Stanley Cup Final: Blackhawks Win Epic Game One

A series between two Original Six teams received every historical cliche before Game One.

Then the series began, and the play on the ice backed up every bit of the hype.

Before the game started, the anthem blew the roof off the United Center. I haven’t seen any “noise” figures yet, but I would be shocked if 2010 was louder than what the crowd brought on Wednesday night.

The faithful didn’t lose momentum after the anthem ended. The United Center was loud throughout the entire game.

A game that lasted almost five hours.

As the clocks in the United Center hit midnight, Andrew Shaw was credited with tipping home a Michal Rozsival shot to give the Blackhawks a stunning Game One victory. The effort given by players on both rosters was incredible, and after two overtimes in which neither team could find a way to end a great game, the Hawks were finally able to finish the job.

Shaw played a marvelous game. In spite of appearing small enough to be Zdeno Chara’s son, Shaw went after him right from the drop of the puck on Wednesday night.

“[Chara’s] a big boy,” Shaw said after the game. “He’s strong… I think I held my own.  He’s a great player.  Logs a lot of minutes. Got to get on him and try to tire him out as much as we can.”

Shaw was credited with the game-winning goal, had a gorgeous pass through traffic to set up Dave Bolland for the Hawks’ second goal of the night, and he finished tied with Brandon Bollig for the team lead with nine hits. Now shifting at wing after coach Joel Quenneville mixed up his lines, Shaw only took one faceoffs in Game One, and he won that too. He skated 24:03 in the game.

Bolland scored his first goal of the postseason, and played his best game since the Vancouver series in the 2011 playoffs. He was all over the ice, and made a number of key defensive plays to keep the puck out of the net. He was credited with only three hits and two takeaways in the game, but the third line that included Bolland Shaw throughout the night was as dynamic as any in the game.

Brandon Saad started the night on the third line with Bolland and Shaw, but was once again as effective as any forward on the Chicago roster. By the middle of the second period, Quenneville rewarded the rookie by moving him back to the line on which he spent the regular season – with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa – where he made an immediate impact.

Saad scored the first goal of the Stanley Cup Final for the Blackhawks, his first of the postseason, just over two minutes after Milan Lucic scored his second goal of the game to push Boston’s lead to 2-0. The goal gave the Hawks’ bench life after giving up the first two goals of the series, and Saad stayed with Toews and Hossa the rest of the evening. He finished the night skating 31:15 with nine shots on goal, two hits and two takeaways.

We could continue listing players that played “the game of his life” last night, but most of Chicago’s role players stepped up and played the huge game that is required to come back from a two-goal deficit in the third period and win in a third overtime.

Johnny Oduya was out of position on the Bruins’ first goal, but had a great game after that. He may have saved the game on a couple occasions in overtime, once breaking up a two-on-one breakaway and then, in the third overtime, he poked the puck away from Kaspars Daugavins with a wide-open net behind him. Daugavins buried his head on the bench after not putting the puck home and ending the game, but replay showed that Oduya got just enough of the puck to keep him from getting a shot away.

Oduya skated 37:20 and finished the night with seven blocked shots, five hits and the game-tying goal in the third period.

While the skaters for the Hawks battled back to tie the game in the third, Corey Crawford once again showed that he is now a big-game goaltender.

Crawford was magnificent the entire night, allowing three goals against 54 Boston shots. Most of the night his rebound control was solid, and on the occasions that the puck was loose in front of the net he was able to keep it out of the net.

Crawford played 112:08 in the game.

His counterpart, Tuukka Rask, was equally great on Wednesday night. He faced 63 shots, stopping 59. However, his comments after the game may get more attention than his save total.

When asked about losing a two-goal lead in the third period, Rask was blunt with his analysis. He said a bad turnover led to the Hawks’ second goal, and a deflection led to the third. The turnover came off the stick of rookie defenseman Torey Krug, and the talking heads on NHL Network spent time discussing whether or not Rask handled the question as well as he should have after such an epic game.

For the Bruins, Patrice Bergeron showed why he won the Selke last year. He blocked five shots and won 27 of 41 faceoffs in 33:40, and scored the third goal of the night for Boston. David Krejci had two assists, but won only 16 of 36 faceoffs in the game.

Lucic dominated the play early, scoring the first two goals of the night and assisting on the third, but then went silent. He skated over seven minutes without a shot on goal in the first overtime session, and failed to generate a good scoring chance in either of the final two overtimes.

The biggest news from the game for Boston was the loss of Nathan Horton in the first overtime period. A number of media outlets reported late in the game that Horton had suffered a shoulder injury, but Claude Julien would not confirm anything after the game.

Chicago’s powerplay sucked again, going 0-3 including a laughably-bad 5-on-3 and equally pathetic two minutes with Chara in the box. Lucic’s second goal of the night came on a Boston powerplay, but their other two opportunities – both too many men infractions in the first and second overtimes, respectively – were handled effectively by the Hawks.

Exhausted players will go back to work on Saturday evening at the United Center for Game Two.

Hawks

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73 Responses to Stanley Cup Final: Blackhawks Win Epic Game One

  1. joey Zamboni says:

    Agreed Tab, epic game by 2 evenly matched teams. However my first impression is that we took Boston’s “best” punch and are still standing, Boston has not seen our “best” punch yet…. IMHO

    Also sounds like we are in Rask’s head…….

  2. Tim G says:

    Great recap as always!

    WOW, What more is there to say on this! This will go down as an all-timer for me. Right up there with the Illini/Arizona game from ’05.

    I though both teams came out firing on all cylinders. Good Skating, Lots of hitting, lots of shooting. It was really unfortunate that the Bruins were able to use that against us. Krecji was a man possesesed. His play behind the net vs Hammer on the first goal was fantastic. He is right there for Conn Smythe talk. Then I thought the second goal was on Hammer as much as it was Crow. I remember one of the analysts (I think Milbury) say Crow should have had that one, but Hammer left himself in no-mans-land to allow the shot. That said, I was really encouraged by how Hammer responded the rest of the way.

    SAAD- Great game… 1st goal of the playoffs… I see the flood gates opening (especially if Q keeps him with 19/81).

    SHAW- He is slowly becoming my favorite Hawk. He plays with grit, he will do the little things, and he doesn’t back down (See stick fighting with Chara before faceoffs… I mean who does that!?)

