Shaw STL

Blackhawks Hand Central Division Crown To St. Louis

Shaw STL

It took 57 minutes for the Blackhawks offense to show up, and when it did there wasn’t enough. The St. Louis Blues won in regulation, giving them the Central Division crown.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Nashville Predators 4-2 in regulation. A regulation loss on Saturday could push the Hawks into a wild card spot.

Corey Crawford kept his teammates in the game again, but the lack of offense was once again dormant. Crawford made 23 saves, allowing only two goals but once again that was enough to beat the Blackhawks as his teammates continue to struggle to find ways to score without Patrick Kane.

The game-winning goal was scored by Paul Stastny after a puck bounced past Niklas Hjalmarsson, leading to a 3-on-1 that the Blues were able to convert.

Andrew Shaw was able to put a Jake Allen rebound into the net during a late 4-on-4 situation to give the Hawks some life, but even with Crawford pulled late Chicago wasn’t able to generate any quality scoring chances. Teuvo Teravainen set up the Shaw goal with a good, high shot off Allen that wasn’t handled cleanly.

One bright spot in the game was the play of rookie Kyle Baun, who was once again a physical force in only his second career game. Baun piled up six hits in only 10:53 and looked more comfortable, but all three of his credited shot attempts missed the net.

Brent Seabrook led the Hawks with four blocked shots, and took a couple David Backes shots off his knees late in the first and early in the second period. He was also credited with two hits in 22:06 but failed to put a shot on net.

Andrew Desjardins was pressed into a primary penalty killing role with Marcus Kruger out of the lineup because of an illness. Desjardins skated 13:28 in the game, 4:19 of which came short-handed. Unfortunately, he was on the ice when St. Louis scored their first goal. Kevin Shattenkirk eluded Desjardins and put a shot on net that Crawford didn’t handle cleanly, and Dmitri Jaskin made him pay.

Bryan Bickell was active, but didn’t put the puck in the net again. He led the Hawks with seven hits and was credited with one takeaway and had one big blocked shot.

David Rundblad had another rough night, and he continues to make the health of Kimmo Timonen critical for any Blackhawks postseason chances. One would hope that Michael Paliotta will make his NHL debut in Colorado this weekend given how Rundblad has performed recently, but coach Joel Quenneville has continued to dress both Rundblad and Michal Rozsival.

At this point, the best thing we can say about Rundblad is that he’s a liability.

If the Blackhawks had needed the standings to force them to have a sense of urgency, that time has come. With Minnesota on their heels, the Hawks now need at least one point on Saturday to face the Predators in the first round of the playoffs.

68 thoughts on “Blackhawks Hand Central Division Crown To St. Louis

  1. TT plays barely over 9 minutes and leads the team in shots, is a +1 and gets a nice assist. Are you kidding me? How much longer is 23’s sorry ass going to be on the first line? Time to put 20 back on the first line so we can at least have one line with the capability of scoring. Kudos to 29, 11,65 and 86 who actually showed up to play. 32 and 5 were absolutely brutal. At this point I would try Paliotta and Cumiskey. The first round draft pick given up for 80 looks like a disaster. I can’t figure out what has happened to his game. Sure hope 88 gets back soon.

  2. these last 3 games are emblematic of the generally frustrations of hawks fandom this year. Great team. Great talent. Really spotty performance. Granted Hawks didn’t have Richards. That hampered them. Oh ya, and Kane…

  3. Hate to write them off but Hawks look like one and done in the play offs. Crow playing great but they can’t score to save their lives.May win Jennings but got to score more than a goal a game. Peripheral game not cutting it any more. No one wants to pay the price and go to the net. Painful with the talent they have . Team will be gutted next year for the cap so awhile before they are knocking on the door again.

  4. I didn’t think TT had a great game, albeit he did have the only primary assist. The puck just seems to continue bouncing off his stick.

    Desjardins looked great again. Once Richards returns, Nordstrom should join the pressbox crew along with Rundblad (and Teuvo when Kane heals up). Desi adds a different dynamic to the lineup and should continue to dress for Q.

    HUGE point(s) in Denver Saturday. Preds look a lot like the Blues of last year. They’ve lost 5 straight (STL lost 6 before the playoffs) and the Hawks don’t want to face Blues early on. Let them and Minny duke it out over 7 games before the Hawks face them.

  5. This years team doesn’t have it. It will be one and done. I hope I’m dead wrong about that but the mojo of the past several years is absent.
    Off-season time to unload the dead weight…I’ve really seen enough of Versteeg, Bickell, Rundblad, Sharp ( I really hate to say that but since Sochi he’s been pedestrian), Rosy.
    Agree with comments above about Teivo…only 9 minutes? That’s ridiculous. He’s got the most pure offensive skill on the team of anyone there now.
    Let’s not take the old Cubs route and hang on to the big fan favorites too long…unload!
    Geez, I hate to say it again but we look to be one and one…no offensive punch at all.

