Blackhawks Ground Flyers

The Blackhawks were credited with six shots in the first period on Wednesday night.

The Hawks scored five goals in the second period.

Another complete team effort led to another blow out win for Chicago, as they handed the Flyers a 7-2 loss.

Raanta PHI

Ray Emery was rudely welcomed back to Chicago, allowing six goals before he was pulled less than two minutes into the third period. For the Hawks, Antti Raanta got the start for the second time in as many nights and once again allowed two goals; Raanta made 28 stops to earn the victory.

In front of Raanta, it may have taken the Hawks one period to get into the game but once they started rolling it was fun to watch.

Seven different Chicago players scored a goal on Wednesday night. Marian Hossa (three assists) and Patrick Sharp (one goal, two assists) led the way, followed by Patrick Kane (two assists), Jonathan Toews (one goal, one assist) and Michal Handzus (one goal, one assist).

Duncan Keith scored a power play goal 43 seconds into the second, followed by Andrew Shaw’s 10th goal of the season only 39 seconds later. Handzus’ game-winning goal was short-handed at 5:27 into the second period, the third of the period for the Hawks.

Both of the Flyers’ goals came on the power play, with Steve Downie’s tally bringing the Flyers back to within 3-2 early in the second. But goals from Kris Versteeg and Toews later in the period brought the middle frame to a close with the Hawks up 5-2, with their five goals coming on only 11 shots.

Brent Seabrook scored on a broken stick shot 65 seconds into the third and that was enough for Emery. Steve Mason relieved Emery, and allowed only a power play goal to Sharp against six shots in the final 18:55 on the ice.

Raanta battled a desperate Flyers team in the third period, facing 13 shots in the final 20 minutes. The Hawks allowed two short-handed breakaway chances in the third, and Raanta earned a standing ovation from the United Center crowd with two big saves.

Marcus Kruger led the Hawks at the dot, winning 11 of 14 faceoffs in the game. Toews actually split faceoffs on the Hawks’ top line with Sharp; they each took nine faceoffs in the game. Toews won four of nine, while Sharp won five.

Coach Joel Quenneville was once again able to spread out the ice time. Keith, Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson were the only players on the roster to go over 20 minutes, with Keith’s 23:25 being the highest total for Chicago. Kane led Blackhawks forwards skating 18:41, while Toews skated only 16:48 against the Flyers.

Wayne Simmonds, who tweeted a photo of he and Emery hanging out with Bears receiver Brandon Marshall on Tuesday while the Hawks were in Dallas, dropped the mitts with Sheldon Brookbank early in the first period after the Flyers forward took a run at Keith. Brookbank led the Hawks with three hits in the game.

What fans witnessed in this “rivalry” game in Chicago was an indictment of the roster Paul Holmgren put together in Philly. The Flyers didn’t have the speed or skill to compete with the Hawks, and were chasing and reaching the entire game. They may have fired Peter Laviolette as their head coach after a slow start this season, but any coach behind that bench is going to struggle with the players Holmgren has collected.

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55 Responses to Blackhawks Ground Flyers

  1. Morrison says:

    The Philadelphia Roussels.

    Are you guys… goons.

  2. Peter says:

    Finally a game I got to watch and was really impressed with the team hockey the Blackhawks played. The difference in size between Crawford and Raanta in net is immediately noticeable, that doesn’t make one a better goalie over the other…I was just surprised.

    Tab, your last paragraph about the Flyers I think is an important one. They competed for the Stanley Cup Finals just 3/4 years ago! They were not a team I thought went on a cinderella run and wouldn’t get back for awhile. Yes they were a low seed, who got hot, but they had good players and played a decent team game. I guess they got into contracts that were too rich for them (m. richards), rewarded older players with some interesting contracts (Briere–length), let or traded good players away for little or not to the same level the player was at (J. Carter–let walk) had their best defenseman get hurt and were totally unprepared (Pronger), built around C. Giroux and still haven’t found a goalie.