    ODUYA- Never gave up on this one. That’s the type of performance that only a Veteran can give you. Even thought the shot wasn’t particually great, good thing happen to players who work as hard as he did. He got the bounce to tie it… an he made the play of the game on Daugavins. The play he made is the kind that can stick with an opposing player, even more so a young 4th liner. Whatever confidence he had could be crushed. I think it will be interesting to see how Daugavins plays from here out after that one.

    I was a little shocked by how hard our D was pinching early in the game. I knew we would pinch, since we had been pinching more recents, but I didnt think we would be 100% pinch all the time! in a 0-0 game, usually you dont want to give up a breakaway that can put you behind. I mean you got to pick your spots and dont go in too deep unless its WIDE OPEN… but they were just crashing down everyplay. And it was ok because The FWDs really did a great job helping cover on the back end. If our FWDs play like that, it will allow us to keep an agressive pinch all series which could be huge!

    1 Down, 3 To Go. I think we are in great shape. Let’s keep rocking!

  3. Mike says:

    I thought Crawford deserved to be at least one of the game stars. The Hawks had several D breakdowns and Crawford stole the game for us. Conversely, Boston showed a lot of precision in their offensive zone.

    Kieth led all players at 48:40 but was the only Hawk over 40 (Seabs and Hammer 39+). Four Bruins logged over 40 minutes……if any of that means anything.

    I thought the scariest hit was on Toews right at the start of the game. We knew the Bruins played a physical game but I applaud the Hawks for playing physical while maintaining self control.

    The Bollig experiment….who knows. He was as quiet as Stalberg has been, so maybe a wash.

    It was GREAT to see 2 rising Hawks, Shaw and Saad, score goals. And Tab, I agree, Bolland WAS a factor. Between him and Shaw they should be able to upset the Bruins flow more as the series moves along.

    Game ends at 1am, have to be at work at 6am…..can’t wait for game 2

  4. Travis says:

    What an epic game. This is the kind of series that could take the NHL (and ice hockey in general) to new heights. So glad to see the game live up to expectations, hopefully the series will go down as one of the most memorable of all time. We should feel blessed that this is happening.

    Let’s be honest, both teams played exceptional hockey, but the Hawks had a number of huge breaks. I wouldn’t say we didn’t deserve to win (neither team deserved to lose), but we can’t expect that many bounces to go our way for three more games. Critical post, pucks trickling and deflecting just wide, Oduya’s equaliser was a gift from God. We still need to play better to win the Cup. The stars came to play, particularly Hossa, but they’ve got to start producing as much as Boston’s guns.

    Truly remarkable that we beat such a good team with only our depth players producing, but again, we needed a lot of breaks to do it. Let’s hope Saad gets hot and ignites our top line. If either our PP starts producing (unlikely) or our top line starts producing, we’ll be in good shape.

    And stick tap to Bollig. That fourth line was rock solid, particularly Frolik and Kruger, but Bollig was no pylon. We all thought Q was nuts swapping Stalberg for Bollig, but in hindsight, Bollig did just fine. He was more noticeable than Stalberg has been, lots of energy, and no glaring errors. Gutsy call by Q, I wouldn’t have made it, but I think it was the right call.

  5. Tab Bamford says:

    Bollig had nine hits in 14 minutes, saw a LOT of ice time in the extra sessions, and didn’t make the huge mistake. He was the physical 4th line guy the Hawks needed last night, and he was as effective as they needed him to be. Kudos to him for bringing it after not playing in a month.

  6. Andrew Raven says:

    boy oh boy, what a game! CC was absolutely awesome, what a world-class game by number 50 in red. without a doubt, he stole game one for us. I was equally pleased with Shaw’s game last night, he represents best what the Hawks are able to accomplish this year: everything, he’s the whole package: he’s tenacious, fast, gritty, plays two-way hockey, is a pest on skates, though highly skilled and resilient. those two players are my number 1 stars of the game.

    a pleasant surprise was dave bolland: he’s made for the postseason and he finally proved that he’s such a valuable asset to this team. i agree with Tab, it was his best game in 2013. great idea to get him on the third line where he’s most comfortable at. in my opinion the number 2 star of the Hawks.

    PP remains a big issue for the Hawks and if that doesn’t change, they gotta rely on even strength goals, which the Hawks have been good at all season long. i’m surprised how good the Bruins are when it comes to transition. thought they were slower in their own zone, but i have to give them credit: their transition game is as good as the Hawks’ and poses a real threat to the Hawks. Plus the Krejci line has been very effective last night, we need to slow them down. i’m wondering whether Horton returns or not. would be a huge loss for them.

    Winning game one was very crucial and gives the Hawks a lot of momentum, but the Hawks have to make sure that they don’t trail Boston in the next few games. The B’s are too good to blow leads.

  7. wall says:

    Tim G- great call on Illini/Az game… forgot how awesome that was…

    Interesting talk on NHL Net…
    1.) “Q moved Saad on 1st for D purposes vs. that BEASTLY line -Lucic-Hort-Krecj”
    2.) Moved Sharp- down to 3rd some (Sharp IMO- has been a little slow to backcheck a few times this PostSeas)
    3.) Our 2nd line is going to be exploited by B’s (especially in Boston)
    I really think Hawks Advantage IS on 3rd and 4th lines (especially w/ Campbell out)…
    with that said- will be interesting to see if Q tinkers/w Sharp on 3rd line vs. lesser players-
    4.) If Horton is out– IT WILL really impact series – Especially on 3rd and 4th lines for B’s (Seguin can handle moving up… but WHO will replace him???)

    or inserts 25 + a Morin/Smith shooter/finisher vs. weaker 3rd/4th lines of Boston

    I know Hawks won- but I see the top line neutralizing each-
    Hawks 2nd line as is- a liability

    I can see 2nd line- flipping 29/10 either way
    29/36/88
    3rd 10/65/25
    Morin/Smith/26 and 16/67

  8. Mike says:

    Thanks Tab…I was comparing offense only but I stand corrected. Bollig was more a factor than I gave him credit for.

    Travis, you should be right about a game like this should raise the NHLs profile. For the casual fan, regulation was fantastic. However, how many outside of Boston or Chitown saw the ending. The west coasters got a treat…….hockey in prime time.

    Wall, do you really think, barring injury, Q is going to play guys who have not been in a game for a month? Your line up brings Stalberg back. However, as Tab pointed out Bollig did exactly what he was asked to do. He may have earned himself a game 2 slot.

