Game 1: Canucks 2, Blackhawks 0

Too fast, too strong, too quick, too good.

Stacey King could have also been describing the first period the Vancouver Canucks put together in Game 1 against the Blackhawks.  The Canucks put it to the Hawks like we haven’t seen in a few years.  They were angry, confident, and looking to make a statement on the defending champs.

Message received loud and clear.  The Canucks scored twice in the opening frame, once on a deflected point shot and the other on a Yannick Hanson breakaway.  And that was all Roberto Luongo needed.  The first period resembled more of a sacrificial killing moreso than a hockey game.  The Canucks were all over the Hawks from one end of the ice to the other.  It was a suffocating style not seen in these parts since the Hawks were regulars in the NHL Lottery. 

By the halfway point of the opening frame, Joel Quenneville had to shuffle the lines otherwise he’d risk the game being over by the time his team re-grouped in the locker room. 

A post and a couple big saves from Corey Crawford kept the score at 2-0.

The second and third periods saw the Hawks generate some decent pressure on the Canucks.  Luongo was there every time and when he wasn’t, the post was.  The Hawks hit three posts to Mikael Samuelsson’s two and that was probably the only area where the Hawks were better than Vancouver. 

Oh, Boy

–It’s probably a good time to now mention that tonight marked the third straight Game 1 that Vancouver has taken from the Hawks.  Leading up to the series, you would have thought the Hawks swept the Canucks in two straight series, Dustin Byfuglien averaged 8 goals a game, Luongo never stopped more than 10 shots a game, and no game was ever close. 

Just last year in Game 1, the Canucks won easily 5-1.  (Another little known fact, the Hawks actually played poorly at times in the playoffs last year.  They didn’t go 16-0 as some now believe.) 

Of course, now would also be a good time to mention the first period was a bit different than anything we’d ever seen.  The Canucks have never played that confidently and aggressively against the Hawks.  The Hawks were pretty much powerless as the Canucks dictated whatever they wanted to do.  Sure, there was a decent push back from the Hawks’ top line in the second.  In the third, Vancouver was more interested in keeping the puck away from Luongo than pushing the play so it’s hard to really to take too much from that.

–Game 2 will be a match of minds between Joel Quenneville and Alain Vigneault.  Now that Quenneville has already gone to his Sharp-Toews-Kane card, it will be on Vigneault to try and figure how to neutralize them because they’re going to start scoring soon.  Unfortunately, it will also be Quenneville’s task to try and get anything resembling consistent pressure from his other two lines.  The encouraging thing is it’s going to be very difficult for Vancouver to duplicate the emotionally-charged first period that they did tonight (One can only hope). 

Any time someone wants to let Marian Hossa know the playoffs have started, that would also be appreciated. 

–I’m pretty sure Tomas Kopecky was concussed when Keith Ballard bailed on a check and mounted him from behind late in the first.  Also, Ryan Johnson didn’t have a shift after banging his leg with Tanner Glass late in the third.  It was apparently poetic justice to the Vancouver fans since Johnson made the disgusting comment that the Canucks were disappointed there was a flight leaving from Chicago on Monday.  So they cheered as he hobbled off the ice.  That’s pretty much par for the course.

–I like Ben Smith but when my team’s playoff hopes rest on the shoulders of a 5’9″ 22 year-old with 6 games of NHL experience, sorry for not being overly optimistic.  Smith was overwhelmed in the first period swarming of the Canucks as he coughed up the puck anytime he touched it.  He played a little better as the game worn on but he’s not someone that can be counted on to contribute positively on a consistent basis. 

–Whatever comes out of this playoff series, one can only hope Stan Bowman is using this as a golden opportunity to evaluate who belongs here and who he needs to replace as he tries to build another true Cup contender.  A couple of guys already showed they have no business being on a team with Stanley Cup aspirations and a couple others made positive early impressions.  As the series wears along, it should be crystal clear who belongs and who doesn’t. 

–For all the flak Roberto Luongo has taken for his performance the last two years, statistically, he was nearly identical with both Hawk goalies.