  3. Tim G says:

    There are goals that you say the offense earned it and goals where the defense just let up. On all of our goals, I felt out guys went out and earned it. Great performance to put away Philly.

  4. Mike says:

    The Flyers are a bunch of thugs. Western Conference teams seem to have risen above thuggery and play more hockey than the Eastern Conf.

    This was a game where the Hawks played well but also the Flyers were awful as Tab suggests. @ reasons, the Flyers are just not the team they were the last few years and were at the end of a long road trip.

    I loved this game so I am not raining on anyone’s parade. The PK MUST get better. In the long run there will be few games where our team scores 5, 6 or 7 goals.

    Toews’ wrist must be ailing. He simply does not look like he is at 100%. I don’t know why he played any shifts in the 3d. Hopefully he gets better. Losing the Captain for any length of time would hurt the team.

  5. wall says:

    Emery- thinking he is a #1 goalie… and leaving for the chance… LAUGHABLE!!!!
    Just more evidence the Hawks team in front of him (and CC) were more relevant then the Actual goalie in net last year!!!

    Versteeg- looks a little quicker/agile as time goes by here… I really hope he can avoid another knee/injury set back… he has the ability/IQ to play in any role/line (yes, I do see his cute little TO’s from time to time)…

    Really like Saad on 3rd line… He makes that line legit…

    Hossa had 3 assists… but he kind of looks like the first 5-6 games… seems to be looking to get hit (and fumbling the puck lately)… hopefully- it’s just his focus.

  6. Slay says:

    I would really like to see the Captain pass on the Olympics…… Doubt it will happen!

  7. Dave says:

    I agree what Mike says about the Cap he doesnt look like himself. but when you look at
    the amount of abuse he takes on the boards and in front of the net its not a surprise . I dont believe Toews will have a long career . whether it is concussions or injuries the fact that he is not a mean player will lead to his early departure. the liberties other players take with Johnny are legion. A few high sticking penalties would be a small price to pay to keep the jerks at bay. Dave

  8. JS says:

    Woof.

    I think the Hawks think it’s the 80′s again with the rate their scoring. If you look at their shot production yesterday it was actually pretty bad, but when you score on 30% of your shots, it doesn’t really matter.

    Wall- while I do think the Hawks defense is important (it is for every goalie), Crawford was outstanding in the playoffs and we should never forget that.

    What is Morin doing? Does he think being an aggitator is going to keep him in the NHL? The kid has crazy skill for finding open ice and has been pretty unlucky to not bury a few goals in the last handful of games. Wall is absolutely right when he says that Morin would produce monster numbers in a Top 6 roll. Does anyone else think his “boarding” was kind of a soft call?

  9. wall says:

    JS- Crow was very good in playoffs… his glove is average to weak (when Raanta makes a glove save- he doesn’t look like he is having a seizure like Crow) – Raanta is small, and Crow has the advantage there on Rants. Seems like one of Rants biggest weaknesses is losing the puck in net front scrambles (ironically Emery (who would just sit like a statue in those situations) was good at that) – and just size and volume of taking up space in those situations has cost Rants a few goals there.

    And really- Crow has been better this season- compared to last – IMO…
    just the Hawks in front of him have been sloppy/careless from time to time… and PK has been weak!

    BUT, IF- Rants continues w/ great #’s!!!! BIG IF!!! You know what we might have!!!

  10. wall says:

    JS- that boarding was questionable… looked like the guy stuck his skates in the ice and started the fall on his own… I understand the call- in real speed… but no way was it intentional or cheap.

    Also PP- glad they put Morin on it… but the angle that the Hawks PP put him in for the one-timer was dreadful by design… trying to one time from near the left goal line on a pass from Keith near left point???? Even Stamkos can’t get that one off!!!

  11. JS says:

    That’s their 5 on 3 strategy. I don’t know if Morin was supposed to try the cross crease pass to the other side (like reversed from the goal they actually scored)… but what they were doing was stupid. I actually hate that 5 on 3 strategy and I was in the middle of rant about it when Kane made that perfect pass to Sharp (that he whiffed on but still scored).

