Screaming at a wall: Blackhawks 1 – Canucks 1 (Canucks Win Pepsi Challenge)

Ahh yes, the late game wrap the next morning. What a fun time these things are. The Blackhawks kept up their impressive point streak to start off the season but for the second time in a row.. fell in the skills competition.

For all the hype we may put on these games, this one turned out to be a pretty lackluster affair. There were plenty of runs on Keith (too be expected and pretty understandable), strong play from both goalies, lots of awful power plays and then a silly little shootout

 Observations

  • Luongo looked sharp throughout the game but the Hawks didn’t do much to make it too difficult for him. While the Hawks got the better of the shot totals again, they weren’t creating much traffic in front of the net. Luongo may be a headcase, capable of turning in some truly awful performances, but he’s also likely to steal a game. The Hawks simply didn’t do enough to make life difficult for him.
  • Continued solid play from Craw too. Still no more than 2 goals against in a game. As some of the hot play from the forwards begins to cool off, Crawford is the biggest reason the Hawks are still getting points in these games.
  • Saad continues to prove he belongs… and still has nothing to show for it. I’d want to say he’ll break out tonight and get his first goal against Calgary but that’s a bit much… how about just his first point this year?
  • Patrick Sharp got an assist on Kaner’s game tying goal but he also wins the award for least inspired performance.
  • We all know hit counts are bullshit, right? 6 to 22? Why do they even bother?
  • With all the penalties taken, especially in the third, the Hawks are lucky to have come out of this with a single point. The Nucks haven’t been great at the power play so far this season but they’ve still got Sedins and that made me a little nervous.
  • Bolland going down in the third was not a welcome sight. We’ll give him shit for his sub-par faceoff performance but the Hawks don’t really have a better option. They’re thin down the middle and if he misses time, it could become a much bigger issue.
  • OK – so we can talk about the shootout now. No – I have no idea why Leddy was chosen as the 4th shooter. Maybe he’s been good at it in practice? It doesn’t make any sense to put him out there before so many forwards. But it also doesn’t make sense to keep putting Sharp out there either. Does Q not realize he’s awful at these?
  • Oh well, on to Cow-Town

  • country_bumpkin

    I know this is being very optimistic, but I’m glad the Hawks are still picking up points on the road and technically not losing in reg. The PP has to pick up and I think they need to sew a net betwixt Crow’s knees. Too many 5-hole goals for my liking.

    • Joe Banks

      Well Crow – Basher, you’re probably gonna see Emery in net tonight. Have a nice evening.

      • country_bumpkin

        Not bashing Crow, I’ve just seen too many shootout goals going through the 5-hole. He’s playing great so far and I just want to see him shore up some things. That’s all.

        • AngryGiant

          How many of those 5 hole shootout goals are Cap’n shooting and scoring. There is a reason the Shootout is a crapshoot, and for Toews to be as good as he is with it (50%) considering his move is usually come down with speed, make a move, wait for the goalie to go down and bury it 5 hole. Don’t be surprised when it works on our goalie, too.

      • justforkicks

        I’m just going to say this because I got into this last night as well even though your comment wasn’t even to me. Crow has been spectacular and a huge part of why, as offense has slowed down in particular, we’ve been able to come back in these games, and imo hasn’t been the reason we’ve lost any of them. But wishing he could close his 5-hole isn’t bashing, its just a hope considering i feel like he’s solidified every other part of his game though he sometimes still scares me, but of the few goals he has let in the majority have still been 5-hole. I also wish Bolland would win more draws, that Sharp would successfully clearly the puck, that Kane wouldn’t try to be too cute and fucking stop with the slow SO attempts. If that’s bashing or hating or blaming then IDEK.

  • 10thMountainFire

    Can we have Iginla? Please?

    • Accipiter

      I doubt it.

      • 10thMountainFire

        You have to call me ‘Dragon’.

        • Accipiter

          You can call me “night hawk”.

