Blackhawks Fall In OT… Again

For the fifth time in nine games, the Blackhawks had to play extra hockey.

And for the fifth time in nine game, Chicago picked up only one point.

Hossa COL

The Hawks dominated the play for most of the game. Colorado played the entire game short one active player after Cory Sarich was a late scratch, and they lost defenseman Erik Johnson during the game to a back injury. Johnson skated only 12:45 on the night.

But Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov was outstanding, allowing only a second period goal off Johnny Oduya and a third period goal from Andrew Shaw. Chicago put 48 shots on net, missed with another 17 and had 21 more blocked by the Avalanche, but special teams ultimately led to their demise once again.

The Blackhawks’ power play failed on five opportunities with the man advantage while the Avs were able to successfully convert two of their four power plays into goals, including the game-winner in overtime.

With 85 second remaining in the overtime, Jonathan Toews was sent to the box for hooking to end what had been a good night for the Hawks’ captain. Toews won 21 of 29 faceoffs and was credited with one hit and one takeaway in the game, but taking a penalty to prevent a breakaway led to the game’s end.

Oduya led the Hawks with three blocked shots and Brandon Bollig had a team-high four hits. Patrick Sharp was frustrated all night, getting nine shots on net and missing with two more. Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked two shots and was credited with six shots on net in the game.

One bright spot was the play of Shaw, who has made an impact since being moved up to the second line with Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad. He has two goals and one assist in his last two games now, and he won six of his 12 faceoffs in 19:31 on Tuesday night.

Saad was credited with two assists, and Marian Hossa also received an assist in the game.

On the other end of the spectrum, Bryan Bickell got only nine shifts and 6:34 on the ice, once again making him the low man in the box score. After the game coach Joel Quenneville was asked specifically if Bickell was healthy, and he confirmed that it was the coach’s decision to keep his struggling forward on the bench.

Michal Handzus wasn’t close to keeping up with the speed Colorado brought to the ice and was limited to only 8:04 on the night. Handzus won only two of six faceoffs.

Defenseman Tyson Barrie skated 23:05 and scored twice, including the game-winner. It was the youngster’s highest ice time total of the year, and he stayed hot; Barrie now has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last five games.

Corey Crawford made 23 saves in the loss.

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81 Responses to Blackhawks Fall In OT… Again

  1. wall says:

    Hossa was brilliant! Rosey was good!

    2.66 lines played well again!

    Has Crow won a game since coming back?
    Does Crow get next start?

  2. ebonyraptor says:

    Another game when the Hawks goalie wasn’t bad but the opponent’s goalie was better. I don’t know the numbers and maybe I’m way off here – but it seems like you can count on one hand the number of games when the Hawk’s goalie was clearly better than the opposing goalie – and you’ld need both hands and have to remove both socks to have enough digits to count the number of gmes the opposing goalie was clearly better than the Hawks goalie.

    It’s really getting frustrating to watch the Hawks dominate and end up losing the game. And what’s with OT and shootouts – the Hawks have more elite player on their roster than pretty much every other team in the league and yet they can’t close the deal. It’s to the point now that doubt is going to start creeping into the Hawks brains and whatever confidence they may still have left will dry up pretty quickly.

    And one more thing – Toews needs to shut his yap. He tripped the guy – it was a penalty and the refs were justified in calling it. Maybe he should focus on not whiffing on his shot attempt instead of whining to the ref about calling a penalty. For all the good stuff about Toews – he has turned into a whiner and now has a reputation across the league as a whiner. Yeah – he gets ragdolled a lot and get’s physically abused during games – so what? Other players get the same treatment. Toews needs to suck it up ahd shut up about every little thing.

    Rant over … just very frustrated.

  3. Phil says:

    Unacceptable loss of 1 point. More tomorrow when I get up. We have to get 2 points from this effort. CC needs to get his act together. I am otherwise to pissed off after getting home from watching this one to comment. Need to sleep on this.

  4. Morrison says:

    Yea, me too. I am sick and tired of kicking the crap out of teams & getting a tie (even though we have done really good to come back in these games and be 2-1-4 recently, we have only been beaten once)(its the same thing points wise as 4-3…).

    Our offence play/domination is the reason why the other teams goalies look that way because we take so many shots theres more for them to stop and look good on…

    If we got our asses kicked 46-26 every game, our goalies would look like that too. I think its more impressive for ours to play good without regularly getting shots.

  5. Morrison says:

    Rozy is very important to our team. With Rozy we are the deepest quality D team.

    Was it tha 55 chump again, who held his arm/glove area up near Leds head, so that Leds head would hit glass on a otherwise clean bodycheck. Nice disguise but I saw that arm hold his head so it would hit it. F Chump.

    Stick with it, we ve done really good to get ties in a lot of these games. Where San, Los, Bos have been losing them in reg. Ana & Stl will take their fair share of reg. loses over the next 20 games too.

  6. Morrison says:

    Ana only played about 7 good team in their last 18 games…

    I am calling them out for a bunch of loses in their next 10 games.

  7. Dave says:

    Toews wouldnt get ragdolled so much if he was meaner , we need a captain that isnt a punching bag. as i have said before Toews will not have a long career because of all the abuse he takes and doesnt do anything about it

    DEav

  8. Mining Man says:

    St. Louis and likely Pittsburg will pass us in the standings…our goals against is way up there with all the bottom feeder “out of the playoffs” teams and has to be a concern. Crawford is amazing, Raanta is amazing, our D is a brick wall and likely a Norris Trophy winner so what is happening? Thank goodness our Goals for is first in the league. Its a strange Stat. Somehow I’m not worried but somedays I am….just want the somedays I am to vanish without doubt. This team is too good. Cup hangover? Are other teams that consistently lucky in close games, OT and shootouts? Keep telling myself it will be fine, balance out, the heart will come but I cant shake those worries, especially after a game like tonite.