  6. at least they are consistent – 2-1 losses


    Eichel could be better than 19??? dude is a beast

    If Sabres get him… watchout

  7. Zebra – it was a joke. A) Listing Richards as a factor b) Listing Richards and then Kane as an afterthought. Sorry the sarcasm didn’t come through :)

  8. This might not be the team to win a third cup, but we are talking 1 goal losses against desperate, hungry teams that have played in Chicago’s shadow for… ever. 29 had a nice warmup tonight. 10 will get 3 points in the first playoff round. Who wants to trade 19 for Backes afte this one? I mean Backes had an assist, he’s the man, right? I can’t remember the last time a strong team that struggled offensively won the Stanley Cup. Except last season. I’m not saying that the Blackhawks without 88 have the offensive firepower that the Kings did last year, but they have several under performers that might just turn it on in the real season (we can call it that now, but we’re a far cry from the red wings 24 straight, that’s absolutely awesome, I hope they lose in grand fashion). Who gives a crap how many minutes 86 gets now. In every single interview, Q says exactly what every fan is thinking. He shuffles lines because he wants hockey players to play for him, not wingers and centers. The experiment will be over in one game, until the Hawks fail to perform again, when the experiment will begin again. That’s Q. Out here I’m friends with many kings and ducks fans, and they all love Q. Interesting to see a different perspective. This long post is sponsored by Costco’s Canadian whiskey, I too am warming up for the playoffs. Let’s go.

  9. Everybody R-E-L-A-X. After Hawks beat Jets, Kings & Canucks, love affair was on. Don’t worry. Professional, battled tested core will lead the way w/ Crawford. Don’t worry, they all know the Kings are headed for extended golf and other leisure activities. Nashville is reeling, Rinne is on fire… let’s hope St. Louis defeats Minny SAT afternoon, then Hawks game is meaningless. I do agree w/ 1961Hawks, Saad needs to play w/ Towes & Hossa. That was the Hawks’ most consistent line the entire season. Versteeg functioned best w/ Kane, he seems out of sorts w/ most others. Roszival is slower than my grandma (God rest her soul), but we’re all gonna have to live w/ him. Everyone have a few cocktails tomorrow and don’t worry.

  10. Good man Nick in San Diego. So looks like we play either the Ducks or Nashville. Not scared one bit by either of those. CC will take us deep. D will be stellar, Sharp comes alive, Hossa comes alive, we go full on Lion in the Savanna and just pounce on whoever. …and we win in Colorado 7-2 just for fun.

  11. Nick – you’re right! We’re all wrong – and a#$h*11s – for making assessments based on the qualitative differences in our fan experience between this year and years prior. We should just be silent and watch expectantly as the Hawks win the cup. We ought ask no questions and have no doubts because: Two Rings. We’re spoiled because the Hawks had the playoff spot locked up already, unlike the Kings who seem to deliberately play the game of trying to rest up for the playoffs each season (except this time it didn’t work – biters!).

    Except, it seems to me that the Hawks did their level best this last half of the season to lose that playoff spot despite their wealth of talent and experience. Perhaps they were playing the King’s game, but as we saw when the Hawks tried to play the Blue’s hitting game the other night, it might not be a good fit. Some of us give a crap about TT’s minutes because, say what you will about Q’s very robust system – and May Praise Be Upon Him btw, it seems like he isn’t maybe kinda the best at asset management… See Zeus, Rozy, Runbad. Incessant shuffling lines in this epoch of set-plays and one touch passing is part of why the Hawks offense becomes so predictable (and SLOW) and so rarely generates sustained pressure or seems to get shots through from the point on PP. Speaking of which, how do you explain what a dumpster fire it is – and has been – for so long under the Q regime?

    I realize I have no qualifications for saying what I’ve said – and am therefore wrong and obnoxious. I formally apologize to all the highly credentialed and accomplished Hockey Thinkers who no doubt will address the content of these concerns and forgive my ribald comments.

  12. The Hawks scoring woes won’t change, Q has the Hawks playing a very tight, checking game so that our DMen are protected. We are generating very few chances as a result of this and the players who have the finesse to put the puck into the net aren’t going anywhere near the goal crease and thus aren’t scoring any goals. Even if Kane comes back, nothing will change, if Q opens up the Hawks style of play, with our bottom D pairing, we will simply continue losing games in high scoring affairs…Q knows that the only way for us to win is to play it close and hope our scorers start scoring goals…sorry folks, but that’s it…the Hawks are what they are…a good team with a couple serious flaws.

    I noticed Tab was hoping for Timonen to get healthy, and while he is better than Runbad, so is my dog! Timonen simply hasn’t come around before his injury, if he comes back, he will simply be what he has been for us…a disappointment…forget Kane’s injury, the 2014 and the 2015 Blackhawks will go down as teams that never fixed their 3rd D pairing problems and their 2nd line Centre issue…no consistent scoring other than from one line and no 3rd D pairing…hindsight is always 20/20 but how does Bowman’s decision to give Rozy a 2 yr. 4.2 million $ deal after winning the Cup look now???

    BTW, Stephen Johns was a monster for the Hogs again tonight and is now +28 on the season and a beast along the boards. I believe it was a big mistake by Bowman not to bring him up during this stretch run, he could have played for us right now.

    The Hawks aren’t done just yet as we have Jonathan Toews and CC’s playing well in goal, but against these better teams the Hawks are destined to continue losing 1-0 or 2-1 games even if Kane comes back.

    Braun looked very good again tonight, on the road in a tough place to play in only his 2nd game, a very nice signing by Bowman. He’s the type of player we must move forward with starting this offseason. The Hogs have players that can help us to win playoff games, but they need to be given the chance. It could be a couple of years before the Hawks return to prominence as we haven’t developed our youth very well.