  9. Tails says:

    The Hawks seemed to be doing a better job overall of controlling the pace of the game, but the Bruins caused so much traffic on defense that we couldn’t get very many good shots off. On the other side, our defense was sloppy at times, which gave Boston a lot of space to work with. The top Boston line took full advantage of that in regulation.

    Crawford was great for the most part. He seemed to struggle with rebound control in overtime, like because he was becoming fatigued.

    I was pleasantly surprised by Bollig. I wasn’t expecting much, and he played a very nice game.

    I checked the minutes played after the game, and the Hawks did a much better job than the Bruins in spreading out minutes. Only Keith was over 40 minutes, while the Bruins had all top four defensemen over 40 minutes. This could help us be more fresh on Saturday.

  10. Tom Jaremka says:

    For most of the game, we out skated and out hit the Bruins. I never get excited about out hitting a team, but out skating a team means that they have to try and stop us and usually that means doing something that they don’t usually do. There were times in the Bruins zone when we had them running all over and they had no clue as to how to stop us. We used the wheel down low and cycled our “D” down low ALOT in the first 2 periods.

    My belief is that they expected a “run and gun” game from us and as a group, we cycle the puck down low better than anyone in the league and the Bruins found that out. They also found out that on Bolland’s goal, we transition better than anyone. The line change was on their side of the ice and we STILL beat them to the net!! That’s speed, quickness and skill that the Bruins CANNOT match.

    Our “D” played great and kept the front of the net clear and controlled the rebounds in front of Crawford. We need to make an adjustment to cover Lucic who makes his living 10′ from the net, but we played good in our zone.

    I think the Bruins grabbed an early lead and figured, “well, this is over”, not realizing the guts and determination of a team that has seen a ton of adversity in this post season. At times, I thought the Bruins looked overwhelmed by our speed and skill.
    I know that this is only ONE GAME, but I still think that the Hawks will win in 6 games.

  11. BigsmokeJ says:

    Great game and win by the team. As someone pointed out they didn’t play their best game and still won. That’s a good sign. The B’s top line are beast and will be a problem all series. But I don’t see their 3rd and 4th lines competing with the hawks 3rd and 4th lines.
    We all know Q likes to mix the lines up and I can see him dropped Hossa back to the 2nd line and Kane back to the 1st, when they move to Boston.
    I could see him setting the lines:
    20-19-88
    29-26-81
    10-36-65
    67-16-52/25
    Putting Sharp on the 3rd line would give Boston big match up problems. But Q likes to mix things up so who knows what he has in mind.
    3 to go!

  12. Peter says:

    Great points by everyone. I thought Shaw, Bolland, Crawford, and Oduya played very, very well.

    Let’s talk about someone else. This person had an assist because he fought for the puck. He was credited with 10 shots, 3 hits, 4 takeaways, 1 blocked shot and backchecked and took the body like a man possessed. His defense was outstanding by always hustling to get back to the play and there was even one point when he was in his own goal without a stick ready to stop anything coming because he didn’t want to lose. He wanted to win. Best 1 point game by him in a long time. 81 came to play last night.

  13. BigsmokeJ says:

    Great point Peter Hossa is a complete hockey player. If I’m a young player in the Hawks system, watching him and trying to emulate what he does, will go a long way to me making the NHL roster.

  14. Tom Jaremka says:

    Peter……..great point. Hossa was blocking shots, playing the net and back checking like a mad man. The guy is a complete player.

  15. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    This shall be a Stanley Cup Finals series for the ages. This is as good as it gets for the NHL. Boston started this game with a brilliant strategy that really had the Hawk defense bamboozled. Crawford absolutely kept us in this game early.

    My major complaint? Charo is an ungodly beast in front of the net. He’s like a second goalie for crying out loud. Somehow someway the Hawks need to establish net presence besides Andrew Shaw !!! This is absolute imperative to beating Boston and Rusk. And the Hawks must get into extra aggressive mode in attacking the net when Charo goes off the ice. He’s a freak of nature and a game changer.

    Q will identify a way to address the Krejci line out of necessity. It’s not going to be easy, because Boston validated my belief that they are a wickedly good team. Very well coached and smart, smart, smart.

    Crawford is my game 1 MVP. Shaw was outstanding. And I thought Hossa had a tremendous two-way effort as well. And very nice to see Bolland rise from the dead the last few games. He was instrumental in partnership with Frolik and Kruger.

  16. Sr. Brad says:

    When you play the “other” best team in the league for 111 minutes, mistakes will happen…was Hammer perfect? No…the same goes for every Hawk…and look at Oduya, he started the game very nervous and made a series of errors early on, he was also the best defenceman in the game by the end of it…

    The Hawks are a championship team because of their talent, depth, hustle, grit, and compete, but what separates us from the bruins and gives us the edge in the series, is that we possess championship togetherness…TEAM…unity…the bruins are a very, very, very good hockey club, but they aren’t the Hawks equal…they may be better in certain areas, but we excell at everything…they don’t…and here’s how I can prove it…

    Last Night…

    * we outshout boston
    * we outhit boston
    * we won more faceoffs
    * we outskated boston
    * we outpassed boston
    * we outhustled boston
    * we outscored boston

    And again, they are a very good hockey team and played possibly as well as they can on the road…they still lost…and if this season continued on past boston, to yet another team, it would be the same way…the Hawks would do what they had to do to win…because that’s their focus, that’s their BELIEF, and thus that’s the result.

    The Bowmans believe, Rocky believes, Q and the staff believe, and the players KNOW. This is the “intangible” that hockey “experts” can’t describe when analyzing and predicting this series…the Hawks have all the talent and depth in the world, but they win because they play as a unified whole and they simply expect to win. It’s the only way to describe what we witnessed last night…boston in these playoffs doesn’t give up 2 goal leads once, let alone twice, in a game and their goalie doesn’t let in more than 1.75 goals…but they did last night, and they will again, because they are NOT as good a team as the Hawks are…

    Can the bruins win a game in the series??? Possibly…again, they are a very, very good hockey team…but as the Hawks find themselves only 3 wins away from completing their goal, they will become even more focused, and even more certain of their destiny, making it harder and harder for boston to respond.

    So enjoy it..don’t worry about which player made what mistake, or if Q did the right thing by playig Bollig…its all blah, blah, blah…it doesn’t matter…the Hawks are in their zone right now, and all we have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride!

