USATSI_7569844_160885884_lowres

Supporting Caste – Hawks 6, Jets 3

It feels repetitive at this point, but given this is the third time this month that these two teams have played, it’s not surprising that once again the Hawks and Jets followed the same template.  Hawks control early, let the opposition off the mat in the second, then say “fuck this” with time to spare and cruise out with two points.

Which is not to say that there weren’t some dicey moments in a wacky second period, where a combined five goals were scored- none at 5 on 5. For those keeping track at home, Saad was 4v4, Ladd was 4v4, Ellerby was 5v4, Toews 4v4, and Byfuglien at 5 on 3. Not to mention Kane’s power play marker from the slot in the first.

Fortunately the Hawks were able to play a clean third period which included the even strength go-ahead tally from Hossa on a crazy cross-ice backhand feed from Toews, and the 5 on 5 dagger from Optimus Grind doing what else but jabbing a rebound home in the crease. Patrick Sharp would add the empty netter to give everyone but Brandon Pirri a point from the top six. Two points and onward to see Torts and the Twins in Riot City on Saturday.

Observations

  • While he made some key saves when they were needed, all three of the goals the Jets scored were probably ones Crawford would like back. Even the 5 on 3 is one he could and should have just smothered. This hasn’t been the best stretch for Crawford, but it seems like he’ll need to get through Saturday night before getting a rest as the trip then swings through Alberta mid-week. Of course that’s assuming that Quenneville can stop chasing points in November.
  • Fortunately for Crawford Ondrej Pavalec was in the opposite crease, who may very well be the worst goalie for the money in the league. As erotic as the Toews goal was, how does he not have his post and let that go under the bar short side?
  • The PK needs to have something done, as it can’t get a stop when it needs one seemingly at all this year. And once again bafflement ensues when a plus-penalty killer in Kris Versteeg is acquired and Brandon Bollig gets shifts shorthanded with Versteeg not even in the rotation. Even with all of the aforementioned second period wackiness, Verbeauty literally did not see a second of PK time. Patrick Sharp either. Because these two totally suck at killing penalties together.
  • It’s unknown if Toews’ assist on the Hossa goal was an intentional back-handed saucer pass or just him shoveling it toward the net knowing Hossa was crashing, but either way, that’s as bad ass of a backhand feed as anyone will see.
  • Few thought it could even be possible, but Olli Jokinen has actually managed to make himself look even weirder with hair.
  • It seems like Evander Kane should be doing more to actually create offense than just kind of play the role of irritant.
  • The Hawks dong whipped the Jets at the dot, winning 40 of 63, which certainly makes dictating the play and coasting to their customary 55-60% of Corsi and Fenwick that much easier.
  • Tonight was probably Jeremy Morin’s most active game on the forecheck thus far, so naturally, Handzus will probably rejoin the team in Vancouver, as was reported earlier today.

 

Player of the Game

 Duh.

  • Preacher

    Erotic?
    That’s a new one for a hockey goal, I’m pretty sure.

    • Z-man19

      watch the supplied video

      • Accipiter

        It wasn’t erotic.

        • Z-man19

          Your standards are too high apparently

          • Accipiter

            I don’t find hockey erotic.
            However, TWTW was on full display on Toews’ tally.

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

            For his birthday, the girlfriend of a friend of mine (unfortunately, a Sabres fan) dressed in his Sabres sweater–just a Sabres sweater–and paid a professional photographer to take pics. He showed me the ones he was allowed to show. Now, I draw the line well before we get to friends’ girlfriends, but I have used this story to plant thoughts more times than I care to admit. Hockerotica is a thing for me now.

          • Accipiter

            Remove the female from the equation.

            Hockey sweater + professional photographer = ?

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

            Okay, sure, you wanna go fucking with an ex-English teacher’s math, go ahead. Bully.

          • 10thMountainFire

            MMMmmmmm. What number was she wearing? Did it have a ‘C’ on the front?

