And It Goes On and On and On and On

Stop me if you heard this one before.

The Hawks battle back to tie the game in the third period only to give up the tie minutes later.  The Hawks commit another turnover in the neutral zone that ends up in the back of their net.  Instead of getting at least one point out of a game, the Hawks get none.

Such is life during this painfully long 0-8-1 stretch.  Once again, the Hawks played just well enough to lose.  Actually this time, they played well enough to win going away and if this game was played in November or some other time when they were not in the midst of this losing streak, they probably win it 3-1 rather easily.

Nevertheless, it was another regulation loss and if you thought it couldn’t get more painful than the 5-3 loss to San Jose on Friday night where the Hawks battled back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits, you were wrong.

Instead of beating our heads against the wall, let’s take a look at a couple of things that were encouraging.

–It seems as though the Hawks have finally realized their triangle +1 penalty kill isn’t getting it done and made an adjustment (Hey, only took five months).  The Hawks employed the traditional ‘box’ penalty kill tonight and the success was immediate.  (Shocking, I know).  The Predators were unable to make D-to-D passes or open up gigantic shooting lanes.  The Hawks were also able to force more loose pucks and force the Predators into decisions they didn’t want to make.

–It also seemed like someone finally told Patrick Sharp he doesn’t have to fly to the crease every time the Hawks have the puck on a power play.  There were a few times tonight where the Hawks were able to keep the puck in the zone because they didn’t have four guys surrounding the goalie while the puck squirted out to the blue line. (What a novel concept.)  Their second unit generated the best pressure and actually resembled a real-live NHL power play.

–I strongly encourage those who haven’t seen it already to check out this fanpost at Second City Hockey.  I know a lot of people are scared of those evil advanced stats but it’s encouraging (at least to me) to realize that what I’m seeing with my eyes matches those numbers.  On 5-on-5 play, the Hawks have been outplaying the opposition during this losing streak.  Their special teams have been atrociously bad, like no excuses bad.  And their goaltending, well, I think we all are in agreement on that subject.

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16 Responses to And It Goes On and On and On and On

  1. Sam says:

    As encouraging as CNS’s post may or may not be, the fact is the goaltending shows no signs of improving. Everything else i think is fixable, but that’s a major, major wound. Ask Flyers fans about it.

  2. John says:

    It’s only encouraging in that I’m/we’re seeing the right thing. Think it’s time to seriously consider getting Giggy with it.

  3. ArlingtonRob says:

    John,

    Welcome back…wish you would comment more frequently. I agree completely with your assessment, but we are witnessing what bad goaltending and special teams can do to a team with talent.

    It can destroy a teams will.

    Is it coaching? I would suggest it is when discussing special team play. Goaltending? I think that will require a transaction.

    This year looks to be a disaster, but I don’t want to see a panic move. Hopefully prudent moves by management can return this team to the top in the near future. Fingers crossed.

  4. Sam says:

    Getting Giggy with it would require the Avs to fall out of it, which they don’t consider themselves at the moment. But it should be the first call made.

  5. southsidehawkman says:

    I keep waiting for Stan Bowman to sack up and make a move. In this case make a move to make a move.

  6. cb says:

    I agree with Rob – don’t give up too much for a fix that’s not going to have a real impact. Trade for Josh Harding, Curtis Sanford, Chris Mason, or Nittymaki (yes, it’s come to this) IF they’re dirt cheap and if you want to pretend that this year is worth trying to salvage, but Giguere would cost way more than he’s worth. Bowman better already be thinking about who he’ll target over the summer. The only potential UFA starter available this summer is Vokoun, who is 35. He’s still in the top 20 in save percentage despite his struggles this year. I’d guess he’ll be looking for a multi-year deal. Who else might they target? Unproven commodities like Bernier, Schneider (probably not available), or Lindback. Are the Hawks desperate enough to take a chance on someone like Lindback, or is it more cost-effective to try to trade for Giguere? Of course you have to remember that – strong performances notwithstanding – Varlamov is almost Emer-ford bad, so Giguere is great value for the Avs. Does Vancouver have the space to keep pending RFA Schneider? He’s the most proven of the young prospects, but it seems impossible that the Hawks end up with him. Bernier and Lindback have both played under 50 NHL games, and neither have numbers that suggest they’re ready as NHL starters.

    Wow, I started off optimistic that the ship could be righted in the off-season, but now I guess I really am starting to see things from the Flyers’ perspective.

    How much heat should Bowman take for not acquiring a veteran goalie over the off-season? (i.e. one with a human rather than bionic hip.) Giguere is signed at a little over 1 mil per, which is easy to approve in retrospect, but a low risk signing regardless. Did the Wirtz’s fail to greenlight additional spending over the summer?

