Blackhawks 7, Blues 5

The Blackhawks made two fairly large mental mistakes and it was all St. Louis needed to turn a run-of-the-mill blowout into a hold on to your butts, scratch and claw fight for two points.  Both of them came with the Hawks leading comfortably at 5-1 and the Blues looking ahead to their game tomorrow night against Washington.

At the halfway point of the second period and the puck rattling around the neutral zone, B.J. Crombeen gave an invitation to Nick Boynton to drop the gloves.  Mind you, the Hawks were winning 5-1 and the Blues looked dead in the water.  There is absolutely no reason for Boynton to fight Crombeen there.  Only bad things could happen.  Boynton accepted without even giving it a second thought. 

Six minutes later, Dave Bolland took a horrendously bad penalty in the offensive zone.  He labeled a Blues player with his back to the play.  To make matters worse, Bolland saw the ref put his hand up and simply stared at the puck.  All he had to do was touch the puck.  Instead, the Blues gained possession, took the puck all the way down, and scored their second goal of the game with just under three minutes left in the second.

After that, the Blues gave the Hawks a scare no one thought was possible 45 minutes prior.  They scored within the first five minutes of the third period when John Scott couldn’t get off the ice.  Then Brad Boyes cleaned up a scramble in front to cut the lead to one.

A Dave Bolland delay of game penalty made things even more dicey.  The Hawks killed it off, though, and the subsequent shift after, Patrick Kane cleaned up Viktor Stalberg’s shot that hit the post to give the Hawks a two-goal cushion.  Then Jonathan Toews finished up a sweet dish from Tomas Kopecky on the power play to put the Blues away for good.

Thoughts

–I’m hardly a goaltending expert but when I notice from my couch how off Corey Crawford’s angles are when the puck is coming down the right wing, I’m pretty sure the opposition notices the same thing.  Crawford left the far side of the net wide open multiple times but the Blues either couldn’t get the puck through or missed the net completely.  The little dashes in the crease are your friend, Corey.  They help you realize you’re drifiting off into Never-Never land.

–Jeremy Morin had a terrific first period.  His aggressive forechecking led to the Hawks first two goals.  He also collected his first career point in the second period when his dump-in took a crazy hop off the glass and Troy Brouwer blasted into the vacated net as Ty Conklin was hopelessly caught behind the net.  More of this and the Hawks are going to have a very difficult decision in the next few games because six more games for Morin and a year will be burned off his entry level contract.

–Chalk up Andy MacDonald as another opponent who wants to murder Viktor Stalberg.  For some reason, it seems like every game, someone from the other team is looking to tear Stalberg’s limbs off.  MacDonald shoved Stalberg into the boards when his back was turned late in the third.  By my unscientific count, this is seventh game in a row Stalberg has been run by opposition.  Maybe he smells really good out on the ice.

–What’s even the point of complaining about Dave Bolland anymore?  A -3 for Bolland tonight put him at an even 0.  He has zero creativity in the offensive zone and quite frankly, the guy just isn’t very good right now.  Maybe he’s a guy who needs higher stakes to elevate his game.  Let’s hope so.

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28 Responses to Blackhawks 7, Blues 5

  1. Brian says:

    I’ve been trying to figure why Vic keeps getting flying elbows or whatever game after game. He doesn’t seem to be chippy or cheap. Teams must think he’ll wilt. Good to see Kane support him tonight.

  2. Michale says:

    Whenever a stupid, needless penalty is taken, you can bet your bottom dollar Bolland will be the one to take it. The guy is an idiot and his play his completely undisciplined and out of control. The Hawks are up 5-1 and he takes a ridiculous interference call which led to a delayed penalty and a St. Louis goal which started the momentum change. Then at 5-4 he bats the puck out of the air on a face off, which puts us short handed again. Fortunately the Hawks were able to kill that one off. If you remember the Kings game, the Hawks were a man short after Stalberg got run by Brown and a scrum ensued. While a man short, a Hawk player took another penalty to put us two men down, which led to the Kings only goal. Who took that second penalty? You guessed it . . . Bolland. The guy had a great playoff last year, but he can’t live off that forever. He is just awful right now. Boynton’s fight was another idiotic move. He should have just skated away. As it was, he’s lucky Crombeen took mercy on him because he could have done some serious damage if he wanted.

  3. Cam says:

    Is it too much to ask for somebody to kill Jackman? Or at the very least give him a penalty when he punches, elbows or crosschecks the opposition? Or is this like a Pronger thing where they figure it’s better to ignore it or he’d be in the box all night?

    Along the same lines, how does Kane get a penalty for sticking up for Stalberg, but the Blues don’t for attacking Kane in retaliation?

    They sure love to call Kane for brushing people with his stick, but Jackman could commit a felony and they’d look away.

  4. dominator says:

    Why is Nick Boynton not sitting in the press box? He seems to be progressively getting worse, give Hendry a game or two.

