Blackhawks 4, Sharks 3 (OT)

At some point in the season, the Blackhawks will figure out a way to win games comfortably.  Until that day comes, we’ll just have to deal with all the high-pressure games they’re playing in November. 

The Hawks jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to Evegeni Nabokov coughing up the puck behind his own net.  Jordan Hendry fed Brent Sopel and Sopel’s slap shot found its way to the back of the net. 

Nabokov bailed his team out afterwards though.  Following the goal, the Hawks were getting some high-quality chances and Nabokov turned them away each time. 

After the Hawks failed to clear their zone towards the end of the first period, San Jose’s top line of Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Jason Demers made them pay.  Thornton scooped up a loose puck, fed Heatley at the top of the circles and he snuck a shot past Cristobal Huet to even up the score.

The Sharks carried over their strong play into the second period with two goals within the period’s first two minutes.  Ben Eager received an extra minor penalty after getting into a scrap with Doug Murray.  On the ensuing Sharks power play, the puck was rattling around the top of the circles.  With Huet looking through a couple players, Jason Demers found the puck and quickly snapped it into the low left corner before Huet could pick it up.

45 seconds later, Patrick Marleau came streaking down the slot; both Hawk defensemen were caught behind the net, Joe Pavelski found Marleau and he had two high-quality shots on Huet.  His second one went in.

The Hawks chipped away at the lead six minutes later after Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane finished off an excellent shift.  Toews found Kane to the right of the cage and his one-timer fluttered over Nabokov’s shoulder to cut the lead to 3-2.

With less than two minutes in the period, Andrew Ladd made his patented ‘toe-drag-shoot at the goalie’s 5-hole’ move.  Nabokov kicked out a rebound and Ladd got another whack at it.  Nabokov let out yet another rebound.  The mass confusion in front allowed John Madden to crash the net unmolested, find the puck, and bang it into the empty net.

The Hawks survived a major scare at the end of the period when Brent Seabrook’s errand pass with less than 5 seconds left led to the Sharks getting three major scoring opportunities.  Huet stopped the first two and Duncan Keith stopped the third to leave the score at 3-3.   

Save for a few isolated chances, both teams played the third period like they wanted to split a point and that’s exactly what happened. 

In the first shift of the overtime, Nabokov stopped a Troy Brouwer tip.  The rebound went into the corner.  When Brouwer and Toews’ forecheck led to a Sharks giveaway, Toews found Seabrook streaking down the slot.  Seabrook buried it and the Hawks completed their comeback with Seabrook’s second overtime goal of the year.

Quickies

Considering the Hawks were without Kris Versteeg’s services and the constant line-jumbling was giving me an aneurysm, I was overjoyed the Hawks got a single point out of this game.  The extra second was icing on the cake.  The win gave the Hawks a perfect 4-0 homestand before their long trip out west.

–I would expect the Hawks to give serious thought to placing Dave Bolland on LTIR this week before they head out on their trip.  Bryan Bickell is a perfectly acceptable 4th line player.  Jordan Hendry is not.  If Versteeg is out for any length of time, it’s going to be very difficult to rack up points on the road playing with one and a half lines.

–Speaking of, Bickell played the best game of his brief Hawk career.  He saw some time with Kane and Toews, created some excellent pressure from his forechecking, and even had a few chances of his own.  More of that please.

–The Jeremy Roenick stuff was excellent as expected.  I thought the song choice and highlights were top-notch.  Maybe they could have spliced in some of Pat Foley’s calls but it was good, nonetheless.  Anyone curious about my feelings of Roenick, I laid it out pretty nicely following his retirement announcement.

*On the Farm*

The Rockford IceHogs were shut out at home on Friday night by the Texas Heat 4-0.  After a scoreless first, the Heat scored once in the second and then scored three goals in a 4 minute span halfway through the third.  Corey Crawford handled 23 0f the 27 shots he faced.

Saturday night was a much better result.  The IceHogs opened up their game against the Abbotsford Heat with three goals in the first three minutes.  Brian Connelly scored his second goal of the year with help from Danny Bois and Mark Cullen.  Bois added a goal of his own 20 seconds later with assists from Matt Keith and J.C. Sawyer.  Cullen scored two minutes later on the power play with freshly called up Maxime Tanguay and Peter MacArthur notching assists.

After the Heat got on the board at the 11 minute mark, Jack Skille scored on the power play with under two minutes left in the first period.  Brian Connelly and Mike Brennan had assists. 

The Heat scored two goals in the second to cut the deficit to 4-3.  In the third, Akim Aliu scored his fifth goal of the year with assists going to Darryl Boyle and Bryan BickellNathan Davis scored his seventh of the year four minutes later with Bracken Kearns getting the lone assist.

Joseph Fallon got the start for Rockford in place of the slumping Corey Crawford and stopped 27 0f 30 shots he faced.

