Canucks 3, Blackhawks 2

Did the Canucks just give a blueprint to the rest of the NHL on how to keep the Blackhawks down? 

It’s possible. 

Vancouver completely shut down the Hawks in the neutral zone, not allowing them to gain any speed into the offensive end.  The Hawks certainly didn’t help matters with their sloppy play, letting pucks hop off their stick.  If the pass wasn’t jumping off their sticks, it was because the pass was off the mark. 

Until halfway through the third period, the game had all the feel of a Serie A football tilt.  The Canucks weren’t going to get caught in a track meet with the Hawks and the Hawks were having trouble getting some steam behind their forecheck.

The Hawks held a 2-1 advantage going into the third period after Troy Brouwer’s tip-in goal closed out the second.  Early in the third, the Hawks found themselves in a 5-on-3 advantage.  Once again, Joel Quenneville felt like this was the proper time to execute his time-out.

What followed was the Hawks having difficulty even holding onto the puck, let alone getting it to the net.  Patrick Sharp found himself woefully out of position at the point.  The Hawks kept the puck on Dave Bolland’s side of the ice rather than moving it towards Patrick Kane, and the Canucks had no problem killing off the penalties.

As Willie Mitchell’s penalty expired, he caught Jonathan Toews looking behind for a pass.  Mitchell snapped Toews’ head back with a clean open-ice hit.  Kris Versteeg was first on the scene and picked a fight with Mitchell.  As a result, he received an extra two minutes for roughing to go along with the five minute major. 

After the Hawks killed it off, Dustin Byfuglien went off a minute later after his stick got caught up with Kevin Bieksa.  Bieksa’s stick hit himself in the face but Byfuglien was sent off for four minutes.

Antti Niemi and the Hawks were nearly three and a half minutes into the double minor before Michael Grabner’s 45-foot slap shot beat Niemi to the short side to tie the game at 2.

After the Hawks killed off another penalty four minutes later, Brian Campbell tried a risky drop pass to Kane.  Mikael Samuelsson didn’t nibble on it and scooped up the puck.  He took two steps and fired a shot to the far side as Niemi did not take the strongest angle on the shot.  The puck rang off the post and into the net to give the Canucks a lead they’d never lose. 

The Hawks mounted a bit of a rally late, even getting funny hop off the glass but Patrick Sharp’s back-handed one timer was high and wide.  

Festering Thoughts

–For already the second time in this young season, Joel Quenneville used one of the only tools he has as a head coach (a time-out) and completely wasted it.  With the Hawks getting a 5-on-3 for over a minute, the time-out gave Vancouver a chance to regroup and let head coach Alain Vigneault tell his team exactly what he wanted.  

In the NHL, it’s usually painfully obvious when it’s the correct time for a coach to use his lone time-out.  Coach Q went against the grain (and it was unorthodox, Edzo) and it bit the Hawks in the ass again.  

If you believe in momentum, then Quenneville did all he could to squash anything the Hawks had going.

Oh yeah, there was a whistle with a minute left in the game and Patrick Kane had just finished a shift.  Unfortunately, there was no time-out left so the Hawks best offensive player had to watch the rest of the game from the bench.

–Not only did Jonathan Toews get knocked out of the game but so did Brent Seabrook when he caught a shinguard to the mouth during the penalty kill period (aka the third).  Quenneville sounded much more optimistic about Seabrook’s injury than when he discussed Toews.  Take that for what it’s worth.

–People who want to bitch about Cristobal Huet are more than welcome to.  However, the more pointed criticism should be for Blackhawk management’s refusal to bring in a legitimate NHL back-up this off-season.  Yes, Antti Niemi made some big stops tonight.  He also let in two atrocious goals where he had no clue where he was standing in his crease.  There was plenty of bargain shopping to be done this summer and the Hawks decided a guy with 3 games of NHL experience was the answer for 30 to 35 games this year.

–The Andrew Ebbett acquisition looks pretty large now, eh?

–Someone attending the game could probably tell me, but why was Versteeg the one trying to stick up for Toews with Brent Seabrook and Troy Brouwer within spitting distance? 

*On the Farm*   

The IceHogs got off to an awful start against the Peoria Rivermen. They were outshot 18-2 in the opening frame and found themselves down 3-0 after 20 minutes.  Former Hawks farmhand Danny Richmond had two assists for the Rivermen.  Goalie Joseph Fallon only made it through the second period, giving up four goals in the process, before he was lifted for Corey Crawford.  Kyle Greentree scored his first goal since being acquired from the Flames. The assist came from Richard Petiot.  That was as close as Rockford would get, though, as they lost 4-1.

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25 Responses to Canucks 3, Blackhawks 2

  1. Lou says:

    Obviuosly, we have more than goaltending issues. It seems like we are missing some of that killer instinct to overcome adversity that we had last year. Sure we are the hunted but we found some ways to get it done. This year we don’t seem to adapt to the changes teams throw at us. Makes you wonder if the missing fourth line spark is the difference.

    On the goaltending Niemi played decent but I think your right, his effort and big stops get overlooked by blasts from the outside. Although, that is a big part of our game too. So it is a kind of catch-22.

