Blackhawks Fall To Rangers

The Blackhawks stumbled out of the gate to start the home stretch of their regular season, losing 2-1 to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

81 19 NYR

Chicago’s only score came from Peter Regin with less than 12 seconds left in regulation, but they managed a good scoring chance inside the final 10 seconds that almost tied the game if not for another big save from Cam Talbot to preserve the victory.

Talbot was the story of the game for the Rangers, making 31 saves while silver medal-winner Henrik Lundqvist was afforded a night off as he comes back from Sochi.

Rookie TJ Miller scored in the first to get New York on the board, and Rick Nash completed a strong play to score the eventual game-winner in the third.

Corey Crawford stopped 22 of 24 in the loss.

Coach Joel Quenneville threw the lines in his blender starting in the middle of the second period. Regin started the game on the second line with Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg, but Kane spent a lot of time with Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw in the third. Kane played 22:13 in his return from the Olympics.

The Hawks had a good night at the dot with the exception of Shaw, who won only two of nine faceoffs. Jonathan Toews won 13 of 21 while Regin won seven of 10 to lead the Hawks.

Quenneville had no problem giving his Olympians heavy minutes in the first game back. Toews was on the ice for 20:27, Patrick Sharp skated 19:50 and Marian Hossa 17:39 on the Hawks’ top line. Marcus Kruger, who won three of six faceoffs, took a puck to the face early in the game but still played 10:48 on the night.

Fans hoping to see more from Bryan Bickell after the break didn’t get much on Thursday night. In 10:30 he managed one shot on net and two hits.

The Hawks’ first game in Chicago in over a month will be at Soldier Field on Saturday night.

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48 Responses to Blackhawks Fall To Rangers

  1. Mining Man says:

    Rangers D was very good tonight and got even tighter when a shutout for Talbot was looming. Rangers D-men are going to mighty sore next few days as they paid a high price for this game. We darn near pulled it off at the end, so close but so far. A disappointing start considering the long rest for the team. Bickell was disappointing and what up with Kane on the third line? Guess the rest didn’t benefit the way we figured. Oh well…lets mop the ice with the Penguinos in the classic, that will make us feel better.

  2. ebonyraptor says:

    Yeah the Hawks stumbled out of the gate and then they fumbled passes all game long and then they bumbled any semblance of team play and then they finally crumbled to a team that played with more poise and urgency and energy.

    Kane can’t score anymore. Toews hasn’t been able to score for most of the year. Sharp has gone from all-world to a disaster. Hossa couldn’t carry that line by himself the last couple games. The power play has found where someone hid their clown shoes. (by the way – until Sharp gets hot again, please remove him from the point on the pp as he is a shorthanded goal given up waiting to happen) The secondary scoring is trying to figure out who they’re playing with.

    It’s telling when Peter Regin is the best forward on the ice for the Hawks. Let that sink in.

    Keith was good.

    After waiting almost 3 weeks for this game … I guess to say it was disappointing would be an understatement.

    And now the Hawks get the Pens in the outside game, followed by the Avs. Oh boy!

  3. wall says:

    yep- turned it off after 1st period… Hawks 1st was bumbling…
    1st line was invisible…

    kind of expected it… and now the Outdoor Freezer game… could be ugly until The Olympians wake up.

  4. Mining Man says:

    Sadly your analysis is quite correct Ebonyraptor…it was a bummer after a long wait but I am most hopeful about the classic. Methinks the ‘Hawks will be real pumped for this. Changes are coming no doubt. Secret weapons, shake em up trades, key signings…its coming!

  5. Phil says:

    Not a very entertaining game to get things started to say the least. The Hawks looked out of sync, and Q line shuffles didn’t add much. First period bad, boring. Second period no improvement. Third period better as it evolved. At least they finished with some real offensive pressure. To Rangers credit they played strong team defense to which the Hawks had few answers. Looked like lots of shot block by Rangers. Kane still looks like he is really fighting it and appeared to be pouting. Not much else to comment on. Nash goal was the back breaker and bordered on soft side IMO. You won’t win many games scoring 1 goal and sucking on the PP. WTF was Sharp thinking with that cross ice pass from the point??

