Blackhawks 4, Blue Jackets 3 (SO)

Anyone else hear this was a trap game for the Hawks?

After coming home from a six-game, sixteen day road trip, the Hawks welcomed in their division rival, the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first time this year.  The Hawks started off quickly with a ton of pressure in Columbus’ end.  Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, and Cam Barker all had shots graze off the post on their first shifts. 

When Troy Brouwer went off for interference at the 13 minute mark, the best power play unit in the league had their second opportunity to score the first goal of the game.  With Jakub Voracek playing the point on the power play, John Madden beat him to a loose puck and fed a streaking Kris Versteeg.  Versteeg came in on Kris Russell, made a toe-drag move to get past him, felt the pressure behind from a back-checking R.J. Umberger, made another toe-drag move, and beat Steve Mason to the far side to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

In the second period, the Jackets were recepients of two glorious gifts from Cristobal Huet. 

On the first, Kris Russell flipped a shot towards the net that Huet had in his glove and bounced out.  Duncan Keith whiffed as the puck lay in front of him and after that, there was no way that puck wasn’t going into the Hawks net.  Antoine Vermette banged home his 103rd career goal against the Hawks and the Jackets tied the game at 1. 

 Just a few minutes later, Sammy Pahlsson corralled a loose puck after another goofy bounce off the United Center glass.  He curled around the top of the circles and wristed a shot towards the net.  Huet, either confused by the bounce or by the screen in front of him, let it harmlessly float past him. 

With just under five minutes to play, Dustin Byfuglien drew an interference penalty when he crashed the net as Patrick Kane was trying to get him the puck.  On the ensuing power play, Kane grabbed the puck, made a couple turns to wait for Patrick Sharp to get open, then fired the puck in his direction.  Marian Hossa, obviously not familiar with the Kane-Sharp love connection, tipped the puck to Sharp.  Sharp calmly collected himself and deposited it past Mason.

The third period didn’t start exactly as planned.  Kris Russell lasered a slap shot over Huet on a 4-on-3 rush just 40 seconds into the period and Columbus was back on top.

Four minutes later, Madden’s line drew a high-sticking penalty after a cycle behind the Columbus net.  Toews won the subsequent face-off, Keith walked the blue line and let off a one-footed wrist shot towards the net.  The puck glanced off Mike Commodore and then Toews’ skate and the Hawks scored their second power-play goal of the game. 

The rest of the third period was the Hawks getting sustained pressure in Columbus’ end and Rick Nash trying to single-handedly win the game in regulation for Columbus.  Neither team was able to capitalize and the Hawks went to overtime for the second straight game. 

Overtime was back-and-forth.  Both teams had decent opportunities to win, but neither did, so it was on to one of the most maddening shootouts of all-time. 

It started off well enough.  Cristobal Huet shut down Kristian Huselius and Rick Nash.  Marian Hossa blistered a shot past Mason.  Then Voracek picked a corner out on Huet and it was on to extra innings. 

The shootout lasted a whopping 11 rounds.  Versteeg and Vermette each hit the post.  Huet and Mason made stop after stop.  It wasn’t until Brent Seabrook beat Mason with a back-hand deke did it finally mercifully end. 

Quickies 

–Yup, Joel Quenneville needs to give more shootout opportunities to Andrew Ladd.  That was one of the most hilarious/sad attempts in recent memory.  With a chance to win the game, Ladd accidentally pushed the puck nearly to the Columbus goal line before Mason just poked it off his stick.  As an encore, Tomas Kopecky came barrelling in, fired a shot off, then caught an edge and crashed into the Columbus net after Mason stopped it.  This is what happens when shootouts go more than four rounds; you get to watch unskilled players partake in a skills competition.  In the end, everybody loses.

–Has Vince Vaughn entered Jim Belushi territory?  If he’s not there yet, he’s definitely getting within the area code.

–The Hawks raped the Jackets in the face-off circle winning 34 out of 54 draws.  The best face-off man of the night for the Blackhawks?  Kris Versteeg, of course, winning 10 of 12 face-offs.

