Blackhawks Come Up Short, Win Streak Ends In Vancouver

The Blackhawks came into Vancouver having won four straight road games. The host Canucks had won four straight at home. The first game of the new calendar year/decade. What more could a fan ask for?

(Maybe not a 9 PM CT start on the first worknight after New Year’s Day?)

The opening 20 minutes looked like a couple teams feeling each other out. Chicago took a penalty for too many men 3:04 into the game. While the Blackhawks were able to kill the penalty, J.T. Miller scored quickly after Dylan Strome left the box to give Vancouver an early 1-0 lead.

Jacob Markstrom was playing exceptionally well between the pipes for Vancouver. Nine minutes after the Miller goal, Connor Murphy found a loose puck and was able to beat Markstrom to tie the game.

Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kubalik picked up the assists on the Blackhawks’ first goal of the new decade.

To answer the obvious trivia question that comes from Murphy scoring, here are your answers:

Chicago held a 12-7 shot advantage after 20 minutes and the score was tied.

The pace and physical play both accelerated quickly in the second period.

Tanner Pearson’s 12th of the season gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead 2:48 into the second. Chicago bounced back with three goals in the following 5:29 to take a 4-2 lead.

David Kampf tied the game at 4:15.

Zack Smith picked up one of the assists on the Kampf goal, the 200th point of his career.

Adam Gaudette tripped Alex DeBrincat 1:45 after the Kampf goal and Chicago was able to convert on the power play. Adam Boqvist set up Patrick Kane who unloaded for his 23rd of the year.

Less than two minutes after the Kane goal, Toews got into the action. He danced Alex Edler and threw a puck at the net. The shot hit Quinn Hughes in the backside and bounced into the net for Toews’ 10th of the season.

The Toews’ goal marked the 100th time in their Hall of Fame careers that Kane and Toews have scored in the same game.

At that point the Blackhawks were rolling, but Vancouver wisely used their timeout to get their act together. No goalie change, just a moment to collect their thoughts and regroup on the bench.

Smith went to the box less than 60 seconds after the timeout was called and Vancouver cashed in. Hughes scored to cut the lead to one. Elias Pettersson tied the game at four 85 seconds later.

Momentum was back in blue, Robin Lehner appeared to be shaken by a couple high shots and both teams were scrambling to keep shots away from the net.

The two teams combined to put 31 shots on net (18-13 in favor of Vancouver) in a frenetic second period. The score was tied at four after 40 minutes. Toews (one goal, one assist) and Kubalik (two assists) had a multi-point game after two periods. The only forward line that hadn’t scored was DeBrincat, Strome and Kirby Dach.

At 8:10 into the third period a centering pass by Loui Eriksson was initially saved by Lehner but the rebound hit Dennis Gilbert in the back of the leg and bounced back into the net to give Vancouver a 5-4 lead.

Kane wasn’t going to let five be enough to win this one. Toews started a rush with a collision and Kubalik set up Kane who unloaded a shot through Markstrom to tie the game with 6:16 left in regulation.

Kubalik picked up his third assist of the night on the goal. Duncan Keith was credited with the second assist.

With five minutes left in regulation Pearson ran over Lehner and landed on him. Chicago’s netminder stayed down, holding his right knee until play was stopped and the Hawks trainers could come out for a conversation. Lehner, who had taken a couple shots around the neck area earlier in the game that appeared to sting him, stayed in the game.

Gaudette sniped home his eighth of the season at 15:49 into the third to give Vancouver a 6-5 lead.

With 2:41 left in regulation the Hawks got a golden opportunity. Former Hawks prospect Tyler Motte went to the box for tripping, giving Chicago a desperately-needed power play.

Chicago didn’t pull Lehner early in the power play – thankfully. Vancouver got a 2-on-1 opportunity that was saved by Lehner. He went to the bench with 60 seconds left in regulation as the power play wound down.

The Hawks wasted the power play.

After Boqvist made a pretty pass to Erik Gustafsson – whose shot was blocked – Bo Horvat banked a shot into the empty net with 8.8 seconds showing on the clock to give the Canucks a two-goal lead.

That’s how the game would end. For the second time in five games the Blackhawks allowed seven goals.

Lehner stopped 30 of 36 and took a beating but wasn’t sharp.

Toews won 14 of 19 faceoffs and was credited with two hits, two blocked shots and an assist with his goal in 19:25.

Kane led Chicago with six shots on net in exactly 23 minutes on the ice. He scored twice.

Gilbert had a bad night. He was limited to 12:38 and was credited with three hits but wasn’t his best. Murphy was the only other Hawks defenseman credited with a hit; he had three as well.

Strome won five of 13 at the dot and was minus-three in 19:28. Ryan Carpenter was minus-four and won only three of 14 faceoffs.

86 thoughts on “Blackhawks Come Up Short, Win Streak Ends In Vancouver

  1. Since I live in Van. and am getting prodded as I write , makes me sick another lead blown . No defensive structure . Wonder if the boy wonder will last . Itr may be a deliberate attempt to tank .

  2. Vancouver came out with more energy immediately after the timeout. Started with one of them going after Dach prior to the ensuing face off. Momentum switch that the Blackhawks were able to match some, but dropped in the end. Weird game, weird bounces. Defense was definitely not great.

