Blackhawks 7, Canucks 1

Ya know, maybe all this Blackhawk team needed was some adversity and a tough road game in Vancouver against the rival Canucks.  After playing hugely important game after hugely important game last spring, the Hawks have found themselves in an odd place this October: playing measly early season games against mostly lesser talented teams.  At times, the product has been uninspired hockey and the occasional five-goal beat-downs by said lesser talented teams.

On Saturday night, just off one such five-goal beat-down, the Hawks jumped out to a seven-goal lead against the hated ‘Nucks, showing once again that they are capable of playing with the league’s best teams – and coaxing many in the Chicagoland area of their rooftops – me included this time.

Rather than the blow-by-blow, let’s get right to it.

Mas o Menos

– This one started off like many others before it had.  If the Hawks are truly a “puck possession” team, they’re going to have to find a way to break the puck out of their own zone with possession, rather than relying on a high-and-hard ones out to center ice.  While it’s easy to understand why Nick Boyton and Jassen Cullimore might take the easy way out of the defensive zone, Ham Sandwich should, ya know, try a  pass to one of his teammates along the wall every now and again.  If the Hawks continue to struggle breaking the puck out of their own end cleanly, they’ll continue to struggle winning games.  After all, you can’t be a successful puck possession team without possession of the puck.

– I may have to recuse myself from future objectivity concerning Dave Bolland.  If I didn’t comfort myself yesterday evening with visions of post-season shorthanded goals by the Hawks’ third line center, I would have tossed my television from my balcony.  Whenever you’re ready, David.  And, yeah, I know he had an assist last night, but that was a mistake.  He stickhandled himself into submission and lost control of the puck which accidentally found Fernando Pisani in front.

– Can we finally settle back on Patrick Sharp at center?  And, can’t we just admit that Tomas Kopecky is a different player next to Marian Hossa and keep him there?  Pretty please.

– What the hell was that, Troy Brouwer?  Who could have predicted that in mid-November Brouwer would score in back-to-back games … to give himself three goals on the season?

– Marian Hossa came back down to Earth rather quickly, didn’t he?  While it looked like he was a 50-goal candidate early on, since he came back from injury, he’s settled back into his ’09-’10 regular season mode, blending in most of each night.  Now, I don’t like being critical 9 hours after a merciless beating, but wouldn’t it be nice if Hossa could play more like a top-line winger on a Cup caliber team than a young kid capable of a decent couple shifts an evening?  Yeah, I appreciate his two-way play, his strength on skates and all the other intangibles that don’t directly relate to point production, but when a team struggles, someone has to be counted on to produce offensively each and every night.  I’m looking the Boss.

– Isn’t it amazing that after a six-goal blow out, the one thing that sticks out to me is Patrick Kane’s wrister on the seventh goal?  Honestly, how ridiculous was that shot, and how is it not one of the league’s most talked about?  I’ve said it ten times before, but Kane’s shot is one of the league’s most underrated things of beauty.

– Don’t look now, but Johnny T has nine goals.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, now make your line an offensive force every night.

– Last night was one of Jack Skille’s now-patented “So, I’m Probably Going to be on This Fourth Line Forever, Aren’t I?” games.  The last such game was last Sunday’s game after his two-goal performance against Nashville.

– Next stop: San Jose.

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14 Responses to Blackhawks 7, Canucks 1

  1. Wade says:

    I agree with your points on Hossa, but keep in mind, Dude had 3 assists last night. I think he was the #2 star, but I’m too lazy to look it up.

    However, I don’t necessarily agree with your points on Bolland. I don’t care how many goals he scored in juniors (a ton) or that he’s being paid like a 2nd line offensive player (again, a ton), his role on this team is defense. Toward that end, how did the Sedins do last night? Oh, they were totally invisible? Then, mission accomplished for Bolland.

    I hope he has a similarly “crappy” game against Joe Thornton on Wednesday, because that’s what his job is. And that’s all he should be measured by, IMO.

    And if you like Sharp at center with Hossa and Kopecky (as do I), then you are tacitly admitting that Bolland needs to be on the 3rd line with checkers like Bickell and Pisani (as he was last night). For that line to produce 2 goals last night was an incredible bonus. All they needed to do was shut down the Sedins, which they did with seeming ease.

    FWIW, I watched the game on CBC’s “Hockey Night in Canada” last night, and they absolutely love Bolland. They literally couldn’t say enough good things about him. As soon as a Sedin jumped over the boards, they would immediately begin a weird sort of “Bolland Watch” to see how long it would be before Q would deploy #36 against them … And then they would spend the rest of the shift raving about what a good job Bolland was doing. They concluded that last night was the quietest the Sedins had been all year (and, hyperbole alert, perhaps EVER), and attributed it directly to Bolland.

    I enjoyed his offensive punch last spring also, but let’s keep in mind what his role on the team is.

  2. blackhawkbob says:

    Wade:

    All good points. I appreciate the thoughts.

