Let’s get straight to the points….
–On Friday, Duncan Keith was admittedly bad and was a -4. On Saturday, he proved why plus/minus can be a deceiving and silly stat while going -4 again.
On Edmonton’s first goal, Steve Montador pulled an ‘ole’ on Ales Hemsky to give him a semi-breakaway from the top of the circles. Nothing Keith could do there.
On Edmonton’s second goal, Keith played Randy Jones into the corner where his only play was to throw a low-angle back-handed shot towards the net. It went in and Keith had nothing to do with that.
On Edmonton’s third goal, Keith played the puck around the corner. Marcus Kruger completely bailed on taking the hit along the wall (funny how Pat Foley didn’t call out Kruger for it with the same verocity he went after Olli Jokinen the night before) which would have cleared the puck out of the Hawks end. Instead, the Oilers kept the puck in and Ryan Smyth had an easy tap-in.
The only minus that Keith could be blamed for was the fourth goal where he was overaggressive in the offensive zone and it opened a wide lane for an easy Oiler breakaway. So yeah, Keith was a -4 but looking a little closer, it should hardly be a scarlet letter for him to burden the way some want him to.
Sometimes, a -4 is more about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
–Perhaps it’s a coincidence but in both games this weekend, Corey Crawford and Ray Emery let in pillow soft goals for the opposition’s second tally to break a 1-1 tie and the Hawks folded up shop. On the other hand, it’s not completely out of line to consider that the Hawks were let down by their goalies, felt sorry for themselves and before they could recover, the game was out of reach.
–Hockey has to be the only sport where the fans actually give a sincere crap about what players do in their off days. With the Hawks getting 0 points out of a possible 4 and looking mostly awful in it, some fans (see: all of them) were calling for them to cancel their day trip to Las Vegas. As if the best way to deal with grown adults is to treat them like a bunch of immature 14 year-olds.
First off, the organization should know what kind of team they have. If they felt like this trip could serve as a distraction or that the Hawks didn’t deserve it, they should have never scheduled it to begin with.
Even if the Hawks were to cancel the trip, it’s not like they’re going to stay at a Motel 6 outside of Los Gatos for the next few days as punishment. No, they’ll stay at a five-star hotel somewhere, still go out, and still show themselves a good time wherever they are.
The whole thing to me reeks of jealous fans unable to cope with the fact that “deez guys make too much money and dey get pampered like a bunch of babies!!!” Professional athletes are going to show themselves a good time wherever they are in their down time regardless of how they played in the game before. Get over it.
–On the bright side, the Hawks power play is (predicatably) fine. Their penalty kill is another story.