Blackhawks Fall To Wild

The Minnesota Wild came into the United Center and easily handed the Blackhawks their second regulation loss of the 2013-14 season.

There weren’t many positives for the Hawks on Saturday night. With special teams continuing to be a concern, the Hawks were short-handed five times, allowing only one goal. Chicago’s one power play goal game with just over seven minutes left in regulation from Patrick Kane, but only brought the Hawks to within two of the Wild.

Corey Crawford allowed five goals against 25 shots, but it’s hard to hate his performance. The Wild had a number of great looks at the net from within 15 feet, and a good Minnesota team capitalized on their opportunities.

At the other end of the rink, Niklas Backstrom allowed three goals against 36 shots on the night, and made a number of huge saves at key moments to keep the Hawks from getting back into the game.

One save Backstrom didn’t make was on a goal that was disallowed by Toronto. Trailing 2-0 in the second period, the Hawks’ third line attacked the net and appeared to score Chicago’s first goal of the night. The initial ruling on the ice was a good goal, but the league review ruled that Andrew Shaw had touched the puck with a stick above the crossbar, and the goal was taken off the board.

The discussion among the on-ice officials and league office in Toronto took over eight minutes of real time to be completed.

Bryan Bickell scored with a few minutes of the delay, but any momentum was short-lived. Jason Pominville scored his first of two goals in the game less than four minutes after Bickell’s goal to push Minnesota’s lead back to two.

Bickell’s goal was his fourth in as many games, and he remained on the Hawks’ third line that was the team’s most consistent on the night. With newly recalled Jeremy Morin on the opposite wing and Andrew Shaw at center, the trio was as good as any line Chicago put on the ice on Saturday night. They combined for nine shots on net and 11 hits in the game, and both Shaw and Morin drew penalties.

Unfortunately, most of the other Blackhawks spent too much time in the penalty box for the offense to find any rhythm.

The Hawks’ penalty kill unit will get a nice boost statistically after killing four of five short-handed situations, but the fact that the team took five penalties in a game is ridiculous.

The fact that Chicago was only able to convert one of seven power plays is laughable.

These two teams will face each other again on Monday night, and the Hawks will look to change some bad trends that have developed in the last couple games.

With the team’s offense struggling, the Blackhawks must get their power play on track. They have done a good job of getting the man advantage – they have had 13 power play opportunities in their last two games – but have only converted twice.

The Hawks have allowed three power play goals in nine short-handed situations over their last two games.

Nick Leddy led the Hawks’ offense with two assists, and Jonathan Toews won 18 of 29 faceoffs. Patrick Kane skated 7:29 on the power play and 19:44 overall, but was credited with only two shots on net and two that missed the mark. Patrick Sharp led the Blackhawks with seven shots on net.

Brandon Bollig skated only ten shifts, but was credited with his first NHL assist and four hits in the game. Marcus Kruger scored his first goal of the season with 30 seconds left in regulation.

Looking at the impact of the Rockford call-ups, Brad Mills won two of three faceoffs in only 8:42 on Saturday night, but was credited with five hits. Brandon Pirri, meanwhile, won two of four faceoffs in 11:01 on the ice. Pirri did see almost four minutes of ice time on the power play against the Wild.

Of the three IceHogs forwards that skated on Saturday night, Morin looked the most at-home in a Blackhawks’ sweater.

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49 Responses to Blackhawks Fall To Wild

  1. McKay says:

    I was thinking the same thing – Morin looks like a regular Hawk.

    Backstrom played big in the net. The Hawks (especially Sharp) had a lot of good looks but the puck just continued to find a piece of Backstrom.

    Shaw ought to know better than to raise his stick in the air like that. It accomplishes nothing. That being said, I don’t think anyone knew how Toronto was going to rule on that play. Very funny play and it swung the momentum of that period.

    The Hawks should be ashamed of that home game. Hopefully this loss sparks something.

  2. SalPerez says:

    Time for some trade movement

  3. shamrock says:

    I thought Morin played well also. I hope they give him at least 10 games to show what he has.

  4. shamrock says:

    While I don’t think you need to make a trade just yet. If they can’t find a legit 2nd line center currently on the roster or in the system they are going to have make that move sooner rather than later. And I would still like to see a physical d man added.

  5. bollandio says:

    Hangover pushing thru their denial of said hangover.. consistently out-hustled by lesser teams. Not fun to watch IMHO.

  6. RgrDoc says:

    I think they are adding and subtracting to the the game time roster so other teams can get a look at their younger guys at the NHL level (Morin & Mills). Trying to increase their trade value for a 2nd line center. I think Rozsival is on thin ice. Look for him to be part of a trade package. I would bet Stan is working the phones hard. He doesn’t wait too long, even when things are not terrible. Look at the Savard out, Quinville situation. Changes are coming soon (imao).