  13. These games are seriously meaningless. Does it really matter if the Hawks play the Blues or Preds? Is Winnipeg or Minny that much of a break? I say no to both questions. There are NO easy matchups. This team has as much chance to win the cup as they do it get bounced in the 1st round. These team under achieved all season. Maybe they can put it all together now. I’m not buying the Blues or Jake Allen. I’m also not buying the Preds. Might throw some money down on Minny

  14. @BB

    I’m with you on Johns +28! Not sure what we are saving him for. Stan’s not managed the prospects well in my opinion.

  15. If the Hawks fall to the wildcard and in Pacific bracket that would be the path of least resistance, that would mean Blues win, Hawks lose, Minny wins and Ana loses too many variables to expect that.

  16. Has anyone thought about the fact that these guys have played a lot of hockey the last couple years? They are in the playoffs, qualifying while not playing full speed ahead. Maybe they are saving some energy/ strategy for when it really matters? This whole team has a big heart, and some of our players (i.e. the Captain) can will themselves to win games singlehandedly. Why not coast in pretty much knowing they locked up a spot some time back and then give the rest of the league hell when it comes time to play for what they really want.

  17. Yah, that would be hilarious if we become the Pacific Division Champions. Do we hang a banner for that? Sometimes the NHL makes no sense at all.

    Very nice analysis and breakdowns on our situations. I’m more the optimistic cheerleading type ( comes from a 47 year drought…only way to stay sane and maintain dignity…and we had many great teams, so not in vain). However, I do know this for sure….there are always intangibles in the playoffs, some bounce, some event, turning points, and there is always an individual that goes way above and beyond. Seabrook and Toews, beating Detroit, 2 goals in 17 seconds to win it all, that sort of thing. History, legacy, intangibles of a more spritual nature, not really quantifiable. That we have and its our unseen strength for what is to come.

  18. Mm,

    Here is how goofy this has become.

    Two guys from my drop in hockey, who are Sabres fans, skated up to me and said, thanks to your boy Toews we are now getting McDavid or Eichel. Love that guy Toews for his 2 goals last Friday.

    To be honest, I could care less about the Hawks position in the standings. With Los Angeles out, The hawks will need to get through 3 of Anaheim, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg and Minnesota to get to the final. Let’s see if they can do it.

  19. Well I am shocked that we didn’t split these 4 games. Even though I wanted to/and thought we would win half or more of these 4 games (Wall, I take that back these 4 games are meaningless but I thought we would get at least 2pts in the first 3 games of them). Didn’t think we would need to get a point in game 82 but now this is a very meaningfull game.

    Overall, everything couldn’t have worked out any better. LA doesn’t get in due to not beating EDM. STL is teed up to play MIN (the team no one wants to play in 1st rd). If STL wins then we wont have to play MIN, if we beat NAS. WIN and VAN/CAL can beat ANA, then to the guy who said he thought (mths ago) who ever wins our division in the Playoffs is going to win the Cup.

    Kaner will make a huge difference. The trickle down effect.

    When we play, we play.

    Lion in the Savanna.

  20. Tldr, not sure what point you are making, I’m a little confused in the cyclone of sarcasm. What I do know is 1) the Blackhawks didn’t give up any playoff spot, and the last several games were basically meaningless and 2) the Kings didn’t make the playoffs this year, and a suggestion that they purposefully rested up in years past is just wrong. I have tempered almost every comment with an admission that this team does not have an elite offense. I opened up my comment above by saying this might not be the team to win the 3rd recent cup. I am not calling all of anybody a$$holez . I am saying 1) the gloom and doom is a byproduct of being spoiled, 2) I do believe Q has a grip on hockey reality (and many west coast fans agree and covet his style), and 3) mixing up lines is not a flaw. Their power play% is 20 out of 30 teams, which is poor, but that is 3 goals behind the number 10 team with 10 more opportunities over a full season (BTW, guess who was #10 last year).

    There is certainly plenty to be desired from this team. But if this offense continues to stall in the playoffs, I suppose it’s Q’s fault that 10 can’t put a puck within a goal frame, or 81 doesn’t crash the goal to clean up a meatball served up by 20, or any number of other annoying hockey weirdnesses. This is a good defensive hockey team with a top 4 that would be in the top 2 on most teams in the league. The bottom 2 are rough, but we have no cap space, we couldn’t even hold on to the great Nick Leddy due to his (just above role player) cap number. They tried with 44, he got hurt again. TVR hurt again. 88 hurt. 10 and 80 shooting all over the place, 81 declining offensively, 20 as streaky point wise as they come, 65 spearing people, what are you going to do. This team may not have it offensively, but if they go out in the first round I’ll eat my hat (just ordered a new one for the playoffs, last year’s didn’t work, I think I solved the Hawks problems! ). I’ll say it again, I don’t know if this team is good enough to win the cup, but I do know that they’re not not good enough to win the cup.

  21. I have to give credit to CAL/WIN for matching LA in these life or death games. Unbelievable that CAL is in and LA is not in the playoffs. LOL. This is probably the most meaningfull thing that happened in the 82 games because LA is one of our most serious threats in playoffs.

    When you think about it LA sucked all yr, other then that 8 game win streak which was bookend with 3 game losing streaks.

  22. I am not saying it will be easy or anything but we have so many guys that can play better then they have for how good they really are.