–Tonight was not Brian Campbell’s finest hour.  His ill-advised drop pass at the blue line led to Vancouver’s second goal.  He took several big hits in the early going too.  Watching how he how responds to that throughout the series will be something to watch, for sure. 

And for those who still think Niklas Hjalmarsson has any kind of future with the Hawks, he saw a whooping 13 minutes tonight.  Or in other words, a whole minute more than Nick Leddy.  The injury excuse doesn’t really work either because Campbell is playing on one foot and Joel Quenneville has no problem playing him 25 minutes a game.

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45 Responses to Game 1: Canucks 2, Blackhawks 0

  1. alpo says:

    I thought Frolik was OK so there’s that. And boy does it suck living outside Chicago. A JIP Caps v. Rangers game preceded the Hawks game so I pretty much missed the 1st period. Ugh.

  2. Dominic says:

    ditto Alpo on having to wait…brutal versus.

    Really, we need to throw in the towel?

    After 1 game, where we endured the expected onslaught? Made adjustments and had our chances. I wonder what you would write about the Sedins today if you were a Canuck fan.

    The bottle is half empty card is really played out. Is the formula pick out a rookie and beat him to death?

    We played a solid team with a lot to prove. And they were lucky to get out with the win. Yeah they overwhelmed during the first period, but the game was a push after that.

    I know you are not a Leddy fan etc, but I wish Duncan Keith had his ability to enter the zone and make a productive pass. I am not suggesting he is better than Keith overall, but I am taking the cup is half full look. Same as Ben Smith.

    How awful was the coverage of that game last night? Engblom and the other douche could not figure out that the Hawks were down a few forwards and many guys were being double shifted, as opposed to their assertion that Quenville was still mixing lines.

    Anyhow, lets continue to build. Gonna be an uphill battle if we have more injuries. Was an uphill battle before the injuries I know.

  3. victor says:

    Dom: What post did you read? And, what are you drinking? I’d like some of whatever allows me to smell roses after a beating like last night’s. It’s only one game, but if you’re a half-full kind of guy, now might be a good time to ignore everything that happened last night.

  4. Concerned Fan says:

    Re: Luongo’s stats . . . I’m not really sure how the fact that he has matched our 2 goaltenders’ mediocre statistics somehow vindicates his defenders. The guy is supposed to be a top 5 (top 3?) goaltenders, is getting paid upwards of $7MM/years, and puts up identical numbers to a washed up vet and a rookie in his second playoff series . . . that’s supposed to be a saving grace?

    I think it just reemphasizes the fact that you don’t need a $7MM goaltender to win games.

    Re: The game itself . . . I think your pessimism is starting to pervade everything you write; you’re not giving the Hawks enough credit. I saw a team come out and get absolutely demolished for 20 minutes, I’ll give you that. I don’t know if we had 5 minutes of zone time (and that may have been the last 5 minutes of the period).

    But instead of folding, we came out and took it to them in the second. I counted two posts in the second, a near breakaway, and Kane, Toews, and Sharp putting on a show.

    The third was meh, but if Frolik hits twine instead of the post, there’s a mad scramble for the final 5 minutes.

    I don’t think Vancouver can come up with that kind of intensity each game, and I’m actually encouraged by the way we responded and played.

  5. Lee says:

    Outhit 47-21 they are done and I am disgusted. John says Bowman is reacessing, the only good thing for Bowman would be to take his old man and move back to Detroit because he made all the moves to develop this ridiculous soft team. If they play like last night they not only will be out in four but half the team will need the summer to recover from concussions from the Canucks hits. Horiible-Horible effort

  6. John says:

    I’m getting really tired of having to explain myself when I discuss why I don’t enjoy watching Nick Leddy or Ben Smith get hounded by the opposition, make a mistake, and cost the team a goal. It has nothing to do with them; it has to do with the team depending on them in big situations and generally it means bad things happen to you. If people are going to be so sensitive about it, I suggest going other places to read where everyone played great, no one made a mistake, and the Hawks are content with everyone.

