Blackhawks 3, Blue Jackets 0

It didn’t take long for the Blackhawks to match their goal output from their last game.  Sixty-one seconds into Thursday’s tilt against the Blue Jackets, the Hawks struck first blood.

Columbus defenseman Mike Commodore coughed up the puck just inside the Hawks blue line.  With no Columbus forward lending support, Kris Versteeg led the ensuing 3-on-1 rush.  Versteeg kept himself in a shooting position the whole way down, looked off Jan Hedja, and found Brian Campbell streaking down the right wing.  Campbell blasted the puck past Matheiu Garon to give the Hawks the much important first goal.

The Hawks controlled the rest of the opening period and it looked like it would be a smooth ride to two points.

Apparently, the Hawks defensive corps didn’t get that memo.  Far too much time was spent in the second period with the Hawks scrambling around their net.  Their biggest problem was their inability to get off a clean first pass on the breakout.  Ham Sandwich, Jordan Hendry, and Brent Sopel all took turns giving less than stellar breakout passes and the result was the Blue Jackets having sustained pressure around Cristobal Huet.

Huet, though, played his part and made several key stops on the Jackets’ best offensive players.  Late in the period, Huet kicked away a Rick Nash shot from the slot and it kickstarted an odd-man rush for the Hawks.  John Madden carried the puck over the blue line, waited for Dustin Byfuglien to open up, and set him up perfectly for the one-timer.  Byfuglien got every piece of it, and more importantly, hit the net.  Garon had no chance at stopping it and the Hawks took a two-goal lead into the final intermission.

The third period started off a lot like the second with Columbus taking advantage of the Hawks inability to break out of their zone.  Huet turned away the early pressure and the Hawks’ superior talent once again took over.

Marian Hossa entered the Columbus zone 1-on-3.  He spun and waited for help, then chipped the puck in deep for Patrick Sharp.  Sharp immediately found Duncan Keith streaking down the slot and Keith’s slapper beat Garon to the far side to give the Hawks all the lead they’d need.

The only tension for the rest of the game was whether Huet would hold on for the shutout.  With the Hawks spending the last 7 minutes of the game in the Jackets’ zone, it wasn’t exactly a tension-filled experience.

Quickies 

At the ten minute mark of the third period, Pat Foley went on his standard Heritage Night rant.  Come on, you probably know it word-for-word by now.  “And how great is it that the Blackhawks have brought back all these familiar faces.  For so many years, they were turned away.”  On and on he goes.  One has to wonder if Foley’s whole schtick is just a pre-recorded bit or if JWoww is merely turning on his Stepford Foley.

–Any truth to the rumor that Jay Blunk lost all his hair when they surgically removed his head from JWoww’s arse?

–Maybe it’s one big coincidence, but it seems like Ham Sandwich hasn’t been the same since taking a puck off the ear on New Year’s Eve.  Other than blocking about a half dozen shots, he looked very pedestrian.  He set up Rafi Torres beautifully in the second period when he coughed up the puck in front of Huet and made a few other mistakes which nearly cost the Hawks.  In other news, he was named 2nd star of the game, so what the hell do I know.

Ben Eager had an entertaining sequence half-way through the second period.  Ham Sandwich got tattooed by Derek Dorsett who made no attempt to go after the puck.  Eager immediately got into the picture and gave Dorsett a bit of a whack.  When Dorsett showed he wanted no part of Eager, he took his vengeance out on Kris Russell.  Russell gathered the puck at his own blue line; Eager took a run at him from about 20 feet away and sent him head over heels.  Eager went off for charging, but it was two minutes well worth it.

Cristobal Huet earned the shutout in the second period and first part of the third.  While I tip-toe the line here so I don’t start a holy war, let me say this: It’s perfectly ok to be worried about what might happen in the playoffs.  However, I would add that all 16 fanbases should be nervous about their goalies come playoff time.  Seriously, this formula works for every contending team: “If Goalie X doesn’t play well in the playoffs, we’re not going to win anything.” 

