Blackhawks 4, Oilers 3

For two periods, the Blackhawks dominated the entire flow of the game – they owned the offensive zone, the neutral zone, and the defensive zone.  To show for it, they had a 3-1 lead. 

It started off well enough with Patrick Sharp beating Nikolai Khabibulin to the far side after a sweet drop pass from Jonathan Toews.  The goal extended Sharp’s point streak to 6 games.  

The play started when Ham Sandwich stopped Ales Hemsky from clearing the zone.  Ladd picked up the loose puck and fed Toews to start the goal-scoring play. 

A minute and a half later, the Hawks made one of their only mistakes in the neutral zone.  Cam Barker and Brent Sopel got caught out of position; Ethan Moreau came in on his weak side, got the puck past a diving Sopel and Andrew Cogliano roofed it over Antti Niemi to tie the score.

The Hawks grabbed the lead again for good when Jack Skille banged home his first goal of the year.  Brian Campbell found his partner, Ham Sandwich, alone on the left point.  Last year, Sandwich most likely would have dumped the puck deep or quickly fired it on net.  With each passing game though, he seems to be developing more and more confidence.

Sandwich slid across the blue line, dragging the puck along with him, and fired a shot on net.  Skille was there to knock home the bouncing puck. 

Kris Versteeg gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead at the half-way mark of the game.  With the Oilers in the midst of getting called for a penalty, Brian Campbell took the puck wide into the zone.  Four Oilers watched Kris Versteeg plant himself in front of the net and Campbell didn’t miss him with the pass.

If it weren’t for Khabibulin in the second period and early part of the third, the game could have very easily become a laugher.  He made key saves on Kane and Versteeg.  His biggest save, though, was stoning Patrick Sharp on a penalty shot.

(Just in case you didn’t hear, the Blackhawks haven’t scored on a penalty shot at home since the Reagan Administration.)

Halfway through the third, Dustin Penner made things a little tighter with his third goal of the season.  His centering pass from behind the net deflected off Ham Sandwich’s foot and past Niemi.

Niemi made a key glove save a couple minutes later when a puck squirted out to a streaking Gilbert Brule.  Sure, it hit him right in the glove, but he still made the save.

Cam Barker gave the Hawks some more breathing room with three minutes left.  What he lacks in defensive skills, he certainly makes up for in offensive prowess.  Barker got the puck from Toews, stared at Duncan Keith the whole time giving the illusion he was passing, and then blasted a shot over a screened Khabibulin.

The Oilers scored another goal with 47 seconds left.  A game that felt like a blowout for most of the game was now one goal away from going to overtime. 

It wasn’t to be.  The Hawks held off the Oilers late surge and they finished off a perfect homestand 3-0-0.  As long as Dave Bolland is still alive after taking a Lubomir Visnovsky slap shot off the leg on the last shift of the game, then it was a very successful evening.

Couple of brief thoughts– Just because he’s not showing up on the score sheet, don’t think Troy Brouwer is having a piss-poor start to his season.  Brouwer played huge for most of the night.  Again. 

In the first, he even showed off some impressive moves when he did a little stop and start to blow by an Oiler defenseman and then cut hard to the net to only to be denied by Khabibulin.  He looks a lot more comfortable in his skin this year and at some point, those pucks are going to start finding twine.

–According to Bobby, at about the 8 minute mark of the third period, United Center security made people take down a huge sign reading, “One Goal Trade Huet”.  I’m not sure what to think of that, but I feel like you should know.

–Don’t expect the daily Skille reassignment tomorrow.  With a game in Nashville, the Hawks will have the unenviable task of actually having to keep him on the roster for the day.  Oh, those tricky salary caps.

*On the Farm*

The IceHogs lost to the Greatest AHL Team Ever Assembled (Chicago Wolves) 5-4.  The IceHogs let a 4-2 third period lead go by the wayside when the Wolves scored three unanswered in an eleven minute span.  Danny Bois, Mark Cullen, Akim Aliu, and Rob Klinkhammer were the goal scorers for the Hogs.  Defenseman Brian Connelly had two assists to lead the team.  Corey Crawford stopped 30 of the 35 shots he faced.

