Too worn out for a straight-up recap so here are some off-the cuff observations from tonight’s tilt:
–The Canucks may not get past the Hawks but it won’t be because of Roberto Luongo. Once again, Luongo was nails for Vancouver only to see his defensemen throw gasoline on the Hawks fire. On Brent Seabrook’s goal, Kevin Bieksa blindly fired the puck through the slot to a streaking Seabrook. Alex Edler had no clue on Sharp’s short-handed equalizer and there was a gang-bang on Luongo for the 3rd goal, most of which came courtesy of his teammates.
Those were just the opportunities the Hawks converted on. Adam Burish, Kris Versteeg, and Patrick Sharp all had breakaways that Luongo stopped.
So I’m sure people will want to blame him for not coming up with that “big save” tonight but it’s hard to stop a shot when Alex Edler is skating around like a ding-dong.
–On that same token, Antti Niemi was much better tonight. He stopped all the shots he could have and more importantly, he made his job much easier by swallowing up Vancouver’s shots from the perimeter.
–This was my first game attended in quite some time, but my goodness, people are insane. There were literally scores of people around me having a heart attack anytime the Hawks peeled back into their own zone to re-establish the breakout. And this was just a few minutes into the game.
It was also illegal for Brent Sopel or Dustin Byfuglien to do anything with the puck other than “get rid of it”. Then when they would “listen” to their instructions, the same people were pissed because they just gave the puck away.
Of course, the “SHOOT!” and “Hit somebody!” crowd was also out in full force tonight but they’re pretty much a cliche at this point. Anyways, this isn’t to complain about anyone. Just wanted to share the enjoyment I was getting from the experience on the ice as well as in the stands.
–It figures that Kris Versteeg would finally score when he had no other option but to fire the puck. With enough chances to net a hat trick, Versteeg seemed to be caught-in-between all night with his indecision. Nevertheless, it was good to see him finally creating chances. The Hawks have desperately needed some punch from someone out of their top-6 and Versteeg was the perfect prescription.
–This whole Troy Brouwer thing is becoming more perplexing by the day. There are two schools of thought for us: Either he’s having some serious family issues or he’s become infested with an alien parasite like in “The Faculty”. It’s amazing to see a guy have such a breakout year and then become a completely different player within a span of one month.
Tonight may have been Brouwer’s final game in the Indian head for the season. Getting bumped up to the first line, Brouwer was out of sorts all night. The final straw has to be how incompetent he was in his own end. Even when he was at his worst last year, the least you could count on Brouwer for was stellar defensive play.
Brouwer was running around in the defensive zone all night. Joel Quenneville apparently saw enough too as Brouwer never touched the ice in the 3rd period.
Again, I would love to hear why he’s gone from a potential 30-goal scorer to Mike Hudson in such a short amount of time.