    Shawzer and Bicks can play better then he did in the 82 games and they always have in the playoffs.
    Sharpy can play better then he did in the 82 games.
    Steeger, even though he played really good the first 40 games, he can play better then he did in the second 40 games and hes healthy this yr.
    Vermette can play better then he has in these 20 games.
    Kaner is coming back, its not a myth.

    We have a room for improvement, where a lot of teams are at full throttle already.

  23. We have as good of a chance as anybody. Tied for the Jennings heading into the final game. Solid, and often exceptional, goaltending. An excellent fourth line (please keep those 3 centres together down there!). Three of the best faceoff men in the entire league in Toews, Kruger, and Vermette, and a fourth (Shaw) over 50%. Near the top in goal differential. A good, if streaky, PK. We got 100 points while playing in one of the best divisions in the cap era. This is a good team.

    Yeah, the Hawks are flawed too. PP is awful, not very physical, weak bottom pair, etc. But every team has flaws. Anaheim’s 1-goal game record, and thus their overall record, is largely based on luck. The rest of the Pacific is weak. St. Louis and Winnipeg’s goaltending is patchy. Minnesota’s starting goaltender is Devan Dubnyk. Nashville is one goalie crotch pull away from serious trouble. This is the intention of the salary cap: no team is perfect, and everyone has weaknesses.

    And look who didn’t make the dance: the Kings, and probably, the Bruins.

    It’s wide open. Wiiiiiiide open.

  24. Some insight or general observations, I hope WORTH THE READ?
    1- Blues, Wild, Rangers, Canadians and even Jets (among others) are playing a soft neutral zone “trap” to Beat the Hawks, they flood and float the center ice like free safeties. 5 guys playing passing lanes and zones NOT players! Sometimes they will forecheck with numbers but seldom send three guys in like the Kings do and risk transition. This keep the game “boring and scoreless.” This works great vs. the Hawks because they continue to look for the long pass a la break out and seem to be looking for a “player with a number on his back” to pass the puck to, instead of puck support, short pass, short pass and out to the closest guy with the same uniform on. This works against the Hawks who over pass and turn the puck over with shockingly regularity with out any pressure. Hammer still playing on his weak hand side, shocking to me, to force him to backhand every exit? Shocking and stupid by management! This also works GREAT vs. Hawks because we don’t have real high end speed on the wings, I mean break out speed, Saad and Shaw show burst of it, and A Train Desjardins does have the size to break it out too. But wing speed is a must have, we ain’t got it and is not Hawks style! Sharp gets a burst that makes me smile when he goes to the net!
    2. This “neutral zone trap” does NOT works if you can score the first Goal. Not easy!
    3. This “trap” and taking away ice space does not work obviously on the POWER PLAY which is ALL the difference in the playoffs, stay out of the BOX which is why the Hawks won 2 cups, Yes they don’t HIT HARD but upside is Hit’s lead to dumb penalties.Hawks continue to be pitiful and have Schootizophrenia on the Power Play and that is the problem. KANE will make it seem better.
    4. A-Ha moment for me, As I watch all NHL teams play, the SLAP SHOT is a lost art as is the backhand. But the Hawks “power shots” are all in our defensemen like Seabrook, Hammer, Run-Bad and Keith who all have “great slap shots” and I mean great.” The wrist shot is accurate, quick and does lead to a lot of tip ins and redirects, but the “advantage” to SCORE is this league is the teams that get BIG FAT SLAP SHOTS off clean to the net. Just watch the highlights around the league, Big shots to the net before PRICE, CROWFORD or Pekka RINNE even have a chance. So it is critical to get our D-men up and open for slap shots and get them a one time pass that is in the “Wheel house” not in out house.
    5. Our passes (set ups) in the offensive end (power play ) are more often than not behind, or in front or to the side of our d-men, watch how many times Keith needs to lean back or reach back to bring the puck up to shooting position. It is epidemic, on the power play, watch Canadians and PK Subban ( among many ) how he gets the puck, head up, square to the net and one times a slap shot not looking for slap pass or pass, All coaches says if they want to block your shot, break their shine bone, leave a dent and make them blink, Hawks wrist shots I can block in my crocs on, and our slap shots when feed with a solid pass WOW.
    5a – Teuvo Teravainen . . . TnT has amazing VALUE because he is the only guy who passes with accuracy and his timing of the pass is amazing too, if that is all he does, we win!
    6- Crowford is playing lights out! If the captain and the rest of the team was going to MAIL IT IN over the last 4 or 5 games CROW should have been resting, to me that is why the HAWKS could be gone sooner rather than later! Crow needed rest he played on his “head” and the team let him down. FOR GOD SAKE did YOU see him have to finally check BACK-ASS to clear his own net out? Then CROW gets a penalty because coaches must be saying” hey are d-men are not going to protect ya so if and when ya can get a little nasty” i like that, and a nasty CROW could make him a top 5 not a top 100.

  25. I’m with you Morrison, the Hawks haven’t played great yet they are still one of the top teams in the league. If the players start playing to their potential….Look out!!! all teams have weakness and if some want to crown the Blues the champs before the playoffs even start then thats foolish. They play the games for a reason and the Blues and Preds haven’t proved they can get it done. I’m not saying Hawks will win but have a great chance as the West is wide open. Other teams like the NYR have been coasting lately as well…. are they done too? and St.L has been 5-4-1 in last 10 not exactly stellar either.

