Canadiens 2, Blackhawks 1 (OT)

The Hawks have no one to blame but themselves.

They’re the ones who put themselves in a situation where the fourth to last game of the season was as ‘must win’ as they come.  So when Carey Price morphed into the love-child of Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, and Tony Esposito (wouldn’t you like to see that conception) or when a referee takes an extra two seconds to make a crucial penalty call in overtime, we can thank all those horrendous third periods from the first few months of the season for  it.  Or we can thank the general manager for putting his team behind it (before the puck was even dropped) at least two times this year by fielding a less than adequate team.  Or we can thank the slow start from the big guns.  Or we can thank the lack of scoring from the secondary players.  Or we can thank Niklas Hjalmarsson for his massive regression.

I think you get the point. 

It’s much easier to chalk up a loss as a tip of the cap to the opposition’s goalie or whatever else when points are not at a premium.  Sadly, that’s not the case for the Hawks so this loss will sting even longer than it should. 

And sting it will even more when the sun comes up tomorrow and Troy Brouwer is likely out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.  Then when John Scott plays 3 minutes a game for the remainder of the season, we get to hear about how he wasn’t the difference between the Hawks losing or winning.  Nevermind that playing with only 11 forwards is essentially spitting in your team’s face.  Nevermind that this great farm system the Hawks tell everyone they have can’t produce a role-playing forward to play 8 to 11 minutes for these final three games.  Nevermind all of it.

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40 Responses to Canadiens 2, Blackhawks 1 (OT)

  1. Scott says:

    Just a little grumpy our we…. That was an entertaining game. It’ll come down to the weekend. then we play the big favourite Canucks. Who knows who we will be able to dress but it will be a blast. Even if we cant beat them with our depleted line up. We are still Stanley Cup Champions.

  2. Cam says:

    40 better in goal differential than Dallas and battling them for a playoff spot.

    They should rename this squad the Chicago Finding Ways to LoseHawks.

  3. As much as I hate to say it considering we lost, that was one hell of an exciting game. I hope that the “excitement” continues with St. Louis and Detroit.

  4. Michael says:

    It’ll come down to the weekend. then we play the big favourite Canucks. Who knows who we will be able to dress but it will be a blast.

    Wow! Ah, you sure about this? Just curious, the Stars have two games left against a lousy Avalanche team and one game left against a Wild team that mailed it in weeks ago. Just which one of those games do you see them losing?

  5. Michael says:

    And at this point, which one of the upcoming games for the Hawks do you see them NOT losing. Hard to beat anyone when you can’t score, be it on the power play, 4 on 4 or 5 on 5. I hate to say it, but this as all the makings of a very ugly ending.

  6. Brian says:

    If we can play that game every night I like our chances all the way.
    Unfortunately they haven’t been able to play that game but once in a while.

  7. Sam says:

    But John, Marcus “The Plan All Along” got a sterling 7 minutes tonight. Clearly the plan is coming along.

  8. alpo says:

    We witnessing the second coming of the 2009-2010 Flyers with this Hawks team squeaking into the playoffs. Right guys?!?

  9. Scott says:

    Tight ot win tonight. then we split with detroit. Should be enough. John Scott actually scores a goal. How crazy is that. While frustrating this is all very entertaining.

  10. Otter says:

    I’m actually not that worried about making the playoffs, but the Hawks have now played themselves into the 8 seed.

    That said, I don’t think the Hawks are going to make any noise in the playoffs without Bolland, Sharp and now Brouwer. Frolik looks better than Skille on the ice, but his production is worse. I’m done with Kopecky and won’t be sad to see him go. I dream that Stan can fool someone and turn Bickell into a nice prospect or 3rd round pick. Pisani has been a huge disappointment, but I guess Ryan Johnson coming out of no where cancels that out. Kruger… what a joke the Hawks trying to sell us on him… but at the same time I can’t kill the kid considering he should be cutting his teeth on the 4th line right now (if he should even be in the NHL). With all the injuries the Hawks have a bunch of 4th, maybe 3rd line guys playing top six minutes. It’s just not going to work.

    Also, I know Hjalmarsson’s massive step back has hurt the Hawks, but Duncan Keith plays like a total block head and if it wasn’t for his physical gifts to cover up for most of his mistakes…

  11. Dominic says:

    Some of you guys are sounding like Boston fans. That is you win one championship after 50 years, and now you are entitled.