    It’s funny that someone named concerned fan is telling me I’m too pessimistic. I just wrote what I saw; the Canucks were a far superior team than the Hawks. I don’t know how to take a positive out of that but I sure as hell tried.

  7. Dictionary Fan says:

    con·cerned   /kənˈsɜrnd/ Show Spelled
    [kuhn-surnd] Show IPA

    –adjective
    1. interested or affected: concerned citizens.
    2. troubled or anxious: a concerned look.
    3. having a connection or involvement; participating: They arrested all those concerned in the kidnapping.

  8. blackhawkbob says:

    Yes, Dominic, you’ve figured out the secret formula: pick out a rookie and beat him to death. Join us next week when we review Mark Bell’s 2001-2002 season. I hope one day, long after this one, the rookie spirits of Ben Smith and Nick Leddy greet you as you walk up the Titanic’s master stairs to meet your destiny.

    As for the “half-empty card,” I don’t think it’s as much a “card” as it is the truth. No one said the series is over, but we’re not spending our free time writing a blog so that people can read made-up stuff that makes them feel better.

    Seriously, your ra-ra, half-full spirit is appreciated, but how one could be encouraged after last night is beyond me. Yeah, one game does not a series make, but the reality is that the Hawks are now the team that will have to make significant adjustments. That’s a pretty dramatic shift from last year. If you want to ignore that, God bless.

    With all that said, with a win on Friday, things change drastically. That’s why John didn’t declare the series over.

  9. Dominic says:

    I am not going anywhere, because everywhere else sucks. Fact is Leddy and Smith were not on the ice for any goals against. As you are frustrated relying on those guys with minutes, I feel that a bigger story is how brutal at times Keith is. I never hear anything from you on that. That is my point. Lets call out our leaders to perform and be accountable. If the players have the same mindset…if a Toews or Keith thinks that the 10 minute guys marginal contribution precludes them from taking over than we are effed.

    Don’t do an Edzo and Pat and look past the 5 brutal passes and clears from Keith then buff his nob when he makes a nice poke check.

    The saddest part of this whole thing is that you and I are showing more moxy in a debate than some of our guys did in the game. In the end we all need to be challenged…my challenge to you is out of respect for your abilities to be better and more insightful, not just because I may or may not agree with you.

  10. Otter says:

    Yeah it’s hard to feel good after last night’s game. Sure I’ll point to the second period and the three posts and the fact that Luongo won’t play that well again this series (or get that lucky)… but that first period was something else. It wasn’t even close and while we can sit here and pretend that if the Hawks get two bounces it’s a 2-2 game, I think you’d also have to point out that the Hawks were lucky to get out of the first only down 2-0.

    I know the Hawks had three power plays, but it seemed like the first call on Hossa was a gift, and seemed to me that the Canucks are going to walk a fine line between hitting and playing stupid. I can live with that.

    BTW, I don’t really care that the Hawks got out hit because last year I’m pretty sure the Hawks didn’t out hit anyone all that often. The Hawks game isn’t to skate around with their pants on fire and hit guys for the sake of hitting guys. I know some people here still believe that Old Time Hockey wins games, but that’s not the case. The Canucks didn’t win because they out hit the Hawks, they won because they controlled the puck the entire first period.

  11. Otter says:

    I’ve given up on trying to figure out when Keith plays well and when he doesn’t. I thought he was fine last night, and I don’t think you can put that much blame on him for the Vancouver’s second goal… though he probably should have known there was someone right behind him.

    It’s also hard to single out Smith in the first because I didn’t see any Blackhawk player not turn the puck over… iirc Kane had a pretty bad turnover in the first right? And Smith played better as the game went on.

    Am I crazy or was Bickell actually ok out there?

  12. Concerned Fan says:

    Something I forgot to mention, and something that SCH pointed out as well—How often did one hear either Sedin’s name being called after the first period?

