Blackhawks 4, Avalanche 0

If the Great Ed Olcyzk graced us with his presence on Wednesday night, he very likely would have reminded everyone that 7′s were indeed wild at the United Center.  Dave Bolland, Fernando Pisani, and Jack Skille all potted their 7th goals of the season.  Troy Brouwer started the scoring with his 11th of the season. 

This time, the Hawks miraculously kept Tomas Flesichmann and company off the scoreboard.  Corey Crawford was a big part of that when he made several key saves throughout the game.  He was also helped by his defense who made sure the majority of the Avalanche chances were one and done. 

On to it….

–Dave Bolland looked like the Dave Bolland of playoff folk-lore.  Part of the reason the Hawks are where they are is because performances like this from Bolland have been few and never in between this season.  I know, it’s completely ridiculous to even suggest that part of Bolland’s responsibility is to also score more than a few times a month, but he’s not getting paid over $3 million just because he’s a defensive specialist. 

Anyways, after thinking about Dave Bolland’s game probably longer than Bolland himself does, I think I’ve finally figured out why Bolland struggles to produce with high-end talent.  His bread-and-butter in the offensive zone is setting up the play behind the net.  Unfortunately, guys like Marian Hossa or Patrick Kane thrive on lots of movement with the puck.  So when someone like Bolland simply stands behind the net waiting for the puck, they’re going to struggle to click. 

The other problem with consistently setting up behind the net is it’s also the easiest formation for teams to defend against.  So when opposing teams take it away, Bolland’s offense, more or less, disappears.

All that being said, if Bolland moves like he did tonight, things are going to be alright.  He hasn’t skated that well through the neutral zone with the puck since Martin Havlat was on his wing. 

–Much has been made about Nick Leddy’s contract status and whether or not the Hawks burn a year off his entry-level deal.  With his 9th game tonight, his next game will start the clock on his contract.  Assuming Jeremy Morin doesn’t play another game this year, the Hawks will have Morin, Pirri, and now Dylan Olsen starting their entry-level contracts next season.  It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to break up a contract or two to make sure that all of their young players aren’t up for new paper the same summer. 

To me, that’s kind of secondary, though, to if he can actually play at this level while his stamina doesn’t become a detriment to the team.  Leddy has never played this many games at this high of a level.  I don’t mind him playing 30 to 35 games for the Hawks as long as they make sure he’s not overexposed or becomes physically or mentally strained.

A bigger question will be who his defensive partner is going to be in weeks to come, assuming Leddy is here to stay.

–Patrick Kane fell in love with the spin-o-rama tonight.  The first one was perfectly executed, save for the shot hitting Peter Budaj’s chest.  His second came a few minutes later and Kane would have been better served cutting to the middle.  The Avalanche defenseman was giving Kane way too much room and it would’ve been a point blank shot had he just dragged towards the middle.

Either way, Kane had an opportunity later when he got an Avalanche down on the ice on a 2-on-1 and I thought for sure the water bottle was going to get popped.  Kane couldn’t get enough elevation though and Budaj got a piece of it.

–There’s bad marketing decisions and then there’s making a back-up goalie the star of your commercial.  Degree should have just had Marty Turco in his practice jersey when they shot that commercial.

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12 Responses to Blackhawks 4, Avalanche 0

  1. David Hager says:

    First time I saw that Turco commercial was immediately following him getting pulled from a game in favor of Crow. The “Degree” people are probably letting out a collective “D’oh” on that one.

  2. dominator says:

    Almost as bad as Luongo being in the All Star Game commercial…

  3. John Kuhn says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you. Botttom line is thqt the best skaters win

  4. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen of the Fifth Feather, it is astonishing that you did not make the correlation between Denis Savard being the WGN/ComCast intermission analyst last night and Kaner’s *hommage*.

    No doubt Savvy and Crazy88 had a few pre-game chuckles, and 20Cent promised SavoirFaire a few ‘tour de forces’.

    Hey, hockey players DO have a sense of humor. And some of them *are* showoffs.

    Nothing wrong when you back it up the way PK does (and Savvy did).

    Nice win, too. Leddy looks like he stays, and why the heck not.

    PS CT has finally decided he loves Dave Bolland. Not quite as much as he loves Radek Smolenak, but more than he loves Chad Kilger.

  5. Paul the Fossil says:

    Yea that Luongo appearance in the All-Star broadcast commercial is especially priceless since the voiceover specifically talks about him by name.

    I appreciate the contract/RFA issue regarding Leddy, and absolutely no team should make its decision based solely on a bright-and-shiny which they’ve just stumbled upon (e.g. most Cubs and Blackhawks management teams during the past three decades). BUT…there is a limit on how much it is sensible to project forward and assume what will happen with a promising young player. “Young pitchers will break your heart” as the saying goes. How many NHL GMs have come to grief from projecting forward the growth of a Cam Barker or whoever and making current decisions based on that hoped-for future? Etc.

    Now if the Hawks were a bad team then sure, no good reason to burn some future contract leverage regarding Leddy. But they’re not, they are a contender, and when you do have a contending core put together you gotta give that core every chance to win as much as it can. And the difference in results between the current 3rd pair and every other 3rd pair that’s been tried this season is really quite clear. So…I’d have to vote for keeping Leddy with the big club and living with the consequences as far as his future contract status.

  6. Patrick says:

    Just came over from SCH – so who is El Duque’s Raft – Bob or John?

    Oh, and I’d take Eager back, and would trade Stalberg to do it. Hot or not?

  7. Big Tony says:

    After Toews set up the first goal by winning a board battle, I hearkened back to last season when it was the norm for us to do just that….win a board/corner battle and turn it into a scoring chance. Typical of Toews’s game that he didn’t get a point out of it, even though he did the most important part of the play….creating it. If we keep doing things like that, we’ll be a dangerous team come playoff time.

  8. John says:

    That would be me. Eager’s fine, whatever. I never minded him.

  9. Patrick says:

    I figured that. You made some good points.

    Along with Eager, I’d love to see Sopel back as well, and my guess is that his wife would like to have him back in Chicago a little more regularly too (she writes a good blog).

  10. ArlingtonRob says:

    Eager is a multi-concussed 4th liner how takes too many dumb penalties. For that I wouldn’t pay more than late draft pick. In reality, I’ll take Sopel back first.

    And I won’t apologize for thinking Stalberg deserves a much longer look.

  11. Otter says:

    At this point (after 2 periods on Sunday), I think Bolland is just fucking with the Feather.

  12. Marts says:

    Bolland’s 2nd goal Sunday was the nicest goal the team has scored all season. Obviously recent memory is convenient memory, but it was a beauty. It was also nice to see us demolish a team with a big 3rd period for a change (instead of pissing into the wind).

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