Like any great ointment, the Jackets once again cured the Hawks of their recent ailments. Sure, it wasn’t pretty and it didn’t feel that great, but during this stretch with Patrick Sharp out for the next few weeks, style points don’t mean all that much; only points.
–It’s the regular season and the Blue Jackets but taking two instigator penalties on Jared Boll was not smart hockey. Jamal Mayers’ penalty, in particular, was quite aggravating because it seemed to negate a Bryan Bickell semi-breakaway. Not to mention, the game was still 0-0 and Montador fighting Boll the last time didn’t seem to deter him for being Jared Boll.
The Hawks ended up scoring a short-handed goal so all’s well that ends well I suppose. And it’s not like the Hawks are going to be looking to even scores in the playoffs.
–Corey Crawford was his own worst enemy once again. There were maybe one or two perimeter shots that he was able to control. Otherwise everything was coughed up in the crease where Crawford had to either make a second save or perform his now infamous Hungry, Hungry Hippo act. (Perhaps you’ve also noticed Crawford being unable to cover pucks laying in his crease, instead just hopelessly flailing his glove hand multiple times only to come up empty.)
The last four goals he’s given up were all off goal mouth scrambles where he had more than one opportunity to cover the puck but didn’t.
–Ben Smith scored a pillow soft goal. I’m sure now there will be more calls for him to play on the first line. Andrew Shaw is like the idea of Ben Smith only in reality.
–Speaking of, it’s too bad Shaw isn’t four inches taller. Then the Hawks would really have something. Of course he probably wouldn’t have lasted until the 5th round if that were the case. Nevertheless, Shaw has impressed in his short stay. That’s not to say he’s perfect. I’d like to see him improve his overall speed while he’s here and certainly in the off-season going into next.
–Speaking of speed (look at the continuity), Viktor Stalberg looked like Swedish freedom was on the line when he chased down the loose puck for his hat trick empty net goal.
–While I’m here allow me to vent about the past week. I don’t know whether it’s all the social media outlets or the fact that the Hawks set the bar so high in ’08-09 and ’09-10, but it’s becoming increasingly exhausting to be a Hawks fan.
Last I checked, the regular season is 82 games. There are highs, there are lows, and not every game is the defining clue as to whether the Hawks are going to win the Cup. It seems like anytime the Hawks have a losing streak of more than one game or don’t win while thoroughly dominating their opponent in the process, people can’t wait to tell you how bad they are.
Every season will have bad losses and frustrating losses. It just so happened the Hawks had three of them in the last week. (I’d have to say the Flyers and Wings losses were two of the more frustrating in recent memory. And they happened within four days of each other.) Unlike what the person you share season-tickets says, the secrets of what lays ahead aren’t going to be revealed during the first two weeks of January.
–While Patrick Kane is in the second worst goal scoring drought of his career (first being his rookie year), it’s best to remember the old hockey cliche: “Don’t be worried when you’re not scoring, be worried when you’re not getting chances.” Kane has had terrific scoring opportunities during this drought but just hasn’t been able to find twine. Whether it’s Ty Conklin’s shoulder getting in the way or Curtis Sanford kicking his leg out or the puck just hitting Ilya Bryzgalov, with a little luck Kane could easily be creeping up on 20 goals.