Capitals 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)

Here was one of my thoughts from the Lightning-Hawks game a few nights back:

If you thought Brian Campbell was terrifying to watch in the 4-on-4 overtime, Chris Campoli takes it to a whole other level.  He’s all over the ice while taking all sorts of risks with the puck.  Tonight, he stopped a puck with his glove with two guys bearing down on him, pinched in below the Lightning goal line, and allowed a 2-on-1.  All in the same shift.

In just one game, Campoli added to his overtime recklessness resume with his latest adventure.  With the Hawks controlling the puck in the Capitals’ zone and not really being able to generate much, Campoli took it upon himself to fly down the wing in hopes of being on the receiving end of a cross-ice pass that needed to clear about three bodies.  Duncan Keith tried to get the pass to him and in what should come as a shock to only Campoli and Keith, the pass didn’t get through.

To make matters worse, Campoli blew an edge, the puck kicked right to the Capitals, and a 4-on-2 was coming the other way with Patrick Kane and Michael Frolik the only two players back. 

After Corey Crawford was able to stop John Carlson, the puck came back around to the point where Campoli was once again in no-man’s land.  An easy pass was made to Mike Knuble standing on the doorstep.  He made one move and the puck was behind Crawford for the winner.

Thoughts

–On the bright side, the Blackhawks have Jonathan Toews and as long as the deficit is one goal, they’re always one play away from tying it.  It certainly helped matters that Marcus Johansson took an awful penalty with less than two minutes to play.  Either way, as long as the Hawks keep gaining points in losing efforts, they’re going to make the playoffs.  That’s a fact.

–Where is the ‘Brent Seabrook is overpaid’ contingent now?  Seabrook kept the greatest offensive weapon in the world at bay all afternoon.  Alex Ovechkin didn’t get any shot off without Seabrook draped all over him and the shots he did get off were from bad angles.  He took Ovechkin’s bread and butter, the center of the ice, away from him all game.  Man, I’m so pissed the Hawks have him locked up for the next five years. 

The perfect topper to his game would have been burying the golden opportunity the first shift of overtime, but alas.

–Brian Campbell was only able to play 7 minutes today.  It’s safe to assume he won’t be able to go tomorrow night in a big game against San Jose.  With the Hawks down to five defensemen, I continue to be amazed at the Hawks and Stan Bowman’s unwillingness to place Jordan Hendry on LTIR.  As we stand now, the Hawks do not have any room to call up a defensive replacement. 

Instead, we’ll likely see a guy, John Scott, the coaching staff can’t trust for more than five minutes of ice time and the broadcasting team openly asks the coaches how they plan on limiting his ice because everyone knows he can’t play.  (Then again, apparently within the Hawks organization, no knew John Scott couldn’t play so all we’re doing is criticizing on hindsight and we’re not allowed to do that.)

I get that the result of placing Hendry and what remains of his $600,000 salary plus adding someone like Jassen Cullimore’s $2,688 daily cap hit to the roster means a likely cap penalty for next year’s team.  At what point, though, do we openly wonder how much the miniscule savings end up helping or hurting next year’s Hawks.  Additionally, when do we start to demand that the Hawks can only qualify for this year’s playoffs and not next year’s.

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11 Responses to Capitals 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)

  1. Michael says:

    Actually,

    That pass did get through. The problem was, Keith in his infinite wisdom made sure it got through by putting it three feet in the air. The puck bounced off the far boards and the Caps were on their way. After the puck was moved around the Hawks zone for a bit, Keith had an opportunity in the far corner behind the goal line to clear the zone, even if it meant taking an icing. Instead it appeared as if he tried to just eat the puck in the corner. This of course led to the him being knocked off the puck and the Caps regaining control. They quickly moved it to the front of the Hawks net where Knuble was able to tap it in because the Hawks defenseman standing next to him was unable to – hell, didn’t even appear to try – to tie his stick up. That defenseman? You guessed it. Duncan Keith. How many times have we watched a replay of an opposing player standing in the crease, tapping the puck past Crawford, with Keith seemingly just standing there watching. He didn’t look all that hot on the third Caps goal either. I don’t know who the Caps player was, but he was holding Keith off behind the net like he was swatting away a pesty gnat just before he centered the puck out front for the easy one-timer. Fact is, this guy has been brutal for the better part of this year and is a big reason, though certainly not the only one, why this team is where it’s at in the standings.

  2. John says:

    The pass was three feet in the air because there was no other possible way it could’ve ever landed on Campoli’s stick. A pass along the ice would’ve been easily picked off and started a rush the opposite way. Even if the pass lands on his stick, it’s a minimal percentage that he gets good enough wood to get a decent shot off. Keith’s pass was ill-advised to say the least, but again, Campoli’s overaggressiveness to drive towards the net was why it was a 4-on-2 coming the other way.

    It was a ridiculous chance to take on a play that rarely, if never works at the NHL level. Losing an edge made it look all the worse. Campoli should be much smarter than that.

