penguinblog2_440

Tactical Nuclear Penguin: What Should The Hawks Change?

I’ve never had Tactical Nuclear Penguin. I’m sure it’s not as fun to drink as it is to say. But then, how could it be? I’ll let the beer geeks nerd out in the comments about it.

Anyway, while I and a large swath of Hawks fans think the Hawks really only have to repeat Game 3′s performance (fort the most part) to win Game 4, Q is going to have to make a couple adjustments here and there to make things a bit smoother. Of course, he’s not going to do anything I’m about to suggest because they are far too logical because I’m just that smart and so smart that no prison could handle me and I’m so handsome that I once looked at a taxi cab and it turned to mash potatoes. And I ate it.

But back at the ranch….

-First, at practice today the only lineup change that anyone can spot is that Saad is skating with Kane and Bolland, and Sharp is with Toews and Hossa. This is actually inching toward what I have asked for all year and am about to again. Q has his winger combinations right. But he doesn’t have them around the right centers.

You can probably say it with me now, but what I think works best is 20-19-88 and 10-36-81. This puts Sharp in a position to take the draws for the second line. Combined with Toews and Handzus on the 4th line, that give the Hawks three guys who at least have a chance to win a draw.

While it was highlighted in this series, obviously faceoffs have been a problem for the Hawks all season. It was masked by Toews winning 60% to make up the difference for everyone else. The only reason everyone is noticing now is that Toews isn’t doing that, and suddenly everyone has discovered all the other Hawks centers (aside from Zus, sometimes) suck at it.

But Sharp doesn’t, and in limited doses has been pretty good at it this year. He also was over 50% at it in 2010 when he took them regularly because he was, y’know, a center. It’s the only card in the deck Q has to play when it comes to this. Perhaps Toews would benefit from having a true playmaker with him again, and the way that Sharp is playing he and Hossa can combine on a forecheck and cycle in much the same way Saad and Hossa were. I think Q eventually gets to this, just probably not tomorrow night.

-As for how the centers shake out, I would say it doesn’t matter if Kruger or Bolland center the 2nd line, but it does in that if Bolland is than Q won’t have Kruger center the 3rd line. Whereas if Kruger was between Saad and Kane now, Bolland would bump down Shaw to a 4th line winger. And that’s where Shaw needs to be. It’s not so much the reckless penalties that Shaw is taking that bother me that much — we signed up for that long ago and anyone who thought he wasn’t going to lose his mind in the playoffs just wasn’t paying attention. But at center, Shaw has far more puck carrying responsibilities, especially out of the Hawks zone and the Wings are specifically targeting him to make quick decisions. And they’re generally wrong. He’s basically Versteeg with half the skill.

Put him at a wing where he can charge around more freely like he wants to anyway with half the responsibility. But of course, Q decided long ago he was a center and he’s going to stick with it until it’s proven just how smart he is.

-One last thing, most of the beaters were commenting on the Hawks working on breakouts today, which is nice. In both Games 2 and 3, they fell into that trap of their forwards flying the zone. You saw it on Brendan Smith’s goal in Game 2 and Miller’s in Game 3, where a turnover saw all the Hawks forwards below their checks. The Hawks need to break as four or five man units, the former to have one forward stretching the Wings defense to open up a little space. What they can’t have is both wingers sprinting out of the blocks before possession is assured or the zone is broken, and Sharp and Kane have been guilty of this together a few times.

The Hawks have been thinking about too many 100-foot passes to attack, and where they need to be are 10-15 foot ones combined up the ice. When they do that, they’re far more dangerous than just trying to Daryle Lamonica their way up the ice.

  • Accipiter

    Yes to 20-19-88 and 10-36-81.
    Serious Mullets and Maniacal Panda Shooter would spread their talents out better, and 10 taking some FO’s should help.
    I also think the Hawks F’s need to come back more to help with the break outs, short passes, support/help out the D.
    Why is the game tomorrow ?

    • pstumba

      its seriously terrible that the game is tomorrow. long long ago i bought tickets to see the book of mormon tomorrow night… i want to be excited, but now i will be checking my phone and paranoid i will be missing something crazy that i can complain/brag about at a later date. and of course i have a fucking wedding on saturday… the NHL IS THE WORST

      • MySpoonIsTooBig

        DVR man, DVR. Add the max allowable extra time to the recording and hope that it doesn’t go to more than 3 OT’s…

        • Jrs23

          You could just record everything all the way up to the next morning. I’ve done this, and it really is a proven method and don’t check your phone.

        • Preacher

          I JUST got DVR capabilities this season (what can I say? We live in the country and we’re poor!), so is there any way to get the games on my DVR on to a DVD? I have DirecTV.

    • mad-hatter

      Because NBC.

    • justforkicks

      The rest of this series schedule is bullshit. I’m going to miss every game except maybe tomorrow.

    • justforkicks

      And duh to throes top two lines – I’ve only been saying that since game 1 of the regular season!

      • Accipiter

        I’m sure others have thought the same, the coaching staff needs to think it.

        • justforkicks

          Yeah they def did. Really hope tomorrows game looks better

      • laaarmer

        You should apply in Vancouver

        • justforkicks

          Why, do they have eggs there?

    • High and Wide

      I just want to note that these line nicknames are a strong argument for the lines in themselves. (Now can’t stop hearing Bowie singing “let’s sway under the mullets, the serious mullets” though.)

