History Repeating Itself?

I always enjoy looking back on previous seasons and finding similarities between games of the past and those of the present.  You’ll never find any truth in the comparisons; it’s just fun to look at.  Obviously, after Saturday night’s beatdown in Vancouver on Hockey Night in Canada, I wanted to check out what we said last February when Vancouver held the Hawks’ proverbial head in the toilet on a Saturday night in front of all of Canada.  And yes, I’m aware I am pathetic.

Well, here ya go.  Kind of freaky, huh?  In that game, the Hawks trailed 3-0 after one period of play; their starting goalie (Huet) was yanked; and as soon as the Hawks threatened at making a comeback, the Canucks popped in a goal to put them away. 

Anyways, while the Hawks are starting to show some annoying defensive tendencies, the good news is the mistakes are of the mental variety, not physical (discluding Cam Barker, obviously).  The end result of Brent Seabrook’s recent habit of making soft plays is usually the other team celebrating.  Stuff like that can be shored up and I don’t think I’m out of line in thinking that it will be.  

Sticking on the defensive side, the Olympic break can’t get here fast enough for Ham Sandwich and Brent Sopel.  Against Vancouver, Sandwich took a shot off the gonads and Sopel went crashing into the boards chest first at approximately 54 miles per hour.  They just need to get to mid-February with their bodies in less than three pieces.

As for Vancouver’s string of success against the Hawks thus far, I don’t know maybe it’s just me, but it sure seems like the games mean a whole lot more to the Canucks than they do the Hawks.  Canucks boss Alain Vigneault’s gameplan doesn’t make it seem like he’s holding anything back whereas with the Hawks and Joel Quenneville, I get the sneaking suspicion that they’re not going to tip their hand for two points in January.  That’s just me, though.

–So let me get this straight: You start a fight with someone, he lands one big punch, you respond by tackling him to the ice to end the fight as soon as possible, and then after the game, you call him out in the media that he was the coward.  I vaguely recall the hit Ryan Kesler is referencing but it sure seems like it runs a bit deeper than that.  Perhaps Kesler and Ladd crossed paths in the World Junior Championships as both represented their home countries when they were eligible. 

–Kris Versteeg has now tied his career high with a five-game pointless streak.  This all following a nine-game point streak.  I hate when players get called out for not scoring, but Versteeg has been largely invisible in all facets of his game.  Last night, Versteeg registered his first shots on goal in four games.  Not good.

*On the Farm*

Despite spending the majority of this season bouncing between Rockford and Toledo of the ECHL, defenseman Jonathan Carlsson put together his best game as a IceHog on Saturday night.  Carlsson scored his first goal of the season and was a +3 in a 5-2 win over Grand Rapids. 

Bryan Bickell opened the scoring for Rockford with an assist from Evan Brophey six minutes in the game.  In the second period, Bracken Kearns and Carlsson scored to give the IceHogs a 3-0 lead.  The Griffins scored the next two goals to cut the deficit to one heading into the final period. 

Mark Cullen scored 12 minutes into the third to give Rockford some breathing room and Kyle Greentree sealed the win with an empty netter.

Other notable achievements: Jack Skille and Matt Keith each had two assists.  Kearns added an assist to go with his goal.  Corey Crawford stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced.  Since returning from his two month lower body injury hiatus, Crawford has gone 5-1-1. 

Kyle Beach scored the game-winning goal on Saturday night in Spokane’s 3-2 win over the Tri-City Americans.  Sunday against Everett, Beach didn’t register a point but did have 6 minutes in penalties.  To be fair, 2 of the minutes came when Beach served his team’s too many men on the ice penalty.

Byron Froese had no points and was a +1 in a 3-2 win over Spokane.

Shawn Lalonde had an assist and was a +1 in Belleville’s 5-3 win over the Saginaw Spirit. 

Dylan Olsen had 6 shots on goal and an assist in UMD’s 5-4 overtime loss to Bemidji State on Saturday.  Dan DeLisle did not dress.

Brandon Pirri had an assist in RPI’s 3-3 tie with Harvard on Saturday.

Billy Sweatt didn’t register a point in Colorado College’s 2-1 loss to Alaska-Anchorage.

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19 Responses to History Repeating Itself?

