Predators 3, Blackhawks 2

For the second straight game, the Blackhawks took an inexcusable penalty in the final two minutes of regulation.  Monday night, they were fortunate to protect their lead and win the game.  Wednesday night, they lost a guaranteed point when Joel Ward banged home a loose puck with 26 seconds left in regulation.

Nick Boynton, who played one of his better games as a Blackhawk until his final shift, flipped the puck into the stands with just over 2 minutes left.  While the Predators didn’t generate a constant pressure during the power play, it only took one blocked David Legwand pass to start a fire drill in front of Corey Crawford.  Legwand poked the puck past Jordan Hendry, Nick Leddy, and Corey Crawford to Joel Ward standing all alone at the side of the net.

That was that.  A 2-1 Blackhawks 3rd period lead turned into a 3-2 Predators win, which has happened far too many times to remember.


–That was one of the more unwatchable Blackhawk games of recent memory.  From the halfway point of the second period until the end of the game, there was absolutely no flow to the game.  The puck was bouncing all over the place.  No fun for all parties involved.

–Jordan Hendry had a rough 3rd period.  Colin Wilson’s equalising goal bounced off his shin guard and past Crawford.  Then the aforementioned Ward goal all started with him blocking Legwand’s pass.  If he didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all.

–Please, please, someone explain this to me: Jack Skille and Viktor Stalberg once again played well.  Their speed was forcing all sorts of mistakes and misplays by the Predator defense.  So they each get one shift in the third period and then grab a seat next to Bryan Bickell as Dave Bolland gets promoted up to the 2nd line as Sharp moves to the wing. 

Here’s a real easy solution: Troy Brouwer skates with the Patricks and leave Stalberg and Skille with Bolland while Dowell, Pisani and Bickell sit.

You could see Bickell’s benching coming as he was a disaster in his own end but Stalberg and Skille did absolutely nothing to justify sitting them for the final 15 minutes.  This wasn’t Joel Quenneville’s best game. 

–Patrick Sharp was diagnosed with a slight concussion.  As if such an injury even exists.  He either had a concussion and needs to sit a few more games or it wasn’t a concussion.  Sharp looked off all night and if he was actually concussed, then he needs to sit.

–Corey Crawford got the start for the second straight game and he once again impressed.  However, the question has to be asked: With Nashville’s suffocating forecheck and stellar neutral zone play, shouldn’t a Marty Turco start have been a no-brainer?  This way the Hawks could easily stretch out the Predator defensemen while slowing down their ruthless forecheck with Turco’s passing.  Like I said, this wasn’t Joel Quenneville’s best game.

–Please tell me Dave Bolland has some sort of health problem.  Anything to distract everyone from the fact that he has been invisble thus far.

–Here’s another question to pose: What good does Joel Quenneville’s strategy of keeping two centers in for defensive draws do when the two centers both have a win percentage of 33%?

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33 Responses to Predators 3, Blackhawks 2

  1. mark says:

    I am in completely agree. What has Brouwer done to get in Q-Stache doghouse? He’s not a fourth line guy, 20 goal last season, good post season towards the later half.

  2. mark says:

    Ok i butchered the first sentence.

  3. Lou says:

    Well said – we mailed it in tonight.

    Not sure WTF Q is thinking with the line combos. Not sure why Stallberg and Skille sat. Not liking Pisani at all. Wondering how long until Morin is up

    John Scott is a clod. Not sure what he is bringing to the team once SOup gets back. His only job this week should be to protect Ham on Saturday.

    I am liking what I see with Crawford. He is making nice saves when the puck isn’t going off someone on his own team or resulting in tap ins.

    I think everyone needs to skate hard tomorrow – Q included.

    Shit effort and it is over.

  4. illinikc33 says:

    My father got me tickets to this game for my birthday this summer, and, boy, I have to say this was the worst game I may have ever seen. I could not imagine a more boring game (and to think, they have a Preds game later this season as a “Premium” game). The crowd was completely out of it.

    I completely agree with Q’s brain cramp. First, not starting Turco is just stupid. Second, why are you sitting the only two guys (Skille, Stallberg) who gave some energy and created chances? I mean that’s just stupid. It’s no wonder we had no pressure in the third; we were playing down a line AND with 5 D (though I do approve of benching the worthless Scott; man that guy is just all sorts of bad).

    It was a typical Nashville game. Bore everyone to death and hope to get lucky and capitalize on the precious few chances you get. Whatever. I really, really hate this team.

    Oh, and get Kopecky off that top line.