  • cliffkoroll

    Yup yup yup

    • corbant

      Yip Yip Yip.

  • http://twitter.com/oregon_hawk Oregon_hawk

    historically, when the hawks resort to the 100 foot passes, things go in the toilet. GOD ITS SO FAR AWAY.

  • ballyb11

    Sam, I don’t know how smart you are, but I’ve seen you outside the UC and I’ll vouch for your handsomeness.

  • mad-hatter

    The PP units were blown up today: Hossa and Keith on point with Bickell, Saad, Sharp; Rozsival/Seabrook and Leddy/Bolland on point with Kane, Toews, and Shaw.

    • SamFels

      Further proving that the coaches have no idea what they’re doing, transferring down to the players.

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

      This is called the Shoulder Shrug strategy. Very hard to defend.

    • MySpoonIsTooBig

      I have absolutely no idea what to make of those units

      • mad-hatter

        The most useful thing either of those units can do is have Bickell or Shaw immediately take a penalty (which is very likely lately) so that there can be a little under two minutes of 4v4.

        • MySpoonIsTooBig

          Bickell and Shaw need to staple their asses directly in front of Howard on the PP and block out the sun, otherwise they’re useless

          • mad-hatter

            They’ll be useless regardless because I really have no idea what is the inspiration with having both Hossa and Keith on point.

          • MySpoonIsTooBig

            That’s true. I very much agree with the ToS in their drum-banging to get Keith removed from the PP. It seems like it won’t happen, which is dumb, but dude is a TERRIBLE PP QB. He’s never met a set of shin pads he hasn’t wanted to shoot a puck directly into.

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

            Lately he hasn’t even been getting the chance to shoot into shins … we can’t gain the red line.

          • Dawnsremorse

            Probably wants our best back-checker back there so when the inevitable flubbed pass heads out of the zone, we have somebody to chase down the RW break-away.

          • Accipiter

            Who is our best back-checker ?

          • Dawnsremorse

            Hossa.

      • nextgame

        Neither does the coaching staff, I’m guessing.

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

      It pains me to say it, but not putting Keith out on the PP right now might be the best/only fix we have at our fingertips.

      • mad-hatter

        It doesn’t pain me to say it, but it seems that Q is going to throw him out there anyway because it’s Keith. At least in the second unit there’s Kane and Leddy, and I’m not totally against Rozsival.

    • Dawnsremorse

      Does anybody really believe the personelle was the major problem with the PP?

      I always think it’s been strategy. 2 on the point, 2 on the walls, and one below the goal-line has been the go-to all season, and it’s been shit all season. They just cycle around like idiots wasting time, looking for the perfect shot.

      If the PP would actually just attempt to open up lanes by driving to the net, that would probably work wonders compared to juggling the PP lines.

      • mad-hatter

        Yes, the strategy is important, but some players and combinations are just better at enacting it than others, and it’s not always the stars on the team. I doubt standing around making passes is what Kompon had drawn up on that blurred out white board. The PP would work if they actually moved to open up lanes, but so far the coaches haven’t found a combination of players that will actually make it happen.

      • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

        No problem with that except that they hardly ever get it to the guy below the goal line.

        • neo1978

          The difference in the power play is almost entirely the lack of production from the guy in front of the net. Hawks should have had a dozen or more PP goals during the season just from that position. Hawks are going to have to address that in the off-season.

    • roadhog

      I like what I have seen when the D-man crashes right down the gut, it seems to start some movement, the problem is that the Hawks didn’t use that for most the season, so the options it opens up aren’t second nature. I support a bit more walking to the middle, especially in regards to Kane, whom the Wings are content with leaving uncovered out wide. You know, the second he moves to the slot, the defense responds and options open up.

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

    I don’t disagree with your suggestions re the top two lines, Sam, but I have a feeling this move is an attempt to get Toews off the schneid, get him on the scoresheet. IMO, Sharp has been the best Hawk offensively through three games, and putting him alongside Toews might just be the thing to get the Cap’n going, which could then prove to be the hockey of equivalent of trickle-down economics … well, except for that it might actually work in hockey.

    Saad, too, is finding open ice really well–he’s been amazing, actually, but for game 2. Chuck Kane’s vision into that equation, and who knows.

    Thing is, I think the first two lines have played to a draw more or less. It’s the 3rd and 4th lines where I think we need the most re-focusing; they’ve been crazily outplayed the last 2 games. I also wonder about d pairings. We’ve looked just as sloppy there as on our 3rd and 4th lines.

    • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

      3rd line has been slightly negative. 4th line has been a draw last 2 games.

      Toews’ Corsi over the past two losses is +26 (+12, +14) and he’s brought his linemates along for the ride (ex: Sharp -7 without Toews, +13 with him). Detroit has not scored in the past 2 games with Toews on the ice.

      Kane on the 2nd line was -1 in last game, and -10 in the one before. Kane was on the ice for 3 of the 4 Detroit goals on Saturday, and 1 of the 3 on Monday, so 4 of the 7.

      Kane scored 2 goals (because he’s a fuckin’ offensive magician) so no one has paid attention to the continued defensive struggles of the 2nd line. Same thing that was happening all season long. If Kane doesn’t overperform on offense, that 2nd line is a disaster.

      I agree with Sam here. Q needs to get Kane with Toews. They’re terrifying together and Toews makes up for Kane’s defensive shortcomings. Hossa and Sharp still have plenty of offensive ability to make that a potent 2nd line. And Bolland and Hossa have enough defensive prowess to cover for Sharp. Plus, as noted, Sharp can win some draws.