    If Khabby is going to try to come back, I imagine Raanta is going to be sent down. Our only hope is that Khabby goes down to Rockford for conditioning and then decides that he shouldn’t play any more when he gets lit up by AHL talent. It’s really going to cause some roster problems when that contract comes off of LTIR.

  12. wall says:

    JS- great pickup on the Sharp shot… he MISSED it! He has been great on the point shot…
    but that one-timer has left him from the tough angle (for now)- he should/could have about 5-10 more goals easy this year-
    but at least his break-away seems to have improved… why does every other team elevate the puck so easily on the break away???

    Morin should get the same angle Hoss gets from the right side!

  13. Sr. Brad says:

    Well said Tab…that line up for the Flyers is an embarrassment for a team professing to want to win the SC…as Peter said, its hard to believe that they were legit just 4 years ago…

    As for Mike, I agree, the PK has to get better…once again I am finding that we are way too “relaxed” on the kill and make it far too easy for opposing teams to set up and manoeuvre…

    Raanta is the real deal…someone said that when CC and Khabby come back Raanta will get sent down…WTF? The Hawks would be CRAZY to stop his progress now…his numbers are in the top half of the league…there is NO WAY you allow the Bulin Wall back at this point…moving forward its CC and Raanta…and with a D corp of Seabrook/Keith, Hammer/Oduya, Leddy/Kostka/Rozy/BB I honestly can’t see a team beating us out of another Cup, I really don’t…

    The key for the forwards is for Q to continue rolling 4 lines…Bickell starts practising tomorrow with the team…when he comes back the ONLY issue on this team is Q’s insistence of Handzus as the 2nd line centre…but even then, when Q rolls 4 lines outfitted with 12 true forwards, we just don’t lose…think of our record over the last year and a half rolling 4 lines…we are virtually undefeated…

    How important is Andrew Shaw to this hockey team?

    How good is Brandon Saad right now, and what is this kid going to look like in say 2 more years…yikes, man-child is right…Little Hoss…

    Sharpie is on fire trying to make the Olympic team…I just hope he keeps it up all season…

    Something is definitely wrong with Toews…but playing as he is, he is still a sound forward!

    I would love to see the Hawks give Garret Ross a chance at some point this season…he is such a smart hockey player and his grit is every bit as tough as Shaw’s…he’s a Hawk regular in the making IMO…

  14. Tab Bamford says:

    Last night it was clear that Toews wasn’t right. Sharp was sent out for faceoffs w/ 19 at the LW a number of times throughout the game. What the issue is… we’ll see.

  15. John Wangsauce says:

    Lazerus tweeted last night after the game that Toews’ pinky and ring finger were splinted together.

  16. ebonyraptor says:

    With 8 players having 20+ points, 6 of them with double digit goals, there are Hawks all over the stats pages. Kane is top-5 in points, goals and assists. Can’t wait until Toews is 100% and Bickell rejoins the lineup. It’s probably doubtful the Hawks can sustain the 3.68 goals per game rate through the remainder of the season, but it sure is fun right now.

    Brookbank did his job last night dancing with Simmonds – good on him.

    It’s hard to complain when the Hawks get 7 power plays, but if the game were called evenly, they should have had double that. It looked like two sets of rules were being used – one for the Hawks and one for the Flyers. At least the refs finally hammered the Flyers late in the 3rd when they ramped up their goonery.

    Toronto is a desparate team and they like to play goon hockey too so the game on Saturday could be more of the same. And then another B2B game against the Kings on Sunday – that should be a good measuring stick for both teams – the best offensive team against the best defensive team. Hopefully the Hawks have some energy left over from the TML game the night before.

  17. JS says:

    There is no cap space on this team. As I said yesterday, when Khabby comes off of LTIR (and he’s going to come back), the Hawks will have 414k in cap space with a 22 man roster. This is the same if Khabby is playing in the AHL and Raanta is on the Hawks. This means they can not have a 23rd man on the roster.

    I don’t think I’m wrong about this… but it wouldn’t be the first time I thought I was right and wasn’t.