  7. wall says:

    Bollandio- Outhustled, or is it that the team speed is just not there?

    I didn’t watch last nite- cuz I just don’t see the same product/Team that we saw last year. Speed and passing/shooting (in that order) – is not there… back-up goalie is awful…
    AND Hawks are in the “easiest” part of the schedule!!!

    Kane is -9… if Hawks skate 19/81 together… Kane is exposed for the “floater” that he is… So Q has to skate 19 w/ 88 (which he doesn’t like to do -due to a good checking line will negate.) which then leads to Low scoring games -dictated by bottom 3 lines…
    2nd line has been weak (mainly cuz no true 2nd C)… which leads to a game of #3’s vs. #4 lines and Special Teams… Hawks are getting KILLED on Special teams!!!!!!
    and 3rd/4th lines don’t have luxuries- 67/25/36 any more!

    Hawks are screwed in near term due to CC contract… Raanta is looking good- and Hawks could have that money for a true 2nd C… better hope that one of Hogs Centers are ready to make jump sooner than later.
    The only other option is to move 10 back to Center- which really – someone must be against!

    I wouldn’t mind seeing A. Broadhurst or McNeill/Danault get a shot by game 25-30…
    but probably not ready this year… Nice to see that Hogs are playing well…

  8. Sr. Brad says:

    The NHL 82 game schedule is ridiculously long, and this is just one game, so all anyone can do is move forward…the only real problem is that this weak performance attached itself to the the Tampa and Florida games, which now becomes a problem…since Q called out the Hawks for not scoring, our team defence has become riff with mistakes…even in Florida, if not for CC at key moments the Panthers could easily have potted 5…I was concerned when Q made these comments, because offence will always come in time, defence won’t…offence can be turned on and off, team defence can’t…the Hawks have won 2 SCs in 4 years because of team defence, not our offence…for example, had Savard kept coaching the Hawks in 2010 we would have zero SC wins but records for goal scoring…which would you rather have???

    Add to this it was another evening when an opposition goalie outplayed ours…and that’s not to say CC is weak, he’s not…he’s a SC winner, but against Backstrom’s performance last night, CC looked like a rookie call up, being caught back in his crease FAR TOO OFTEN on goals from the slot…Backstrom has a history of playing well against the Hawks and did so again…it is perfectly reasonable to speculate that not for some of the most remarkable saves I have seen in a while, the Hawks could have potted 8 last night…but at what expense??? Giving up 5? It isn’t worth it…

    Right now we have no 2nd line…and this is no exaggeration…Sharp and Saad’s production has come when they have been on other lines…Kane’s is almost exclusively on the PP…Patrick Kane is MINUS 9 right now, on a team with only one other minus player, the horrible Rozy, at minus 2…that speaks MASSIVE volumes about that 2nd line…Handzus has been a bust there…last night Kruger played his worst game as a Hawk (even though he scored a nice goal with 30 seconds left) and why is that? Because he was asked to play an important role that he is not cut out to play…and when Pirri was given the odd shift there, he looked lost…our first line will always take care of itself…the 3rd line is the best in the league (even with a carousel of wingers), and our 4th line always produces when given a shot…its that 2nd line that is getting us killed…they can’t score and all they do is get scored on…and amazingly, Q often seems to put Leddy/Rozy/Brookbank on when they are on the ice??? Sado Masochism anyone???

    Right now Q needs to get a grip with his lineup and set the team up for success until some answers can be found…first, like it or not, Kane has to skate with Toews…there is NO ONE ELSE (perhaps Shaw) that can be trusted to keep Kane in the black instead of the read…as nice as it is to skate Toews and Hoss together, its a luxury that we can’t afford right now…the first line can be Toews centring Kane and Saad/Bickell, with a 2nd line of Pirri/Shaw/Handzus centring Hossa and Sharp…it would be great to keep Shaw centring the 3rd line with Bickell and Morin if possible because that line is dynamite…I thought they might, and speculated on this back in the summer…but if necessary, Kruger can centre the 3rd line and Pirri can easily handle the 4th line duties, of which he has done a good with thus far.