  13. John says:

    It’s funny how the past two years we pointed out every Duncan Keith mistake made and no one had any problems with him. Now since he got a $7 million raise, people get hot and bothered over every single miscue he makes. Seriously, no one is going to be perfect and I thought Keith played more than alright last night. I’ve seen people criticize him for the breakaway but I’m not sure what he was supposed to do there considering a) he was at the end of a shift and b) he wasn’t even the guy closest to Hanson.

    I don’t see the point in ‘calling out the leaders’ when they’re literally all the Hawks have. Without much exaggeration, it’s a team of 8 guys vs. 18. Tell me what NHL team is going to have success against the Presidents Trophy winner with a formula like that.

  14. John says:

    Otter–You’re crazy.

    By the way since this is getting confused, I’m not singling out Ben Smith. I’m simply stating I don’t like my teams’ odds if Ben Smith is centering the 2nd line in a playoff game.

  15. Lee says:

    Otter, I beg to differ with you on the hits. What do you want to bet that both Kopecky and Johnson are no shows Friday caused by the Canucks hitting? If I was Q I would be afraid to put Bolland out there! did you see the ir D man rubbing his glove over kane and kane ignoring it, c’mon he dosen’t have to fight but push back a little

  16. John says:

    What’s funny is that neither Kopecky or Johnson were injured by the Canucks checking.

  17. Dominic says:

    Bob

    Good stuff there. I don’t quite get the titanic reference. I am guessing you are implying that should I put my faith there, and ice berg is straight ahead. Maybe so.

    Significant changes would be things the Oilers, Blue Jackets and Avalanche need to do. Again I go back to the simple fact that Dave Bolland makes a huge difference. If, big if, but if healthy, we are as good as any.

    I enjoy some banter and ranting as much as the next guy. Last years game one was worse than yesterdays game. If you lose 10-0 or 1-0 we are still down one game. If you do not find shutting down Sedins and the sustained effort in 2nd and 3rd encouraging…then what are you expecting? Maybe your reality point of reference is more out of whack than my dream world.

    One thing I will always rail against is the Chicago Fan Hyperbole “Titanic” mentality of all or none. or the world is coming to an end!

    Winning teams and organizations do not swing on an emotional pendulum like Rosie O’Donnel after a box of chocolates and a session on the view. The whole thing is a marathon and not a sprint. Expecting the Hawks to be physical is like expecting the aforementioned Rosie to win a beauty contest.

    Lastly, I understand that nobody wants smoke blown up their ass, but picking on Ben Smith last night…really…that is it… I am not suggesting you blow him or any of that…but show some insight, talk about the chefs and drivers not the pit crew and kitchen staff!

  18. Patrick says:

    Missed the first period last night, so I guess I missed the fun. I thought the Hawks had decent pressure in the second, but they couldn’t get one past Lu – he’s not too bad, eh? Not sure he’s a Cup winner though.

    To me, the Hawks are playing with house money right now. While I would love to see them advance, ultimately, I’m happy they’re still playing and I am confident they’ll be a shitload better next year.

    One more thing – John, your point about 8 vs 18 is a valid one. The Hawks’ stars are playing like they care, and the others are playing like they can’t.

  19. John says:

    Dominic–No one is saying the world is coming to an end. But there’s also no shame in simply admitting that a team is simply better than the Hawks. I don’t know when you started reading us but I don’t think we operate on the emotional pendulum you seem to think we do. We’ve been saying for awhile now this is more of a ‘rebuilding on the fly’ type season and our thoughts reflect that.

    Also, Bob said significant adjustments, i.e. the Hawks are now the team that has to depend on one line to save them as opposed to the last two years, not significant changes.

