Avalanche 4, Blackhawks 3

A 1-1 third period tie turned into disaster quickly as newly minted 2nd line winger Jordan Hendry was called for a 4 minute elbowing penalty.  Nevermind that neither of the referees had called the penalty intially or that Viktor Stalberg was nearly paralyzed in the opposite corner on what was clearly a 5 minute boarding. 

Tomas Fleischmann, who is quickly annointing himself as an infamous Hawk killer, scored both times on the double minor and that pretty much put the Avalanche on the fast track to two points on the road. 

He added another goal later in the third to give himself the hat trick. 

Thoughts

While Bob said the other day there was nothing with Jordan Hendry as a fourth line winger, I don’t think either of us could have imagined he would see multiple shifts with the 2nd line.  For a reason unbeknownst to anyone, Jeremy Morin was lifted off the 2nd line halfway through the game for Jordan Hendry.  Would Morin have elbowed something named Winnik too to get the double minor? 

Maybe.  But I can definitely tell you he wouldn’t have been down as low as Hendry.  As a defenseman turned winger, Hendry can’t help who he is and when he sees his defensive bretheren in trouble, he’ll scoot down lower than a normal winger would. 

Either way, that’s besides the point.  Jordan Hendry was playing on a scoring line!!  Injuries or not, that is inexcusable.

–There was some rumblings last year that the Avalanche were giving serious consideration to sending the Hawks Kevin Shattenkirk for Kris Versteeg.  Yeah, I think that trade may have been a little better than the poo-poo platter they ended up with. 

–Tomas Kopecky is just re-defining ways to appear useless.  Last year, he was an irregular 4th liner and really didn’t have a chance.  He turned a strong Olympics into a solid 2nd half of the season.  

Now, he’s just getting in the way.  If there’s a reason why both he and Troy Brouwer are still on the top power play unit, please speak up.  They both stand in front of the net and Kopecky, more often than not, draws his man right to Brouwer effectively covering two guys with just one.  Not the best way to take advantage of the man advantage.

Don’t even get me started on his lack of puck pursuit.

–I’d really love to know if anyone in the league has had more of their shots blocked than Duncan Keith.  He’s good for at least four a game.   

–Colorado’s 4th goal was bad on so many levels.  First of all, this idea that Jassen Cullimore has deceiving speed.  No.  The guy moves like Frankenstein. 

Second, Brian Campbell has to just turn around and touch that puck.  I’m not sure if he was confused as to who he was out there with but he’s got to just go get it.  I’m not sure what any of the forwards were doing.  Bryan Bickell watched Fleischmann walk out in front.  Dave Bolland was equally slow coming back.

–Leave it to Edzo to try and paralyze your children.  In the third period when Paul Stastny went crashing into the boards, Olcyzk stopped it right there for a teaching point for young hockey players.  Instead of explaining the obvious safety advice of keeping your head up if you’re crashing into the boards (which Stastny clearly did not do), he went on to say the most important thing to do is try and brace yourself with your hands.  I think AHAI and USA Hockey probably disagree with that brilliant advice.

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21 Responses to Avalanche 4, Blackhawks 3

  1. alpo says:

    Pretty frustrating game all around. Hawks aren’t playing well, but I really don’t mind too much. Everyone knew this would be a tough year and there’s still half a season to go with hopefully a healthy roster.

    I mean, the Capitals are under a 7 game losing streak. Which brings me to 24/7 Pens vs. Caps. Fantastic show. A lot more interesting than NFL Hard Knocks since they get regular season footage. Bruce Boudreau is quite the crude sailor.

  2. pat says:

    I was really hoping eddie was going to say keep your had up and smile into the boards, rather than put your hands up and tilt your head down. Stasny couldve easily broken his neck there. and it looked like he did at first.

  3. Otter says:

    Well they really could have used Hossa and Kane last night. Other than that, not the worst of efforts. But I’m now a little worried about making the playoffs.

