too much too soon

We Like To Watch – May 4th

Let’s do it again:

Lightning 5 – 4 Islanders (OT)

While there are some crusty old guys who love the fact that officials become a personification of a urine puddle late in playoff games and overtime, I’ve always thought it was dumb and contradictory to the sport. As I’ve said many times, “Letting the players decide” is a phrase that makes no sense. When one commits a penalty to stop another, the players have decided. They’ve decided that one got beat so badly or made a mistake that the other should be rewarded with a power play for his team. While the refs may say they don’t want to decide games, they are deciding them with inaction. They’re just coming out way worse on the other side.

Brian Boyle’s hit on Thomas Hickey was late and it was to the head. The ref was about as close to it as I am to my coffee table right now which I have my feet up on at the moment (thug life). And he couldn’t locate his spine to make the right call. The Bolts get a 2-on-1 because one of the Isles’ defenders who would be defending was trying to pop his nose back out of his brain. Boyle scores from the exact spot Hickey would have prevented him from getting to. Sure, you could argue it’s karma from what the Isles got away with in Game 6 against the Panthers. But I doubt that went through anyone’s head at the time.

Anyway, this game was awesome and it sucks it was decided on this. The Isles seem to be discovering that you need more than a top line and a good 4th line to win.

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Feb 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Patrick Sharp (10) acknowledges fans cheering during the first period against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

We Like To Watch – May 3rd And Farewell To Hockeenight

Well, that kicked up a notch, didn’t it?

After Brooks Orpik’s pretty gross hit on Olli Maatta in Game 2 you figured that there would be some kind of retribution. You would have gotten pretty short odds on it being known-hothead and lunatic Kris Letang taking a late run at Marcus Johansson, because that made sense. Once again the refs made things worse when they thought they were making things better by keeping Letang in the game. When you don’t eject someone for a hit that late and that malicious, you’re basically asking the other team to take runs at him all night which is just going to escalate the silliness into something no one wants. And that’s what they got. Maybe one day the NHL will hire refs with balls, but I’m fairly sure I’ll be nothing but dust in the wind by the time they do.

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Playoff Weekend Wrap And May 2nd Preview: It’s Shaping Up

As we will do through the rest of the playoffs, just wrapping up the other action and previewing what comes tonight.

Islanders 1 – 1 Lightning

The East’s stepchild series, as no one seems to be paying any attention. And yet it has the potential to be as good as the other one. Game 2 was seemingly the only one that John Tavares didn’t simply grab in his hand and wield it however he saw fit. That’s been the most exciting thing about the Isles’ run so far, obvious as it is. There’s something about watching a player simply transcend all those around him, and Tavares has done that through his team’s first eight games.

There’s also something pretty satisfying about watching a coach have to eat it over previous treatment of a player, like Jon Cooper and Jonathan Drouin. The latter has been crushing it when finally given a scorer’s role, which you might think would come pretty naturally to a #3 overall pick. But in a league that looks to stifle creativity it took this long. But don’t worry, Cooper is still a genius who will get all the plaudits for making Drouin “earn it.” Though considering Tyler Johnson was broken last year and Stamkos misfiring, might Drouin made a bigger difference last spring?

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High On The Hog: Wrapping Up In Rockford

The Rockford IceHogs had themselves a hell of a season. For four months, at least.

It was another year of development for the 45 players who spent time toiling on the farm in 2015-16. There was some big rookie impact to go with some surprising veteran production over the course of the campaign.

When all was said and done, the Hogs had earned a spot in the AHL postseason for the second year in a row. A host of players had spent time in Chicago, with some becoming quite familiar with Interstate 90 along the way.

Rockford finished with a record of 40-22-10-4, good enough for third place in the Central Division before being swept from the first round by Lake Erie. However, it has to be noted that there is a very definitive point in the season where the arrow veered sharply for this team.

As we take a look at the season that was, know that for four months Rockford was very, very good. And then…they weren’t.

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NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks

The “Irreplaceable Shaw,” Pens-Caps, Boudreau, And Other Argle Bargle

Lotta strands floating in Ol’ Duder’s head today. Let’s see if we can’t get through it all.

-So it took me a day or two to get around to commenting on Joel Quenneville’s assertion that Andrew Shaw is “irreplaceable.” We know that Q has a loose grip on what a salary cap actually is, considering the way he spent the first month or two of the season in a strop (not Pedro, #HatToTheLeft) that Brandon Saad wasn’t around even though there was no way the Hawks could sign him for what he got. That’s unfortunate, given how much sway we’re pretty sure Q gets over personnel decisions. Or maybe he doesn’t get enough say and that’s why he shits on the ones Stan makes. But that’s not why you called.

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Talk Of Windows Means I Can Say “Defenestration”

Yesterday we picked through the wreckage of this season, so today it probably follows that we pivot and what’s ahead. At some point this summer, there’ll be talk of how much is left in the Hawks’ “window.” That’s up for debate and there are things that Stan can do to extend it, or also shorten it.

What is obvious to anyone who has read this blog this season for more than five minutes (other than the desire to talk about music or beer far more than hockey), is that the Hawks are going to be right back here in a year’s time if they don’t figure out their blue line problems. They can say a summer of rest will rejuvenate Keith, Hammer, and Seabrook but two of those guys are over 30 when next season rolls around and Hammer is approaching. The simplest and most obvious answer is they’re going to jam The Hill They Will Die On (TVR) into the second pairing again, but this is not an answer to any question anyone is asking.

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