  1. Dave Morris says:

    Apart from being momentarily infuriated by two sub-par performances against the Sens and Nucks, I take some satisfaction in believing Q and Coaches are going to adroitly manage the Hawks’ issues.

    After all, Chicago is on pace for a 110+point-season…right?

    The ‘history repeating’ scenario seems more relevant when comparing this year’s edition to the one that got bounced by the North Stars after a dominant 90-91 season that saw them win the Division.

    The fate of Los Tiburones de San Jose following their capture of La Copa Del Presidente last year, also comes to mind.

    The ever-astute Troy Murray has said the biggest challenge for the Hawks is to keep their edge….difficult to do when they are so far in front of their divisional pursuers.

    If they just get back to playing sound defense, and keep rotating Vernon and Osgood–oops, Niemi and Huet–as the situation deems appropriate, the sun will come out tomorrow.

  2. John says:

    The title of the post was more in reference to the Canucks string of success against the Hawks and come playoff time, it’s el foldo time for the Canuck.

    While the ’90-91 team seems to be the de-facto comparison for a lot of fans, I’m not willing to go there. The big thing no one talks about from that year is how badly Keenan ran that team into the ground. By the time the playoffs rolled around, the Hawks were mentally and physically exhausted.

    The Sharks are notorious for winning the the President and then getting bounced but I’m pretty sure the Wings have won both the President’s and the Cup on more than one occasion.

  3. Dale Halas says:

    The Canucks game would be easily forgettable except for two things. First, it is the exact blueprint for how to beat the Hawks. And two, it is the blueprint for how teams tend to play in the playoffs compared to how they play in the Regular season.

    As I tried to say before the two main “strengths” of the Hawks are much bigger strengths in the regular season then the playoffs.

    The Hawks are a deeper team that can give more energy in the regular season. However, in the playoffs, teams “shorten their bench” so to speak and in the playoffs you need your stars to be stars. I’m just not that sure that all the Hoopla concerning having a good 4rth line is what people should be focusing on.

    To me the Hawks are a really good transition team but the playoffs are when the game becomes more of a “half court game.” Sorry to keep using basketball terms but I believe the concepts apply. When the playoffs show up teams get back on D better and really try to “clog the lane.”

    At this point I can tell if the Hawks are going to struggle on just one thing. If Patrick Kane is being contested when he has the puck above the faceoff circles the Hawks are going to get 45 shots on net and one maybe two goals that game. When he has skating room there and has the other team on their “heals” (see a Flames game) then the Hawks are going to score a bunch of goals.

    San Jose learned from their spanking from the Hawks and now plays the Hawks the same way Vancouver does.

    To me besides keeping the Hawks healthy, especially the D-men, the key to the Hawks playoff success is Hossa’s line. If Hossa’s line becomes the number one line and Kane gets the other team’s second checking line and second d-pair the Hawks are a really dangerous team.

    With the money issues this team has next year this is a one year wonder. It is frightening to me that everything is being banked on Bolland coming back from a bad back and being the player he was or maybe better.

  4. John says:

    Dale, I’ll respectfully disagree with your entire opinion.

    The Hawks proved last year they know how to play in the playoffs when the ice shrinks. They also showed why having 4 solid lines is so damn important. Eventually, your stars wear out if they have to continually shoulder the load in the playoffs. Look at the Sedins, for example. If anything, Vancouver is a team who’s a great regular season team and not so much when the playoffs roll around.

    The Sharks play the Hawks in no way similar to the Canucks. The last game, the Hawks assaulted them for 60 minutes and came up on the short end. We’ll see next week but in two games, the Sharks have yet to prove they’re on the same planet as the Hawks.

  5. Dave Morris says:

    @John> in the last twenty years, the winner of the President’s Trophy has been the Stanley Cup winner just four times. Since the lockout, just one in four seasons.

    I *do* realize you were alluding to the Nuckles’ obsession with the Hawks, and the VanClan’s implosion last year.

  6. John says:

    Fair enough, I’ll really start worrying about it though when the Hawks open up a 6 point cushion on los Tiburones.

  7. Patrick says:

    John – good points. I’d like to see history repeat from last year, with the exception of the Hawks getting past the Wings in the playoffs this time around (and of course, getting the Cup is a given assumption).

    Provided they can stay in one piece (health-wise), the Hawks will be fine.