    Changes are coming you say??? Not from without…the Hawks have all the talent they need from within to deal with any of these issues…Adam Clendening and Dylan Olsen are both ready to step up to the Hawks and step in…Kostka will be back in another 5 weeks…Brookbank has been serviceable…as for the forwards, the talent is there, even at the 2nd line centre spot, but Q has to use the right pairings to ensure success, and most importantly, he has to lay the law down again about team defence…our talent is so deep and good that we will continue to win all those 2-1, 3-2 games, but we won’t win these 6-5, 5-4 games because the offence comes at a cost of exposing our faster, smaller defensive corp…

    The talent in this organization is REAL and not perceived…Hayes dominated in Rockford last night, and he can’t get into the lineup here…Morin played one game and would have been our first star, if we had won, in about 10 minutes of ice time…Pirri can play if he is given stable line mates and ice time…and in his last 2 games (matching 2 poor goalie outings by Hawk netminders) Anti Raanta has stood on his head…HE’S READY FOLKS…his conditioning is strong…he understands his surroundings and the style of game, and looks like a wall in the net right now…the Hawks can give Khabby another chance if they wish, but make no mistake, Raanta’s talent is real and its ready…

    Right now the Hawks are struggling because Q wanted more goals at any cost…all we have to do is tighten things back up and skate a RESPONSIBLE 2nd line and we will be right back at winning all those 2-1 hockey games…there’s nothing to panic over and there is no big trade needed…what is needed is for Q to focus and do his job a little better and more responsibly…and yes, a little help from our STs wouldn’t hurt either Mr. Kampon.

  9. ebonyraptor says:

    As the HoF basketball coach John Wooden famously said “don’t mistake activity for achievement”. It seems to me, had he been alive today, he may have been thinking of the Hawks offense when he said that. Lot’s of action with little results.

    But while the sputtering 5-on-5 offense gets much of the attention, it really isn’t that far off from last season when the Hawks were the best 5-on-5 scoring team in the league. If Sharp and a few others convert their scoring chances close to their career shooting percentage average, this isn’t even a topic of conversation. So I think 5-on-5 scoring will come around and isn’t really a problem.

    Faceoffs are still a problem, especially defensive zone faceoffs and even more so on the penalty kill. But that really isn’t all that much different than last season either.

    What is different is that those lost faceoffs are ending up in the Hawk’s net more often than last season. The Hawks have given up 10 goals on the PK through the first 11 games.

    They were 25th in the league in 2010/11 with a 79.2 kill percentage, 27th in the league in 2011/12 with a 78.1 kill percentage, and last in the league so far this season with a 72.2 kill percentage. The outlier was last season when the Hawks were 3rd in the league with a 87.2 kill percentage.

    When hockey games are often decided by one goal, giving up almost one goal per game on the PK is not a recipe for success. The average PK goals given up per game between this season and last is more 0.5 goals per game.

    The Hawks will probably still make the playoffs and maybe even still be one of the top teams in the West, but unless they fix the PK to resemble last season, I fear their playoff results will resemble 2010/11 and 2011/12.

  10. Sr. Brad says:

    Wall, I just read your comments after I posted mine…basically we said the same thing…one thing you missed last night was Jeremy Morin…Q did NOT give him a lot of ice time, but he was VERY good and noticeable all night long…as I mentioned earlier, he’s here to stay, and he fit in perfectly with Shaw and Bickell on that 3rd line…they gave the Wild fits all game…and it was Morin’s goal that was called off by Toronto (and it should have counted). So no need to panic…as you said, who ever they have playing 2nd line centre for now (until TT arrives) just needs to be centring Sharp and Hossa…Kaner must skate with Toews…I think a setup like this will keep us winning games…

    Saad-Toews-Kane
    Sharp-Pirri/Zus-Hossa
    Bickell-Shaw-Morin
    Bollig-Kruger-Smith

    As for D Wall, Clendening and Olsen have been paired together and Dylan has experienced a rebirth, and I think he can come up and pair with Leddy nicely, especially if it is every other night…Clendening is definitely ready, but not to be paired with Leddy…he needs Sebs or Hammer…

  11. Sr. Brad says:

    ER great post…defensive zone F/Os are a huge problem, EVEN for Tazer…

    Q said it last night…far too many times, a F/O is won in our zone by the opposition and bang, its in the net…Kruger and Shaw are great Hawk players and good centremen, but they still struggle at the dot…especially Kruger in our own zone, where he basically loses EVERY SINGLE draw taken there…

    Of note, since being called up, Pirri is at 50% and not being given a chance to help us at the dot.

  12. shamrock says:

    The question is who do the hawks have to trade for a legitimate 2nd line center. Teams are going to want value back. They only two forwards I see being tradeable are sharp and hossa. Toews, Kane, Saad, bickel, aren’t going anywhere and Kruger,Shaw, bollig, handzus, don’t have value. Same thing with d men seabrook, Keith, hammer are staying and Rosie, brookbank don’t have value. That leaves leddy and oduya.

