It took a sudden death fourth period, but the Hawks got their two points at home against the well-to-do Kings. Patrick Sharp goals bookended a Kris Versteeg game-tying tally in the second.
Since the devil’s in the details – and since John and I were separately busy following last night’s game – let’s skip the typical recap and get right to it.
– Adam Burish is back! Adam Burish is back!
In what, admittedly, turned out to be quite a nice shift for the agitator/motivator, Adam Burish registered an assist and a fight in his first twelve – or so – seconds of the season. (That’s more than John Madden’s done since the calendar flipped to 2010.) But, for the love of Pierre Pilot, can we get him to do something other than hold on for dear life like a cowboy on top of a bull when fighting?
Nonetheless, Burish seemed to bring early life to his teammates and, certainly, to the home crowd. He also gets to the net like no other Hawk forward; hopefully, that pays dividends again next month.
And, he’ll get his hands as his comeback progresses. (That was a joke.)
GOALIE WATCH: TWENTY-TEN
If you had Antti Niemi – with the blocker – in the UC – in mid-March, you may have won. In what has become one of the most watched line-up issues in the NHL, Niemi only strengthened his grip on the reigns on Wednesday evening. He made a couple tough stops, but more importantly, he made those he should have made.
With a back-to-back on the schedule this weekend – in Philadelphia and at home against Washington – it’s safe to assume Cristobal Huet will get one of the starts. Even with Huet coming off a disastrous start Sunday, Niemi’s last back-to-back attempt went nearly as wrong. We’ll give Huet the start on Saturday – away from the pitchfork wielding mouth-breathers – and Niemi the nod at home on Sunday. If Huet struggles on Saturday, put Mike Haviland out there.
– It’s getting to the point where Blackhawk 5-on-3’s make me mad before they even start. The defending triangle sags, but the Hawks insist on making passes low. (Remember Benjamin Franklin’s definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.) The Hawks desperately need to take a page out of the Red Wings’ book: Get the goalie moving from side to side from up high, like Detroit did on Sunday. Forcing the square peg through the round hole down low hasn’t worked for the past six months; doubtful it’ll start any time soon.
When Big Buff took a stick to the head on the 5-on-3, the referees did everyone at the UC a favor and allowed the teams to work towards playing at even strength. The lack of argument that seemed to come from the Hawk side was funny as well.
– After struggling through about five weeks in January and February, Kris Versteeg has two goals since the trade deadline. Coincidence? Well, maybe, but I say not.
– As usual, the Heritage Night festivities were well done. Denis Savard seemed to enjoy himself, at the least.
Video montages ruled the evening, complete with Savvy’s greatest hits, including his spin-o-rama goal against the North Stars and his skate-around-everyone-at-least-once goal against Edmonton. (Savvy pointed out that he didn’t skate around Gretzky, who was cherry-picking at the other blue line.) One highlight included the third goal he scored in his first game following his daughter’s birth. I’m sure you know it: Savard has a breakaway on an open net and fires a slap shot in from about 10 feet out. Pat Foley told the television audience last night that he’d never seen that before.
That’s only if you discount the riot Kyle Beach start last year after doing a similar thing.
– Savvy’s daughter Tanya joined the boys in the booth after the second. It was a touching moment, but why she kept attempting to shake her dad’s hand, I don’t know. I guess people do funny things in television booths.
– In the third period, Patrick Kane attempted a spin-o-rama. After the next commercial break, Comcast showed a side-by-side comparison of the move and Savvy’s famous move against the Minnesota North Stars. Unfortunately, ya know, goalies actually stop pucks these days.
Anyway, Pat Foley remarked that it was likely Patrick Kane may have performed the move to pay homage to Savvy on his Heritage Night. Nothing like paying tribute to trailblazers late in a tied March game.
– Finally, a very special thanks to Wayne Simmonds for reminding us, once again, that there’s a fine line between being a nice depth forward who can score a bit and being a total nimrod.