    I don’t know what to say about Q, in part because it’s not clear who his replacement would be. I can’t stand the ridiculous decisions he keeps making. Lepisto and O’Donnell each got 7-8 minutes last night. The Preds d-man with the fewest minutes had nearly 15, and the game winning goal. I realize we’re short two at the moment, but wouldn’t Lepisto be in a better position to succeed right now if John Scott hadn’t been played ahead of him so many times earlier in the season? I’m so sick of thinking about John Scott that I’ve decided that he alone is reason enough to fire Q. Just make it stop.

    I guess it’s possible that we could Leighton our way into and through the playoffs, but how likely is that? I wasn’t ready to give up on the season even four or five games ago, but I am now.

    If only Bowman could reacquire Khabibulin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  7. JEM says:

    That it took that long to try and fix the PK is a telling testiment if that is true. The coaching needs a fix as well as the goalies. I am not excited – I know the gamewinner was tipped but it wasn’t tipped much and it was way out on a shot he saw that wasn’t a laser. That is a stop a good goalie makes, not a great goalie, but a good one. And it came right after that long dump in that almost got past him.

    Our problem is GK and coaching, neither of which will get fixed until the off-season. oh and will someone remind Kaner that shots 2 to 3 feet off the ice at Renna probably aren’t going in.

  8. IXFEDAD says:

    Anyclue if the Hawks would be interested in Nash? Also is it me or have the special teams gone south since the departure of Torch? Kitchen (spelling) doesn’t seem to add any value IMO.

  9. John says:

    I have no idea if they would be interested in Nash. I personally would not. Haviland shares just as much duty in the special teams department so it’s not all Kitchen. Also, if Torchetti were a special teams guru, he wouldn’t currently be unemployed.

  10. BobbyJet says:

    As a team, that’s probably the best the Hawks have played this month. Though no tangible results the specialty teams as well looked better Two games ago, against SJ, we weren’t so bad either and should have come with at least a single point in both affairs. Things are certainly bad, but still could be worse. Hopefully Stan has a few deals up his sleeves, starting with a goalie. This team deserves better, than for Stan to remain status quo with the TD approaching fast.

  11. HawkVision says:

    I knew this was going to be a lot tighter than the last one in NSH, but had a feeling they would drop it. If this had been another 5-2 or 4-1 type of defeat, I would be really concerned about them going winless on this trip – and repeating last year’s cha-cha with the final playoff spot for the rest of the season. I still feel they’ll catch the Rangers off-guard and Henrik on an off night, take advantage of the great atmosphere in the Garden, and win in solid fashion tomorrow night…and from there, sweep the weekend, and restablish themselves as a true playoff team. The encouraging signs (as John mentioned) and my blind faith in one of my favorite teams lead me to these (probably considered meatball-ly) predictions.

  12. Thin The Herd says:

    I’m not confident about Bowman’s ability to get a good goalie, certainly not now, and probably not in the summer, either. His record in judging netminders–misreads of Niemi, Turco, and Crawford–hardly inspires ringing bells of joy.

    As the fan over at Second City noted, goaltending is costing this team dearly, yet Stan was quoted a couple days ago as saying it isn’t a “priority.” Perhaps that was just blowing smoke, but if he really believes it, this franchise is looking at mediocrity until he’s gone.

  13. BobbyJet says:

    Goalies are out there.
    The last thing I want is for Stan to not address the goaltending issue before the TD. That said, he has already hinted strongly that that is exactly what he will do.

    If that notion changes in the next week or so, the question is, does Stan go for an established netminder and pay the price (both in the deal itself and the ensuing salary) or does he look for a bargain and keep his fingers crossed. His history suggests he goes with the latter. Harding perhaps? And they can’t stop there either. At least one stay-at-home and tough dman is needed and a top 9 forward would be nice as well. The cap space is there for most of the needs. Are Hawks willing to utilize it?

  14. JIm says:

    Sometimes you wonder about sports teams.

    Bears: Why didn’t they have a legit #2 quarterback, especially when Cutler was being sacked 9 times a game? What exactly was their plan if Cutler got hurt? If they had an even average servicable quarterback, the Bears get the wild card, and the World Champion NY Giants stay home. Huh?

    Blackhawks: When the Power play and the penalty kill are so obviously bad, why not change it and go back to basics? When the goalies suck, why not find a good one?

    Or do you turn a blind eye and ignore the “waterfall ahead” signs? We know the answer to that one.

  15. SouthSideHawksMan says:

    Here are 2 players the Hawks can realistically aquire. Both are on the Market or would like to be moved, Tuuka Raask & Pavel Kubina.

  16. SouthSideHawksMan says:

    Please forward these names to Stan because he needs to do something!

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