  13. Morrison says:

    No one is going anywhere… We have all the players we need to win (2-1 or 6-4 games). We’ll only add to what we already have at deadline, a good forward. We could package one/some of our prospects, if its for a natural top6 center… Like those guys said, its not a trade/changes that’s going to solve everything, its our effort & proper line ups. Q is just trying everything/body out to see what works and doesn’t. After the first 20 games, he’ll have a standard lineup. he does it every year. We’re going to have a good season. We might not need to be 55-25 to win the division…

    We’ve only played really good for about 1 period in most games. We still haven’t played really good game for 60min yet. We’ve only played good (not bad) so far. I think its going to take a good 10-20 games to get warmed up to the season. Then when were settled in, we actually start playing Blackhawk hockey, everything will take care of itself because of our skill & who we are. Even the pk percentage, this team is no where near the same as ’11 & ’12 teams (roster wise)… It might look it now with some stats, but most stats right now are fools gold.

    Keeping things in perspective, its a 82 game season and nothing counts now except for W/L/T… I am sure by the time were playing the better teams, we will be playing a lot better. Its a blessing in disguise that we get to play more teams from the east while were getting our act together. Whats the Cambell conference 45-15 vs. the east.

  14. Morrison says:

    SRBRAD, those lines look like right.

    Role 4 lines!

  15. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    This team got an overdue wakeup call. Been playing arrogant and less than full throttle. This game will serve to cure all that. Good news.

    Time for some unvarnished reality too. Leddy is not living up to the hype. I’ve been on his case since last season and am of the conclusion that Clendening will be his replacement by next season. Leddy needs to be traded by no later than next offseason. He’s got athletic skill and good hockey talent. But his limits are becoming apparent and the Hawks likely have a better and cheaper alternative in Clendening.

    Hossa? Father Time is catching up. We can’t expect to lean on him hard in the regular season. As soon as we recognize this then we can positively adapt.

    Rosival needs to go on the IR with phantom injury. Either that or go in strict platoon with Brookbank.

    Pirri doesn’t belong here. I’ve said this from the beginning. Ditto Smith. Ditto Hayes. They are nothing more than Rockford shuttle filler and we need to recognize and adjust to this soon. Danault is the answer at Center. Don’t really care if he struggles himself to score goals.

  16. RyanDale says:

    I wanted to sleep on it before commenting. This team needs to get away from the UC . I’ve always felt road trips can be instrumental in teams finding themselves when they’ve been struggling. Dont ask me why, but it can and does work. You simplify things and you find an identity when on the road. It can turn a PK unit on a dime. And the circus cant come to town soon enough for me.

    I have always preferred 10/81 skating together and frankly I’ve grown sick about this whole 2nd Center mess thats been running for years now. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa are two of the best teammates you could ever ask for. They play hard, they play hurt, and they act the way professional hockey players should, when on and off ice. They are world class players, and every team in the league would love to have them on their roster. They deserve better than what they are getting here. And that goes from Wirtz to Kompon. Throw these All Stars a bone and get them some help. This is a new year. The last Cup is history.Find someone who can play between these two and put the fear of God into every team when they see the names of our 4 lines posted on their boards in their dressing rooms!

    Thought Morin looked solid, nice job.

  17. Reg Dunlop says:

    Let’s not forget that the NHL has an 82 game season. The season is a GRIND!! Very seldom does a team dominate for all 82 games and then dominate in the playoffs. Although the Hawks are treading water, they know what it takes to pace themselves and get into the playoffs healthy and on a roll.

    As far as the boys in Rockford go…….they are all good, solid AHL players. But the distance from Rockford to Chicago isn’t 100 miles, it’s 1000 miles. Most players that play very well in the minors are either “serviceable” NHL players or practice players who can’t crack an NHL lineup. There are no Patrick Sharp’s or Marion Hossa’s lurking in Rockford, believe me. There are no Kruger’s or even a Brookbank.

    Sure, once a decade you may find a “late bloomer” who finds his way to the NHL and can score 25/25 and be a “contributor” at the NHL level, but not very often. Remember, the NHL is a very punishing league both mentally and physically. Players will not give you the benefit of the doubt. They will exploit any weakness that you have and beat you up just for the fun of it, along the way. They know when you are timid and they will pounce on you like a tiger on a lamb.

    So before you start with your list of who to bring up and who to trade, remember this…….NOBODY, not even the player himself, knows if he can make it in the NHL. There are thousands of “can’t miss” guys who are now playing in the men’s leagues all over the world, living regular lives like all of us on this blog.