  9. Sr. Brad says:

    Its incredible how so many are completely blind to what is going on…since the Hawks lost the capacity to field 4 lines, this “funk” has hit, and it ISN’T going away…and this is all on coach Q…he has lots of players in Rockford who can come up and play solid, aggressive minutes to spark this team and return to rolling 4 lines…but he stubbornly is sticking with his awful trio…

    Bickell is a waste of a roster space right now and doesn’t need, nor deserve more ice time…he needs to sit until he ready to fight for playing time…Handzus is AWFUL and getting worse…look at his stat line tonight…it was a perfect match for his play….NOTHIING…there is no spot in this lineup for Handzus…anyone can see this, except the coach…and Bollig was uneventful again…not that he cost us the game, but he’s not helping…

    All Q accomplished tonight was to completely burn out our top 2 lines and top 4 DMen…Wall was a little off tonight…we didn’t roll 2.66 lines, we just rolled 2…Rozy played 11 minutes, while Leddy just 15…this is an 82 game schedule and the Hawks win games at an amazing clip because we just keep coming with our depth…we have none right now…

    I have said this time and time again…until our roster changes these results won’t…the answers are simple, but our coach refuses to admit to them…Bickell doesn’t need to just keep playing and work on his game…he just needs to sit until he is ready to fight for a roster spot…Handzus just needs to disappear and allow a younger player to come in and contribute…Bollig desperately needs to rotate with a more dynamic player. But no…we burn out our stars right before the Olympics, and reduce our team down to 2 lines…

    On a positive note, Shaw has been great and is completely driving that 2nd line…the COL goalie was outstanding.

  10. Dickie Dunn says:

    Good comments, all.

    I don’t know if it’s this “extreme”, but I believe that Sr. Brad is correct – “the Hawks lost the capacity to field 4 lines (- Q’s choice)…Bickell is a waste of a roster space right now (- will “sitting” solve the problem? He needs to find his game.)…Handzus is AWFUL and getting worse (- can anyone dispute this fact?)”. In my opinion, it’s too early to panic/OVER react. (I don’t know what happened to Bollig — early in the year he was a good “4th line contributor”, but he has slipped.) I really can’t offer any solution – I don’t know, but could Pirri (or some other “Rockford Shuttle” guy) be at least a little more effective than Handzus? Based on the recent games, it’s difficult to say, “No.”.

    Again, I’ll ask, “What’s the problem with Hjalmarsson?!?!” He’s a good defenseman – probably approaching what might be considered “Elite”, yet, how many (fuckin’) times does this guy (blindly, carelessly, fuckin’-stupidly) turn the puck over in his defensive zone? (Refer to tonight’s game winning goal, for example…) (Tab?…)

    Anyway, I hope they’re ready to bring their “A” game vs. the Ducks – GO HAWKS!!

  11. Phil says:

    Well then, it was scarf night at the UC and my wife wanted one, but was tired and didn’t want to go to the game. So off I go early to get the scarf, and of course if you want one you need to get there around 5:45-6:00. This leaves lots of free time to watch the pre-game skatearound and take some mental notes. I used to do this in my younger years at the Stadium when I had season tickets, parking was cheap’/easy, and beers cost around $1.00. You get a sense sometimes about how players are moving, and especially how the goalies are setting up. Last night I focused on the goalies. To my eyes Varlamov looked razor sharp in warmup. Moving very well, focused, ninja like quickness in his personal warmup drills. CC on the other hand looked disinterested, slow, which might be a bit harsh, but he wasn’t moving very well and frankly looked sluggish on his skates. I even sent a group text message out to some family and friends that are Hawks fans saying, Corey looked slow while Varlamov had his game on in the warmups.

    No surprise the Hawks throw the sink at the Avs and come away with nothing while Corey gives up some not so great goals leaving us down 2 after 1st period. Hawks squandered PP chances, but did get some pressure. Avs keeper was THE difference. It is hard for any team to come back from a 2 goal deficit.

    I don’t want to criticize the play in front of Crawford last night. The guys were really good. They threw what had to be 70-80 shots at the Av’s net. Many blocked, many missed. Many rebounds just bounced away that would have otherwise been batted in. No luck with the bounces around Av’s net. Varlamov left lots of rebounds.

    Bottom line was special teams didn’t get it done, although your best PK guy is usually your goalie, but not so last night. So I am done ragging on CC because after a lousy first period he played well in the 2nd and 3rd. I just feel he lacked focus coming out of the tunnel last night which was a big reason why we lost. I still don’t see why on PK Versteeg isn’t there to pester point guys. He is good at that. I think the Hawks play the most passive PK in the NHL.

    These OT and shootouts results are a joke considering the talent we have. Bad luck, bad breaks, bad play all factor in. Lots of points lost. I do believe though that better results lie ahead.

    I think Q is just being a rock head. Why even skate Zus against a fast team like Colorado? Bring up Pirri or someone that can skate. Zus ice time was a joke last night. What did he have 3 minutes or so? A wasted roster spot. Bicks ice time was much reduced as well. I isolated on Bickell last night and I had no problem with his game. I see his skating as improved. He just needs to play. Give him minutes on 3rd or 4th line and I think things will come around for him. Q though really seemed to just leave him on the bench last night again. One could argue the same for Bollig. This leaves 3 roster spots and as Brad said we aren’t rolling 4 lines that is what can tip the scales in our favor in all of these close games. It is usually a fine line between winning and losing.

    Hossa was insanely good again last night. It is such a pleasure to watch what that guy brings when he is moving this well. Shaw clearly loves the 2nd line time and his game is elevated past few games. I like that 2nd line as is. Sharp had some rel jump in his skates last night. He was flying and he wreaked havoc with the Avs D corps. As I said before Toews has his game on again.

    That result last night just left a sour taste. There was more grumbling/venting following that lost point leaving the UC than I can remember all year. Yes, it’s a big weekend. Ducks game a better market than Bruins, but both of those teams will come in here looking to take us down. Pity I will be traveling and not in attendance. I will rely on DVR and Slingbox to carry me through as I return Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, keep the faith and…

    Lets Go Hawks!

  12. The Mayor says:

    Loltards bitching about Toews. Guy does not have a rep as a whiner. What a dumb thing to say.

  13. Phil says:

    The Mayor speaks the truth. Toews knew he hooked the guy, but there is nothing wrong about stating his case. He is the Cpt! He also takes more abuse than anyone in the NHL wearing the C on his sweater, and just keeps playing. The guy should get much more respect from the zebras.

