Blackhawks 3, Senators 2 (SO); Blackhawks 5, Islanders 0

In a weekend where the Blackhawks needed all 4 points, they got it.  How they got it isn’t really all that important right now.  On Friday, they turned in a mostly listless performance to come out ahead with two points.  Patrick Kane once again reminded everyone that he’s the last person that should be given a microphone after he just played the hero.

On Sunday, they did what they needed to against one of the worst teams in the league.  The Hawks put together as solid of a period as they have in a while in the second and it was all they needed against a team finishing off a long road trip and coming off an emotional win the day before. 

So the Hawks end their brief look at the Eastern Conference and prepare for the most crucial part of the schedule.  Unfortunately, a lot of doesn’t have to do with who they’re playing.  They face Colorado on Wednesday.  The Hawks have gained just one point against the Avalanche this year.  Then they play Nashville in back-to-back games.

From there, they have nearly a full week off before a weekend set with the Red Wings and Flyers.  You’d have to assume during those five days off the rest of the Western Conference is going to, more or less, catch up with the Hawks in terms of games played.  It’s during this stretch that the positioning amongst the Blob will become a little clearer.  Right now, the Hawks sit in 6th place but with as many as 4 games at hand and are separated by only 3 points with 12th place St. Louis. 

The good news is Columbus is starting to fall back to the point of no return; they’re just 3 points ahead of Calgary.  The bad news is Minnesota’s recent hot streak has propelled them back into the thick of the Blob.        

So, for now, the Hawks have to take care of their own problems this week.  5 points would be nice, but 4 would be more than acceptable.  After that, it’s sit and wait time.  If the Hawks find themselves behind the pack at that point, they’ll only have themselves to blame.

–I turned NHL On the Fly this morning briefly, just in time to see a re-run of Dan Bylsma’s press conference from the Saturday night game.  To say I nearly crapped my pants when I heard a reporter ask him about Minnesota’s strategy and then Bylsma reply with an actual X’s and O’s answer would be the understatement of the century.  

He explained that Minnesota runs a similar neutral zone formation as Pittsburgh, a 1-2-2, but Pittsburgh’s first forward is aggressive while the Wild’s is passive.  He then went on to say that Washington generally runs a 1-3-1 but changed it up on them at the Winter Classic once they had the lead, something they weren’t used to. 

Holy. Crap.  I wonder if just once Joel Quenneville answered one of his questions like that how the press room would react.  Would they look around like Quenneville was speaking Ancient Greek?

Granted, I think Bylsma might be one of those hockey guys who tries to let everyone know how bright he is, but still it was stunning to hear actual hockey strategy discussed and not seeing the press room with exploded brain matter everywhere.  See, it is possible.

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18 Responses to Blackhawks 3, Senators 2 (SO); Blackhawks 5, Islanders 0

  1. Dave Morris says:

    Good writeup, Gentlemen.

    When the mainstream hockey press stops using cliches like “your best players have to be your best players” and “sucking dirty pond water” maybe coaches will actually discuss strategy in pressers.

    Hawks really DID need these two games. Let us hope they learned something from the wins.

    And for CHI fans who want to see what a REALLY disastrous team is, they might look at Ottawa’s black hole wearing the Senators label. From their cap mess to their management, a team in a tailspin since they failed in the Finals.

  2. Patrick says:

    Now there’s the Hawks team we all remember – well, the offense at least. The D got bailed out by Crawford a few too many times. Love those wins here the Hawks score a lot of goals and it’s by all different players.

    Gotta get six points this week, and give up none!

    Saw that Jack Johnson of the Kings signed for 7 years at $30.5M (a 4.357M cap hit). Think the Hawks could get Seabrook for that?

  3. Marts says:

    @ Dave Morris – I think you’re being polite by putting those two specific cliches to the mainstream media. Raise your hand if you immediately identified those quotes with Pierre “Name Dropper Extraordinaire” McGwire.

    A quick thought on our goaltending… last year there was noise about going out and acquiring Turco closer to the deadline. Now we’ve got him as insurance for $1.3 million? Hurrah!

  4. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Good weekend by the Hawks and now they have a tough game against an AV’s team that has given them nothing but problems recently. I am happy with last games 3rd D pair, Hendry and Leddy are an upgrade over the Cullimore, Boynton, Scott rotation

  5. Cam says:

    I wish the Hawks hadn’t called off the dogs in the 3rd. It led them to being sloppy and some familiar habits returned. If they’re ever going to get the mindset of playing 60 quality minutes, they can’t feel sorry for the opposition. The Islanders certainly didn’t quit.

  6. Marts says:

    Hendry is solid. For the life of me I can’t figure out why he isn’t at 40 games played for this team. He’s a puck mover, keeps things relatively simple and his legs can get him out of trouble. Not so for Boynton.