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

            … it could just as easily have been a picture of Stephen Fry as a number, for all I noticed.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Ohhhhh, tell me more. Was it a home or away sweater?

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

            Dark blue and home. Couldn’t have worn an Away because of the white sheets.

          • Z-man19

            now this is getting erotic

        • SuperHawk27

          Not even a wiggle?

        • Bannerman

          it moved, Jerry

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    Hawks played sixty minutes against SJ. They have played 50 minutes the last two games. That was enough to win tonight. And that ten minutes off was enough to bury them on Tuesday.

  • bizarrohairhelmet

    Q is an old man. you can’t expect him to remember all the way back to 2010.

  • bizarrohairhelmet

    How do solid NHL hopefuls attend high school? Seems like they’re playing when most of us would be doing years 11 and 12.

    • birdhead

      Poorly, I imagine. (Actually I think kids in the CHL tend to get billeted in the towns they’re playing in and attend school there. There’s also that one boarding school in Minnesota Toews and Crosby went to but that’s obviously not a solution for everyone …)

      • Beans

        Shattock?

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

      They attend. That’s it. I lived in a Junior Team town in my high school days and was a teacher in Halifax and taught a few of the kids on the Mooseheads (as birdhead says, most of them are billeted). The hockey players for the most part were well-behaved in class (trouble would mean repercussions on the team), and hilarious out of the classroom (as in, they were hilariously predictable assholes). A large and healthy handful were good kids, but the balance came out on the side of the kind of kid you hated in high school … arrogant, sometimes cruel, big-fish-small-pondy, kids whose social currency was literally built on ice. They were young kids who had weirdly, slowly become celebrities over a half-dozen years, but who had no brain-tools to deal with that … you can pretty much fill in the blanks with just that.

      • cliffkoroll

        literally?

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

          Well, sort of, yes. I debated whether to use that word. I know it’s not perfectly sound usage, but because there’s a literal element to it I used it (that their social standing is built almost exclusively by their on-ice performance).

          • Korab22

            The judges are going to allow it. Social currency is an intangible and therefore could in fact literally be built on ice (or perhaps, “the ice”). Great post Chico. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Preacher

    I made the mistake of reading the comments on Yahoo, looking at the game stats since I’m in Florida this weekend and couldn’t watch the game. First half dozen comments were calling for Crow to be benched/traded/executed. I didn’t see it—was he that bad? I know what McClure said in the wrap about the 3 goals, but geez. Just painful to read. (And when will I learn not to read those stupid comments???)

    • Z-man19

      he’s been better, might hold off on the benching/trading/executing for a few more games

    • Jim

      Q said he’s not playing PK for a while. Crow saw like 1 shot all first period, the Hawks have such a great puck possession game that I think he gets rusty standing there.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      Yahoo is full of Trolls.

  • steeg of their own

    The no-Steeg on PK question is likely a problem of when Verbeauty was re-acquired. He hasn’t had much time to practice with the Hawks special teams units before they shipped out for the Circus trip, and while long road trips are good for team bonding they usually don’t involve many practices or vid sessions or other such learning opportunities. If he’s not killing penalties for us a couple weeks after we get back from the Circus trip, I’ll have more of an issue with it.

    • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

      Though the issue you’ve raised does have merit, penalty killing structure for forwards generally isn’t all that complicated, especially the box the Hawks play.

      Divide the zone into quadrants, press (as much as Hawk forwards do) when the puck is there, collapse to the slot when it’s not, with sprinting starts and stops to get back and forth, then clear and change. And it’s not like the Hawks have changed the scheme much since 2010 when Versteeg was last asked to do so. Knowing how to play a PK doesn’t just evaporate.

      The point in all of this is that Versteeg, even if he hasn’t done it in a while in a game or otherwise is still a better option than Bollig. Sharp too.

      • lizmcneill

        I’m not entirely sold on Shaw on the kill either.