  17. Negzz says:

    As a longtime Crawford critic/skeptic, my hat is off to him for last night’s game. He was BIG. Really helping me forget Phoenix last year, is definitely in the discussion for CS if he keeps this up and Hawks win the Cup.

    Shaw is hilarious! Did you hear his on-ice interview immediately after the game? When asked about how he was coping with the size of Chara, he said was “using his lowness” on him. Classic!

    Saad was strong last night, he’s learning well from #19 and #81 on how to play the game the right way. Nice to see him get it in the net. Hoss was a man and could have also had several goals if his net charging position had worked a bit better. The game is so fast, amazing what these guys can all do at top speed. Thought #19 looked better. Bolland’s light is coming on, wonder if he’s feeling better with rest? Zues had a good nite at the dot (15-15) and won several key FO’s in OT. Thought Bickell and Kane have to bring more in the next game. D was solid/strong most of the game, although Rosy scared me a few times…

    Bottom line, 2 great teams that are going to keep slugging this out. No doubt that the B’s are a good team and was impressed with Krejci, has more skill/ability than I thought. If Horton is out it will hurt them. #63 is dirty little scoundrel but has skill. Will be interesting to see if this was Boston’s “give it all” game or if they have more to ramp up.

    It was was critical to win this game and the Hawks comeback will hurt/haunt the B’s, particularly if/when we win game-2 Sat night. I like what I saw last night and am sticking to my “shock the media world” prediction of Hawks in 5 or 6. Keep it coming boys!

  18. Sr. Brad says:

    Travis, good post, but what do you think “breaks” are? There is no “luck” in the Hawks game…even on Oduya’s goal…that hit the bruin’s skate because the Hawks were battling in front of the goaltender, creating a screen with bodies…and that’s what happens all the time with point shots…they hit bodies and go in…if we don’t crash the net, there is not boston Dman there to deflect it in.

    There is no luck in Chicago’s game, just focus and purpose, and that’s why they won…

  19. EbonyRaptor says:

    Very impressive come back from two goals down – twice. Against a very good defensive team backstopped by an all-world goalie.

    But, that game could have gone either way, dozens of times. The Hawks got more bounces than the Bruins did last night. Bounces have a tendency of evening out.

    That said, the Hawks showed they are good enough to win this, although the same can be said about Boston. The difference being that coming into this game, the thought was that the team that could play their game better than the other team could play theirs would win. I thought the Hawks were more effective playing their transition game than the Bruins were in playing their heavy game.

    I’m encouraged.

  20. Sr. Brad says:

    Negzz, Shaw is more than just hilarious, he’s a damn good hockey player…and he is right there for Chicago’s Con Smythe nominee with Bickell and Crawford. In fact, after last night’t game, Shaw is my front runner.

    During that interview with NBC he also dropped the FBomb live on air…he’s a classic!

    Think of Bowman’s prowess of drafting in the 5th round….

    * Kruger
    * Shaw
    * Garett Ross???

  21. wall says:

    Mike- I really don’t see Q inserting Smith or Morin- Just wishful thinking from my non-Q eyes… My points- Bruins- D/forwards play the angles/lanes better than any team in league ( especially top two lines)!!! Hawks advantage will really be on 3rd/4th lines- if the 4th line had a true finisher (Morin/Smith)- it would be even Bigger advantage!
    But obviously Q knows something about what Smith/Morin lack (most likely D/or skating) vs. 52… so he probably will not go that route.

    But 10/26/88 – were a liability/weakness in D zone…
    36 moving up and 10/26 moving to 3rd line might work…

    88 on first line only works if Horton is out! If Horton is out- that turns their 1st line into a Checkable line- as opposed to two of the strongest/skilled Power Forwards (lucic/horton) in league on same line w/ Krcji.

  22. Tab Bamford says:

    For what it’s worth, Quenneville had two centers on the ice whenever possible for a defensive-zone faceoffs. I recall lines of Hossa-Handzus-Bolland and Handzus-Kruger-Frolik coming out for a few early draws last night. Q did a masterful job of playing matchups effectively… again.

    re: Sharp on the third line, he spent a lot of time w/ Kane on the 2nd w/ Handzus last night once Saad had been moved up, and Bickell was back w/ Shaw (and Bolland) on the third. That line of Bickell-Bolland-Shaw was, when on the ice together, incredibly physical and didn’t make the stupid mistake we’ve all moaned about throughout the last few months.

    With Horton being banged up and Campbell already out for the series, Boston has a serious uphill climb ahead of them against a team that has a lot of weapons and a coach that has no problem mixing it up to find the right matchup.

  23. Tails says:

    I’m sorry Brad, but I don’t see Shaw as being in the Conn Smythe discussion. He’s great and adds a lot to the Hawks, but he’s not one of the main difference makers. I still think Crawford has a huge lead on the Conn Smythe race, with Keith and Hossa being second and third respectively.

  24. Mark L says:

    To me, it seemed as if Hossa was “pacing” himself through the Western conf rounds. Even though he was playing well, it seemed like he was holding back, or not at his peak level. After last night, I think we have seen Hossa play at his peak. He did not show up much on the score sheet, but oh boy, what a dominant performance.

    And welcome to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Dave Bolland! I was hoping Q would sit him as he has been horribly ineffective, but he absolutely rose to the occasion. Hopefully, he can continue to contribute for the duration of the series.

    I was concerned about the FO strength of the Bruins, but we were able to be successful at the dot, which made the game a lot easier to handle for the boys. I can’t imagine facing shot after shot from set plays in our end, Charra will break some bones if we give him too many chances like that.

    As many have wrote, we didn’t play our best game, but we won. I hope we can improve, and play better games as the series progresses. Boston certainly will, especially when they are the home team. It will be interesting to see how Q and Julien adjust their strategies for Game 2, the injuries will certainly play a big part if Horton is out.

    Let’s protect home ice, earn a split on the road, and then bring home the Cup!!

  25. Tab Bamford says:

    UPDATE: last night is why I laugh at people when they suggest buying out Marian Hossa.

  26. WAITFORAWHISTLE says:

    After the 5 on 3 you could hear a pin drop in the stadium. It took the crowd out of the game until Saad scored a very timely goal.