  7. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Marts, I’m with you 100% I think at this point you ride with Hendry and see what you have. He has played okay in his limited action

  8. AC says:

    It’s good to see a 3rd pairing that doesn’t include Cullimore or Boynton. It’s better to see Skille and Dowell instead of Scott.
    It’s great to see Hossa coming back to form, he has been a monster the last few games (getting that backcheck back).

    They took 4 points they had no right to lose, so that’s a nice step, now get down to business with the better teams.

    Go Hawks!!!

  9. BWV513 says:

    Agreed on seeing more of Hendry and less of Boynton.

    Leddy’s turnover was pretty bad, and 9 times outta 10 it would have led to a goal. I hate to pick on the kid, but ouch. That just didn’t look good.

    I watched the game online, with the NY Islanders’ announcers. They were pretty good, I thought — they were respectful of the Hawks, and also they weren’t prone to the inane side-tracked banter of Pat and Eddie. But one quibble: They kept pronouncing Hjalmarsson “Sharmelson.” What the?

  10. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen, if the Blackhawks were to acquire some of the chattels now being put on the market as the March deadline approaches, who would you trade, and for whom?

  11. Patrick says:

    Dave – I don’t think the Hawks can make the move they need in order to really make an impact (until the off season, that is). I see the biggest need as a true play-making 2nd line center (like Weiss), and other than maybe Doug Weight (is he still alive?), they’re not going to acquire what they need under the current cap conditions (apart from trading T-Kop and one or two others from the active roster).

    With that, I would send Leddy down before he gets to his 10 game ‘commit’. Like with Morin, right now, it’s better to save year on his ELC, and Cullimore wasn’t the problem on the bottom pair D.

  12. Francis Roberts says:

    Ah, Dave, always the good questions! My view: first and foremost Stan should resist a short term oriented trade in hopes of salvaging what is looking like a rebuilding year. Second, given the Hawks cap issues, a trade is more likely to happen close to deadline to lessen the salary impact. Alternative would be a trade involving a major salary player on the Hawks, and all the oft mentioned names have issues (eg Bolland-health, Sharp-he’s our leading scorer, Campbell- $ and he’s our best dman at the moment). Having said all that, my shopping list would be:

    A 3-4 line center who can win draws in the d-zone and play a regular shift on the PK (a John Madden type). This would go a long way towards solving the PK probblem. Next, depending on how Hendry & Leddy pan out a 5-6 dman who can block shots (long list of these guys, but basically a Sopel type). A 2nd line physical center (this is probably a pipe dream unless Stan is willing to do a blockbuster trade with someone like Sharp). Alternative is to see if any of the old war horses like Doug Weight or Rob Nidermayer have a pulse left.

  13. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen, there is a good, big young centerman in OTT who is available, Peter Regin, for $1 million pending UFA. Misused and underdeveloped there, he could do well in CHI. Can be had for prospects/picks.

  14. Patrick says:

    Dave – interesting. Do you think he’d play well with Sharp and Hossa, and what do you think it would take to get him?

  15. Dave Morris says:

    Patrick>I am watching the Bruins dismantle the Senators right now…and it would seem that StanBow could get Regin from OTT for a second or third round pick.

    Regin might need some time to get his game back together, but he has all the ingredients to become a bonafide 2nd line center. Unfortunately, he’s on a very bad and poorly coached club, so his confidence has been dented (though his work ethic and effort is always there). On a good team like the Hawks, he might be ready sooner.

  16. Marts says:

    I’m with Dave or Regin. I don’t know if many of you on the forum had the opportunity to watch much of last years IIHF World Championships but Denmark was, arguably, the biggest surprise of the tournament. They knocked off Finland, USA and Slovakia, with narrow defeats to Germany, Sweden thrown in for good measure. Regin was basically their offensive leader throughout (don’t quote me on this but basically a point-per-game player as their top centre). He logged something like 25 minutes against the Slovaks in a blowout 6-0 win. He’s good. Sure “Denmark” doesn’t reek of international pedigree but he can play a very good brand of hockey. I caught parts of 5 of Denmarks games and he really looked like Forsberg light out there. Extremely strong on the puck. If he could bottle that up for the Hawks I think he could easily be a 20 goal, 50-60 point man…

  17. Marts says:

    Sorry…

    “I’m with Dave ON Regin”…

  18. Dave Morris says:

    Marts>thanks for that observation…watching Regin ‘live’ at ScotiaBank Place he was clearly as good as Jason Spezza with none of the downside. But the Senators organization is such a TOTAL disaster promising young players have no chance to develop. If Stan can spirit him away…

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