The easy out for the latest Hawks loss is that Dan Carcillo took a bad penalty which changed the complexion of the game. And that would be true.
But it was more than one guy’s fault for a singular regular season loss. The Hawks special teams didn’t help the cause. Their power play went for 0-5, including an 0-for-3 in the third period when the pressure was highest on the Oilers. Their penalty kill let them down at the most inopportune time, during Carcillo’s 5-minute major. Corey Crawford surely should have stopped Taylor Hall’s goal even if Niklas Hjalmarsson was high-sticked just moments before.
Then after the Hawks tied the game at 2, Viktor Stalberg completely forgot about any defensive back-check and let blue whale Andy Sutton float down the slot wide open for the Oilers third goal.
A tricky Ben Eager back-hander in the third gave the Oilers the cushion they would need to hold on to the win.
–When Dan Carcillo boarded Tom Gilbert for the 5 minute major, both players did not return to the game afterwards. Gilbert was banged up on the play and even if Carcillo did not get a game misconduct, I highly doubt he would have returned. Carcillo’s knee buckled after the hit and he needed half the team to carry him off the ice and into the locker room. It didn’t look good and going by Carcillo’s reaction, it would be a minor miracle if Carcillo is seen in a Hawks jersey ever again.
–The Oilers have a terrific power play and a solid penalty kill. The Hawks are inconsistent in both facets. That is a huge advantage for the Oilers and it’s probably the main reason why they’ve given the Hawks such fits this season.
–I’m sure Sami Lepisto is ecstatic he took less money to come play every three weeks for the Hawks.
–For as good as Andrew Brunette is with the puck around the goal line, he’s equally horrible with the puck around the attacking blue line. His fumble of the puck in the Edmonton zone helped trigger Ben Eager’s rush in the third. That’s the second time this season his giveaway led to a back-breaking goal against. The first came against Minnesota. There may have been more but those are the two that stick out to me.
–This has really nothing to do with the game but on Friday’s Boers and Bernstein show, Barry Rozner filling in for Terry Boers was in a discussion with Bernstein about Dave Bolland. Rozner, for all his faults, does have some solid sources within the Hawks. He mentioned in passing about how some people within the Hawks felt like Bolland sort of milked his concussion last year and has become a bit gun shy since.
That was all they really discussed about it. And I think that’s all pretty much anyone needs to know with how the Hawks handle their concussed players. It seems like some within the Hawks would prefer their players simply learn to lie about how to pass concussion tests than worry about the health of their brains.
Meanwhile, Marcus Kruger is out for the foreseeable future because he rushed back from a concussion. Spare me the next time Pat Foley goes on an extended rant about how forward thinking the Hawks are for letting the team surgeon and head doctor travel with the team on the road. It’s obvious that the Hawks aren’t really too concerned with their medical opinion. Or they’re quacks. Either way, a lack of respect to concussed players is about 15 years behind the times.