Game 6: Blackhawks 4, Canucks 3 (OT)

In an elimination game staring down the abyss of the off-season,  with Vancouver playing its best hockey of the series, and in sudden-death overtime, the Blackhawks came out the other side to force a winner-take-all Game 7 on Tuesday night.

It took Marian Hossa 74 minutes to do anything productive, but when he did, he made it count.  Hossa gathered the puck deep in the Canuck corner and held on to the puck despite three defenders hanging off him.  He waited long enough for Niklas Hjalmarsson to give him an outlet pass; Hjalmarsson fired a quick snap shot towards the net, Ben Smith redirected it, Luongo couldn’t hang on the misdirected puck and Smith poked his rebound through for the game-winner.

Whodathunkit?

Hold on to your butts

This game was pure torture from the word go.  Vancouver had seemingly everything go their way.  They got an early lead, they never trailed, and in the final two frames, got the majority of the better scoring chances (minus the penalty shot of course).  In overtime, watching the Sedins dangle deep in the zone with Viktor Stalberg, Ben Smith, Ryan Johnson, Nick Leddy and Duncan Keith on the ice was akin to being Mel Gibson in any Mel Gibson movie.  At one point, I’m pretty sure I begged for a quick killing just to get it over with already.

I’m pretty glad it didn’t. 

–The Hawks had so many key contributors in the final two periods, I know I’m going to forget somebody.  Michael Frolik was pretty outstanding in every zone.  Ryan Johnson saved the game-winning goal by kicking a juicy Corey Crawford rebound to the corner on a blatant Vancouver 2-on-1.  Nick Leddy had an outstanding stick on a Mikael Samuelsson shot on a 5-on-2 as the Hawks got caught with their pants down on a line change (Not really sure what happened there, but that was not amusing).  Corey Crawford, obviously.  Niklas Hjalmarsson just getting the puck to the net on the game-winner.  Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Jonathan Toews were pretty much the only Hawk line that generated consistent pressure in the overtime and 3rd period. 

(Ok, I’m sorry, I just have to here….) Not a key contributor tonight: John Scott.  Two shifts the entire 74 minutes and the only thing of significance he does is choke slam Alex Burrows.  It intimidated Burrows so much that he put together the best playoff game of his career against the Hawks tonight. 

I’m sure I forgot another key moment that saved the Hawks season.  Feel free to add on.

–One thing we should probably not complain too loudly about was the officials.  The Hawks had three huge turning points go their way tonight.  The first one was Nick Leddy’s flip shot going out of play late in the third period.  It was close and I have no idea whether it went over the glass and then the Hawk bench, but it was certainly so close to call, that it probably could have gone either way. 

The second was Michael Frolik getting awarded a penalty shot in the third period.  Granted, he still had to score on it, but in that moment, at that juncture, many times, the official is going to simply award a 2 minute penalty and not open himself for second-guessing.  I think it was the right call, but it was another one that could have gone either way.

The third was obviously Bryan Bickell’s huge hit that sent Kevin Bieksa helicoptering early in the overtime.  Raffi Torres was awarded a 2 minute minor for a similar hit in Game 3 that supposedly sparked this great Hawks comeback.  Granted, the hits were only similar in their violent nature to the skull.  Bickell didn’t throw an elbow up nor did he seem to leave his feet, but it was still a play where a penalty would have been justified.  (Ok that’s enough about this because these hit debates are as pointless as arguing about a car crash.  Everybody sees something different and somebody else is always to blame.)

–10 minutes left to go in possibly the season.  The Canucks threatening to score every time they have the puck and Pat Foley figures this is the perfect time to spotlight the scorekeeper at the United Center.  It would have been fine if he simply said the guy’s name, how long he’s been in the position and then moved along.  Nope, Foley went on a 5 minute story that I think had something to do with how they kept time at the old Chicago Stadium.  I can’t say for sure as I was hardly paying attention and his story was merely serving to aggravate because he was trying to tell a story and do play-by-play at the same time.  Meanwhile, Vancouver is housing the Hawks down low and getting opportunity after opportunity.  The timing was not impeccable. 

