Avalanche Smother Blackhawks 4-0

After an impressive third period comeback in Philadelphia on Thursday night, the Blackhawks appeared to leave any willingness to compete in Pennsylvania.

As was the case in the first 40 minutes against the Flyers, the most impressive players on the Hawks’ all-star filled roster were the rookies. Dylan Olsen was clearly the most physical player wearing red on Friday night, Andrew Shaw was all over the ice and Jimmy Hayes saw his ice time and role continue to matriculate towards the top of the roster.

Olsen had his best game with Chicago. He was credited with a team-high five hits in the game and showed confidence chasing his dump in on a couple occasions.

Shaw once again showed absolutely no fear. He was credited with one blocked shot, two hits and one takeaway. He also stood up strong in the crease and didn’t worry about the stitches in his face from a fight in Philadelphia when Shane O’Brien talked too much for his liking.

And Hayes made perhaps the biggest jump of all the rookies. We talked about his role climbing the depth chart after the Flyers game, and asked if he had taken Bryan Bickell’s place on the roster.

The box score would indicate that he has: Hayes had significantly more ice time (14:46) than Bickell (8:14) in the game, and while Bickell failed to register anything but a single missed shot on the stat sheet, Hayes put the puck on net twice and was credited with three hits in the game.

Indeed, when coach Joel Quenneville sent three forwards onto the ice to begin the third period, it was Hayes with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Nick Leddy had another really rough night. He was credited with two blocked shots and two hits in the game, but was on the ice for all four Colorado goals and had a number of costly mistakes with the puck.

But putting the night squarely on the shoulders of a 20-year-old doesn’t do the pathetic performance the Hawks provided on Friday night appropriate service.

The blue line was handicapped the entire night because the coaches decided to waste a roster spot on John Scott again. In the second night of a back-to-back with travel home from a physical game in Philadelphia in between, Scott was given four shifts and 3:25 total ice time.

Dave Bolland got into a fight. He also failed to register a point for the 11th time in 16 games since the start of December.

Michael Frolik received a great vote of confidence (or an audition for other teams) when he started on a line with Toews and Marian Hossa. He responded with a decent, but once again ineffective game.

Niklas Hjalmarsson was minus-three on the night, and could have taken a photograph of the final goal from the Avs. He stood on the edge of the blue paint and watched as Chuck Kobasew put a rebound into the back of the net.

Perhaps the only veteran that had a decent game was Toews, who did what he’s been doing all season. He won 18 of 24 faceoffs and was credited with two takeaways in the game.

But beyond Toews, the effort from the home team was perfectly reflected in their score: zero.

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16 Responses to Avalanche Smother Blackhawks 4-0

  1. Brad Stevenson says:

    All throughout the winning streak I have called for changes (big deal, like anyone listens…) because the Hawks were winning with a favourable schedule, a lot of home dates, time between games, and phenomenal efforts from Toews, Sharp and Hossa.

    Now that Toews, Sharp and Hossa have finally cooled down, the ONLY ones on the team, besides Seabrook and Keith, that have tried to step up and do anything about it are the rookies, Ray Emery, Victor Stahlberg and Jamal Mayers…that’s it.

    This team is NOT good enough to win a playoff series…I say that now and I said that during December…because Crawford is nowhere close to where he was last year, and Toews cannot carry this entire team on his broad shoulders. He needs help…and to think that 5th round pick Andrew Shaw, 2nd rounder (via the Leafs) Jimmy Hayes, and former 1st Dylan Olsen are the only ones stepping up is pretty pathetic.

    As Tab mentioned earlier today, Anaheim is open for business and they have players that will solve our problems…they won’t do a deal for free, but whatever we give up will be the necessary price to take this over-hyped group to the next level…and they can’t be just role players…we need help!

    We need a top 4 Defenceman and we need a true 2nd line centre…and we shouldn’t be sending Shaw, Hayes or Olsen down anytime soon. They should stay and continue to demonstrate real work ethic for this team.