  8. Dave Morris says:

    John> just to make everyone feel better, Chairman Stanley Glenn BowPerson has issued this latest edict on what is to come for Les Blaque Hawques.

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/blackhawks/2010/01/trade_talk_with_hawks_general.html#more

    There will be a test later.

  9. Dave Morris says:

    @Patrick> I, for one, will not weep if the Wings miss the postseason.

    Which is, BTW, FWIW, FYI, etc, still possible.

  10. Jack says:

    Kesler calling out Ladd for being a ‘coward’??? I’m really beginning to develop a serious hatred fot the Canuckelheads.

  11. Dave Morris says:

    Huet starts against the Oil.

  12. Lou says:

    Maybe Kesler can grab the jiblets in the next fight being Alice Burrows already pulled hair

  13. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> don’t worry, Special K will be a Hawk by then and he’ll make shashlik out of both Kesler and Burrows.

  14. Patrick says:

    Dave – I’m torn on Detroit – I don’t want the Hawks to have to face them since I think they’ll be supremely dangerous once the playoffs roll around, but end of the day, I don’t hate them. The Wings have put together a fairly classy organ-I-zation (a whiny Kris Draper excluded). They put together a pretty good roadmap which Scotty and Sons seem to be following pretty closely, right down to the middling goalies that need to be playing behind killer team defense.

    The ‘Nucks and Blues on the other hand, can’t stand ’em…

    On the tradefront , two weeks ago, no one wanted to part with Buff or Versteeg, which would be some of the requirements to get Kovy – what does everyone think now?

    Lastly – Huet against the Oil is a good move…

  15. Dave Morris says:

    @Patrick> let’s make sure we get our history straight…Scotty made the blueprint for the Wings’ winning teams, not the other way around.

    Hawks-Wings hate goes all the way back to 1926. During the 40s and 50s the Norris family used the Hawks as their dumping ground for Wing rejects, back when they owned both teams.

    Plenty of wars along the way, well documented by Hawks historian Bob Verdi among others.

    By the way, the Hawks still have the edge on the Wings in head to head playoff meetings.

    YouTube has all the classic brawls if you are so inclined. Start here with this love match:

    Finally, if you really need to get revved up, go read Abel To Yzerman over at Kuklas Korner…that’s the gathering place for hard core Wings supporters who have plenty of hatred for the Blackhawks, and even more disrespect for Hawks fans.

    That is what you call ‘Hostile Territory’. So wear your flak jacket and do up your chin and jock straps. Rough stuff.

    But all part of our great game of ice hockey, eh.

    Regarding Ilya Mahovlichuk–should he become avaialble–I expect StanBow & The Hawkey Brain trust will make the right decision either way.

    First things first, and an Oily agenda to be addressed.

  16. Dave Morris says:

    @Patrick> some more Hawks-Wings fun and games here:

    Have a beer. Enjoy.

  17. Patrick says:

    Dave – no, I’m with you – I just despise other franchises more (I have always hated the Blues – not sure why). I agree that Wings fans can be obnoxious, but I have a feeling with the ones that I know that they see the changing of the guard occurring before their eyes and are starting to give a begrudging respect to the young and talented Hawks. I’ve been a reader of KK and A-Y before and at least they have something behind their talk, like a Cup, whereas the ‘Nucks and others don’t have shit (and yes, the Hawks don’t have one either, but the Hawks have got a bonafied rivalry with the Wings rather than a Chatty-Kathy-Kessler doll. Original Six forever!

    And, yes, I agree that Scotty made the Wings rather than the other way around. Glad he our evil genius now. I agree – in the Bowmans we trust!

    What’s on tap tonight?

  18. Dave Morris says:

    Patrick> the Hawks have *three* Cups, earned with the sweat and blood of the players who will forever live in Blackhawk history.

    Those of us fortunate enough to have seen the last Champions are few…but we are ardent.

    No bandwagons, excuses or frou-frou here…it’s Commit To The Indian, in victory or absence thereof.

    Oil on tap tonight. Drink up.

  19. Patrick says:

    Dave – again, I’m with you – can’t disagree with the Hawks legacy and the closest I came to it was the early 90’s teams. Oh well – no bandwagons here, we’re just a good group that’s Committed to the Indian.

    What weight is this Oil tonight?

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