–Oh, and hey, the Hawks had a 5-on-3, didn’t score, and still won the game.  Feel free to pass that information along to Pat Foley next time he deems a power play “the game” with over 30 minutes left to play.

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53 Responses to Game 6: Blackhawks 4, Canucks 3 (OT)

  1. Muhr says:

    You were not alone in quietly asking for a quick death. Have only seen a couple of replays but it look like hammers shot got redirected (by Smith)

    my feelings…

  2. Brian says:

    Yea you can almost guarantee once Foley starts going down that long long here’s a great behind the scenes story, there’s going to be end to end action that he tries to dismiss. I can’t imagine having to sit next to him at the bar.

  3. John says:

    “UH OH!!! HERE COMES THE UNDERTAKER!!!”

  4. BobbyJet says:

    You are lucky to get to hear the Pay Foley version of the play-by-play. The CBC tandem of Simpson and Hughson are difficult to listen to. It sounds like they call the game as an assistant coach for the Canucks and rarely look at any situation from Chicago’s perpsective. It was humourous however to hear their reaction when Ben Smith scored in OT.

    No way was the Bickell hit even a minor penalty. There was no elbow, no charge, no high stick and he contacted Bieksa’s chest first, Bieksa was also in the kill zone, and he actually had the puck in his possession this time (unlike the Torres hit on Seabrook).

    If Hawks can pull this series off it will mean to me that the chemistry for THIS team is in place.

  5. John says:

    The only replay they showed on CSN was what appeared to be Bickell’s shoulder connecting with Bieksa’s head. The refs have been fairly well-trained any time they see someone get helicoptered, it’s usually the result of a head shot. Like I said, I’m not debating whether it was a clean hit or not because that is no fun for anybody, but a penalty certainly could have been called in that instance.

  6. madisonmike says:

    i thot bickell played a great game again. bickell has had a great series in general; holding on to the puck in traffic, creating turnovers, and now adding the physical element that some felt was missing. it been great fun watching the guys up from rockford contributing and getting playoff experience.

  7. alpo says:

    This game was pretty weird. All year we’ve stressed the importance of depth in icing a successful team. And what do you know, Bickell, Bolland, Frolik and Smith all find the back of the net. Yet, like John recapped, the overtime was pretty one-sided when anyone but Toews, Kane or Sharp were one the ice.

    But how could any Hawks fan complain too much after such an exciting win? Corey Crawford was playing with ice in his veins. Game 7′s are hands down THE best.

  8. Dale Halas says:

    Actually, Torres didn’t get a penalty for a headshot, he got a penalty for hitting Seabrook too early, hence the interference call.

    And according to rule 48 you can hit your opponent in the head as long as it is not from the blindside, an elbow, or you leave your feet and it is not late. Neither call appears to fall into the category that C. Campbell would view as a headshot.

    And btw, add “kill zone” to those things that people mock that were never actually stated. Like “that was the plan all along” and “organizations win championships.” Basically you can’t make a rule 48 blindside hit behind the net because the net gets in the way. A rule 48 blindside hit is like the Mitchel hit on Toews. Coming from a little over 90 degrees to the player from the opposite direction of where the player is looking. You just can’t do that from behind the net. If the puck possessor is looking behind them and you are coming from in front, that is not a blindside hit. Not by rule 48 standards…

  9. baltobob says:

    This is the type of game which is more difficult to forget about, namely one in which you clearly outplayed your opponent but lost. Let’s hope Van is iess than professional.

  10. spudskie says:

    The Hawks did not play well tonight, but we got the win. Time for our boys to rest up and then lay it all on the line Tuesday night.

  11. Cam says:

    Well if nothing else, the Hawks have shown guts and determination, made the Canucks and their arrogant fans and media piss their pants for a few days, and probably solved much of next year’s roster issues, assuming they can find enough money.

    Frolik is really showing the talent that made him a former contender for the #1 overall pick. Now if Toews, Kane and Hossa could just get some better scoring opportunities.

    This round sure feels like the Finals. Pretty emotionally drained at this point.

  12. ArlingtonRob says:

    Cam,

    Was thinking the same thing regarding how exhausted I am. Hard to fathom that just a few days ago I was content with making the playoffs and losing to a better team. Now I want to watch puck into June again. Win or lose on Tuesday, it’s been an entertaining series and I’m looking forward to next year already.

