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.