You could go right down the list of goalies.  Every one of them has laid a turd come playoff time.  Even the great Marty Brodeur, with whom Huet is so unfairly compared to by many, has had his share of playoff disappointments.  So go ahead and be nervous, but just know that there are 15 other fanbases sharing in your misery.  If you want to think the Hawks are the only team concerned about their goalie crapping out in the spring, you’re sorely mistaken.

*On the Farm*

Shawn Lalonde had no points in Belleville’s 5-1 loss to the Peterborough Petes.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in 2009-2010 Game Recaps. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Blackhawks 3, Blue Jackets 0

  1. Dave Morris says:

    Well said, Gentlemen.

    As you so adeptly point out, those who dump on Huet might want to watch some of putrid performances offered up on occasion by elite netminders (and their d-colleagues) throughout the NHL.

    An important, if flawed, win for the Hawks; the defensive flaws you mention will need to be addressed with two even more critical games this weekend.

    While the Jackets may have wilted in the third, they will be revved up on Saturday; and the Wings have been preparing for this rematch for quite some time.

    But some very good things, such as the ability of Campbell and Keith to jump in and connect on the attack, demonstrate that the Hawks are still improving.

    And more good news with Bolland and Burish appearing ready to return on schedule.

    Should be a fun weekend.

  2. Lou says:

    Has anyone noticed Seabs being a little skittish with the puck in the last few games.

    Kane had three ridiculous passes that should have lead to goals

  3. TKON says:

    Nice write up,

    I wrote pretty much the same thing about all the playoff goaltenders in some other forums a couple days ago. Some people just do not get it about playoff goaltending. All teams are worried about how they’re goaltenders will perform no matter who it is.

    Either way Huet was outstanding that game making those big saves when needed. Versteeg made one heck of a great pass to Soupy and then seconds later takes quite a dumb penalty. But hey, it’s hockey and every player takes dumb penalties once in awhile. Steeg has overall been playing quite well as of late and has a nice point streak going.

  4. Patrick says:

    With Keith scoring his 10th last night, the Hawks can score from anywhere and have to have the most double-digit scorers in the league (I’m too lazy to look into that). They’re also tied for second in the league in goals and they haven’t had a hat-trick or an empty-netter yet this year, and they still have the best GAA in the league.

    This team is crazy deep…

  5. TKON says:

    I agree Patrick, Niemi and Huet are #1 and #4 respectively in GAA. Top 10 in least amount of penalties per game taken. Well over +400 in shots for compared to shots against with the next best team not even close to that. Top 5in PP and PK%. And I am sure they have even more impressive stats to talk about.

    If a hawk fan can not be impressed with those stats alone and the team we have right now well in my opinion they have issues. We are in the ultimate spot right now and sitting pretty. I very much doubt anyone would have said we would be top of the league in standings and top 10 in almost every statistical category this year.

  6. Leonidas says:

    I came back from class just in time to pick up the 3rd period ‘Heritage Night’ rant. They rambled through two play stoppages and around 4 minutes of total game time. Granted, the Hawks were practicing and the Jackets were sparring partners at that point, but I would’ve liked to hear the call. Maybe Jwoww had a ‘promotional chip’ put into Foley’s melon and he can turn on the switch to get him gushing about the organization. It was silly.

    Speaking of Heritage Nights, cb and I believe the next heritage night must include either Dirk Graham, Michel Goulet or both. cb suggested the first 5,000 fans could receive glue-on mustache kits.

  7. Lou says:

    Leonidas,

    Maybe that can be tied to a Q-Stache event

  8. cb says:

    First, a serious comment: Campbell scored that goal because he was able to quickly fire off a perfectly placed shot. Versteeg certainly deserves credit for setting up the play, and his pass did force Garon to move from one side of the net to the other. But Campbell still put the puck in the net on a shot that easily could have gone wide, hit the post, or hit Garon. Just something that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

    And now the even more serious comments: yes, we need a Graham/Goulet mustache night.