        • Waylon

          me neither – but I’m willing to give him some more time out there. I think the more he plays on the kill the more he may start to learn increase his level of patience on the ice. Something about how taking dumb penalties leads to PK time, I don’t know if that makes sense – but it may make sense to Q.

          • lizmcneill

            I think he’s only had one dumb penalty this season that I remember, and some of the quotes he’s given sound like he’s giving some thought to how to play his scrappy game without going over the edge, so well done Mutt.

            A lot of our PK-ing forwards seem to be quite penalized themselves, although with Frogger and Tazer it’s for, like, shoving a dude who’s trying to sit on their head or something a lot of the time.

      • cliffkoroll

        Seems like ‘offense’ is the mantra. After the first period last night, Toews was interviewed. He really emphasized what an offensive team the Hawks were. Then he went out and did some shit.

        That’s the only explanation I can think of for Sharp. Applies to Versteeg as well, along with on-boarding, initiation, etc. Q has thrown a lot of guys at the PK- Toews/Hossa is de-emphasized, even Oduya/Nintendo time is more lopsided vs. Marlboro (who are putting up good offensive numbers, see.)

        And while the scheme may not have changed, Versteeg remarked a couple days ago about how he thought he was gonna fly into town, grab a limo, and pick up where he left off, but he ran into a different culture from the one he left.

        Even.More.Serious.

        • lizmcneill

          But Mo and Pirri are still getting the short lease due to defensive rookie slip-ups. Going to pure run-and-gun on purpose seems un-Q-like.

          • cliffkoroll

            Fair point. Q has a long history of this short leash. Back in the day, Versteeg, Kane, even Sharp felt it, not to mention Brouwer and Stalberg, and all the young guys. If anyone has been indulged, it’s Rudy (Shaw) – Saad’s game has been there from the start.

            Why on earth would we expect Pirri or Morin to get a pass on this?

            But the Q-Hawks have always been one of the top offenses in the league. I thought his StL and Col teams also played with…’pace’.

            Apart from these Q-rigors, however, it is clear to me that the team is not devoting its best resources to the PK, for whatever reason. Thus, my hypothesis.

          • 10thMountainFire

            How short is the lease? Are we talking sub-let?

      • Waylon

        which begs the question – is Bollig a better option than anyone else at this point, no matter the position he’s slotted in? Yeah, I know, he’s worked really hard on his skating, moves much better, blah, blah, blah. It’s annoying to continue seeing him on the ice when better options are available.

      • neo1978

        Hawks have played a 1-1-2 exclusively on the PK since around the time Handzus started playing on it. It was actually before that even. They haven’t played a box since then and they never play a diamond.

        At the start of the season the Hawks had players reacting like they were in a box while others were acting like they were in a 1-1-2, so it was hard to figure out which defense the Hawks were playing. But once the kids left the PK, it has all been all 1-1-2.

        And how they play the 1-1-2 does take some adjustment so I am not surprised Versteeg hasn’t been thrown out there yet. And, remember, the Hawks didn’t play the 1-1-2 in 2010 so Versteeg didn’t play it then. Hawks didn’t start playing the 1-1-2 until 2010/2011 when Kitchen joined the coaching staff.

        • http://www.thecommittedindian.com/ Matt McClure

          If it takes adjustment to the point of needing to kick kids off of it that can’t learn it, and the vets that “know” it are executing it and still performing poorly, at some point it has to be the system that needs to be adjusted and simplified.

          I’ve never heard of any PK scheme at any level being elaborate to the point of having this sharp of a learning curve. Given the results it would seem needlessly complicated, a recurring if unsurprising motif of this staff.

          • Accipiter

            It’s definitely not elaborate or complicated. It just needs to be executed properly. Perhaps the coaching staff felt that they wanted to go with certain players for a stretch to see what would result (to find chemistry on the PK). Results so far, not that great. Maybe change the players, maybe the system, I don’t really know. Maybe Corey was making more key saves in the past that he is no longer making, he needs to be the best PK’er on the ice.