  2. Shane Chaves says:

    The fact of the matter is, if this team is content with losing, they will do just that. They have a strong defensive core, they have loads of offensive talent. But the biggest mistake they’ve made was allowing Niemi to walk. He might not be the most consistent, But he’s far & away more talented than Ray Emery. Personally, Corey Crawford has no place in this league. He is laughable at best, & barely deserves a spot as a back for any team…

    All of this comes from one of the most devout Hawks fans you will ever meet. If we don’t pick up a serious goaltender, we have NO CHANCE when the real season starts. Granted, we even find a way to make it into the playoffs.

    The way we’re playing now? we don’t have anyone showing up to play nearly good enough hockey, we are giving away games & performing like pathetic amateurs. I can’t even watch entire games when teams miles behind us in the standings are able to drub us. It’s a sad day to be a Hawks fan. And every player on that roster should be ashamed of themselves.

  3. Tab Bamford says:

    Niemi? REALLY? REALLY?

  4. Debbie Guidi says:

    I completely agree with Brad but I disagree with Shane. Sorry Shane, but I don’t think Niemi is the answer in net. My personal opinion (and yes, I could be wrong) is that Niemi is rather a one-hit wonder. He’s doing okay in SJ & can beat us, but he was a part of this team & knows what we are going to do before we do it. I’ve been saying for the pst 2 months, work on fixing the core problems & you’ll see improvement. Until they are fixed, we won’t be a playoff contender.

  5. Shane Chaves says:

    No one said he is the answer, but he’s certainly better than what we have now. Try to read what I said rather than what you think I said.

    Cheers.

  6. Will says:

    I am not a coach or a general manager so, this just what I see so, here goes:

    1. Need to have way better starts at the UC and I said this before this latest slump. When they played at the Old Barn the first ten minutes were generally played in the opposing teams zone. Now, it seems we are happy to be 0-0, 1-0 or 0-1 after the first period. That is OK if you are on the road then that is a good start but, here at home with the crowd all revved up that is totally unacceptable. You have teams like Columbus who are very vulnerable and to me you can take them completely out of a game with a big first period.

    2. Need to establish D partners especially on the third pairing. What is Scott doing with Olsen on the third pairing? The kid is playing his second NHL game and you pair him up with Scott? Give me a break!! They need to find an established NHL D Man with some grit and cut back Leddy’s time. I think he is wearing out with all the minutes he is getting.

    3. I don’t think it is any one guys fault and now we are blaming the goaltending again, that is a easy way out. It is their overall game that stinks they have trouble getting out of their own zone. When they have trouble like that their whole game suffers. That is the way the game started last night from the drop of the puck. They were just begging to get scored on and sure enough they did. If you look at Colorado’s second goal it looked a lot like Philly’s fifth goal Thursday night. Everybody goes to the guy with the puck and bingo the puck is in the net. I don’t care who is in the net you are not going to win with breakdowns like that.

    I don’t have the answers to their problems I am just a fan but, this is what I have been observing. When this team wants to compete they are as good as anybody but, when they don’t want to these are the results.

  7. Al says:

    For the last time, this is NOT a goalie problem. Emery played great in Philly and gave up 5 goals that Roy, Belfour and Espo couldn’t have stopped. This is a team defense problem. When you keep leaving the back door open, dont move men from in front of the net, dont clear the crease of pucks and dont tie up sticks…GOALS HAPPEN. A perfect example was last night when Hossa was open on the backside, was fed a perfect pass but couldn’t get a shot off because a AV’s player had his stick tied up. Thats how it works. This is not a Crawford/Emery/Scott problem but a Bickell/ Folik/ Stalberg/Bolland/Brunette and especially Hammer problem. Team Defense wins games and we don’t have that right now…..

  8. wall says:

    Agree w/ Brad… this team (as is) will finish 6-10 in West.

    That is why I wanted Rookies earlier (to see who wants it, experience)… A team skating Bruno, Carcillo on top lines ( to start season) and Scott at all (not to mention underperformers- Frolik, Bickell) has no chance for Cup run!

    Will- agree w/ all points- especially are inability to get out of Zone… I guess we miss Campbell. But where are forwards on the Boards???

    Bottom line- this team rewarded guys w/ big contracts that coincided w/ free agents and salary cap issues after Cup… we have too many FAT contracts… are only chance is to find cheap talent to blend!

