Blackhawks 2, Coyotes 1

Sunday night’s game presented both some good news and perhaps some devastating bad news.

With the Hawks struggling and their playoff spot slipping, Sunday night’s game presented something of a must-win against another Western Conference contender. Among the good news was the Hawks’ first period. En route to outshooting the Coyotes 7-4 during the period and dominating significant stretches while doing so, a couple unnecessary passes and a few decent saves kept the game scoreless until a Blackhawk power play late in the frame.  With less than a minute showing on the clock, Duncan Keith blasted one past Ilya Bryzgalov (who is no joke) to give the Hawks the lead.

Perhaps the best news, though, was the Hawks’ desperation, on clear display for everyone to see during a seemingly do-or-die third period.  With the score tied (thanks to a late second period goal by Hawk killer Eric Belanger), the Hawks came out of the dressing room for the third looking like they wouldn’t be stopped.  They weren’t.  A (soft) penalty against Shane Doan during the latter half of the third gave Chris Campoli a chance to do his best Patrick Sharp impression on the off-side point.  Campoli could barely contain himself, sneaking in over and over again, but it paid off when Jonathan Toews hit him with a beautiful feed from across the slot.

The Hawks weathered the late storm to take two points – and, perhaps more importantly, to keep the ‘Yotes from claiming any.

The bad news is that a seemingly innocent mash-up between Sharp and Rostislav Kesla during the Hawks’ first period power play turned ugly when Sharp was slow to get up.  After being helped to the dressing room, he didn’t return.  Of course, per usual, no one within the Hawk organization knows whether he’s even still alive at this point.  As they say down south, that ain’t no good.

You’d Shut Your Mouth if You Knew What Was Good For You

– Without a couple important pieces, the Hawks needed a few of those players in the line-up to be better than usual. The Hossa-Kopecky-Frolik answered the bell last night.  Viktor Stalberg also pretended to be alive for a better part of the evening.  They’re so cute at that age.

– If anyone sees Troy Brouwer, please alert the authorities.

– Rarely does a United Center National Anthem go by without goose bumps breaking out on my arms, but for the love of everything patriotic, please tell the 2,000 bozos who attend games in visiting arenas to stop making asses out of everyone in Chicago.  Everyone gets it – we cheer during the National Anthem – but clapping through our nation’s song with five hundred of your buddies while 16,000 others stand with their hands on their hearts is more than a little idiotic.  (And, no, it doesn’t matter that there may have been more Hawk fans than Coyote fans last night.)  If clapping through the Anthem at the UC is patriotic – and I firmly believe that it is – a minority of fans drawing attention to themselves at a visiting rink is more about being a Blackhawk fan than an American.  And, in my opinion, that misses the mark.  (I’ll now hang up and wait to get pounded for even thinking this.)

– It’s a poorly kept secret in the hockey world that most hockey people know little to nothing about goaltending. (It’s a lot like how nobody involved in football knows how to kick one.) Inevitably, though, hockey people are forced to talk about goaltending – either on television or otherwise – and the phrase “making himself look big” almost always comes up. While I have absolutely no idea what this means or how it is accomplished – I assume it would help me with the ladies if I ever figured it out – I have even less of an idea how one “makes himself bigger than he is,” as Steve Konroyd claimed Corey Crawford did yesterday evening. At least football coaches and analysts don’t pretend to know anything about kickers.

– I believe Pat Foley and Konroyd were also attempting to break Jay Bilas’ record for the use of the phrase “compete level” during a sports broadcast. Thankfully, Konroyd never spoke of Marian Hossa’s upside potential.

– It only took a few months, but I’ve completely changed my outlook on Jake Dowell.  My God, is he a waste of space.

– National Hockey League jerseys without a horizontal stripe at the bottom look like spring league jerseys. That’s all I have to say about that.

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27 Responses to Blackhawks 2, Coyotes 1

  1. Kelly says:

    As a former goalie, the phrase “make yourself look big” is basically shorthand for “come out of your net and be aggressive in order to cut down on shooting angles, therefore making yourself appear big and take away open net” or “when you’re down in the butterfly, try to keep yourself upright to take away as much of the upper half of the net as possible.” But you’re absolutely correct that most hockey commentators know nothing of goaltending.