      1st line doesn’t need a kick start, they just need a few bounces. They’ll come. 2nd line is where the problem has always been.

      I agree the 3rd and 4th have to be better. I’ve never been a fan of Shaw at 3C, and I’m not a fan of Handzuis. I’m not sure they improve to where they could/should be without a personnel change, but I doubt the personnel changes I’d like to see would ever happen with the Hawks down 2-1. More likely Q would do something like play Mayer instead of Ben Smith, causing me to go into convulsions.

      • justforkicks

        Well on the other hand, blou would be ecstatic if Mayer filled in because smith is a career AHL player.

        In any case agree completely about the 2nd line struggles and the proposed fixes. Which means its not going to happen.

        • mad-hatter

          Are you leading the charge with this ?!?

          • justforkicks

            I’m crazy so I must be!!!

      • cliffkoroll

        Yup yup yup

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

        Fuck me. I replied, disqus lost it. In brief …

        I did understand that toews is playing well possession-wise; my idea was that Sharp is better able than Saad to get him on hte scoresheet. And by “draw” I meant scoresheet, too. A series is too short to rely on PDO balancing out.

        Also, Saad forechecking on the 2nd is possibly a better use of his current best skill, and could possibly lead to them keeping more of an o-zone presence.

        There was more, but that’s good enough.

        • Accipiter

          Disqus is a cruel mistress, your comment may show up later ….

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

            Oh I can only hope … it was my best comment ever.

      • Hack

        Whew. I feel a lot of solid energy comin’ outta ya.
        Good, positive aura. Great. Great. It’s all great.
        You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad.
        Harness, energy. Block, bad.
        Feel the flow, CNS. Feel it. It’s circular.
        It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter. You get on the horse.
        It goes up and down, and around. Circular. Circle. With the music, the flow. All good things.

        • ChicagoNativeSon

          Great! Thanks a lot, Hack!
          .
          .
          .

          Psycho.

  • Dawnsremorse

    “I think Q eventually gets to this, just probably not tomorrow night.”

    That’s kind of a fucking problem if the right line combos are the difference between 2-2 and 1-3 in the series.

    What a magical world it would be if Q used logic and sound reason to put together his lines, rather than a magic line blender of randomness.

    • ballyb11

      .He’s the winningest (or second) in the NHL.

      • Dawnsremorse

        With one of the largest drop-offs from Regular Season winning % to Playoff winning % of any active coach.

        Honestly, it’s a damn good thing the 2010 team was so good. It was Quenville-proofed.

        • ballyb11

          I’m gonna go w/ what Q puts out there instead of your “logic and sound reason”.

          • Dawnsremorse

            You do that. It’s worked so well so far this series.

    • roadhog

      I’m not in the camp that believes the right line combos are the primary difference between 2-2 and 1-3. IMO Q’s at fault for putting too much emphasis on lines and double shifting mid-game, and not enough emphasis on execution, discipline. Babcock has to work his lines to compete against the Hawks talent, Q does not, but oh how he likes to.

  • Country_Bumpkin

    I don’t care if Q suits up himself, but the Hawks MUST win tomorrow night. As for the type of play, they need to bring Game 1 play and run Detroit of out the building. Once this mofo gets tied up at 2 a piece, I feel the Hawks can take it.
    Personally, I ‘d like to see a repeat of the Easter Sunday game. This team is too good for it to end this soon.

    • ballyb11

      Why would you want to see a repeat of the Easter Sunday game?

    • Dawnsremorse

      The Wings have improved their play too much since then for another 7-1 shelling. The Hawks, likewise, have dried up offensively on every line.

      IF the Hawks win, it will be an OT nail-biter.

      • Accipiter

        What if it doesn’t go to OT ?

        • Dawnsremorse

          Then that means the Wings won in regulation by 2+ goals again.

          • justforkicks

            well thats pretty defeatist

          • roadhog

            Hawks won game one in regulation by three goals. It happened about a week ago, and Q was coach. What does that mean?

      • roadhog

        So the game 1 Wings are also completely out the picture as well?

  • mad-hatter
    • Preacher

      I have to admit to genuine surprise at this. Seriously. There’s no way I thought AV would be let go unless Gillis was gone first/too. The Canucks may actually be a dangerous team now with a new leader running the show. But then, Gillis is still there, so probably not.

      • mad-hatter

        He’s probably only got one year left considering their upcoming cap problems. The schadenfreude will be around for another season.

        • mightymikeD

          yeah, I think so. 17 players signed, already over the Cap.. compliance buyout coming for a player that he could have got some value for last summer.. Gillis should have gone today as well, but he’s certainly on borrowed time

          • Preacher

            My guess is he either fired AV in hopes of keeping his job, or ownership told him to fire AV in order to keep his job.

          • mightymikeD

            I’m guessing the latter.. and that he’s got a year, at best, to turn it around.

    • laaarmer

      Hazzah.

    • justforkicks

      Huzzah?

      • mad-hatter

        Probably only for one more season, so the craziness will continue.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      So he’s an option if Q takes the blame for an early exit with the PT winning team…. Oh, wait…

    • ballyb11

      From part of the NM story (by a hockey writer:

      “In the end, the Canucks couldn’t score and their 19th-ranked offence was hampered by the 25th-rated face-off percentage and it was no better against the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference quarterfinal series. The Canucks were second last in playoff draws and scored but eight goals in the sweep.”

