First, let us apologize for the late re-cap. A combination of snow, dental work, an early start and general sexiness forced our hand. (I take full responsibility for the dental work and the sexiness. The snow and early start were out of my control.) I hope you don’t mind.
As for the Blackhawks, they’re really starting to make our lives difficult. After all, there are only so many ways I can say ‘The Hawks are pretty damn good.’
They’ve now scored at least four goals in eight straight; they’ve won five in a row and eight of their last nine; they’re alone at the top of the league with 65 points in 44 games; and with 40 points and a boatload of recent media attention, you better believe Duncan Keith is a serious, serious Norris Trophy candidate.
So, yeah, the Hawks are pretty damn good.
But, don’t let yesterday’s semi-blow out be the evidence. Bruins’ regulars Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference, Mark Stuart and Byron Bitz all missed the game, and Marc Savard was injured very early and didn’t return.
What was worse for Boston was they were unable to sustain a two-goal first period lead, gained on goals by Blake Wheeler and Miroslav Satan. Before the first was over, goals from Duncan Keith and Thomas Kopecky evened the score.
The second and third periods belonged to the Hawks, adding three more goals, including another tally from Keith and goals from Andrew Ladd and Patrick Kane. For Kane, the goal extended his point streak to ten games; he also has at least a point in 16 of his last 17 contests. Pretty darn good for the “underachieving” 20-year old many complained about last season, eh?
The story of the night, though, was the Bruins’ handling of the puck in their own zone. The Hawks forechecked them to death, resulting in a large handful of good chances and a few goals.
Are You Not Entertained?
– This is fun, isn’t it? As fun as it is for some, Patrick Kane appeared to be disinterested at points yesterday, including his slow attempt to enter the zone and lazy offensive zone penalty that followed during the third.
And, that’s just an observation.
– Don’t look now, but the fourth line is officially back, with each ending the game at +2.
– Keith and Brent Seabrook were +4 on the night. Of course, Keith had two goals.
– Antti Niemi’s now 11-2-1 with a .925 save percentage. It certainly looks like he’s on his way to becoming a starting goaltender in this league.
– Patrick Sharp and Zdeno Chara had an epic coming-together in the first after Chara took out Sharp in the neutral zone. As the two chased the puck in the Bruin zone, each focused on hitting the other, rather than the puck. Chara hit the deck hard.
– Pat Foley told the story yesterday about how Joel Quenneville was on his way to becoming a stock broker of some sort before being asked to become an assistant coach in the AHL. Eddie Olcyzk responded by saying that it was likely Coach Q “touted steel stock” and other “hard” investments.
– Bruins’ back-up netminder, Tuuka Rask, has fantastic numbers this year. He played well last night, too, stopping Marian Hossa on a breakaway shortly after entering the game. He only gave up the fifth Hawk goal on 12 shots.
– Is Colin Fraser aware he can throw punches when the gloves come off? By rule, absorbing them isn’t his only option.
– Did anyone notice Cam Barker didn’t play yesterday evening? With Ham Sandwich back in the line-up and Jordan Hendry playing well, it’s not too difficult to spot the d-man who may not belong when it comes time to dump salary. And, that’s too bad after Barker took significant steps forward last season.
I think he’ll end up being a very solid defenseman, but it likely won’t be here. Too bad.
– One very, very important question regarding PS3’s NHL ’10: When I – I mean, my little cousin – starts the the game, I – I mean, he – always comes to this skills-type challenge, rather than being able to begin to play a game. I – he – becomes very frustrated that he has to enter this challenge mode, rather than being able to advance right to gameplay. It wastes time, and it’s a pain in the rear. Is there any advice out there for me – to, ya know, pass on to my little cousin – regarding how to bypass this annoying level?