  14. Negzz says:

    @Phil- Good insight, not surprised to hear CC was sluggish in arm ups. AGAIN, another Crawford softie (or 2), puts Hawks in hole while opposing goalie stones us. Yea yea, I know he played well in periods 2 + 3 but that is NOT good enough.

    Agree that Q’s insistence on playing the “old and injured” guys to limited minutes is hurting the team in short and long term. Has to be a “feud” with mgmt and is proving his point, yes? Why else would you burn your top players leading into Olympics with short bench? Don’t get it..

    Add’l thoughts, Smith is hustle guy but gets pancaked more than any other Hawk, he seldom hits anyone with any impact and can’t seem to finish his chances.. If 52 is not going to defend his teammates then what is he doing- trying to score? Really? Shaw is reborn on L2. As for Rosy, he looks better and better…

  15. Mike says:

    I too agree with Brad except on one point. The Hawks DO have the depth in their system to roll 4 lines. For some reason Q and/or SB are fighting to keep a few guys in the lineup that simply do not belong here.

    Bollig: OK, decent player but zero offensive flair or instinct. Furthermore, his defensive play is average at best. 16 and 28 are both good defensively. So what role does Bollig fill that Morin or Ross or Pirri can’t? If you say because Bollig gets in a good hit once every 3 games….come on.

    Zues: OK, decent player but is too slooooooo for the Hawks system. He has played about 30 games as 2C with two ELITE players and has 10 lousy points and is a -1. How does that happen? Because it seems Kane +10 and 56 pts and Sharp + 21 and 49 points do their thing when Zues is on the BENCH. What happened to him playing every second or third game anyway?

    Bickell: Although I think it appears he has skated better the last 2-3 games, he is lost out there. He needs to go back to rehab. There are several players on the Hogs that can fill in for him until he is up to speed. It would have been a good idea to let him “condition” 14-20 minutes a game in Rockford for 6-8 games to get his legs and timing back but noooooooo, he is a $4mm player now and riding the bus is below him. So he is gonna have to do it skating 6-7 minutes a game in Chi

    Rosy: He has proved so far to being the #1 6th D man. BB is OK as well. I had hopes for Kostka, but alas, this is why he is a 30 year old AHLer. I say trade Kostka and BB for prospects and rotate Rosy and Clendening as 6th D man.

    CC: Not much to say. He has played well enough to win some of the games the Hawks have lost. This is the 2014 addition of the NHL, scoring 1 or 2 goals is seldom good enough for a win. However, it has been a long time since CC stole us a game. I am not worried. We ran into a HOT goalie again last night. But this paves the way for Raanta to get more games. That can only be good for us in the long run.

    As far as Toews being a whiner. Maybe maybe not, but many elite players are whiners so why worry about it. Besides he does a lot of jawing in defense of his team mates as well.

  16. JS says:

    I actually agree with ER- and he is right. You won’t find a fan base that doesn’t think Toews is constantly crying to the refs.

    Let’s also hold the phone on the overreaction of last night. The Hawks absolutely dominated that game…. like probably one of the most dominating games of the year. Sometimes you score, sometimes you don’t. If you play every game like that, you will win 75 games a year.

    Bickell was fine. I actually think he should have gotten more ice time… but there wasn’t really another line to shift him with. His line actually played pretty well, I don’t know why Q wasn’t running them out there. Versteeg 100% corsi, Handzus 86%, Bickell 82%. Absolutely no reason to cut them short.

    Blaming Crawford for last night is, once again, off base. First goal went through 3 people, second goal Duncan Keith somehow lost track of ROR after Zus was slow to move to the point, and the third goal he was in good position for and was beaten by a lazer of a one timer.

  17. wall says:

    Only one of CC’s 4 consecutive losses can be blamed on CC…but CC is a $6M/positional goalie (relies on good positioning- and the team to limit the A grade chances)…this is why Hawks are losing in OT and on PK… CC is not elite enough to win games w/ his athleticism or talent alone- CC relies on the Team in front of him to limit Grade A and rebounds… TO’s in OT for easy/Grade chances= losses!!!

    Raanta is more Athletic/quick!!! If Hawks continue to give up grade A’s perhaps Rants is better fit (for a lot less Cap)… BUT- Rants is small ( always seems to let in a softie-cuz his legs don’t cover the width of net)…Of Course if Hawks continue to let up the “grade A” chances on a consistent basis- they are in trouble no matter who is in net!!!

  18. Phil says:

    JS, my only reason for calling out Corey last night, was due to his apparent lack of being mentally ready to play. He was not moving well at all in the 1st period, but true to character picked up his game and was good the rest of the way. I like Corey, but as stated above he is as good as the guys around him in a team defense format. Of course, this why the Hawks are a very good team since that’s how they roll. CC was excellent up in Montreal the other night. He can be very good. Last night was just more frustrating than usual due to Hawks otherwise dominant play. Bottom line is Avs stole a point from us and the difference was between the pipes.

    Anyone else notice that none of the Hawks appeared to talk much with Corey on the ice after those first 2 goals went in? The rest of the game they just left him alone whereas normally they are giving him stick pats on pads. None last night.

  19. JS says:

    Anyone notice when Varlomov swung his stick at his own defensemen?

    Also, I would imagine that Hammer turns the puck over as much as he does because he’s playing on his off side. His eyes aren’t looking forward as often as the other defensemen since he has to turn to play a lot of pucks on his forehand.

    I agree that Corey was fighting it last night… but you also just can’t expect to win games when you only score two goals. The Avalanche first goal was everything right that the Hawks couldn’t do last night. They actually got the puck on goal from an open point shot with a screened goalie.

  20. michael petan says:

    HAWKS have little if any traffic in front of the net. All night long pucks where rolling in the crease. Since BUFF departure this is an on going issue. PK is the weak spot and they lost SIZE on the point which made it so hard shoot around or pass. PK has some speed but no size to close out the point and our PK players are “small” so you can skate over and around and maintain puck control as many say hawks have a very passive pk. jimmy hayes i think would have been a good closer on pk, size and some speed.