  20. Marts says:

    I didn’t think we were that bad and I really don’t see why anyone would be overly discouraged with what happened. Vancouver started the game exactly the way they needed to but nobody has the legs to play an entire game that way and the Canucks didn’t either. What made their pressure effective was the way their d-men were jumping up and taking the body EXTREMELY early. Playing that way only works when your forwards are playing a very pacey aggressive/passive forecheck. By that I mean a 3 man circular forecheck with the deep man carrying speed and forcing a pass (aggressor), the 2 man tracing the 1st pass (the passive aggressor because he is reacting to which side of the ice the puck goes and then follows rather than forcing a direction – usually up the boards to a winger) with the 3rd man carrying speed circling back to his own end (passive) to cover for the puck side defenseman who is jumping up on the pass (aggressor). I was very impressed that the Canucks were able to roll 4 lines playing that way for virtually the entire 1st as you need to be long on legs, lungs and intensity or you will get hung-out on odd-man rushes. Breaking that style is physically exacting because it requires your 1st two men (d-man, winger) to willingly absorb hits in order to get the puck up ice (by holding the puck and taking the hit you momentarily draw the forecheckers out of position) and you need absolute trust that the winger will get that puck out when he’s 5 feet from the blue-line and full commitment that the centre (or crossing winger) will be flying out of the zone. It isn’t a necessity to run that forecheck in the offensive zone as the movement translates well all the way out to the redline. Only mitigating factor for the forecheckers is that a smart d-man can back into his own end rather than move left or right (no wall to contain him). The Hawks movement early wasn’t linear enough and they got worn down. I wouldn’t say either Canuck goal was a direct result of that system (perhaps the 1st because the pressure forced a bad pass to Bieksa – and obviously the 2nd was a direct result of fucking around at the blue line) but it definitely built momentum for the homeside.

    Both team had some hard luck bounces so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say the Hawks could’ve found themselves in a 2-2 game. In fact, IMO, I think it should’ve been 2-2. I would also argue that the only net positive bounce went the Canucks way in the form of that 1st goal which CBC analyzed to have been a double deflection (Kessler and Higgins). Whatever, you make your own bounces and Van City dictated enough of the early play to earn that one.
    What I find concerning is the potential loss of Johnson and Kopecky. No, they’re not without faults but they are two guys who can take draws and Kopecky doesn’t mind playing in tough areas. If the Canucks are going to play spells of games that aggressively than Kop has the right mentality to break the forecheck.
    Game 2 should be good.
    Oh, one other thing. Our top forwards were leaned on pretty hard in terms of minutes last night but I don’t find it overly concerning for a couple of reasons. First they were minutes where they were largely controlling the puck and it’s always less lung-burning when you’re dictating the play instead of chasing it. Second, we aren’t playing back-to-back nights so cumulative tiredness isn’t an issue. The only time the difference of 4 minutes of ice time comes into effect is if they are hard chasing minutes (no legs for back check). To think an extra 4 minutes of time will effect the player 2 days later as Scott Oak (CBC) suggested is ridiculous. These guys are in world class shape.

  21. Otter says:

    In the NHL today, hits lead to roughing and interference calls, which lead to power plays, which lead to goals. Let the Canucks stake around looking for big hits. And the Kane play you speak of… first I saw Sharp go over there, second it will probably be a penalty one of these times and finally, giving someone the glove isn’t hitting, it’s cheap and stupid. Responding to it and picking up a cheap penalty would be even more dumb than doing it in the first place.

    I know the Canucks didn’t score, but was Seabrook’s penalty a bad call? Seemed to me that Sedin played the pucks then Seabrook hit him… I guess it was a little dumb to take Sedin out like that… whatever.

    I figured I was crazy, however, Bickell’s Corsi was solid. That probably explains why the Hawks lost last night.

  22. blackhawkbob says:

    I guess you didn’t get the Titanic reference because it wasn’t very good. (When I wrote it, I thought it was great.) It has nothing to do with the world ending. It has to do with the ending of the movie Titanic, when Rose (the main female character) dies and is greeted at the gates of heaven (which takes the form of the main staircase of the Titanic) by all of the people she was with on the ship (all of whom predeceased her). Waiting under the clock is the one true love of her life, Jack (Leonardo DiCapiro, whose character died in the accident).

    I assume this was your second guess as to what my reference meant.

  23. Danno says:

    Looking at the reality that the Hawks are outmatched and who should be evaluated going into the off season is not to say there is not hope. We don’t have some of the role players that make all the difference in the playoffs.

