Whichever Way The Wind Blows: Wild 1 – Hawks 5 (Hawks win series 4-1)

Well, that’s that then. An underwhelming series came to what was pretty much an underwhelming end. Sure, it looks glossy to have an emphatic scoreline, but I find the most encouraging aspect of the whole thing to be Quenneville’s quote that he wasn’t too thrilled with the last two games and feels that that there’s a few levels the Hawks are going to have to reach before we pack up the cats for the summer.

And I have to agree.

The Hawks weren’t great tonight, just as they weren’t great in Game 4. They did enough, some players more so and some less. And though it’s easy to say that you only have to pull out enough to win to beat the Wild when you’re Milton Berle, I don’t think it’s so simple as to just turn it on when you feel the challenge is up to your standards.

But now’s not the time for that. The Hawks are past the first round for the first time in three years, and that feels all right.


-Oh hey, let’s get one more negative out of the way: Ahem….Kane -3, Sharp -2, Handzus -6. What are those? CORSI ratings for the night. Why? Because Handzus had another awful game in an awful series…because he just isn’t that good. And this could be a real problem next round. Who wants Joe Pavelski or Logan Couture at the other end of that?

When you add in how active and destructive Kruger was tonight, why are we bothering with this? Or the fact that Sharp is working so hard in his defensive end from the wing and playing a 200-foot game anyway, why isn’t he playing center?

When Handzus isn’t winning draws, he’s borderline-useless. And he has to win a lot of them to get involved. He didn’t tonight, nor has he all series. Both the Wings and Sharks are exceptional at the dot. It won’t get better there.

-Well, I think we all knew the top line would break out once we hinted that we were waiting. So there it is. All it took was what looked like a pretty innocuous turnover from Jonas Brodin, and fractions of a second later it was behind Harding.

-Speaking of which, I can’t help but feel for Harding, who gutted this one out because there was not other option for the Wild. He clearly was ailing. Seems like a rough ending for what was already a rough year for him.

-Boy, isn’t Jared Spurgeon glad this series is over?

-When was the last “Cor-ey” chant at the UC? He’s earned it, as he’s looked more and more confident with each game. If anything, this break could hurt him as he’s clearly feeling it.

-Leddy didn’t have a great game, and I still worry about when teams are able to get forwards on him when he’s retrieving the puck. He’s not finding space as easily as he did during the season.

-Oh, the Hawks scored on a power play that didn’t matter. That’s nice. They still need to fucking move.

-I have to be honest, I didn’t like Q’s timeout before the 5-on-3. I know 4-1 is still technically a game and anything could happen. But it already felt over at that point and it just seemed like it was an attempt to get Hossa a hat trick when you were already putting the Wild down. But it’s nitpicky.

-Speaking of the Wild, there will come a time when we all will not like the sight of Jason Zucker and Jonas Brodin coming here three times a year. It’s coming soon. They are definitely a team to watch. Brodin is going to be a real thing.

So the Hawks get through Round 1 without ever finding 3rd gear. It feels great in a lot of senses, and a little worrisome in others. Part of the journey.

It’s time to ramble on….

  • DesertHawk

    Was this a DLR?

    • I always thought that was 4 goals too, but then again I could be wrong, I do know that last year the standard was broken the game before a hot garbage game against the oil, so maybe they are being safe… that being said………….

      from NHL.com:

      Blackhawks blast Wild 6-1 to wrap up series

      • 5 goal victories get DLR out. Fels brings him out for less sometimes but I never agree with it. It’s usually a game the Hawks completely dominate.

    • Bannerman

      A DLR is 5 goals. I’m no expert but a DLR for anything less is seriously bad luck historically.

      • jackattack

        We got a DLR in the 6-2 game @ PHX in February, and that turned out just fine. But that might be the only instance of zero bad juju post-borderline-DLR ever.

        • Jim A

          Yeah, but that one was over in the second period. And Phoenix scored in the last minute of the 3rd period to get it under five. So yeah, I think it was a DLR night.

    • 334Rules

      certainly didn’t FEEL like a DLR. Glad Danger Dave stayed on the shelf.

      • Joe Banks

        Agreed. Bigger fish to fry.

  • The Doctor

    I said the same thing about the Q timeout but I can understand it from the perspective of working on your strategy for later series, in case a similar situation occurs.

  • coach crewser

    My only disagreement is with the assessment of the T.O. Q took to set up the 5-on-3 PP. At that point Q and everyone else was fairly certain the game was out of reach for the Wild and he took the time to call time out to try to set up a 5-on-3 PP to work on the PP. If they could use it to set up Hoss, great, but the reality is they have things on the Power Play that they need to work on.

    Too often recently the Hawks have been trying to run an umbrella with no threat of scoring from down low unless its on a re-direct or rebound or stuff from a shot from out high. What has worked for the Hawks in the past (09-10) is to work the PP low to high. Work in the corners and behind the net and try to feed a cutter off the half boards or stuff it from the corner when they give you the space, or to feed the point if those options aren’t open with some big-bodied net-presence (Now, Bickell, perhaps).

    Coming out of the T.O. the ‘Hawks immediately started working the puck from the corner and things opened up and led to a goal, granted it was 5-on-3 where things open up anyways, but it was indicative of what needs to be done.

    Love your work. Love your suit.

    • Accipiter

      I think he called the time out to rest the top unit (who had already been out there for 40 or so seconds) so they could stay on the ice for the 5 on 3.

  • tyler Myers was going to be the real deal too

  • wardrums

    Can we trade Barker for Brodin?