  13. Cam says:

    It’ll also be interesting to see how the defensemen on both teams hold up. Keith played 33 minutes and Campbell 31. Seabrook, who I didn’t think looked very good, played 23 and Campoli, who I thought was pretty shaky, played just 18-1/2. Hjalmarsson played 25.

    And Keith didn’t have that explosive jump from the previous two games.

    Down Salo, Bieksa logged 36 and Edler, Ehrhoff and Hamhuis all over 30.

  14. ArlingtonRob says:

    Cam,

    This series has been a marathon. Will be interesting seeing how the winner plays in the next round.

  15. royze1 says:

    Dressing John Scott was a huge mistake. At this point it doesn’t matter what his “presence” contributes, another set of legs matters much more than the threat of John Scott. If Vancouver wants to waste time with cheap shots and chippy play let them. If anything the past has shown that when they do it plays much to the Hawks advantage. The more they play through that stuff the more frustrated the Canucks have gotten and have ALWAYS shot themselves in the foot.

    The deeper a series goes the more fresh legs matter and if this guy can’t contribute anything other than a merciful non call on what should have been a penalty then he’s of no use. At some point the 4th liners have to play, since he can’t be trusted that means double shifting someone (likely Kane, Sharp or Hossa) who need their legs to be effective. Last night the Hawks were not crisp and looked slow. Having a skater to plug that gap in the lineup matters a heck of a lot more than any comedy routine John Scott provides on the bench.

    I think it was the right move putting him in the lineup for a couple of games but at this point he serves no purpose.

    Oh and I want to thank Vancouver for kicking the Hawks when they were down. This team was ready to lose this series & I think the fan base was resigned to that fate too, but winning the series wasn’t going to be enough for the Canucks; no they felt this great arrogant need to prove a point & had to yank on the collective tail of the Hawks. Well there is a reason for the saying “let sleeping dogs lie” so thank you Canucks you deserve this mess you created for yourselves. It’s about winning nothing else matters.

  16. Mike says:

    HISTORY WILL BE MADE,LET’S GO HAWKS-LET’S GO HAWKS-LET’S GO HAWKS!!!

  17. IXFE says:

    I want Bobby Lou to cry again!

  18. Francis Roberts says:

    I thought the Nucks came out flying last night, and the Hawks showed great heart in winning a game that obviously could have gone either way. As a fan, one of the best things about last night, and the series in general, is that you can see the chemistry of this team building before your eyes. As astutely noted in the article above, last night was truly a team win with almost eveyone making important plays. This bodes well for the rest of this season, and next year as well. And, for the love of God, please dress Kruger or Pisani for game 7. As well noted in the comments above, every minute that Scott does not play in a game is a drain on the players that have to take his shifts. This has a cumulative effect on the team.

  19. Dominic says:

    Got it to game 7. Now for all of you who have been talking of dealing Bolland and basically just shrugging off what he means to the team. EAT A DICK!

    Nothing is won yet or guaranteed, but while everyone was wetting themselves the last month crying about our lack of depth etc, somehow everyone forgot about what Bolland means, not just his play, but the stabilizing element he provides in spreading our depth. I don’t have time to do it, but somebody please lay out Vancouver’s lines vs our lines and tell me where they have all this depth advantage. I agree, they may have an edge with Malhotra in, but other than that. And yes I agree that if we are having a depth discussion and Dowell and Pisani are part of the equation we lose.

    Ben Smith = Kris Versteeg, not as flashy, but more stable
    Bickell and Bolland are running mates, have been for years and play great with each other.

    Tuesday it comes down to who has the better game, Kessler or Toews. That is my synopsis.

    Is Kopecky done for the year or just out with the dreaded concussion?

  20. Big Tony says:

    I see Smith as a Ladd clone more than a Versteeg. I love the kid, regardless.

  21. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I am still not sure how this series is still going on, I want to get on this teams bandwagon but I still can’t. Then I watch guys like Frolik and Bickell make good plays and I wonder where the hell those plays have been all season. I was not very confident going into the OT as the Nucks had an edge in play for most of the 3rd. I often find myself wondering which Hawks team will show up for game 7, the world beaters in game 4/5 or the punchless crew from games 1/2?