      Will half of this problem be the Hawks undoing?

      • mad-hatter

        Which half, the faceoffs? Because during the regular season the Hawks’ 5v5 was best in the league considerably.

        You’re making me worryd.

        • Accipiter

          I’d say FO’s. Q talked about how important he thinks they are, and that they need to win more in all zones and all situations

          • mad-hatter

            I don’t like giving FOs that much weight, but if the Hawks can’t win board battles…

          • Accipiter

            I was just guessing at which half ballyb was worryd aboot.

          • mad-hatter

            His worry really is contagious. Not enough dude to offset it.

          • Preacher

            In game 1 of the current series, Zus was out there with Sharp and someone else for a draw. Sharp went to the dot immediately and took the faceoff. I thought that Q had finally gone to the “Sharp as center in the playoffs” thing he’s done in the past. But it wasn’t repeated after that. Not sure why it was just that one faceoff and done.

      • amontesawesome

        No.

      • ChicagoNativeSon

        Cumulative record of 8 teams with FO% over 50% during the postseason: 31-28. Reduce that to top 7 and it’s only 26-25. Not seeing much of a correlation, especially when 4 of those top 7 teams are out of the playoffs already.

        Postseason ranking: Ottawa, 8th. PIT, 9th. Hawks, 11th. NYR, 13th. LAK, 14th. And all won their opening series against teams with better FO%.

        There’s been so much evidence to show the correlation between FO% and winning is almost non-existent, yet the media continues to harp on it, just like the Hits stat, which actually is inversely proportional.

        Maybe it was giving up 15 goals in 4 games that killed the Nucks. Maybe it was being on the PK 24 times and only on the PP 10, and giving up 7 PK goals. Or maybe it’s just because they’re a bunch of turds and Karmic forces chose to make all right with the universe for a moment in time?

    • Dawnsremorse

      If the Hawks exit this round, I would like to see similar results for Quenville. 2 first round exits and a second round exit on a team with Kane, Toews, Sharp, Hossa, Keith, etc?

      A bottom-third PP with those same names all year, without a hint of substantive adjustments?

      Unacceptable.

      • bizarrohairhelmet

        Agreed. Whomever we get has got to be better than a coach who’s only managed 1 Stanley Cup win and a Jack Adams Finalist nomination in the past 3 years. If the Blackhawks lose tomorrow, that’s the end of Q for me. There are better coaches out there for sure. Somewhere.

        • Dawnsremorse

          The 2010 team was so good as to be Quenville-proofed.

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            I hear ya and you are certainly spot on with your assessment of somebody has to be better than Q. Who wouldn’t have won the cup with that team??? And who wouldn’t have picked up points in 85% of the games they played this season with this roster???

            Maybe scott
            Howson?
            SILVER lining is that the team will be so stacked next season with a pretty solid season behind them (forget the playoffs amiright?) so any jackass with a “headcoach” badge will pilot them to the chalice of silvering.

            SUCKS to be the rest of the nhl next season.

          • roadhog

            The only coach I can think of that would have failed the 2010 Hawks is AV . . . he’d have had Toews, Hossa and Sharp taking headers into the boards and he’d have benched Kane for not being physical enough. I heard he’s on the market, just like Luongo’s gonna be with that compliance buyout, whadda ya think? Buffalo? Good news for those of us who enjoy the perpetual demise and black comedy that is the Canucks . . . GILLES STAYS!!!! Snark, snark . . .

          • Dawnsremorse

            I take it then, you are happy with 2 1st round exits and a 2nd round exit to the 7th seed. I envy your low standards.

          • Accipiter

            Has the 2nd round exit happened already ?

            That gasoline hangover lasted longer than I thought.

          • mad-hatter

            You need to slow your roll. The Hawks were on track for 131 points in the regular season this year, so Q was doing something right regardless of what frustrations we have with the line up.

          • Dawnsremorse

            Even Canucks fans know that the President’s trophy is meaningless. I’d think Blackhawks fans would have higher standards for success than a regular season record nobody will remember.

          • mad-hatter

            This isn’t about the PT. This is about a team that could have had the second best winning record in NHL history, second to only the Montreal Canadiens in 1977, that did have one of the best PKs, and a record setting point streak to open a season. I think plenty of people will remember this though obviously the post-season record is more important. You’re commenting and whining like Q is a moron who doesn’t know anything about the team when his resume suggests otherwise.

        • cza

          Clearly it would be the moment to give Pierre McGuire his shot at unleashing the tyrannical, hockey mad-genius lurking within. We’d lose Eddie O to apoplexy, however.

  • BigCSouthside

    100% agree on the breakouts. I think the best thing they could do is approach Detroit as if it was Nashville’s trap game. They cant fire the home run pass when Detroit makes it a point to turn their blue line into fucking fort knox. And for fucks sake theres nothing wrong with a dump and chase. The Hawks have speed, fucking use it and make their defensemen turn their happy asses around and skate to the fucking end boards to play D instead of basically passing it directly to them because you put a stretch pass at someone’s feet.

    • nextgame

      I think this is what’s fucking with the Hawks in this series. Babcock has basically turned Detroit into Nashville (re: their style of play), only with very dangerous offensive threats to go along with it, unlike Nashville.
      And I’m pretty sure no one on the Hawks coaching staff saw that comiing. They expected a fairly wide open style of play, which they had success against in the regular season. Instead they’re getting this. Whether they can make the necessary adjustments to play a ‘Nashville style’ against this Wings team will determine if they can turn this series around and move on to the next round.