          • neo1978

            Who said any of that? The 1-1-2 or triangle plus one might be more sophisticated than the box or diamond but it isn’t all that complicated for NHL caliber players. Still, the previous two years the Hawks played about 15-20 games before moving exclusively to the 1-1-2 on the PK. So they did spend some time practicing it before getting it into games.

            The Hawks started this season, imo, playing kids and a simple box in the first couple of games. Didn’t work out so well. So they moved to the 1-1-2 earlier this season than the last couple. And maybe because they moved to it earlier they used more experienced guys. Or it just might have been the fact that a team struggling on the PK made multiple changes at the same time.

            At this point, I don’t think the problem is the scheme. The players are moving simultaneously enough for me to recognize the defense they are playing. I just think that last season the Hawks got really good goalie play on the PK and, well, not so much this season. Of course the struggles in the first couple of games makes everything since look worse.

  • detroit must die

    Everything about Evander Kane’s play screams “Get me the fuck out of Winnipeg!”

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      Do you blame him?

    • Jim

      I am forever an Evander Kane fan after his 1 punch KO of Matt Cooke
      (too lazy to link it, but it’s on YouTube).

      • rhodes
        • Waylon

          best retaliatory punch against a player truly deserving of it. I liked Keith’s shot on him as well – messed his act up pretty good at the time.

      • VanDorp’sMullet

        Weird. I saw someone post the link here and now it’s gone. Disqus magic?

  • mad-hatter

    I’m really hoping Q goes with Raanta on Saturday, because even if he’s not quite ready I’m not sure he’s worse than Crow at this point. Thirteen consecutive games is ridiculous and unsustainable.

    And this might have made it’s rounds in 2012, but I’m bringing it up because it’s actually applicable for Crawford right now. Eric from broadstreethockey did a study tracking save percentages after consecutive games after Bryzgalov made a claim that he needed to get into a rhythm. He only used a small sample size, but three of the four goalies he looked at (Bryz, Lundqvist, and Rinne) all had worse numbers the more they played. Continuing to put him out there as a show of faith is just going to hurt him in the long run.

    • Z-man19

      I think it’s more of a lack of faith in the backup than anything. IIRC, Ray got some consecutive starts last year after Crow had a stinker

      • mad-hatter

        He did, but not 13. And Stan’s probably well aware of the back up situation, but even if there isn’t a replacement Q has to let Crow sit sometimes.

        • Z-man19

          Just saying I don’t think Q is putting him out there to show he has faith in Crow

          • mad-hatter

            Ah, well, faith in Crow or lack of faith in Khabi/Raanta, either way it’s shitty.

          • Z-man19

            concurred

        • cliffkoroll

          What are you talking about? Three upboats? 13 in a row only cuz Birdman shat the tub a couple times. It’s early in the season- there are plenty of goalies working heavy loads, and none of them are playing as bad as Crow.

          But some other good goalies- Anderson, Halak, Quick – with lesser workloads, are putting up numbers like Crow’s right now. It happens, no biggie, let’s take it like grown-up fans. Workload is a red herring.

          Going forward, the Hawks need a backup. This Raanta fellow looks cheap and serviceable. End of story.

          • mad-hatter

            I don’t get you, cliff. You give me this comment and then up above you agree that Raanta should play and let Crow get a day off, which is exactly what I’m saying. And all of of the goalies near Crawford have at least had a day off this month.

          • cliffkoroll

            No. Z-man made a good comment, but he committed the cardinal sin of, maybe, exonerating Q a little bit. Which you ‘fixed’ in best lemming fashion.

            You are oblivious to the larger point (also made by Chico below) that Q has not had much room to do things differently, because Stan blew 2 mildo on a washed-up 40-year old alkie.

            Also, you are connecting Crow’s performance to his workload, which is a big crock of shit. Stop making excuses for the guy. He hasn’t been very good so far this year. So what? He’ll be better.