    Only good news is we are still in late February not late March. ER is right about Duncan Keith. He made some great plays last night. The guy makes difficult stuff look easy and is a pleasure to watch when he is on his game.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  6. noonan96 says:

    It’s one game after a lay off for some and an emotional high for others-St. Louis lost 1-0 and they had a boat load of players in Sochi. I think we need to relax and see what happens after this weekend.
    A week from now they need to be in high gear!

  7. Al L says:

    I love it how people question when Q shuffles lines, but when Babcock does it like he did in the Olympics, he’s a genius…..smh

  8. AJ says:

    Babcock is a genius. Thankfully he has aging superstars that are falling apart and in the other conference.

    That game was not at all entertaining. I would like to see the top line subject to the rest of the shuffle and I would like Kruger to surpass Shaw in even strength minutes played. I would also like to win the lottery.

  9. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    That was a lousy game against an inspired NY club. A few thoughts…

    1. Sharp is kinda sorta pissing me off the last 6 weeks. He contracted a case of arrogance on the ice. Floating…shooting the puck way too much…turning the puck over at an inexcusable rate. Needs to get his act together and be taken down a few rungs in terms of the ego on the ice.

    2. Bickell, again, played like garbage other than two shifts that I saw. Disgusted is my only reaction at this point.

    3. Toews will be fine. Just needs to collect his breath and level-set between now and the start of the playoffs.

    4. Versteeg has been a disappointment since coming back to Chicago. I’m actually to the point of wishing for his exit from Chicago to happen just as soon as it can this offseason.

    5. Regin showed his ability as a defensive forward. Not a bad game all things being equal for what his skill set is.

    6. Kane will be fine.

    7. Seabrook isn’t the same player he was. There, I said it. Hopefully he becomes inspired during the playoffs. Maybe it’s a case of him being burnt out after a scorching run the last several years. Or maybe he doesn’t quite give a rip to the same level he once did. Or maybe he’s in decline. But folks, the slip in his play is noticeable. Again, I’ll reserve judgment fully until I see what he does in the playoffs. Maybe that’s what he is waiting for.

    8. Shaw needs to get his mojo back.

    9. Kruger is the most underrated player on this club. What a warrior too. Isolate on him over the course of the game. He works his ass off on every shift and is already one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL. Needs to get his props more than he does, especially after his inspired played for Sweden in those fucking waste of time Olympics.

    10. I feel very good about Crawford right now.

    11. And finally, I HATE outdoor hockey….my Lord, the concept has already been overdone. STOP ! Another fucking distraction for the Hawks to gut through.

  10. morrison says:

    Yea, the other teams took a hit as well. The Olympics do mess up the sch. for some games around bothsides of the break. We didn’t really play in the games before/after the break… 2on1, 88 makes good pass to 65 wide open net then were up 1-0 during the whole game. Then right after that they get something on garbage. No stock in the ones we didn’t play.

    Hoss or Sharpy said it took 4-5 days to climatize to the time zones/sch. when going over to Russia. Sharpy said for what ever reason it worse coming this way. So, that means were looking at, what Noonan says, about a week from monday when we will be back up to normal ‘speed’. The Olympics may be/are nice but they ruin the sch. around it. No excuses but it does make the games around the break like their scrimmages. First game after Olympic break in 2010 we lost as well…

    I am going to forget that its the season for points (the games around the Olympic break ruined that)… and enjoy 2 of the top6 teams/elite play pond hockey.

    Would be nice to play good in outdoor pond game. Its our turn to take a pond win. Stay warm by drinking beer. Hand warmers are for girls.

  11. Phil says:

    Outdoor hockey is fun to play, rough to watch. This is especially true when the spectators at these games CAN’T see much of the ice surface or the puck! I sold my tickets months ago to the game tomorrow night to someone that really wanted to go. Happy to not be going and content to watch this one on TV.

  12. wall says:

    Hawks made a lot of Nice passes to the Rangers in 1st period… where was the Puck possession? If Alain V. could have gotten that kind of effort/IQ from Nuckleheads, they might of won a Cup.