  21. ebonyraptor says:

    The Mayor – regardless whether you believe Toews has a reputation as a whiner, surely you’ve watched the game and seen Toews constantly yapping to the refs while wearing his pissed off face – what do you think is going on there? I’ll tell you – he’s whining to the refs and he does it more than any other player on the Hawks and he’s got to be one of the top-10 whiners in the league.

    Other than being unseemly, whining does nothing other than annoy the refs which results in the refs calling less penalties against the Toews perpetrators. It’s not conspiratorial – it’s human nature. The refs get tired of Toews’ constant bitching so they tune him out. He’d be better off just taking it like a man and keeping his mouth shut.

  22. michael petan says:

    Great Comment – Also, I would imagine that Hammer turns the puck over as much as he does because he’s playing on his off side. His eyes aren’t looking forward as often as the other defensemen since he has to turn to play a lot of pucks on his forehand. – Hammer has to use his weakest of weak backhand all the time and it hurts the team big time about 3 to 4 times a game, last night it cost us the game. But good observation and for as Great as Keith is sometimes he too has trouble, but he is often looking up ice for a break out pass, but all Hawks D have trouble clearing it high and hard off the glass.

  23. wall says:

    JS- I had exact same thought/conclusion on Hammer… but he needs to make better decision there… if that were 5 vs. 5 – he does that one hand shovel pass up the strong side boards…but here he was afraid to use-elected fore-hand change-up… should have done the Rosey (eat the puck/delay- until something opened up)

  24. AJ says:

    I watched the first period, threw up in my mouth a little bit, then went to bed.

    Peaks, valleys, other teams “figuring” the Hawks out.

    The fentwick numbers are hilarious. Corsi is pretty silly too.

    Team Patrick has cooled off quite a bit. Brandon Saad is going to cost so many dollars to keep.

  25. JS says:

    uhhh… michael petan?

    The Hawks had traffic in front of the net the entire night…. if anything, I would argue that there was too much traffic. Half of the juicy rebounds that Varlomov gave up actually bounced too far out for the 2 guys standing in front to grab. The Hawks are also FOURTH IN THE LEAGUE ON THE POWER PLAY. Going 0/5 for one night sucks, but it’s hardly an example of the rest of their season.

    As far as the PK. Jimmy Hayes has decent straight line speed. He doesn’t have good quickness and almost no ability to move laterally. He would be an awful penalty killer. The Hawks have plenty of good penalty killers. Kruger is really good, Hossa and Toews, Smith is decent. Sharp and Versteeg are fantastic, but they watch from the bench while Kruger gets stuck out there with Handzus.

  26. Phil says:

    Good call out JS on the Varlamov stick swing at his own guy! WTF was that about? I think Varlamov is a tightly wound guy. Extremely intense on the ice. Could be he hasn’t pushed around any women in awhile…. POS. I was hoping to see the Hawks do more fly bys. Maybe shoot a few high hard ones off his cage. I think similar to Mike Smith you can get him off his game.

    Hawks didn’t do that enough last night.

  27. wall says:

    JS- Agree again – if anything Hawks had so much traffic… ya couldn’t see the net or goalie – looked like a Rugby scrum in front of net… the ONLY negative on the traffic is lack of SIZE and STRENGTH of some of these net front guys- but really the bounces just came out far and hard!

    Keith- is a horrible shooter of late…

    Toews (losing perfect feed from 81) and Sharp NOT shooting on perfect feed from 81???
    C’MON!!!!

    Am I the only one who sees Saad coughing up the puck way too much on PP… good lord 20- just skate/shield like you do 5 on 5 and you will be fine… but he is so worried about the checker- he coughs it up to the wrong spot/guy too quick!!!

  28. Travis says:

    bickell is showing signs, dammit. he just needs to skate more than 6 minutes per game. early after his injury, he was out of whack. now, he’s caught up. let him play so he breaks out of it. we need him very badly come playoff time, and he won’t be ready at this rate. play him. no other option.

    bollig and handzus are fine. they should probably be rotated with two other forwards, but they do deserve roster spots. they aren’t “awful” by any means.

    what really confuses me is keeping 8 d-men, especially since we hardly ever use one of them. BB can give rosy the odd break, but why kostka is on the roster is beyond me. we’d do much better with another forward to rotate with handzus and bollig.

    and the PK– i have no idea why we don’t utilise more speedy forwards to pressure the points. far too passive.

  29. wall says:

    The 8 D-men??? IMO- the Hawks were hoping that Kostka would play well… so they Could move 17 before the trade deadline- and make there own “late season rental”…and they know 32 can’t play 60+ games (I like 32 a lot- but he is THE MOST EXPENSIVE per/minute D-man on roster- NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!!)

    #6 is Righty w/ Decent shot/pinching game… BUT IS AWFUL on D side moving feet!!! So this “plan” will not work…still hope that Dbeck/Cdening get some time- to see if they can make jump- and then Hawks can move 17 for some cap space…Roster as is-not good enough.

  30. Negzz says:

    It’s a long season and the Olympics make it even longer, BUT, the let’s face the facts- Hawks are not trending in a positive way. They have won only 4 of their last 10, and 10 of the 22 games played since Dec 1, ’13. They are now behind in the standing to ANA and STL (by virtue of games in hand), and PIT, SJ and even COL are now essentially even with the Hawks once games are played to balance. As his defenders are quick to say, I agree that CC is not the “reason” the team is losing, but he hasn’t posted a victory since his return and hasn’t “won” a game all year for the team (as opposed to the opposing goalies we seem to run in to), and we’ll need more from our $6 million man if we’re going to challenge in the playoffs. I see virtually no physicality from this team and that is hurting us imo. Our 4th line is a “hustle” line that puts no one’s head on a swivel and can’t put the puck in the net (when they get minutes, that is.) Need some hungry blood to rotate in on L3-4 as this is not going to work…

  31. JS says:

    Wall- you’re agreeing with me too much today. Stop that!

    Kostka needs to be sent down. 8 D men is way too many and it’s ruining Leddy. He needs to have a more consistent partner like the Top 4 do. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was roster movement before Friday.