          • mad-hatter

            Oh, right, I forgot that Q can do no wrong. Because you know it’s just impossible that both Stan and Q might share the blame in Crow’s workload (which, by the way, I’m guessing you didn’t read the article that coincides the more games played leads to poorer performance). Stan made a shitty decision in signing Khabibulin, but Q’s made a shitty one last night in not playing Raanta, who at this point really can’t be much worse than Crow.

            Crow’s been shitty this month, and I don’t think he’s just gonna hit 14 or 15 games in and suddenly start putting up .940 every night.

          • cliffkoroll

            I don’t have to read the article to know that Crow played 23 consecutive games in the post-season last year, or that lots of goalies have worked comparable amounts this year at better than a .904 clip.

            Where have I said anything positive about Q?

            Y’all remind me of the old man from Greek Wedding, who could take ANY WORD, and show you the Greek origin.

            Here, the game is to take ANY FACT, and use it to reinforce the Q is an idiot meme. Which is awkward when the team is on top of the standings.

            We are left with thin gruel: (a) special teams- legit target for criticism, (b) the absurd TOI hand-wringing, and (c) endless angst over the borderline irrelevant 12th forward position.

            So we get endless commentary on these topics.

          • mad-hatter

            Crow had days off between series. Three before the regular season, five before the Wings, and three before the Bruins. There’s a difference between playing 23 games in 58 days and 21 games and playing ten in 19.

            But, wait, I called Q an idiot? I missed that. Please point that out to me.

            You do realize that it is possible that I can consider Q a good coach while thinking he makes questionable decisions right? That I can want him to remain coach and wish he played Raanta instead least night? Thinking someone performs well at their job while criticizing some of their choices are not mutually exclusive.

          • cliffkoroll

            Seriously, you’re still pursuing the ‘Q is grinding Crow into dust’ line?

            Let’s look at those 13 games. Over the last 26 days. Twice, Q tried to give Crow a rest, but PantsyPoopy wasn’t up to it. The other night, Crow ended up getting most of the night off. So, all told, it’s more like 12 games in 26 days. No pressure games at the beginning of the season against a variety of opponents.

            Now let’s look at the last 13 games of last season. Over 28 days. The guy played every minute. Including, in that stretch, 5 overtime games, one of which went to 2OT and one to 3OT. Against the best teams in the world.

            Again, Z man made a reasonable comment, and your original response (now 4 upboats!) was simply off base.

          • Accipiter

            To be fair, one of the upboats is from XMF.
            He upboats everything.

          • mad-hatter

            I make one comment saying I wish Crow had sat last night and I hope he rests Saturday and suddenly I think Q is “grinding him into dust”? You know so much about me that even I didn’t, cliff..

            And what’s with you and up votes? You want one?

    • Accipiter

      Get Raanta in between the pipes.

      • cliffkoroll

        Amen. Crow leads the league in ice time after last night. Let him clear the mechanism.

        Not worryd. The key is how Crow is playing in late April. I think he’ll be ok at least, which may be all this team needs.

        Tracing this back to ‘points-chasey-Q’ though, is ridiculous. IF this is even a problem — and it’s not — it’s on Stan.

        If you think fatigue is the issue though – recall that Crow also had the shortest off-season in the league – well, the guy with the #2 minutes in the league, who also had a short off-season, my name is Tuuka, is rocking a 0.945.

      • 10thMountainFire

        In front of the pipes.

        • Accipiter

          Go eat some paste.

          • 10thMountainFire

            That escalated quickly.

          • Accipiter

            Listen, not a year goes by, not a year, that I don’t hear about some escalator accident involving some bastard kid which could have easily been avoided had some parent – I don’t care which one – but some parent conditioned him to fear and respect that escalator.

      • detroit must die

        Yep, can see the sparks flying with Crow. give the man a breather.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      All part of the plan to drive Crow’s stats in the wrong direction and keep him off the Canadian Olympic team so he gets that two weeks rest.