          • 10thMountainFire

            As soon as your eyes shut, I’m gonna punch you square in the face.

          • Accipiter

            Close your eyes. Let the dirt just shower over you.

          • 10thMountainFire

            This is a house of learned doctors. You and your mom are hillbillies.

  • MattC86

    Since beating Phoenix, the Hawks have scored 3, 3, 2, 2, and 1 goals. The fact that in those five games they are 3-0-2 speaks enough to Crawford’s play. It looks a bit less than fluid at times, but I think saying he needs to shut it down (in the f-ing shootout of all places) when the Hawks can’t score goals (in regulation, OT, or shootout) is a wee bit misguided.Oh and that hot PP start is fading fast, along with a startling propensity the last few games to take way more penalties than the opposition (rare for the Hawks).

    The second line has been horse manure since about game 3, and with Bolland now potentially out for some time, they need to rethink the offensive lineup.

    • 10thMountainFire

      Crow has been everything we would have liked to expect. He and Saad, specifically, have really impressed. The fact that our two ‘non-wins’ are shootout losses that easily could have gone the other way is a testament to how well this team has played in spite of its smaller issues. The PK has been sent by God.

      • Accipiter

        Speaking of God, how about Hossa on the 5 on 3 ?

        • 10thMountainFire

          There were four other Hawks out there? Where?

        • FakeASeizure

          Yeah, good lord. He was a monster!

        • Eddie_The_Eagle50

          The meme “he’s Marian Hossa and your not” was rather fitting on that sequence.

        • flavius

          Which reminds me….I gotta start DVRing these games if only to save those “I am Hossa” moments. He is at times superhuman.

      • MattC86

        I agree completely. I just saw a bunch of comments – one below others in the 3rd period thread – complaining about goddamned shootout goals. Which is ridiculous when this team is showing a startling inability to score.

    • DesertHawk

      Mentioned this last night, but Crow stats wise is out performing the rest of the team right now. He’s top 10 in GAA, Save%, and wins. And after adjusting out the backup goalies, he’s 2nd in the league in Save%. The only other top 10 Hawks we have right now are Oduya at 5th for +/-, Kane at 7th for assists, and Hossa at 10th for Goals.*
      *All stats current as of around 1am

    • red palace

      Ready.
      Set.
      Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

  • Joe Banks

    I’ve been battling a bad cold this week, last nights game was so painful to watch on many levels.
    I pray that Bolland will be OK, and that Sharp deals with whatever it is that’s ailing or haunting him.

    • red palace

      Get well for tonight

  • red palace

    Rita, I’m reliving the same game over and over.

  • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

    The shootout choices by Q are easy to explain. After Toews and Kane the choices for the shootout are similar to American Politics; you are picking the candidate that is “least awful.”

    • DesertHawk

      Except we have plenty of people who’ve never done the SO and we know Sharp is terrible. Lets give some other people a chance it can’t be any worse than Sharp.

      • http://twitter.com/neo873 Neo

        And that should tell you how bad everyone else is. These guys practice shootouts all the time. Do you honestly think there is somebody that is going to perform better in an actual game than they do in practice?

        BTW, 50% of the top shootout specialists are centers. When Bowman brings in this mythical second line center you need to add “being good in the shootout” to the list of his requirements.

        • Waylon

          I see no reason at this point not to give the kids a chance at this point, regardless of who does a good job at the practice tee. Why not try Bicks or Saad? I mean, what can they lose, really? At the very least Q could figure out whom on the team is actually any good at SO.

  • mightymikeD

    Couldn’t sit up for the game last night: too short of sleep/too early a start today.. and OT & Shootout would not have been welcome. But a point on the road against strong opposition is welcome, regardless of how nice it would have been to beat the Nucks.

    One thing, NM made mention, pre-game, of how the Hawks have only actually beaten one top team (StL) and they’ve got a point

    How many of the teams above the Hawks in the Western standings HAVE they beaten? None!

    Trade everyone.

    • DesertHawk

      The Kings aren’t a top team?