  5. Otter says:

    Man I and I was all ready to type “The Hawks are back!” this morning and everyone nod their head in agreement if they didn’t beat me to the punch… oh well. I still think the Hawks are back. They won, the Blues didn’t get a point, and I got to enjoy the weirdness of hearing Sobotka all night long… I shed many tears for dear ole Frank last night. I’d go insane if the Hawks ever acquired Vladimír Sobotka.

  6. alpo says:

    Nice win. Stan Bowman’s insistence on not even exploring the trade market for Bolland over the summer is probably his first major mistake during his tenure. But who would’ve thought Ladd and Buff would be having career years? Not me….

  7. Francis Roberts says:

    Spot on post, John. The fight by Boynton was just the latest in a series of bone-headed plays by the guy. You don’t expect your 5-6 D men to be your best hockey players, but they should play with a high hockey IQ (eg Sopel). How could Hendry, Exelby or Connelly be worse than this? Bolland’s level of play is sinking to new lows. OK, so he takes an dumb offensive zone penalty. Bad enough. But then he literally quits on the play, and gives the Blues an extra 30-40 seconds power play time. Inexcusable. The rest of the game was mostly good stuff. The top two lines looked awesome. Morin is making a strong case to stick. I think one problem is that when you dress Scott and with Bolland floundering, you are basically playing with 2 1/2 lines out there, and this will catch up to the team eventually (notice how Skille and Dowell are disappearing).

  8. The Goods says:

    There were some negatives, as everyone here seems to love to focus on, but let’s not COMPLETELY overlook that the Hawks put up 7 goals and won a close game against a division rival that is likely to be a playoff team. I’ll take that every time.

  9. CT says:

    No mention of John Scott’s beating of Cam Jannsen? I’ll admit I was impressed with Jannsen’s ability to remain standing, but Scott laughing at him while waiting for the officials to finally step in was classic.

  10. Bryan says:

    Liked what I saw out of Morin last night. I wish Brouwer and Bickell would play with that same physicality that the kid brought last night. Lets hope he keeps it up. How is the kids speed though? He looked a step slow to me but then again I wasn’t at the game.

  11. AC says:

    That was just a weird game last night. Scoring 7 was great, but they really could’ve had more, but seemed really sluggish in the 3rd period. Letting the Blues back in was horrible, especially the way Bolland, Bickell and Brouwer just stared at the puck when the Bolland penalty was called (but not whistled), as was most of Bickell’s effort last night. Cullimore-Boynton was a brutal pairing.

    On the plus side, the Kane-Toews-Stalberg was tremendous. Kane was digging in the corners, Stalberg made things happen and Toews stayed around the net. Great game for that line. I liked Morin, he made some mistakes, but had a nice game. Scott beat the crap out of Jannsen, yeah he did his one job, now please Kane don’t ever pass it to Scott on a 2-on-1 again, he is not Ben Eager. Kopecky? Where did that come from? Are we sure Kopecky didn’t get hurt and Hossa was really wearing 82? Great game for him. I’m convinced that Brian Campbell is the difference between this team being average and being good/great. Since he’s been back the top 4 d-men have improved and they have controlled the puck.

  12. JM says:

    After my first game at the UC was that snooze-fest debacle against Edmonton, it was nice to see the team speed I’ve known and loved return.

    Jeremy Morin had one of those ‘do-something-great-every-shift’ kind of nights. Now, believe me, I’m not saying Morin is a Roenick in waiting, but it is great to see a #27 in red flying around his ice and throwing his body around on a forecheck.

    Was Scott actually on Kane’s line after they went up 5-1? He was on the ice w/him on that 2-1, then on with them for the 3rd goal. Thought it was Quenneville going into goon protection mode a little too early, but maybe both cases were Scott not getting off the ice soon enough.

  13. Marts says:

    Good comments all around.

    @ Dominator – Totally agree on the Boynton/Hendry mystery. Did Hendry sleep with Q’s wife or something…? Every game Boynton is just a cluster-fcuk waiting to happen. Innocent as it may be, when I heard Hossa collided with a teammate in practice “Boynton” immediately popped into my head a millisecond before I read the detail. Give Hendry a shot already.

  14. John says:

    In regards to Scott being on the ice with Kane, he just got caught out on the ice a little too long. He wasn’t on Kane’s line.

  15. dominator says:

    Yeah I mean Hendry has plenty of faults and I’m not going to pretend he’s not going to make lots of mistakes as well, it just seems to me that Boynton is going through a real rough patch right now and should sit for a game or two to clear his head or something. He’s been absolutely brutal latetly.
    Also I liked Kane trying to feed it to Scott on that breakaway, at that point they were up enough that it wasn’t really important to score (this was before the meltdown obviously). So why not try and get your big doofy teammate some points? In a closer game I’m sure Kane would have taken the shot anyways. Maybe I’m just a sucker for seeing guys who don’t usually score get their goals.

  16. Cam says:

    “No mention of John Scott’s beating of Cam Jannsen?”

    I’d have liked it better had he actually done some damage. He won the fight on points easily, but Jansen was asking for more at the end of it. Scott should’ve obliged rather than laughing like a doofus.