      • Bannerman

        Mission accomplished, according to TSN(?) who had him ranked 5th among team Canada hopefuls. I think commentators undervalue how good he is so it will be difficult to overcome that perception that he’s been merely “good enough” behind a great team. Kind of ironic because he wouldn’t exactly have the beer league all stars in front of him in Sochi.

    • Paul the Fossil
  • Jim

    This era, right now, is as good as it gets for a Blackhawks fan. Have The Cup. Have the best team. Have depth. Sure we don’t win every single game, but what the heck? Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Saad, Keith + 1A supporting cast = dream team.

    Edit: Except for Bolllig

    • lizmcneill

      And Khabi.

      • Jim

        The Wall is not yet LTIR, maybe he’s coming back?

        • Z-man19

          According to Capgeek, he is LTIR

          • Jim

            I see that:
            http://capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=11

            It’s Raanta then, unless he lays an egg.

            Q needs to start him to find out. You would think the Jets would have been the logical place to start Raanta. They are the softest team on the schedule for a while. Edmonton and Calgary are not good in the standings, but they seem to give the Hawks fits. I’d be surprised to see Raanta get the nod at Rogers Centre.

          • Waylon

            the kid is going into the fire, like it or not. And I hope that The Bulin Wall’s day are over with the Hawks. Raanta was signed specifically for this possibility, although I’m sure that Stan would’ve liked for him to have had at least half of season in Rockford before making the move.

    • Paul the Fossil

      Agree except for the last bit: as a 12th forward Bollig is fine. Not saying he’s ever going to be more than that or that Morin doesn’t deserve a real lineup shot (he does), but Bollig right now is a perfectly respectable 4th-line winger.

  • derlemke

    Okay okay. Pro/cons of Raanta starting in Vancouver? No more riots please my sister lives there, okay!

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      Start him in Van where he could face some serious offensive talent, or start him in Alberta, where he won’t, but we have been known to get our ass…. wait… We’ve never played in Alberta, have we?

      • lizmcneill

        What is Alberta?

      • zacked

        Canucks are second last in the West in goals, not sure they’re an offensive dynamo anymore.

        • Accipiter

          They (the Nucks) are also playing tonight v. #Lumbus.
          Why not start Raanta ?

      • detroit must die

        The Nucks aren’t the offensive powerhouse they once were.

        Although, they do put the 3rd most shots on net per game.

    • justforkicks

      I think he takes the oilers maybe, I think q won’t want to go with an unknown in Van. Crow should have had yesterday off so he could be rested for Vancouver. 14 games in a row is a bit much and he should have had a break.

      • derlemke

        I think somewhere someone posted about the save percentage dropping when goalies are consecutively started without rest. Let the poor man take a break.

    • raditzzzz

      i have no clue how q is looking to divvy ice time in the crease. the only team in the upcoming schedule i think raanta needs to not play is phoenix (assuming q wants to avoid crow playing the entire back to back, giving raanta the start against dallas). so either giving raanta van and letting cory handle alberta, or giving raanta edmo seems logical to me, but then again, i thought it logical to let raanta play winnipeg and that didn’t happen.

      on the van side of things, they are still looking to find their groove, so i see no problem starting the rookie against them. like i said, i see phoenix as the only team to have the #1 against through next week.

    • Paul the Fossil

      I think he’s gotta be run out there a couple of times on this trip, the Hawks need real information about whether the kid is ready for NHL play. Van is a good a place as any.

  • Bannerman

    At times, Versteeg’s speed is very nearly Stalbergian. That line, when they have an actual forward instead of Moonpie looks like it could be a real nightmare for opponents. When Zus comes back, where does he slide in? Does Smith move to the 3rd line with Shaw and Versteeg? A 4th line with Zus and Bollig (assuming Morin gets benched because Bollig is indispensible) wouldn’t be what I’d call an energy line.

