After the Blackhawks suffered one of their most embarrassing losses of the season, there are plenty of ideas about what exactly went wrong.
–Chris Kuc says Not enough FIRE, No PASSION!!!
–Tim Sassone says it’s a match-up problem.
What was it really?
Vancouver obviously had scouted the ‘Hawks very strongly. There was nowhere for Chicago to go once they gained entry into the zone. Passing lanes disappeared and whatever worked in the past was not going to work on Sunday evening. Not to mention, when you get a penalty shot and can’t even register a shot on goal, it’s probably not going to be your night.
Does this mean Vancouver is far superior to Chicago and a resulting a playoff series would be lopsided?
Not really. I’ve had a chance to catch a few Canucks games in the past couple weeks and I must say, they’ve never looked as good as they did last night. Vancouver was obviously at the top of their game, specifically their three best players, and the ‘Hawks weren’t. End of story. The result of this game doesn’t mean that Vancouver is now the ’88-89 Calgary Flames re-incarnate.
Speaking of Calgary, there’s been talk about how they might be a more favorable match-up for the ‘Hawks.
The Canucks can be a physical, nasty team with a more complete defense than Calgary, a more intimidating goalie in Roberto Luongo and a more dangerous top line with the Sedins and Alex Burrows.
I’m having a hard time imagining that a line of Sedin-Sedin-Burrows is more dangerous than Iginla-Jokinen-Cammalleri. I would much rather take my chances with the line known for it’s playoff disappearances than the line with a guy who came within one win of being the Conn Smythe winner.
Will this game mean anything if they meet in the first round of the playoffs?
Save for some extra trash-talking, probably not. If anything, it gave both teams an idea of what they could (in Vancouver’s case) and could not (in the ‘Hawks case) do against each other. The Canucks obviously have the upper hand in line matching assuming the ‘Hawks don’t make adjustments to what happened. As I stated in last night’s recap, the Sedins and Burrows dominated the HavBolLadd line. Considering that Quenneville seems to be more of a “traditional” type coach, he’s probably scheming to get a “traditional” checking line in order.
While the beating the ‘Hawks took was bruising, you shouldn’t automatically assume they’re destined for first round doom. Vancouver is a solid team but just because they played a nearly flawless game last night does not mean they are capable of doing it four times come the playoffs. So while you pray for Calgary to drop into the ‘Hawks lap, be careful what you wish for, because any team that can throw Jarome Iginla at you every third shift is not one to take lightly.
—Duncan Keith is still shocked at what happened during his scrap with Alex Burrows last night. The NHL rulebook calls for any hair-pulling to be a match penalty so it’s safe to assume Burrows may get a call from the league’s office soon. Of course, Adam Burish had to have his voice heard as well:
“I think it’s silly,” Hawks forward Adam Burish said. “There’s no spot for that. I think that’s stupid the way he was pulling [Keith’s] hair. Especially a nice haircut like Duncan has. I didn’t see it at the time [but] I’m sure I would have been more mad than I was already.”
So what’s sillier, pulling someone’s hair or inciting a riot by taking three unprovoked shots to a Sedin brother’s face? On the television broadcast, they were showing replays of Dustin Byfuglien taking out Roberto Luongo so we didn’t get to see anything until Ben Eager had already gotten to second base with Kevin Bieksa. According to several people at the game, Burish played lead dog by escalating the situation. Pot meet kettle.
—Troy Brouwer looks to be out for the next couple games. There was some hope he wouldn’t miss any time as he was seen walking around after the game with no limp. No one has been harder on Brouwer this year than me. That being said, he will be missed. He provides a solid defensive presence and can dig the puck out from the boards as well as anyone on the team.
—Cristobal Huet will get the start tomorrow night. It would be so 2008-09 Chicago Blackhawks (and for that matter, 2008-09 Montreal Canadiens) if Huet has a stellar start. After running a strict goalie rotation through most of the year, the wheels of the Blackhawks bus have started to fall off since the rotation stopped (due to Khabibulin’s injury). A strong start by Huet may get the rotation whispers going again.