  32. Dickie Dunn says:

    JS and Michael Petan,

    “Hammer turns the puck over as much as he does because he’s playing on his off side” – but he ALWAYS plays that side (at least as long as he’s been paired with Oduya), so that’s really his side…and, I understand backhand vs. forehand, but he’s a highly regarded *NHL* defenseman (and, not the only d-man playing the “off side”). It seems, to be playing at this level, with years of experience, he would have learned to compensate. Just my take/maybe my expectations a re a little high?

  33. goldenbladz says:

    Why hasn’t Q tried Nick Leddy as a forward. He definitely has the speed and offensive skills to do it and if Brookbank was tried as a winger why not Leddy and it would solve the 8 d man problem as well.

  34. JS says:

    Dickie- just because he always plays that side doesn’t mean it gets easier. He still has to get in tougher positions and won’t see the ice as well as he would if he was playing the proper side.

    I’d also put A LOT of blame on the forwards who will leave the defensive zone as soon as a defensemen gets the puck on their stick. Half the time the defensemen don’t have a choice but to try a 100+ foot pass.

  35. Mike says:

    Great comments by everybody. Now it is time to look ahead. The Hawks have 4 really tough games ahead. They need to show themselves that they can consistently beat good teams. Ducks, Bruins, Wings and Wild will be a good test.

  36. Dickie Dunn says:

    JS,

    I understand and agree with your point “put A LOT of blame on the forwards…”, but it’s careless to throw the puck to where a forward is *supposed* to be – Hjalmarsson often plays the puck along the boards right to an opponent. There are times he really seems to play it without looking – a bad habit.

  37. southsidehawkman says:

    Wow this is an interesting collection of comments. This is really simple. The Hawks bottom 6 need to play better. Q needs to play his bottom 6 more minutes. The hawks are dominate when they roll 4 lines. Lately guys are playing all over the lineup and minutes are all over the place. Your top 6 minutes are all over. The Olympics will do everyone well barring a serious injury.

  38. Mining Man says:

    Ducks just whooped Vancouver 9 -1 …yikes….

  39. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    FEAR the Ducks! Should be an interesting game on friday

  40. goldenbladz says:

    Why is Brookbank still with the Hawks? I noticed he is even a healthy scratch with Rockford. Why isn’t Klas Dahlbeck or Clenndenning given a chance to see what they can do?

  41. wall says:

    Quack-Quack-Quack!!!

    Who are the Hawks going to start in goal Friday?
    It won’t be good for CC’s confidence to take his 5th loss in a row!!!And If Rants starts- and wins- Controversy!!!

    Perhaps SB can sign Emilio Estevez to a one day contract to stop the Ducks!!!

  42. JS says:

    Different Brookbank, goldenbladz.

    I’m looking forward to a good hockey game on Friday. I feel like the Hawks will have something to prove… but after Anaheim just scored 5 goals against the best PK in the league, I’m going to cover my face during every penalty kill on Friday.

  43. AJ says:

    It will drive you to drink!

  44. JS says:

    Vodka on the rocks. Just like a good Russian.

  45. JS says:

    Oh, PS.

    I can’t remember who it was that wanted the Hawks to start gooning it up when Colorado beat then 5-1 earlier in the season… but hopefully they watched that Canucks game yesterday to see how pathetic that is.

  46. Mike says:

    Don’t ever let anyone say that early season points are not important.

    The Hawks have 33 games left and I am going to say they will need 110 to 112 points to make top 4 in the conference. This means they need 40 – 42 points in those 33 games. More than doable but there are dangers ahead. Although the schedule is spread out pretty well, the Hawks face 20 games vs WC opponents and at least 12 games vs potential top 4 WC teams. The bottom line is the Hawks have to stay away from 3 point games AND win what 3 point games they do play. What puzzles me is that the best offense in the league should always have the advantage in OT 4 on 4 play. It is just not working out that way.

  47. goldenbladz says:

    My bad thanks JS

  48. wall says:

    Mike- the OT/Shootout losses can be blamed on lack of Elite Goaltending- ( have lost on 1st or 2nd shot a couple of times in OT it seems) and lack of Shoot-out performers (Kane has had terrible year in SO’s).

    The OT losses- come from Hawks being overly aggressive 4 on 4… making one mistake (or Q putting out bad lines of Kane/65)… and the other team taking advantage/countering that one mistake… and lastly the Goalie- not being elite enough to put out that Mistake…

    Just like the PK- the Goalies have not been special/elite enough… BUT CC was here last year??? Is CC worse or is the D worse? D is virtually same!!! SO- back to my claim from DAY 1… the overall Forward D/skating/IQ IS WORSE!!!!
    Add a pathetic 29 to the Slower “others- and this is what you get!!!

    That is why CC contract is/was suspect in my eyes… But if SB’s Prospects/picks pan out… the Hawks will contend again soon… BUT – they are in need of two more prospects to be “the next 65/20″… or they should have kept CC’s money and bought 2
    36/67 types!

  49. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I’m curious if the Hawks will bring their A game against the top team in the conference. I honestly don’t care where the Hawks are seeded. It really doesn’t matter. Would it be nice to be the top seed yes, is it necessary to repeat? Absolutely NOT.

    I think at this point in the season my biggest concerns are the PK, Team defense, and Q’s minutes he’s playing the top end guys. I don’t think the Hawks are doing a good job of working in some of their minor leaguers. Morin and Pirri should be seeing some ice time. Bickell and Zus should be wearing suits occasionally based on their play. Q needs to be rolling lines and not wearing out his top 6. This is an Olympic year guys are going to have ups and downs. Its a long season

  50. JS says:

    Quenville has to be an idiot…

    He said, “I lost a little faith in it.” That being the third line against the Avalanche on Tuesday night. Their Corsi numbers were 27-3. Yes, in the limited minutes they played they attempted 27 shots and the opposition attempted 3… and he lost faith in the way the line was playing? What was he watching?

    Wall- I think we’ve seen how good CC is capable of playing. He’s fighting it right now. Happens to every “elite” goalie in the NHL. Quick, Lundqvist, Rinne… they all have dips in performance over the course of the season. That said, Crawford has still put up decent numbers, the Hawks just aren’t scoring.

