Game 1: Canucks 5, Blackhawks 1

I’ll skip the blow-by blow this morning.  Reliving yesterday evening may be hazardous to your health.

When my mother has good news and bad news to share with me, she gives me the choice of which I’d like to hear first.  Since you don’t have that luxury at the moment, I’ll pick for you: good news first.

– It’s probably hard to remember after score-a-palooza, but the Hawks came out strong during the first.  With 17 shots on Roberto Luongo, it looked as though the Hawks were well on their way to giving the Canucks fits in their own end.  A funny thing happened on the way there, though.

Tomas Kopecky made a mistake midway through the period, and the entire defensive-zone coverage broke down in the final seconds of the frame.  Throw in the solid – perhaps demoralizing – first-period performance of Luongo, and the Hawks never got off the ground during the second. 

It’s probably that easy.  Toss in the ‘Nuck goal 28 seconds into the second, and the visiting team scored twice in 39 seconds during the game’s first 20:28.  Not exactly a winning recipe. 

The Hawks took turns sleepwalking from there on out.  No argument here, though: Saturday night was ugly.  Don’t understate Luongo’s role in it; he seemingly beat the Hawks just by showing up.

– We said it last series at this time and I’m contractually obligated by our sponsors to say it now (OK, we don’t have any sponsors): the NHL playoffs are high tide in any hockey fan’s life, because they’re long and grueling; they’re never won on any one evening.  Let’s all try to keep that in mind; I’ll try to do the same. 

With that said, the Hawks have set themselves for something of a must-win on Monday night.  Going back to Vancouver down 0-2 is a death wish.  I expect the Hawks to play Monday night like they’re well aware of that fact.

– Though the first Canucks/Hawks game during last year’s playoffs was at Vancouver, it turned out just like last night did – with a Vancouver win.

– There has been a Cristobal Huet sighting!  The Man from France stopped … three shots.  But, no new-born calf routine, so we’ve got that going for us.

But, now the bad news, kids.

– The bad news?  Pretty much everything from the last minute of the first period on.

– At the risk of sounding like one of the Hawks post-game radio show callers, I submit this: the Hawks miss Martin Havlat.

Sure, we’ve established that, on paper at least, Marian Hossa is the better player.  But, remember why we all came to love the man we willingly and happily called Jesus Christ: he had a propensity for coming up big in big moments, often doing it all by himself.

Hossa’s Game 5 coming-out-of-the-peanlty-box heroics notwithstanding, this Hawks team needs a one-man goal machine to replace Havlat.  Kane’s not quite there yet, and Toews will never be that kind of player.  Viewed in that light, Hossa’s playoffs have been disappointing thus far.  Although he’s got seven points in seven games, his only goal was a bit of a gift; it’s time for Hossa to be every bit the man Jesus was during last year’s ‘Nucks series.

– Brian Bickell was DOA for the Hawks on Saturday.  I’m not sure which direction Q will go for Monday night, but I doubt it includes everybody’s favorite Ice Hog.

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13 Responses to Game 1: Canucks 5, Blackhawks 1

  1. vito says:

    i agree we miss havlat he got big goals for us last year but there is only so much one player can do when the rest of the team decided to quit last night. i am surprised this team is not playing their best yet in the playoffs. i wish for them to turn it around

  2. CT says:

    “it’s time for Hossa to be every bit the man Jesus was during last year’s ‘Nucks series.”

    I think we all know who needs to be inserted into the lineup this series so he can take it over: Kyle Beach.

    FIRST!

  3. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen, there is a precedent for last night’s drubbing.

    Namely, the 5-1 drubbing the Hawks took in Vancouver on January 23rd of this year.

    The box score of that ice hockey match reveals some interesting parallels. For your reading pleasure:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=300123022

    The most difficult part of this game was CT melting down in the HockeeNight ShoutBox.

    CT is now resting comfortably, but cards and flowers will be appreciated, as will any bottles of single malt scotch you have to spare (for his medicinal use of course).

  4. Otter says:

    Thank you for pointing out that for the first 19:50 of the game last night the hawks were the better team. However goaltending was iffy throughout the first and the goal with seconds left was blown coverage and a softie to boot. And then things became craptastic.