  18. RyanDale says:

    How bout that streaking shg by Zus, still laughing,replaying that one

    i guess a 19-6 run in 3Ws kinda puts that 0-2-1 ‘skid’ in the rear view

    Poor Dunc still logged over 23min

  19. Nick says:

    Toews looks like he did during last year’s playoff run. He is playing hurt and semi-effective.

    JS-If Khabby is sent down to Rockford through waivers, the Hawks won’t be on the books salary capwise for his salary. The Rangers did that with Wade Redden a few years ago with his huge contract and the Hawks also did it with Samonsov and Olesz too.

  20. Tab Bamford says:

    Nick – incorrect. Part of the new CBA states veteran players that are demoted have a cap hit. For Khabibulin, if activated from LTIR today and demoted, his cap hit would be $775k according to CapGeek.com.

  21. JS says:

    They changed the rules, Nick. You can no longer hide salary in the AHL. If they put him in the AHL his salary + the salary of Raanta in the NHL will be $1.7M. AKA his current cap hit.

    The Handzus shorty was also the slowest developing 2 on 1 in the history of the NHL. That was hilarious.

    Also, as Mr. Wang said, Toews had fingers splinted so that makes some sense as to why he is ineffective.

  22. Nick says:

    Thanks for the clarification guys. I didn’t know that part of the new rules

  23. John Wangsauce says:

    What constitutes a “veteran player?” I can’t find that info anywhere. Just curious.

  24. JS says:

    Veteran player is just anyone not on a 2 way contract. Nick Leddy can’t be buried. Kostka can.

    This is how the math works (directly from capgeek)

    BURIED CONTRACTS (Wade Redden Rule)

    Money paid to players outside of the NHL counts against the cap.

    A one-way contract counts against the cap as follows:

    cap hit – [ minimum salary + $375,000 ]Example: If Player A with cap hit $6.5M plays in the minors in 2013-14, he counts as follows.

    $6.5M – [ $550,000 + $375,000 ] = $5.575MA two-way contract counts as follows:

    minor-league salary – [ minimum salary + $375,000 ]Example: Player B’s two-way contract pays $3M/$1M in 2013-14 and counts as follows in the minors.

    $1M – [ $550,000 + $375,000 ] = $75,000
    ——————————————————————————–

  25. JS says:

    That did not copy and paste well. Sorry about that. You should be able to figure it out though. Anyone that is demoted on a 1 way contract saves $925k toward the cap.

  26. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Observations…

    1. Raanta is doing a wonderful job. But pay attention to the last three games and you shall see that the Hawks have significantly amped up their blue line presence and pucking clearing in response to Crow being sidelined.

    2. Smart teams will start to put a big body on Raanta’s doorstep. Seabrook and others will have to focus on clearing the body or I’m worried that Raanta is going to become vulnerable in terms of giving up goals in the crease. He doesn’t exactly “contain” himself in the next. In fact, he’s flopping all over the place. Needs to get that under control in all honesty because premium shooters will start to exploit that shit.

    3. Opponents are becoming savvy to playing a big physical game against the Hawks. We have to be real careful with this and make sure we have the appropriate response in games. And our key forwards, Keith and Hjalmarsson all need to have their heads on a swivel, because there is no question in my mind that teams are adopting the strategy at taking a run at select Hawk players. God save the Queen when it comes time to play St. Louis next. I’m actually immediately worried about the Kings, because though LA isn’t aggressive physically on most nights they have the guns and the coach to physically kick the shit out of the Hawks on the boards, etc. Interesting times for the Hawks in this regard and I fully assume that Q is talking about this quite a lot in the lockerroom.

    4. Without question Toews is less than 100%. Personally, I would sit him for a week based on point # 3 above and because having him at max ability come playoff time is what is most important. If we need to sacrifice a few points in the interim then I don’t really care. Toews isn’t getting better game to game either. Clearly laboring. And his stickhand seems a mess. Two fingers taped up last night, but I’ve got to believe it is more than just a hand injury that ails him.