  5. mark says:

    Right on with Crawford. I like what I see in him. I like how he doesn’t do the crazy flails on the ice like Turco. I like Turco too. I’m just saying his flailing scares me. Heart attack potential. The only way I see Morin coming in if Soup comes back and leddy is sent down. Still isn’t Leddy up here because campbells cap hit is off due to the LTIR. If not I can see Morin coming up. Scott has no grace what so ever. I’m loving the third line, they’re fast and have good puck possession.

  6. ArlingtonRob says:

    Campbell can’t return fast enough. This team needs to find a way to generate more offense, and fast. Until the defenders are healthy and playing well additional scoring will be needed.

    I see simply making the playoffs to be a challenge this year.

    Thank goodness we won the Cup last year because it may be some time before we sniff it again.

    Rant complete.

  7. Ban says:

    ArlingtonRob: You really think the Hawks will struggle to make the playoffs? They’re down two of their top 4 d-men and playing with around 10 new players. Growing pains are expected and likely. Bailing on your team is not.

  8. Cam says:

    Stalberg and Skille may show energy and speed but I’m not sure they could score if opposing teams emptied their net.

  9. Lou says:

    An remeber it is game 4. This is going to be a good team for years and years to come.

    CBJ Friday and the Buffalo and some chirpiness on Saturday

  10. dominator says:

    Yeah I don’t noticed the Skille/Stalberg benching at the game and nobody else had a clue why either. They may not have their finish going for them now but they were creating chances while the other lines were drop passing it to Predators.

  11. feyer says:

    Kopecky – 4 points in 4 games. Yea – get him off that line before he turns into a scoring machine.

  12. AC says:

    It’s still early enough that I’m not overly concerned yet. All of the games have been 1 goal affairs and against playoff teams. They really need to get Campbell back and get some consistency in their lines. Hopefully, they get some consistency and the right lines by December. With so much turnover, it’s logical that this team will struggle to find the cohesion and chemistry to be consistent for a little bit. This team looks like a #4/5 seed that should finish strong and be a real threat in the playoffs, much like Pittsburgh a couple of years ago. Remember, it’s not about winning the regular season title, only the postseason title.

  13. Lee says:

    I was there last night in my regular seats right in front of where Boynton sent the puck over the glass, with my Hawk companion, my daughter, and midway thru the game she says it looks like half the team is missing. So True!!!!
    You all know how I wanted an enforcer and I have not changed, we have one now but he doesnt seem to want to be that guy and he sure as hell cant skate. The only one that looked worse was Hendry, he was brutal. What was Leddy doing out at the end, maybe he will be great some day but he bests put on some weight and muscle as he was pushed all over the ice even by tiny Stevie Sullivan

  14. Marts says:

    Agree with everything in the post game rant. My two cents adding to things:

    – did Bolland have back replacement surgery in the offseason?

    – Kane & Sharp aren’t getting enough minutes IMO and won’t until Q is confident in their defensive coverage’s. I would put Kopecky with them because he’s a worker. Tireless forecheck, good in front of net (e.g. areas where the other two prefer not to go).

    – Pisani moves like a drunk buffalo, he should be in Rockford or on the 4th line.

    – regardless of production, Skille and Stalberg should be getting 12-15 minutes/ game on the 3rd line. Speed is extremely difficult to play against and those guys come of the bench like caged lions on blow. They’ll help Bolland immensely. I saw them togther once in the 3rd (I believe) and despite not generating a shot they pretty much twisted Smashville’s d in a knot. Your 3rd line should be doing that to the top defensive pairing a couple times a period. Wear them out.

    – Brouwer on the top line. He knows how to get open and “coasts” into position. Toews and Hoss are tireless workers so you can afford the varying dynamic out there. Perhaps these same positional, goal-poaching instincts/traits are what got him in Q’s doghouse… but he’s not doing anything on the 4th.

    – Scott is nervous with the puck. He’s a functional 5-6 minute guy. We’re in a tough spot.

    – I like the kids potential, but Leddy is waaay out of his league right now. His top end speed is fast enough for the league, but his anticipation is poor which is leaving him a stride behind (that he can’t recover from). Shot is week, strength is small… I could go on but at the end of the day he has to go to the A. I honestly think he’ll find the A a bit fast as well.

    – I think our team is out of shape. Seriously… that Boynton play at the end of the game? He forced the shot off the glass (tried to) because he had no legs. There was room to take 3 strides and deliver a crisp pass to Bolland along the boards but he was gassed. A lot of guys out there look gassed too early during their shifts. I suspect that is cup hangover…

  15. John says:

    While your analysis of Leddy may be correct, what other options do they have? Boynton is playing well, for now. Hjalmarsson and Campbell are out. In Rockford, your next option is Jassen Cullimore who is basically Boynton but slower and not as good.