    Q needs to stop calling time outs on 5 on 3s, it sure isn’t helping us with the 0-4 this year. Q seems to be getting outcoached a little bit. Frankly, the powerplay play sucks right now. Sharp does not ever belong on the point. Bolland is not that creative with the puck, Barker can’t always keep the puck in let alone get his shot off and the big money dude in Campbell seems to be on the second line. SOmethig has got to give.

    On D, we turn the puck over too much. Campbell’s last night was stupid and it cost us a goal. Barker had at least one that Niemi saved. In general good efforts get overshadowed because of turnovers.

    Penalties, too many of them and especially in the third period. I can live with Versteeg getting an extra two for defending a team mate. It was a big, clean hit by Mitchell. Not sure where the other guys were. Buff’s high stick was weak and may have been a product of increased eyes from the roughing when he defended Kane at the end of the first. But it has become a recurring theme. And when you need to put a team away, you can’t play 8 minutes short in the third.

    Maybe it is time to switch up the lines a little. I’d think about Buff-Toews- Kane, Sharp-Bolland-Ladd, Brouwer-Madden-Kopecky, Ebbett-Fraser-Steeg. Something needs to get some spark going.

    What is the scoop on Eager?

  2. Leonidas says:

    I was there, and to get right to it I’ll opine that the reason Versteeg was the guy to ‘stand up for his mate’ was because he was they only one in the vicinity not concerned that Toews might have flat lined. It was a stupid, rash retaliation, but that’s one feature of hockey I never have, nor will get acclimated to. Up the offensive pressure, score a critical 3rd goal to go up by two, then send somebody expendable to try and break Mitchell’s knees.

    Make no mistake about it – I don’t know how much replay and at what angles TV provided – the hit was MASSIVE. It had all the marks of the wallop the Sabres delivered on Keith last year: Toews fell faster and more lifeless than a wasted Bobby Hull and he got up as if he woke up in the middle of the mountains in Yemen. (read – concussion) Same as Havlat in the playoffs last year, he sat down on the bench for about a minute looking around aimlessly while his teammates and 20,077 had lost most of their attention for the play on the ice. I would not be surprised in the least if he gets similar treatment like Eager, out for a variable, excruciating amount of time.

    Speaking of the crowd, it was insane. Having the great fortune of being close to the ice I remarked to my dad on many occasion how I could hear the players yelling at each other – it was that quiet most of the game. And having gone to a good amount of games last year it felt fairly lifeless until the Hawks killed the first 4:00.

    The officiating with regards to penalties was atrocious. Buff really put a bullseye on his back but his early roughing penalty (without at least a matching) seemed almost like it was the result of the official’s personal grudge.

  3. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> you said it.

    No killer instinct.

    They played the same sloppy game they did against the Wings and the Flames. They were lucky against the Flames.

    One good period last night. The rest, ugh.

    Forget the ‘goalie issues’.

    Niemi played great. So what?

    These kids need to address their own issue of team toughness. Mental toughness.

  4. Lou says:

    I think you’re right on the Buff stuff. I also wouldn’t put it past Bieska to do his best WWE and cut himself.

    The officiating has been atrocious but we can’t let that be our crutch. And believe me it pisses me off to no end. We are getting beat b/c we aren’t adapting to the game as teams change their game. And our goalies are letting in too many soft goals.

    I don’t think I saw Toews hit his head on anything. Havlat got wailed on last year and his head was hit. Toews head did take a herky-jerky motion but I am not sure he hit anything which might be good

  5. Mike says:

    Whats wrong with Foley? I heard Edzo elude to some sort of illness, but nothing more after that.

  6. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> you know what most ‘soft goals’ are? They’re the result of a bonehead play by somebody other than the goalie…like a turnover at or inside the blueline.

    A good wrist shot is released in a split second and already past a goalie in another split second.

    Niemi got beat on the last goal because of ANOTHER HAWK TURNOVER.

    Maybe the Blackhawks should open a bakery.

  7. blackhawkbob says:

    I was at the game, so Mike’s comment takes me by surprise. We’ve had Google hits today having to do with “Foley” and “illness.” Did he not broadcast the game? If not, who did?

  8. John says:

    Mike, I heard the same thing but didn’t catch what was said.

  9. Mike says:

    Pat did the game and sounded fine. Eddie brought it up during the 2nd I believe, but Pat kinda brushed it off and made a joke about his ears or something like that. Ive checked some of the other boards and haven’t found anything either.

  10. John says:

    All I ask for is consistency when it comes to the goalies. Would you still be saying soft goals are the result of someone else’s mistake if it was Huet in net last night? No other way to dice it, Niemi played well until he didn’t. Would the response be the same if Huet did that? Not bloody likely.

  11. Mike says:

    Totally agree John. A goal like that against Huet and he gets burned alive.

  12. Lou says:

    You are right, Huet would have been screamed at to Hammond. Our defensive TOs have been brutal every game. Barker and Soup seem to be leading the way. Clear the puck if and don’t try fancy backward shit near your blueline.

