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.