  9. James M says:

    Is puck possession the cover 2 of hockey?

  10. Jordan says:

    First time adding my two cents to this blog, though I read it every other day. Great stuff being shared here. Do you guys really think that Niemi wouldn’t be great on this team? He has the athleticism and acrobatic ability in nets to make the big save when the defensive corps is playing shitty (which is quite often) and allows the back door plays to happen. CC and Emery just don’t have the ability to do so on a consistent basis. Razor just can’t move side to side due to his hip problems any more, although I find him to be good positionally on most nights. Niemi has a .918 save percentage and a 2.29 gaa this year I believe, so he knows how to beat more than just the Blackhawks.

    In my opinion (feel free to agree or disagree), Dave Bolland sucks. The more he continues to play terribly the less valuable he is becoming as a trading piece. Kruger is already comparable to him and will only get better ( lets hope he doesn’t suffer from concussion problems ala Crosby). This team desperately needs a 2nd line center who can generate points AND is hard to play against, not just be a finesse player. The d man they also need is going to have to be a hard hitting physical d man who punishes the opposition. Our defense is too soft. Keith will never be a Norris candidate ever again by the looks of it when I at one time believed that he would be a perennial contender.

    I don’t know if it’s possible for the Blackhawks to get a solid goaltender this year so I don’t know what they will have to do about that situation. We don’t even really have anyone in the system who could be a savior in the years to come like a Matt Hackett, from what I hear Salak has been terrible with the Hogs.

    Something has to be done, and fast. The league is way too competitive for teams to wait to make a move because stretches like the one that this team is in can leave you left in the dust. If the needs of this team aren’t met we will either be A) on the outside looking in at a playoff spot or B) getting destroyed in the 1st round.

  11. Shane Chaves says:

    I couldn’t agree with more Jordan. You have to place blame where it belongs, and for the most part it belongs on the goaltending. We’ve allowed FAR more goals this year than any of our other years( since we’ve been a playoff contender, at least.) Our defence is not playing great, but we’re also missing Montador & for some reason playing John Scott regularly.

    Let’s face facts, our goalies are good for 1 – 2 soft, easily stoppable goals a night. That, in itself, is completely deflating for a team. Playing from behind is not that way to win games, & when we score a goal just take have a softly let in minutes letter. It’s flat out embarrassing.

  12. Shane Chaves says:

    wow, please disregard my HORRIBLE spelling in that last post

    I couldn’t agree with YOU* more

    Playing from behind is not *THE way to win

    score a goal just *TO have :)

  13. Debbie G says:

    Shane, I actually did read your post. I still feel Niemi is not the answer. We differ in our opinions regarding Crawford/Emery vs Niemi. I feel that the combo we have are a better answer. Please allow for a difference in opinion between us rather than just making a rude comment by inferring that I did not read your response before I posted mine. Have a nice day.

  14. Shane Chaves says:

    If you think I’m saying Niemi is the answer, you’re still not reading. Your opinion is also invalid because number don’t lie, & the numbers being put up by our current tandem are far worse than Niemi’s. Niemi is not the answer, but a much better option. And there are statistics to prove it.

    Cheers.

  15. Joey Zamboni says:

    Although the goaltending is not superb, I don’t think it’s the major problem. From what I see the Hawks have NO defensive system….. It looks at times like we are watching a mite game, all 5 players chasing the puck….. They leave the points wide open too often….. It appears to me IMHO that too many players are trying to do too much instead of just concentrating on their own job……

  16. wall says:

    Jordan, great 2nd paragraph… I suggested that Bollie be the guy to trade if any of the “Core” guys were to be traded… because Kruger is the next best thing and around 3 mill. cheaper. And the more he plays the more is value goes down…
    With his injury background, he should have been the guy to move two years ago… but then again maybe Bowman tried but got no value…

    Niemi is way better than Crow-Period. But there are bigger problems…
    And Keith is 2nd most over-rated player on Hawks (Kane #1)… Hockey is both a skill game and “tough-man” game… ( see the Boston Bruins ) alot of grinders across the line-up! It is like they are playing with 10 Andrew Ladds!

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