      • mightymikeD

        did they win the President’s Trophy last year? Eh?

        • DesertHawk

          Touche

          • mightymikeD

            That’s what I thought. And don’t forget, the ‘Nucks have beaten those perennial powerhouses, Colorado, Calgary and Anaheim in their ascent to a points total that would be good for 3rd in the Central, SCUM having a game-in-hand..

          • mightymikeD

            and, srsly

            if Edmonton win tonight (looks unlikely) as well as Detroit and Anaheim the Nucks are back down at 7th in the Conference..

        • Waylon

          Do any of their players have their own charities? Well, DO THEY?

    • Accipiter

      It’s much too early to deem any teams as “top” with any certainty. Since the Hawks have won most of their games, every team in the WC other than San Jose is not a “top” team.

      • mightymikeD

        I set it up entirely as a joke, so don’t worry!

  • Hack

    Fully prepared and understanding of a TL:DR, but I’m going to vent anyway.

    The Shootout – Toews (over his career) is approximately 10% better than Kane, who’s about 10% better than Hossa, who’s about 10% better than Sharp, all having a nice sample size at over 40 attempts. After that, Vik’s 2 for 7 slots in between Hoss and Sharp percentage-wise. Q’s lineup might not have been what I would’ve gone with and that’s annoying, but honestly, his boobery is hurting this team in more impactful ways.

    -As has been noted in the past, Carcillo’s injury saved Q from himself. Despite not having a point in seven games, I’m comfortable in stating that Saad > Carcillo in a top 6 role. Believe me when I say that I’m not trying to pick on Car Bomb. The thought of Car Bomb coming back and replacing Bollig on the 4th line is a happy one for me; too bad there’s seemingly very little chance that Q makes the obvious lineup and line configuration swap when it comes to that time.

    -Apologies for sounding cavalier about Bolland’s injury, I am very concerned about him and what that injury might mean for the team, but the injury kept us from being able to see just how long he was going to let the Sharp-Bolland-Kane line fester. By the 2nd period, you could tell that their collective give-a-fuck was as quickly approaching 0. Cutesy plays (in transition) by all three because they’re not getting the puck off the draw in the O Zone and they’re fairly certainly that neither of their linemates are going to create a turnover and/or win a puck on the forecheck. Just keep letting them go……..turnover, another turnover, another useless shift, a dreadful powerplay shift (super idea fellas!), and so on, and so forth. Bolland goes down, Shaw hops on, makes a nice little play on the forecheck, and……goal. I’m hoping that process/result reads as painfully stupid as I’m intending it to.

    -That all could read as if I’m placing the blame on Bolland. I’m not. Nor am I trying to make it sound like Shaw is the 2C we’ve been waiting for. Q has what I like to call “skill-grind” coming out of his ears on the first line; three guys who are forechecking, dominating puck possession, and basically tripping over each other (not literally) to score a greasy goal. How is a coach who has shown a propensity (in previous seasons) to break up a good line after one sub standard period, and subsequently start listlessly throwing fourth liners into the top six to “mix things up”, so reluctant to make simple tweaks to his top six? Either A) He’s 6-0-1-end-justifies-the-means-dumb or B) Bowman has given him some sort of early season top 6 mandate that includes certain center-winger combos [highly unlikely from a front office politics standpoint, and god I hope not because I've always favored Bowman over Q in the Great Assigning Fault Debate].