  4. John says:

    For what it’s worth, last year the Wings were only 6 games over .500 as late as the middle of Feburary and then finished the season 20 games over. Lot of season left to play.

  5. Dave Morris says:

    John>excellent point about the parallel between Wings 09-10 and Hawks 10-11. Squeezed against the cap. Their Norris-trophy winner Lidstrom was having a tough year. And they had this kid Howard in net. And injuries…and, and, and…Brad MAY.

    Gird your loins, Gentlemen.

  6. Big Tony says:

    I’m simply dumbfounded at how a team that learned what it takes to win it all one year can go out there the next and have games where they look like they don’t know the first thing about working hard on the backcheck, forecheck and whatever else kind of check there is. While I realize there was bound to be low points this year, I never dreamed that this team could look so deadassed as it has. What a shame they’re pissing away a season so completely like they are.

  7. Dominic says:

    OK, yes the team is frustrating, but still very competitive. My thoughts…

    1. Ham Sandwich – has he made one body check since he took down pominville? That was real early, but wondering if he is playing soft or hurt?

    2. Have to be optimistic about the evolution of 3rd line of Bickell, Boland, Brouer. Playing well defensively and pitching in with offense. As we get healthy up front, I will stand by our 4 lines against any around the league.

    3. Cullimore love him or hate him, you have to tip your cap… done a good job. Boynton, drives me nuts. No doubt we are waiting to add a number 5 guy at trade deadline. Do we have anyone else on the farm who can step up?

    4. I am a die hard hawk fan, many of my friends who are fans of other teams detested the hawks last year as soft front runners. Can’t help but think they are right with our inability to finish teams off. We still get outworked and hustled. Wondering if a little Soviet Stoicism would do these guys some good. That is less emotional roller coaster and more machine like play. These guys seem to be playing to impress each other, having dominating shifts, pretty passes and of course no goals. And then when we do get one, its like they want to talk about it and watch it over and over again, as opposed to going out and getting more. (I know..pyco babble). Battle 60 minutes and celebrate at the end of games, not during the games for anything.

    Adding some healthy forwards will only strengthen the team in the next week, it all comes down to consistency. Be nice to rattle off a 5 game winning streak, but if you go 6 – 3 – 1 the last 50, you end up with 100 points and a playoff spot. Yeah be nice to pick off a few more wins, but assuming we stay healthy, we should be rounding into a dangerous team down the stretch.

  8. Lee says:

    My opinion and mine only. Stanbo could have done a much better job in who he got rid of. To get rid of Buff and Ladd was insane. There are way more dead weights he could have dumped and thats being proven out now. The first two moves Rocky and John Mac should make should be to dump both of the Bowman’s

  9. Big Tony says:

    Who should he have dumped, Lee?

  10. Dominic says:

    2 more points I forgot.

    1. The plus minus for Sharp, Keith, Kane, Kopecky is skewed to the 5 empty net goals they have been on the ice for.

    2. Can somebody finally say it, that Buff had to go somewhere new to be the man. Do we not have any athletes out there. The idea that these guys would still be content contributing on the margin is foolish. Would I like Buff here now, skating with Campbell…sure…but Buff needed a change of scenery. Part of his lackadaisical play was because he was not and was never gonna be the man here. As for Ladd, he was the last one to go…he was the last guy we wanted to have go, but too, if we are healthy, would be 2nd/3rd line guy here. Versteeg same thing.

    So enough with the over romanticizing having all these guys around. This goes to show how great the team was. Those guys professionally needed new challenges and opportunities to grow. Yeah, great to have them with the injuries etc…but it is not that depth that has hurt us, it is the up and down play of our leaders and stars.

    End of discussion.

  11. Patrick says:

    John and Dave – you’re both right on. Just like last year’s Hawks team being a mirror image of the Wings the year prior (except for actually winning the Cup with Hossa), they’re a mirror image of last year’s Wings team – they’re following the blueprint a little too closely. They should come around, but damn, I hate waiting for it…

  12. John says:

    The Byfuglien horse has been beaten. Not to mention, he only had one more year left on his deal so he was going to be gone in a year anyway.