  27. Sr. Brad says:

    Well, and as I discussed a few days ago Tab, Hossa has huge value in this organization over the next 5-8 years even if he isn’t playing hockey on the ice for us…there probably isn’t a better prototypical player than Hossa…he does EVERYTHING well, and for Hoss to be in charge (along the lines of Barry Smith) of player development, it would advance the chances of our prospects infinitely…

    Hossa’s dad was a coach, and if Hoss ever wanted to, he would make a great one, IMO.

  28. Sr. Brad says:

    That’s okay Tails…everyone sees things differently…I see Shaw as a crucial player for our team in the playoffs. He was an enormous steal in the 5th round, as he contributed to the big club right away as well.

  29. Joey Zamboni says:

    In this day & age with all the technical advances you’d think TV coverage would catch up. We miss all the action when the puck is along the near wall, they can’t rotate camera angles…..?!?!?!??? Sorry for the interruption but as Peter Griffin says it just “grinds my gears”…….

  30. Tails says:

    @Joey: What’s worse is when they try to get fancy with unique camera angles where you can’t see anything. I remember one time last night when the Bruins were on the rush in overtime, and the TV coverage switched to a camera somewhere behind our goal. You could see the Bruin player get a shot off, but Crawford was offscreen, so the puck could have gone in, and you wouldn’t have been able to see it happen.

  31. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    What a game for the Hawks! What a game for David Bolland! 2 points and with last nights efforts Bolland is creeping back up to his career playoff average which is about.70 points per playoff game. So was Bolland hurt or what and is just now healthy? Anything you get from Bolland at this stage is complete icing!

    Saad’s best game of the playoffs too! Awesome shot and awesome game around the puck. His game seriously reminds me of Hossa, awesome back checker and awesome with the puck. I love Saads resilance to just take players on one and one or one on two. Ive been saying this for a LONG time but Saad is the best draft pick the Hawks made since Toews and Kane. No offense to Hammer or Shaw.

    Wonder how the lines will look on Saturday?

  32. Tim G says:

    On a side note to Bolland… How huge was that game to his trade value. If the organization does need to move cap, another few points would certainly make him more marketable to a team looking for a verteran center…

  33. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    2 more comments sorry; takeaways! 26-14 In favor of the Hawks awesome!

    Shots over 100 shot attempts for the Blackhawks! Keep it coming!

  34. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Tab anyone who wants to “buy out” Hossa for his on ice play is insane! His contact however is downright awful and could hamper the Hawks for year to come, but who cares now! 3 wins away!

  35. Tab Bamford says:

    Note in response to WaitForAWhistle’s comment re: the 5-on-3 quieting the UC last night:

    Saad scored his very timely goal at 3:08 in the second, more than 5 minutes before the 5-on-3 began.

  36. BigsmokeJ says:

    I continue to get frustrated every time the Hawks are on the power play. It’s just madding to watch. People in the neighborhood must think I’m crazy, by me consistently yelling shoot, shoot, shoot.
    Also I believe it was Eddie O who made a good comment, that if you look at their spacing it’s terrible and allows the other team the opportunity to blow up the play.

    Man how freighting would this team be with just a 15% success rate during the playoffs.

    It’s crazy.

  37. Peter says:

    Bigsmoke, I’m with you. I think they would be more successful simply shooting. The spacing is ridiculous and let’s not even talk about the lack of movement…

  38. BigsmokeJ says:

    Good point Peter that’s another issue. They each get their spots on the ice and they never rotate so the defense never has to move out of their spacing.
    Last I heard you can’t score a goal unless someone shoots the puck, so just shoot it.
    So far they have been able to over come it, lets just hope it holds up for 3 more wins.

  39. wall says:

    I am on the shoot the Puck on PP camp too…
    But B’s cover the shooting lanes like Bulls/Spurs/Pacers defend driving lanes.

    Really upsetting on PP is when other teams are aggressive and attack Hawks on side boards … we are content to chip it out to the blue-line guy 90′ from net…
    Hawks need to get a MAN to go to area in between circles- in that case…
    5-3 PP – B’s played a high 1-2 zone… Hawks – need to put someone in the middle of that triangle to draw the D out of shooting lanes- the top defender basically stood in between are points- that was a JOKE!!!

    B’s PP goal- 2 Hawks pressured puck on boards- Boston automatically chipped puck -to “in between circles area” and the Hawks PK was done!

  40. Tom Leonard says:

    All due respect to Hossa, (I love him on our team), I believe he has a flaw he could work on: he is brutal at catching passes. A couple times last night we had a nice play going with time a space and someone passed him the puck and he just did not cradle the puck and lost the whole play for us.

    Not trying to be critical, but I would not exactly say he does EVERYTHING well.

  41. WAITFORAWHISTLE says:

    @Tab, thanks for the correction on Saads goal. I blame it on lack of sleep lol. The 5 on 3 really did deflate the crowd and it was compounded with Boston only taking 12 or 13 seconds to score on their powerplay. I am to the point that I know the PP is going to be horrible but I just wish it wouldnt take momentum away from the team.

  42. McKay says:

    Three things I’m incredibly happy about:

    1) Crawford. Conn Smyth front runner hands down.

    2) We have answered the bell on physicality – first against DET – but more importantly now against two of perhaps the most physical teams in the NHL. We are dictating the physical play in WCF and now the SCF. Boston likes to dish it out, then don’t like getting hit back (or hit first).

    3) The depth has continued to produce. Of our top 9, it doesn’t matter who is on the ice – scoring chances are going to come. Of our top 4 D, they shut down and start puck possession. And even though the fourth line can’t finish and the third pair shit themselves from time to time, those guys are playing critical roles, eating good minutes, and I trust them when they’re on the ice in any situation.

    Only complaint – 5 on 3. Any time any NHL team has a 5 on 3 for a minute, that should be a goal. We’ve been shut out on two now. Just put Sharp/Seabs opposite Keith/Hossa/any other of the million L shots on the roster at the points, Toews and Kane low, and a donkey in front of the net and that will be better than whatever else they think that 5 on 3 is. Two left handed shots at the point makes it a 4 on 3.

    Final comment, well played Boston. Wow, what a game. This series should be a classic.

    Go Hawks!

  43. torourke says:

    I was fortunate enough to have been there last night (first time in over twenty years) and my thoughts are the same as Travis. We played well enough to win, but were fortunate to get the bounces that Boston did not. We were sitting behind Crawford at the end of the second OT and I thought for sure that shot from Chara was going in. I thought it did go in actually and could not understand why the light didn’t go on. Crawford’s save after that on Bergeron was incredible.