    The turnover game is bad and now you see why I think you trade Barker and that shot to get a more solid D-man. I think Seabrook, Campbell and Dunc can offset his shot. We need better defensive pairs and frankly better defensive play.

    I also don’t think Bollan should be on the PP right now. He just doesn’t seem to be creative enough. And the Sharp point experiment needs to be ended?

    Dave, bakeries are alway good place to stop when one has the munchies or needs to feed one’s frustrations!!! Can’t always have potato or mash based beverages

    Has anyone heard an update on Toews???

  13. Josh says:

    It’s becoming more and more evident that our defense is a major problem. The entire bottom four, with the exception of Hjalmarsson, is completely worthless. They make no-look passes through the slot, they have basically no composure on the forecheck, they consistently get beat by opposing forwards, and worst of all they frequently look lost or out of position because they lack any decision-making skills. Here’s a question; why was Q so high on Hendry? He made Sopel look like Chris Pronger with his hands of lead and inability to skate.

  14. Lou says:

    well the early word is SEabrook and Toews improves and they may play. They have to be checked again tmrw for concussions clearance. so time will tell.

  15. John says:

    Well, Barker and Campbell can play on the power play so that’s one thing they can do. Also Campbell was a point per game player up until a couple games ago. Worthless is not a word I would use to describe him. In fact, we fought this battle all year last year; we’re not going through it again.

    Barker on even-strength is pretty much a liability at this point. All we can really hope for is he removes head from rectum.

    Hendry has been watching first 9 games from the press box and was thrown into action. We should probably give him a couple games before we banish him to Hades.

  16. Lou says:

    Well said.

    Any ideas on how to dislodge Barkers cranium. I would say jump up and down while holding one’s ears but that may not work.

  17. Josh says:

    Worthless in the sens that they are ineffective on their own zone. I’m not saying that they have the potential to contribute offensively, but with the amount of skill we have up front do we really need these types of one-dimensional d-men? Campbell puts up big points, no doubt about it, but how many good offensive chances does he single-handedly manufacture? One of the key reasons he gets so many points is because he plays with our top offensive guys on powerplays/in specific situations. Barkers game has deteriorated in the early part of the season, and save the top two/hammer I’m not sure we have a defenseman who can shut down rushes or even manage their own end effectivlely.

  18. Patrick says:

    While I am bummed at the Vancouver game outcome, it’s early in the season – we need to relax and let the Hawks figure everything out. They will…

  19. John says:

    One of the key reasons he gets so many points is because he’s one of the higher skilled players on the team. Fixed.

    How many defensemen in the league out there are single-handedly manufacturing chances for their team on nightly basis? One, maybe two. It’s a team game and Campbell is more than pulling his weight, no matter his occassional defensive blunder.

    The only defensemen doing an inadequate job in his own end thus far has been Barker. That includes Brent Sopel who is having a decent start to his season.

  20. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou>if the Hawks want to play patty cake instead of grinding out ugly wins, we can look forward to dumb stupid performances like the one against the Canucks.

    I don’t care if it’s Niemi or Huet or Granma Moses in net. Turnovers by the Blackhawks result in quality scoring chances for the opposition.

    If you all think it’s so easy to play goal in the NHL, strap on the pads for five minutes.

    The Hawks have to cut down on their compulsive generosity towards the opposition and deliver some mean, smart hockey. Not this namby-pamby stuff they’ve shown us so far.

  21. Lou says:

    Dave, you have single handedly improved all of our vocabularies, first kerfuffle and now namby-pamby. Most excellent thanks. Talk about obscure references. Grandma Moses. My goodness she was ancient when I first heard about her as a kid. Keep up the clever witicisms!

    I am not for patty cake hockey either. We need to play a solid two way game. Do some more forecheck and backchecking. The PP should still be practicing from last night. Maybe they are scoring too easily at practice b/c they are shooting at Huet.

    The defensmen collectively have to stop the crap turnovers. Teams see that if you forecheck us hard some of our d-men get squierrelly with the puck Barker being the chief nut and he just plain blows right now. His game is regressing IMHO. That is why he is getting no ice time like I pointed out a few days ago. I think he is the guy they try to trade. His contract is reasonable. Sharp is probably second. He is a great guy and provides some leadership but Versteeg is more gifted at creating his own chances.

  22. Lou says:

    you gotta love the BUZZ rumor about the Hawks in on Frolov. WTF would we do with another princess who doesn’t want to play D? Unless one of their young D men comes this way, what a wast of speculation. Barker for Frolov would be plain stupid.

  23. JM says:

    I remember thinking the late season shutout loss against Van last year was a blueprint on beating the hawks.

  24. Josh says:

    @John: If not being able to make a breakout pass and doing completely unnecessary Denis Savard impressions are skills, then yeah he would be one of the most skilled players on the team. Campbell’s consistently exhibited poor decision-making skills and has underachiever since he arrived.

    As for Sopel, having two or three good shifts a night doesn’t mean he’s having a good season. Aside from blocking shots, Sopels done nothing but get beat to pucks and miss checks.

  25. John says:

    You’re right. The whole team sucks. Let’s trade them all for the Maple Leafs defensive corps.

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