    Yes, Hossa had three assists last night, but come on, he didn’t do a whole heck of a lot to get each. I’m not saying he’s a bad player; I’m actually saying the opposite while asking him to do even more. The Hawks need a consistently powerful offensive player to keep things moving in the right direction, and I think he’s the guy to do it.

    As for your Bolland points, I’ll add your thoughts to the things that will keep me from launching my belongings from my balcony while watching Hawk games.

  3. Lou says:

    Crawford is a solid young Goalie. He made some solid saves that he had too. The 3-1 was huge. Maybe the year in the AHL was better for him than we thought. What’s his name in SJ is getting killed.

    The shots we face per game is dropping and that is the difference.

    This team had a few terds like Calgary in the last few years – The hair pulling game and the Nashville game where Toews socre the highlight reel and then we got spanked – Those seemed to be wake up calls. So maybe Calgary was this years…

  4. Otter says:

    Wow that was awesome. I wasn’t thrilled with the first, but they didn’t play that poorly, then got a cheap penalty to go on the power play and the game totally shifted. I’m not sure what happened, but end to end stuff that shut up Eddie and Pat since they had to treat everything like a hockey game and not a baseball match. (God are those two annoying when they go into their Hawk Harrison and Wimpy mode).

    Second comes and it was just great. Luongo goes into his “overrated” mode where he looks like a 10 year old flopping around like a fish with no clue where the net or puck is at any time. Seriously, most overrated player in the NHL, imo. Eventually the Canucks got out of the game, decided to stop playing hockey and it was beautiful. There are more million dollar sicks, ten cent heads on the Canucks. I know it’s early, but they aren’t going to make the Finals, let alone win the Cup like everyone in Canada thinks. Habs are Canada’s best chance, again, this year.

    Kane’s shot was so friggin awesome, so quick, so easy, so deadly and everyone just skated around like it was a practice goal. I know… 7th goal, don’t shot anyone up, but even the Canucks were in “wow… that was nice… but we don’t give a hoser…” Sorry for the lame Canadian joke.

  5. Dave Morris says:

    Wait a minute. The Hawks utterly destroy the hated, gutless Nucks in their own barn and you guys are nitpucking.

    Yes, nitpucking.

    Enjoy the win, Gentlemen. It was s-w-e-e-t.

  6. alpo says:

    Nice win. It may be just me but it seems like every game Kopecky gets absolutely trucked at least once along the boards.

  7. nick says:

    Unfortunately, Bolland’s ceiling is exactly what he showed last night: fantastic checking center with limited offensive output. That being said, you don’t pay 3 mil for that. As for your critique on Hossa…. a lil harsh on the Beav there weren’t ya Ward? Guy had 3 assists and it’s fairly obvious his shoulder is still injured. The same one that was hurt last year, yet he is still going out there battling to help the team win like a good soldier, so perhaps maybe you’ll cut the guy some slack for only getting 3 points with 1 fricken arm?

  8. AC says:

    Nick, I agree. It’s pretty obvious that Hossa is still hurt. I am hopeful that he is able to get something worked out during the year, without missing any more time, to return to his dominant form, but I will take his current form (which makes him probably the 3rd best player on the team when hurt as opposed to the best). He is still controlling the puck and making plays.

    Can we please see more of Skille? I know he has had trouble in his own end, but he really makes things happen. Can we see less of Kopecky? I think Hossa’s output would improve without Kopy’s hanging on to Hossa’s one good arm (when he’s not falling down).

    Overall, a great win, let’s keep it up on the roadtrip.

  9. Marts says:

    I agree that Hosssa looks hurt. My thought is that if the team can get him to the All-Star break without the shoulder getting any worse you give him the game before the break (Minnesota Jan 25th) and the game after (CBJ February 1st) off. That would buy him 12 days “off” before the Vancouver game on Friday February 4th.

    I know teams are loathe to put relatively healthy players in the press box because of niggling injuries but this guy is much more decisive when skating at 100%. I’d like to see nearly 2 weeks of solid rehab for him. Do I think it will happen… 50/50 or less…

  10. Marts says:

    For arguements sake, you could also let him skate both games of the Nashville home & home (January 15 & 16th) and then sit him for the Detroit/Philly games on the 22 and 23rd) in addition to the Minnesota game mentioned in my last post – returning to the line-up for the first game after the break. That would give him 16 days of rest. Either option would be good IMO. A healty Hoss come stretch run would be great to have.

  11. Lee says:

    John: As usual my man dave morris hit it right on the head

    STOP NIT-PICKING

  12. John says:

    Lee: Check who the author is.

    It’s funny; I don’t see anything really controversial in what Bobby wrote, yet he’s nit-pucking and wrote a ‘feisty’ recap. Just because it all came together for one game, let’s not pretend like the first month and a half didn’t happen.

  13. Lee says:

    We need to enjoy it while we can. I dont think it will last. I think tomorrow night will be a great test

  14. Cam says:

    I’d rather lose to Vancouver if it meant avoiding becoming the third champion in 64 years to miss the playoffs the next season. But that’s looking more and more like reality.

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