    Pisani is on the 4th line, by the way. Just don’t tell Quenneville that. Love the drunken buffalo analogy though.

  16. Lou says:

    The blue line is hung over and hurt to boot. Leddy is growing and in a year like this one, with a low rookie contract, he has minimal cap impact. The LTIR savings for soup will be banked for a rainy day later. They didn’t call up anyone for Ham…

    Can Scott even keep his skates as an enforcer??? I think he sits right after the Buffalo game. In that game he is Ham’s bodyguard b/c you buffalo is gone come at him or someone else.

    I am going to set the bar at 2 fights that night. Some one pick the over under

  17. Marts says:

    You’re 100% right John and, in fact, I mistakenly didn’t add that he is filling in admirably. Given the injuries, I have no problem with Leddy taking some bumps in the present.

    I think everyone’s in agreement that Leddy’s NHL lifespan (this season) would expire as soon as Campbell is healthy. With Hjalmarsson out I can handle one more game. After that I would prefer Seabs, Keith, Hammer, Hendry, Boynton, Scott. Limit Scott to something in the sub 8 minute range and rotate Boynton through your other pairs as relief. A third pairing isn’t as important as limiting your 6th defenseman to “effective” minutes. At home, this should be easy to get him out there for 8-10 mins in favourable situations. On the road a little tougher to get his minutes but you pick spots where he can succeed.

    Alternatively, I think you could do that with Leddy as well, but the spots “favourable” for him would tend to come on the power play where his afforementioned lack of anticipation and strength could make him vulnerable while holding the puck in the offensive zone. At least with Scott you could throw him in during mid-period minutes against the opponents 4th line where his size could weather the ferocity most plumbers bring to the corners.

    Pisani is on the 4th but the way Q shuffles lines he tends to pop up in unfavourable situations. His PK positioning is as good as its always been but I find myself wanting some of the counter-attacking of years-gone-by. He turns the puck over in what appears to be great counter positioning but doesn’t have the legs to do anything about it. I know the kill is the most important but that extra dimension (counter attack) forces d-men to back off the line which makes their PP a little less fluid.

    At the end of the day what do I know? Q-Stache 2 cups (Colorado) – Marts 0

  18. Otter says:

    You’d think winning the Cup without an enforcer would have put this talk to rest.

    Old Time Hockey died in 2004-2005. Let’s all move on and if you get the itch, go watch Slapshot.

  19. Otter says:

    If Q is worried about Kane & Sharp’s D, then why isn’t he breaking up Towes and Hossa for the time being and just doing what the Hawks did last year?

    I’m with everyone that Pisani couldn’t be less impressive it his name was Manny Ramirez.

  20. dominator says:

    Marts: Actually, I think I’d prefer just keeping Leddy up for the rest of the year. Why burn a year of RFA eligiblity for 20 games? Either send him down before he hits 10 or keep him up the whole year.

  21. Lou says:

    Otter, that’s my point on the broken enforcer record. Unfortunately, it will never rest because of the belief of its continued need to exist still exists with some. I am not one of them but I will add gas to the fire.

    I am about team toughness. We did have some team toughness that is yet to be challenged or emerge this year. We will likely find out about this on Saturday when Buffalo looks to pound Ham or some one else to defend Pominville’s honor. We will find out what value Scott has. If he has no value, if then he can sit for the year.

    Marts, we had three effective pairs last year. We can’t win with two. Sopel as ugly as he was, played a huge role. Scott is nothing more than a body, Boyton is a barely serviceable and if it comes down to Hendry or Leddy, I take Leddy and the growing pains over Hendry. The minutes he gets, once Soup comes back, could be the right minutes.

  22. Marts says:

    I’m not trying to justify Scott’s inclusion for the “goon” factor or toughness. I just think he can actually offer more in ideal situations, for the next 5 or 6 games, than Leddy can. You could say lets see what the kid can do. Fine. I’ve seen all I need to see to know that he can’t handle it right now.

    If you actually think Leddy is more polished than hendry you’re dreaming. The game winner last night was entirely Leddy’s fault. You can’t leave your man on the far post like that. Leddy has more upside than Hendry but right now Hendry is quicker and and stronger on the puck.

    In my last post I mention working with two pairs, rotating Boynton through for relief and servicing Scott where needed for the next 5-6 games only. At that point Campbell’s back and you can pick Scott out of the press box for fight night if he needs to be there (and can actually do anything). I’m advocating sending Leddy down now so that he doesn’t burn an RFA year.