  22. Dominic says:

    SSHM

    The answer is simple, see the cup half full. This is a game a competition, you are bipolar in your view. We are not as good in wins nor as bad in losses.

    Many others talk of how we are not what we were etc…yet somehow you are disappointed in this team. Make up your mind and adjust your expectations. Your like a chick who whines cuz you don’t get what you like from your man, then when you get it, you complain about the time of day, day of the week or the color of the shirt I was wearing when I gave it to you. Simply enjoy the ride and stay focused in the moment. Win or lose, this team has given us a lot. If you think otherwise, go root for the Wild or Bluejackets.

  23. Otter says:

    How did the Hawks win? This was the ‘luck balances out in the series’ game since with a bounce or two the Hawks win either Games 2 or 3. With a bounce or two, the Canucks win last night.

    And let’s not for get the Scott roughing call that wasn’t called… and I’m still trying to figure out how the Hawks got that 5-3 because it sure looked like if anyone, Campbell should have gotten two minutes.

    Crawford was very good as the game went along, but I think you’ve got to make a save on those first two goals. They seemed pretty soft to me.

    I thought Luongo looked horrible once he came on for Schneider (and btw, thank you for continuing to handle puck Corey! It was only a matter of time until you gifted a goal). If I was Vancouver, I’d have negative confidence going into tomorrows game knowing who my goalie is. On the plus side, they have him signed for the next ten years.

    Ben Smith isn’t Ladd or Versteeg, not as talented imo, but he sure as hell understands that going to the net leads to good things. If he’s one of those right place, right time guys, I’ll be happy.

    Also, totally agree about Frolik… not sure where his play is coming from, but he’s probably made himself a good chuck of money with his play in these six games. I’m not sure the Hawks will be able to keep him now.

    First goal wins tomorrow? I think if the Hawks score first, it’s over… not sure if Van scores first if it’s over… anyone else?

  24. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    If Toews and Kane show up for Game 7 I like the Hawks chances, throw in Hossa and Keith and really like it!

  25. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Dominic you are sad silly man LOL

  26. There is nothing more exciting than an overtime Stanley Cup playoff game!
    It’s not over yet, GO HAWKS!

  27. Patrick says:

    Damn good game – like everyone else, I was wondering when the Hawks we’re going to lose it, not if. Ben Smith – right place at the right time, and Hoss was a beast on the puck that final play.

    Why isn’t Brouwer playing with Toews and Kane? To me, Stalberg looked lost and I think he has better chemistry with Johnson.

    While Leddy struggled a bit with the forecheck at times, he had some plays last night that were beyond his years.

    One more thing, this series is going to end up costing the Hawks a lot of dough in resigning Crawford (could be a $3MM goalie now – he’s basically been lights out, and I think I’m okay with that), Frolik (the game he plays with Bolland is amazing – I feel he was a #1 star last night), Brouwer (yes, he’ll get a raise, even though he hasn’t scored in forever) and Campoli (even with a shaky night last night, he’s been a good addition and a keeper). Could this team be the same one we see going into next season?

  28. BobbyJet says:

    Actually 4 of the goals last night were of the fortunate variety. Sedin’s wraparound was a fluke and Campboli seemed to be a victim of shitty ice again in Chicago to cough up the puck like he did for another easy goal. 2 of the Hawk goals were a direct result of Schneider questionable decisions behind his net but the Frolik penalty shot was THE GAME as far as I’m concerned. Sure Canucks had lots of shots in the 3rd, compared to Hawks and seemed stronger in the OT as well, but the determination to win never left this Hawk’s team.
    Keith and Seabrook had less than stellar games and Jonny continues to press hard but can’t put one in. All 3 need to be at their best on Tuesday.
    One last thing: I hope the Hawks coaching staff and dmen took note that Hammer did not do the big wind up to start the OT goal. He simply got it through any way he could.

  29. baltobob says:

    In order to keep the Scott Issue alive and well, I point out that R. Torres only played six (6) minutes last night. Q didn’t need to have Scott out there any longer than that. Scott cancels Torres. Take or leave it, that’s Q’s trade.