    As for tying up the stick in front, that is simply not the type of game the Hawks play or preach to their top skating d-men.

    Yeah, Keith hasn’t been the Norris level of last year and he had a wretchedly slow start, but he’s been playing at a pretty high level for the past couple months.

  3. Dale Halas says:

    As long as you have cap space, you don’t need to put players on LTIR. You can simply put Hendry on IR and call up a player.

    As for the Bonuses for Entry Level contracts, there are only two; Frolik’s and Stalberg’s. Are either player playing well enough to hit very much of their bonus money? Wouldn’t think so, so I don’t think there is anything keeping the Hawks from calling up a defensemen if they wanted too. And there is nothing keeping the Hawks from waiving Scott and calling somebody else up if needed…

  4. John says:

    And Leddy has bonuses on his deal.

    If the Hawks can simply put Hendry on IR and call up a player, then the question begs, why the hell haven’t they done it yet? How can calling up Cullimore as insurance be a bad thing?

    Waiving Scott doesn’t sound that easy to me. If he goes unclaimed (and he most likely would), he can’t be sent to Rockford because he wasn’t included in their Clear Day Roster. Therefore, what happens, is he just sitting in roster limbo? I don’t think NHL contracts work like that.

  5. Dale Halas says:

    Leddy has a bonus but it doesn’t kick in to next year. Not sure his agent ever thought he would be playing in the NHL this year.

    And yea, the Hawks can waive Scott. It’s my understanding there is room for the Hawks contracts on their AHL team since they traded Potulny. And yea, he wouldn’t be able to play for the remainder of the year or playoffs in the AHL.

    Again the rule in the NHL is that you can do anything legal you need to do to stay under the salary cap. If that means a player like Scott can only skate in an AHL practice for the rest of the year then so be it…

  6. Michael says:

    John,

    I agree 100% that it’s a pass that NEVER should have been made. If he just holds on to the puck and looks for a safer play or puts it behind the net the whole sequence of events that took place never happens. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that he was being pressured. I think the Caps had pretty much backed off him – it’s not like he was going to score from that spot on the ice – so he did have time to make a better play. I understand your point about Campoli’s poor decision making, but I believe Keith has to take equal culpability for making the pass. I also have to reiterate that the Hawks could have gotten out of this mess if Keith had just cleared the puck when he had the opportunity. Why he chose to try and eat the puck in the corner rather than clear it when they were under siege in there own zone is one I just don’t understand.

  7. Dominic says:

    A side note, I am thrilled to death that the last of the Stanley Cup celebration nonsense is finally over. I can’t help but think that the whole white house thing etc had to be a huge distraction (that is not a political statement). Visiting wounded soldiers etc…good stuff, but the whole circus side show stuff and more stanley cup reminisces is so played out.

    I know it is NHL PR stuff that the league needs, but not in the middle of stretch run. Do it in November latest. I am not saying this is an excuse/reason for loss etc…just has to strain focus and intensity.

    Also, I am encouraged by the third period compete and battle in our guys. Salvaging some points. Yes winning is great, but battling back is the sign of a winner.

    Not sure if anyone else has noticed, while losing games late as we have done a lot earlier this year is a tough pill and occurred admittedly too much, it is just commonplace in today’s NHL. Bruins blown 2 and 3 goal leads in last week, Flyers giving up games as well. Not saying it is OK, but in proper perspective people have to realize that this is a highly competitive league. There are no gimme points…

  8. Cam says:

    Remember when the Blackhawks were dominant in 4-on-4 situations? Seems like just last year.

  9. Marts says:

    Frolik missing that glorious overtime chance was curtains. Murphy’s law says you don’t miss that and still win games. I’m ok with picking up a single yesterday… Washington wasn’t giving up much in the middle of the ice. Still feel like we should’ve had an extra 2 (FLA) from this trip but I agree Dominic about dragging the Stanley Cup hoopla into mid-March. That’s BS, and probably a distraction IMO. I mean, it’s such an honour – how can it not be? Especially with Obama. I mean shit, skip the Whitehouse and have HIM come back HOME to celebrate the team winning if a Whitehouse trip can’t be delivered prior to Christmas.

  10. Otter says:

    About the Stanley Cup tour… I was actually thinking yesterday during one of the intermission breaks, ‘does John McDonough make the Hawks do fashion shows also?’ And if so what Hawk player is most likely to open his robe?

    Anyway, Keith and Campoli OT play withstanding… did anyone else feel like this was the first time since 2008 (or the 09 Western Finals if you want to debate) where the Hawks clearly weren’t good enough from a talent/system stand point? I felt that the Caps were at another level of play, and it wasn’t that the Hawks effort wasn’t there, but rather they couldn’t play or skate with the Caps. I think the Hawks were really really really lucky to get a point, let alone not lose 4-1 or something.

  11. John says:

    I had that same feeling regarding not being at the same level as the Caps. However, the Caps are an incredibly tough team to play on the last game of a long road trip. So for now, I’ll chalk it up to that but it certainly bears watching as we get to the end.

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