    So much for Bickell getting the “rest” to energize him for the stretch!!!
    Brian “he WORKED hard for the money” Bickell

  13. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Bickell is infuriating. Looks and plays like he is brain dead. WTF happened to him is what I want to know. This is NOT about the knee injury at the nearly 60 game mark into the season. After last night I hope Q makes him a healthy scratch for this stupid fucking outdoor hockey exhibition over the weekend.

  14. scottie p says:

    All you guys bickell bashing were probably the same guys begging for s resign last summer. Bickell has always been trash. No news here.

  15. AJ says:

    Bickell had a major knee injury, is not and never was an elite athlete, has had a propensity for mediocre regular seasons since being promoted to the big club.

    Most mortals take 12-18 months to return to the level they were at before injury. Both regarding physical prowess, agility, coordination and mental strength (both regarding speed of play in a professional sport AND being comfortable with their healed appendage). Not everyone wields the power of Grayskull like Marian Hossa who can miss any number of months and be a dominating force out of the gate.

    It is frustrating to watch but factor in how most people respond physically and mentally to a traumatic injury that requires surgery to correct plus past history of the player as a blah regular season performer, add a little bit of old fashioned logic and his inconsistent level of play is really not that surprising.

    The goal should be getting him serviceable by the playoffs as there has been obvious improvement. If it were baseball a stint in the minors to sharpen up would have been ideal but I don’t know how that works in hockey.

    Versteeg is also less than a year removed from a major knee injury that required surgery to repair. I think he would be fine on the 4th line with Shaw and Bollig/Zues while Kooga and Smith eat some more minutes.

  16. Mike says:

    RTF, agree 100% about Shaw and his mojo. Said several times, Shaw has to play on the edge. Yes that means a stupid penalty here and there. When Shaw plays with an edge, it lifts the whole team. Besides, if the Hawks can’t overcome a high energy player like Shaw’s occasional mistakes, they have no business being considered an elite team. But the Hawks are an elite team when players like Shaw plays to his strength.

    This is the source of my disagreement with Qs style. I think at times he snuffs out a young player’s ability to play their strongest game. This may be affecting Shaw and has certainly affected the way Morin and Pirri played while up on the big club.

    I too think that Kruger is the most underrated player on the Hawks. His game is smart, strong and consistent.

    The Hawks, IMO, got to get it together. They seem to mail in the game unless they think it is important. I am hoping for a MUCH better effort tomorrow night. A lot rides on 19. He played like a man possessed in Sochi. Last night not so much. No excuses…..can’t mail in any more games.

  17. michael petan says:

    the issue for the Hawks is they play “well” as a team, all the moving parts need to play very good to even lose by one goal. Their is really no one player that can carry them, it’s a team effort. Plus they as a team need to skater harder, faster than teams with talent to carry. They are not as physical so they can never “bully their way out of it” Most smart teams will pack it in like the Rangers did and the AV’s will for sure as well as the WINGS, get the first goal and sit in the defensive end. We’ll need people in front of the net, second shots and rebounds and a much better or consistent powerplay.

  18. Nick says:

    The Rangers had a good game plan and executed it well against the Hawks. Have an aggressive forecheck that hits our D, force them to make a play while the forwards are rushing up the ice, and intercept a pass. Then when the Hawks try to enter the zone, clog the middle either forcing them to carry it in, or sort of dump it (and since they don’t like to hit, its easy for the other team). Hopefully other teams don’t key in on this. Regin didn’t look bad last night; better than I thought. Handzus 2.0

  19. ebonyraptor says:

    Let the record show that I wasn’t really bashing Q’s line juggling so much as I was commenting on the results – sometimes it sparks the offense and sometimes it doesn’t, but in either case it results in loss of continuity between linemates. Q is not the only successful coach to employ this tactic, but he may have the twitchiest trigger finger and that lack of patience opens him up for criticism when it doesn’t work. I don’t know the effectiveness quotient, but I do know that sometimes it does work and I do know that Q isn’t going to change so my challenge is to take the good with the bad with minimal complaining.

  20. JS says:

    Bickell benefitted last year from an underrated Stalberg and an overachieving Andrew Shaw. Shaw has 6 more goals than Bickell in 15 more games while getting minutes on the primary PP unit… yet everyone shits on Bickell and gushes over Shaw, alright. Bickell isn’t the kind of guy that makes things happen on his own on the ice. When his center is struggling too, it’s going to show.