    -The Seabs and Keith off-hand-point powerplay theory. The powerplay is starting to struggle again, and I think there’s a small tweak that will help. Dunc and Seabs play their strong point (right shot right point, left shot left point). I’m all for Dman max comfort at even strength, but is it too much to ask that they go to the off-point for the powerplay? I think they’ve been there in the past with other partners, and maybe I just don’t recall it being a failure, but over the last couple games, the point men aren’t doing much for the PP. The puck goes out to seabs, he has no shooting lane because the pressuring forward easily cuts off his angle, cross-body D-to-D pass to Dunc, no angle, back to seabs, and still no angle, chip to hoss along the half wall and hope that he can do something with it. The only way Seabs is getting his heavy shot off is if and when the formation shifts to the left and into an umbrella-like setup at the top. The shooting & passing lanes and one-timer opportunities should open up if they switch points, but who knows if we’ll find out. Somehow, Suter and Weber seemed to manage alright on their strong points w/ nashville, so maybe I’m just off base here, but it looks like an issue w/ 7-2 on the PP at times. The short-side roof job by Duncs against Detroit seems more like the exception to the rule, but again, just spit-balling here.

    Good talk. I’ll see you out there.

    • mightymikeD

      Hack, as someone who misses you being a full-timer here, you’ll never get a TL:DR out of me. I haven’t seen the game last night, but I do get some of the things you’re alluding to, especially about the 2nd Line.
      6-0-2 and tied for top of the West does not preclude criticism.. in fact it should encourage it..

      • Waylon

        Thank the Lord you didn’t see the game – it was a real snoozfest for most of the time, and they had an awful time with puck possession in many instances. I think I counted at least 8 times when they lost the puck at center ice and/or at their own blue line. Each time the lost the puck during these transitions the Nucks took advantage and took the puck hard in the Hawk’s zone.

      • Hack

        I appreciate the sentiment, Mike.

    • Accipiter

      All valid points. I appreciate your input.

    • flavius

      Ditto mmd on the TL:DR, dude…..I had the same thought about Q’s hand potentially being tied on the top 6 last night. From early 2nd period on, it didn’t seem like the Quenneville I know. Why isn’t he pulling some of those combos “out of his pocket”, as he’s fond of saying, and trying some different lines to shake up the flow? Maybe not StanBow himself, so much as a corporate meeting room consensus, so to speak. If so, it’s a mistake. Let the coach do his job and if you don’t like the results, get another coach. Perhaps it is just a matter of “we’re 6-0-1, don’t mess with the chemistry” on Q’s part, but it felt out of character, i.e.off-pattern for him.

      • Hack

        To be clear, I don’t always enjoy the way Q goes about his patented pick-3-names-out-of-the-backup-goalie’s-hat-and-send-em-out-there-approach. He can be too quick to it, and he often goes uber-random rather than a quick swap here or there that might actually stick beyond one period. With that being said, and as you note, his reluctance to go there over the last few games is out of character.

        • flavius

          “admittedly silly, but it’s fun and I’m bored right now”….which, if you’re like me, means it’s a Blackhawks’ gameday and they’re in the Pacific time zone….or that place I forget the name of with the 8 PM local starts. I’m ready for hockey now!

          Personally, I’m a Q fan, don’t mind the occasional overindulgence of the line generator, think it most often is only random on the third guy. Seems to me he thinks of combinations of 2 and then throws a leftover attachment to it. I like the experimental approach–it’s the only way to find out if an idea is crazy or might actually work, which it frequently does. And, even when it doesn’t, it can create matchup problems for the opposing coach and his gameplan, which itself can turn a game to Q’s favor. Overcoaching? Maybe, but I tend to be more supportive than most on this.

          As far as a mandate, I would picture it as something more on the order of: “Coach, StanBow thinks you’re not giving the line combinations enough time to gel. Scotty and Barry S think so, too. And, from what we can see, so do a lot of the fans. We know you want to bring Jamie K on board and we’re ok with that. You, he and Kitch did a great job together in St Louis. But we’d like you to make one adjustment in your approach. You pick the lines, of course, but could you agree that whatever combination you decide on, let’s not break them up for a dozen games or so? Is that a request you could accommodate? It’s worth a try. Jamie’s flying in when again?”

          Having said that (picture Seinfeld and David in Curb here), item B) and C) are mighty plausible, arguably most plausible in combination. Hossa lights it up with Tazer, no Sharpie or Kaner on the other side to steal 81′s points, and we get to see whether or not Bolland can in fact be a 2nd C. You can’t say he doesn’t have support with 10 and 88 as his wings.