    Hammer had a night to forget, but I don’t see him repeating the mistakes he made that led to their first two goals. Krejci is very, very good, but I think Hammer makes the necessary adjustments going forward. We can be better defensively.

    I thought Nick Leddy had a really solid game. His pinched well, did well on the rush, won battles in the corners, took a hit to make a pass, and overall played mistake-free. It was a game to build on.

    Watching Hossa back check in person is amazing. His stride is so powerful. At one point, he caught up to Kelly–a very good player in his own right–knocked the puck away from and then threw him to the ice like he was little kid.

    Amazing to think that the Hawks have already put twice as many pucks past Rask as the Pens did in their entire series. Rask was very good, but his comments afterwards betrayed some real immaturity/selfishness. Throwing a teammate like that under the bus–especially a rookie–cannot sit well with the others in that locker room. It will be interesting to see the fallout from that, to say nothing of Horton’s injury.

    The hockey gods were smiling on us last night, so let’s hope we can win in regulation come Saturday.

  44. Mike says:

    Tom L, in respect to Hossa handling passes, sometimes it is not his fault. Toews often passes so hard to beat the encroaching Dmen that his passes are sometimes hard to handle. But to your point, Big Hoss doesn’t like to look down much either……

    SSHM, I agree that Hossa DOES look over his shoulder to avoid contact. In the middle of a HOF career he gets knocked out for months with one hit. I think he and management knows that a more careful Hossa is still a great asset to the team.

  45. Negzz says:

    re Hossa: Agreed that no one in their right mind would want to buyout Hossa this season or even for the next 3-4 years or so. The problem is that he’s signed to a $5mil+ cap hit through 2021 (when he’ll be 40 yrs old.) That means even if/when you get 4 more good/great years out of him you will STILL have 4 more years of heavy cap weight on the team. If I understand the CBA buyout clause and you do not buy him out, even if he voluntarily retires after 4 more yrs, you are penalized as a team for what could be similar or larger cap hit thru the remainder of the contract. In other words, buy him out after next year or you are likely going to be cap-hammered no matter what happens. If it’s an injury, long-term disability type “retirement” (ala Pronger), I believe you are not cap penalized, so for a player like Hoss who may be 1-more concussion type hit away from retirement, that’s also a consideration.

    My view: Hossa is obviously a great player and influence on the team. He plays the game the way we teach/coach our kids and he’s a solid citizen. We do not win the Cup in ’10 without him, and he’s a big reason for where we are in this years SCF’s. If you’re ever going to reward a guy for contributions to the team/organization, Hoss is that guy. Regardless, these cap issues are variables you HAVE to consider. As such, I would hold 1 of our amnesty options for next summer and revisit how everyone (including Hoss), feels about it then.

  46. Tab Bamford says:

    I believe/assume/hope most agree with Negzz’s statement that Hossa should be fine for 3-4 more years, and the only reason anyone is bringing up a compliance buyout of Hossa is because they’re scared he’ll retire before his deal is completed and effectively crush the Hawks’ cap at some point down the road. However, to only view Hossa’s long-term situation as an either/or is fairly short-sighted.

    Let’s say, hypothetically, that after the 2016-17 season Hossa looks like he has maybe 1 or 2 more good seasons in him (see Selanne, Teemu; 2013). At that point, Hossa would be 38 years old. In this hypothetical, let’s say the Blackhawks decide it would be a good idea for Hossa to end his career somewhere else.

    The Blackhawks can only use their 2 compliance buyouts in the summer of 2013 or 2014. So a buyout in 2017 would fall into the traditional buyout (still impacts the cap) reality. What would a traditional buyout of a 38-year-old Hossa look like in 2017? Here’s the calculations of a Marian Hossa buyout from CapGeek.com:

    2017-18: $4,608,333
    2018-19: $4,608,333
    2019-20: $4,608,333
    2020-21: $4,608,333
    2021-22: $333,333
    2022-23: $333,333
    2023-24: $333,333
    2024-25: $333,333

    So… you take a cap hit for four years of less than the minimum salary in the league instead of an $18M+ recapture penalty by buying Hossa before he retires. And his cap hit actually comes down over $600k from 2017-2020.

    This is why I throw out any talk of using a compliance buyout on Hossa. He’s too valuable now to throw him away, and there is an option to remove the contract down the road w/out him crushing the cap.

  47. Mike says:

    Tab, If Hossa voluntarily retires from the game, the Hawks still get his full cap hit?

  48. Tab Bamford says:

    No, they would get hit w/ a significant cap penalty, depending on when Hossa retired. That’s the only reason the idea of Hossa being one of the Hawks’ compliance buyouts would ever come up.

  49. Hawkey says:

    Tab: I feel taking a $4.6m/year cap hit for 4 years is “crushing”. To me, that’s lie taking a solid second line wing or D ($4+m type player) and starting each of those 4 years w that player injured. Most other teams are playing w a $64m cap, and we’re fielding a team w only $60m. And that’s when Toews/Kane next contracts kick in. Lets look at 2017 and 2018 w Hossa buyout and new contracts for Toews and Kane.

    Assume the cap goes up 3% per year. In 2017/18, it will be roughly $72m. We will have Toews and Kane and Hoss buyout easily taking $20m for two players. Try to build the rest of your roster from that. No fun. Really hard to put together a lineup without decimating the core of this team.

    Hoss is my favorite Blackhawk. But understanding the choices just a little from reading blogs like yours, a compliance buyout of Hoss after 13/14 season seems like it must be considered.

  50. Hawkey says:

    I guess another way to look at it is that the pipeline better really produce 2 guys like Saad and Shaw each year for the next 4 years. There’s likely no room in 2017 for $5m guys like Seabrook, Sharp, Craw, etc. I think Pens are in that situation today w Crosby and Malkin and $64m cap. Really hard to field a competitive team starting out w$17m on two players.

    The production of the current pipeline will determine our future. Meaning developing several stars, not just solid 3rd line and 3rd pairing players.

  51. Tab Bamford says:

    Is it ideal to have a $4M cap hit on a player that’s somewhere else? No. Is it better than a $9M or $18M cap penalty if he retires? Absolutely.