    • Paul the Fossil

      Now that was mean. Funny, and I upboated it of course, but mean. Go think about what you’ve done.

  • Sparky_The_Barbarian

    Hawks playoff failure v playoff success since 2010

    2011: 8 Seed Lost in 7 (OT) to the WC champ and PT winner

    2012: 6 Seed Lost in 6 to 3 seed though it took 5 OT games, some uncharacteristically bad goals from Crow, and a key injury (insert obligatory Fuck Raffe Torres comment).

    2013: 1 seed beat 8 seed and their AHL* goalies in 5

    I’m thinking we weren’t as bad as the records indicate in 11-12, and not as good as the record indicates so far this year. (though much better).

    Crow was a big difference from a year ago, so was having Hossa for the whole series (insert obligatory Fuck Raffe Torres comment).

    *Though its hard to see Backstrom doing any better in the first three games.

  • Agree wholeheartedly about Handzus. When he arrived I would have bet my house he’d never see second-line duty, and yet here he is. What does it say about the state of our centres that he’s the best option right now? We’re winning, but that will catch up to us.

    I don’t place much stock in home ice, but here’s a situation that begs for home-ice advantage over the length of a series, because when we’re the visitors he’s going to get exposed by match-ups a fair number of times.

    As questionable as Bolland has been all season, he’s such a better option than Handzus.

    • mad-hatter

      Kruger’s a better option than Zus too, and it lets Bolly stay on the third.

      • Accipiter

        The Swede and the two Patricks.

        • mad-hatter

          Is that the title of your new book? I’d buy it.

      • lizmcneill

        Bolly > Kruger > Zus right now, I think, but not even Bolly has been wonderful. The Patricks are both on fire at the minute, and that combined with Bolly’s value as a shutdown center might mean the best combo is 10-16-88 and 29-36-67/65 (do not trust Stals on a checking line). That would leave Stals-Zus-Fro or Stals-Zus-Shaw slaying bums which I tihnk would be all right.

    • Sparky_The_Barbarian

      Given his play in the regular season I thought Zus deserved the 2C spot. (Based on our lack of a legit 2C). If he doesn’t pull it together, 36 is back at 2C as soon as he’s healthy. Either way, Toews had better continue is ridiculous 65% FO percentage if we’re to stand a chance of being 50/50 at the dot for the next series series.

  • Hawkeytalk

    I’m unhappy about the Hawks possibly playing the sharks for one reason: third year in a row of Raffi Torres. Which Hawk will get his special attention this year?

    • lizmcneill

      Fuck him sideways.

    • Preacher

      Haven’t you heard? Raffi’s a whole new player! Totally reformed. All about clean hockey now. Matt Cooke all over again. So, yeah, nothing to worry about.

    • This is the sole reason I want the Sharks more than Detroit. I’m dying for a “rematch” with Torres. I absolutely love playing against teams/players I hate. Part of the reason this past series was so yawn-worthy for me was the complete lack of animosity. I mean, i didn’t yawn, but you know what I mean. I think of what a 5th game 6-1 playoff win SHOULD have been making me feel–like, say, if it was against Couver, Blues, or LA–and man, it was like reading a weak chapter of a novel before bed. I just turned off the computer and went to sleep. Normally I’d be bug-eyed and ready to drive around bashing mailboxes.

      • Jim A

        You don’t hate Detroit? What the hell?

        • Ha! Oh, I hate them alright. But at the same time it’s more of a nostalgic hate with them, something from my past more than my present. It was hatred combined with an unspoken jealousy for so long, and since the jealousy has waned the last 4/5 years, the hatred has too. Plus, we’ve seen them in the playoffs just once, I think, in 18 years–some such crazy number. Lessens the intensity for me. Add to that that they’ve rarely had individual douchebag players whom you can really glom onto with fury … well, sure, I still hate them, but I don’t wish death by unga-bunga upon them like I do some other teams nowadays.

      • Hawkeytalk

        Oh trust me, I don’t fear them or him. Of the three BoC teams, I’d rather see them. But that twat can go right to hell.

  • jackattack

    Before it became a 5-3, and for the one possession following the 5-3 goal, I thought our movement was looking a lot better. I’m taking that with the biggest grain of salt in the history of the world, but it was encouraging to see.

  • Matt22

    Honestly I feel like Leddy hasn’t looked good because Seabrook has been piss-poor at times.

    • 334Rules

      7 was flat out miserable last night, from my 300 level eye test.

      • B Squared

        He’s been miserable for a while now. Did he walk in on his wife being double teamed by two circus midgets or something?

  • 07GreyDigger

    Totally agree with Q (for a change). They didn’t win this series in dominating playoff fashion. They beat them because they were the better team and Minnesota had goalie issues. If they’re going to beat the next opponent, they really have to put their foot on the gas.

  • Sparky_The_Barbarian

    Sharks or Wings?

    Wings have a terrible Shots For/Against 5 on 5 so far in the first round, tied for fourth worst with Vancouver. The Nucks were terrible throughout the year.

    On the surface SJ has a much scarier ratio, but that was against, you guessed it, The Nucks, who had the worst regular season ratio of any Western Conference Playoff team.

    So maybe not as big a difference as we think. While the sharks are faster than in years past, SJ’s physical play is the only reason to worry about them.

  • B Squared

    I would just note that the Hawks weren’t always 100% dominate during the regular season. They just never gave up and eeked out a lot of wins late in the game or in overtime. They may not dominate any series after this one either but as long as they have that same Goonie-esque “never say die” attitude, they’ll always have a chance.