  26. SSHM- I don’t think Hawks can fall to Pacific wild card… Blues are playin wild… so they both can’t win!


    No speed=No Offense= will not beat Blues or Wild

  27. 1 -No Gloom and Doom, Hawks easily as talented as the rest of the NHL. Challenge is now a few teams are going at the CUP for a second and third time = Incentive and Focus!Ducks embarrassed last year, and Blues just need good goal tending! Rangers, Bolts and Canadians are hungry too.
    2- Hawks have been “mailing it in” these past few games, as predicted. They where not and are overly concerned with playoff match ups, but should have been focused on “rest” on key players. To me the lower they finish the better, and bigger the chip on the shoulder and more unexpected they play.
    3- The NHL is pretty even 12 or some teams with 100 points? So it is really goal tending and why it is or will be a shame to have CROW who is really really stepping up to be let down.
    4- Net front presence, simple 8th grade hockey, Hawks don’t have enough grit guys to get those cheap goals, the so called GREZZZZY Goals! Combine that with a weak power play and you can see why some see DOOM?
    5- It is wide open this year and never easy, we are proud of the Hawks the do compete and after winning 2 cups you sort get full of yourself, and think you know the “energy and intensity” you need to win, but sometimes you need more?

  28. HAWKS need goals in the playoffs! Timonen healthy is not an advantage and his lack of speed up and out of the zone is weak because of age and playing time! Not sure why no one see the upside to a very very young Runblad? Hawks need his offensive skills right now and in playoffs, Hawks D is the offense and in the past too, they play big so it is not a risk to Pair Runblad with Seabrook or Keith or Hammer! Runblad does need support, he will be very very good ( Leddy too ) on a team that gives him the minutes and time to find his game. HIS GAME IS NOT COOKIE CUTTTE BLOGGRVILLE mumbo jumbo, his skill set is wide and it will take time to develop, he has the size and speed and determination to PLAY at a very high level. He can take the puck up on a rush with confidence, sadly no one skates with him or crashes the net but his Fortune would turn if he had 10 to 15 goals which is really easy, just need to PAIR HIM UP! Defense is about pairings, period, Rundlad and Rozy is a disaster Runblad and Keith big potential.

    Leave Runblad alone . . . ,Hawks have 4 GREAT no-trade Defensemen Oh-do-ya when rested as is good as it gets sometimes, so a 5th guy can be developed over time. TVR better bulk up, (said for day one ) and tuff-in up ( too much poke check no people check) or he wont see NHL ice again, TVR is now labeled to me injury prone BUT Hawks need to invest in both of these guys in the Playoffs regulars season and lame aHL is worthless. NHL is now all about big , quick transitional defensemen the GRET-ZZZZZZY days are over, for some time! okay ALEX, OH-Vech-kin thats one!

  29. Bick must be paired with Toews and Hossa for the last time! Ver-steeeeg adds yet another pass, hold the puck, look around and get pinned in the corner guy on a line with 2 guys like that, never carbon copy a skill set or duplicate talent on a line! Bick plays better with Captain motivation and protect both guys from Cheap hits and Bick can score! One of the Best wrist shots in hockey!

    Vermette continues to disappoint, my dad said last nigt ” well when ya got a guy playing good every night for a last place team, and that team play against casual competition then YA go to a Cup Contender where everyone is out for blood, well then you can sort of measure a guys grit and performance, but Vermette is just not contributing at all, blame it on Arizona” I sadly agree , we need more than face-off wins!

  30. Can we pleeeeaaazzzeee stop with the silly nick-names!!!!!! Adding an “er” or an” ey” to the end of a players name is just ridiculous…….

    Sorry I don’t mean to rain on anyones parade but it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me……..

  31. MtM I agree Bickell should play with Toews and Hoss for the reasons you mentioned.

    Wall…why would Buffalo want Eichel when they could have McDavid. No offence as Eichel is a great player but McDavid will be number one.

  32. Hawks are in the playoffs and LA is out. So I am happy today. If Kane makes it back at some point during the first round that would be huge. Who the Hawks play really doesn’t matter. GO HAWKS.

  33. I’m with Mo when it comes to these last 3 games. I really figured conservatively that 2 points minimum was a given, and they just didn’t get it done. Despite defensive structure Q has had in place and was really quite effective with Minn, and the Blues, little offensive input was generated. Hawks had few good looks last night, but didn’t look offensively threatening until last 5 min of the game. Too little, too late. Maybe Desjardins and Bicks had decent chances, but that was about it until the tally late in the 3rd. Kind of the same deal with Blues game Sunday we saw in the 3rd. Both Dubnyk and Allen barely broke a sweat in these past 3 games, while CC was really quite good. Can’t expect to get many points when you score 1 to 2 goals. Power play has been embarrassing recently and PK not so hot either.

    Really not sure why Q trots out Rozy- Rundblad. That is not a good pair, period. Timonen sure looks like a big bust, as physically he just is not there(see Rozy too). Why not play Johns if the guy is healthy, Pokka?? Comisky?? That 3rd pairing is a glaring weakness in the d zone.