    Point 1, this is a good league. Adversity is part of the game.

    Point 2, no one has mentioned Ducks final 3 game schedule. As tough as Hawks if not tougher. They may be the odd team out.

    Point 3, though it is water under the bridge at this point, can anyone point to where Toews stick tripped Subban? He toe picked a hair and lost his edge.

    Point 4, as frustrating as this season is, do you all realize that we are one goofy win a month from winning division and being top 3 seed. I know there is no consolation in a win or die league, but lets keep some perspective and avoid the Chicago Fan hyperbole that is more annoying than a clan of menstrating women.

    Point 5, next time anyone wants to get onto a beat the hell out of the bottom end of the roster rant, do me a favor and line up compare our roster with just about any other team..still like our guys for their faults etc…

    Point 6, for God Sake lets remember this team became what it was because we went with young players, let them gain experience etc. (Yeah I know the timing of things is tough in a sense) but lets not go into Bears mode, where we draft guys talk them up, then never let them on the field. We all know there were no moves to be made that did not disrupt the future.

    Point 1153…lets calm the hysteria. Sunday night we can all kick the dog if it comes to that. Show some poise under fire.

    Does anyone have any new info on Dave Bolland? Is he pretty much done this year?

  12. John says:

    Dominic–I don’t think anyone feels entitled. It’s about this group having a 5 to 6 year window and now one of those years is in jeopardy of going right up in smoke. And why exactly? For all the reasons aforementioned above.

    The experience argument is a load of hogwash, imo. All these ‘young’ guys who gained experience this year, name me more than three who will be here when the dust settles next summer. There’s Leddy and that’s about it as far as shoo-ins. And I’m not really sure the great things Leddy learned while opening the bench door for 50 minutes a night when he could’ve been playing in all situations in Rockford.

  13. Marts says:

    I agree that beating up the bottom part of the roster isn’t that productive but Dowell’s play has morphed into the stench of hot garbage and burnt hair (progressively across the season).

    I still can’t stand Q (never liked his decisions and have always thought he was gifted top positions in Colorado and St.Louis) but how can you start an OT PK with Dowell as your centre? Really? Not Johnson? Best draw winner and the guy will throw his face in front of a slapshot. Inexcusible decision. Q is full of them. I’m pretty much convinced that we were a 130 point team (and a cup) with a different coach last year, and probably a division winner this year. He’s brutal IMO.

  14. Fork says:

    After winning the Cup on credit last year, we knew this season would be a bumpy ride. When they half-assed games against teams like the Devils, Oilers, etc. early in the season, we knew those points lost would have consequences now.

    At this point, they’re still in the playoff picture. If they make it, it’s three years in a row they’re watching other teams hit the golf course. It beats the hell out of seeing the ABC line trying to be your main source of offense.

  15. John says:

    From what I garnered, Johnson must’ve been banged up in the overtime. He only had a couple shifts in the third.

  16. Dominic says:

    John,
    Great point on the window of opportunity.

    The one thing to remember about Leddy is that he is coming off of a College season (30 games last year) and high school year before. He spent half season in AHL this year, then played regularly for 2 months here. He is like a pitcher who has hit his pitch count wall. Not sure there is anything to gain in Rockford the last 3 weeks or next 1.

    I like Dowell, but God has he struggled. Right now he would be lucky to get 2nd line minutes on my mens league team.

    Jury still out on Kruger, but I like what I see as far as instincts and competitiveness. Evaluating him in these circumstances is unfair.

    The one thing remains is that our best have to play their best and make others around them better. Injuries and other things will make it difficult, but lets remember, the big guys get paid lots of money.

  17. ChicagoNativeSon says:

    Dominic, well said. I agree with most of what you wrote except for part of #5 and all of #6.
    I too get sick of people calling out the easy targets (and usually wrongly), but the production of our bottom 6 hasn’t matched up to the competition since midseason.
    And the team didn’t go young, they went cheap. Most of it was born out of necessity (the cap), but there were no obvious reasons to sign a guy like Scott, max out the roster spots with these league minimum wagers, or to send down Cullimore and bring up Leddy.
    On the flip side, Bowman gets blamed for certain moves that were actually cap-wise. Every GM will hit and miss, but you can guaranty he will catch all hell when he misses. That’s kind of how the system works.