    Speaking of Shaw, he really blew it on the Nash goal. And to consider that a soft goal? No. Back breaking? Yes. Soft? Nash has scored over 300 goals in the NHL for a reason. Giving him a free shot from between the circles is tough to stop.

    Kane has got to have the worst luck imaginable right now. Talbot made a handful of great stops on him last night. Talbot moved really well for a young backup. I fully expect the Rangers to trade him for something nice in a year or two.

    Was a really sloppy first game back. Saad was moving too quick for everyone else to keep up with. Passes weren’t connecting. Bad bad bad.

    I think it’s time to break up the top line. The second and third lines aren’t producing as much as they need to, so I think a line jumble would do them good.

    Oh, and as far as Versteeg? I thought he was a great pickup as a 3rd line/pk guy. This second line with no pk time isn’t working for me. I don’t know what he does better than a Morin/Nordstrom, especially if he isn’t going to be used on the PK. Again, they didn’t give up anything for him, but they need to figure out how to make him have value to the team.

  21. I’ve said it for awhile. This is a squad who perhaps consciously is not hitting on all cylinders. Why?!? Because they KNOW if they are to have any hope for a deep playoff run then they have to “conserve” now. This team isn’t as deep as last year, plus last year was exhausting until the moment the Cup was hoisted.

    Smart veteran club that knows it has to pick its spots and be prepared to go balls out game 1 of the playoffs. Dangerous strategy…a strategy where you are playing with fire…but that IS what is going on. Has been nearly all season. The monkey wrench? Bickell, Versteeg, Leddy, to a degree also Shaw and Seabrook….all worry me right now. Also, this team no longer has the maniacal defensive intensity and energy that Bolland and Frolik delivered in last year’s playoffs. Hopefully Regin can be part of the answer there. Hence why I would also like to get Nordstrom up here soon.

    Shaw? He absolutely needs to play with an edge. If his edge is neutered or shut off, then his value goes down the toilet. That edge is what makes him go and be a supremely important player on this club. I’ll take the dumbass penalities as the price to pay.

  22. goldenbladz says:

    It wasn’t the best game for the Hawks but they did force the play and outshot the Rangers. The Rangers just get up by a goal and sit back in a defensive shell and block shots. This could have ended differently. How Kane missed that easy tap in is beyond me. My 11 year old would have buried that. Kane is suffering from a bad outting at the olympics (where he couldn’t score either) but he will be fine. Crawford lets in another weak one late in the game. Hjalmarsson knew he blew it letting Nash go and slammed his stick on the ice after the goal in frustration. I’m not worried a lot of the players are not back in NHL mode yet from the Olympics. I’m still happy with Canada’s gold medal and hopefully the Soldier Field game will get the Hawks and me back in to NHL mode.

  23. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    I love it…the “underrated Stalberg.” The guy was / is crap. And has been singularly exposed in Nashville. Good Lord the Hawks don’t miss Stalberg.

    Shaw is very important. Shaw needs to get it going. That means unleashing him to be the pain in the ass player who is hated by the opposition on every shift. Trying to refine Shaw is a mistake. Let him be Shaw.

    Kane will be fine. He had a bad Olympics and is taking quite a lot of heat from the national media. He’ll rise to the ocassion at some point. Being paired with Versteeg is a problem however. That really needs to stop.

  24. wall says:

    Scottie P- I liked Stalberg over Bickell all along… (and I know 25 was benched, 29 helped win cup,,, blah-blah-blah)… but for Hawks style and entertainment value…
    25 made that line go – and was exciting to watch that breakout speed-put Dmen on their heels several times per game…

    JS- I agree too about Shaw… other than some PP goals,,, been invisible- the Entire 3rd line has been the worst/invisible line (except for some Morin rushes) all year.
    AND which leads to loss of 25 and/or 29,65 playing like Dukeey (my kid’s word for shit) being the main reason.

    I still think Hawks like Mo… and they are just keeping value down- while he gains 1 more full year to be more “complete”… Hawks will make legit run next 2 years…
    BUT the real hate of 29 vs. 65 is the “fat” contract!!!