    Blues just sneaked by us last 2 games. Some lucky bounces were the difference in both games. The 2nd Blues goal last night was a fluke bounce that #4 could not be blamed for. One thing for sure though those 2 Blues players pouring up the middle to jump into the play are representative of what we have seen from many opponents the past few weeks. Hawks point guys are getting pressure and ANY mistakes see the puck going the other way with an odd man break. Teams are putting lots of puck pressure on the Hawks meaning of course that passing has to be quicker and crisp. Shots to net as well. Blast some frickin 1 timers, instead of what have been seeing which is settle and pass or shoot. Teams just calmly rotate and get open areas covered. This to me along with Hawks players not moving into open areas or to the net is killing the PP’s.

    Disconcerting to watch these past 3 games for sure, and not very entertaining hockey. On the plus side, offense won’t get worse, Hawks have been getting great goaltending, and they are not giving up lots of goals. Hawks look to be going into playoffs(hopefully)
    pretty healthy. PP is likely to improve, and PK has been pretty solid this year. Krugs I assume is back Saturday or at least to start playoffs. Bicks has finally showed up in the nick of time and that bodes well. I think Q will get the lines right, but I have not liked combos past 2 games.

    Key to playoffs is get out of the 1st round which is where goofy stuff can happen, more so than later rounds. There will no easy opponents. Blues won’t go far without healthy Tarasenko or Steen. Preds are falling back to what we though they were. That team was scoring goals at a ridiculous pace and had to come back down to earth. They also don’t have playoff experience which I think is very important. Rinne, hasn’t been there crunch time. Wild are a complete pain in the ass to play against. I see goaltending there a total crap shoot, and likely their Achilles heel. That’s just to name a few teams. Bottom line it IS a 2nd season beginning next week. The numbing overly long reg season will thankfully be over Sat. The boys better show up for that one.

    I’m not happy this morning about the loss last night, buy hey, LA is gone. Whoohoo!! Great game Calgary by the way, and check out the barrage the Jets threw at the Avs last night. I went back and forth watching those 2 after the Hawks sleep inducing effort failed to knock me out. Jets will be huge load for someone to play, and I hope it ain’t the Hawks 1st round. I guess we really won’t know until games end Saturday who that will be.

    Sorry to ramble. At least the sun is shining here in Chicago today and Hawks are in the playoffs.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  34. Off topic (sorry): Tanner Kero scored his 1st pro goal last night, Hogs won 5-3 in Iowa. The goal was a thing of beauty, skating into the zone on his off wing he snapped a shot just inside the far post balancing on his left skate – goalie was probably screened but just a perfect shot that was in the net in an instant. He’ll remember that one forever for sure.

  35. Thanks Hoffy, for the Hogs updates. Both you along with B and B do a great job of keeping us informed with thoughtful observations. Much appreciated.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  36. Gbladz… I like eichel more than McD… I see it as Toews vs. Crosby… both are great…
    imo- it is harder to score near 2 pts./game in College vs. 2.5 pt/game in OHL….
    both should be great pros

    Hof- what do you know about Abbott? besides he is small w good vision…
    life time ahl’er??? or does he have any Marchand/Gallagher ability?

  37. Abbott has a goal scorer’s touch and vision but he’s small and not particularly fleet afoot. Certainly not in my view a guy who could cure what ails the Blackhawks right now. That he didn’t get a shot with a bad Toronto team speaks volumes to me. A veteran AHL guy who has taken a bit of a leadership role with a young Ice Hogs team – it has rejuvenated him a bit.

  38. How would the Hawks be in the wild card spot? Even if they lost they’d have more wins then the Wild.

  39. Wow, Shaw fined by NHL for diving in LA game? What a joke. NHL justice system is so inconsistent and random it has no credibility. This one play gets singled out? This happens almost every game! Not that Shaw is innocent in how he approaches the game, but this judgement at such a late date is just bizarre. There should be a list of 30-50 players on this getting same BS fine that will do nothing to change behavior on the ice.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  40. Wall …I see it a bit different. Eichel is a great talent but McDavid is a league changer. McDavid is over a 2.50 point per game player. 44G 76A 120pts in 47 games and that was with a damaged hand. He was also better at the WJC. Regarding the leagues…yes the US college teams can be tough but they also don’t have the long grueling schedule either that the CHL has and McDavid has played against 20 year olds from the age of 15.

  41. and yes thanks goes out to all the contributors who have the inside scoop on the Hogs and other Hawks draft picks. Thank you.

  42. We all know this team had flaws which we tried to improve at the trade deadline. That hasn’t worked so well but I can’t point to any other deadline deals that were game changers either. With the flaws we have I completely agree with playing a tight defensive game and hope we can score a couple of goals. Don’t see how we can win in a more wide open game. This is the most evenly matched playoffs in years and I still think we have as good a shot as anyone as long as Kane gets back soon. There isn’t one other team that has flaws and issues so whoever gets on a roll is going to hoist the cup. Starting on the road may take some pressure off and if we can get some early momentum anything can happen. Also let’s not kid ourselves that some college kid or ice hog is going to make a significant difference at this time of year.

  43. How can anyone suggest that the Hawks have “mailed in” the last 3 games??? If you are seriously suggesting this then clearly you have never played competitive hockey. The Hawks have played their hearts out the last three games, which is why those scores were only 2-1. Had the Hawks “mailed in” the last three we would have lost by a -10 differential. So understand this, those games were PLAYOFF games and we lost to teams that are better than us, plain and simple.