–Leave it to Blackhawk fans to let Sammy Pahlsson feel their wrath for his uneventful stay in Chicago.  Playing as a 3rd line center but never drawing the top checking assignment while with the Hawks, Pahlsson was pretty much out of position from the moment he arrived.  Don’t tell that to the people, though, who thought he was supposed to be Eric Staal.  When he was announced as a shooter during the shootout, the United Center crowd treated him as though he was Hannibal Lector.  Deep down, I was actually happy he scored his first goal tonight just so all those people who cursed him last year could curse him again.

–Someone should probably show Steve Mason the video of Tomas Vokoun getting decapitated by an angry teammate from Monday night.  After losing the game, Mason swung his stick around like a drunken lumberjack.  All it would take is one Blue Jacket in the wrong place and they would’ve gotten knee-capped by Mason.   

*On the Farm*

The Rockford IceHogs announced the signing of former NHL goalie, Dan Cloutier, to a professional try-out agreement.  This whole Corey Crawford thing is somewhat bizarre.  You would think with the IceHogs calling up Alec Richards and now signing Cloutier, they’d make a point of saying these goalies are here because Crawford is dealing with an injury. 

The IceHogs are being fairly quiet about the matter.  The only thing they’re saying is Crawford is dealing with a lower body injury and is expected to miss another couple weeks.   And they didn’t make a formal announcement about the injury until a week ago, even though he hasn’t played since the beginning of November.

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21 Responses to Blackhawks 4, Blue Jackets 3 (SO)

  1. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen, another excellent recap.

    Nope, the Hawks did not have one of their better games…but they won it for the fans and Q.

    Nope, Monsieur Huet did not have one of his better games…but he got it done in the shootout.

    Mister Hossa, Mister Versteeg, Mister Sharp, Mister Byfuglien (with 8, count ’em 8, hits) and Mister Seabrook DID have excellent games.

    Come to think of it, Columbus played an excellent road game, so maybe that’s why the Hawks looked less than brilliant.

    But the Blackhawks won anyway.

    Like Larry Murphy said on ‘NHL On The Fly’ tonight, “great teams find a way to win”. Cliché, yes, but true.

    Furthermore, Mr. Murphy–long time Wings d-man and Stanley Cup winner–talked about how “this team has come a long way”, and emphasized “the Blackhawks need to be taken seriously as a Stanley Cup contender”.

    Mr. Murphy does not dole out praise like that, often.

    Here Come The Hawks.

  2. Dave Morris says:

    PS as if we needed further proof of the quality found here at The Fifth Feather, YahooSports and Greg ‘Puck Daddy’ Wyshinski have liberally borrowed the Feather’s ‘Hossa Rules’. Link here:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Does-Hossa-s-return-mean-Blackhawks-ready-to-tak?urn=nhl,204951

    Kudos, gentlemen.

  3. Lou says:

    @Dave, I think Murphy won the cup at Pittsburgh too.

    Versteeg’s shortie is a season highlight reel goal. It was simply wicked.

    Ladd had the big SO winner earlier this year too. So, his poor performance was disappointing. Shootouts at the UC are getting ridiculous. Leave it at that.

    It was a grinding game and Hossa looks good, wait until he looks great… In the shootout, he didn’t even look like it was hard. Shifting gears, Kaner needs a new move, everyone kind of has it figured out.

    Buff for a guy with eight hits is very blah…I wish he had more energy.

    Barker was again blended in. Sopel on the other hand was very visible and played just ok IMHO.

    Finally, Huet got it done but he needs to work on the rebound control. The glove is getting better.

    A win is a win, ugly or not!

  4. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> I know you don’t remember the Hawks’ last Cup win (and I confess, my own memory is getting fuzzier by the nanosecond), but ‘winning ugly’ is a characteristic of Champions.

    And I do remember Reg Fleming and Ed Litzenberger. Heck, I even remember Tod Sloan.

    Here’s to you, Lou. Enjoy these clips:

    🙂

  5. CT says:

    “Has Vince Vaughn entered Jim Belushi territory? If he’s not there yet, he’s definitely getting within the area code.”

    He’s definitely getting into Belushi’s weight class.

  6. Lou says:

    @ Dave, thanks. I wasn’t born when they won the last cup. But I have been around since the 60’s

    I was at game 4 in 92’s loss to Pittsburgh. I got a puck to boot. Jagr shot off Hasek’s stick off some hands of my buddies melon into my lap and then pocket!