  25. AJ says:

    Haha, Shaw playing with an edge. YEAH! GRIT AND HARD NOSED AND BALLS! YEAH!!!!!!!!!

    Shaw needs to win draws, drive possession and play well in his own zone. 0/3 and that has nothing to do with edginess. All it does is validate the fact that Kruger should be skating more minutes and that Q makes silly line up decisions.

    Not sure what Leddy is doing wrong…

    Not sure how a free shot for Rick Nash is soft…

    Kane had a pretty poopy January by his standards. Don’t think the Olympics had much of an impact.

    Pretty sure these guys aren’t picking their spots and want to win every game.

  26. JS says:

    Stalberg played really well in the Hawks system. Nashville plays a completely different style of hockey and I don’t know if that exposes him as crap or just a guy that can’t play with that team. Shaw and Bickell have taken a big step back this year… I wonder what helped them play so well last year? Couldn’t possibly be the other guy on that line that kept defenders honest with his ability to blow by them (and then not score).

    I still think Bickell would have gotten more money on the open market. I also still think he’ll recover and play a lot better, especially once his linemates pick it up.

  27. Sr. Brad says:

    The best post was from Goldenbladz…I can be as guilty of this as anyone here, but WAY too much over reaction…its just one game…I had a bad feeling about this one for a LONG time, as it was going to be very tough for the Olympic players to get back into so soon, and the rest of the guys had been off so long…

    As Golden said, we pushed the play, missed glorious chances, their goalie outplayed our goalie (not that CC was bad), and we outshot them…every time that Hawks play the opposition is READY…the Rangers were ready last night, and we were average…on the road in the NHL, that’s just not going to cut, and yet we still almost tied that game, and probably should have won it…

    This is a GREAT hockey team…it may take them some time to get rolling again, but they will…all the nit picking with the players, especially the top line is way off base…they are elite players who play at an elite level…they WILL be fine…

    Right now this team needs an influx of energy to spark things…I would love to see the red hot Morin come back up, or give Nordstrom or Ross a shot…these kids will help the Hawks, not hurt them…

    As for Bickell, I can tell you this much…unless his EFFORT picks up, he may very well be gone at the deadline…as a hurt Bickell or snake bit Bickell you can live with…an uncaring, not competing Bickell, you can’t…

  28. JS says:

    To anyone that thinks that Bickell will be traded…

    Sell high, buy low.

    When has Bowman ever done the opposite?

    He got Handzus, Versteeg, Regin, PMB, etc. for absolutely peanuts and continues to flip his players for a ton of value. Bickell is not going anywhere.

  29. Sr. Brad says:

    Okay, its easy to see who actually watches the games and understands hockey, and who just shoots fire balls out their arse…Stahlberg was a VERY good Hawk within our system…he was THE best back checker on the entire team, and constantly created open space in the offensive zone with his speed…he was a HUGE reason the 3rd line was so good last season…the downside to Stahlberg? You say it come playoff time…he didn’t want to mess it up in the corner, which is playoff hockey…but to say he was crap, or useless is just ignorant…during the regular season, he was a very valuable Blackhawk…

    As for Shaw, yes, he does need to play with more of an edge, but do ANY OF YOU actually think he won’t come playoff time??? The guy gave his entire body and soul to help us win last year…perhaps Shaw is still recovering from such a brutal physical year, with a short turn around??? Maybe? The kid is BEYONG reproach IMO…he is in many ways the Hear and the Soul of this hockey team, he is one guy we DON’T need to worry about…and as for the 3rd line, give Shaw some wingers…when we had Morin up, our 3rd line was dominating with puck possession…put Shaw with Saad and Morin and dump Bickell down where he belongs to the 4th line, or the bench, until he is ready to TRY.

    Again, the Hawks don’t have any major problems…they don’t need to make another trade…we have everything right here to win another Cup this season…have some patience and faith that our champions will turn it on when they have to…this is a great team with a great coach…we will be more than fine IMO.