–The IceHogs recalled the aforementioned Tanguay, Sawyer, and also goalie Alec Richards from the Toledo Walleyes on Saturday.  Does Richards arrival spell doom for Crawford?  Well, it’s certainly not good.  Crawford has been below average for awhile now.  This is a situation to watch closely in the next couple weeks.

Shawn Lalonde was held scoreless in Belleville’s Friday night 4-1 loss to the Kingston Frontenacs but he did get into two fights in a very chippy game.    The two teams combined for over 100 penalty minutes.  On Saturday, Lalonde had two assists and another fight in a 5-2 win over the Niagara IceDogs.

Byron Froese notched two assists, both coming on the power play, in Everett’s 4-2 win over the Kelowna Rockets on Friday night.  Saturday, he did nothing along with the rest of his team in a 4-0 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Kyle Beach had his second hat trick of the season and added an assist for good measure in Spokane’s 6-1 win over the Kamloops Blazers on Saturday.  He had an assist in Spokane’s 1-0 win over the Kelowna Rockets.  Beach also got into a fight towards the end of the second period.

Dylan Olsen had 2 of UMD’s 50 shots in a 3-2 loss to Michigan Tech on Friday.  Olsen was also a -1.  Dan DeLisle did not dress.  On Saturday, the Bulldogs threw another 48 shots to the net and this time, they scored 8 goals in a 8-1 win over Michigan Tech.  Olsen didn’t get a point for the second straight game.  DeLisle skated after being a scratch in the two previous games and was also pointless. 

Brandon Pirri had an assist in RPI’s 5-2 win over Clarkson on Friday.  He also had an assist on Saturday in a 2-1 loss to St. Lawrence.

Billy Sweatt didn’t register a point for Colorado College in their weekend sweep over Minnesota State.

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22 Responses to Blackhawks 4, Sharks 3 (OT)

  1. Jim says:

    The Roenick video tribute is on YouTube:

  2. Lou says:

    I agree on the 4th line issues. I would think Ebbett is better there than Hendry.

    But maybe this was an indicator that Hossa plays on Thursday???? Then part of this issue goes away.

  3. Dave Morris says:

    “At some point in the season, the Blackhawks will figure out a way to win games comfortably.”

    Without Hossa, Burish, Bolland and last night, Versteeg, “winning comfortably” would seem to be an oxymoron.

    The Blackhawks appear to have learned “winning ugly” counts for the same amount of points, and isn’t that a good thing?

    Beating this year’s top teams to date, the Kings, the Avs and now the Sharks in succession, whether it’s by one goal or however many goals, the Hawks are better in the ways that matter.

    Make no mistake, they earned this one. San Jose is a powerful club with a great goaltender. Swimming with these Sharks is no happy splash in the wading pool.

    But the Hawks and Monsieur Huet were better last night. The fourth line and Mr. Sopel struck first. Kane’s brilliant score ignited the comeback. Madden’s garbage goal was exactly what was needed. And the Toews to Seabrook OT winner was a beauty.

    THAT is how contenders play. Comfort? Fuggiddabouddit. Adversity builds champions. So grind it out, and get ‘er done.

    Now the challenge is to take that show on the road.

  4. feyer says:

    LTIR: Stanley hasn’t pulled the ripcord on this yet, so why would he now? There has got to be something more to this strategy.

    Kane and Toews extensions: LeBrun might be blowing smoke on this prediction, but if true, my guess is these contracts are like none other we have seen before. Something crazy like 30 year, $120 million.

  5. Lou says:

    Feyer, I think your instincts are on.

    It is not unrealistic for the Hawks to use the “loophole” again in the last year to lock folks up for long periods of time. 10 yr contracts with these two put them in their early 30s. And surely would be difficult to say the circumvented the cap. They could be longer

    Other teams have done long term contracts with young stars too. TB did it with Vinnie so this not of the realm of never done before. And Then there is the Dipietro Deal.

    My gut it is a 7-10 yr deal each

  6. AC says:

    With Sopel’s goal, 18 different Hawks have scored a goal and it is only November. I think we can safely assume that Hossa will score one before the end of the year. It’s great that the Hawks have found ways to win with their top players out and continue to find new heroes.

  7. John says:

    The reason he’d pull the cord on LTIR now is the Hawks are on the road for the rest of the month, therefore the Rockford shuttle won’t be as convenient as it is now. Guys are going to need to stay on the roster for at least a couple weeks. It makes more sense to do it now than ever before.

    As for the contract terms of Kane and Toews, I suppose we’ll wait and see, but I’ll take the under as far as years of the term. My guess is somewhere around the range of 5 years. That will give them a chance at more money once they’re hitting their respective primes.

  8. John says:

    And Bickell gets re-assigned to Rockford. So it continues….

  9. Dave Morris says:

    Big, big games coming up…Calgary on Thursday; then Edmonton, Vancouver, San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles.

    Hawks need to improve on their 2-3-1 road record, and need at least 7 of these twelve points to stay on top in the Central.