  27. JS says:

    Hit leaders:
    1. Toronto 1064
    2. Los Angeles 1040
    ….
    23. St Louis 620

    28. Chicago 597

    St. Louis has actually really stepped back the physicallity this season. Maybe they realized they should save it for the playoffs? Or maybe because they are playing more of a puck possession game.

    Definitely agree on Raanta. He has major rebound issues (I was really confused last night when Eddie said he doesn’t give up rebounds), he constantly loses his net, and panics. As a few of us have said, he has a crazy ceiling but has a lot of work to do before he gets there.

    As far as Toews goes, it really just depends what the injury is. If it’s something that just heals with time and he can’t hurt it worse, there is no point of not running him out there. And again, pretty soon they aren’t going to have the cap space to have a spare forward on the 23 man roster… although I guess nothing stops them from swapping Kostka with a Pirri/Morin/Nordstrom on a given night.

  28. John Wangsauce says:

    Thanks for the info, JS! I actually did look that up on capgeek, but I was looking for “veteran” and thought I missed something. Makes sense now! Just 1-way vs 2-way.

    Is there a stat out there that shows what team TAKES the most hits overall? That’d be interesting to see.

  29. Reg Dunlop says:

    What the NHL is finding out is what the Detroit Red Wings AND NOW the Blackhawks have known for a few years……..being physical against the Hawks(and the Red Wings of a few years back) is a waste of time. Their speed, skill and agility are too much for any physical team to handle, most of the time. Want proof? Go ask the Boston Bruins.

    I could care less how many hits a team has and how many “tough guys” they have that want to take runs at the Hawks players. Anyone who has ever played this game at ANY level knows that it takes as much energy to hit a player as it does for a player to absorb or avoid the hit.

    Against the Flyers, Edzo talked about how the Blackhawks have avoided serious injuries to key players over the last few years. Well, the Hawks don’t make unnecessary contact or try to run players into the third row. They take the opponent off the puck and continue to play. Playing smart, “team hockey” is the key to what makes the Hawks a winning team.

    Teams like St. Louis, Philly, Boston and all the so-called “tough”, “physical” teams that try to beat up the skill and speed teams will have to adapt to the “speed and skill” game, or find out that trying to hit everything on the ice will put you in second place everytime. Again……see the Bruins and Kings of the 2013 playoffs.

    The only team that matches up really well with the Hawks is Anaheim. We have no center to match up with Getzlaf and he has size, skill and speed. Hopefully, Stan is not just looking for a second line center, but looking for a center with some size and speed to handle Getzlaf.

    I still believe that the Hawks can beat any team in a 7 game series.

  30. Mike says:

    Rufus maybe Crow getting hurt is a wake up call. Team Defense is what wins Stanley Cups. JS it is interesting how St Louis physical play has backed down, at least statistically, this year. I have not seen list but my guess is that EC teams fill most of the top 10. Reg, you are right that speed AND skill is a better winning formula than racking up as many hits as you can. However, Detroit is finding out the hard way. The EC is killing them with injuries. The reason is the Wings have plenty of skill but are a step slow on the speed side.

    I agree with all….Toews needs to heal. He should man up and sit out the Olympics. (As well as Hossa) What does he have to prove? His only focus should be winning the Cup for the man who pays him $6.3mm a year and the city that pays him millions more in sponsorships. I think Wall said that Toews will have a short career. I believe that as well. That man needs to a little nastier because it looks like he takes a lickin every night. Guys like Bollig, Bickell and even Morin have to give some protection to our elites.

  31. RyanDale says:

    @John Wang Their used to be a guy at broadstreethockey.com that had all kinds of stats on hits. I think it was his sole purpose. Not sure if its still going on

    I know, hard to believe it would be in Phila !!

  32. Morrison says:

    Unless we add at deadline, I think we keep everyone. I know if Bulin comes off ltir we need to do something. Stay on ltir man, your getting an extra Mill. to do so. I still think we keep everyone & just go with 22man, 37, 11, 6, 39 can come up if needed… They just cant practice with team and its not as convenient for 32 & 26 rest days… We could trade 17 contract, but it always better to have moar D for playoffs.