    Second and Third periods showed we are not going to lay down and there is still plenty of character in our room. I want an entertaining series and expect to get one – that is the optimist in me. The Knucks defense was stifling, generally keeping our cycling in check and I agree with Konroyd’s estimation that if we are tough on anyone it should be their defensemen.

    As for the comment on Hossa I second that, it is not about who he pairs with; he is all-world and there was not the puck domination when the opportunity was there on both sides of the puck. We need him to be a bigger factor to have a chance.

  24. John says:

    In re: to Dominic’s chef and driver comparison….How many drivers do you see that have to change their own tires or chefs cleaning up the tables? That is essentially what the Hawks top players have to do in this series….everything. I don’t get how taking every top player to the woodshed because they can’t score, prevent the other team from scoring, outhit, outskate, or whatever else is some great insight. It takes more than a few guys to win.

  25. John says:

    Thank you Danno.

  26. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Here is what I took away from this game. Michael Frolik should not be re-signed next year, he looked like a player not ready for prime time, he was poor on both ends of the ice. Nicky Hammer also played a weak game. This game was exactly what we saw all season, a lack of a 60 min game. I am starting to see why, your core can only play so many minutes after that you need 3/4 lines to contribute some how. The Hawks have about 6/7 core players and after that the drop off is steep. This team is not nearly as physical enough. The good thing is those players can be found, unfortunately they are not on this teams roster. I have ALOT of reservations that this team makes it out of the 1st round.

  27. Dominic says:

    Bob

    Bob,

    LMAO, for effect I just threw on Celine Dion and reread your comment. Unfortunately I have never seen the movie, all i know is the boat sank.

    So are you saying that when I die, I will go to heaven and Leddy and Smith will be there waiting for me? And that our love will finally come to pass?

    Please take no offense. Sometimes I am like Costanzas dad and get lost in thought. This is pretty funny though!

    Now excuse me while I rearrange some deck chairs with Bowman!

  28. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Otter you are crazy, if you could take Bickell’s shot and Stalbergs skating then you’d really have a player. Until that happens I am not satisfied with either player. There isn’t 1 player on the Hawks 3/4th line That I would say is a must have guy, including Kopy, in a perfect world Kpy is a 4th line winger @ best. I am really starting to be a big fan of Crow, he’s kept the hawks in games that they really shouldn’t be in. Both of those goals weren’t his fault at all.

  29. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Kyle Beach anyone? Whats the reason he’s not on the big club? He’s a high draft pick and at this point the Hawks are looking for warm bodies on the 3/4th line

  30. Lee says:

    Beach wasn’t even brought up from Rockford after their season. The only forward up is Jeff Taffe, a lotta help he would be

  31. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Jeff Taffe is garbage!

  32. alpo says:

    SouthSideHawkMan> Listen to the Hockeenight Podcast with Chris Block and Dieter Kurtenbach. It’s towards the end, but Block does a real nice job of explaining why the Hawks have soured on the kid. Simply, they just don’t like him.

  33. Lee says:

    Why would the nitwit little Bowman like him, he is not a pussy like Bickell etc

  34. AC says:

    Although I was dissappointed by the outcome, I thought there were good and bad things to come out of the game.
    The encouraging – the Hawks outplayed the Canucks in the 2nd and most of the 3rd (although the 3rd is harder to judge since the Canucks were just playing back and clearing the zone for the most part), Leddy and Smith played with a lot of energy (but to John’s point shouldn’t have to be relied on to provide the spark/talent), Crawford played really well in his first full playoff game, the Canucks started to lose their composure at the end of the game taking some dumb penalties (along with Hamhuis jumping on Kane’s back, Erhoff passing up the puck to hit someone and Burrows’ late slewfooting of Sharp in an incredibly dirty play).
    The discouraging – the first 20 minutes of play was dreadful with very little energy and they looked overwhelmed, the lack of hitting by Bickell (this is more of an all-year thing) and Seabrook til the 3rd period, the loss of Kopecky (even though I’m not a fan), the play of Keith (the play – or lack thereof – he made after losing the drop pass was pretty bad, among other bad plays) and the big shooters missing the net (again, something that has been bad most of the year).
    As for Beach, the scouting report has always been that while he may be tough, he has no hockey sense on when to be tough and ends up killing his team by taking dumb penalties for dropping the gloves when he shouldn’t or retaliating when he has drawn a penalty. If he could ever mature, he might end up playing, but right now he’s Akim Aliu pt 2.