  3. Tab absolutely correct — Gilbert was horrendous tonight. He is tough, but he makes a gazillion mistakes most nights and his metrics are terrible across the board. If they want to develop him, great, you’re not going to make the playoffs. If they want a fair shake at making the playoffs, Bowman better find an expiring contract veteran D-man. Soon.

    Lehner had a great run, he was completely off his game tonight. Crawford next game please (as an aside, Crawford owns Vancouver, anyway…).

    Lastly, there is two minutes and change left w a power play and the faceoff in the Vancouver zone, where is the 6th man and the empty net from the beginning? This isn’t the first time the coach has made this mistake (and the Hawks lost the prior occasions as well). Last I checked, a two man advantage gives you much higher odds to score — especially when the game is on the line.

    This is another coaching blunder. And please (Okie, last I checked who in the hell are you to criticize me, unless you’re related to Colliton), spare us w any comments supporting the coach and/or dissing me. Place any experienced coach behind the bench with the Hawks’ team as consisted and they have at least 6 to 8 more points so far this season. That’s a playoff spot.

    This is the NHL, the “one goal” organization, the building of the team by Bowman to make the playoffs this summer, and this is who Bowman has in charge of the team on the ice — a guy w very nice hair, generally emotionless, and coaching perennially on a learner’s permit.

    Good evening.

  4. Hope Lehner is ok and has good soak in the hottub he deserves it. Entertaining game to watch, Mitchell probably out for next game, struggled tonight and just bad luck on goal off his leg. Kane amazing, Sikura not as noticeable or comfortable looking tonight see what kind of leash he has. Kubalik seems to be coming into his own. Team gave themselves a chance to win and hate to keep on it but Colliton dropped the ball. Didn’t have his regular pk guys out on end of pp on first goal, gotta kill the penalty first. Didn’t pull goalie at all on pp at end of game to give them a better chance to score. Lehner hurting and struggling at times, wouldn’t have hurt to Crawford in and let rest his aches and pains he was playing through. Kubalik next to Kane the hottest hands tonight, shoulda had him out at the end to try and take advantage of him. Coach gotta give them a chance to win too sometimes.

  5. Fantastic game for Adam Boqvist tonight. Great defensive stick, muscled some guys off the puck, pinpoint outlet passes. Looked more confident on the powerplay. He’s looking better every single game.

  6. Watched Vegas game during intermission and were talking about rounding out their D and getting that guy they said from Blackhawks there. Obviously Gus they meant, wished i turned it a little earlier.

  7. Really disappointing. It was certainly not Lehner’s night getting injured 3 times and giving up a 6 pack. I don’t know how many of those you can say were his fault, but on a good night, he doesn’t give up 6. A couple egregious turnovers did not help his cause. The PK let us down twice (only once officially), but you had to expect some mean reversion. The PK had been awesome for a while.

    Kubalik was great. Besides the 3 assists, he had some good scoring attempts both at full strength and the PP. Dach is a ferocious forechecker and backchecker. I thought Q was good, but we did not see him the second half of the third. Maybe he made a defensive mess up or maybe they just wanted to double shift Kane. I thought Sikura was good too. Hopefully, Nylander is not back in the line-up on Sunday. Who are they going to send to Rockford when Saad gets back? Highmore, Q, Sikura or Nylander? I am guessing Q but he has been pretty decent. If I was the dictator it would be Nylander.

    Despite giving up 5, Markstrom was good. He stopped some high danger opportunities including the Kane breakaway.

    Other than Toews and sometimes Kampf, the faceoff situation is not good. His bad face-off percentage is going to cost Strome millions – as it should. You can’t have centers that can’t win faceoffs and he has proven over and over that he can’t win them.

    This was aggravating, but they fought hard and that’s the best you can ask of a mediocre team.

  8. On their first goal Gilbert was pasting a guy into the boards and way out of position. Can’t do that on the PK. Terrible giveaway on their second. Then, right after we went up 4-2 he turned it over on a bad cross ice pass and they hit the post. Yes, bad night for him.

  9. Sikura noticeable? ENOUGH!!!!
    Seriously, what does this guy bring, same guy that has not scored a goal in 3 NHL seasons yet he gets to play in the NHL with KANE! 1st Hall of fame Ballot star is stuck with that fool (Bowman pet hype) and Carpenter? Seriously, if you can’t find an NHL center to replace ANISIMOV than resign Mr. Bowman. I can’t believe I am watching 88 play with 95 and 22? JOKE! What a coach! What a GM!
    Imagine Kane waking up every morning to that scenario? This coach and GM need to go! And once again, for the HAWKS to win games, it has been like this since 2016 when Panarin left, KANE needs a 4 point night and Crawford or Lehner need to make 40 saves. Carpenter nor Sikura make any other roster in the NHL! That’s how bad Rockford is! That’s how pathethic Bowman, Kelley and the rest are!
    Again, instead of paying Lehner all the cash, and signing a 30 year old career AHLer in Carpenter to a dumb 3 year deal, get a top six winger! Stop with these trades with players who could not make any other team as a regular…Hagel, Nylander, Quenneville, Strome (4th liner in Arizona), Cagg, KOOKOO, Smith!
    All the Gilbert bandwagon fans how loved his fighting nonsense, are watching tye real AHL bottom 6 at work now!