  18. Otter says:

    Ben Smith come on down…

    As the guy who pointed a finger at the bottom six forwards, everyone is right, no point in slamming them, but with all the injuries they’re playing on the top two lines (well Bickell) while Kopecky continues to be miss used as a 2nd line guy. I guess it’s hard to slam a team missing their second line center and first choice left winger.

    We’re now 25 games into Frolik’s Blackhawk career… thoughts? I’m unimpressed and not sure how to use him.

  19. John says:

    I think the moral is Leddy probably should’ve never been here this long to begin with. The last thing any team should do is throw a young rookie d-men with no professional experience into the playoff fire for all the reasons you mention. If he hits his ‘pitch count’ wall in Rockford, no one really cares. But in Chicago, he’s at risk of severely stunting his growth. I’m not crazy about the risk, reward there.

    The big guys may get paid lots of money but they can only do so much. For me, it seems a lot of the grief heaped upon the bottom 6 is because everyone told us they’d be fine at the beginning of the season and it’s quite clear they haven’t been. So I don’t know what people should be saying about them, everything’s great? I think it’s obvious there need to be some upgrades made in the summer.

  20. ChicagoNativeSon says:

    Otter, my 2 cents regarding Frolik. It’s hard to expect striking results from a guy who was struggling (unlucky?) and well below his career statistical norms in S% (including S% in the minors), when you bring him to a new team and them throw him into a f’d up situation. He wasn’t the part that was needed immediately, but I do believe Frolik and Salak will be a GREAT trade in the long run.
    The kid’s done a lot right and has played solidly without the puck. But because he still struggles to dent twine, I guess the questions will rightly continue. I personally don’t see any glaring reasons why he won’t regress back to the mean.

    MAYBE A 2ND LINE CENTER WOULD HELP??
    We’ll all go down with the ship singing this tune.

  21. Dominic says:

    Last thing, lets remember Bolland got hurt the day after the loss to Florida, which ended the long streak. We were playing well, up and down the line up then…without Bolland and pushing other guys up has made the bottom six sick the last month.

    Fernando Pisani looks so slow out there as well…Anyhow…

  22. John says:

    There are a couple key questions about Frolik. He’s been so snakebit this season (judging strictly by S%) there’s a chance it has led to him developing some nasty habits (i.e. turn-around wristers from 45 feet out) that will be very hard to break. The second one is how patient the Hawks will be with him after seeing all of this first-hand.

    In a perfect world, I think Frolik slots on the right side of the 3rd line next year with his only real responsibility to play smart two-way hockey. Whether that actually happens or whether the Hawks have already made up their mind that they don’t like him remains to be seen.

  23. Dale Halas says:

    Hey John, did anyone actually hear Bowman say “that was the plan all along” when it came to Kruger? The original twitter text I read said something more like “Bowman said they planned on bringing Kruger here even before Bolland got hurt, so that was the plan all along.” Thing is the last part appeared to me to be coming from the Twitter guy and NOT from what Bowman actually said.

    To me, that “plan all along stuff” is turning into the hockey blogger’s equivalent of “players don’t win championships, organization win championships.” The fact that nobody in Bulls management ever actually said that has NOT stopped the MSM crowd from mocking them for it. And it sure seems like the “plan all along stuff” has now become the hockey blogger’s equivalent…

  24. Dale Halas says:

    My 3 biggest disappointments for this year:

    Sharp NOT being able to fill the second line center role.

    Brouwer NOT taking one of the top two LW slots.

    And neither Stalberg or Skille (OK, miraculously transforming their game and) taking that third line RW slot. Pisani is the Hawks best option there? Seriously?

    I agree with you John, if Frolik could come in next year and and BE that third line RW, well, that would be huge…

  25. John says:

    Dale, he said their plan was to bring Kruger over even before Bolland got hurt. I don’t know how else for that to be interpreted. I think trying to argue over the semantics is not worth anyone’s time. I’ll give you this, though, you walk the fine line between being a Bowman defender and an apologist :)

  26. Dale Halas says:

    Yea, John, I do admit, I tend to defend the guy NOT in the room. :)

    I guess the difference in semantics is best described by an example. People have insinuated that Bowman didn’t trade for a center at the trade deadline because “the plan all along” was to bring up Kruger. I don’t think Bowman made that statement or that that was ever his intention. I just think after the Hawks failed to trade for anybody they liked at the deadline, they decided to bring in Kruger.