  23. Marts says:

    Going a bit further, so that you don’t think I’m advocating the “enforcer role”… bring up anybody who played a full year in the A last year instead of Scott and send Leddy down in another 4 games (or whatever it takes to save his RFA status).

  24. John says:

    The only thing that saves his RFA status is going to play for the Tri-City Americans in the WHL. IMO, there’s a better chance of Bob being the Hawks 5th d-man than that happening.

  25. Lou says:

    Scott is a clutz and a clod. I watched him from directly across the ice from my seats in the offensive zone flailing on his belly. I also watched him get faked out of his jock to the point he fell on his ass at the blue line leading to the winning goal. He brings very limited skills to the table. He a fire extinguisher. After Saturday, he can play agains STL and PHI. He is a huge that is all he has.

    Marts, I hear ya but don’t think I am dreaming because I have seen Hendry not being able to crack the lineup and I am not seeing much this year. I don’t think his current pros far supercede Leddy’s current cons. If they did, Leddy wouldn’t be playing over him. Hendry was sitting in favor of Leddy playing . There must be a reason.

    Yes, Leddy missed a key assignment last niught. Let’s put it in perspective, the entire team stunk last night after the first period. Hell a verteran D made a real bad pass out of our zone in crunch time that put is in that position and we couldn’t clear a puck all night. So Nick is just one piece of the puzzle.

    So, I am going to focus on the bigger picture to start the season and say if Leddy can contribute and learn here, let him play sit the lame duck Hendry. Maybe they do send Leddy down which is fine too as long as he gets to play. Hendry is in his final season as a Hawk. He won’t be back next year and like this year his FA value will be for the A.

    but in the end it’s still a good debate to have

  26. Marts says:

    Lou, agreed that Scott isn’t very serviceable. It’s different in person, but even on TV you can see him panic and ring the boards to nobody which is pretty much the realm of PeeWee (don’t know better, no confidence) or beer league (know better but too tired/lazy/poor skater to get into position). I think he might be a combination of both.

    It is interesting debate as you say, because the Hawks need to make their 5-6 d-man minutes count. Until he wins the Calder this season, I’ll argue for Leddy in the A. That doesn’t mean I’m arguing for Scott up here, I’m just filling him in because he’s on their active NHL roster (perhaps Connelly can do something instead??), but it does mean I favour Hendry. I really don’t see him as negatively as some do. To me, he’s in Q’s doghouse for the same vexing reason that Brouwer is. Maybe he parked in coaches spot…

  27. Dave Morris says:

    Sheesh, four games in…two starting d-men out of the lineup, Sharp playing hurt, against the Preds who love to play the way they do and they did last night…annoying the living daylights out of Hawkey Faithful. Especially Joel Ward and JP Dumont.

    John Scott is Matt Walker (at a fraction of the price). Maybe Jerry Korab. We’ll see.

    Nick Boynton is much better than most have given him credit for, as he proved again last night.

    Corey Crawford is looking pretty darn good.

    Turco reportedly starts vs the BJs and PKane is apparently out sick.

    It will take at least a month, maybe two, for the 2010-11 Blackhawks to get their game together.

    In the meantime, losing by a single goal on a late PP to a Division rival on home ice *is* annoying.

  28. Patrick says:

    Um, I could be wrong, but I don’t think Campbell was put on LTIR, for whatever reason…

  29. Lee says:

    Dave Morris, as usueal you are the voice of reason. Give them some time and I, who was also at the game also thought Boynton was great and I actualy don’t understand the Pisani bashing as he is a very good PK and as good if not better than John Madden

  30. Cam says:

    If Sharp suffered a concussion, why on earth is he playing?

    Might as well take your lumps while your injured players recover.

  31. ArlingtonRob says:

    Ban> It was a post game rant and I’m not “bailing” on my team. It’s called an opinion and it’s based on the factors you mentioned. I hope I’m proven wrong, but I believe 100 points will be a challenge. In the west 100 points may be the minimum needed to simply qualify for the post season.

  32. Lou says:


    Allow myself to quote myself (w spellcheck) from 7:11 am long before any voices of reason or soothsayers opined

    “And remember it is game 4. This is going to be a good team for years and years to come.”

    Stay committed and remember like every team, this one too has to earn its feather!

  33. ArlingtonRob says:

    Lou> I agree with you completely, it is very early. And I’m not upset or even concerned with the Hawks play. Game to game frustration perhaps, but it is what is.

    Early erratic play is what I expected and I’m not surprised with the results thus far. I also expect the club to drop in the standings because of the changes. But if injuries, suspensions and inconsistent play by our regulars continues I stand by my position that the playoffs are far from a guarantee.

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