  51. AJ says:

    “It’s ok. She’ll be back!”

    Not overly concerned yet. If they were getting egregiously outshot I would make a big sad face. Some days you win, some days you lose and some days it rains.

    Hopefully the few days off will allow some guys to chill out a bit, get refocused and back on track.

    The fact that they started the season so with the short summer was impressive. At some point in time the “hangover” was going to kick in. They need some Kale shakes!

  52. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    It’s very difficult to win back to back Cups. The Blackhawks know this…hence why it is proving difficult to sustain a high level of play over every game on the schedule. It’s human nature to let the foot off the accelerator, knowing that you can’t play full tilt all season long…coming off a long playoff run the year prior especially…if there is to be ANY hope of doing anything in this year’s playoffs.

    People need to relax. Chances are strong we sorta limp into the playoffs, maybe as only a 5th type seed. Who really gives a shit though. The key is for this team to enter the playoffs healthy and for things to come together at the right time. The 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings are proof positive on this fact.

    Are there problems right now? Yes. But certainly not insurmountable problems. Crow will be just fine for another playoff run. So too will the line combos.

    What IS going underreported are two things.

    1. Kris Versteeg isn’t really fitting in the way the Hawks need him to fit in. In fact, he’s become an ill-fitting piece GIVEN the presence of the other forwards on this roster. Before the idiot brigage led by Sr Dipshit Brad rips my comment, READ carefully what I said. This isn’t an indictment of Versteeg’s skill or ability. But he isn’t fitting all that well. And he has also underachieved of late.

    2. Bryan Bickell has sucked shit. I’m his biggest fan historically, but honesty compels me to say this horseshit being thrown around that he’s rounding into shape gradually and that Q is an idiot for not playing him more is batshit crazy wrong. Bickell has been a significant liability on the ice. It’s got to stop, or he needs to be a fucking healthy scratch for awhile.

    3. The Hawks DO need to call up a 13th forward. That I will agree with. Kostka is useless and needs to go away as the trade-off. I advocate Joakim Nordstrom because I love his potential two-way ability and special teams potential. And the kid can flat out skate, which honestly is something this team needs an injection of right now.

    4. St. Louis is real. Anaheim not so much. The Blues are scary deep on both ends of the ice, and going to get better with injury improvements. The Ducks are still a one monster line team that will not get out of the second round of the playoffs unless Jonas Hiller absolutely stands on his head.

  53. wall says:

    Rufus- I agree w/ most of your points- BIGGEST problem is 29 (I assume he is still hurting -maybe playing w knee damage- this problem MIGHT not go away!!!)…
    23 has underachieved since honeymoon… Kostka- needs to go and so does 17 for Cap room…

    BUT DUCKS are for REAL!!! IMO- they are deeper than Hawks- Bonino, Silvfther- burger, the finnish Flash, Perreault ( a guy I suggested Hawks go after), Kouivo, Cogliano, Etam… Deeper forwards than Hawks… Hawks are Quicker on back end…
    But Ducks ARE good!!!

  54. JS says:

    Rufus, I’d argue that Versteeg is actually not being used properly. He was acquired as a depth forward to help with the PK. He’s had roughly 3 seconds on the PK since coming from Florida. Really, we can look at him as a cheaper Frolik. I can see Kruger, Smith, and Versteeg on a very good line come playoff time.

    As far as Bickell goes. He’s been pretty good the last handful of games. He’s probably getting benched because he’s playing with Handzus. But as I pointed out, that line against the Avalanche had 27 shots attempted while only 3 were attempted against them… that’s ridiculously good.

    And the biggest growth from knee rehab is when you actually start playing. He was playing with two knee braces as of a week ago. Pretty obvious he still needs to get through the discomfort.

    I’m curious if St. Louis will be able to score in the playoffs. If they can land a scorer at the deadline, I would be scared. Anaheim is pretty stacked up front, but their D is pretty miserable and I’m hoping the Hawks exploit that tomorrow.

  55. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    St Louis is very strong. They have amassed some scary speed to go along with the infamous Hitchcock system. I’ve caught glimpses of 3 of their games the last several days. They finally have enough scoring to go with that defensive intensity and Halak that nobody will want to face them in the playoffs.

    Anaheim doesn’t have the defense nor the line depth. They have become the new Vancouver regular season wonders that will continue to disappoint in the playoffs. A team like St Louis or LA will give them huge fits. Not really worried about the Ducks.

    Sleeper team in the west for me is the Kings. Which surprises me to be very honest. They have shortcomings for sure, but…

  56. ebonyraptor says:

    Rufus, respectfully disagree on three of your four points. I’ll offer my opinions:

    1. I agree with JS – Versteeg isn’t being used properly. Q hasn’t used him on the PK and he’s bounced him all ove the lineup and with different linemates. But then that’s indicative of Q’s coaching style which is my biggest (and only?) complaint about Q.

    2. Bickell hasn’t been good but I think he’s shown some signs of getting a little (emphasis little) better lately. If Bickell needs more recovery time to strengthen his knees – then put him on IR and let him get better. But if it’s something he needs to do by getting the playing time necessary to gain back his confidence – then he should be playing more now. The Hawks need Bickell to be ready to go in the playoffs – the Hawks should have the long range picture in mind and do whatever it takes to get him there, even if it cost them some ponts in the standings in January. It would be better to finish 3rd in the division with a Bickell ready to go than scratch and claw for every point now and go into the playoffs with an invisible Bickell.

    3. I agree with you on this point. I think it would do the Hawks good to infuse some new blood into the lethargy. Nordstrom would be a breathe of fresh air and I would put him in to spell Bollig and Handzus every other game. Move Kruger up to play 3C and Nordstrom can play 4C or 4LW.

    4. The only question I have with Anaheim is if those young d-men can get it done in the playoffs – Lindholm, Vatenan, and Lovejoy are all playing very well – but still need to prove they can maintain that level of play in the playoffs. If the Ducks D can hold up, they are a very formidible team and I fear them more than the Blues.