  17. John says:

    I was going to write something about the Scott/Janssen fight but I couldn’t come up with a word in the English dictionary to describe how dumb Janssen is. He just recently came off a concussion and he fights a guy a full foot larger than him who landed more than a couple punches to his dome.

    Also I just plain forgot.

  18. feyer says:

    Actually, if you luck up “dumb” in the dictionary, all they have is a picture of Cam Janssen.

  19. Dave Morris says:

    The Anti-Dave Bolland contingent seems to forget the valuable work DB does containing the opposition’s top scorers, as he did in Anaheim and LA. This while winning 52 and 53 percent of his draws and playing over 30 shifts in each game.

    But then, not everyone appreciated Claude Provost in his day, though Bobby Hull did.

    It would be interesting to ask Ryan Getzlaf and Anze Kopitar what they think of Bolland.

  20. John says:

    The bottom line with Dave Bolland and his legendary shutdown skills: he has to produce at both ends otherwise he’s just a 4th line center. 5 points in 21 games with a 0 +/- is not getting it done.

  21. Otter says:

    I think everyone expects Bolland to be better than John Madden when he was with the Devils. But he’s not. He’s pretty much John Madden with the Devils… only maybe not even as good.

  22. Francis Roberts says:

    Dave Morris, I agree with you that we are sometimes too hard on Bolland, but that play on the delayed penalty was just plain bad. Bolland is one of the veteran leaders on this team. When you make a mistake, don’t compound it by making another: touch the puck, get a whistle, and allow your teammates to organize a good shorthanded defense. Agree that he is still playing good defense every night.

  23. Michael says:

    The Anti-Dave Bolland contingent seems to forget the valuable work DB does containing the opposition’s top scorers, as he did in Anaheim and LA. This while winning 52 and 53 percent of his draws and playing over 30 shifts in each game.

    Dave,

    He no doubt does valuable work in holding down the other teams scorers, but that shouldn’t absolve him from taking stupid penalties which really hurt the team. It wasn’t just last night either. He does it quite frequently. I remember more than a few games last year where he could have cost the team, but because they won, it was often overlooked. As for his faceoffs, until the games you referred to, he had been brutal. I believe he was around 30% or less for quite some time and was being taken to task for it. I don’t expect him to play great defense and score 40 goals, but he does need to contribute SOMETHING offensively and he needs to stop taking the dumb, unnecessary penatlies, especially since the teams PK is not exactly it’s strong suit last night. If the Blues had scored on the second Bolland penalty, I have a feeling the negative reaction would have been much stronger.

  24. Michael says:

    I meant to say that the team’s PK has not been it’s strong suite thus far this season, not last night.

  25. steve says:

    Did anybody find it strange that Scott got a penalty for just being on the ice at the end of the game. Were the refs saving Janssens life?

  26. AC says:

    Dave,
    I appreciate Bolland, when he plays well, but he hasn’t this year. His FO% is the lowest of the 4 centers on the Hawks at 42.3%, even though he has been relied upon to take the 2nd most draws (behind Toews obviously). I would love for him to be Madden-like (when Madden was a devil), but he is not at that level, yet the Hawks pay him to be at that level. He shouldn’t have a 50-55% night followed by a 30-35% night, which has been doing pretty consistently this year, even on the last road trip. His last 8 games are: 29.2, 55.6, 60.0, 32.1, 37.5, 52.9, 53.8, 46.7. While the last 3 are fine, the fact that he has been under 40% eleven times already (including 3 under 30) is an issue, if he is being relied upon. I have been impressed with Dowell and the greater number of draws he has been given (especially in recent games) in late game situations. Since I don’t know who Claude Provost is (my game experience only goes back 35 years), all I ask is that Bolland play like Troy Murray, who I feel was very underappreciated.

  27. CT says:

    The problem with Bolland is that he’s being paid like a 2nd line center and he’s no more than a 3. In the old NHL that’d be no more than annoyance. But with the Hawks having little margin for error under the cap, it is a big deal. Hopefully Bolland’s just in a slump (I do think he’s a better offensive player than he’s shown this year), but the reality is, his value may never again be higher than what it was after last season, so the Hawks missed the window on trading him at his highest value (at a time when they had to make tough choices on who to keep). Obviously nothing can be done about it now, but I think that’s the root of the frustration with Bolland. It’s not personal, it’s business.

  28. Marts says:

    I agree with CT’s last comment. At $3.375 per, Bolland needs to be the shut down centre he is AND produce 15-20 goals and in the vicinity of 40-50 points.

    Taking the “business” side of things further, the same arguement could be made for Hammer. At $3.5 per, he needs to be better than 1 goal & couple points thus far. There are a lot of players out there that can bring the defensive end these two offer at half the price. They’re being paid the extra for their offensive upside.

    I’ll draw a comparisson to Jay Bouwmeester here in Calgary. He’s a very good D-Man and 4 or 5 mill. At 6.8 mill, he needs to fill the net a little bit otherwise that 1.8 could be going somewhere else…

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