  10. Right now this is a team that takes no pride in defensive zone coverage or being on the right side of your check and perhaps knocking someone off of the puck.They show urgency when they are in the offensive zone and that is sad and lazy hockey that will land you at home for the playoffs.As I have said before,this team is short 3 centers.22 and 17 got horsed all night at the faceoff circle.Their collective performances were embarrassing.39 is mentally and physically tired.He has not had a decent hit in about 4 games.His initial push for him was not sustainable.Give Mc Coshen or Luke Karlson a look.Even HOLM would be better defensive wise.If Bowman were smart he would get ahead of the trade deadline and move 56 NOW!Tonight he should have been sat after the 1st period.His turnovers are ridiculous.I would also go out and grab 1 of Calgary,s big centermen along with the Anderson kid from the Rangers to also play center.Go take Bogosian,s expiring contract off of Buffalo,s hands along with a high draft pick for Saad or Strome.Looking at the schedule in February,I dont think they have to worry about making a run for the playoffs.Lehner also looked tired tonight combined with his forwards and D Men pushing Canucks into him.The Coaching????Well you guys know.

  11. I’m going to take a step back on Gilbert for a moment and remind everyone here that when young Keith & Seabrook had brutal games like Gilbert did tonight early in their careers, the games a) weren’t on television in Chicago, and b) didn’t mean as much because the team was awful.

    Now there are thousands of fans staying up way too late at night micro-analyzing the mistakes of young guys who are learning on the job in the NHL.

    It wasn’t a good night for Gilbert. And he’s probably never going to be a top-pair guy. But we need to always keep in mind with young skaters like him & Boqvist that they’re rookies.

  12. Tab,It has not been a good last 3 to 4 nights/Games for Gilbert he looks tired and lost.This is not a knee jerk reaction.Many of us were all over Keith and Murphy also,so this is not a rookie thing.Boqvist is actually improving defensively and skating better.8 and 77 were sharp tonight.Also thought 47 had a solid game.Gilbert is trending in the wrong direction but he has some company in the defensive zone.I think we have identified the culprits without prejudice here.

  13. Rookies are going to make mistakes, that’s part of the growing process when you play them. When you have 6 or 7 in the lineup 1 or 2 are going to be hitting a plateau in their progression. Remember in Debrincats rookie season all the calls to send him to Rfd for awhile, myself included and a regular ranter here saying he was just an Ahl player, never be a Nhl player, sound familiar.

  14. Gilbert is not a prospect like Keith or Seabrook 12 years ago. I respect your opinion TAB but Gilbert can’t skate or make a great pass or play mature for his age. 2 & 7 might have made mistakes but they were more noticeable overall and you saw the potential. There is nothing in Gilbert’s game that offers any real future in the NHL. Why do you think he dropped the gloves? Karlson and Holm are surely not worse than him.
    And I really do not want to see 95 wearing this uniform again.

  15. Actually, Keith’s awful turnover/play with 5 minutes to led directly to Gaudette scoring. It was a double giveaway, both by Keith on his backhand. If Fabio picks his head up and fires the puck on his forehand to the weak side, the Hawks likely get the puck out and maybe get to overtime. Instead Fabio chips it twice into pressure and at least 4 guys on the wall, on his backhand side. Gaudette grabs the loose change and scores. 6-5. Game Over. Brutal! No Nylander to blame for Pat Foley.

  16. I started writing a detailed list of all the issues with this game defensively, coaching decisions, falling down, board battles, goal tending, etc…. I then took a step back and realized something. Vancouver scored 7 goals. What is going on with the defense or defensive structure, or a game plan to win this game. Why is Keith trying to clear the puck twice up the boards on his backhand????? The hawks are going to beat a team with Boesser, Peterson and Hughes on it by outscoring them?????? What is the coaching staff trying to do here???? Let’s outshoot them and play no defense…… I mean really Boqvist was 4th in ice time. Yeah he is going to get it done defensively. We didn’t loose this game because we didn’t score enough goals. We lost the game because the defense is a steaming pile against top end talent….. looked a lot like when we played the avs just not as much scoring on our end…. I guess that was the game plan……

  17. This is where bad drafting shows up. I wish we had those 2nd, 3rd round forwards that could contribute. This team needs a JT Compher, Blake Comeau type player who is on the forecheck and is sound defensively. If we’re going to talk about Gilbert never being an NHL guy, we have to talk about Sikura as well. He is simply too small to win battles at this level. When the puck is dumped in and he’s racing down with opposing D man, he loses that fight when the puck hits the boards. He’s a nice player, but not an at the NHL level, night in and out. This is the fundamental issue with Hawks scouting. They can’t see the need for the Compher type players. Those aggressive forwards who will compliment Towes and Kane. Gilbert had a bad night but as a rookie, it’s understandable. Look to see him bounce back. And honestly, who else do they have? Be interesting to see Beaudin.