Byron Froese had a goal and two assists for the Everett Silvertips in their 5-1 win over the Prince Albert Raiders.

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23 Responses to Blackhawks 4, Oilers 3

  1. Matthew Dirt says:

    Brouwer still has hands of stone (unless he’s fighting Iginla) but he’s having a great start. He’s making huge hits and that move around the D-Man towards the net was sick… if he starts to convert on those chances I think he’s this year’s Versteeg.

  2. Dave Morris says:

    Ham Sandwich, eh? Is that on white or multigrain?

    Solid game all around by the Blackhawks, the first one we’ve seen since they came back from EuroWorld. Good Golly Miss Molly, they’re leading the Division and the Conference!

    And do those fans who want to trade Versteeg and Sharp…oh, and Barker who scored the insurance goal that became the winner…REALLY want to trade them? Hm?

  3. Lou says:

    Khabi really kept them in it. We did take our foot off the gas and made it closer than should be. That second penalty late in the third I didn’t catch what exactly happened?????

    Niemi played okay but he got it done. The team D needs to continue to step up and play like that in front of Cristo. As you guys have said, it is not time to all jump on his bus. He needs a little better rebound control in the front of the net. That third goal was an example of that and maybe that puck should have been whistled dead. Too close too call from my seats.

    As for trading, I think those three are the likely canidates unless somehow they can move Soup, who is conspicuously absent on the top PP line at a big price tag. Barker has a big shot but he is a defensive liablity and he is a very marketable commodity. Steeg, is streaky and if it came down to him or Sharpie, I think I keep Sharp. Steeg’s playing smarter this year so that makes it tough and if he stays with Madden and improves his D game even tougher.

    On a different note, our former pretty-boy metrosexual Czech is now DTD with a groin pull. Our guys are producing just fime without him as their legitimate threat. At least my pee wee level of hockey knolwedge says that. Could this be the beginning of the Minnesota saga with Ms. Havlat????? Stay tuned folks. Same Havlat Time. Same Havlat Channel?????

  4. John says:

    If you’re talking about Bolland’s penalty, he stuck his stick between the guy’s legs. That was the penalty late in the third.

    Madden’s penalty, I can’t recall what he did but it was right in front of the official.

  5. Lou says:

    Thanks I didn’t see what Bolland did.

  6. Patrick says:

    Skille earned his “stay” because he scored a goal – or at least I’d like to think so.

    The Hawks won’t make any trades of significance this season (maybe a 4th liner, that’s it). They will wait until the Summer to do anything, once the cap resets

  7. feyer says:

    Ham Sandwich has always seemed to have unexplainable confidence in his play when in the defensive zone. The continued improvement of his confidence in the offensive zone is truly a bonus. The play by the entire defensive corp in the offensive zone is a significant improvement over last year’s team.

  8. Lou says:

    @ Patrick. One thing to think about is Hossa’s return and how it impacts the lines and then what it does to the trade situation. How do you think the lines shake out?

    I think they move for a D-Man but not until Hossa is back and you may be dead right on that they wait. My gut tells me they make a move b/c some off the talent is just too good for the 4th line and we need some D help

  9. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> OK, boss, who gets traded and for who?

    Tommy Ivan is watching.
    😉

  10. Lou says:

    Great quetion!

    I think the who we trade list (let’s eliminate the huet and sopel for now) may include Steeg, Sharp, Barker, Hendry, Beach, Crawford, Campbell. The most likely is a combination of 2 of the first three. With Hossa coming back, the dynamic changes and we are in a good position.

    It is hard to speculate exactly who we would get (and not get crucified) but I think the who we would dance with card is most likely gonna come from Atl, Tor, NJ, NYI, LA with SJ, EDM and NYR maybe being in the mix.

    I have seen lots of fancy names out there in the scuttlebutt but major blockbusters don’t just happen overnight and not sure that scenario would be good for the Hawks overall chemistry. I think the move will be for an anchor type blue-liner with a reasonable or expiring contract. I don’t think we need a blockbuster big name but another player like Madden who knows his role and will play it for the chance at the cup.