    The multi-million dollar questions are:

    1) Can the Hawks afford to have one of Montador/Olesz hitting their cap when it comes down for the 2013-14 season?
    2) Can the Hawks adequately replace Hossa in 2014-15 (assuming, as some have argued, that Hossa would be a compliance buyout in 2014)?

    We cannot predict the future of the organization or the health of any individual player, especially Hossa. But I believe the 2013-14 Hawks are a better team with him in the lineup.

  52. Tom Jaremka says:

    In my humble opinion, Hossa is a player that you want on your team. He is consistent in his play, always in good condition, a ferocious back checker and responsible defensively. He is also the consummate pro and is a great example for younger players. He is also one of those players who can play with anyone in any situation. He is a coaches dream.

    As he gets older he will lose a step, naturally. But because he is such a versatile player, he can play on a 3rd or 4th line and be very valueable and he won’t bitch and moan to the coach or the media. He’s not built like that. He’ll do whatever it takes to win. Ex: In the first game against the Bruins he protected the net, without a stick, while Crawford scrambled back into position.

    He’s a bargain at his salary for another few years. He can play until he’s 42, like Selanne.

  53. Hawkey says:

    Eat Hoss at $9 m or $18m penalty in the future, or eat Olesz for one year at $2+m? I think one year of Olesz is not worth a compliance buyout. Save it for next year, whether Hossa or some other contingency.

  54. Sr. Brad says:

    Hossa is well aware of his contract situation, and there is NO WAY he would arbitrarily retire on the Hawks without some detailed planning…not unless there was an injury, and if there is an injury, the Hawks are NOT penalized, and his salary (if the injury is long term) does not count against the cap. So, moving forward with Hossa can make sense on that basis…but no matter how good Hoss is as a player (and he’s one of the best all time), its still a significant risk the Hawks are taking…

    Tab, couldn’t the Hawks after this season sit down with Hossa and his agent and restructure his contract? In other words, could the Hawks and Hossa sit down this summer and tear up the old contract and sign a new, say, 3 year deal for $18-20 million?

  55. Sr. Brad says:

    I think you are right Hawkey, I believe Olescz’s salary drops down to like $2 million this coming season…let him solidify Rockford and help out McNeil and Danault for 1 year and then you let him walk…Montador is the guy who needs to be gone…that gives us one compliance buyout left for the following summer…and options are always great to have…

  56. Mike says:

    Yup….The Pens are putting lots of their dough into 2 players. $9.5MM for Malkin is crazy IMO. The Pens are going to have to let some RFAs and UFAs walk this summer. In 14-15 the Pens will have 6 players tying up a whopping $34MM.

  57. Tab Bamford says:

    Again… there are too many people thinking there are ONLY two options w/ 81. Hawkey isn’t considering a traditional buyout as a third avenue, which I outlined the cost of earlier in these comments. The Hawks have options w/ Hossa, but the most important reality is that he’s still a very good piece of a championship-contending team.

    to Brad’s question: No. They can’t rip up Hossa’s contract and write a new one. That isn’t an NHL reality.

  58. Tab Bamford says:

    re: keeping Olesz on the payroll…

    Remember in 2010 when Toews & Kane received nice little bonuses because the Blackhawks won the Cup? And remember how those bonuses played a role in a veteran being dealt out of town (Ladd)? Keep that in mind for a moment…

    Demoting Olesz would make his cap hit $2.2M next year. If we assume the Hawks demote Olesz & use a compliance buyout on Montador, and they don’t bring anyone up from Rockford except Ben Smith (who has a one-way deal next year), the Hawks would have 17 players signed with $7.1M in cap space.

    That $7.1M would have to afford the team re-signing RFAs Leddy & Kruger, adding a 6th defenseman (unless you’re happy w/ 82 gms of Brookbank), adding 1-2 more forwards (possibly including Bickell) and a back-up goaltender.

    Good luck accomplishing all of that in $7.1M.

    If we add Hayes, Morin & Raanta to the NHL mix, we’re down to $4.7M to keep Bickell, Leddy & Kruger, and add a 6th defenseman and look for depth at forward. (in short, Bickell’s gone.)

    Another scenario, that Hawkey alluded to, would be using a regular buyout on Olesz. In that scenario, according to CapGeek, Olesz would have a 2013-14 cap hit of $291,667, and a 2014-15 cap hit of $1,416,667. The Hawks could retain a compliance buyout for the summer of 2014 in that scenario, while cutting most of the cost of Olesz off their books.

    In the regular buyout of Olesz scenario, the Hawks would have approx. $6.7M to keep Bickell, Leddy, Kruger and look for a couple depth players. Not a huge dollar amount still, but certainly more comfortable than $4.7M.

    If the 2010 Blackhawks could have chosen to remove one/both of the bonuses owed Toews & Kane from the cap for the following season so they could afford to bring back a player (Ladd), do you think they would have made that choice? Bickell might not be the player Ladd is, but you might be choosing between Olesz wasting both a roster spot in Rockford and cap space in Chicago and Bickell being a Blackhawk next year.

  59. wall says:

    Barring injuries- Hoss can play and be effective at around 40…
    His IQ is at the top of the NHL… and he isn’t going to get dumber.

    even watching Jagr- (who Hoss will be faster than @ same age)… the guy just knows were to go and is strong as an ox- Hoss will be at least that good (which ain’t bad)

  60. Hawkey says:

    Tab: 1st of all, I think I qualified somewhere in my posts that I just know a little bit about these different options. Thanks for adding the “regular buyout”, which I neglected.

    My basic point here is that the Hossa contract is simply a BIG issue. As you pointed out in your 13/14 example of Olesz, that mere $2m for one year really changes the roster flexibility…lose Bickell at least. now project that same sort of math for the 4 years of Hossa at $4.6m, right after the next contracts for Toews/Hossa, a huge issue. There seem to be lots of options…compliance buyout, play a lot more years, injury related end to career. I just think regular buyout and cap penalty are really bad options, and managing the other Hossa options is cap priority #1.

  61. Hawkey says:

    Does Montador simply have no value at all??? Can he be a capable 5-6D on Hawks next year? Can he be traded for a bag of pucks? If he is healthy now, why does he have zero value? If he’s not healthy, why isn’t he an retired-injury candidate?

    Same questions for Olesz. Can he be traded for a bag of pucks? Can he play a 4th line role for Hawks next year?

    Are there any options to remove either or use either without buyouts?

