Two years ago, the Blackhawks had Jesus Havlat to rescue them whenever times seemed the bleak.
This year, they have Marian Hossa. With the Hawks down 2-0 late in the third, Hossa responded with two goals in back-to-back shifts. Both came off incredible individual efforts, much in the same way Havlat used to rescue the Hawks. Jesus Hossa doesn’t have the same ring to it. Plus, it wouldn’t feel right using someone else’s nickname.
So with that said, let’s get down to finding this man a proper moniker.
First of all, he’s a damned bull on skates. Notice tonight on his second goal, T.J. Oshie was firmly entrenched in front of the net. His knees were bent, he was facing Hossa and had all his weight behind him. As the scramble and the puck made its way towards Hossa and Oshie, Hossa simply one made little move and Oshie had lost all positioning. Then the puck was in the net and the game was tied.
He’s almost machine-like in his destruction of the opponent. He didn’t have a shot on goal until the 13:12 mark of the third period which was also his first goal. His third shot on goal was almost the game-winner in regulation when he dangled the puck through three Blues and then fired a shot on Halak.
When you factor in his Eastern European background, the choices become more obvious. The Terminator is too cliche, though with his shaded visor, it would make sense. T1000, maybe? No, only fanboys would know what that means.
Let’s look for something a little more mainstream. Add in his blond hair that’s always spiked, the fact that he’s always dripping in sweat, he is hereby known as Marian Drago and he must break you.
Thoughts other than Marian Drago being really, really, really awesome
—Marty Turco was once again outstanding. In overtime, the Blues had several opportunities to finish the game before Patrick Sharp had his chance. The Hawks defense zone coverage was lacking, to say the least, in the extra frame and Turco was there every time.
–I know a lot of people are going to put themselves in the ground early watching a defensive unit consisting of Jassen Cullimore, Nick Boynton, Jordan Hendry, and John Scott. I’m taking a different approach; I’m just going to enjoy the living hell out of this. Whether it was Cullimore falling all over himself against Buffalo or Boynton blowing up Sharp in the neutral zone tonight leading to Perron’s second goal, you can’t put a price on entertainment like that.
Besides, when you lower you expectations you allow yourself to be presently surprised when someone like Cullimore gathers the puck at the blue line, skates all the way around the net, and threads the needle on a pass to Patrick Kane to set up the game-winning goal.
—Jake Dowell is not and probably never will be a NHL player. For some reason, I had a memory of him being much better three years ago when he spotlighted with the Hawks during Savard’s last full year. Clearly I had seen a lot of bad hockey up until that point and he just wasn’t as bad as the guys he was replacing.
He can’t win a draw to save his family’s life; his defensive zone coverage is lacking severely for a guy of his skillset and worst of all, he doesn’t really do anything once the puck is out of the Hawks end.
–At some point, Joel Quenneville is just going to have to trust Jack Skille or risk losing him forever. Maybe Vinny Del Negro can bring Rick Pitino to the United Center to tell Q that Kris Versteeg ain’t walking through that door. Dustin Byfuglien ain’t walking through that door.
What Skille is, though, is one electric player. His speed is an absolute underutilized weapon for the Hawks and whether or not his defensive zone responsibility is to Quenneville’s liking, he has to do something with Skille. Because no one else on the bottom of their roster is better than him. And yes, that includes Fernando Pisani. (By the way, you could substitue Stalberg’s name in for Skille’s and the above paragraph would make just as much sense.)
In seven minutes of play tonight, Skille had 4 shots on goal. How does someone putting up production like that not get a longer rope?
—John Scott nearly spent more time in the penalty box than on the ice. His season thus far was summed up early in the first after Bryan Bickell and David Backes went at it. Lining up in a face-off across from Brad Winchester, there was clearly a opportunity for Scott to continue the mayhem. Just like every other time this season he’s had the chance to dance with somebody, Scott did nothing. I smell a contract buyout coming next summer if this continues.