  11. Patrick says:

    Lou – once Hossa comes back, I think it will look like this:

    Buff – Bolland – Kane (first line)
    Hossa – Toews – Sharp (another first line – no one in the NHL is this deep)
    Versteeg – Madden – Ladd (checking line – that can score like a second line)
    Eager – Kopecky – Brouwer (grinders – and Skille plays here until Eager is back – and these guys are evil too)

    And keep in mind that Burish should be back for the playoffs. No need to make a trade there.

    On the D-Men, Barker will figure it out, or he’ll sit for a few games and we’ll see what Hendry can do. He’ll get the message – he’s a good kid. If they do anything in regards to a D-Man, which I doubt, call me crazy but I could see them bringing in Cheli at the league minimum. That would get Barker’s attention, and still leave them in the same shape there in for next year’s cap.

  12. Patrick says:

    Lou – I saw you post while I was writing. Here are some thoughts:

    Steeg, Sharp, Barker – DO NOT TRADE THIS YEAR! To valuable to the Hawks
    Hendry, Crawford – no one will give value for them and they’re cheap replacements
    Campbell – contract is too expensive – you’d only get a headcase in return – he’s a hawk for the long haul, and I think I’m okay with that
    Beach – no, since the Hawks need some future, cheap depth for when they do have to make a move

    I love speculating on trades, but no need to move anyone now or this season, barring an injury, which the Hawks are showing that they can get past anyway.

    This team is sick, even with Huet and Niemi

  13. John says:

    Sharp is untouchable until the end of the season. He’s not going anywhere. And the only player Versteeg or Barker is getting traded for rhymes with Milya Dovalduck.

  14. Lou says:

    Patrick if they don’t make the move, I think you’re right on on the lines. The only intersting play is if they try to keep a Ladd or Brouwer with Toews and Hossa. That puts Sharp or Versteeg on the 4th line. And Fraser in street clothes.

    I absolutely agree, it is a nice problem to have. I think any trade will be even more carefully calculated than normal and the guys like Crawford or Hendry may just be to clear some space as part of an add on for a pick.

    @John that would give us ridiculuous fire power. SImply ridiculous. And if you buy some of the scuttle that ATL would take Soup. I will let Dave pick the word to describe that event.

  15. Lee says:

    For whatever it’s worth, Chelio’s signed with the Wolves yesterday!

  16. Patrick says:

    Cheli’s deal would allow him to go to any NHL club at anytime – the Wolves are just a place holder. The question is, does he have any value? We’ll see. He could have gone anywhere to play in the minors – he picked the Wolves for a reason.

    I’m not saying the Hawks should add him, I’m just saying that they shouldn’t rule it out…

  17. John says:

    Sorry Patrick, Cheli isn’t making his grand return. The Hawks had their chance to bring him aboard all summer and took a pass. Things aren’t going to change because he’s playing in the same area code all of a sudden.

    The reason he picked the Wolves is probably because they hounded him the most.

  18. Patrick says:

    I know – it probably ain’t happening, but stranger things have happened. Still remember the days of a D with him, Steve Smith and cast of thousands…

  19. josh says:

    to all those who doubt the possibility of a campbell trade due to his massive contract, look no further than bob “moneybags” gainey’s marquee acquisition this summer: scott gomez. not only is he an perennial underachiever but his contract, along with drury’s, was widely considered one of the worst in rangers history. campbell’s skillset, while at times mind-numbingly frustrating, is a unique and valuable commodity in today’s NHL. i’ve said before that barker’s development as an offensive threat is directly related to campbell’s continued status as a hawk.

    in short: until we are absolutley forced to make a move, don’t drive yourself crazy.

  20. Lou says:

    @ josh good point.

    NYR also has the even more hideous contract of Wade Redden

  21. Dave Morris says:

    Geez, while you guys were trading half the team, the Blackhawks won another game.

    Top of the Central, top of the West, 5-1-1. Who woulda thunk it.

    And with Huet in net, yet.
    😉

  22. John says:

    You asked for it Dave

  23. Dave Morris says:

    @John…of course I did 😀 😉

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