  2. Otter says:

    I’m really impressed with Bryzgalov too. Crawford with two huge saves to keep the win… but Bryzgalov was awesome and the only reason the Hawks didn’t win with a little more ease.

    I’m with you on Dowell, I had only mean things to say about Bickell at the beginning of the year, and thought you could do worse than Dowell. I’d like to reverse that… you can do worse than Bickell and Dowell blows. Also, Ryan Johnson does his job really well imo.

    Final thing… how the hell are the Stars and Yotes even in the mix for the playoffs? I guess the Stars have a few decent players and so that makes a little more sense… but the Yotes, I mean do they have four forwards who would play on the Hawks? How many of their defenseman make the Blackhawks? Two? Only Yandle? I really don’t get how their going to make the playoffs again.

  3. feyer says:

    The Phoenix broadcast showed the replay where Sharpie got hurt. It did not look good. I’m not sure why they call up Ben Smith and then he doesn’t play. He got sent down after the game, but now maybe he is called up again for the Florida game? Oh wait… maybe Soupy is ready to go and John Scott will put his 4 minutes in at forward.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Ben Smith was recalled because the Hawks were one player short last games against the Stars because Bicks got the flu an hour before the game. He was just a precaution in case something like that happened again.

  5. Marts says:

    That Sharp knee thing didn’t look good at all. I’m actually quite scared to find out the results. A quick “What If” question for everyone – Would you trade last night’s win for a loss if it meant keeping Sharp healthy for the last 10 games? I don’t know the answer to that. Those were 2 precious regulation points…

  6. Otter says:

    Well the way the West is shaping up, it looks like there are four spots for five teams (I think the Yotes are safe at this point). So really it’s a matter of seeding since I like the Hawks chances…

    I don’t think the Flames are dead, but they’re in serious trouble. A few points back and no games in hand (usually giving two games).

    So to answer the hypothetical… yes, I’d take the loss.

  7. dominator says:

    Otter – the Yotes make the playoffs because Dave Tippett is a hell of a coach and they have a great goalie (see: Predators, Nashville).
    Dowell started off the season pretty decent but has fallen off pretty hard, I still don’t think he’s any worse than say Colin Fraser but that isn’t saying much I guess.
    Also I kind of prefer Konroyd to Edzo, I don’t think he’s as good of an anouncer BUT he’s doesn’t have 500 catchphrases to cram in every game and the banter with Foley is less annoying I think.

  8. Dominic says:

    Sharp will be diagnosed with strained mcl and will be out 2 to 4 weeks like Campbell. That is my assessment. I may prove myself to be an ass, which is not that all uncommon, but he has the same injury as Cutler. I just think the side impact may have saved his ACL.

    Keep in mind, I have no medical background whatsoever but have had an ACL injury/surgery.

    Does anyone know what happened to Campbell? Did he get hit with a shot, strain an ankle?

  9. AirTrafficAJ says:

    I actually agree with you regarding the anthem in opposing barns. I go to St Louis and Minny a lot, and cringe when that happens. I’d much rather you out-cheer the opposing fans during the game.

    I’m all for it at the UC, however. Not only is it chill-inducing, but it’s the definition of a home ice advantage.

  10. Cam says:

    Dowell is a 4th liner being forced to play at least 3rd line center. Right now, the Hawks are playing with a 1st-line center, no 2nd liner and a pair of 4th-liners. The loss of Bolland is devastating. He was playing arguably his best hockey as a Hawk the past two months.

  11. Jim A says:

    I have to agree with you about the anthem. It felt disrespectful, nothing like it does at the UC. The kid singing got through it okay, at least.

  12. BobbyJet says:

    Dowell hasn’t been good lately but I am interested to see this team play in the post season. That will separate the men from the boys, and I have a sneaky feeling Dowell will come out looking like a man. Not so sure about the highly touted Frolik in that regard, but it will be interesting, assuming they make the show of course.

  13. Dominic says:

    When Bolland comes back, look for Frolik to center the third line and look for Dowell to become Colin Fraser.