  18. You know it’s a bad year when the only defensemen you have that are on the plus side of the +/- are done for the year. Also can we just put an end to Gustafson. After every goal, he looks around like he lost his dog and wonders what happened. Most of all, he is BY FAR, the softest defensive player ever. Bowman should of traded him last year when his value was high. Now he will trade shit for shit. We don’t need more shit. Got plenty here. Posts of why Kane was playing with Sikura were right on.

  19. I don’t think playing Gilbert on the right side helps him. He is likely not good enough on his backhand to play the off side and ends up throwing the puck up the middle. Someone else mentioned Lucas Carlsson. This guy seems to consistently be Rockford’s best defenseman but he never gets a look. He should.

    The Sikura thing should be over. No, that’s wrong. It should have been over long ago. He is so overwhelmed that you feel for the guy. Wedin should get a proper look (why else sign him)?

  20. Scandella gets traded for a 4th round pick. Gus is much stronger offensively but clearly weaker defensively so we probably get a 3rd round pick at best. If that is on the table I would take it and move on. Gilbert and Z. Smith had tough nights. It’s going to happen but it seemed like every mistake ended up in the back of the net. We weren’t ready at all for the Canuck’s push after the timeout. I liked Q’s game, gotta believe with his size and speed he will get at least 10 games to show he deserves a spot. Boqvist and Dach were two bright spots.

  21. There is clearly currently not enough talent for 3 scoring lines. Better:

    8 – 19 – 88
    12 – 17 – 77

    Do whatever you can with what’s left (low expectations). Also, I don’t know why Kampf catches so much grief. He may only have 4th line talent, but it’s not his fault he is asked to do more. He also plays with much needed grit. I think he does okay.

  22. The Icehogs have 3 (Holm, Carlsson, Tuulola) very solid defensemen that I would like to see play up here. Why can’t we rotate the guys that have options and can be sent down, so we can evaluate all of our defensive options? The same thing with 3 Icehog forwards (Hagel, Fortin, Wedin) and send down Sikura, Highmore, and Q to determine which ones we keep. I do like Q much more than Highmore and the ugly Sikura sister. But, I want to see how Fortin has grown and how to best utilize his speed, and Hagel is a top-6 guy that could be that pesky scoring forward that we need. Plus, Wedin is a guy that could make Zach Smith available in a trade. I just want to see everyone play because the ones that we have brought up have not set the world on fire.

  23. That is exactly what losing organizations do.They put a protective bubble around their “Younger Players” and excuse them from poor play that would not be accepted on any level and then have their fans hopefully lighten up on their obervations.All players get critiqued on this site when warranted.This is Professional Hockey in the best league in the world.These same young players have received praise for solid play and improvement. GILBERT has been given some rope.He does not hit the same way and his defensive play is terrible now.And if you are keeping him here to fight,he has stopped doing that also.56 ,95,22 15 2 are not kids.Be accountable and step up.

  24. Critiques are fine but people on this site write off young players after 10 games like they know everything…by all expert accounts, learning to play defence in the NHL is very difficult and can take a couple of years to learn (see Keith, Duncan and Seabrook, Brent)…it is a huge step up from College and OHL

  25. Tim may as well hope the youngsters progress and see what they got. There is no urgency by organization to try and make playoffs happening, so fill some holes and develop rest of year and get another good pick. Agree put 88 with 12 and 8. Put 22 in a defensove role where he was trending up, his defensive is slipping thinking offense with Kane. Play whatever young guys deserve and see what they bring from Rfd too.

  26. Ian,I agree with you.I think it’s time to take a good look at Karlson,McCoshen,Holm,Wedin,Fortin,Hagel.39 and 92 have had their turn to shine.They both need some work and regular shifts at Rockford.I think 64 has leaped over 22 for now and there is o reason to have 15 out there when you could look at younger cheaper options.I would knock down Keith,s minutes also.

  27. @Ian, that’s all I was trying to convey in my post. Evaluate everyone in the system who has some skill set to see how they best fit, or can be used in a trade. Unlike some of the other “homers” here who have had their collective heads between Stan’s knees for years and believe the BS he and McDonuts are selling; I’m just being objective because a rebuild is not done in a year.

  28. Agree Tommy. Let see what is in Rockford. However , I don’t believe Stan should be doing the rebuild.

  29. I see Kovalchuk just signed a 1 year , two way deal with Montreal for $700,00 to play for the remainder of this season. Low risk move here for the cost and nothing given up. Hawks should have considered him to play with Toews and Kane on the first line and to possibly help their impotent powerplay ( for the record, our first line last nite it was Toews, Quennville, Kubalik so………just saying ). With Kovalchuk playing with Kane and Toews we`d be deeper with a second line of Strome, Debrincat and Dach, and then Saad ( when he returns ) back on the third line with Kubalik. Putting the right players in the right roles can certainly help. Food for thought.

  30. From last thread.

    Hull, Its cool man.

    Ian, I didnt know Teply did good, I didnt watch world juniors this yr yet.

    Could Gilbert have to take it easy phisycally wise for a bit after being like that for so much. Kind of like how players like Bicks couldnt play, that way, for 82 games. 40 would be normal, 60 is pushing it, 82 your hurt and cant play in playoffs. Sort of have to pace yourself in 82 games, then go like that in playoffs.

