Blackhawks 4, Kings 3

When the season nears its conclusion and the Hawks are fortunate enough to find themselves among the Western Conference’s top 8 teams, a major reason will be because they took all 8 points from the Los Angeles Kings and didn’t surrender a single one to them.  Once again, the Kings found themselves on the short end of the luck stick against the Hawks.  This time, they hit two posts in the game’s first 10 minutes after opening the scoring four and a half minutes into the game.  They added a third post in the second period for good measure.

Make no mistake, this could have gotten very ugly, very quick.  The Hawks weathered the storm though and essentially had control of the game from there.  If it weren’t for a sneaky Ryan Smyth change and three consectutive power plays, the Hawks could have won this game going away. 

Regardless, the Hawks took two points away from the Kings once again, thanks to their power play and a cheesy Jonathan Toews goal late.

Deep breaths, everybody.


–Marian Hossa should take the puck strong to the crease at least once a game.  In yesterday’s game he made the same power move that nearly led to a goal.  Tonight, he opened the scoring for the Hawks with the same move from the goal line.  Sometimes, it seems like Hossa either doesn’t feel like getting the pounding that comes with taking the puck strong or he forgets just how strong he is.  Only good things happen when does it, though. 

–The Hawks had a healthy squad in what seemingly felt like an eternity.  I was half-expecting someone to lose a limb at some point, but I suppose there’s still time for Nick Boynton to maim someone at practice in the next couple days. 

For my money, the Hawks should stick with this line-up until they start making their deadline moves.  Jordan Hendry gives the Hawks an added speedy defenseman without the likelihood of him taking a brain-dead penalty.  Jassen Cullimore has been better than even he could have imagined.  For a fifth and sixth defensemen, you could certainly do much worse. 

Joel Quenneville, though, is still desperately searching for three lines of scoring, something he’s been accustomed to his two years here. 

Unfortunately, the Hawks may not have that kind of upper-level talent.  The middle two lines were somewhat curious tonight with Dave Bolland centering Patrick Kane and Fernando Pisani and Patrick Sharp flanking Tomas Kopecky and Bryan Bickell.  You can’t argue with the results, though.

–There’s probably a reason Ryan Johnson was sitting on his couch a couple weeks ago and it’s not because he was the missing ingredient on the 2010-2011 Blackhawks.  Johnson was a -2 tonight and didn’t offer a whole bunch.

–Back to Joel Quenneville for a second, the guy has taken a pounding this year and sometimes rightfully so.  But anyone who thinks his job is in jeopardy has been sniffing glue a little too long.  With Rocky Wirtz already paying Cristobal Huet $5.65 million to live in Switzerland this year and the next, I find it highly unlikely he’d flush an additional $3 million for the next three years to tell Joel Quenneville to take a hike.  Just a hunch there.

–To echo my partner’s sentiment from yesterday, I couldn’t recommend HBO’s 24/7 Road to the Winter Classic anymore.  There is so much good stuff in there it’s hard to pick out a couple highlights but I’ll do it anyway.

To me, the best head coach/GM combo in the league is Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero.  It was awesome getting to see them interact in private meetings.  Even watching Bruce Boudreau and George McPhee compare notes was entertaning.  It also got me thinking about the Hawks and for the life of me, I can’t even imagine Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville in the same room together, let alone discussing roster decisions.  I’m sure it happens; it just feels awkward.

Watching the Capitals suffer through their losing streak is about as good as it gets, in terms of documentary film-making is concerned.  HBO handled it so well; from showing the disgust of the players in the locker room after each loss to a shot of Bruce Boudreau deciding not even to address his team after their 7-0 raping in Madison Square Garden.  Just incredible stuff.  

To be honest, I don’t know how you could find any complaints with the show.  For a hockey fan, it literally has it all.

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17 Responses to Blackhawks 4, Kings 3

  1. Otter says:

    Nice come back last night.

    But speaking of the trade deadline… what do the Hawks need this year? I’m thinking goaltending and a center in that order. An upgrade over Pisani would be nice too.

  2. John says:

    Trying to upgrade goaltending via a mid-season trade is a waste, imo. Teams end up having to pay through the nose and the upgrade may not be that significant of an upgrade anyway. Besides, their goalies have been the least of their problems this season on most nights.

    The Hawks could use an upgrade on their bottom defensive pair and obviously a center. I think there’s almost a 100% chance they nab a defenseman. The important thing to keep in mind for all this is that with the Dylan Olsen signing, the Hawks now have reached the maximum of 50 roster players. Therefore, any trade they do make will have to include a player, not simply draft picks.

  3. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I have been following your site for some time now and figured it was time to start commenting, 1st good job, your break down the other day about Big Buff was spot on. Go Hawks!

  4. Otter says:

    Woah, CapGeek has a Trade Machine… not nearly as good as the NBA trade machine, but fun. I’m working on a Fisher and Phillips deal as you read this. I think it’s impossible, but I’m trying.

  5. CT says:

    “The important thing to keep in mind for all this is that with the Dylan Olsen signing, the Hawks now have reached the maximum of 50 roster players. Therefore, any trade they do make will have to include a player, not simply draft picks”

    I don’t think the 50 contract thing is a big issue. The Hawks have just over $600K in cap space. They would have to trade sombody off the active roster to open enough salary room to acquire a decent player anyway.