    I like this team. It may take awhile to get the train rolling down the tracks, this year, but I believe that we are still able to get to the cup finals, again.

  18. wall says:

    Brad- how Morin didn’t make team from start??? I really think the Hawks are trying to control his $$$ going into RFA year… if he plays 82 g, and scores 16-20 goals- he is going to be expensive! Q – should play Morin as a Young sniper/Sharp role on PP… if he doesn’t- that tells me I am right, and Hawks are trying to control is $$$!!!

    The Avs and Blues are for Real!!! Hawks might finish 3rd in division… but injuries could change this for any/all of these teams. Duchene is a BEAST!

    Re: Lines- Really I don’t like Hayes cuz he can’t skate! But as I have stated before- Hayes only works in O zone behind or in front of net… the Only way he plays well w/ Hawks is if he is on 1st line w/ 19/88 ( were his strengths can be used) – ask Hayes to play D and react/check other top lines=trouble!!!

    2nd Line C- still an issue (RyanDale great post)…
    Question to all- Looked at CapGeek- Hawks have around $1M available… but there is this AAV category that says Hawks will have $5M+ available at trade deadline???
    Can any one explain this- does this literally mean Hawks could add a $5M one yr. rental Center for the rest of year?

  19. Morrison says:

    Yea, I never really understand how teams have 1m throughout season, but like 5m at deadline. They say its prorated, depends o how many players on the active roster actually are on active roster/each game…, etc. I still cant fully understand it, but I think it means that, for example all the days we only had 22 on active roster last wk, added to our ‘deadline’ capspace… We defiantly can add a 3-5m player…

  20. Mike says:

    I just don’t understand the whole Mills thing. Acquired on Friday playing on Saturday. No practice, no time in Rockford, 30 years old and I guess he is a winger even though he is listed as a center. The Hawks have an armful of bottom 6 wingers…..What could his role on this team possibly be. 2C?….not a chance

    Brad, as you know I like your lineup, but Bollig has got to get more than 6 minutes or must be replace. Toews, 24 minutes last night, that is unsustainable.

  21. Tab Bamford says:

    Mike: Mills WAS in Rockford….

  22. bollandio says:

    Wall.. to answer, no doubt in my mind they were outhustled and going thru the motions.. happy when their shift was over.
    Am hearing way too much bs about 88’s new defensive acumen.. he’s Kaner for God’s sake!
    I totally agree with everyone.. that nobody comes in from outside and that it is a long-ass season.. so long that I almost signed up for the nhl center ice package.. luckily the scotch wore off.

  23. shamrock says:

    Just a thought, but what about looking at what it would take to get Burmistrov?

  24. wall says:

    Just watched the game on DVR…

    Morin did look good.
    Pirri – is too slow, weak, AND has a very small COMPETE motor!!!
    Kane- 2 TO’s in own zone- led to two goals!!!

    Actually thought Mills played well! Skated well… cycled well… did not get to see hands or lack of -on 4th line.

    Tab- It is now time to start compiling the list of “rent a 2nd line Centers” for article in 4-6 weeks- (only near term fix is Sharp as 2nd C)!!!

  25. wall says:

    Raanta- another good game in Rock… Win w/ 40 ish saves.

    Alex Broadhurst and McNeill scored again…
    Give them 30-40 games in Rock- and bring one up for an audition…

  26. Mike McCormick says:

    The Hawek’s dismal performances in the third period is quite likely a result of conditioning or lack thereof.

  27. Sr. Brad says:

    Mike, the Hawks are still tired from their championship run, their conditioning will come around in another 10 games or so…

    Wall…great game by Raanta today…that’s 3 HUGE games in a row…he doesn’t need 30-40 games there, he’s ready…Tab I think Raanta’s performances in Rockford might be worth an article on him and coming to Chicago…

    Big games today from Alex Broadhurst, Clendening, McNeil, Ross, Danault, and Dahlbeck…the line of LeBlanc, Hayes and Nordstrom struggled today…bad 1st start back for Nordstrom…LeBlanc had a goal but he was still a minus 2 and is now a minus 4 on a team of + players…Clendening didn’t have any points, but was rock solid defensively and fed the puck very well…he’s now a +7, tops on the team.

    The Broadhursts are both very good hockey players, small, but fast, smart and feisty. McNeil and Ross a having very good seasons thus far. Olson wasn’t paired with Clendening today and struggled a bit…

    But the story was Raanta…outstanding goaltending. This is a game last year that Rockford would have lost 6-4…

  28. wall says:

    Brad- sorry I was talking about B-hurst or McNeill for the 40 games -then audition.