  30. John says:

    And those 6 minutes were 5 more than Scott played. Not to mention, if a Vancouver player went down with an injury, Torres would’ve seen more ice time. In comparison, if the Hawks suffered an injury, Scott would still have only played 59 seconds and the Hawks would’ve been down to 10 forwards.

    Every second that Toews, Kane, Hossa, or Sharp gets to sit and rest makes a difference in the long run. I simply don’t see how anyone can say the Hawks played with one healthy skater that couldn’t see a minute of ice and not think it makes a difference in the scheme of things. Vancouver didn’t shorten their bench until the end of the second period. The Hawks shortened theirs at the halfway point of the first period.

    The Hawks dodged a fairly large bullet last night and playing with 11 forwards is a big part of that.

  31. Stan says:

    Thank you for pointing out the ridiculous and unnecessary Pat Foley ramblings. I think when the Hawks got rid of him a few years ago it was the only good move the Organ-I-zation had made in years.
    Hockey is a sport of blazing speed and with so many teams in the league the players can be hard to tell apart. It’s refreshing when a play by play man actually tells you who is on the ice. We don’t get that luxury here in Chicago. Listening to him gives me blisters on my thumbs. (I hit the mute button every time he and “Elevate the puck Edzo” talk about restaurants they’ve visited or other “non-hockey related” subjects).

  32. BobbyJet says:

    You can put the Scott debate to rest. I’m next to certain that he will not play in game 7, with aeverything at stake. Whether his presence had any affect on the goon squad tactics that we saw too much from Canucks early in this series, can be debated forever, but the cheap shots certainly became less frequent when Scott was in the line-up.

  33. John says:

    Brent Seabrook wants to have some words with you.

  34. Otter says:

    I’ll say it: Scott has had no effect on this series from a physical perspective. None. It’s a total coincidence that any preserved decrease in physical play has to do with Scott being on the bench. The Canucks are still checking and finishing checks and they haven’t become less physical because of John Scott. And if anyone here hasn’t noticed, but the Canucks don’t have to fight John Scott if they don’t want to… so again, what’s the point of John Scott considering can’t skate and thus can’t be a physical presence during the course of a hockey game? If the Canucks aren’t going to fight him and he can’t skate well enough to check them, then how has he abated the physical play from the Canucks?

    John Scott has an effect on this series however. He cost the Hawks dearly in Game 3 with a stupid penalty and should have put the Hawks short handed in Game 6. He had a near disastrous turnover in Game 4. In other words, Scott has been one of the better players for the Canucks this series.

    In actual hockey news: Seabrook didn’t look good at last night imo and I think we all should at least admit that the Bickell hit was pretty much the Torres hit from Game 3.

  35. rich lindbloom says:

    one good thing about Foley – I heard the call of Big ben’s game winner on the radio this morning. While it does not rival, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” Foley did a great job.

    You forgot to mention Hamhuis exploding after suicide bomber, Dave Bolland, levelled him.

    Kruger should definitely be playing before Scott, but – it was nice to see burrows go down, look at Scott, and decide discretion was the better part of valor. No other canucks stepped up to heven hae a word with scott. Now that’s hockey. (And yes I realize he should have got a penalty and could have cost us the game.) Coulda, shoulda, woulda – Hit somebody!

  36. Cam says:

    Does anyone’s fans do whining like the Canucks’? Turns out they’d have this series swept if it wasn’t for the refs. This from fans of one of this dirtiest teams in the league.

    My favorite meme after last night is that the Hawks had a 6-3 PP advantage. Noting that it was actually 4-2, Vancouver fans seem to forget that their team is a bit more penalty inclined than the Hawks. The Canucks were basically tied for 4th in amount of times short-handed during the season while the Hawks were 29th. The difference in styles between the teams doesn’t dawn on them.

  37. Deborah says:

    The most innane discussion between Edzo and Foley was a few games ago, when Foley wouldn’t stop yammering on about Vancouver hiring a professional ‘Sleep Coach’ and how tremendously effective this person has been on Vancouver’s performance.
    What’s next for the Canucks? A Grief Counselor to help them through the mourning process after they blow another trip to the Cup?