    Great teams find ways to win. We are finding ways to win. But more importantly a different person is getting it done which is part of depth and balance.

    My question is if the shoot out continues do you take niemi over sopel????

  7. Patrick says:

    Sopel – the blazing speed will hypnotize the goalie…

  8. Lou says:

    BTW – Ham’s one goal commercial is funny. I’d like to see him locked up for the long haul as well.

    I could live with a core of Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Ham, Keith, Hossa as the core foundation

  9. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> hey bro, I am soooo envious of you actually *being* at that Hawks playoff game…and getting a puck to boot!

    I only ever had the pleasure of watching those playoffs on our wood-burning TVs up here in the frozen north. Had to do a whole lotta choppin’ to have enough logs for a whole post season run, eh.

    I remember ’92…I was watching the game in some dive bar in Ottawa downing pitchers of draft and gobbling chicken wings. That was the series where Hasek made that mad dash to center ice to stop a breakaway, right? Dose wuz de daze, me boyo.

    Cheers!

  10. Lou says:

    Dave, i think that was the play. Can’t totally remember. The puck fluttered and the guys in fron of us missed it and slowed it down and it hit the dude who I went with in the noggin.

    dirk had a hat trick in the first period. I got to see the cup presented to Mario. It was was neat to see.

    Tomorrow 2P starts the holiday season with a bang!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Lou says:

    Sorry for the double post it was third period by then. The puck was flipping and stuff off the deflection. It was a 75th anniversary puck too. It is in my collectibles case.

    Just seeing the cup awarded live was awesome and that was a good Hawks team too.

    Last year I saw Vancouver sent packing so that was cool. This year’s sesaons will hopefully lead to the Holy Grail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. feyer says:

    Thanks for the update @Dave. My math is always suspect, but I’ve calculated that they need to clear $2.6 million in tagging room prior to the announcement tomorrow of $18.1 million in extensions. Barker at $3 million seems like the logical choice.

  13. John says:

    feyer, I would wait until the official word comes out before you start penciling in how much the extensions will cost. The deals are done but their terms still haven’t been revealed. When they are, it will clear the picture much more clearer.

    Call it a hunch, but I don’t think the Keith cap hit will be as high as it was originally discussed.

  14. Lou says:

    I wonder if the league has already passed muster on the contracts???

    Friday’s game is going to be rockin…

  15. Jim says:

    I could only watch the highlights. What was Mason’s deal? He looked like he was barking at the Hawks during the shootout before throwing the tantrum at the end.

  16. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen, StanBow may have already cleared enough ‘tagging room’…from the Tribune:

    “Bowman has been manipulating the payroll all season and cleared more room under this year’s cap (part of the tagging room formula) when the team waived Andrew Ebbett on Nov. 21. Since that time, the Hawks have carried just one extra player on their roster (defenseman Jordan Hendry) and that may have paved the way to have the required room to announce the deals.”

    Or, it may be that Tom Kopecky hits the waiver wire and Bryan Bickell takes his place at half the price.

    Or, who the heck knows.

    Stay tuned.

  17. John says:

    Jim, it was hard to tell if Mason was trying to fire up his own teammates or taunting the Hawks. The Versus guys sure thought he was taunting the Hawks. Nevertheless, we can all agree he looked like an idiot whatever he was trying to do.

    Dave, I saw that too and it makes zero sense. Ebbett has nothing to do with next year’s payroll and carrying just one extra player doesn’t really matter all that much either. This will eventually make sense but it won’t be for those two aforementioned reasons.

  18. Lou says:

    Lots of trade scuttle, have to wonder if a trade has been ironed out and that will come as part of the announcement some time tmrw.

    reagrdless, this could be a great day in Hawkland!

  19. Dave Morris says:

    @John> good points…one of the most fascinating aspects of all of this, is that no one in the media seems to have a cogent explanation of how tagging works .

    The explanation here being the best so far, HawkeyKudos to you and Bob.

    Also, of course, the numbers being batted around appear to be speculation.

    Neither McDonough nor Bowman have commented, and that is to their credit.

    Mssrs Toews, Kane and Keith also seem to be deflecting the media vultures, and that with the same smoothness they show on the ice.

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