Start The Machine: Hawks at Ducks Game 5 Preview/Pregame Thread/Whiffle Ball Tournament

Hawk Wrestler vs. donald-duck-dunn-620x413

Puck Drop: 8pm Central 

TV/RADIO: NBCSN, CBC Up ‘Dere, WGN Radio 720

IN LINE AT SPACE MOUNTAIN: Anaheim Calling. Battle Of California

And now we get to the business end. Someone’s leaving on the brink tonight. And it’s become something of a race to see which happens first: The Hawks lose their legs or the Ducks lose their minds.

If you’re hoping for the latter, the external signs are a mite encouraging. The past couple days have seen quotes in the press about how the Ducks have to keep hitting and proving their manhood, and about how they’re getting jobbed by the refs but are too gentlemanly to complain about it (which is really, really rich).

While the approach by an opponent physically bury the Hawks carries some risk for our Men Of Four Feathers, it carries a much bigger risk for the team that’s racing around everywhere and anywhere in a testosterone fueled rage. If the Ducks are deadset on this, it means that A). They won’t have the puck much and B) they’re going to be leaving huge gaps in the neutral zone for the Hawks to exploit if they can get by the first wave of forecheckers. Letting the Hawks continually hit the attacking blue line with possession over and over again generally has led to doom for everyone who’s tried it.

The Ducks are also contemplating lineup changes, which sounds a bit like Boudreau getting over-coachy. You would have thought he would learn from Q in Game 3. Tomas Fleischmann might come in to play on the 4th line, but they don’t use that unit much at all and if it’s for Etem that would be the Ducks doing the Hawks a favor. The other change being mulled is bringing James Wisniewski back in, for what I can only assume is Clayton Stoner who has gotten buried possession wise in this series (or maybe Cam Fowler? It happened in the regular season). Because it’s always a good idea to bring in a defensively-allergic, dumbass d-man who hasn’t played in over a month to this series. But hey, the Hawks have gotten away with it with Cumiskey so far (who’s not nearly as dumb as Wiz).

For the Hawks, Q has probably learned his lesson (he said while clutching rosary beads) about changing lineups, especially after a win. The big thing to watch is can the top four hold up with the burden they’ve been asked to carry. While the minutes in proportion to the gametime isn’t that high, the sheer amount is and you have to believe at some point they’re going to feel it. On the road, it’s going to be even harder to spot Timonen and Cumiskey to get these guys a breather, but Q might want to try and get them closer to 10 minutes if it’s in anyway possible. It might not be.

For the first four games, the Hawks have come flying out of the gates, rolling the Ducks in the 1st. But they’ve only managed to get a lead after 20 in Games 2 and 4, and slender one-goal ones at that thanks to Andersen. You have to believe this will be a particular focus for the Ducks tonight, because if you keep offering the Hawks dominant possession periods they’re going to come out of it with bigger leads than one goal eventually.

Speaking of Andersen, the hope is that the Hawks have broken down most of the forcefields that he had up through the first three games and two periods of this series. Generally when the Hawks crack a goalie one game, they tend to stay that way. But that’s hardly a given for the ultra-calm Andersen. The Hawks finally either went blocker-side on him or got him moving side to side, where three of their goals came. Expect to see more of that tonight if they’re given the chance.

Also worth watching is with the top line finally busting out in Game 4, and Kesler scoring his only goal of the series when away from Toews, if Boudreau decides to not go to that matchup. I would find it highly unlikely that he would do such a thing, but I also can’t promise he won’t. If he chooses to, it seems like he’s asking for a whole lot of trouble.

While the series is 2-2, and you can argue it could be 3-1 or even over in either direction, the Hawks have had this at even-strength for the greater portion. Again, there’s no reason other than fatigue from the Hawks’ blue line or something inexplicable that should change. The more you play with the Hawks having the better possession, the more likely they are to win. As noted scholar McClure is often fond of quoting, “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone falls to zero.”

Let’s Go Hawks.

  • SAMCRO Outlaw

    “if you keep offering the Hawks dominant possession periods they’re going to come out of it with bigger leads than one goal eventually.”

    God I hope that Ye Olde Towne Moron Kesler is right & they’re going to try to run the Hawks “because no man can stand up to that punishment” – if they do then I’m 100% with Sam and see the Hawks making them pay.

    • YoAdrienne

      Yep, and as Bryan Bickell said of Kessler’s comment, it goes both ways. The guys doing the hitting don’t come out unscathed, either.

      • ZigZags82

        Hopefully that comment isn’t the positive thing Bickell contributes for the Hawks tonight……

        • YoAdrienne

          Yeah, he’s grossly overdue on the score sheet. I hope he’s not injured.

  • Scott Habiger

    Game 5 is Hawks’ chance at sports history/dynasty. If they win, they’ll win their 3rd Cup in 6 years.

    • ZigZags82

      Hope you’re right! Go Hawks!

  • Faskifo

  • rhodes

    “Letting the Hawks continually hit the attacking blue line with possession over and over again generally has led to doom for everyone who’s tried it.”

    …unless the Hawks continue to simply chip the puck into the corner and chase it. I understand the strategy, but the Hawks seem to have stopped even looking for the opportunity to skate the puck across the blue line to see what they can generate on the occasional rush.

    It could just be my eyes (and I’m just one guy in a lazy boy), but the chip & chase game has been giving the Ducks time to all drop back and set up in front of Andersen. Then it’s just around and around the perimeter they go.

    I’d like to see the Hawks mix up the entries just a little bit.

