Hey, it was a long weekend. What can I say? Both John and I had out-of-town events, so (i) each of us didn’t see all of the weekend’s play and (ii) finding time to give thoughts about it was difficult. Nonetheless, we owe the people, so here are my two cents about the three-point weekend.
– Things really got going on Saturday night when the Blackhawks came out lacking urgency to begin the third period. After out-shooting Nashville 25-12 during the game’s first two periods and nursing a two-goal lead like a Guiness after 3:00 a.m., the Hawks let the Predators turn things around during a stretch of a few minutes right smack in the middle of the period. While the Hawks were able to re-establish themselves late, the damage was done. Things likely came down to the Hawks’ lack of top-six contributions, with the only even-strength goal coming from the fourth line – and even that came from behind the goal line.
– I think it’s fair to say – and this certainly isn’t his fault – that Nick Leddy isn’t the answer on the third defensive pairing. Despite the broadcast team’s insistence during Saturday night’s pregame that the Leddy/Hendry pairing was coming into its own, Leddy is obviously over-matched. Not sure there’s much more to say about it.
– When Ham Sandwich stops playing the board-banging-as -first-option role, the Hawks will be that much better off. All season, Sandwich has chosen to wrap pucks around the boards and bang pucks out to center ice rather than moving in order to create a passing lane to a forward, and not only has the offense suffered, the defense has too. The Feather is willing to pay a reward to someone who can help us figure out what happened to him.
– Dave Bolland, ladies and gentlemen. Now do you see why it has been our opinion that Bolland hasn’t had a great year to this point? Yes, theoretically, your shut-down center doesn’t need to produce offensively to be successful, but after seeing a few of the decisions and plays made by Bolland over the weekend, wouldn’t it be nice to tap into the offensive potential that Bolland has shown throughout his NHL career? Bolland’s speed during the past week has been particularly positive; the speed has just been flat-missing from his game all season.
– All-in-all, three out of four points ain’t bad. The Hawks now sit tied with the Predators and one point out of the fourth spot in the Western Conference – albeit having played two more games than each of the Coyotes (fourth place in the Conference) and the Preds.
– Every game’s a playoff game from here on out, and that’s probably a pretty darn good thing. The Hawks have shown over and over during the past year or so that they play their best hockey when the stakes are high. Well, consider them high.
– How ’bout them Bears?