Devils 5, Blackhawks 3

Rather than unleashing hell as I’m sure so many already have about tonight’s game, I think it’s best if we take a step back and look at how much this game meant to Blackhawks management.  Yesterday, the Hawks re-assigned Ryan Potulny and Ben Smith to Rockford.  No big deal.  We saw this a bunch last year; the Hawks would re-assign players on their off-days in order to save cap money.  Then on the day of the games, they would be called right back up.

For arguments sake and to make it easier on the brain, let’s say that Potulny and Smith cost about $5,000 a day on the cap between the two of them.  According to Cap Geek, the Hawks are on pace to finish about $985,000 below the cap. 

Well, today the Blackhawks -as an organization, mind you- decided that rather than fielding an actual competitive team against the New Jersey Devils, they would prefer to save themselves the $5,000 in cap space for a rainy March trade deadline day.  So what you had was a Blackhawks team skating with 10 forwards, Jordan Hendry and John Scott.  The two of them saw less than 7 minutes of ice time combined.  Oh and by the way, they were a -1 in a one goal game (Empty net goals don’t count in my dad’s world so they shouldn’t in yours, either.).

See?  The Blackhawks really didn’t care all that much about tonight’s outcome, so neither should you.  They were more concerned with giving themselves a little extra cap cushion for that big Brad Richards deal coming their way.  Nevermind that they might be 6 points out of a playoff spot by then.

*On The Farm*

The IceHogs scored twice in the final frame to turn a 2-0 deficit against the Milwaukee Admirals into a 2-2 tie.  Kyle Beach scored his third goal of the year with assists from Ben Smith and Ivan Vishnevskiy.  Then with less than a minute and a half left in regulation, Jeff Taffe scored the equalizer.  Vishnevskiy and Igor Makarov assisted on it.  The Hogs won it in a shootout when Brandon Pirri, Beach, Vishnevskiy, and Taffe all scored.

Hannu Toivonen was 1st star of the game with 24 saves.

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22 Responses to Devils 5, Blackhawks 3

  1. JC says:

    Woah woah woah, you’re burying the lede here

    “Nevermind that they might be 6 points out of a playoff spot by then.”

    You’re not actually suggesting that’s a legitimate possibility are you?

  2. Cam says:

    Whatever the Hawks fielded, they certainly had a more competitive team than Jersey which was made up of about 10 legit players plus Brodeur, and he left halfway through.

    The West is so tough, I’m actually now concerned about even making the playoffs.

  3. Tomahawk_31 says:

    Another game we should have won, against a team that hasn’t scored 5 goals total all season. (jk about the total, but seriously…) I know the last 2 “don’t” count either, but that’s not the point. I understand the loss of Hoss has a big impact, but it’s time for one our other greats to step it up.

    The hawks are doing us an injustice by playing so well last year, and sh!tting the bed so far this season. Slow starts happen, but were almost to that quarter of a season mark and the hawks have only one win streak of two or more games. Let’s get it together and start winning again Q!

  4. John says:

    @JC- Anything’s possible. Though it was more a comment of how the big picture shouldn’t matter as much when it comes at the expense of leaving the team at less than full strength. They need every point they can get.

    @Cam- The Devils are a NHL team who skated with 4 lines. You can’t expect to simply show up with 3 lines and 4 defensemen and steamroll right over them. Putting the onus on the players is fine, but people need to take a hard look at what the hell Bowman and co. were thinking. We know you’re concerned about the playoffs; you have been since the 3rd game of the season.

  5. feyer says:

    You make a very valid point John. It seems kind of ironic that not too long ago folks were complaining that New Jersey was guilty of not fielding a complete team because of the cap.

  6. John says:

    At least the Devils had legitimate reasons. The Hawks did it just in case.

  7. Lou says:

    What is harder to stomach is just the melancholic effort the last two home games. I think we can deal with losing if you are putting your best team efforts forward. I don’t think we did.

    We will make the playoffs.

  8. Otter says:

    I think that was the worst Blackhawks game I’ve watched since like 2006. Embarrassing. They pissed away the good will I had from winning the Cup last night.

    Who wants to tell Toews and Kane the season started? And the only reason I know Keith is playing is because he’s playing like crap. I would also like to short Stalberg stock, I enjoyed him the first time when his name was more fun to say: Sergei Krivokrasov.

    This team is effectively tied for 13th in the Conference with the Flames. Only the Oilers and Ducks are worse on a point-per-game basis.

    I’m not hitting the panic button, but I’ve seen too much dicking around to not worry at this point. They’ve played nearly 20% of their schedule… hopefully the Teemu Selanne theory that of teams don’t click until they go on a long road trip is true because the Circus trip couldn’t come soon enough at this rate.

  9. John says:

    Careful how you speak of Stalberg. That’s one of my adopted sons. He’s a secondary scorer who’s actually scoring. What a piece of crap.

  10. ArlingtonRob says:

    I’ve been concerned with making the playoffs since the Columbus loss, and that concern has only increased. The west is simply too damn good to leave this many points behind. And the play on home ice in particular has been depressing, and reminiscent of last years Blues club.

    This season better turn around fast, or there will be comparisons with the Carolina Hurricanes by Christmas.

  11. Otter says:

    I’m sick of Stalberg (and Skille) creating space or chances and then tripping over their skates… or sticks… or the face off dot.