  62. Tab Bamford says:

    @Hawkey: the differences between wasting roster space on Olesz now and the $4.6M on Hossa in 2017 are pretty significant. First, the Hawks have already allocated $600k per season more than that number for Hossa to be on the roster, and secondly the cap will have gone up over the next four years, making Hossa’s number easier to stomach. The Hawks have some flexibility and certainly aren’t in a desperate place with an underwhelming player making a lot of money (see Richards, Brad).

  63. Hawkey says:

    Final thought (for now). There will be a trade this summer to fix this a bit. It will be painful, as it will be a player we all love. I’m not down on Bolland as much as others. But it seems to me there are two cheaper replacements sitting on Hawks roster today, Shaw and Krueger. Or something has to happen at D. I suspect one of Hammer or Oduya are gone.

    Next year’s D likely to be:
    Seabs Dunc
    Leddy +1 of hammer/Oduya
    Rosival (resigned) plus one call-up
    Brookbank

  64. Hawkey says:

    That $600k is meaningless to the argument. The two scenarios are Hossa (easily a top one player, future HOF) holding down a $5.2m roster spot today, or a good Rockford prospect holding down the same $5.2m roster spot in 2017. I say $5.2 in 2017 because that roster spot will be $4.6m hit plus $600k salary for a prospect.

    But your comment on cap growth is certainly a good hope. I also think this cap reduction this year will put downward pressure on salaries, which will help in the math for the next couple years. I think a guy like Rosival will not find many suitors and will be singable at reasonable cap.

  65. Hawkey says:

    I still say that a $4.6m cap hit in 2017 is the equivalent of a 2nd line wing or 2nd pair D sitting on your bench and not playing all year. $4.6m, no matter the salary cap in 2017, represents the 6th to 8th best player on your team.

    Eating Olesz on the roster is the difference between affording Oduya or Clendening on your roster for one year. $4.6m is the difference between Clendening and SEABROOK…for FOUR years.

    Again, I have limited understanding of the issues and options. And I’m not the GM and I’m guessing they DO know these things well. But the Hossa contract is a huge issue for cap management from a long term perspective. I think it is cap challenge #1.

  66. Sr. Brad says:

    There is no way Rozy is re signed…as great of a signing as he has been.

    It is time for Stanton…he can’t wait any longer, and Adam Clendening was an AHL all star in his 1st season…he is the PP QB that this team desperately needs. Both Clendening and Stanton will compete with Brookbank in camp for the 6/7 spots…Hammer and Oduya aren’t going anywhere just yet.

    And as for the roster next season, Bickell has recently stated that he wants to come back to the Hawks…Bowman has recently said Bickell is a priority…he’ll be back…Leddy, Kruger and Shaw will all be resigned as well. That means Handzus, Rozy, and Stahlberg will all be cut loose by this organization, and likely Bolland and Frolik traded. That gives us all the room we need to resign everyone we need to. Pirri will be given the chance to win the #2 Centre spot, if not, they will look to Kruger. Shaw is your 3rd line guy. Saad and Hossa will return to bookmark Toews…Kane and Sharp will help Pirri along…Bicks and Ben Smith will rock the 3rd line with Shaw, and Kruger will centre a combination of Morin, Hayes and Bollig.

    Keith/Seabrook on the 1st pairing, Hammer/Oduya on the 2nd, and Leddy skates with 2 of the following 3…Stanton, Clendening and Brookbank. Crawford and Raanta in net…this is a roster that fits the cap, and gives us a huge shot at winning another cup.

  67. Morrison says:

    Yea, that looks right.

    Bicks isnt going anywhere (3-3.5/yr & lifetime supply of Sushi/under the table). Trade Fros contract & buyout those two (if you cant trade to floorteam w/something), then we can keep Bolly for his contract length. Everybody has an off yr once/5yrs… Think about who did the previous one… Id like to see a full year with Bicks, a healthy 3rd line Bolly and Shawzer.

    Rozy could sign for 1/yr if we want to (if both are buyout…). I think Stanton & Brookbank play 35 each and Clendening gets in 10 (unless he progresses real well, I could see him in for the second 40 games & on…). Oduya stays his contract, then Leads (after he sign for 2yrs, then gets Oduyas money…) takes his spot & Clendening takes his… Pirris turn (Leblanc could play 10-20 games).

    Salary cap will go up enough by then to cover Tazer, Kaner & Saaders contract raises. The good thing is except for Tazer & Kaner all of our core is already at the highest theyll be at/yr in career. Then when Sharpy & Seabs are up (35+ age) theyll sign for less & Saad, Teuvo, etc. future core players will then be up for the higher amounts. Bowman has a plan that will come to full cycle and then roll over the years. Keep the farm stacked & the calvary will keep coming in, when needed.

  68. Sr. Brad says:

    Sorry Morrison, you are absolutely right…Pirri will have to compete hard with LeBlanc for that 2nd line centre role…I forgot about Drew, that was another good signing by Bowman…

  69. Hawkey says:

    Tab: what do we know about Montador? Is he healthy? Can he play in NHl next year? I know so little about him. If he were an unrestricted free agent today, what would he sign for this year? How does he compare to Rosival and Brookbank?

    I just don’t understand how he went from $2.7m multi-year signing to injured to worthless slug? I think there’s a jump here among the uninformed (including me) that if Brookbank and Montador can’t crack our top 6, they are worthless slugs. Nobody has convinced me they can’t be traded (given away) to some team that can use their talent.

  70. Tails says:

    Brad: I agree with your roster for next year. I think they should try to keep Frolik, but they might not be able to fit his salary in under the cap. Also Shaw still has 1 more year on his deal, and then he’ll be a RFA. So he isn’t getting a new contract until 2014.

  71. wall says:

    Frolik- is a very hard worker- great skater- great checker… hope to keep him-seems to have a lot of bad luck… then again, when hawks placed him on top line- he did produce!

    He is being paid 3rd line money to skate 4th line- so if Hawks think he is legit 2nd/3rd line player- they will keep… if they don’t – he will eventually move.

  72. Sr. Brad says:

    Tails/Wall, I would love to have Frolik back and reward him for his incredible season, but we might not be able to justify his salary on the 4th line…tough call, as I see Frolik as an important part of this team…but does Ben Smith take his place adequately, with more production, for a fraction of the cost???

  73. Mike says:

    Any idea why Leddy saw only 2 minutes of ice time last night?

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