  31. Havnt read Tabs article/posts yet.

    I saw 2nd period and after we got up 4-2. Not blaming refs in any way. other then Eddie O pointed out, that they didnt call the interference penalty on them agasint 64, in there zone, when they were on PP. They call that its still 4-2, because were on a 4on4 (if they do not score on that).

    Also right after that, the didnt call the too many men on ice penalty, Eddie O pointed out and then they score on face off seconds? 25 seconds? later 4-4. They call that its still 4-2, because were on the PP.

    Why? because we were up 4-2, so they didnt call those penaltys.

    Anyways thats what I saw and I said F this. We shouldnt have had to play down 4-5 and 5-6, when we were up 4-2 and should have been up 4-2 or maybe 4-3 & we play with the one goal lead like they got to.

    Just got them back into the game, which gave them the one goal lead the rest of the way, instead of us. To me that was it.

  32. It happens in lots of games, so not blamibg it. But it made a big difference in the game and was the difference.

    I know other thing happen in games, and we still need to win those kind of games when that, shit happens, but were not ready yet roster and system wise to do that.

    So we need to not get hosed on things like that. For a team like us, that is the difference between being +10 games over .500 and being E/0/.500, its the little things that add up.

  33. MO,The way this team is constructed it would not have mattered if the calls went the Hawks way.When the Canucks took the timeout,we all knew what was coming.15 just sped things up by tossing the puck into the stands after a d zone fire drill.The forwards are too small to knock people off of the puck and they run around chasing leaving the high slot wide open.Our D men lose position in front of the net which leads to them shoving people into Lehner.I know its a young team but come on.When things get intense,make a play and be where you are supposed to be positioned between your check and the net.

  34. Tim – I think it was Toews that pushed the player on top of Lehner, resulting in the knee injury pause.

    And Mo – apparently you didn’t see Toews set a wonderful pick at the blue line on one of our goals – I think Kane.

    We are what we are. A bunch of guys easily flustered, who lose all track of defensive responsibilities. We are stuck in the wash, rinse and repeat cycles. Someone put it best in a post on the previous game thread – we are fragile.

    Neither the coaching staff nor the players had a good night.

  35. Learners permit. Funny/Thats too much.

    Kubalik is coming into his own and I have liked him since season started. Hes played good with 20/64 or 19/? or with 88. Doesnt matter who hes playing, on the line, with. hes good. What does that mean?

    Tim, that what I was thinking about Gilbert, you cant play that way every game (he might be alittle banged up or tired and taking a breather on that, for now-recharge the batteries, then here he comes again). hes the only? one to do those things/and I donot mean the fighting. So hes got learning to do, but his natural oneteam concept is what the whole team should be like.

    Trip, good post. We should get those kind of players in here. 91 65 15 were suppose to be those kind and are now hurt/which happens. 15 isint but yet, and nothing aagainst him, hes not hitting and doing the stuff those guys are suppose to do.

    Get the next group of 91 65 15 out and in here, please. Lets trade our sikuras and nylander back for another teams Buckaroo and two way grinder with some skill.

  36. MS, what about adding to the trade for 56 so we get a little more then a 3rd pick.

    This draft is deep, how deep is it really? 3rd round deep? Lets get picks into the range this draft is deep. Even if that means combining draft picks at draft to move up for 2nds. Do it do it.

    Jordys lines
    8 – 19 – 88
    12 – 17 – 77

    I would add knoxs approval of a 20 64 8 line, once we get a LW for 19 88. Then were talking about rolling lines.

    Tommy, thought highmore is a good fir for 15s spots, if 15 aint going to hit check a lot (I thought thats why we get players like taht)(then its like when they get here the coaches tell them not to check and they try to play fancy or not what they are really like and what they were brought in here for)

    Really guys like highmore hagel kurachev barratt otehrs are going to be those spots for the coming yrs. Part of the young wave deepness.

    There were a lot of good playes at world juniors last yr, and they are coming and are going to be good. These guys are like the depth guys that came in 2009. Just need to get those strong two way FWs you guys have been stating in recent wks.

  37. Watched about half the Toronto Game before about half the Hawk game. In some ways it was similar-Andersen had 48 shots, some nights the Hawks get almost.
    The difference between the two teams is that the Leafs are deeper and somewhat quicker and they can outwork-outplay their mistakes and win a lot of the time. Both teams have had goal tending that is some nights helpful, some nights amazing. We see what happens when the Hawk goal tending is mediocre.

    We’ll see how the Leafs do in the playoffs, but they have a couple of talented and very mobile d-men, and a couple of big tough, but capable d-men, including Justin Holl.
    I think they have a couple of advantages, in both depth and D that the Hawks don’t now possess. It’s unrealistic for the Hawks to outscore their way to the playoffs.
    I also believe that the Hawks do need a couple of talented, tough big men that can skate-this is what many of the other teams have that the Hawks can only covete.

    I see that D-Cat is getting crushed a lot this year, smart play by the opposition as he had 69 goals in two years. I love that he keeps getting up, and even takes the odd run at the much bigger guys that did it, but that isn’t sustainable.