      • bennicksic

        Only thing wrong with that statement is the shots on goal. This doesn’t resemble the Nashville or Phoenix series (which were similar) where the slot is clogged and shots don’t make it to net. Or maybe the strategy is the same but Detroit is not blocking shots….they are clearing out the rebounds though. Bickell on the PP in front of the net will solve this problem….bit thing is, they gotta bury the shots. No more post shots.

        • nextgame

          Personally, I think the shots on goal for the Hawks this series (except for game 2) has been somewhat misleading because (it seems to me) so many of those shots are coming from the perimeter with Howard having a clear line of sight. IMO these are not, for the most part, difficult saves for him to make.
          I think the Hawks have to get more shots on net through traffic in front, looking for tips or deflections, or (and this is where they have been most effective as far as I can tell) get as much pressure and bodies in front of the net as possible and get something going off of rebounds and scrambles (ala the game 3 wave off goal).

          • bennicksic

            When the Hawks played Nashville, they had trouble getting pucks to the net…thats why Brian Campbell’s return late in the series was huge. He was able to do what Leddy is doing now and that is cross the blue line with the puck possession. This is not the issue here. Pucks are getting there, just no one is burying them. I dont think thats similar to Nashville or even the Phoenix series but youre right about getting traffic in front. Bickell and Shaw will do the dirty work no doubt.

          • ChicagoNativeSon

            Ah, the legend of Babe and the Blue Ox rekindled.

          • bennicksic

            Haha whats that mean?

          • ChicagoNativeSon

            People complained so much when the Hawks were down 2-1 to NSH that it was because they were missing Campbell, that when he returned, they automatically decided therefore he was the reason the 2010 Hawks, a generational team, won.

            Great story. Very good player. But it wasn’t true.

            In his first game back and already hailed as the savior, Campbell had a team low -10 Corsi. He had 0 goals and 0 assists in the series, and didn’t even attempt a SOG until the final game.

            The Hawks scored 13 goals in the 3 games after Soupy returned, yet he was only on the ice for 1 single goal and wasn’t involved in the play. If he had created so much offense, you’d think he’d at least be on the ice for some of it, right?

            Hawks had actually outshot NSH 33-23 in the 3rd game of the series, the one prior to Campbell returning, but simply got shutdown by a hot goalie. (sound eerily familiar?) They were simply a very talented team and not dependent on one single player to beat a Johnny-come-lately like Nashville.

          • bennicksic

            Well, I know my thought was that Campbell was good at penetrating the blue line and the defense Nashville played was to stop that…Campbell plays defense so goals scored by him is really an irrelevent stat.

            Your stats and research are undoubtedly impressive and I am not saying i disagree. It would be interesting to watch those games again and see if Nashville didnt adjust their defense unsuccessfully when Campbell came back, knowing that they couldnt exploit that weakness anymore. I dont know without going back, but its definitely a possibility.

            That being said, are you saying you see this series going the same way the Nashville one did?

          • neo1978

            The legend that won’t die. The game Campbell came back is the same game where the Hawks switched their centers.

            This is the first game where Sharp played second line center, Bolland was moved to third line center in-between Ladd and Versteeg, and Madden was moved to fourth line center.

            Before that game Legwand was crushing Madden as the Hawks third line center. From that game on, Bolland and Toews tag teamed Legwand.

            Madden went from an inadequate third line center to a way above average fourth. And it was the game where Bolland as the “rat” during those playoffs originated. And it gave the Hawks an actual third line that could play anyone; unlike the Shaw line.

            And again the Hawks are in the same situation. The Wings bottom lines are doing some serious damage to the Hawks. However, this time, Q doesn’t appear to have any answers.

          • Dawnsremorse

            That’s probably because, like most of Q’s successes, swapping the centers was a happy accident. Threw some darts at names on the wall, picked them and YAY! it worked.

  • Preacher

    And I know we still have our own business to take care of, but watching the Sharks play the Kings has been impressive/scary. I thought the Kings would win in 4 or 5, but the Sharks have shown how speed can beat physical. Do the Hawks players and coaches watch the other series? Maybe they could learn something. As much as it pains me to say it, the Sharks look the most dangerous of any team left in the West.

    • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

      In games 3&4 yes, in games 1&2 not so much.

      • roadhog

        Methinks 1/2 weren’t too shabby neither- outshot the Kings 35/20 in game 1, with only Torres receiving a penalty all game, matched the Kings 31/31 in shots in game 2 and lost on two PP goals real late in the third. Kings stole game 2 with the help of a DOG penalty. Sharks are legit . . .

    • Accipiter

      Q said in an interview that they watch some of the games, especially teams they may face in the next round, but don’t really focus on strategies until the finish the series they are in.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    It really comes down to ‘take care of the puck in the D and Neutral zones’ doesn’t it?

    • roadhog

      Nail on head. It’s the impressive backstory for the headline stealing +53 goal differential that made our four lines so productive during the regular season. Stifling, efficient D makes the +53 happen, and wins Crawford and Emery a Jennings. We’re all talking down the stretch pass like it’s poison, when the fact of the matter is that there is a time and a place for throwing the bomb, just not every play (ahem, KANE) . . . The Wings are looking to jump that pass every breakout . . . gotta catch’em when they aren’t looking, or don’t do it.