  35. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    The only reason I threw the Beach name out there was, I know he is a physical kid, a high draft pick, and the injuries on your bottom 2 lines are starting to stack up, bolland, Brouwer, and now Kopy.

  36. vanchopski says:

    Believe me, the Canucks weren’t playing with anger tonight. What you saw was a calculated (and very succesfull) effort to throw the Hawks off their game from a team that has learned to not let their emotions affect how they play. And I wouldn’t assume that the Canucks are going to do the same thing evey game. This team is playing a smart, carefully planned style of hockey now and it’s all about catching the other team off guard.

  37. Jim says:

    <>

    Let’s see if the Hawks can counter with a strategy of their own. They were outmanned for a period, but they were a few posts from tying the game.

    Nobody said it was going to be easy. In fact, if they can somehow get by Vancouver, anybody left will be tough, but the others left have been beaten by the Hawks during the season, including Detroit and San Jose (who the Hawks beat like a drum their last meeting).

  38. AC says:

    One other note I wanted to add. I don’t know if you’ve previously addressed this John, I’m sorry if you have. There seems to be little reason to bring back Mike Kitchen next year. When he was in charge of the PK, it was horrible, so it made sense that he and Havi would switch PK and PP responsibilities, how much could you screw up the #1 PP. Apparently a lot, it has been horrible lately and bad since Kitchen took over the PP. For the most part, the PK has gotten better under Havi, but Kitchen seems to have ruined the PP.

  39. John says:

    Yeah, I don’t know. We really have no idea how much Kitchen controls the PP, how much Quenneville is in charge of it, etc. It seems like a convenient excuse to blame the guy who wasn’t here last year. The biggest reason their PP has slowed is because Hossa has replaced Toews on the goal line and now Toews has found himself in front of the net. Toews is so far superior operating on the goal line in comparison to Hossa it’s not even funny. So if that’s Mike Kitchen’s fault, so be it.

  40. Marts says:

    Yeah! Hossa on the goal line is a PP joke. I’ve been thinking the same thing. I get so rattled with the PP when Toews isn’t on the goal line. Kane and Toews working it high-low from the top of the circles to the goal line is great stuff.

  41. Mike says:

    Right on LEE. Hawks are the # 1 soft team in the NHL.the hawks will counter with PISANI in game 2. will put the fear of god in them. when he takes the ice he should have his hand stamped for public skating. fire bowman now before he ruins the team for the next ten years!

  42. CT says:

    God bless you Alpo, for making it that far.

    I did want to add that there was more to it than the organization simply not liking Beach. His explanation was that compared to say Ben Smith, Beach isn’t a guy who puts in the off ice work (in the weight room specifically) that the Hawks like to see in their prospects. And maybe he could get by on talent alone as an overaged junior, but he didn’t exactly tear up the AHL this year.

  43. Baltobob says:

    The Hawks looked as bad in the first period as the Red Wings looked in their second to last game against the Hawks in Detroit. I’m sure everyone still remembers the Sunday game when the Wings turned it around. Not making any excuses, except to say that straight line extrapolations from one game to the next are suspect in the NHL. Mike Keenan, on VS, suggested that the most difficult job for a coach was to inspire good work habits. For the uninitiated, like me, I took that to mean “Getting Up for the Game”.

  44. Jim says:

    Worth checking out, one of my favorite commentators who is following the Hawks/Vancouver series, Scott Reynolds of the Copper n Blue (actually, the Edmonton Oilers blog). An objective commentator:

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2011/4/14/2110797/canucks-and-hawks-game-one

  45. John says:

    Thanks Jim. Always love Copper N Blue and always love it when my eye test matches up with their numbers. Gives me some validation.

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