    I am not all that worried compared to game one with the press because the hawks can and will play better, and if Kane doesn’t miss that open net, I think the game might have gone much differently.

  5. Nick says:

    Although we are not in jump off cliff mode, I think the Feather accurately states that tomorrow is must win. This Vancouver squad is much improved from last year, but it’s also a Nucks team the Hawks drubbed earlier this year if you recall.

    It’s funny that you mentioned Havlat, and callers calling in pining for him. I didn’t listen to any radio shows last night, but I kept thinking to myself, “Havlat would’ve at least potted 1 and created another for someone”. That’s the thing about Havlat vs. Hossa: we all know that Hossa is unquestionably the more supremely skilled of the two, but Havlat has the ability to be an energy guy and a skill guy simultaneously. Lacking Hossa is.

    However, if Kane buries that empty netter this becomes a different game.

  6. Dale Halas says:

    What I want to know is where is this vaunted “depth” that John keeps bragging about all year?

    Brouwer, Bolland, Byfuglien and Versteeg are a combined -12 so far in this years playoffs.

    The Hawks coach has Toews playing against the top line again because there isn’t a checking line on this team. So lines two and three are supposed to be winning with their superior depth. Any time they want to start will be fine with me.

    Also, the Canucks fansite is bragging about how much better their fourth line is to anything the Hawks can muster. I’m serious, they think they win that matchup. Kinda hard to argue with them when you get that kinda performance.

  7. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen of the Fifth Feather (with respect to any ladies who deign to intercede in this testosterone-intensive environment), you might also wish to point out another interesting factoid.

    …that after getting drubbed by the Nucks in their January tilt, Les Hawques then turned the tables and delivered a 6-3 flagellation to the VanKlan in the following game.

    The Blackhawks seem bound to keep us guessing with their roller-coaster style.

    Being a Hawkey Person is not for the faint of heart.

  8. Lou says:

    Nobody showed up last night so depth really is a moot point. They dominated us in every facet of the game. It was utterly painful to be there. At least last year, we had a donnybrook complete with hairpullng. It is pretty said when our home crowd boos them off the ice both periods.

    Q has his one of his biggest tests as Hawks coach Monday night. He either figures it out or confirms the reason why he isn’t in STL and COL anymore. The line juggling is getting ridiculous and does that hurt on ice chemistry? Will Q be up to the challenge????? I sure hope so.

  9. Wade says:

    So, what kind of changes do we expect for Game 2? I can’t imagine Bickell will be active Monday night … but which healthy scratch will replace him? Burish? Or do we see more wholesale changes with the return of Colin Fraser and Ben Eager? Some have speculated that Brouwer or Buff will be moved off the 4th line to replace Bickell on the 1st line.

    Should Hendry be healthy scratched for Game 2 and replaced by Boynton?

    From about the middle of the 2nd period on, it looked like Q went with a 1st line of Sharp-Toews-Kane with Kopecky replacing Sharp as the 2nd line center. It also looked like Ladd may have been moved up to the 2nd line at times.

    So, what is the consensus of the Board? What would you do … and what do you think Q will do?

  10. RGS says:

    “It is pretty said when our home crowd boos them off the ice both periods.”

    Agreed, but it says more about the crowd than the team.

  11. Lou says:

    RGS – The crowd expects the Hawks to play like the Hawks that score and play not the team that showed up last night. The fans are not stupid and their are a lot that have been through the utter dark ages of the Hawks.

    Going to the majority of games, the crowd stands behind this team and was shocked at the effort. I think it says the fans expect the lunch bucket, blue collar Chicago, city of big shoulders effort and won’t settle for anything else

  12. feyer says:

    Apparently Burish could hardly contain his smile after practice today. Perhaps as blackhawkbob suggests, he will be replacing everybody’s favorite Icehog in the lineup. Look for Burish on the 4th line and Brouwer moving up a few lines.

  13. sedag says:

    I think the team needs a “big grit” player on all 4 lines, not including Buff who moves back to 6th defenseman. I liked what I saw of Brouwer on the first line this year. Sharp back to center and Kopecky sits for at least a game.

    1 Brouwer-Toews-Kane
    2 Ladd-Sharp-Hossa
    3 Bickell-Bolland-Versteeg
    4 Eager-Madden-Burish

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