  57. wall says:

    ER- luv ya bra… but it really seems like you agree w/ most or all of what Rufus said…
    Just wording is different/ half full- half empty…

    23 -underachieve= “not used the right way”
    29- hurting, not playing well, sucks= “played better, showings signs of being better”- which implies he HAS NOT BEEN GOOD!!!
    Icehog!
    Only disagreement (which I agree w You ER)- Is Ducks are scary good- IMO Forward depth is Better than Hawks overall ( Hawks top 5 better…BUT I like Ducks Top 5-12 over Hawks)

  58. JS says:

    Well, they can mean the same thing… but I think ER and I are saying that Q isn’t putting him the right position to thrive. Can’t really blame that on Versteeg. He’s been a fine addition, he’d be even better if used properly.

    I actually don’t understand why Bickell didn’t do a conditioning stint after coming off of LTIR. Seems kind of silly that they just put him back out there. I think he’s played fine. I really think we just think he was more productive last season than he actually was.

  59. ebonyraptor says:

    JS – yep on Versteeg. Maybe kind or “nuance-y”, but I think Versteeg picked up his game after being kind of slow and out of sync the first 5-10 games after joining the Hawks. I think it’s more a matter of letting him settle in and build some chemistry with linemates for him to be more productive than it is him playing less than expected.

    Regarding Bickell, while he didn’t play as physical in the regular season as hoped for last season, the Bickell-Shaw-Stalberg line was pretty consistently good. In fact the Hawks 3rd line regularly feasted on the opponent’s 3rd pairing and provided lots of momentum for the team. Bickell was a main part of that and he isn’t playing nearly as well this season. But, again with the word “nuance” – I think I see some baby step improvements over the last few games and I think Q needs to build on that to hopefully build his confidence and get back to being useful.

    Just my 2 cents … that’s all I got :)

  60. Mox17 says:

    All,

    Anyone have any idea why Pirri isn’t in Chi again? I know he’s been hurt, but still. I’d like to see him out there over Handzus at this point. Will pirri be back up, or is he not in the big clubs plans?

  61. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Should be a good game tonight looking forward the game. Hopefully the Hawks show up and play a full 60 minutes and show the Ducks who’s the boss! The Ducks have handled the Hawks lately, so they will come in a confident bunch. Its up to the Hawks to hit them in the mouth a few times early, atleast thats the way I see it.

  62. JS says:

    Mox17 – Q wants Handzus to play every game.

    I’m actually really excited for the game tonight. I need Phil to give me a ticket.

  63. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    The Hawks haven’t had a “measuring stick” regualr season game in a while. It seems like lately the Hawks are the teams that other teams measure themselves against, which is understandable. They have 2 such games back to back(Ana & Boston and then a date with an old friend (Detroit).

  64. wall says:

    TT report- since winning Gold- 6 points in 3 games w/ new head coach!!! 1g/1a vs. top team in league thru 2 periods today!!!

    Should Q protect CC from possible 0-5 start since return? and start Rants?
    I know it won’t happen… but might be the right “play”

  65. ebonyraptor says:

    wall – TT assisted on the GWG in OT too, so he was 1+2 today, and 1+6 in the three games he’s been back from the WJC.

    BTW – Jokerit has gone 2-1 in the three games and scored a total of 7 goals – TT scored one of the goals and assisted on the other six.

    Oh, and he’s playing 2C.

  66. Sr. Brad says:

    There is NOTHING wrong with Versteeg of late other than playing with Handzus…since he and Kane were saddled with Father Time, both have hit the skids…no criticism of Kane (and rightly so) because he is a superstar…but Steeger takes a few jabs…even Q said yesterday that he’s liked Versteeg’s play and effort…bottom line, its Handzus.

    A very strong rumour out of Canada yesterday, that has legs today is that the Hawks have been working on a deal with WIN for Ladd…it would be Ladd and the Jets #1 prosper, for Bickell, TT and our #1 draft pick in 2014…I have no way of knowing if this is true, but believe me, it has legs…

    As for the Ducks, they are very much for real…and anyone who doesn’t think so clearly isn’t watching any of their games and comes off as an idiot…the Hawks simply WILL NOT win tonight if we skate 3 lines…and with Handzus centring the 3rd line with Bickell, it is going to be hard enough even if we do try to roll 4 lines…

    Everyone around the league is now saying the SAME F$CKING THINGS about the Hawks…CC is an average goalie and Queenville stopped rolling 4 lines…to right the ship and start winning hockey games again (other than against the Oilers), we need an influx of speed and talent from Rockford…last night Garret Ross had another huge game…he’s by far the best Hawk right now (and has been for 2 months), and should be given a shot with the Hawks…Morin, Nordstrom and Pirri would all be good choices as well…

    As for the Ladd/TT proposed trade, I say NO WAY, TT is simply too good a talent to let go for even someone as valuable as Andrew Ladd…having said that, getting rid of Bickell for Ladd, puts us over the top as leaders for another S Cup…so, if you want to repeat, the potential is there…

  67. Sr. Brad says:

    JS…I am a little surprised by your defence of CC…while he hasn’t been bad, he’s 0-6 since the injury for reasons…he is simply not, at least this season, a $6 million dollar a year goalie…and forget about the rest of the Hawks having to show up and play 60 solid minutes, that starts and ends with Crawford…way too many softies going in since he came back…his MON game was lights out…so why not repeat the effort? Or does it take playing in front of your hometown friends every night to get it done?

    As for the CC/Raanta “debate”…the only reason that they appear “equal” is that Raanta shines while we are shorthanded and CC’s #s are at the bottom of the league, which is one MAJOR reason why our PK is near the bottom of the league…CC has to be better while we are shorthanded…Raanta is…

  68. Morriosn says:

    T tore it up the 2nd half of the other season too.

  69. Morriosn says:

    T cannot be traded. If we & they are trying to do a trade with Bicks and Laddy, then just add more picks.

  70. ebonyraptor says:

    The rumored trade between the Hawks and Jets involving Ladd, Bickell, TT a Jet’s prospect and a couple draft picks getting exchanged was started by John Jaeckel, the Hawks blogger on the HockeyBuzz website. For those who don’t know, HockeyBuzz is Ekland’s rumor mill that get’s it right about 0.00001% of the time. While it’s fun to discuss trade rumors, and I like joining in the discussion as much as the next guy, any rumor that is sourced from that website should be treated as pure fantasy (actually a website hit generating mechanism).