      • Jim A

        This is what killed the Ducks. They couldn’t get out of their zone and seemed to be trying to set a record for icings on breakouts.

    • ballyb11

      They look like shit half the time getting the puck out of their zone.

  • 334Rules

    All well and good but we know damn well Sharp’s not going to take draws because Q has decided that this is Bolland’s job goddammit.

  • Hi, I’m Bob LeDonne

    GUYS

    I got this.

    • Accipiter

      Is this contagious ?

      • mad-hatter

        Dammit, who was supposed to keep track of Bob’s innoculations?

        • 2883

          He drinks enough whiskey to kill any pathogen

    • bizarrohairhelmet

      I’d feel much better if Abdelkader got this.

  • roadhog

    In other news . . .Pens bag two early in the second to go from one down to one up in OTT. How good would Turris look in an indianhead sweater? #7 is available, right?

    • Accipiter

      We could trade for him or wait until 2018.

      • roadhog

        I’m not into waiting, it’s a personal flaw. But I think it’s bad juju to talk about trading players this close to counting on them for a Hawk win.

        • Accipiter

          I wasn’t talking about trading anyone, I’m saying those are just about the only ways the Hawks could get Turris.

          • roadhog

            No, I was starting to think about whom to trade. Shame on me, you are all good. May 7 chelsea daggers pierce my ears tomorrow. (I know, we’re away.)

          • 2883

            They were rumored to be interested in Hammer… They’d probably still want more for Turris than Hammer though and the Hawks would have to pillage their blueline to get that done

          • putmeinthemadhouse

            why do we want turris again?

          • 2883

            2C always 2C

          • putmeinthemadhouse

            meh..got enough options in the next year in the pipeline would rather not deal off important pieces for turris.

          • Dawnsremorse

            I do wonder about something that was written on this blog earlier, about Seabrook potentially never getting back to where he was as a result of the cumulative damage of concussions.

            If Seabrook’s play does not elevate back to previous levels by the trade-deadline next season, I wouldn’t mind dealing him. But it wouldn’t land you Turris on his own.

  • roadhog

    I leave the Sens alone for a little while and they give up FOUR more . . .

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    Dear Blackhawks. Never thought I’d say this, but could you emulate Pittsburgh tomorrow and do to Detroit what they are doing to Ottawa?

    • Dawnsremorse

      Given their recent play, I don’t think that’s a realistic goal.

      How about we ask them to do HALF of what San Jose did, and come back from a 1 game deficit instead of a 2 game deficit?

      • Accipiter

        What if Q dresses Carello, Bollig and Mayers ?

        • Dawnsremorse

          Uh, then we’re down 1-3 in the series and we can start discussing who should take Q’s place behind the bench going forward.

          • Accipiter

            I thought that was happening either way.

          • Dawnsremorse

            Unfortunately no. Even if the Hawks do lose in the second round to a 7 seed, there’s sadly still a chance Q could be left to coach the team. However, if he essentially sabotages the team with a lineup choice as stupid as that, he’ll be forcing management’s hand.

          • mad-hatter

            You do realize that the 7th seed is the Red Wings who are coached by probably the best in the league, led by two of the best players to ever play the game?

          • Dawnsremorse

            Do you believe they’re a deeper, more skilled team than The Blackhawks?

          • mad-hatter

            No, but if you expected them to just come in and put them down in four games you’re delusional. It’s been three games, and if the Hawks play tomorrow like they did game one or the final twenty of three then Detroit won’t last much longer. You’re raging against Q like they’ve already been eliminated, when there hasn’t been much cause to worry other than Howard when the Hawks are playing well. No, Q’s line configuration isn’t ideal, but there’s much more to coaching than that which Q has proven to be good at and which the team has obviously bought into.

          • Dawnsremorse

            Fair enough.

            I would suggest that if one team has greater skill and has been outscored 7 to 2 over the course of two games, then the missing ingredients are strategy and/or will (which I know nobody here likes to hear, but whatever… people here seem to think hockey games are won and lost on corsi sheets).

          • mad-hatter

            Right, because it has nothing to do with how the Wings or Howard have been playing in order to stifle the Hawks’ offense. Yes it’s on Q to find ways to counter the Wings’ style, but clearly something worked because the Hawks were the better team the last minutes on Monday and could have won if it weren’t for some unlucky turnovers and a recalled goal.

          • Dawnsremorse

            Maybe. We don’t know for sure. Detroit scored another goal after that.

            The argument seems to be that the momentum the Hawks would have gained from coming back to tie the game would have given them the advantage but momentum is no more tangible than ‘will’ or ‘fire’ or ‘passion’

            I think any time you’re left saying ‘if only for that recalled goal’ in a game you lost by more than 1 goal, you’re reaching.

          • mad-hatter

            Okay, that’s fair, there’s little wondering about what-could-have-beens. But the corsi numbers (which you dislike so much) which are indicative of possession favored the Hawks by the end of the game and isn’t just an estimation of momentum. Possession usually leads to goals, so if the Hawks can continue this tomorrow there should be something good out of it with limited opportunities from the Wings.

          • Dawnsremorse

            I don’t dislike corsi, I think it’s a valuable asset in conjunction with the eye-test.

            A team that cycles the puck around the permitter and takes largely ineffective and unthreatening shots can dominate a corsi sheet, without winning many games… or without even feeling like they’re getting much done to those watching.