  6. John says:

    Well that’s not a huge issue. By the beginning of March, most remaining cap hits have dwindled down to a relatively low number. 600k is a pretty reasonable number to fit a player or two under.

  7. Otter says:

    CT, remember salaries come down every day while the Hawks cap space stays the same. So some of those guys who are on the hook for about 1.8 right now will be with in the Hawks reach in a few weeks.

    Also, a guy like Skille becomes expendable really quick if you add a center. Unless for some reason Bickell floats more GMs boats.

  8. Francis Roberts says:

    Good win by the Hawks, in spite of a brutal first period. Watching Kane, Sharp, Toews and Hossa move with and without the puck on both PP goals made the heart feel good. It reminds you of how good this team can be when everyone is back from injuries. Speaking of which, it’s funny how sometimes it takes a few games for a player to get back up to speed (Hossa and now Kane), whereas Toews looked, for the most part, like he never skipped a beat. Agree with the comment on Hendry. He has a good set of wheels, and Boynton seems to make at least one big mistake or penalty every game he is out there. Jake Dowell must have insulted one of the moms on the team bus.

  9. Dave Morris says:

    CT has become the ’eminence grise’ of the Hawk Organ-i-zation. His secret ingredients?

    Jordan. Hendry.

    And VO.

  10. Patrick says:

    While there were some obvious brainfarts (Skille, Keith, etc), for the most part, the Hawks best players played like the Hawks best players, and Crawford had some solid stops late too. HOSSA, and the Kane Sharp PP goal was incredible – knew it was going to go in. Love the sweep of the Kings, although they’re a team I’ve come to appreciate. My favorite part of the night was Bolland on the penalty kill, playing with the broken stick in front of him (SCH mentioned this too). Absolutely brilliant.

    As far as a trade goes for for the Hawks, I think they need a playmaking 2nd line center, although those are hard to come by, and that will probably have to wait until the offseason (I’d love to see Weiss from FLA on this team). They can get by with Hendry and Cully as the 5/6 guys, but that’s probably where Stan makes a move.

  11. Otter says:

    If I’m reading everything right, the Hawks will have $20 million of free cpa space next year. They need to resign Seabrook, so that will leave them with about $15 million to fill out the rest of the roster (by my count, 11 more guys). No one is really inline for a huge raise other than maybe Brouwer, Crawford and Stalberg (all UFAs) and their raises are probably only a few 100k. So that means about $11 million for 8 more roster spots… the Hawks can take on a longer term deal at the deadline if my math/understanding of the cap even sort of close to reality… someone like Zajac or Weiss would work if the Devils/Panthers are looking to clear space. Zajac is young (and having a bad year) but if the Devils think they need to blow everything up… [If what I said above is totally ignorant, it’s because I couldn’t pick Zajac out of three man line up featuring Michael Jordan and Tony Blair… I’m purely going on his numbers alone].

  12. Paul the Fossil says:

    “they need a playmaking 2nd line center, although those are hard to come by” — bingo on both points, unfortunately. If Bowman could pull that off during the season his many critics should be prepared to offer the kudos.

    Trading for a goalie would be silly; the combo they have now is not necessarily a huge strength but certainly not a weakness either.

    Another way of getting an upgrade at the third D pair is get some team to accept a couple of the spare parts so as to clear cap space and bring up Leddy and pair him with Cullimore. The kid is already superior to Boynton or Hendry and has further upside, and surely by now regular third-line shifts with the big club would be as good for his development as more first-line time in Rockford.

  13. John says:

    Brouwer, Crawford, and Stalberg are all RFA’s.

  14. Paul the Fossil says:

    What do they get in draft picks for letting those UFAs go?

    And are we all still sure that Seabrook is worth a big long-term premier-player contract? Honestly I’m having doubts these days.

  15. Patrick says:

    Draft picks are dependent on how much RFA’s sign for – the more they sign for, they higher the pick, or picks (see the Kessel cluster-fuck as a good reason why teams don’t/won’t do that very often). Also, you can trade an RFA’s rights (IE Ladd), so Brouwer and Stalberg may not come back, but the Hawks would still get compensation.

    With that, I don’t think the Hawks would have the sufficient cap room to grab the 2nd line center we would want them to have. If they made a move like that, they’d weaken themselves in other areas because they’d have to trade active roster guys, and no, no one wants T-Kop, Scott and/or Boynton (or other cap dead weight). I could see a move for Doug Weight, although I’m not sure if he’s still alive.

    Crawford will definitely be back, and will be somewhat affordable since he doesn’t have the leverage that Niemi had (although I’m not sure about Turco – while I like him, I think that Dave Morris put it best in analyzing his pluses and ever-growing minuses – or was that someone else with that analysis?). Seabrook will be back too, and if the Hawks sign him for $5MM, that’s only a $1.5 million raise from this year.

    Getting out of cap hell will be a good thing.

  16. Patrick says:

    Oh, and they get nothing for losing UFA’s…

  17. AC says:

    Don’t forget the bounty of draft picks we have next year, irrespective of losing UFAs. We have 1 1st, 3 2nds, 2 3rds, a 4th, 5th, 6th and 2 7th round picks. I would assume that there is some trade bait there for the deadline and/or the draft. While I still look forward to this year, the future looks really bright.

    On the defensive front, I am still beating the drum to pair Connelly with Cullimore, again because of the play of Connelly (and lack of future plans for him) and maybe building up his trade value.

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