Just cleaning up some stuff from last night, whatever that was. Or maybe trying to sort out why I’m not dead yet. I should be. Maybe that’s waiting for the conclusion of this madness.
I’ve said all along this series that I will no longer doubt this team. That every time I felt the axe about to fall I would no longer accept that it was coming down upon them. Of course, I can’t actually follow my words, because after the Looney Tunes marathon of last night I once again felt the cold chill and was ready to embrace it. No way could they find the reserve to conjure up one more goal in OT with a ravenous Bruins team looking sure to score on the first clean look they got. And yet the Hawks just seem to have this We’re-Not-Fucking-Losing gear that they can bring out when they absolutely have to have it. While I hate comparisons to the 2010 team, and will even if they end up accomplishing the same thing, I will say this version’s balls are bigger because they don’t have as much talent to simply break teams over time. But no one’s told them that, and no one should.
I’ll learn too late. And that will probably be just fine with everyone if it keeps going the way it has when I lose the faith.
-Last night felt like a hockey version of In The Line Of Fire. This was Mitch Leary keeping Frank Horrigan in the game merely to entertain himself and eventually undue his plans when he could have sent the president home in a box whenever he really wanted. Because the Hawks should have run this one out easily. A poor Keith pinch leading to a penalty, an iffy Kane penalty, Sharp and Oduya leaving Lucic to graze in the slot without a second look, Bolland going on walkabout to clear his thoughts away from Boychuk, and of course a terrible bounce off the end-boards when Crow had to be more concerned with not letting the puck hit him in the back of the head to go in the net, all kept giving the B’s a tow-rope.
While I have no doubts now that the Hawks can keep the speed in their game that has given the B’s so much trouble at times, I’d have to cast doubt that they’ll keep making so many mistakes. If I’m right, this series looks pretty hopeful to me. Even though it’s not going to be easy getting there.
-While everyone up to and including Deadspin wants to proclaim that Corey Crawford has been cracked because the B’s have taken dead-aim on his glove hand, this was hardly a secret for years. I know on this blog for sure that whenever the Hawks have played a team with a few talented scorers — such as Vancouver, Detroit and normally the Kings amongst others — we’ve warned that they will be going there as often as they can. Even when Crow has been great he’s stabbed at pucks with the glove. It comes and goes.
As Feather pointed out last night, more worrisome are the tendencies we saw last year where Crow, after losing his poise, comes out to far and loses the map to his net. However, the few times we saw this in this season and started to panic about a backslide into his way of last season, he’s usually reset it pretty quickly. At this point I have no reason now to think that won’t be the case Saturday.
-Crow’s broken according to everyone, but Rask’s borderline-suck rebound control that really has been on display for most of this series is a minor blip? Just want to make sure I have that right.
-I highly doubt Leddy will be a healthy scratch Saturday, and in fact I think he’ll probably get the 10-12 minutes we’re used to seeing him get at home where Q can shield him with matchups and zone starts. I didn’t like his benching, but I didn’t hate it either as at least I understood it. And he’s still the best PP QB they have, so if they get more than two power plays that run the full length, he’ll be out there running the second unit.
And you may see him more because I have this feeling that the B’s are going to break out a trap, at least to start Game 5. No way they’re going to let the neutral zone tire marks on their bodies pile up more.
-Once again, we want to thank all of you who made us Chicago Reader’s Choice for best spots blog in town for the third year running. It’s amazing to us that we were handed that even after jumping ship from SB to here, and not having all the boosts that come with an SB site. We’re very humbled. Thanks so much.