    Is Keefe much better than JC-open for debate but he sure has that ship in the right direction.

  38. Keith & gus Cost us the game AGAIN… I’ll take Gilbert ocer them… forwards soft on coming back too… Happy New Year!

  39. Mo when front office wants to win again the bodies will be there until then what you see is what you get. Lehner a pleasant surprise signing the others basically window dressing. Maatta for Kahun just a capspace for performance bonus space move worked out good.

    Seeing Dach with Strome ansd Debrincat gives a showcase of future forwards along with Kuvalik, Boqvist spending this year with Keith learning from him isn’t hurting but another young top pair guy to play with Boqvist is needed before their going take next step. See what Tdl brings hopefully can fill that void for next year and what it takes away from present roster.

  40. Tim, your right it is a good thing for the team/and younger players to have to go through things like that/and other. That is what will make us a better team. To have to fight through it. Totally agree.

    Silent, only saw 2nd period but sure I do not see everything just like the refs so I cant judge. Just that those things made a big diffference. If we got away with something that got us a goal, then I guess from that stuff they got 2 we got 1 advantage.

    I just not going to go by, it evens out. Because I do not think it does everytime, it just gets closer to evening out.

  41. Anyways for what team and system we have, playing good in 7 of 9 games was good for this young team. Our pattern continues

    3-6-2
    7-1-1
    0-2
    2-3-1 vs top 5 teams
    1-0-1
    0-2
    6-3
    0-1 and counting

  42. Dennis Gilbert’s on-ice numbers are similar to what Brandon Manning’s were with the Blackhawks. Gilbert has been on the ice for an average of 4.45 goals against per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 play in 18 games this season. Manning was at 4.36 in 27 games with the Hawks.

    I copied this from elsewhere. The eye test doesn’t lie.

  43. I cant remember but I do not think Manning won us even 1 game. Gilbert has single handleingly won us 2-4 games by turning the game around or giving us the boost to go/stay ahead by not only fighting but also hitting clean.

    Playsers like Bicks and D guys cant play that way the entire 82 games, 40 is normal, 60 might get hurt too much then you not 100% for playoffs. So Gilbert got rookie stuff going on, initial surge for playing more then 2 games for the first time, cant play that way for 82 games for the first time and you just cant, and other things like that.

    Not going agasint what your saying in the stats. Just saying hes pretty much the onlyone in the last 3 yrs/the transition yrs, that has played this way and done wht someone (really needs several players to play like this) is suppose to do.

    Think about how many times our players get hit and no pay back. Think Crow last 2 yrs. Someone should have put Malkin through the wall.

    Nice to see 12 defend himself. Is Crow suppose to trip Malkin, so he goes head first into the boards, because that is basically waht Malkin did to him, on purpose.

    We need 4/5 or more of these players so we do not get taken advantage of and teams cheat more because the PP sucked.

  44. Dennis Gilbert is the modern day John Scott. Ok, maybe not that bad. But Lucas Carlsson is 22. Leads Icehogs defensemen with 15 points in 25 games. And leads the current roster with a +8. The only way you can warrant playing Gilbert is the truculence he can sometimes bring.

    Sit Gilbert AND Gus. Or trade him now for whatever you can get, if you think someone wants him. I’m tired of seeing awful turnover after awful turnover from a guy that has never shown you anything else.

  45. Whoa Iceman…hard hitting stat on Gilbert (but pain is instructive). If he can learn to defend with discipline he still could work out. If not, he will do nothing more than serve as a reminder of those dark days when Enrico Ciccone wore #39.

  46. I didnt think 56 would get nearly as many pts as he did last yr, before the season started. But man oh man was the person here right who said trade 56 last deadline/draft.

    I thought he would be more like he should be a 30/maybe 40 pt OFF D guy.

    Now when do you trade 56. Can he get some pts and look good for next 7 wks.

  47. Same with 17, is he going to stay.

    8 looks like part of the young wave.

    In terms of faceoffs, pretty much every yr during the, loaded, dynasty teams we always added a 3rd good faceoff center at deadline (maddan was summer)(but poiint is on that yr). We didnt have 3 good faceoff centers before those yrs.

    So having 2 good faceoff centers is fine, with the idea were adding a 3rd at deadline.

  48. DET 18
    NJ 4
    OTT 4
    LA 4
    ANA 4
    SJ 3
    CHI 0

    BUF -1
    MTL -1
    NYR -2
    MIN -2
    NAS -3

    Were in 7th pick place. It would be tuff for us to do it, but we might get into the 2nd-5th pick range.
    Amazingly NAS is 12th, they just havnt been good since the finals they should have won.

  49. We need LA ANA and SJ to beat each other and get some free win against each other.

    Same with BUF MTL OTT to beat each other and get some free wions againt each other, in addition to free wins on DET.

    Those two divisions should keep those teams a float.

    We might actually have a shot at top 2-5 pick, if we have a bad stretch somewhere in next 30 games.

  50. Its funny, not really, when you look at Campbell conference, the division are upside down from 5 yrs ago. Holy.

  51. In other news, Blackhawks are 7th youngest team in league.

    Douchknee only gets 5 games for deliberate elbow to head.