            My issue with the Hawks game is that while they’ve controlled they play, they haven’t looked threatening doing it since the second half of the 1st game, when they were creating space and driving to the net, and getting in Howard’s face.

            I will grant you, having a goal recall the one fucking time they bother to do that last game does little to incentivize that behavior…

          • neo1978

            I hate that argument. And it is simply NOT true. Taking largely ineffective shots can NOT dominate a corsi score sheet. Corsi is based on total shots. Taking bad shots makes it less likely, not more likely you will get the puck back for another attempt. So bad shots tend to lower Corsi not raise it.

            Not the most accurate tool but still:

            http://gametracker-nhl.tsn.ca/17685

            Hawks outshot the Wings and had more shots inside the house.

          • Dawnsremorse

            So you’re saying the won the corsi battle, yet lost the game?

            It’s almost as if corsi itself is not an accurate predictor of success…

          • lizmcneill

            Regression to the mean. Let’s hope that the remaining games are long enough for that to happen….

          • laaarmer

            Toward the mean, or so I have been told.

          • neo1978

            There isn’t a stat that will predict the winner of a particular game. In fact there really isn’t a stat to predict the winner of a series, too small a sample size. Corsi is useful in predicting success over the long haul. Somewhere in the 70% range. Which is absolutely huge for predictor models.

            Of course, Corsi is a skater stat. Poor goalie performance can negate any skater indicator. And a huge goalie performance by the opponent can negate it as well. Last Hawks game was an excellent example.

          • laaarmer

            Stats guy responding.
            Corsi is a predictor of success, but like all predictors is not a guarantee. Por exemplo, The Hawks corsi number can continue to be good, but if Hahwahd’s sv% continues to be above his norm, it won’t matter. There are a lot of things happening during the game. Focusing on just one, pucks directed at the net, will not assure you 100% of what is happpening.

            Prediction: Toews scores the 1st goal for the Hawks at about 11:11 in the 1st period. Hawks win 4-2 with an empty netter by, who else, KANE! (he reuses to pass to Sharp)

          • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

            Maybe Q can play goal for the Hawks?

            Or better yet, for the Wings? (I don’t expect Q to be very good)

            I say if Q doesn’t play goal, he should be fired. A team losing 2 in a row (gasp!) is UNACCEPTABLE. I can’t believe he doesn’t have a solution for a goalie with something like a .968% Sv% the past 2 games.

  • 2883

    Dear CNS,

    I just saw 3 months ago you replied to one of my comments. Disqus told me it was 16 minutes ago. Therefore, I believe you are clearly a time traveler and capable of going back in time to fix things that may have once went wrong. Hoping that your next leap will be the leap home. If you would, assume the body of Dan Cleary and slash Pavel Datsyuk hard in practice eliminating him from this series. k thx.

    2883.

    • Accipiter

      I got 5 of those from Disqus, all from CNS.

      What does it mean ?

      • 2883

        It can ONLY mean CNS is capable of time travel. Maybe he’s waiting for the ability to generate exactly 1.21 Gigawatts or something. I just know that if CNS fails to slash Datsyuk, I’m going to hold this over his head forever.

        • ChicagoNativeSon

          Hey everyone. I’m back!

          And the future is great!!

          (That is, unless you’re a Nucks fan hoping for a Stanley Cup championship in the next 25 years.)

          • lizmcneill

            Who wins this series?! (and the cup??!!!!!!!??!!!!!!)

      • MySpoonIsTooBig

        Yeah, I got 9 of those myself, I am confused

        • Preacher

          I feel left out. I didn’t get any time traveling responses.

          • Accipiter

            You should attend our time travel seminar, it was two weeks ago, hope to see you there !

          • http://twitter.com/ChiNativeSon ChicagoNativeSon

            Heh.

            And yeah, that’s what I apparently accidentally did because Discus wouldn’t allow me to sign in with twitter anymore. I got a bunch of notification too. I thought people were CNS’ng me, looking up my past comments that of course would NEVER contradict any of my present comments.

          • Accipiter

            Your comments are always informative, even if a contradiction is/isn’t found.

        • bizarrohairhelmet

          That’s what happens when you combine accounts. The remaining account assumes the identity of all the other identity posts and since there is a change, Disqus notifies you as if it is a new message. But only for about half of your messages. It should come to no surprise that Disqus is not dependable.

          Also, CNS traveled into the future but only had enough time before the portal closed to grab a few future stats to make him rich. He chose qualcomp and fenwick…