    • Marian Brossa

      Yes, zone entry diversity is key. As much as chip and chase has enabled Anaheim to collapse in, solely relying on carrying the puck in or looking to hit the pass right at the blue line was nearly death in the 1st OT last time around.

  • thepucktopshere

    I say they loose their mind. Cookie Monster blood sugar pegs and has an episode!
    hawks win!

  • Preacher

    Corner turned? The Hawks finally got to the Best Goalie In The World Ever (2015 Edition (Don’t we face this every year?)) to the tune of 5 goals and an .875 save percentage. I’m hoping that means they’ve opened the floodgates and we won’t have to hear anymore about how “calm” Anderson is in net. Make him move and calm becomes flailing pretty quickly. Let’s Go Hawks!!!

  • ballyb11

    Who’s the dude opposite Jesse Ventura?

  • ZigZags82

    God I just want a 60 minute effort. A big game from the big guns wouldn’t hurt? Maybe all 4 lines score. Whatever way how, win. Just win the game with a trademark clutch Kane Toews era performance and put yourself in position to clinch a berth in the Final at home. Time to definitively shake these jokers. Have a feeling Sharp will have something big to say about it.


    Let’s Go Hawks.

    • jordyhawk

      I too would like to see us play the full 60 (and for clarity by that I mean 60 minutes of a 60 minute game, not a 110 minute game).

  • TitanTransistor

    Interesting article regarding the wear and tear on Hossa, and how his performance goes off a cliff in games following extended OT sessions:

  • B.I.G. Forever

    Bickell is the most disappointing man on the team. Hits aside, there needs to be more from him to justify the big man salary. Not a single goal in all of the playoffs (whelp)? I miss 2013 Bolland.

    I’m also fearing this goes 7 games. A win tonight puts the Ducks on their heels and next game they face elimination. Must win tonight. Hawks will not be able to beat this team 2 games in a row.

    • TitanTransistor

      2013 Bolland didn’t score a goal till the first game of the finals.

      Sometimes the puck doesn’t go in for you. Happened to Sharp last year. Happened to Toews the year before.

      He’s still contributing. It doesn’t help that the composition of the line he’s on is terrible, and results in them spending 90% of every shift hemmed in their own zone. They’re a terrible possession line, and Bickell’s greatest success has come alongside Toews who can drive possession.

      • TitanTransistor

        I obviously don’t expect any changes to the top 6, but I honestly swapping Bickell and Saad might fix two issues. It would get Bickell going, and Saad would help that Kane line possession-wise.

        • rhodes

          Bickel was productive in the playoffs last year on the 2nd line with Kane, was he not? Honest question. That’s what I recall, but my memory sucks.

          • TitanTransistor

            I don’t think so. It was the Minnesota series when he started scoring goals, and that was with Hossa and Toews.

        • WookRN

          I completely agree. I think both lines would benefit from this, especially if Bicks is a little wounded, Hossa and Toews can help him make space…..

          And Saad makes space everywhere, him and Kane….

      • B.I.G. Forever

        But you can’t say 2013 Bolland was less active around the net in a 2015 Shaw sorta way. He was all over the place and proved to be the most annoying, thorn in your side kind of player we had that year. Always scrapping. He only had 3 goals and 3 assists during that Cup run – but Bickell just disappoints.

        I concede your line point, he’s stuck in his zone almost every shift. I guess I long for the days of yore when a young man nicknamed Buff threw Chris Pronger on his ass.

    • thepuckstophere

      Bickel, pickle, what’s the diff, maybe tonight he lights the lamp!

  • Hockey Newbie

    I re-watched game 4 and came away a few thoughts. A couple observations if I may:
    1. Even though we were outshot by large margin in 1st OT, I am not sure it was nearly as dominant as it statistically appeared. We actually had the better of the chances, with the biggest scare coming on a Stoner long fire in that was lost in Crow’s uniform.
    2. How do they not call a boarding penalty on Maroon on the hit that led him to dump the pass to Shaw that led to their 4th goal? Again, it looks like ref was right there but chose to swallow his whistle for whatever reason, even though he was making phantom slashes to call on Nachos.
    3. Re-watching that pass Teuvo made to Sharp was even more impressive, after he picked up the puck near our blue line, and fired the puck on the tape for what should have been the winning goal, if Shaw had gotten any kind of shot on Anderson.

    Oh well, wish it were game time already!!

    Go Hawks!!

  • Dangles-a-Plenty

    Just worried the other Top 4 can handle the workload. Keith is obviously a freak of fucking nature with conditioning. He played a stellar game 4. Hoping it continues. Reallllllly could use a win tonight cause this fucking series is fucking exhausting me.

    • thepuckstopshere

      Dunkin Teeth is a HOSSA disciple!!

      • Dangles-a-Plenty

        In the eyes of Hossa, we are all His disciples, brother.

      • WookRN

        I was at that game! (Hey, it’s memorable when you live in Iowa and get to go to like two games a year….)

    • rhodes

      Well, Seabrook could play all day, too, cause he never skates hard.


  • mightymikeD

    Dammit, Fels.. Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn is the reason I picked up a bass guitar (when I was eight years old my dad got me out of bed to watch Otis at Monterey on Irish TV). I will not see him as the opposition, dammit!

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    I have been so keyed up stressed for this game I have almost totally failed to enjoy the day off.

    • Dangles-a-Plenty

      Ah good to see someone else other than myself is losing their shit about this series! As Q once said, “Holy fuck, Batman”.

  • cza

    Dedicated to Sharp and Hossa. Arise storms!

  • DJ

    Sirrott saying that based in the warmup, he thinks Fleischman will be in the lineup in place of Etem.

  • ourgeorge

    Let’s hope they regroup and come back with confidence.