    Worth watching: whether or not Bolland goes to LTIR and if Bowman makes a deal for a replacement center with an expiring contract, like the aforementioned Matt Cullen.

    @Feyer, Lou> Bill Daly already came out during the GM meetings in Palm Beach to draw the line for owners regarding long term deals.

    With the uncertainty about the next CBA, we may see the beginning of ‘interim’ agreements until the issues are resolved.

    That said, Bowman and Pat Brisson (the agent for both Toews and Kane) have been in talks for several months. They are working on something that will be a win-win.

  10. Patrick says:

    If I were Stan (and I’m not – not blogging under a different name), I would do the following:

    1. Put Bolland on LTIR to open up a cap space because he’s going to be out for a minimum of three months, if not more
    2. Trade Hendry and Ebbett for Matt Cullen of Carolina (I think this deal actually makes sense for both teams) – combine the $1.1MM in outgoing salaries, along with the LTIR savings for Bolland (roughly 1/2 of his $3.3MM) and balance that against the $2.8MM coming in for Matt Cullen and you’ve basically got a salary cap match – plus, he’s a UFA after the season so there are few long-term implications

    Chicago gets a decent two-way (and competent) center that could bounce down to the fourth line once Bolland is back and up to speed – plus, all they really need is someone to not get in the way of Kane and Hossa (once they’re playing together), and I don’t think that Ebbett could really do that – and no, Hossa shouldn’t be in the center.

    Carolina gets a couple of serviceable (young and somewhat decent) pieces on the cheap.

    So, does this deal make sense? I think so. Does it get done? Who knows? I think that John’s right on in that it makes sense to do this now though, to give the team (and a new player) a few weeks to gel.

  11. John says:

    The Canes aren’t going to give away Cullen. Hendry and Skille would probably get it done. Ebbett has zero value considering he was available to the entire league at the mere price of 440k and he fell all the way to the Hawks.

  12. Lou says:

    @ Dave, Daly can came out and say all kinds of things and draw lines in the sand but the League is also subject to the terms and conditions of the CBA subject to the labor laws as well.

    If the league refuses any contract that meets the terms and conditions of the CBA and is in compliance with applicable labor laws, they will have a huge legal and PR fight to deal with. So, they can’t say no long-term deals. Not sure they want this fight into a bargaining year as well. They already are gonna challenge the backloading deals in negotiations.

    For speculative arguments sake, a 7 yr deal to either Toews or Kane takes them to 28-30 years old, still prime years left in their career. Since a backloading scenario is not really feasible given their age, it would likely be a 7 yr $45MM or so deal. That would be hard for the league to not accept/approve. Those contracts have been accepted regularly and are well within line of the spirit and intent of the CBA.

    Realistically I think they will try to lock them up with a shot for one or two more big contracts. So my 7-10 is likely a 4-7 type deal. However, McD comes from baseball and has seen some ridiculous contracts. So, one might not rule out something especially in the last year of this CBA…It will be fun to watch McD vs the Hockey Dynasty and O6 Owner

    A wild card thought here, maybe the Hawks want the Hossa contract to go to arbitration so it can re-negotiated…Just a point for speculation and not what I think

  13. CT says:

    “The Canes aren’t going to give away Cullen. Hendry and Skille would probably get it done.”

    That may not be giving him away, but it’s damn close.

  14. Patrick says:

    Yea, you’re right – my proposal probably is trying to take advantage of the Canes, but they’re losing and they could probably use some expense-relief, so they’d get that too. While I would like to keep Skille for next year, paring him with Hendry would make sense for both.

  15. John says:

    CT, the Canes love them some Blackhawk rejects.

  16. Lou says:

    But wait the all knowing EK says Dominic Moore.

    I love the rumor mill.

  17. Patrick Kane says:

    All I know is that I better be the highest-paid player on the Blackhawks come next season!

  18. Patrick says:

    If the Hawks were to use Hendry in a possible deal, who would become the 7th D-man, either with the team or at Rockford?

  19. John says:

    Good question Patrick. Unlike last year when they had Ham Sandwich in Rockford, there really is no one banging on the door. I would imagine their 7th d-man would be either Brian Connelly or Richard Petiot.

  20. Dave Morris says:

    Geez, all these really smart guys here. No wonder I love this site.

    Great thoughts, gentlemen.

    I especially loved Lou’s lashing of Bill Daly. Get ‘im Lou!

    😉

    …and Patrick (not Kane), careful about underestimating that thar feller Jim Rutherford. He may look slow to you, but he’s mighty shifty.

  21. Patrick says:

    Yea, I know – a always thinks his crap is a treasure. At least I didn’t propose Hendry and Ebbett for Ovechkin 🙂

    Really though, what’s up with Carolina taking the Hawks duds and making something out of them? Once is a fluke, twice is a trend…

  22. Patrick says:

    Meant to say “a man always…”

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