    Ladd is a little different, though. He was traded before the offer sheet to Hjalmarsson came in and the Hawks still looking to dump payroll. They still had the option to choose between him and a few others (Bolland, Hjalmarsson, Niemi, Reasoner etc.) They chose to part with him. I don’t see this over romanticizing or anything else. It’s an important discussion to have because, right now, it looks like a pretty big oversight by Stan Bowman.

    If I had to choose specific players who have been most responsible for putting the Hawks where they currently are, it would probably look something like this: Dave Bolland, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith, and Nick Boynton (for knocking Hossa out for a month moreso than his play). That’s two fringe core players, a no doubt core guy, and a 7th d-man masquerading as a 5th.

    This discussion is far from over.

  13. alpo says:

    The underwhelming play of Niklas Hjalmarsson has been very frustrating. He’s been slow, making terrible decisions and is caught watching pucks quite a bit. He seemed like he was propelling towards a 1st pairing type of defenseman. Yea…not so much.

    At the beginning of the year people were questioning how would we would replace the missing scoring. But that’s surprisingly been the least of our worries. Our team defense has been yucky. Defensemen and forwards aren’t on the same page and have suffered from numerous mental lapses.

  14. Otter says:

    Alpo took the words right out of my fingers… the offense, which I thought would be the issue, has not been. Meanwhile, they bring back pretty much everyone from what was probably the top defense last year, and they all of a sudden are all playing like rookies (other than Campbell who imo has been the best Hawk blue liner). Keith and Seabrook have been underwhelming and Hjalmarsson has been below average. Either that or we all underrated Sopel.

  15. John says:

    Save for the last week, Seabrook has had a very good year thus far.

  16. coach says:

    I hope the crawford experiment has come to an end

  17. Ban says:

    Crawford is better than Turco. Easily. Until they get another (better) goalie, that experiment won’t end and there’s no reason for it to. Crawford has a bad game and all of a sudden we’re going to blame him for the loss. How quickly we forgot his 7-game win streak.

  18. coach says:

    OK you’re right

  19. Dominic says:

    John,

    I believe Ladd was sent away primarily because of Kane and Toews bonuses. He was the last to go. As a guy who will be a UFA after this year, was hoping he would play so so for Atlanta and we could trade back for him. Not gonna happen now, he is the captain of his own ship.

    Bolland as frustrating as he is offensively, is a solid centerman and a gamer. I hear a lot of folks wanting him gone instead, but just not an option.

    My end of discussion comment was not saying all debate is over, but a metaphorical reality check that the grieving has to stop and living has to resume.

  20. Zach says:

    -Brouwer is 4th on the team with 9 goals this year and with Kane and Hossa out, seems like he’s a solid choice for first line PP.

    -I have a feeling Hjalmarsson will come around, somethings off with him right now for sure, but it seems more likely that he’s in a funk rather than he’s just this bad and was fooling everyone all of last year.

    -The Crawford experiment will be concluded once we see how he fares against teams the second time he faces them.

    -Kopecky and Bolland are a joke, almost $5 million this year for the two of them ($3.3 mil for Bolland) and they collectively have 6 goals and are a -8 god only know what it would take to get them going

    -If the Habs last year taught us anything it’s that the 8 seed can make a ruckus, with our experience we could make a good run no matter our seed.

  21. John says:

    Ladd is still a RFA after this year. No one is grieving; I think a lot of people are just looking at what happened this summer and saying, “Hey wait a minute….” Other than the perpetual whining about it with no regard for facts, it is an important discussion to have.

    Gamer is hardly the word I would use to describe Bolland. Gamers are usually ready to go on a daily basis, don’t need to be told time and time again to hit the weight room, and don’t miss multiple games for mysterious ailments.

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