If someone could find a way to bottle up the instant adrenaline rush and pure joy that comes with a playoff overtime celebration, there would be world peace, no starving babies, and a thriving world economy. A Patrick Sharp re-direction with 6 seconds left in regulation and a Bryan Bickell overtime winner supplied all of Blackhawks nation with a B-12 shot sure to last to Tuesday.
–By the time most of you read this, there will likely be a decision on Andrew Shaw’s interference of Mike Smith. We should also know soon if Mike Smith will be released from intensive care and be able to live out his days comfortably.
You would think with the ample amount of head shots we’ve seen in the last two years, people (see: referees) would know when a guy truly gets knocked in the head and when a guy acts like a Battle of the Bulge casualty. David Booth and Dean McAmmond are two hits that come to mind when they were blindsided with hits to the head and laid motionless on the ice.
Mike Smith had the complete opposite reaction of that. So when he screamed bloody murder as though his insides were laying on the ice, the referees were left no choice but to hand Shaw a 5 minute major and game misconduct. A 2 minute minor became a game changing penalty and now Shaw faces a possible suspension because of it, all at the hands of a guy milking every ounce of unnecessary contact.
Shaw could have stopped rather than continue his forward motion but it’s not like he raised his elbows or lowered his shoulder on Smith. Nay, he made contact so he should have been penalized but not to the extent he was.
It’s ironic that the contact made was in the exact same spot as Raffi Torres on Brent Seabrook last year. Torres, of course, went for the kill shot on a defenseless Seabrook knocking him out of two games. Torres was given the same penalty as Shaw and avoided any kind of suspension.
Shaw faces the possibility of one even though a) Smith was able to finish the game and b) he didn’t look to end Smith’s life even though he had the same opportunity as Torres.
Of course, goalies are protected differently than skaters, but nevertheless, a suspension to Shaw would be ridiculous in every sense of the word.
–Joel Quenneville continues to search for a stellar top 6 combination that will push more goals past Mike Smith. The good news is that Dave Bolland’s line is having a terrific series thus far. Bolland and Bickell have picked up right where they left off after last year’s playoff.
The less encouraging news is Marcus Kruger appears to be struggling with the Coyotes clutch and grab ways among other things. With Kruger not able to provide any kind of offensive spark for his skilled line mates, it forces Quenneville to do things like move Patrick Kane back to center and split he and Jonathan Toews up.
The key to the Hawks winning this series will be finding a combination other than Bolland’s line, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Brent Seabrook to provide offensive results.