sMullet
    • 60MinutesBaby60

      Peace.

  • guesthouse

    Can any of the hockey strategerists explain why the Blackhawks PP is set up so left-hand shots are on left side, right-hand shots are on right side, thus negating one-timer possibility? I know Kane sets on half board, but he has the puck so much of the time.

  • 60MinutesBaby60

    Right now the Kings are a better team than the Hawks. I can deal with it.

    As long as 19 & 81 are on our side I will NEVER count us out. Those two guys
    are FUCKING CHAMPS and it is such a privilege to get to watch them compete.

    Kaner. Cro. Sharpie. C’mon you 3 it’s late innings it’s the back stretch and time for “the move” to the front. I BELIEVE it will happen. I LOVE having WINNERS
    to root for – especially when they’ve hit a bit of a wall.

    We’re gonna need some puck luck here & you better damn well believe I will take it if that’s indeed what it takes.

    I actually like the Kings – their tap salute for Selanne WAS beautiful. Props & respect to them BUT WE WILL NOT LOSE THIS SERIES.

    #MyMindset_Go_You_FUCKING_Hawks, #GoldenJet_Stan_Tony-O_FTW

    I’m out.

  • TitanTransistor

    I’m hoping to see Bickell-Toews-Kane next game. Last year, that line dominated the Kings. I think they could again.

    And it would leave Hossa to match up with Carter along with Keith and Seabrook.

    • http://www.lotsofbutterplease.com/ I am not Chico Maki

      I can’t see any other way around it either. Carter-Toffoli-Pearson have been too strong, and especially in LA we need to find an answer. My own feeling is that Sharp up there with Toews and Kane might be the better option for a more balanced line when it comes to d-zone faceoffs. That leaves Bickell-Handzus-Hossa at number 2–it’s not ideal, and you’re taking most of Hossa’s offensive potential away. Bottom 6 stays the same.

      I don’t know. Whatever the choice, dealing with Carter’s line needs a new strategy.

      • YoAdrienne

        Both Sharp and Saad have done really well with Hossa in the past. Granted they had Toews as their center. Even with Handzus as center, I think Hossa and Sharp or Saad could at least neutralize Carter’s line. Not that Zus will stay at center for the whole game. Q usually winds up moving Smith up to center the second line some time during the second period. Smitty could be okay, too.

        • TitanTransistor

          Based on what the beat writers like Mark Lazerus are quoting on twitter from practice today, Q says he moves Smith up to 2C when the Hawks are behind and he wants more offense.

          Which begs the question, why not just start that way and the get the offense off the hop, instead of trying to manufacture it when you’re down a goal or two?

          • YoAdrienne

            No kidding. If most of the fourth line is only going to get 5-8 minutes, why not put Zus there, so you keep him around for the PK, where he normally is quite good. (Last night was an exception, although I think he just had a bad night all around.)

          • TitanTransistor

            I agree. Plus, if have the benefit of 2 centers with pretty good FO numbers on the line where most draws will probably be taken in the defensive end. Seems like a win-win.

          • DJ

            Which goes back to Fels’s post game analogy to the USMNT in 2010; it’s great to have the ability to put out fires, but why start them in the first place?

          • birdhead

            The idea being, I assume, that Handzus is more likely than Smith to stop Carter or Kopitar from scoring in the first place. Except that doesn’t seem to be working and in my personal opinion you’re better off with Ben Smith on that line both offensively and defensively – regardless of Handzus’s defensive acumen. Which, if you’re so into it, put him on the bottom 6 somewhere and make a checking line of some kind.

          • TitanTransistor

            No, it doesn’t seem to be working at all. I just hope Q realizes that, and doesn’t think that sticking with what he has now will magically start working soon…

  • Hawkeytalk

    3 penalties in the first 7 mins or so in NYC, lol. And Rags score a shortie.

  • ballyb11

    “Morin – Regin – Versteeg / Nordstrom”

    Yeah, that’ll happen.