A Hustle Here and A Hustle There: Blackhawks win shootout against Wild 4-3

The top two teams of the Western Conference met in front of a national audience.  They combined to play a very well played and mostly very entertaining game.  And hey, the Hawks came out ahead so it made it even better.

–How many kids are going to try and mimick Patrick Kane’s shootout move and hopelessly biff it?  Kane’s move was absolutely filthy in the shootout to seal the win.  There’s arguably three other people on the planet that could have pulled off that move.  It certainly didn’t hurt matters that Niklas Backstrom was in net, he of one of the worst career save percentages in the shootout.

–If it weren’t for a blown icing call and a misguided Andrew Brunette pass at the blue line, the Hawks very well could have won this game going away.  Give credit to the Wild, however, they capitalized on the the two opportunities the Hawks and the linesman gave them.  The Hawks, though, were very strong in the defensive zone from the net on out.

Ray Emery was again strong in net.  In particular, his rebound control was outstanding.  Out of the 30 shots he faced, the only few rebounds he kicked out, the Hawks were right there to scoop up and move out of harms way.

–With every game that passes, Marcus Kruger settles any remaining questions about the Hawks lack of a second center.  Other than being below average at the dot, Kruger has been exceptional.  His passing and vision is really starting to show.  He’s not afraid to get in the greasy areas to dig pucks out.  Granted, he still sometimes gets knocked off a little too easily, but as gets older and stronger, he’s only going to get better.

His assist to Michael Frolik was a play he’s going to start be known for.  Off his backhand, Kruger let off a sneaky pass that found its way through two Wild defenders and on to Frolik’s stick for an easy tap-in (or as easy as Frolik could make it).

–Nick Leddy had a bit of a struggle tonight in his homecoming.  He committed a couple of unforced errors.  On the Wild’s second goal, he had no idea Cal Clutterbuck was skating right past him.

These are the things that occassionally happen with a 20 year-old defenseman.  So long as they happen once every couple weeks, I don’t think anyone is really going to have a problem with it.

On the flip side, Duncan Keith was a monster.

–Who turned Kyle Brodziak into Bruce Banner?  Or is it the Incredible Hulk?  Or is there a difference?  Brodziak was a force the Hawks had problems containing at times.  He was matched up against Dave Bolland’s line for the majority of the night and he gave them all they could handle.

–A bit off track but “24/7” premiered tonight.  Every time I watch the show, I can’t help but imagine John McDonough sitting at home fantasizing about what he’s going to do when the Hawks are on it.

John Tortorella was pretty awesome in it, though the show made it pretty obvious why he bottomed out in Tampa so quickly.

The true star of the show was Ilya Bryzgalov.  If he was an American and played anything but hockey, he would have his own reality show within 15 minutes.

Also, I loved the totally awkward embrace between Dan Bylsma and Max Talbot.  There was no doubt the HBO producers set that up because Talbot and Bylsma acted like two guys who merely recognized each other from somewhere but couldn’t remember from where.

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11 Responses to A Hustle Here and A Hustle There: Blackhawks win shootout against Wild 4-3

  1. Jim says:

    Most enjoyable shootout for Blackhawks fans in recent memory. Great job by Emory (plus weak attempts by the Wild). Toews goes 5 hole *again* (and it works, opposition goalies must not scout this stuff), then Kane dekes their goalie out of his skates.

  2. Francis Roberts says:

    Good wrapup John. I thought Keith’s play on the short handed breakaway was outstanding. And credit to the refs for not calling a penalty… when 90% of the time on the road that would get called. I agree with you on Kruger. We all complain about Kruger’s lack of strength but, outside of Toews and maybe Brunette, who is better along the boards for the Hawks? He is improving every time out. Leddy had a tough game. But it was fun watching him turn on the jets in OT to create that 2 on 1 with Sharp. The kid can fly

  3. rich Lindbloom says:

    Keith’s play on the shorthanded stuff attempt was remarkable and reminded me of when Michael Jordan went back door and stole the ball from the Mailman, Karl Malone when the Bull’s beat Utah so many moons ago. I think everyone watching that game thought Keith would try to get between him and Emery. A high risk, brillaint defensive effort that not many in the NHL can make.

    John, I really enjoyed your wrap. Brodziak really started getting on my nerves.I think Leddy played over 27 minutes last night – Q is obviously very comfortable with him.

    Filthy, filthy funky, Patrick Kaner your are man.

  4. BobbyJet says:

    That is the Duncan Keith I want to see. A good overall team effort despite an opportunistic Wild team The officiating was poor in general, though I applaud them on the non call on DK – what a gorgeous play. These days it seems too many officials are quick to take the easy way out and call a penalty on a play like that, especially since Hawks were the visiting team.
    As for Kruger: I think some are easily impressed. He has made some progress, no doubt about that, but at this point in his career I’d prefer him playing on the 3rd line, preferably as a winger.

  5. Brian says:

    I give who are the other 3? Datsyuk? Backstrom?

  6. alpo says:

    @Brian
    Alexei Kovalev

  7. John says:

    I would have also accepted random Swede who shows up once a year in a highlight show with a ridiculous goal.

  8. Lisa says:

    Anyone else notice Pierre’s total man crush on Brodziak? How many times did he mention that Brodziak could be the most improved player in the NHL?

    I also get a kick out of how he talks to Eddie O. like he’s the younger tag-along brother looking for approval and a pat on the head, e.g. “Hey Eddie, don’t you think it’s safe to say that…” “Eddie, Eddie, would you agree that…” “EDDIE- aren’t you proud of how much I know about hockey??? EDDIE!!!!! EDDIE, I love you!!!!!”

  9. Is it allowed to have a Hawks blog that does not contain bitching about John Scott?

  10. Jim says:

    Toew’s Shootout Goal:

    I was thinking more about how Toews is so consistent on 5 hole shooutout goals, and rewatched the video. Look at what he does. He skates in, the goalie is thinking, “Is he going 5 hole?, yes, probably, but if I commit to cover 5 hole early he’s going to burn me top shelf”. Meanwhile Toews get closer. Toews is thinking “I’m looking for an opening 5 hole, but if he covers low, I’m going top shelf. Toews sees the smallest opening 5 hole.

    SNAP!

    The puck is hitting the back of the net before the synapses in the goalies brain even fire enough to register a shot has been taken.

    Game over.

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