    I just think Bowman’s statement was an admission of a decision made in the previous couple of weeks (before Bolland was hurt) compared to a decision that could be categorized as “the plan all along…” And I think people have made more out of what was said then was meant. And like I’ve said, I tend to defend the guy not in the room in those situations…

  27. Cam says:

    Don’t get the consternation over the Kruger thing. So what if the plan was to bring Kruger over regardless of Bolland’s injury? Is the idea that Bowman is lying? Because he’s been quite willing to put kids in the lineup.

  28. jmk52 says:

    My own sense of “the plan all along” was that Bowman wanted Kruger on the Hawks from the start of the season, but Kruger decided to play another year in Sweden. And when he finally had the chance to bring Kruger here, he did it.

    That raises a couple of questions: If Kruger had stayed here this year, would he even have made the team out of training camp? Who knows? If so, how much better would he be now with a season under his belt?

    I’ve been checking out this blog since the season started, and have to admit I do detect somewhat of an anti-Bowman bias–nitpicking incessantly about the mistakes (Scott, for instance) while soft-pedaling the good decisions (Campoli). A hangover from the Tallon vs. Bowman wars, or more in line with that fine Chicago tradition of “Management Always Sucks” (see Reinsdorf, Krause, Angelo, etc.)? Whatever.

    But no doubt, Bowman has made mistakes. I’m not ready, though, to lay the blame for this possibly-lost season completely or even mostly at his feet, given the immensity of what he had to deal with going in.

    My own impression is that the injuries were a much bigger factor (yeah, I know, everybody has injuries, Pittsburgh, etc., etc.), than this or that personnel decision. Losing Campbell, Bolland and Sharp pretty much at the same time just as the team had gotten on its best roll of the year was devastating, not to mention Hossa’s season-long problems. Players like this just aren’t replaceable, especially in the wake of the salary purge. (And speaking of injuries, Morin, possibly their best asset on the Rockford front, might have been useful right about now, too.)

    I can’t deny it would be nice to have Reasoner wearing a Hawk sweater these days. But how much better would they really be with him right now, or with Cullimore instead of Leddy, given the number of important players out (now including Brouwer), causing the core to be seemingly running on fumes?

  29. Cam says:

    Since there is really no prospect posts anymore, I figured I’d use this one to mention that Brandon Pirri has 3 goals and 11 assists over his last 10 games and is a +6 in that span. Coach Peters has praised his improvement and maturity, calling him a “natural center” who the org will leave at that position permanently.

  30. jmk52 says:

    A few rays of hope…maybe.

    Sharp’s going to try to play tonight. And Q says Brouwer’s day-to-day; judging from last night, it looked like he was done for a long time. Of course, that will make more of a difference if there are more days to take into account after Sunday.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/nhl/news/story?id=6301704

  31. Cam says:

    Took the Blues 17 seconds and 1 shot to get the lead.

  32. Cam says:

    Got the lead going into the 3rd, but that’s like throwing chum towards the sharks.

  33. Cam says:

    And Stewart embarrasses the Norris winner to tie it.

  34. Marts says:

    How do you spell pussy? After that third Snooze goal? K-E-I-T-H. Brutal. If he had put a shot into someone’s shinpads 1st it would be his entire season in a nutshell.

  35. Cam says:

    You can also see why Ben Smith will never be a top-3 line guy. Can’t stress enough how much they miss Bolland.s

  36. Marts says:

    What is Q doing rolling his bottom two lines with 1:30 to play? Throws Toews on for final 5 seconds. He’s nuts.

  37. Marts says:

    Fuckin rights Johnny!

  38. Cam says:

    Literally shocked they found a way to win.

    Give Keith credit for that pass to Toews.

  39. Marts says:

    Yep. 150 foot bullet that one…

  40. BaltoBob says:

    As the Hawks struggle through this season, I keep recalling the thoughts from the Oracle (Scotty B) imterviews in which he stated that the BHs would have problems because of 1. losing so many players, 2. Stanley Cup hangover, and 3. having a target on their backs from winning the Cup. I’m no fan of SB but he seems to have some valid points. He also said it would be difficult to establish a dynasty in the salaty cap era but Detroit seems to refute that.

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