    As far as I am concerned CC should have never got that 6/6 deal- and Raanta should be in Chicago after 1 or 2 more Khabbi stinkers!!!
    And Honestly- CC hasn’t been the problem- he’s played well… Just think money spent in front of him is more important… evidence is Emery’s 4 + gaa thus far for Flyers…

  29. Tab Bamford says:

    Reality: little/no chance the Hawks carry 3 healthy goalies before the final week of the season. Sorry boys.

  30. Tab Bamford says:

    Problem with promoting McNeill or the Broadhurts: the Hawks need centers. Danault more likely imo.

  31. Tab Bamford says:

    BREAKING: the Isles have traded Matt Moulson, their 2014 1st-round pick and a 2015 2nd-round pick to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek.

  32. Reg Dunlop says:

    Tab, if that trade is correct, that is a terrible trade for the Isles. Moulson is a top 6 player and to throw in a 1st and 2nd rounder is ludicrous!!

  33. wall says:

    Tab- Khabby needs to go.

  34. Tab Bamford says:

    wall – Great. Where is he going? Is anyone in the NHL trading for him after those 2 starts?

  35. Tab Bamford says:

    to wall’s earlier comment about making a list of center’s that are UFA at the end of the season that could be potential rentals, here’s a list of top scoring centers in walk years:

    Henrik Sedin – not happening
    Joe Thornton – not happening
    Dave Bolland – not happening
    Derek Roy – not happening
    Paul Stastny – not happening
    Olli Jokinen – not happening
    Mikhail Grabovski – not happening

    So we’re now talking about David Legwand, Marcel Goc, Vernon Fiddler and Steve Ott types…

    The most likely scenario would be Pirri getting some top-six ice time at some point in early November, and, if that doesn’t work, you start considering Danault some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    With that being said, I wouldn’t mind the Hawks giving Buffalo a call about their newly acquired LW Matt Moulson… and his 25 PPG since the start of the 2011-12 season…

  36. Phil says:

    The game against the still boring to watch Wild Saturday pointed out all the things that have been wrong with the Hawks in this early season action. Poor face off results, ineffective special team play, very poor d zone clearance due to lack of team defense, and the inability to bury quality scoring chances.

    Q line shuffling isn’t helping, but when goal scorers aren’t scoring, different combos can be tried. I think though it is time to plug in some set lines for a game or two, and see if it something clicks.

    Don’t know what is wrong with Rozy, but he is making some really poor decisions lately that have resulted in quality opposition scoring chances. MR last year was very consistent on the back line, and was a big reason why the Hawks D core was so good. Maybe it’s just me, but it also seems as though our forwards are cheating a little out near our blue line trying to get a breakout edge, instead of filling in down near the circles and helping out. The bottom line is the Hawks are giving up pucks in the neutral and d zones with regularity creating odd man breaks for the other teams. The good news is this is likely to improve because that is the way Q demands his teams play. Those that don’t subscribe will sit. Kane especially needs to work harder on defense.

    Someone needs to start winning faceoffs consistently, especially draws in our own end and also on power plays. Those particular lost draws are momentum breakers/turners. Toews can do this. If no one else can, then find someone that is able.

    I thought the refs were bad Saturday. This goofy disallowed goal was reviewed it seems just so the play could be fully broken down to find something wrong. refs and linesman all watched, refs called good goal. That was clearly the longest review of a goal I have ever seen. And typically the UC crowd was shown just 1-2 replays of this. Why not give the crowd a chance to see what Toronto is looking at? Other rinks show the plays in question many more times. Local Tv shows the play over and over? why not give paying customers the same privilege?

    I don’t blame Corey for the loss Saturday night. he was completely left to himself many times with shooters blasting away from good angles. The TB loss though was a debacle by Khabby. One of the worst goalending performances we have seen in awhile. Reminded me of the Huet days before Anti stepped in. I winced with every shot on goal. He MUST get better if the Hawks are to challenge for the Cup again. That or else give one of the kids a chance. They can’t be any worse that that Bolt’s disaster last week. That game was so aggravating I didn’t have the stomach to write about it.

    Morin looked very comfortable Saturday. I liked the play from the that line alot. Mills can play as well, but I don’t know where you plug him in. Yes, 16 had a rough outing Saturday, but he is a gamer and has a strong will to compete. Sr Brad I liked your line combo’s.

