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.