  30. Sr. Brad says:

    You are right about Bowman JS…I just think the “effort” thing with Bickell is making a lot people in the Hawk’s organization a little edgy…because his salary is simply too large to just “not worry about”…so we will see…the thing I know about Bickell is that he is a very honest, hard working person, who cares…you just have to believe he will turn things around…there’s just too much there to continue this mediocrity…

  31. morrison says:

    10-19-81
    20-12-88
    29-26-65
    23-16-28

  32. JS says:

    I don’t even know if we can consider it effort. He still doesn’t have the ability to turn sharply or have a quick first step. Often times you’ll see him reaching for a puck with his stick fully extended instead of taking the extra stride to be in a better position. I still think it has more to do with health (mental and physical) and less to do with effort.

    I really would like to see some line juggling. Put Bickell with Toews and Hossa and see if that sparks his production. With the way those two cycle, he could just sit in front of the net and tap in the rebounds.

  33. wall says:

    JS- I see the same thing re: 29 and your last post… still think it is injury linked ( and sad thing is- who know how/if it will ever heal- (see Rusty Olesz))
    the reaching- while guys blow by him… indicates the “burst” or 1st step (which is most important in many sports) is gone…

    Re: 29 paired w/ others… good idea in theory, But before last year’s playoffs- let’s be honest – 29 never went to the net (so playoffs + contract year = net presence)…

    And yes, 25 drove that line… In my cynical mind – Hawks tried to de-value 25 and keep him for around $3M… but then 29 had great PO’s- so 29 got paid… Too much!

  34. Peter says:

    I think Rufus calling out Sharp is right on. The guy has not played well since being named to Team Canada. He carries the puck a lot in the offensive zone, shoots, and doesn’t score then repeats. I would like to think he is pressing, but this downturn in his play just seems different…like it is slightly ego driven (I knew I belonged, I arrived type thing).

    It is time for line blending and I would like to see Q change them at the beginning of the game. Let’s wake some people up…

    However, it is one game after an extended break…

  35. ebonyraptor says:

    Questioning Bickell’s effort? With the not too subtle implication that he doesn’t care as much now that he got a big money contract? I don’t know Bickell personally but I think that line of thinking is crap. It’s mindless mob mentality. For as much as we can “know” any professional athletes through the prism of the media, Bryan Bickell seems to be one of the most conscientious and down to earth people in a sport filled with many good guys. The idea that he doesn’t care enough is preposterous.

    I think the main issue with him is the pressure he puts on himself to duplicate what he did in the playoffs and “earn” that contract. It’s an almost unrealistic expecation because he played better in the playoffs than what would be considered the norm for him. Often times players don’t have a good season after getting a big contract because the expectations they put on themselves to justify the contract becomes a monkey on their back and they they try too hard and consequently don’t play the same way that earned them their new contract. That probably happens more often to players that are more conscientious than cocksure and Bickell would fall into that category. The injuries didn’t help the situation and even if they are no longer a problem, they exacerbated the situation by not allowing him to be 100% ready to go right out of the gate. Now it’s 60 games into the season and that monkey on his back has gained a lot of weight.

    That said, it doesn’t matter how nice a guy he is and how much he wants to be better and how much he tries, it’s a results oriented business and he needs to produce good results or suffer the slings and arrows of the message board mob.

  36. wall says:

    ER- I don’t know if you are calling me out on the 29 Haters… But I was probably the 1st guy to suggest his knee(s) ain’t right… but I really do believe the fat contract COULD play a role in it… He wouldn’t be the 1st athlete that the “let down” has happened after Contract… Only Human Nature…

    Just like – winning a cup… tough to repeat… one of the (many) reasons is- Human nature of satisfied feeling (let down) after win…

    Hey- it’s why You and I both thought the Hawks will be better in 1 yr. (you) and 2 yr. (me)… cuz some new blood will have a chance to develop AND hunger will be back!!!

  37. ebonyraptor says:

    wall – I agree that human nature plays a role in making it harder to repeat. That drive it took to get to the mountain top is naturally diminished after getting there. But I think it is more of a subconscious thing than a conscious decision to slack off. And that’s where I took issue with my rant on the idea the Bickell doesn’t care enough because he got paid. I simply do not believe that’s the case. Could there be a subconscious let down after being a hero in the finals and signing a big contract – sure, and it probably plays a role, but I think the bigger reason is what I posted before – it’s self imposed pressure to perform up to the expectations he thinks he needs to meet – the exact opposite of the “he doesn’t care enough” meme.