    So 11 goals against in two games. This WILL get better. We will start to score more goals very soon. We can’t play “hit the goalie” much longer, and then there will be games where the Hawks pop in 4-6 goals regularly. Let’s hope the guys go back to playing Hawks hockey and get a 3-1 win tonight. Remember to take a short snooze late afternoon to be rested before tonight’s game. The Wild will come out in muck it up, slow it down, dump it out again. It would be rough to be a season ticket holder with that group to watch.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  37. Reg Dunlop says:

    Tab, let’s face it…..the Hawks are going to have to try and fix the 2nd line center problem, “in house”, unless a trade emerges down the road.

    I believe in this team, the players and the coaching staff. I believe that they will find a way to make all this work. We won’t hit our stride until around mid-November and then we’ll tail off as the Olympics start. Hopefully we’ll hit a good streak as the playoffs start.

    As a group, we need to stay healthy and strong. Injuries have a way of catching up to teams as the season goes on. The HAwks have dodged the major injury list for awhile and let’s hope it continues. Our top 7-8 players have not seen a lengthy DL in a long time.

  38. the Greek says:

    Well, I promised myself I would give the team at least 20 games to settle in and develop trends, patterns, etc..but I am here to say I have figured out what is wrong with the team. This season will be remembered in the history books as The Curse Of The Bieber. Seriously, it is still too early to go batshit, but the team does have glaring issues, and I am confident they will all be resolved in short order.

    When we lost Vik, Rat, and Fro ( lets not forget Emery) I believe the plan was to replace them with our “deep talent pool”. I am still waiting for this to happen, cant have a “dynasty” without replenishing from within, after all. Couple that with a few injuries and thats why our depth has vanished. In regards to the goaltending, while Crow has been excellent for the most part, dont discount losing his coach and Razor…they fed off each other quite well, Khabby does not mesh well with this bunch at all.

    Defense, special teams, are as much a function of effort and desire as personnel, and I am confident we wont remain last in those categories for much longer. Lets see where we are at after the next 10 games before we decide to go nuts.

  39. the Greek says:

    As far as the 2c goes, I am sure he is somewhere within the organization…

  40. Morrison says:

    WALL- We could send Bulin to ahl & bring up Raanta and our cap space would be the same now and for deadline. Bulin 1.7, minus the .925 discount leaves .775 cap hit. Then add Raanta .925 (wo bonuses…) and its the same 1.7

    I think Bowman knew this, which is pretty dang creative.

  41. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Here’s what I would like to see eventually happen before the Christmas holidays kick in…

    Bickell – Toews – Kane
    Sharp – Danault – Hossa
    Saad – Kruger – Shaw
    Bollig – Handzus / Pirri – Morin

    1. Danault is needed here. I am unabashed enthusiast for his NHL future. He is precisely the type of two-way Center who can distribute the puck and win a faceoff battle that is needed. Could care less if he is a prolific goal scorer himself.

    2. Lets stop pretending about what Hayes, Smith and Pirri really are. In fact they are nothing more than stopgap filler that should ride the Rockford shuttle. Hayes can’t skate and is a poor man’s Curt Fraser….Smith does nothing well….Pirri is too weak offensively and defensively to be a serious consideration for a roster spot on a playoff caliber NHL tea. The more we pretend they can fill critical roles, the more we are being silly.

    3. I reserve judgment for now on Morin. Lets just say I’m dubious as to whether he is anything more than Rockford shuttle material himself, but lets give him a dozen or so games to see what happens.

    4. Bickell needs to graduate back up to a top 6 pairing and Saad needs to become a major piece of a vital 3rd line combo with Kruger and Shaw. It’s no knock on Saad…I love his game…but his highest and best use is on a very important 3rd line pairing.

    5. Leddy is an underachiever and I’m afraid way too many are guilty of overhyping his value to this club. Certainly can skate and has skills, but he will never come close to sniffing what Brian Campbell was or still is in this league. That’s horsecrap. Leddy’s limitations have been all too apparent for awhile now. As soon as Clendening is deemed ready, then I am actively shopping Leddy to the highest bidder.

  42. JS says:

    Jesus over-reacting Christ.

    Did people really expect the Hawks to win 82 games this season?

    People think the Avs are legit? LOL. Let me know how that is working out when their goaltenders are no longer saving 96% of shots against… especially with that defense in front of them.

    Boston has lost 3 games, Pitt has lost 4 games, Anaheim 3, LA 4… The Sharks are gonna Shark. The Blues are going to Blues… But the Hawks play two bad games in a row and suddenly they need to make a trade and they are doomed? Jesus people.

    I loved Q’s quote about how teams seem to score right off of the faceoff against the PK… I wonder if that’s because Kruger can’t win a faceoff… like at all.