  • Hack

    Be forewarned. What follows is a verbose description of line combos that I’m 99% sure won’t happen (or we won’t see it for more than a couple shifts). It’s a waste of time and a clinic in self-indulgence/importance, but I’m a recovering hockey blogger, and sometimes I fall off the wagon….
    20-19-88
    Yes, in theory your two best playmakers are on the same line, but Patrick Kane needs the puck and Jonathan Toews needs space. I’m not talking about the brute force space that Marian Hossa creates, because 19-81 get very meat-&-potatoes-hockey sometimes, I’m talking about the – “Oh shit, Oh shit, what’s Patrick Kane gonna do with the puck?….I’d better just hang out here and make sure that I don’t look stupid. Wait, did we just let Jonathan Toews score a tap-in goal?” – type of space. You’re not making an opposing coach work too hard to figure out who he’s sending his top defensive players out against, but if this line is getting a lot of offensive zone starts, it shouldn’t matter all that much.
    10-65-81
    A promotion for Andrew Shaw? Are you nuts? We saw this line for a few shifts in the minnesota series, and it looked quite good in a small sample size. Would it be a bit shootsy? Sure, but Sharp is playing well in a lot of ways right now and Hossa isn’t the pure even-strength sniper that he’s often made out to be. Shaw forechecks, attacks the net looking for hossa and/or sharp rebounds, sharp takes Shaw’s draws, and you’ve got the soothing veteran presence of a Marian Hossa as the Shaw-Whisperer. Shaw might not be a perfect center, but there’s enough forecheck and finish in his game to be a top 6 player in the right situation. Sharp centering Hoss never looked great, but on opposite wings it’s been good in small sample sizes.
    29-36-25
    It’s time to go back to Dave Bolland – sacrificial lamb. I’m not suggesting that Q go back to chasing matchups at all costs like he often did prior to this year, but where applicable and especially at home, he can make this happen. Bolland doesn’t need to win D zone faceoffs in order to battle opposing top lines to a near draw (in plus-minus or CORSI). Vik is turnover prone, but so was Kris Versteeg, and Vik can skate you out of trouble in a hurry. Oh, and I feel like I missed the All-Blackhawk-Staff memo which surmised that putting two young UFAs (who you have no intention of trading, but would like to resign at a decent price) in the cushiest offensive situations of any of the team’s wingers, on their respective contract years, is a good idea…….
    28 (smith)-16-67
    Why is Kruger here rather than centering line two? Sacrificial Lamb 2.0. Kruger just seems more comfortable as a role guy rather than a guy who’s being counted on to score (Andrew Shaw is too dumb to know any better), and Kruger is another guy that doesn’t need to win D-zone draws in order to have effective shifts. Partner in crime Michael Frolik excels as a role guy as well. And wait, what’s this……an all-terrain winger with some finish to his game who will compliment the hustle dorks? Yes. Please.
    On a good night, Michal Handzus will win 55% of his draws and maybe even stumble into a point, but he’ll still end up with a negative CORSI rating. Old-slow defensemen can age like a fine wine, old-slow forwards….not so much in today’s game. Guys like Zus and Brunette are “Quenneville guys”. I’m sure they’re great guys who would adopt a stray kitten if they were to come across one, but they’re just not very good anymore. Michael Handzus is not John Madden circa 09-10. The thought that we acquired a guy primarily for his faceoff prowess, but that this guy wouldn’t be taking the shorthanded draws of the league leader in SH draws lost, is one of those things that makes me go cross-eyed. I didn’t want Zus in the first place, though I could rationalize the logic behind that niche role. So Kruger and Fro are so good together that SH faceoff losses aren’t that big a deal (I buy, btw), but Zus’ strengths as a faceoff man outweigh his deficiencies elsewhere…………….I digress.
    Hammer and Dunc get screwed in this deal as they’re seeing a whole lot of the defensive zone, but them’s the breaks.
    Leddy and Seabs get the beach-chair shifts, although high doses of Leddy in the offensive zone might supress his coast to coast skills, but is that really happening all that much right now at ES? All Brent Seabrook wants to do these days is pinch, and if he’s going to continue to be a clusterfuck in the D zone, might as well just let him do whatever.
    Oduya and Rosival continue to be the cameleon pairing.
    Believe me when I tell you that I don’t want to coach this team, I’d fail at all of the things that I don’t even consider when raging on Q, but I would like the opportunity to perform inception, just for a second, just to see how it feels.

    • Accipiter

      Shaw shoots R, Hossa does not abide.
      /kidding, sort of

      • Hack

        Right, there’s that factor, but if I sit down and try to think of a sweet Toews dish to a Hossa snipe (lefty playmaking center to Lefty one-timer aficionado), during any season in which they’ve skated together, I don’t remember many. Do you?

        • Accipiter

          G1 vs Detroit.

          • Hack

            Right, on the powerplay, where they have the space to do such things. I still stick by my guns that they’re mostly meat and potatoes together at even strength (especially if the play is established in the offensive zone rather than in transition/odd-man rushes). Meat and potatoes is good, but it can occasionally go cold against a goalie who is on his game.

          • Accipiter

            I agree that 19 and 81 on the same line is ok, but using them together almost always might not be the best use of their talents.

        • Hack

          Their (right side) cycle is more fluid because they’re both lefty, but that’s all that has been proven true with the lefty-lefty situation, in my opinion.

        • red palace

          Last happened not all that long ago:
          http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20122013,3,155&lang=en
          But I recognize one example does not disprove your point.
          You may have persuaded me on Kruger and Shaw, well put. (65 was on good behavior through the season, I’d really like him to prove that Monday was an aberration.)

    • cza

      The Shaw-Whisperer might work, though I think Ruprecht may be in greater need of the genital cuff.

    • lizmcneill

      I have given up thinking about line combos, it just makes me frustrated. Q Y U NO SEND OUT DDN WHEN WE REALLY NEED A GOAL?

  • OMFS88

    Most importantly, has anyone had this beer? Was it worth the insane price tag I assume it carried? Did you drink it like beer, sip it like scotch or take shots of it like Malort?

    • DesertHawk

      Or how to track it down. The only thing I found was a UK site, which required registration, not a big fan of registering if it can’t be shipped to me… which I fear might be the case, as I can’t get Malort shipped out here… stupid Arizona.