          Hope the Rat isn’t hurt too bad….

          • Hack

            ” I like the experimental approach–it’s the only way to find out if an
            idea is crazy or might actually work, which it frequently does.”

            You might be giving him too much credit here, I might not be giving him enough; we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. The random line generator can be useful, but I often find that this is how it goes:

            -He starts with somewhat curious line combinations

            -These line combos go stale at some point

            -Instead of making top 6-top 9 tweaks at one or two wing spots….

            -Q moves straight to random line generator, not to find new combos that he believes could be permanent, but more to give the boys some jump (with some lines getting an energy guy). He’s more quick band-aiding an energy issue than he is searching for chemistry,

            -When an in-game funk is over with, he’ll go back to putting some guys in spots that don’t seem to work.

            Let’s give a high profile example:

          • Hack

            BTW, I think that Q is a good matchup coach, which he’s proven in the playoffs. When certain personnel work well together, he does a nice job putting them in advantageous situations; he’s pretty much depantsed Todd McLellan and Alain Vigneault in big situations. This is his primary strength as a coach. He just makes infuriatingly odd personnel decisions sometimes (even strength and on special teams), decisions which seem easier to make and considerably less strategic than the matchup decisions at which he excels.

            Ok, I think I’m done for a while.

  • Sparky_The_Barbarian

    Good News from the last three games: Crow is well above the curve, so is the PK.
    Bad News: What happened to the scoring, we’re right back to 2012 all of a sudden, all that talent, and so few goals, especially with the man advantage.

    The D and Crow have been more than good enough, the vaunted offense has not.

  • mightymikeD

    As Hack has put a “Potential TL:DR” post up tonight and we have a shit-ton of time to kill (and no healthy rivalry blogs to point and laugh at) I might follow suit with something that interests me..

    Namely the nature of this shortened, WC-only Regular Season.

    It seems to me that the “Bettman Point” is going to be THE thing this season.. with no “Dead” EC games, taking or giving a point from or to likely-playoff teams (see MIN/VAN for the plus side and DET for the minus) is the sort of thing that will be a massive factor at the end of this season..I, personally, predict four Playoff Teams from the Central and two each from the Pacific and Northwest and the usual Nut-crunch as the season draws to a close..
    So, my question is: do you think this is going to cause teams to go balls-out for the win in Regulation, denying Conference opponents a point; or teams, in close games, tightening ranks and trying to secure at least that point. Because, to me, losing two games in the SO on the road against the likely top two from the NW feels almost like a victory..

    • DesertHawk

      True facts. It’ll also be interesting to see the point totals this season, with the west not trouncing the east in every meeting.

    • flavius

      I don’t think anything changes in the shortened season, tell you the truth…”losing two games in the SO on the road against the likely top two from the NW feels almost like a victory” agreed, but I’d have looked at it that way last year, too. I am sorry, sir, but I just don’t see a controversy here.

      • mightymikeD

        not talking “controversy” .. just that “OT wins/losses” ALL mean something this year.. unless it’s against Colorado. Then it doesn’t count. I could actually see Columbus making the Post-season. No Lie.

        • flavius

          ’twas an apparently poor attempt at humor, the “controversy” remark….had the image in my mind of Leslie Nielsen in front of the burning fireworks depot saying, “nothing to see here, please move along.”

          It’s for sure different with conference only games, but I think teams are still going to be most concerned with managing their own point total and not caring what the other team’s point change is…some exceptions toward the end of the schedule, but that happens in an 82 game season, too.

    • Hack

      I don’t know about the balls out for the regulation win part (not disagreeing, but just can’t imagine most coaches thinking that far ahead even in a truncated season), but I like the bit about giving an extra point to the northwest potentially being less damaging than giving one to the Central or Pacific.

  • Accipiter

    Razor starting tonight, Bolland doubtful (right ankle).