    ER- Yea, even when were up 5-0 the other night and in a 7-2 we still can’t get a evenly reffed game, wtf. Cross check to side of Steegers head against the glass. Guy is looking right at it then looks away, are you kidding me but they got the boarding on Moe because he what barely touched that guy. There must be a different set of rules the refs go by for the better teams. It doesn’t even out with the calls/no calls over time… as most would think.

    The good thing is, we are really good and still do what we do with the bulls–t penaltys. I am sick of that, though it does make us stronger.

  33. wall says:

    Brad- what is in the way of Hawks SC- is the crappy new playoff format…
    right now the Hawks toughest match ups are-
    1.) blues
    2.) ducks
    3.) Avs
    IMO- and now we will most surely play one of these, most likely 2, and possibly 3 in the playoffs…

    JS- Interesting stat on hits… perhaps- the Blues see the wave of the New NHL where skating is rewarded…

    JS- I kind of agree w/ Edzo on the Raanta Rebound control… Rants does great on soaking up long shots, gloving, or kicking aside… I also see the problem of “crease scrambles” that Rufus (and I think you are calling “rebounds”… ) I am w/ Edzo and I am not calling them rebounds (but I know what you mean)… he is small and just doesn’t take up a lot of the net when there is a crazy scramble…

  34. Sr. Brad says:

    I think that Raanta has better rebound control than CC…but JS is quite right…when Raanta doesn’t control the puck or loses site of it, he panics…but that is mostly because he simply doesn’t want to let a goal in…he has huge compete and with his athleticism, he has a huge ceiling IMO…

    Reg is right, the Hawks can beat any team in a 7 game series…

  35. RyanDale says:

    Blues hits are down but, all those PIM are not coming from delay of game or too many men penalties either.

    you better expect a nasty bunch of guys that aren’t too likable.

    swivel for head is mandatory vs them !

  36. JS says:

    I guess what I meant by his rebound control is that he has a tendency to not know where the puck is after it hits him. He has a solid glove and is pretty good at soaking up the long shots.

    I thought I would point out the hits simply because of how much differently St. Louis is playing this year. Even when they played the Hawks, they weren’t going out of their way to make the hits like they were last year. Whereas LA will hit anything that moves, as will Toronto. Going to be a black and blue back to back this weekend.

    Wall- Blues will likely be second round (unless they do their typical playoff thing). Anaheim wouldn’t be to the finals (and I have my doubts). I don’t think the Avalanche are going to make the playoffs. They started 12-1, but are 8-8 since and are really REALLY lacking on the back end… but I’m actually not sure who will catch them. Phoenix probably won’t sustain and Dallas is also hurting on the back end.

  37. wall says:

    JS- we will see about Avs… but my point is Blues play us tough… Kings have Blues #,
    and we seem to have Kings #… new format will not allow the 2 best teams -IMO play eachother in WCF.

    Another thought on hits/St. Lou… when u hit a guy- you basically cancel player(s) out and really… it opens up the ice and turns it into more 3 on 3 hockey… which would benefit the Hawks…

    I thought the Tampa coach used a good strategy vs. Hawks… he rarely forechecked or hit Hawks in their own zone… just Jammed the middle of the ice…
    but hitting/forechecking the Hawks- can lead to a lot of open space at times… for the faster/better passing team.

  38. RyanDale says:

    LA/TOR hit war was 51-33 LA wed night in TOR.

    the BnB B2B, nice JS. Leafs are reeling a bit and frankly aren’t even as good as there record imo. They will def hit you, have good PP but other than that, ?? LA will be a real test for sure. Good news is they also have b2b will be in OTT(who hits a ton too, but thats bout it) on Sat and finish trip in Chicago. Bad news is they own 5 game win streak going to ott, with last 3Ws being 12-1 goal count. yikes. Not gonna be easy to grab all 4pts in bnb b2b

  39. JS says:

    Toronto is pretty awful at hockey. They have a complete disconnect from reality in their front office and made some of the most laughable decisions (ie. Grabovski, Clarkson, Bernier).

