Hurricanes 4, Blackhawks 2

Just don’t be mad about Saturday night’s loss in Carolina to the comparatively lowly Hurricanes.

Not when you circled it on your calendar in August or September as a loss because of the cross-country travel from California the day prior.

Not when you promised yourself you’d be as happy as John at a Hannah Montana concert if the Hawks won four or five on the road trip that ended Saturday.

And, not after you fell asleep with a smile from ear-to-ear after Thursday night’s victory in San Jose.  After all, you told your friends back in August the Hawks needed to get a split out of the trip’s last two games.

Just be lucky: it could have been much worse.  The Hawks looked like the Northbrook (Illinois) Bluehawks tying to break the puck out of their own zone in the first, yet managed to keep the game scoreless until the final ten seconds of the frame; Marian Hossa road on Brent Sopel’s back head-first into the boards and somehow came away with full use of all his appendanges; Ham Sandwich blocked no less than 24 shots; and Brent Sopel took a scary shot to a leg in the second.

Add that to the ten points the Hawks secured on the road trip, and we all should have slept soundly last night.

All in all, the game came down to a few minutes in the third period.  Facing a one-goal deficit, the Hawks were pounding Canes’ goalie Cam Ward with shots and chances.  The puck bounced to Andrew Ladd, who was standing just outside the slot for a puck drop, and  Ladd flicked it by Ward after a neat, quick curl and drag-type move.  (Does Ladd ever shoot the puck without first dragging it towards his body?  I think this has essentially become his shooting motion.)

With all the pressure the Hawks had established, it looked like they would start to pile on the reeling Hurricanes, but it was not to be.

In less than two minutes, the ‘Canes had a two-goal lead off two redirects, and the Hawks might as well have been on the plane home.  After a few chances – a few of which came after Joel Quenneville pulled Cristobal Huet with about 2:30 left – the road trip ended.

And, I’m sure we’re all just fine with it.

The Good Stuff is Down Here

– Cam Ward was fantastic, stopping 39 of 40 shots and numerous first-rate chances.  He’s absolutely one of the best in the game.  I got the feeling early it would be a Cam Ward night.  It was.

Why he’ll be home during the Olympic break is a tough one to figure out.  (I suppose it has to do with his injury earlier this season, but I’m not sure.)  Marc-Andre Fleury is capable, but Ward is capable of stealing one just as much as Brodeur or Luongo.

– We don’t get to see those Eastern Conference teams too much these days, but … Aaron Ward, Tom Gleason, Matt Cullen, Eric Staal, Ryan Whitney, Sergei Samsonov, Bredan Sutter, Rod Brind’Amour, Stephon Yelle, Jiri Tlusty, Jonni Pitkanen, Tom Kostopoulos, Jussi Jokinen, Andrew Alberts, Chad Larose …

Is this the most “awesomely bad” team in hockey?  I mean, has any single team at any single level looked so good and so bad on paper at the same time? 

(And, let us not forget Tuomo Ruutu.)

– The Hawks were sloppy again at times in their own zone.  It was one of those nights were most of the mistakes landed up in the back of the net.

– Huet was not to blame for this one.  Just sayin’…

– Were there officials out on the ice?  Must’ve missed them.

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4 Responses to Hurricanes 4, Blackhawks 2

  1. Lou says:

    Home Sweet Home.

    Dion Phaneuf is headed to Toronto. Can’t wait to see how he and Kessel get along.

  2. Dave Morris says:

    The Hawks were so obviously weary last night, I would have been surprised if they’d been able to extract a point from this game.

    The Hurricanes are a fast, well coached team and they’ve been winning lately. They also have one of the finest goaltenders in the NHL, and Mr Cameron (Stanley Cup/Conn Smythe) Ward was outstanding.

    Watching the Blackhawks pour it on, I figured they’d have very little left when it came to defense…those two Cane goals on give and go deflections were the symptoms of a tired Hawk squad.

    Anyway, no biggie.

    Time for them to get some rest and get ready for the sprint to the Olympic break…big matchups on deck, including some divisional games.

    BTW the Leafs wheel-and-deal could see Exelby in CHI as a depth d-man. StanBow has the room, so a prospect or pick might do it.

    PS watching a Hawks-Leafs game from ’63 on NHL Network…if some fans saw Glenn Hall nowadays they’d be ripping him worse than they rip Huet.

    The players today *really* are better.

  3. Patrick says:

    Okay – if you can only win one game between San Jose and Carolina, who would you choose? Yep, the Hawks did it right.

    Mr Morris – question for you. XLB – is he any good?

  4. Dave Morris says:

    Patrick> Exelby is a solid d-man who likes to hit and does it well. A young veteran (28 y/o, 6 yrs in the NHL, 6’1″, 215 lbs) who is a reliable, tough 6/7 or reserve d-man. He would more than adequately replace Matt Walker.

    Useful, affordable, and available. 1.725 salary, expiring contract, fits in without Bowman having to shed salary.

    Burke would probably take a prospect or second/third round pick for him.

    A better value than Nik Wallin or Aaron Ward IMO.

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