    We could also use some fan-inspired One Goal ads. Here’s my idea: Duncan Keith pours gasoline on the Norris Trophy and sets it ablaze, saying “My goal is to win the Stanley Cup.”

  9. dominator says:

    Leaving now for Columbus and tomorrow off to Detroit!

  10. Lee says:

    One thing has me concerned, first Dorsetts run on Ham Sandwich and then Boll trying to start up with Seabrook. I get the feeling that coaches now feel that the way to beat the Hawks is get physical. I’m not concerned with that part because its obvious, so far, they have been able to handle that part, what concerns me is if they start going after the Toews, Kanes and Versteeg’s we could have injury problems down the road. Does anyone see the same thing or am i imagining things?

  11. John says:

    Injuries are always a concern. Both those plays were just forwards finishing their checks on d-men, though. If Boll ever gave a skilled player an extra shove like he did to Seabrook, there would have been at least 2 Hawks all over him.

  12. Dave Morris says:

    @Leonidas> I second the “Mustache Nights” concept.

    It could feature a Q-Stache bobblehead that doubles as a facial- and nose-hair trimmer.

    Somebody call McD…pronto.

  13. blackhawkbob says:

    Ah ah ah, Dave. We assume that by “McD” you mean JWoww. Just be more careful in the future.

  14. Patrick says:

    Lee – just like in the playoffs last year, the Hawks have shown that they can get physical too, and Burish should be back soon. The Hawks are deep, and the cavalry is coming too!

  15. Lee says:

    I will be very curious to see how the West Coast teams play the Hawks the next couple of weeks. Also it will be interesting to see what Columbus does different tomorrow

  16. Dave Morris says:

    @BlackhawkBob> so how are we old guys supposed to keep up with all this hiphop lingo you throw at us?

    JWoww, Q-Stache, K-Steeg…will it never end? Buff-a-Lishus maybe?

  17. blackhawkbob says:

    Ha, Dave, here you only have to worry about two nicknames: Ham Sandwich and JWoww. Otherwise, proper names are always welcome and preferred.

  18. Patrick says:

    I tell you what, sometimes I need a secret decoder ring when I’m following the game threads at SCH – some of their nicknames are just downright hilarious:

    Hossa = Panda
    Kane + Towes (together) = Daydream Nation
    Ham Sandwich = Nintendo (or is it Super Nintendo?)
    Keith + Seabrook (together) = Marlboro 72

    To name a few…

  19. Jack says:

    Calgary and Vancouver (with the hated hair puller Alice Burrows) tried the physical shenanigans with the Hawks in the playoffs last year and it didn’t work out so well for those teams. The Hawks manned up and took care of business. They are a tougher team than many give them credit for. I think they’ll be OK if they continue finishing their checks and don’t give in to the goonishness of other teams…getting suckered into stupid emotional penalties like in the Conf Finals vs. Detroit. They seem to have learned a lot from last year’s Cup tourney and are playing tough, smart hockey. And of course, no one seems to be able to keep up with them skating. I’m enjoying it while it lasts…Hopefully a Bulls-type run.

  20. blackhawkbob says:

    Absolutely agree, Jack.

    Teams play physical hockey against the Blackhawks because they feel, in order to have a chance, they have to beat the Hawks at something. Unfortunately for them, none of the Hawks losses this season came because the other team was too physical.

  21. Dave Morris says:

    @Bob>Alice Burrows is always a threat. Burrows swings a mean purse.

  22. Razzberry says:

    @Leonidas> The Leafs did something similar at the Wendel Clark tribute night last year against Chicago. All the users were wearing handlebar mustaches and they were handing them out along with bobbleheads. It was pretty funny.

  23. Razzberry says:

    *ushers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s