  38. Jim says:

    John, the Vancouver Sun quotes you, and even uses your blog post title as their story today:

    http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Whodathunkit+Chicago+media+change+their+tune+Canucks+Blackhawks/4670966/story.html

  39. Steve from Rockford says:

    Dominic

    You’re not helping the Hawks with that attitude. They are not reading this board and saying “Look at that guy, sitting there defending us! We gotta play better”. These Hawks wins have been fun, but you better believe that we have an element of luck. We have gotten lots of bounces our way.

    These last three wins do not wash away the Hawks issues. We do have a lack of depth. We are a team full of small and medium sized guys. We are still getting outmatched physically. Our only size comes from a moron who appears to want to be a WWF wrestler. He should have gotten called last night, has given the Canucks opportunities to score and oh yeah cannot skate.

    Are you forgetting how this team played this season? Not well. Are you forgetting that the Hawks backed into the playoffs and only made it because of a fluke win? It appears so. The first three games of this series were pitiful. The Canucks are a far far more talented team. The lines do not even have to be laid out for you, it is evident in the way they play compared to the Hawks.

    The Hawks lost many big games to bad teams this year. We cannot win a board battle to save our own ass. We could not get past a trap that Vancouver played for an entire period if not more. Why couldn’t we adjust? Because we do not have enough depth. We hardly had any scoring chances and are lucky to win that game.

    This entire series has been bonus hockey for me. It has been thrilling. But I do worry that Bowman is going to luck at three wins and let him define his offseason. I want the Hawks to be good for the long term and without some moves this offseason we will be right back where we started.

    Duncan Kieth just mentioned that he wasn’t “interested” at many points in the season. That is a problem. I have never wanted to trade Kieth and still do not. But if you think that he is the only player that shared this sentiment then you have another thing coming. I do not know how a coaching staff and management allows this.

    Bolland has played great but again, he didn’t have the best series. As for trading him, well if it is something that will really improve the team then you do it. You have to trade quality to get quality. If you want to win you do not keep guys because you like them or that they showed up for three games.

    I am upset because I am wondering where this has been all season. Were these guys so smug that they really thought they could just waltz through the season? It appears so. Hopefully they learned that they have to put in a 100 percent to get to the job done.

    Anyways you are not more of a fan than anyone else. Just because you stand blindly behind a team and refuse to admit issues does not make you a “true fan”. Fans that refuse to be critical of a team allow them to put out teams like this years. Hawks fans suffered for years and years. Anyone that has followed this team for a decent length of time wants them to contend. This team was not built to do that. This season was not a good one.

    I hope the Hawks win, but I refuse to give anyone involved in the organization a pass for the clusterfeck of a season. I can guarantee you that backing into the playoffs and waiting till the very brink of elimination was not “all in the plan”.

  40. Steve from Rockford says:

    I apologize I should have proofread that:

    Bolland has had a great series, but not season.

    I do not want Bowman to use these three wins to allow him to define his offseason moves.

  41. Cam says:

    Steve, it’s true the team has some missing parts, but I don’t get the fascination with size. That was a major complaint amongst Hawks fans last year as well and things turned out okay.

    The Hawks need a better forecheck to counter traps, and I think Morin will eventually be a big help in that area.

  42. Cam says:

    “I do not know how a coaching staff and management allows this.”

    One other thing. How is the coaching staff or management supposed to inject life into players who were probably mentally, physically and emotionally drained coming into the season?

  43. Mick says:

    Bickell out three weeks after undergoing wrist surgery today. Did not travel with the team to Van. This all but guarantees John Scott will dress for game seven.

  44. Dominic says:

    First, to Steve and others, I would hate to see how some of you treat your wives or girlfriends after a bad dinner. Talk about moody.

    Right now the Hawks are showing world class resolve and determination in tying the series.

    As far as the analysis of the season, sure there were lulls etc…but you were 4 wins from winning division. We were like 14-3-3 after break before Bolland was hurt. Nobody remembers that. Do me a favor and go back and show me where 97 points does not make the playoffs. Sure we caught a break.