  38. JS says:

    Knees are weird. There are the Adrian Peterson’s of the world, and then there are the Rusty Olesz.

    And I love the image of Bickell skating around with a gigantic monkey on his back.

  39. Phil says:

    It isn’t Bicks fault that he received a handsome raise last year. I am sure he is doing the best he can, although this is turning into a frustrating long stretch with little production. I reserve judgement until the playoffs are over. Right now though his stock is flat lining.

    Shaw could be gassed. He played his butt through first half of the year, and he is a little guy. He has a big heart though and I believe that barring injury he will be an important player for the Hawks down the stretch. I’m not fading Shaw here at all.

    Team chemistry should return in a few games. Sharp is a way better player than he has shown the past month or so. I think Q will keep him in check and get his head right. Kane will find the back of the net soon. The important thing is he is putting himself in the right place to score. If that were not the case, questions could be raised.

  40. ebonyraptor says:

    wall – oops, I forgot this in the previous post – you’re right, I did/do think this season is a recharging year. I thought so before the season began but then got caught up in the success and wavered in my belief that they will not be able to repeat. They have stayed healthy for the most part and that is a huge reason why they haven’t shown the signs of the Cup hangover and if they stay healthy maybe they can repeat – we’ll see. But I do think they will be better next year or the year after when that hunger and drive will be back in their gut after watching another team win it.

  41. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Wall with the BEST post of the month. Your succinct statement sums up beautifully what I have worried about for early January…

    “Just like – winning a cup… tough to repeat… one of the (many) reasons is- Human nature of satisfied feeling (let down) after win…”

  42. JS says:

    Hawks are doomed! They are giving up! They aren’t as good as they were last year! Let down!

    Sounds familiar to playoff series 2 and 4 from last year.

    The Hawks are the class of the league. They have some things to figure out, sure, but they are in great position and barely losing games even while playing like garbage. 21 more games until they really matter.

  43. Phil says:

    Well said JS. Glass remains half full with this group IMO. Even when they play a soft game they are usually close to teams that ALL want to beat the Hawks and bring their A game. Cup winners always have the bulls-eye on their backs. Lots of hockey left to be played boys and girls.

    Weather conditions tomorrow evening do not sound good. Forget the beer, and smuggle flasks of something more warming. I was at the Bears-Dallas Monday night game this year. Beer froze in cups in less than 5 minutes. Beer stands were closing because they were pouring beer slush. Thankfully some flasks were there to help, we managed to bring inside our boots.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  44. AJ says:

    No team has repeated since the lockout. The last team to repeat was the Wings at their apex… That lasted another 10 years…

    Distributing the skill among the line up at this point to keep everyone’s minutes reasonable and try to jump start a few colder players is not a ridiculous or unreasonable complaint.

  45. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Tough road loss the Hawks were a little off last night but still managed to make it interesting at the end. Hell of a play from Rick Nash to put the Rangers up 2-0. Hammer was all over him but Nash found a crease and fired a perfect shot. Peter Regin BABY! In all seriousness glad he found the back of the net hopefully he takes the opportunity and runs with it.

    I really feel like the Hawks will end up playing the AVS in round 1 and I keep going back and forth if that is a good thing or not. Should keep things interesting over the next month+ of the season.

  46. wall says:

    Luv ya ER… BUT 29 putting too much “pressure” on himself to live up to the contract!!! That is way off ER- Bickell is not even involved in plays, not forechecking, not getting back… that IS either Effort or Skating (injury)!!!!!!

    Pressure would lead to missed Shots (being too fine) or forcing passes, or over stick-handling trying to make “the play”…

    He is just not SKATING!!!!! Like JS pointed out seems to be reaching instead of MOVING FEET!!!!

  47. JS says:

    I was given a free ticket to the game tomorrow, Phil. Now to go purchase a flask.

  48. Phil says:

    1/4 pint will do JS, unless you get the flask… Bring em home a winner. I will move to whiskey tomorrow night in solidarity.

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