It’s 11:00 in the a.m., and if you’re reading this, I can only assume you either (a) saw last night’s game or (b) already read a re-cap. I’ll spare you the recap, and get right to my thoughts from last night’s Original Six tilt.
— Of course, Andrew Ladd was given the boot early for his jarring hit on the Canadiens’ Matt D’Agostini. With hits to the head being the hot button issue of the NHL day, Ladd’s trip to the box following the play seemed to be short-lived. Indeed, the refs asked him to exit the box and sent him off the ice with an elbowing major and a game misconduct.
What to do now? Well, the NHL will review the hit and likely revoke the game misconduct assessed on the ice. Translation: don’t worry about a suspension. It’s quite clear on replay that Ladd (a) didn’t elbow D’Agostini and (b) didn’t leave his feet to make the hit.
So, if (a) the NHL currently uses instant replay for certain situations to make sure the call on the ice was correct and (b) it’s clear, in this situation, that Ladd was not guilty of the serious infraction called against him on the ice, why not allow the referees – or the NHL “war room” as it were – go to the video to assess penalties when a misconduct would – or maybe should – be called. It’s nearly impossible to decipher whether a player skating as fast as Ladd elbowed another player skating as fast as D’Agostini, so why not allow the refs to slow it down and make the right call?
After all, it cost Ladd his night.
— Kris Versteeg was once again masterful on Friday night. He dangled all over the ice in Patrick Kane-like fashion. Coach Q even used the two together in an effort to jumpstart his offense.
Needless to say, Kane was fantastic himself.
— Sure the Hawks won, but their offense has struggled of late. Of course, this isn’t surprising as they’re missing Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. But, it seems most forwards have caught a case of Patrick Kane-itis. Now, whenever any forward enters the zone, rather than going hard to the cage, the puck handler stops just inside the blue line and waits for trailers to pass to. While Patrick Kane and Wayne Gretzky have done well using this strategy, it’s not exactly the best idea for Thomas Kopecky. Q needs to instruct the forwards to get the puck to the net, rather than emulating The Great One himself.
— Oh man, the power play is yucky. I’m not sure what else to say.
— OK, I relent. Waive Cristobal Cristobal Huet. The goaltender not named Annti Niemi has now given up four goals in his last four games. Not bad for someone who was being run out of town two weeks ago. For the record, Huet was cheered during pre-game introductions, but received Bronx cheers for stopping the first puck he touched all night – a long range dump in on net.
— It looked like Patrick Sharp had officially slipped into a slump when he mishandled two pucks in the offensive zone, including a one-time attempt, during one shift on the first period. Sharp got things together, though, and one-timed the game winner past Carey Price in the third. He played well nearly all night, which is, ya know, a nice change.
— Cam Barker continues to look like a defenseman playing without confidence, but his second period goal was the equivalent of a broken bat home run. Barker one-timed a behind-the-net Versteeg pass for a goal, but his stick broke in half in the process.
— Finally, from the Blackhawks’ web site recap: Ben Eager skated yesterday for the first time since being injured. Q called it “encouraging”; I’d say. He and Toews will make the trip next week to Phoenix and Colorado.