  14. ArlingtonRob says:

    Hawk fans at road games should respect local anthem customs. The cheering in Phoenix smacks of arrogance and is rude in my opinion. Keep it in the UC.

  15. Brian D says:

    This, on Sharp, is funny because it’s true:

    “Of course, per usual, no one within the Hawk organization knows whether he’s even still alive at this point.”

    It’s like the Politburo.

    Dowell’s just a guy. I’m grateful for the early season production. If the Hawks make the playoffs, he may be watching anyway.

  16. Johan says:

    Fear not – Marcus Kruger is on his way from Sweden! 😉

  17. alo says:

    Woah, I thought Johan was being a smartass calling for Marcus Kruger. I guess not. If Kruger is coming to Chicago then the Kubina’s Elbow definitely scrambled Bolland’s head worse than I thought. What an unfortunate result for Bolland. Let’s hope his concussion doesn’t screw him up long term.

  18. AC says:

    I agree that Dowell is like Colin Fraser, a serviceable 5th Centerman. Not spectacular, but around average to below, but can win some faceoffs. He is better on the PK then Fraser, so that is good.

  19. Dominic says:

    The Marcus Kruger thing has been planned longer than Bolland injury. Proof. does everyone now understand why we have not been calling up guys? Making roster moves? Kruger just finished his season, now he is on the way. He will only play 9 games of the 10 remaining so that we save a year on his rookie deal.

    Bolland is making progress, Sharp is out a month. But keep in mind every team has a key guy out for a while or for the season at this point. So lets not whine about that. Lets not forsake the season. How the eff have the Penguins hung in there missing Malkin and Crosby? Defies logic, we still have a lot of great players.

  20. John says:

    I’ve seen this a few times now and let me nip this in the bud…Kruger was 20 years old prior to the start of the season, therefore he was going to lose a year off his rookie deal regardless if he played in the States or not. The saving a year on a rookie deal only applies to players who are 18 or 19 years old between a certain amount of time during the season. Guys like Leddy, Morin, Pirri, and Dylan Olsen all fit under that criteria; Kruger does not.

  21. Dominic says:

    I stand corrected, thanks for the clarification.

    Still think the plans to bring him over when his season was done has been planned all along. Perhaps still explains potential salary cap squeezing the past 3 weeks. I know this is all speculation, however, would make sense that when they did not find depth at trade deadline, that this was plan B all along?

    Either way, will be happy to see him play. He and Frolik possess some grit and great hockey sense. I liked Skille, but he just always seemed to be on the wrong side of the puck battle. No instinct or anticipation.

    Now we all can wait for the Sharp news.

  22. feyer says:

    Q on Sharp after practice today:
    “We hope to have him back before the end of the regular season,” Quenneville said. “He feels better the last couple of days, so we’ll see his progress over the next little bit.”

  23. Dale Halas says:

    “I’m not sure what you’re talking about with Kruger. There was absolutely zero chance he was going to play in the NHL this year. He is a longshot for next year for crying out loud.”

    Hey John, Still think Scotty didn’t mean it when he said he wanted Kruger here this year? 🙂

  24. Dale Halas says:

    Sorry John, couldn’t resist. 🙂

    Anyway, thinking about this. This move really explains all of the Hawks cap moves. They have enough space to add Kruger with all of the savings they have made with their cap space. So this might have been their intention even before Bolland got hurt…

  25. John says:

    Yeah, I was waiting for that…Unless I’m mistaken, they could’ve signed him to his contract at any point this season and didn’t have to sign him as early as they did.

    Anywho, Kruger better be all that and a bag of chips if they’ve been manuevering everything around for him. Otherwise, all the posturing and not acquiring another center at the deadline was for a guy who isn’t NHL ready.

  26. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Kruger is clearly a “Bowman guy” I add him to the short list behind his favorite son Leddy. Kruger is also a guy that was an odds on favorite to break with the big club next season as the 3rd center. He’ll be a player to keep an eye on as a playmarker. He is a core prospect guy up there with Beach, Morin, and Olsen

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/marcus_kruger

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