    I was mostly pointing out the hits because I thought it was weird that Rufus said that LA isn’t really physical but St. Louis is. But St. Louis has definitely gotten away from the “hit everything that moves” method they followed last season. Is David Backes still going to take stupid penalties? You betcha.

    Who do you think are the two best teams, Wall? San Jose, LA, and Anaheim are all pretty damn good and capable of playing the Hawks in the WCF.

  40. goldenbladz says:

    Yes i agree with the rebound control by Raanta. Maybe it’s a Finnish goalie thing as Niemi used to do the same thing.

  41. goldenbladz says:

    Raanta does have great atleticism though and those splits are incredible

  42. wall says:

    JS- I like the Blues w/Hawks… SJ and LA don’t scare me ( I think Hawks have their #’s)… Ducks are good too… (and Avs/if they make it- match up well vs. Hawks)
    And looking in the “best interests of the Hawks”-match-up wise… I want and Hope/ someone takes out the Blues early in PO’s- I think the new format COULD set up a second round match (Blues/Hawks) of 2 top point/best teams in WC… Just don’t like that… Old PO’s -you could never have that!!!

  43. JS says:

    Wall- Yes you could. If the Hawks and Blues had the best records in the old format, the Hawks would be 1 and the Blues would be 4 (two other division winners being 2 and 3). If all the top seeds won, they would play in the second round.

  44. AJ says:

    I think the Blues are a pretty balanced team and Hitchcock has been good at messing with Q’s head more than Q messes with it on his own.

    LA is good when healthy but I don’t think their blue line is that deep. Plus they have a roster full of headcases which is problematic.

    The Ducks again have a pretty mehhhhh blue line and very mehhhhh after their top line.

    San Jose is San Jose and does the same thing every year.

    Not necessarily easy and they do need to take care of business but should be another SCF appearance provided catastrophic injuries are absent.

  45. ebonyraptor says:

    Depending how the seeding goes – if Hawks are first in Central and play one of the wild cards, and if that wild card is Phoenix – that might be a tough matchup for the Hawks too.

    Also, I wouldn’t be too quick to write off San Jose as “same ole implode in the playoffs San Jose” because they are a much improved and faster team than they’ve been in the past. Plus, while the Hawks are the top scoring team right now because of their depth scoring, the Sharks are as deep or deeper with guys like Thornton, Marleau, Couture, Pavelski, Burns, Hertl, Wingels, Kennedy and Havlat if he ever returns to form. Plus I think they will have Torres back by the playoffs. Oh, and they have Niemi. So while the Getzlaf-Perry combo is arguably the best duo in the league, and LA is the best defensive team – I think by the end of the season San Jose will be the Pacific Division winner and a very tough out in the playoffs.

  46. JS says:

    LA hasn’t allowed a first period goal in 17 games. That isn’t a typo. That’s 17 games with J Quick out nursing a groin injury.

    And I too, think San Jose is the truth. Rematch of 2010 in the WCF?

  47. Joey Zamboni says:

    A little too early to be talking about play off match ups don’t ya think…..????
    Still a long way to go & anything can happen…….
    Us Chicago sports fans tend to over analyze a bit……. OK a lot!

    I for one am just sitting back & enjoying watching arguably the best Hawks team maybe ever…..?? They are fun to watch & when they get going its like watching the Harlem Globetrotters!

    As for Raanta, does he remind anyone else of J. Quick…..???

  48. wall says:

    JS- I knew you were gonna come up with that… good one

    But – at least give me that there being ONLY 2 divisions compared to 3… Significantly INCREASES the ODDS of the 2 Top point earners being in the same Division vs. a 3 Division format!!!

  49. wall says:

    JS- please don’t make me figure the actual odds…

    I all ready wasted 15 minutes proving to myself that Travis’s “5% probability of CC letting up exactly 4 goals on 18 shots comment” (I did the actual math on that one)- he was correct!