    • Z-man19

      I’d guess Smith stays where he is and Shaw moves to wing. Zus, Pirri and Frogger get moved around as Q pleases. I might be wrong but if Zus comes back Saturday, it wouldn’t surprise me if Morin went back to the Rock for cap savings

      • Bannerman

        I don’t expect Shaw to wing. I’d like to see it since I feel like he’s better there but Q likes him in the middle over Kruger as far as I can tell.

        • Z-man19

          depends on where the puck is

    • justforkicks

      I’m worried q will put Zus back on the 2nd. I think the 20/23-37-88 line has pretty darn good and will get even better with time (they’ve missed the net completely on some good chances, missed rebounds, and some passes weren’t handled – big part of why kaners assists are down) and once they get to fully clicking, I think they’ll be very dangerous.

      • lizmcneill

        Yeah, same. The obvious thing is to platoon him with Bollig – his wheels are probably worse but his good hockey IQ should more than make up for that. But of course JMo will sit instead, so you either have Kruger having to haul both Bollig and Zus around, or Zus on the 2nd.

      • 10thMountainFire

        I am also worried that Pirri is dropped in favor of Zus. In fact, not so much worried as resigned to it.

        • justforkicks

          If he gets sent back to rockford, I will straight up lose it. Particularly since that will mean Bollig is still here. What was funny to me was the article yesterday about Sharp, and how he’s gotten sparked moving up with Toews and Hossa (yeah no shit) and how Zus couldn’t keep up with him (which again no shit, part of the reason Kane struggled as well). Putting Zus back there makes no sense.

          • 10thMountainFire

            …which means it could happen.

          • lizmcneill

            Time for Bollig to take one for the team and sprain his mustache whenever Zus comes back.

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

    Re points-chasing, McClure, that seems crazy to me. Two measly points separates first and 8th in the West right now. Colorado and St. Louis are poised to move ahead of us with two games in hand, and Phoenix and San Jose either tie or move ahead if they win their next game. West teams need to chase points!

    But I’m not sure what you mean by that, either. Do you think that key players are playing more minutes than they should be? Keith is our only guy in the top 30 in the league right now, and he’s at 25th with just 24 minutes a game. That seems entirely reasonable to me. Toews is at 20:39 a game. Maybe high by a shift? By two maybe? He was at 19:20 last season, and 20:50 and 20:45 the ones before that. Again, seems reasonable. Hjammer get the most PK time, and he averages 2:30 a game … which puts him 85th most in the league.

    Crawford? What other option is there? Khabibulin looks like he’s never worn skates before and Raanta’s first comment after being around NHL shots was something along the lines of, “Whoa, okay guys, holy smokes.” We clearly need a competent back-up, but I don’t know what Q can do about it.

    • MattC86

      I think the idea was that (a) you needed to rest people, especially with the Olympics likely to take so many guys, and (b) didn’t want to finish first in the Central , since it’s highly possible that Colorado, Dallas, etc. end up the 9th and 10th seeds in the conference, and Pacific teams grab both wild card spots (say Van and Anaheim). The assumption being you’d rather play Minnesota than the 5th place Pacific team.

      But I’m not sure. It’s so close right now that you can’t overthink it. For every regression candidate (Phoenix, Colorado, Anaheim), there’s a team that could kick it into gear (Nashville with Rinne back, Dallas). I Any of those three teams I mentioned could knock out the Hawks given hot goaltending and some shakiness or injuries on the Hawks’ part.

      I want the careful use to be geared towards rest for big guns. Hoss couldn’t talk to the media last night because he needed treatment after the game. Crawford is leading the league in games played. The inevitable injuries are starting to kick in, and the cap situation is in flux thanks to the VerBeauty trade and the injuries. To me this is the largest argument towards giving Morin all the ice time needed to figure it out. He will need to play – not just fucking Bollig.