    Most of the time applying common sense will easily dispute a trade rumor. Getting Ladd would be nice but he would be a 3rd line LW on the Hawks – like he was when he was here before – and that isn’t a pressing need and certainly not one worth trading the one and only legitimate top-6 prospect for.

  71. Mox17 says:

    Jaeckel is a conplete tool box. He has no sources inside the Hawks front office.

  72. wall says:

    I am BIG TT fan… But I think if I were SB and could get Ladd back for 29 ( who may never be the same guy)- I take that deal in a second… I think TT will be real good… but How soon? and How Great??? We know what Ladd is- A winner, can do everything well, and a jack of all trades type of player!!!

    AND we know what Bickell isn’t right now!!! Could he recover??? Maybe/maybe not!!!

    The kicker- Hawks get Nic Petan maybe??? Done deal!!!

  73. Sr. Brad says:

    Wow, ER, quick to judgement…the info that I got started with a radio station in WIN, made it to TSN in Toronto and has been discussed on some stations across CAN…whether it is real or not, I can’t tell you, but when it gets these kind of legs…well, there’s smoke where there’s fire…

    Wall, that’s a very smart response, especially considering your passion for TT…ER, if you look at this deal on paper, who wouldn’t do this? Which team would be gun shy? Not the Jets…Ladd has a few seasons left and is a difference maker RIGHT NOW for a team going nowhere…TT is the kind of player that can change a franchise…its the Hawks who would be gun-shy, but when you consider that they have gone ALL OUT to repeat this year, and the flop that Bickell has become (and CAP anchor), as Wall says, if you want to win now, I guess you do this deal…I would love to see TT in a Hawks uni, but WHEN??? Ladd puts us over the top now and getting rid of Bickell’s salary COULD be a big deal if he doesn’t come around…its very intriguing at the least and not to be written off out of hand…

  74. JS says:

    Bickell has a modified NTC. Doubt he would want to go play in Winnipeg.

    Since coming back, the Blackhawks have not scored more than 2 goals in front of Crawford… but yep, let’s throw the goalie under the bus since the offense has slumped! If only Crawford made 41 saves against the Sharks instead of 40!

    In Rannta’s last 5 starts, the Hawks have averaged 4.6 goals a game. In Crawford’s last 5 starts – 2.0. Oh gee, I wonder why Raanta is getting W’s and Crawford isn’t.

    A bad Bryan Bickell has 4 less goals than Andrew Ladd (who has played 14 more games). I know, add in assists and he blows him away point wise, but Ladd plays 9 more minutes a game, plays on the power play, and has better linemates. I don’t think that upgrade is worth losing TT over, ESPECIALLY when we know that Bickell still isn’t 100%.

  75. JS says:

    I lied, 1.8 average while Crawford is in net. Aka he needs to hold teams to 1 goal to win. DAMN HIM FOR NOT HAVING A 1.0 GAA IN THE LAST 5 GAMES!

  76. RyanDale says:

    anybody crazy enough to take on 29 right now, might also want Khabibulin

    too bad the league isn’t capable of promoting tonight’s game in the US like it deserves.

  77. ebonyraptor says:

    Sr. Brad, my apologies sir. You’re correct – I jumped to the wrong conclusion where you heard about the rumor.

    That said, I strongly disagree regarding including TT in a trade to get Ladd. Ladd would play 3rd line LW on the Hawks because he wouldn’t displace either Sharp or Saad who both can play the speed game that Ladd can not. Ladd would be an upgrade over Bickell even if Bickell were playing up to snuff – but he’s not a difference maker. He wasn’t a difference maker in 2010 and he isn’t now. He’s a nice complementary piece but not NEARLY good enough to trade the one and only sure fire top-6 prospect for.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that.

  78. Tab Bamford says:

    re: the ridiculous, laughable “rumor” of 29 + TT AND a first for Ladd + a prospect…

    First, Winnipeg just put Evander Kane on IR. Why would they trade Ladd with Kane out? Doesn’t make sense.
    Second, Winnipeg just lost Clitsome for the year and moved Byfuglien back to fwd. So they’ll make a blockbuster trade without addressing their blue line? Again, doesn’t make sense.
    Third, Winnipeg is going to trade their CAPTAIN for an underwhelming 3rd line forward who isn’t healthy, a teenagers who hasn’t skated in North America yet, and a late first round pick? Doesn’t make sense.

    To the assertion that Ladd wouldn’t bump Saad off the 2nd line… Versteeg has for much of his time since coming back to Chicago.

    The Blackhawks aren’t looking to move Teravainen. You would have to drink the bong water to make up a “rumor” this laughable, much less give it any thought.

    Now if someone had said Leddy was in the package for a player other than Ladd, I might listen… and so might the 2 GMs. But Teravainen & Ladd? LOL no

  79. ebonyraptor says:

    Tab, Ladd is capable of playing a top-6 LW but I don’t think his game meshes well with either the Toews and Hossa line (at least not as well as Sharp) and he isn’t nearly as fast as either Saad or Versteeg and therefore isn’t as good of a linemate for Kane. He played 3LW in 2009 and 2010 and I believe that’s where Q would play him now if he were on the Hawks. I would love for the Hawks to get Ladd because he brings size and toughness and would make the Hawks better – just not enough better to trade the best prospect the Hawks have.

    Just my opinion … worth about 2 cents :)

  80. Sr. Brad says:

    ER, I agree with you…I wouldn’t make this trade because of how good TT appears to be…Ladd helps NOW but TT is finally our answer at 2nd line centre for a long time…I don’t think we should move this player…

    As for Tab, this trade makes complete sense to the Jets…while its tough to lose Ladd, he isn’t a difference maker for them night after night…TT could become a franchise player…Bickell, when healthy can be a monster…Bickell had consideration for the Con Smythe trophy during the playoffs…plus a #1 pick…again, tough to lose Ladd, but TT, Bickell and our 1st his a HUGE haul…again, I wouldn’t make this trade…TT could be our 2nd line centre as early as this season.

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