Done and Done: Hawks lose shootout Sunday, win on Tuesday

It’s hard to believe that all it took for the St. Louis Blues to go from playoff bubble team to President’s Trophy candidates was a change behind the bench.  Yet here we are with a handful of games left in the regular season and Ken Hitchcock has taken a team that was a Western Conference afterthought to the top of the standings.  If anyone in professional hockey hires Davis Payne in a coaching position again, they deserve whatever pathetic fate awaits them.

On Tuesday night, the Blues saw themselves in the fortuitous position of having a 3-1 lead after one period.  Forty-five minutes later, the Hawks won in a shootout 4-3.  Here’s how it got there:

–I should probably give the Blues a longer look before making this statement but if their defense plays as passive in the offensive zone as they did tonight, the playoffs are going to be a struggle for them.  The Blues defense had a handful of opportunities (I recall three off the top of my head) to pinch in on loose pucks and at least slow up the Hawks rush.  Instead, they were already at the center line giving the Hawks a full head of steam with numbers coming the other way.

If they’re not that insecure about their defense’s ability to skate with skill forwards to loose pucks, it’s not going to get any easier in the middle of April.

Granted, this game could have been the exception to the rule, but it certainly appeared as though  the Blues were so terrified of giving up an odd man rush that they sacrificed any offense for it.  It gave the Hawks forwards nothing to worry about as they chased down loose pucks and kickstarted their offense the other way.  In other news, the Hawks outshot the Blues 46-24.

–How slow is Barrett Jackman if Andrew Brunette beats him in a race to the net?  Answer at the bottom.

–Niklas Hjalmarsson left the game after a period and a half.  This is now the second time he’s been unable to finish a game due to a previous concussion.  So it looks like the dream of having a Keith-Seabrook, Oduya-Leddy, and Hjalmarsson-Montador defense will have to remain a fantasy.  Unless of course someone wants to tell me how good it looks on NHL ’12.

–Andrew Shaw continues to prove he’s simply not strong enough on the puck to be expected to play big minutes on a checking line.  St. Louis’ third goal was a direct result of Shaw getting easily bumped off the puck at center ice.  He had 16 minutes tonight and while he did get some power play time at the end of regulation, he shouldn’t be getting that much more ice time than Bryan Bickell (12 minutes).

On the other end of the spectrum, it’s increasingly debatable that Jimmy Hayes should have been put on Rockford’s clear day roster because I’m not sure how playing less than five minutes a night is helping his development any.

–Very slow.

–In relief, Corey Crawford made every save he had to (and this season that’s been an extreme rarity in these parts), but he was hardly the pillar of exquisite goaltending.  A few of his saves looked like he thought the puck was somewhere else but it ended up hitting him anyway.  Don’t even get me started on the shootout when T.J. Oshie’s shot hit him in the legs than Crawford reacted to it as the puck was trickling to the corner.

To his credit, he looked much more comfortable on the final two shooters.

–I think a lot of people forgot when Johnny Oduya was acquired that two years earlier, he was considered the center piece of the Ilya Kovalchuk trade.  Playing in hockey Death Valley will probably erase a lot of people’s memories.  Though we saw a couple of warts in his play in the first period tonight, Oduya still rebounded to put forth another very solid effort.  If it wasn’t Duncan Keith’s last shift in overtime, Oduya would have been the ice time leader.  Something tells me Joel Quenneville likes his new toy.

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9 Responses to Done and Done: Hawks lose shootout Sunday, win on Tuesday

  1. Ripley says:

    That was perhaps the best game the Hawks have played this year. Maybe along with a loss in San Jose. It was also perhaps the worst game the Blues have played all year. I watch many of their games and they haven’t looked that slow, sloppy and ragged since Hitchcock came in.

    Oduya is a nice player and major upgrade. On the other hand, Hjalmarsson was beyond out of position on two of the Blues’ goals. And Crawford looked like he was dodging bullets on most of the shots fired at him. Fortunately, I don’t think he faced a high quality chance all game.

    Also thought Kane was full of jump and dangerous all night. His play in OT to set up Keith was great effort and vision. Alas, Keith has all the accuracy of a guy just off the tilt-a-whirl.

  2. rich says:

    “Very Slow” That point you made had me thinking – what a great play by hossa to wait until andrew got in position. You know how they say you have to lead the receiver, well with Bruno you pretty much throw it right at him. Great roofer though.

    Seabrook played huge last night.

    kane’s speed and stickhandling were mesmerizing at times. Knocking Backes on his ass will be on hawk highlight reels for some time to come.

  3. Otter says:

    If that first period wasn’t such a disaster, this would have been one of the better wins for the Hawks this year. The Blues looked like a team that’s not going anywhere in the Western Conference, while the Hawks looked like a team that might win the Conference. This is now the third game in a row where I’ve been really impressed with the Hawks.

    A healthy blue line (we can dream right) would go a long way to improving the goaltending situation. I’m not sold on either Crawford or Emery taking the Hawks past the second round… which is a shame because this is starting to look like a Cup contender again everywhere else.

    I know there is still some hockey to be played, but you have to like how this might be setting up for the Hawks. While they aren’t locked into the 6 seed, I think it’s safe to say they’ll end up there. That brings a matchup with the Pacific winner, which you’d have to figure the Hawks would be favored (the Kings scare the shit out of me however). The Blues have opened a bit of a lead (two points at least) for the #1 seed, and while I think a Sharks/Blues first round would be tough; you’d still figure the Blue take the series. That sets up a Blues/Hawks second round match up (assuming Vancouver wins)… which you’d take every day and twice on Sunday over the Wings/Van/Preds.

  4. feyer says:

    I’m starting to like Kane at center. Admittedly it has taken a long time for him to grow into the role. Maybe being involved involved in the play for 200 feet puts more jump in his step. Maybe he has more confidence when he doesn’t have tazer to lean on. Maybe I don’t have a clue, but i like what I see.

    What a find Oduya is turning out to be. How is it that there was little competition for that guy at the deadline? How many times will Edzo recycle the same jokes with his name? For all you kids out there, I’m just assuming he is still recycling those jokes – I watched the Blues telecast last night.

  5. Nick says:

    Nice call on Oduya. I’m not going to claim to have watched a lot of Devils hockey, but I’m pretty sure they liked him there and he played serious minutes for a good team. He was a great pick up and I hope they keep him and send Ham packing. 3.5 Mil is way too much for a 3rd pair D man which Ham is.

  6. ScottA says:

    I can understand the few and far between Blackhawks recaps but I find the lack of walking dead coverage disturbing.

  7. jm says:

    So is this blog basically done?

    While I understand maintaining the level and quality of content this blog had the past few years must be difficult, given how it’s time-consuming with little if any financial reward, its still unfortunate to see the best Hawk’s writing in the city disappear.

  8. cl says:

    @jm- Seconded. This was/is the best ‘hawks blog by a wide margin.

  9. JScott28 says:

    Did I hear crickets?

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