    Pretty sure Roszival has a NMC this year… to me I think he’s just out of conditioning. He’s making reads and just can’t get his body where he wants to be. He’s also taking really lazy penalities because he can’t keep up with anyone.

    82 game season and some olympics happening this year. The issue isn’t with losing games, it’s with the minute load that the top players are taking on. Q needs to start trusting the kids.

  43. Phil says:

    JS, I agree with you about other teams eventually coming back to earth and playing to previous patterns. I also believe that at some point we don’t run into a string of strong opposing goalie performances. The curve will turn up because of the personnel the Hawks have and Q coaching.

    The glass is still half full.

  44. wall says:

    Rufus- Morin IS the only one of those four that is legit… agree that Saad is best suited for 3rd line play… but 29’s motor/focus is best for 3rd line too!

    JS- yes I do think Avs are legit… and if fans start filling the seats- they have plenty of Money to be buyers when the time comes!!!

    JS- Hawks played two bad games??? I think they have played ONE good game!!!
    And several good periods- I know what your going to say- they have 15 pts. and have played 1 good game- THAT speaks to how good they are! But me being a Debbie Downer- would ask- How many points do Hawks have vs. Winning teams this year???
    And they just don’t look good!

  45. Sr. Brad says:

    JS, as good as the Hawks record is, Wall is right, we haven’t really played one great game yet…mostly we play well for 1 and a half to two periods…there are some issues…mostly I think Q just needs to trust the new kids, as you and I have suggested before, and things will work themselves out…but right now we have to get back to complete team defence and not worry about scoring goals so much…the PP is what it is under Q, let’s face it, this is a 3 year problem…as for the PK, we HAVE to start winning defensive zone F/Os and that includes Toews…our PK can’t get a sense of itself because we never have possession of the puck…finally the goaltending must improve…CC will be fine, but Khabby must justify his existence with the Hawks because if you haven’t seen it JS, Raanta has just completed 3 all world performances in Rockford in a row…his time is now.

  46. Sr. Brad says:

    And for those that subscribe to Rufus’ tirades against the Hawks youngsters, do so with caution…Morin is an NHL player and showed as much in limited ice time in his first game…he was our best player and had a goal disallowed…Pirri, Smith and Hayes can all play, as they have shown…they just need to be given consistent minutes to demonstrated on a nightly basis…thus far Q has done a HORRIBLE job attempting to give any of them confidence…if you look at Pirri’s time as the 4th line centre, he has excelled…there isn’t any to argue here…these kids can play…how good they will be, no one knows, but you have to play them to find out…

    Half our problems so far this season rest on Q’s lineups and his overworking the established core…Toews played 24 minutes against the Wild, that’s RIDICULOUS…its an 82 game schedule…someone else on this team has to be able to win F/Os…

  47. Mike says:

    Many many good comments. Tab, yes Mills has been with Rockford a while, my mistake. Still do not understand his roll on this team. The Hawks have plenty of young wingers. The dude is 30 and has yet to stick in the NHL. When is enough enough?

    Brad, Q is gonna shuffle lines until he retires. It is the Rockford shuffle that bothers me more. I mean, what do we know?…..If Q would pick a roster and play them 5 or 6 consecutive games, it seems to me he would get more knowledge out of it. Are all these roster moves because we don’t have a 2C? Maybe Q is leaning on his top 6, with their OK, because he is so unsure of his bottom 6. That is great for 4 or 5 games but the fourth line is gonna have to contribute more than 6 minutes a game.

    Toews at 20 + night (24 Friday) in and night out with the physicality against him, he is gonna break down. You can already tell he is frustrated. Penalties and barking at the refs is a sure sign of fatigue.

  48. BigsmokeJ says:

    I believe the biggest issue has been the minutes that Q is playing the main core players. That’s why, come the third period they are giving up leads and being outscored.
    Saturday’s game has bad, I could see right at the start they didn’t have their legs and even if they won it would be a big struggle.
    To play those guys 24 mins per game at the beginning of a season, were they had no offseason and will play extra games because of the Olympics is just plain dumb.
    He needs to let off the gas on these guys and play the younger guys or he is going to burn them out or heaven forbid get someone injured.
    Fatigued is causing a lot of the issues plaguing the team.

  49. JS says:

    Well yes they aren’t playing well, but I wouldn’t say they are playing poorly. They are still outchancing other teams every night and just failing to bury the puck. It happens. Sometimes good teams start the season 6-2-3. Sometimes bad teams start the season 10-1-0. We all know the Hawks have the talent to beat anyone in the league… they just haven’t found their legs yet. It’s going to happen… and even if it doesn’t happen until the playoffs, there talent alone is enough to get them a top 3 seed.

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