Islanders 5, Blackhawks 3

I don’t normally blame losses on goaltending.  The logic is generally too simplistic, and it’s usually wrong.

But, rules are meant to be broken.

In a two-goal loss on Tuesday night on Long Island against the Islanders, Blackhawk goalies surrendered no fewer than two horrible, soft goals.  The poor goaltending led to a four-goal Islander explosion during the second period and a nonexistent, deflated Hawk attack in the same time frame.

The timing couldn’t be more apropos.  With the NHL trade deadline just hours around the corner and the Hawks rumored to be in pursuit of a goaltender, one wonders whether the forgettable performances turned in by each of the Chicago netminders Tuesday will push Hawk management to make a deal.  Toss in the fact that a noteworthy performance by Dwayne Roloson – who was signed by the Islanders last off-season with the express purpose of moving him tomorrow – and the “Twilight Zone” theme music begins to play in my head.

The outlook remains the same, however. 

On one hand, Coach Joel Quenneville doesn’t seem to have the confidence most NHL coaches have in a $5 million-plus goalie, and there’s little disagreement that Antti Niemi is no more than a competent number two at this point in his career.  The situation seems ripe for new blood.

On the other hand, a five-goal turd sandwich doesn’t change the fact that the Hawks would have to move heaven and earth to bring in anyone making something more than the league minimum, i.e. any goaltender who could make a difference with this squad.

So, where do we stand?

A trade involving either Cristobal Huet leaving the Blackhawks – without having to rent a two-flat in Rockford – or an established goalie coming to Chicago remains highly unlikely.  (A rumor swirling around the internets on Tuesday apparently involved Toronto, already the goaltending capital of the world, acquiring Huet.)  The Hawks are just too close to the salary cap, and Huet’s contract is prohibitive.

But, one has to think that, if the Hawks believe they can somehow bring in a goalie, Tuesday night was a nudge towards consummating a deal.  If nothing else, the odds are stacked against Huet succeeding in a Hawk uniform, and Niemi’s still a couple years from entering the peak years for an NHL netminder.

The Hawks seem to know both, but they’ll be hard pressed to do anything about it.

Yo, Listen Up

– In case you missed it, Niemi started, and gave up four three goals – one of which was undeniably horrible.  Huet came on in relief in the early stages of the second and one-upped his predecessor rather quickly.

– I’m not exactly sure what Dustin Byfuglien did with his Olympic break, but I know two things for sure: (i) he didn’t stay in Chicago, and (ii) he didn’t take his sunglasses off often enough.  Byfuglien scored the Hawks’ third and final goal of the evening looking like he fell asleep on a beach wearing oversized Ray-Bans within the last six days.

– I’m confused.  I know that six Hawks played a handful of competitive games during the past two weeks and that the rest played little-to-no hockey during that period.  But, I get lost in the ridiculous lines of unprovable logic concerning the two groups.  Shouldn’t the Olympians be tired, but sharp?  And, the Hawks who had the two weeks off should be rusty?  Or, is it the other way around?  The Olympians aren’t sharp? 

Let’s all just worry about things we … ya know … know exist.  Let fate deal with the circumstantial bull crap.

– Someone needs to tell Brent Seabrook that the Olympics are over and that he can open his eyes now.  Seabrook served up the Islanders’ first goal on a silver saucer.

– Blake Comeau is closing in on induction into the Martin Erat All-Stars, a collection of players who unexplainably overachieve against the Hawks.  Last year, Comeau was a force in the United Center, knocking into Hawks like a hungry bull and adding two assists along the way.  Thursday Comeau matched 1/3 of his season output for goals en route to a hat trick.

– Tomas Kopecky’s Olympic effort seemed to move Joel Quenneville, who gave Kopecky forty minutes with Marian Hossa and Dave Bolland.  Kopecky played the third next to Ben Eager after he predictably did nothing for the first two periods.

– Speaking of Marian Hossa, we all know he’s incredibly electrifying.  His shot is out of this world, and he’s as strong on the puck as anyone in the NHL.  But, the guy has to lead the league in blown opportunities.  In one shift on the Island, Hossa blew about four bona fide chances, completely whiffing on one.  (Of course, Pat Foley blamed it on his lack of sharpness – because, ya know, he played a handful of games during the past two weeks.)

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29 Responses to Islanders 5, Blackhawks 3

  1. JM says:

    I believe Niemi only gave up 3.

    Regardless, in my mind, all 5 were rather soft goals, even more deflating to watch considering we were treated to Ryan Miller for two weeks.

  2. Patrick says:

    Ugh – losing the Islanders? Really? This team is more like last years team than we want to believe. I know we all hope they can go father though to claim the “silver” at the end of the season.

    Time to get back on the horse against Edmonton tonight and we’ll see who’s in goal. Who’s taking bets on Huet?

  3. hully says:

    Ok – I’m back – remember me – I’m the guy that was ripping on the hawks goaltending the same day JR came out with his comments – If I remember right the editor and everyone else was ripping on me and they were all backing Huey – oh, I was also the guy saying we could get Roli and given the cap space problems here – what a steel that would be. Well what do you all think now – after last night do you still think that age is a big deal. Did last night make you all wake-up and smell the odor??? – Washington wants Roli and so does Philly – there is some talk of Chicago but I think it is too late to try and deal for him – Caps look like where he will be going – Don’t look now – but the Caps are #1 in the East !! Good Luck Roli where ever you end up.

  4. hully says:

    How does Stephan Waite still have a job ? – every goalie Chicago has turns to liquid poop.

  5. Otter says:

    One night does not make a Stanley Cup champion, Hully. And it’s not like Roloson is all that much better than Huet, if he’s even better at all.