  50. JS says:

    I’m probably wrong, but it used to be a 25% chance of the top two teams being in the same division, now it’s 50%. So 50% more likely. I don’t want to figure out the odds of them playing in the second round versus the third though.

    One thing I do like, the top seed is worth A LOT more now than it used to be. Really, the second and third best teams can technically play in the first round. Coming in second can now give you a much harder matchup than it used to.

  51. Phil says:

    I wanted to chime in about the Flyers game even though the discussion seems to have moved past that result. I thought this was a very good example of what a skilled fast team can do to a slower physical opponent. Philly skated a pretty good first period, with a disruptive forecheck, and strong physical presense. BB pushback on Simmonds was appropriate at that point in the game IMO as it said to Flyers rthere will be a price to pay if you run our core guys. Of couse as the game progressed and the Hawks built an insurmountable lead, the cheapshots came out. Noteworthy of course were 3 atttempt to injure plays against Versteeg, Toews, and then the dangerous crosscheck to Kane that could have ended his season had he crashed hard into the boards. Hawks answered all of this nonsense by putting pucks in the Flyers net. Antii was good enough agains, despite leaving some pucks by the crease.

    Overall, it was a great team effort by the Hawks sending another Eastern Conf opponent to a loss. EC teams just don’t have the speed that is evident with many Western teams. The game is played tighter in the West, better goaltending, and the pace with the better Western teams is much better than the East. Bruins and Pens can skate, but team defense on Pens is still suspect. Toronto is a team that should be kicked while they are down. Lots of injury issues. Those guys play a pretty physical game. Hawks need to keep their heads up, but should win if they play well.

    Too early to talk playoff matchups for me, but I would fear Avs and Ducks most. Avs because they are fast, but most importantly they have a massive home ice advantage playing at altitude. Blues would be a tough matchup, but Hawks are better top to bottom. I think that is also true when we look at SJ. A seven game series usually yields the winner that has a better balanced team or a team supported by an incredibly hot keeper, that wins 1-2 games for his guys. Health of core players is obviously key. None of us know how that will play out.

  52. Sr. Brad says:

    Joey, I think you are right…a young Quick though…before Quick learned how to be positionally solid…then he became a monster…this is what, I believe, JS and I are talking about with Raanta…there’s WAY too much movement in the crease…once Raanta learns to trust his positioning and only moves in precis spurts (much like Quick) he could become one of the best in the league…his #s right now, IMO, are staggering because of how poorly he manages his angles and positioning…but he’s fun to watch…

  53. RyanDale says:

    JS , you’re right on about Blues, not aiming to dispute, just chimin in…cheers

    btw, amazing # about LA streak

  54. Morrison says:

    Wall- Your right, should not be divisional playoffs. Keep it 1/8, 4/5 & reseed after… Everything can be the same for getting in, 4and4 or 5and3 but have the playoff format make sense. Whats not right is more than half of the time in the first round you re going to have a division winner play a team from the other division/more travel/half way across country. Yea, that makes a lot of sense?, the point of divisions (is suppose to be) less travel, especially the teams that earned it the most. Otherwise whats the reason. It is more important to have the 8th place get in and not the 9th. That’s why they just need to keep it to the 1/8, 4/5, reseed and everything else with the new alignment.

    Most of the realignment things are better… gets rid of the 3rd seed bs (van/was have to play in real division now, well maybe not the metro politician division), less travel for campbell conf. teams/more for east conf., but travel is still not even but better than before.

    We play who we gotta play in each round. Until then like Zamboni said, its a privilege to watch our team overall all these yrs become and consistently be one of the best teams all time. Dang do we have a good hockey team and its going to be around for awhile.

  55. RyanDale says:

    I have to think this new format will be one and done after it plays out this season. We probably wont see an overhaul again by any means but I expect some tweaking will be done. If for no other reason , you have to stay within the division as much as possible. It’s the one major offense that has to be addressed imo. We’ll see what other warts come up as we go but I am not a fan of it at all. Possibly having a 2/3 early on is just something we don’t need to be seeing.

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