    Obviously you can put me down as one that is not buying into the we are so horrible mindset. It is moments like this that remind me why I am glad I left the South Side. Talk about myopic viewpoints. It is implied that we can always be better, that we can/will make some improvements. It kills me, we sat for 50 years with barely a sniff of the cup, now you get one, have to make adjustments and now get all indignant. Talk about entitlement mentality. To many Obama union guys out there.

    There is no doubt that our team, like all have issues. Debate them fine, but to get into hyperbole is dumb. Things are never as good as you think nor as bad.
    I respect your opinion etc, but the fact that you and many others still don’t get the fact that Bolland is almost as critical as Toews, that is where we part ways. Who are you gonna trade him for to make it a net positive?

    Look at Mike Babcocks article on how the Hawks handled this year. He coached the Ducks and missed the playoffs year after. He actually compliments them. I endured tough times in the 80s when we had some great teams but could never get past the Oilers. We are now the oilers in many regards, most importantly, we have clutch playoff gamers, which have more will than most others. It is an intangible. What you may not get is that these guys to a man truly believe they are the best.

    I am no better/bigger fan than any, I just disagree with your premiss and that of mainstream hockey. This goofy crap of not building a team to contend? are you serious. You lock up two of the games best long term, along with Sharp, hossa, Keith, Seabrook, Ham sandwich. Rather than carrying on here, cite me an example of another organization in better shape doing it right!

  45. Cam says:

    “Bickell out three weeks after undergoing wrist surgery today.”-

    They’re now saying 6-8 weeks, so his season is over regardless. That really sucks. He was playing so well on that Bolland line. Now what?

  46. Francis Roberts says:

    Bad news on Bickell, as he was playing great with Bolland and Frolik. I would think about moving Brouwer up to that line as he would add experience and a physical presence. Smith or Kruger may be able fill in. Both young, but smart players. As far as filling in the 4th line, is Kopecky close to coming back? May have to go with Pisani. Has Morin been cleared to play? He has not played since January, so that is probably not an option.

  47. BobbyJet says:

    I have to agree with Dominic on most of what he says. The Hawks, like every top team, can always use some tweaks, but as I’ve said since training camp. This team is young but very formidable and it’s only a matter of time before they gel as a team and catch or surpass last year’s edition. I hope that has happened in the last 3 games and will be completed tonight!

    And I can’t accept anyone saying the Bickell hit was comparable to the Torres cheap shot. The two were like night and day, simply because Torres had the puck in his possession and he knew Bickell was coming.

  48. BobbyJet says:

    Sorry I meant Bieksa had the puck and knew Bickell was coming.

    I also think Q needs to move Stalberg back to the 3rd or 4th line where he is much more effective. As for the 1st line, Sharp or Brouwer would be my preference.

  49. JM says:

    Foley’s storytime segment in the third has to be one of his lowpoints.

    Christ Almighty – we were tied in the 3rd period of an elimination game in the playoffs, against the hated Canucks, with shakey Lou back in net – and he ignored the game for 10 minutes to tell a story as if it were a sleepy January game.

    I grew up loving Foley…hell, I couldn’t play NHL’94 without doing my impersonation of his commentary alongside the game, but he hasn’t aged well.

  50. Marts says:

    Here’s a good link…

    Cut and paste. My HTML is horse$hit…

  51. Marts says:

    Yaaa! No need for HTML. Nice work John, or whomever… I didn’t realize links were imbedded here. Top shredder!

  52. Jim says:

    This has been one enjoyable series. I listened to Vancouver sports radio at work on my Android today. While Chicago talk radio was almost all Bulls talk, Vancouver was an all day pregame show. As a Cubs fan, I know about angst, but the angst in the city of Vancouver surpasses even 100 years of Cubs futility.

    I think a Blackhawks victory tonight will be printed on the Vancouver Canuck fan psyche far more than the Bartman Game hurt the Cubs fan.

    This is fun.

  53. CT says:

    ” The Canucks threatening to score every time they have the puck and Pat Foley figures this is the perfect time to spotlight the scorekeeper at the United Center.”

    I know right? I was kind of hoping he’d take the opportunity to let us know what Mick McGeough was up to.

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