      • lizmcneill

        Yep. Toews and Kane skating dman minutes isn’t a giant problem because they’re 25 years old. Hossa/Rozi/Zus not getting a chance to rest and recover from minor injuries is a problem if they have nothing left in April because they have been going since October.

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

          Toews and Kane are not skating d-man minutes, though. Kane has had four games (regulation games) in which he’s skated more than 20 mins; Toews has had five where he’s skated more than 21 minutes. Both of them are averaging the same TOI as they always have.

          Handzus? If we’re worried about Handzus skating too many minutes for us–if that matters–then we’re screwed anyway. Truly. Rozsival will rest as soon as Kostka is back and as soon as Brookbank is back on d regularly. Hossa? He’s skating 18:30 minutes this year, up 30 seconds from last year. I don’t myself feel that his injury or injury history has to do with TOI.

          • Z-man19

            Should we really compare the TOI numbers for this year and last to any other timeframe? Last year was a compressed schedule and so is this year, and IIRC this year is compressed all most as much as last year and maybe more so depending on how many Olympic games the Big Guns play. So by the end of this season, these guys will have played more games in an 18 (?) month stretch than they ever have. No, their TOI numbers aren’t terribly out of whack compared to other years, but this year isn’t like other years.

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

            I looked up the numbers in 2010, too (Olympic + Cup year #1), and tale is pretty similar. Toews and Kane skating one more shift per game this year, Hossa same as 2010, Keith 2:30 less, other d-men less, too, except Hjammer is 1:30 higher.

          • Z-man19

            There wasn’t a lockout the year prior though and their season was 2 weeks shorter by losing in the WCF. I’m not a hockey history buff, but I don’t think you can find the same number of games in the same number of months that will compare to the start of last season to the end of this one.

          • lizmcneill

            With the old dudes it’s not TOI per game as much as being able to park them in the press box to ice their knees if they need it.
            Kaner will be fine, I don’t think the double-shifting when Bbank is in does as much harm to him as the blender on puree does to the lineup in general.

      • Z-man19

        Agree with most of this and especially the last paragraph. This team may need Morin to play top 6 minutes at some point. Lord knows Bollig can’t do that and be productive.

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

        I agree with what you’re saying only in the context of Crawford. The TOI for everyone is completely normal, if not lower than their norm.

        But I’d ask again re Crawford, what’s Q supposed to do? He has no legitimate options (also, I’m more worried about Crawford’s .904 save percentage than his minutes). In January, if he’s still on this pace, I’ll be a little concerned, but right now I just want someone who can play the back-to-backs. That, for me, means a roster change of some sort. Not a trade necessarily, but something. I don’t agree with fans who think Raanta is an answer. He might very well be down the line, but baptism by fire is not a situation this team should be resorting to, things are too tight in this conference to simply begin relying on someone with 40 minutes of NHL experience, that’s crazy. An excellent, top-level team, is not going to make the playoffs in this conference. November games are important.

    • Paul the Fossil

      Among the league’s forwards the highest-ranking Hawk in minutes per game is Tazer at 19th, next is Kane at 34th. That doesn’t seem like overuse of All-Stars. And after that it drops to Sharp at 68th. [You want to wonder about legs in April go ask Tortorella: three of the four top minutes-per-game forwards in the entire league are Kesler, Honk and Donk.]

      I’ve been favorably impressed with Q’s management of the load so far except maybe in net (where, granted that the backup situation isn’t resolved, he should probably be a bit more willing to bite the bullet and provide data to management so to speak).

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

        Agree wholeheartedly.

  • VanDorp’sMullet

    I know this Least-Best phenomenon has been commented on ad nauseum, but if the playoffs were to start today the West has the top 8 (!!!!!!!) teams in terms of points in the league. Boston is #9 and the only Eastern team with 30 points.

  • OMFS88

    Toews with the amazing feed and Hossa with the insane finish. That was incredible. Also loved Byfuglien screening on Kane’s goal.