    Checking out the Hawks +/- is disgusting btw, do not do it if you’re in a good mood.

  12. dominator says:

    I will always and forever love Sergei Krivokrasov for his overtime goal in 1996 so if Stalberg can do that I guess I’m good?

  13. Cam says:

    “The Devils are a NHL team who skated with 4 lines.” –

    NHL team is questionable. Their lineup last night included players named Eckford, Magnan-grenier, Mair, Mills, Sestito, Taormina, and Vasyunov.

    And I’m sure the other point is supposed to be funny, but the reality is I haven’t been worried about the playoffs until the last couple of games. Last year the Hawks lost numerous games early that they dominated on the ice. You could tell, despite the losses, that they were a superior squad. Can you that after the first fifth of this season?

  14. Tom says:

    So, at what point do the collective screams from the rafters of the UC start panicking? Christmas? Valentine’s Day? The last day of the season?

  15. Francis Roberts says:

    This is the nightmare beginning scenario for Q and Stan: the team is off to a poor start and the core players are playing burnout level minutes. My view is that they should take a deep breadth and start managing for the long haul. Cut back the minutes of the top core, and in my opinion two things would happen: first the level of play of the top guys will actually improve (right now they are playing a tired, pressing brand of hockey), and second, they might actually make it into the second half of the season in one piece.

    For all the complaints (often valid), Skille can’t finish, Dowell can’t win faceoffs, Stalberg isn’t tough enough on the boards Pisnani is invisible, etc, the bottom guys are actually doing ok. They are playing with energy, getting shots on goal, and more than holding their own against opposing teams.

    Two further decisions need to be made by management: you need to populate the 4th line with guys who actually have the potential to be an NHL forward (ie not Scott or Hendry), and, now that Soup is back you need to decide on who your 5th and 6th defensemen are, so you can establsh a good 6 man rotation on defense (my vote would be Boynton and Hendry).

  16. John says:

    A sound plan Francis and I’m confident you’re not far off in your theories. At some point, I’ll write about it in a post but Dowell has really improved a lot in this brief period. He’s actually resembling a real life NHL player.

    I still keep coming back to their decision to dress Scott and Hendry last night in favor of saving a few thousand dollars on the cap. I can’t believe the organization thought that was a good idea. Anyone who previously thought Bowman or Quenneville deserve a free pass because of last year should seriously re-consider that statement.

  17. Marts says:

    I think Francis has hit it pretty well. I would llike to see a defense core that looks (and averages) something like this:

    Keith – 27 min
    Seabrook – 23 min
    Hjalmarsson – 21 min
    Campbell – 21 min
    Hendry – 14 min
    Boynton – 14 min

    I’m fairly critical of Boynton in general but I think he can give you 4 or 5 minutes of PK shot-blocking a game in addition to 8-10 minutes of “suitable” even strength. Keep him AWAY from the PP or the offensive zone if possible. Hendry can give you the same 8-10 minutes paired with Boynton and then spell our top 4 after special teams minutes where needed. To me he is a poor-mans (very poor?) Keith/Campbell that relies on skating and some repitition in his game but he could spell either of them (with their normal partners) for 45 secs here and there throughout the night.

    You’ll notice I haven’t cut Keith’s minutes by that much, but I think we can get him some easier minutes with a set 5th/6th pairing. Elite players gt their points (more often then not) when the opposition matches lines poorly. When you’re forcing Keith into logging lots of consecutive minutes you can miss the golden “match-up” opportunities when they arise.

    I’m having less of a beef with our 3rd and 4th liners at this point in time because they’re doing the little things reasonably well. Our “top guys” need to step up and 88/19 need to start shooting a little more. The “back-door” and “one more pass for an open net” plays are driving me nuts.

  18. Lou says:

    Our “top guys” need to step up and 88/19 need to start shooting a little more. The “back-door” and “one more pass for an open net” plays are driving me nuts.

    A freaking men.

  19. Dale Halas says:

    John, I get you are frustrated but I think you are being a little unfair on the Hawks Salary cap woes. I don’t think the team that you see right now will be the team that you see at the finish. I think the Hawks need to save enough cap space and wait long enough in the season to replace a couple of these 500K guys with some of their actual prospects.

    If you can replace just two 500K guys you can look at a team like the following example:

    Morin – Toews – Kane
    Kopecky – Sharp – Hossa
    Beach – Bolland – Stalberg
    Brouwer – Dowel – Skille

    Now I’m not saying that Morin and Beach are the guys that will actually come up. I’m just saying that when the team has saved enough cap space they have more flexibility to actually put out a competitive team. They just need to survive right now until they can get some cap relief…

  20. Lee says:

    Morin will be called up today to replace Bolland who evidently will be on IR for a while

  21. John says:

    I was only partly frustrated…all I was pointing out was that the Hawks felt the 5k saved was more important than fielding the best team they reasonably could. As a team, they were behind the 8-ball from the get-go.

    Obviously the team will likely look different at the end of the year. I just think it sent the wrong message to fans that they felt cap space for future moves (which may not happen) was more important than winning a game. Fans were seething mad after that game as I’m sure you noticed. The Hawks obviously didn’t care all that much and that goes from the top all the way down to the players.

  22. Cam says:

    Beach and Morin aren’t going to save this team.

    19/20-yr-olds aren’t good replacements for dead weight. They need solid vets in those spots right now.

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