  52. Fortin, Wedin injured likely out for while, and Kurachev out too unsure how long. None of them rerecalled anytime soon.

  53. I maybe out of my mind but we need a solid #2 center or #3 center. Gus is a really good skater, he has quick hands and a really good shot. Try him at center. He clearly makes HORRIBLE decisions as a defender in our zone.

    We will never get a good pick for him in a trade. What’s the worst that can happen?

  54. If a trade is made for a center please get one that can win face offs. All this complaining about Gilbert is insane, he’s a kid learning the NHL and doing a job those $6 million dollar players refuse to do…Keith. If you want to bitch at least aim it in the right direction.

  55. Reg, make Gus the next Red Kelly, what’s the worst would happen is true but don’t have really high hopes either.
    Vegas does have some interest in Gus, they also have alot of draft picks too. Your probably right a straight up for pick, maybe doesn’t get a real high one but a deal where pick is conditional might work a little better with a team like them, that has the options. Resigning or gamble on his production conditions of that make pick become more attractive is where i would like to see them focus on Gus too and bring most value for him.

  56. Reg,You are partially not out of your mind.Yes,the Hawks need both a #2 and #3 center.Gus can go away though.The center has to play a 200 foot game involving defensive coverage and faceoffs.That eliminates Gus right away.

  57. The center depth is why Ive been pining for Jack Studnicka…

    He hasnt had the production yet, but John Quenneville has shown some good things. Maybe he ends up like Sikura and gets good chance after gold chance and just not able to produce. But so far, I’ve liked him..

  58. The NHL, as opposed to other leagues, always amazes me. With all the holes the Hawks have, so many teams are in the same boat. But, amazingly, only 6 teams have fewer points than games played. I know hockey has 3 point games and that is a huge contributing factor. Yet, 8 teams are teams are within 5 points of a playoff spot. Hell, the last place Hawks are only 5 points behind the Jets.

    The crazy part is 5 points and 3 teams to jump over can be a monumental, but obtainable, task. This is what makes hockey great. I can’t stand Bettman. But he (and the much maligned) salary cap has made the NHL the most exciting league in sports.

    Now is the time for front office changes. SB has run out of Cap miracles. I’ll reserve judgement on JC until he has this full year. That said, I won’t cry if he is replaced.

  59. Rusty only C in system that could fill that void it appears is possibly is Kurashev, who certainly will be given a chance to make team in a top 9 role next year, but not likely see him up this year until after tdl if we do. Don’t see any way Bruins part with Studnicka at all, they need what he brings too much. Bergeron is nearing the end.

    Can’t see them going after anyone available like Pageau etc. before tdl, a spare part like Eakin in Vegas be available but only a patchwork move. So either draft, trade for in off season or nhl fa or find a fa in Europe to bring some help.

    If Saad stays and Cagguila returns as expected gives a couple of capable wingers for another line and 64 at 52.3% on fos and 22 at 48.7% on fos are serviceable 3 and 4 centers fod time being.

  60. Watching Mitchell at Spengler last week and after catching a couple of his Ncaa games on tv, very impressed with his development. Boqvist may have a little more flash to his game but Mitchell can definitely be leader on the blueline in coming years. Be a solid top 4 defensman and may even step right into lineup out of camp next fall. Looking forward to seeing him next season.

    Denver will be in regionals March 27-29th, earliest he could sign is after that, could play a game and burn an elc. If goes frozen 4, Nhl season ends before then, may be able to use an Ato on him to join Rfd for playoffs in that case, before signing his elc for next season.

  61. Would like Mitch to get ahl playoffs experience.

    Think he setps right in as top 4, like Buckaroo did, and be a good Defensemen. Hes more developed/more nhl ready then the other Horsemen. BoQ just has that elite skill and should do some sick things once he gets his 200 games in mark.

    With BoQ getting this much of the 82 games this yr, next yr BoQ and Mitch can be huge to the top 4 going forward, only getting better each yr.

    We need guys like 5 44 other to be good and healthy to have that puck moving D/Def D combo going on.

  62. re: the Gilbert comp to Brandon Manning (which was made by The Athletic‘s Scott Powers on Twitter), Gilbert passes the eye test a great deal more than Manning did. Manning looked awful and the numbers backed it up. Gilbert also continues to get high praise from veterans on the roster, which means they at least respect the way he handles his business on the ice.

    Is Gilbert going to save the franchise? No. Could he be a solid bottom pair defenseman? I think so. I think Carl Dahlstrom could have been serviceable, too. And I agree with the comment that Lucas Carlsson looks like he’s NHL-ready as well. Which is why re-signing Slater Koekkoek and bringing in de Haan AND Maatta while keeping Gustafsson around all while knowing Boqvist was going to force his way into the NHL rotation was poor roster/cap management over the summer.

  63. Yeah hope if Gus moved hope Carlsson gets a real look in the lineup and not just pencil Koekkoek in bring up a pressbox body. Too early say Gilbert can’t develop into a solid 3rd pair guy who knows his role yet, agree the way his teammates rally around for him, is encouraging.