    Q knows how to tighten things up, so whoever the Hawks play we will be able to keep things close, but unless our scorers start scoring and PP at the very least starts generating some momentum, then it doesn’t matter who we play, we simply won’t win. The reason? Our current defensive group (with or without Timonen) are simply not good enough (and that’s with Hammer and Oduya playing lights out). Every game we play, no matter how tightly Q draws it up, we are still giving up at least 5 glorious opportunities against, only Crawford’s play has kept these games 2-1.

    Patrick Kane won’t make a difference in the playoffs (coming off a fairly serious injury) by himself. He needs help in the form of speed opening up space for him (that’s been non existent for over a month) and line mates willing to go to the net (and that simply isn’t happening outside of Bickell, Shaw, Desjardins, Baun and Saad).

    Q is trying, Kevin Dineen and his pathetic PP unit is trying. Bowman tried his best as GM, the players are giving it their all based on their personalities…there is NO ONE to blame on the Hawks outside of Bowman’s design of the team. We are the marquis team in the NHL and everyone has our proverbial number, they are all pumped up to play the Hawks and always give us their best. We simply no longer have the speed and talent edge over the league like we once used to and Bowman’s policy of locking up the core longterm in the salary cap era has killed our overall depth. All the Hawks can hope to do come playoff time is play it tight, continue giving it their all and hope Toews, Hossa, Sharp, Richards and Saad come alive scoring goals…as soon as Kane went down this team suddenly couldn’t score goals and it hasn’t changed.

    Unless players like Sharp, Versteeg, Richards, Bickell, Teravanian and even Vermette are scoring goals and creating offence then they are a WASTE to this roster! The new NHL is big, physical and fast and outside of Vermette’s face-off prowess, the aforementioned players are NOT! Bowman knew that last season after we lost to the Kings and he didn’t do a thing about it until late this year! All those players listed above, short of Teravanian, must be dumped this offseason and replaced with the Kyle Baun/Tanner Kero/Garret Ross/Mark McNeil/Phillip Danault types. Our defence can add a Ville Pokka type but only if we add with him the likes of Johns and Paliotta…this is the new NHL’s winning formula and the days of our Mighty Midgets are over.

  44. Tanner Kero’s goal was a beauty, you can watch now on the AHL website, just click on game replays. He looked good in his first outing. Soon we will get to see the Swedish connection suit up. I am interested to watch how much Dahlstrom’s game has improved. Big, physical, smart Dman.

    Abbot has impressed me a lot, but he has been skating with players that open up a lot of space for him on the ice. The only way to know whether or not he has the tenacity and toughness to play in the NHL is to try him, he’s a small guy.

  45. MS, bang on 100%, no Ice Hog or college kid is going to make a significant difference this time of year. Those clamoring for Stephen Johns to come up (as one example), he has just recently gotten into a groove at Rockford, getting his confidence from getting a lot of ice time, having his health, and further developing his skills. He’s right where he should be – helping lead Rockford into the stretch and the playoffs and developing for next year and beyond.

    That said i can see why they were so hot after Kyle Baun. His inexperience shows but he plays a hard, fast, gritty game and looks like a fit on this team moving forward.

  46. MS, Kyle Baun has been a key contributor in his first two NHL games, I can’t see how the Hawks could afford to not play him against STL or NAS?

    Rozy and Runbad are so awful that I refuse to believe that Johns and Paliotta would be liabilities in comparison, John in particular is ready to play NHL hockey right now. Rozy and Runbad have PROVEN what they are capable of, and the Blues and Wild just keep exploiting it.

  47. Hof, you are wrong about Johns, he has been playing this way for an extended period of time and he just keeps getting better. If he didn’t have the concussion injury he would have been with the Hawks already. Under pressure he has learned to just advance the puck out of the zone instead of trying to make a finesse play and as a result I haven’t witnessed a defensive mistake from him in a month. He has a canon of a shot from the point, and he wins almost every corner battle for the puck. Plus, he uses his stick as a weapon in front of the net, something that Seabrook doesn’t even do for us. How many goals have been scored this season on the Hawks with players getting second, third and fourth chances in front of our net? Penalty called or not, any opposing player standing in front of our crease with a loose puck in play needs to become flat on their face, and its just not happening. How would Kyle Cumisky be a downturn from Runbad or Rozy at this point (he wouldn’t)? And he isn’t near the Dman that Johns is. But, ugh, he’s a rookie, run for the hills.

  48. A few thoughts…

    1. Losing (at least) 3 of 4 when heading into the playoffs does not provide a lot of confidence in the team’s playoff prospects.
    2. Losing 3 straight without generating many A grade scoring chances is doubly worrisome.
    3. I’m not sure you can say the last 3 games were meaningless, especially when beating STL twice would have put us in the division driver’s seat much less handing the division to the Blues. The UC may not be the massive home ice advantage it once was, but better to have games at home than on the road.
    4. I don’t see any way the team is trying to engineer a more beneficial match-up. Especially when a Wild win and a Hawks loss sends us into a series with the Blues.

    I have been bullish on this team through the ups and downs over the year and have been waiting for the switch to flip. Seemed like the Kings/Nucks games started to have a spark but it turns out that the Kings are just out of gas. I don’t know if this team has what it takes to go through the WC meat grinder. But as principal skinner would say, “Prove me wrong, kids. Prove me wrong.”

  49. B & B, why are you reading anything I wrote anyway? A few threads back you dismissively said I was Rufus’ bitch. If you think that, why do you bother with what I write?