    I honestly have no issues with Huet. I’m glad that we can finally pull the plug on the Niemi stuff.

    If the Hawks could upgrade the goaltending situation, then I’m all for it. But Roloson isn’t an upgrade.

  6. Patrick says:

    I would second what Otter says…

  7. Lee says:

    Otter, if you really think we can go far in the playoffs with Huet, you are just very sadly mistaken. Did you not see the game last time and see that he goes down all the time as is always beat over his shoulder. Rolly is a major step up over either one of our goalies

  8. Mike says:

    And another thing, we need a tough guy too!

  9. Lee says:

    Dave, Lou, and John:

    Evidently the Blues agree with my tough guy mentaility as they just traded Yan Stasney for another tough guy fighter like left wing. They now have D.J king-Janseen- and the new guy

  10. Otter says:

    Roloson’s numbers are underwhelming and he’s old. They’re not better (career) than Huet’s and in some cases worse. If the Hawks can get Vokoun, then by all means, do the deal if it makes sense. But Huet is just as good or better than 90% of the NHL (and btw, Vokoun is clearly been better this year, but I’m not sure that will necessarily be the case next year). And I can only count 9 or 10 goalies that I would say, yes, he would be a better option than Huet. Would anyone be excited if say, a Nabokov, was on his way to Chicago? I wouldn’t.

    If Cristobal Huet was from Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec no one would be bitching about him. But he’s from France and thus we must hate him.

  11. JM says:

    What’s the blues record this year, again?

  12. blackhawkbob says:

    Hully: Still ringing the goaltender bell? At least you admit it, but you should probably familiarize yourself with the NHL’s salary cap. As I wrote in this morning’s entry, the facts remain the same: unless the Hawks are willing to eat boatloads of money still owed to Huet, you’d better find a new drum to beat. Them, as they say, are the facts.

    Lee: I would invest in a morning paper, if I were you. The Blues and their tough guys are currently out of the playoffs.

  13. Lee says:

    BlackHawk Bob I never said the Blues were good, but they are tough

  14. CT says:

    “BlackHawk Bob I never said the Blues were good, but they are tough” – I have seen enough “tough” teams lose in Chicago to be happy with a team that is good.

  15. Bob in EP says:

    The numbers speak for themselves:

    Goals For: 202 – 3rd in the league
    Goals Against: 151 – 2nd in the league

  16. Lee says:

    My prediction is if the Hwaks don’t make a goaltender move in the next 40 minutes we don’t get to the third round of the playoffs!!!! Scotty Bowman thinks its a joke that anyone thinks we need another goalie. He has definetly lost his marbles!! I don’t think anyone on this blog can disagree with me on this one

  17. John says:

    Lee, I’d recommend decaf for the rest of the day.

  18. Lou says:

    @ Lee, re-read what John said about the paper. Maybe Janssen can deliver it to your house while he is on suspension.

    The question to be asked is the D playing like they are capable of?

    The answer probably not.

  19. Lou says:

    Dave Morris, surely you are sobe enough to be bailed out of jail by now. Were are you wise sage?

  20. Lee says:

    John:

    I need Vodka not Decaf. I am so disgusted that they are not making a goalie move. Lou, I agree the defence sucked last night and for the last few games but the goalies sucked more.

  21. John says:

    Lee, please re-read the post above. This whole salary cap thing can be confusing. We’re here to help.

  22. Otter says:

    I’m with Lee, if the Hawks don’t trade Huet and a fifth round pick for Miller or Hiller this deadline is a failure.

    Oh great, there goes Vesa Toskala to the Flames… another option better than Huet.

  23. Lee says:

    No, I’m going home now and get my Ketel One and cuddle with it before I leave for the game

  24. Lou says:

    since it looks like we didn’t make a move maybe Q can fix the lines

    Toews Kane Sharp or Brouwer
    Hossa Bolland Sharp or Brouwer
    Ladd or Steeg Madden and Buff
    Eager Fraser Ladd or Steeg

    Kopecky doesn’t desereve 4th line minutes let alone second. Brouwer is too talented to be stuck with buff and steeg. put where he excels

  25. Otter says:

    Steeg < Kopecky at the moment.

  26. Lou says:

    @otter you might be right. call up bickell and let em both sit. steeg can wear his creepy glasses and kopecky. well who know what he does

  27. Big Tony says:

    All 5 of those goals last night were terribly soft. I don’t want to say I expected last night’s performance, but it didn’t shock me. I’m not disappointed we didn’t make a trade today….if the trade wasn’t there, it wasn’t there. I suppose the other GMs tried to rape us and Stan had none of it. We need to stop making stupid turnovers *cough* Seabrook *cough* and not let up on the gas when we have teams down. We just need wither goalie to play up to expectations and we can win it all. It’s not like every goalie who wins the Cup is a stud. Chris Osgood isn’t any sort of world-beater, that’s for sure.

  28. hully says:

    All I can say is if you look back in history u need top-notch goaltending to win the CUP – now maybe all the huey fans will defend that. But all u jack-asses that talk about facts – do you know that heuy has never won a playoffs series EVER – oh, wait since the hawks brass -(ass) thinks they can win with want they have – what a joke. I can say this if the hawks can’t win this year with that talent up front – it will be because of goaltending – and nobody wanted to address it – all u hawks fans should be really upset and guess what last I looked goaltending is pretty important – but maybe I’m wrong. By the way not even the hawks could get Roli – they could have got him 3 1/2 weeks ago – but because RP got hurt again they could not part with him – Philly and the Caps were also not happy about the fact that the Islanders would not deal him.

  29. Nick says:

    hey hully i think you meant RD since its DiPietro,

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