  64. Brandon Manning is 29 years old and prior to this year had played nearly 250 NHL games. Comparing him to Gilbert who prior to this year had played 1 NHL game is pretty ridiculous. I believe the conventional wisdom is that it takes around 150 games to really make an assessment on a defenseman so let’s give Gilbert some time to show if he can improve.

  65. Wasnt sure if it was 200 or 150, whatever the number. BoQ needs this head start. Mitch is more developed/more nhl ready once hes here, steps right in.

    Remember BoQ is like Teuvo, hes an entire yr younger then the draft class.

    Thats how good BoQ could be and Dach is. Like Teuvo once he got fully established, look out.

  66. Made a list of FAs I would take a look at in the off season. Of course our LTIR would need to exist next year for some of these to happen:
    T Hall 6’1 200lbs 6mil now 4yrs @ 7.5-8.5 mil aav
    Vessey 6’3 202 2.3mil 3@3-3.75 mil
    Girgensons 6’2 211 1.6mil 2@2mil
    Haula 6’0 193 2mil 2@3-4mil
    Deslauriers 6’3 219 1mil 2@2mil
    Toffoli 6’0 197 4.6mil 2@5mil
    Namestnikov 6’1 183 2.25mil 2@3mil
    M Martin 6’3 220 2.5mil 2@3mil
    Simmonds 6’2 185 5mil 2@3mil

    I’ll look at some trades and RFA in a bit.

  67. When we make list, lets include faceoff % and what type the player is-tuff physical two way FW or OF or DF kind of player.

    Like in rows/columns.

  68. If looking at rfa, Leafs won’t be able to sign both Megeyev and Engvall both big skilked wingers, i’d be all in for which ever one they are moving. Think Kreider be right at the top of any fa list for me too.

  69. Mo pick up one of those Leafs wingers to play with 12 and 17. Put 77 back at center with Kane and Kurashev who was pretty good on draws in jumiors and playing center in Rfd., could help on draws and keep Toews line together, be an option.

    Yeah looking at stats Kampf trending up nicely on fos, Carpenter trending down but still alm0st 48%.

  70. The 4 centers have won over 51.5% of their fos collectively, that’s not bad numbers. Thing i see is they don’t respond good when they lose fos, especially in own end. Not sure if trying to get into man on man exposes them or not when that happens.

  71. Bennett or Jankowski from the Flames can be traded for to add a bigger defensive center that has a little bit of an edge to their game.Kreider is going to be in the trade sweepstakes,everyone is interested in him with Saad and Toffoli running a close second.Anderson from the Rangers is going to be a tough get.If you want to change the soft image here and protect your goalies,bring up Carlsson and Mc Coshen from Rockford.Enlighten 39 on what he has to do to stay in the league and put him on his strong side to give him a chance at making some plays.Go get Bogosian,s expiring contract along with Rodriggues from the Sabres and move Gus and Maata out.Do what you have to do to grab one of the Leafs 4 wingers that they wont be able to keep.A couple are at the AHL level begging to be dealt.Now ,if you do some of those things,you can maybe nudge Lehner into the direction of resigning here and you protect your superstars and young talent(77 and 27) from getting run at every night.

  72. This is what I was thinking in helping Lehner to want to stay, after what we saw in first 30 games. Get a new system/gm the whole Wirtz reset, in helping Lehner want to stay. These moves you just listed, we do enough of those things, another way to show Lehner, hey you should stay were going to do what it takes to get roster to where everyone in organization/team wants it to be.

    We can do everything you just listed, with this gm/coach. Then go from there at draft summer. Bowman tried and did get good player this summer. Do it again and get rid of whos not helping longterm and keep at it.

  73. Saad will have different appeal because his isn’t an expiring contract, the others could walk this summer and be signed by another team, not all same teams in on him as others, due to cap issues. Leafs might move an Rfa they don’t feel they can resign at tdl to get a rental piece, could be the time to focus on them.

  74. Bennett or Jankowski. Bennett is a lot faster and better passer/shooter, otherwise both good at D.

    I think Kreider is more physical then Saad/Toffoli but Saader is the better offensive player and faster. Saad/Kreider are a touch better at D then Toff. Plus Saad i one yr younger then Toff and 2 yrs younger then Kreider.

    Trade 56 is good and let those guys that are good Def D play some games. Add to the 56 trade, a 3or4th pick isint worth it, make that pick a late 2nd/low 3rd somehow.

    TOR FWs, who are we talking about.

  75. Mo can’t see them part with Kapanen, but Johnsson maybe he would work for Crawford deal if they want him, his caphit plus retain some of Crawford salary, Leafs could fit him in. Rfas Mekheyev and Engvall are really having good rookie years. Somebody mentioned Bracco, small skilled top6 type forward, played 2and half years in Ahl and never played a Nhl game yet, even with all the Leafs top 6 injury issues, i would pass n him. Nick Robertson still in juniors if they were to offer him would be a good return but i was thinking more of roster players they got to move.

  76. Not that we want to trade Saad, what top picks of CAR would they have to give us. They wanted Saad before. They would pay good.

    We could only do that if we were adding a PF ufa wise, and then that way we add a couple 1sts.

  77. Saad not a rental so conditional be not likely be what picks you get for him, which with term on contract should add value to his return instead.

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