    I’ll take the Blackhawks development staff’s viewpoint over yours. As well as my own. I’ve seen Johns play all year and his play has been trending upward, there’s a reason for that, all of which I stated.

    Further, anyone think maybe there’s that pesky salary cap thing that’s at play here as well? I think they’re pretty snug against the cap with those trade deadline acquisitions. Hmmm, I wonder …

  50. Sigh. Cumiskey, yeah ok. He’s not a rookie by the way. You can look it up.

    Johns also had a knee injury and another nagging injury, not just the concussion. There’s a reason why they’re giving him big minutes in Rockford, to further develop him for down the line. But we’re all entitled to our opinions, not matter how “wrong” some poster deems them to be.

  51. Kane will give the Hawks a HUGE lift when he comes back. Team confidence will increase and the offense will become more potent. You don’t lose the NHL’s best player this year without a significant drop off. Hopefully we will see somebody other than Rozy on D.

  52. Jake: If Minny wins and we lose to the Avs they will be tied in points. The tie-breaker is ROW ( regulation and overtime wins…no shootouts ) The ROW column appears in the standings. Minny would be ahead of us as they have 42 vs. 39 for us. Winnipeg would be 2nd wild card and play St. Louis. We would be 1st wild card and crossover to the Pacific to play the Ducks.

  53. B&B…Cumisky is not a rookie..been around since ’06…played a full season for the Avs and parts of seasons after that. Saw him play for us in Saskatoon when we beat the Oilers 5-0 with Darling in net back in the preseason …he could be a black ace.

  54. Didn’t say Cumisky is a rookie, he’s a veteran Dman that played with Q back in COL, Johns is the rookie, you misinterpreted that. For the record, I don’t want Cumisky to play for the Hawks at all, but the point is that he would be as good or better than the two Hawks I mentioned. And I’m not saying you are wrong about your opinions on Johns or rookies or that I am right, only that he hasn’t “just recently got into his groove” in Rockford. If you follow the Hogs then you must know that Johns has been lights out for about the last 6 weeks. With John’s injuries, I agree that the best thing for him would be to experience the AHL playoffs as a leader on that team and come to camp next summer ready to win a roster spot; however, that might not be what is best for the Hawks THIS SEASON when you watch Rozy and Runbad game in and game out. And of course the larger issue is that Bowman should never have put the Hawks in this position, especially with the gamble on Timonen. Hockey bodies don’t just “pop back into position” after a long absence. The bruises and bumps take months to get used to.

    As for the “bitch” comment, I apologize, that must have been my son who uses this “moniker” as well. I have no idea what your relationship is like with anyone.

  55. Playing d in the NHL is a very tough job. There is no disputing the challenges that Rozy has had (largely due to declining skills with age) and Runblad (due to lack of experience and potentially lack of NHL level skill). Mark Giordano the Calgary d-man was quoted earlier in the year talking about how hard it is to learn the defensive side of the NHL game. He said it took him several years to start figuring things out. His suggestion to coaches is to let young d-men prove their offensive skills while you give them time to learn the defensive skills. I think this is exactly what is happening with Runblad. We were spoiled with Hammer’s incredibly quick learning curve but many have already forgotten Leddy’s defensive struggles, particularly in the playoffs. I just think it is crazy to think that Paliotta or Johns can step in and help right now despite the fact that I am a big believer in their future contributions.

  56. Hawks are playing a highly conservative defensive style of hockey right now under the premise that they can eek out a goal or two and win low scoring affairs. It’s not a recipe to go far in the playoffs but I get what Q is doing. The idiot brigade on this blog can’t seem to understand that the talent and depth on this club isn’t remotely what it was in season’s past. We are no longer an elite roster. We just aren’t. Could we go on a Cup run? Sure we could. But we are likely one round and done. St Louis is the favorite to win the Western Conference, and if they don’t again then they choked. If we lose in first round or maybe second then the rest of the NHL shrugs their shoulders and conclude this wasn’t the year for Chicago and that the roster wasn’t good enough.

  57. Zebra G,
    The mojo is still there. I believe the Hawks played the entire season only putting enough effort in to make the playoffs. Arrogance or confidence, we’ll see. The mojo will show this week because the real season starts this week.

    I disagree. Hawks lose tomorrow and they put forth little effort tomorrow and will sit some players. They don’t care about finishing third or in the wild card because they know they will play the Blues or the Preds. Jets will play the Ducks. Hawks really do not care which they play. Again, great confidence.

    You are almost thinking what I’m thinking. These games are meaningless. They slacked off this week after clinching last week. Coincidence or great confidence. They are controlling the gas pedal.

    Bottom line, the Hawks rope-a-doped their way to the playoffs and will pick up their intensity now that they have to do so. They just did it last week and will do it again now. The d pairings will be Seabs & Keith, Hjalmorson & Oduya, Timmo & Rosy. No more bs splitting up the best dman tandem in hockey #7 and #4 since the games really matter now. We will not see Rundbad barring injuries. Kruger not playing yesterday, Timmo’s injury are all part of Q’s chess game in getting ready for the playoffs. I believe Q learned from Bickell, we really only have to play in the REAL SEASON – THE PLAYOFFS.

    No doom and gloom boys. The Hawks can and will play with anyone and are battle tested. The Eastern conference records were all inflated by beating the bottom feeders in their divisions. The central was the best division and we survived the intensity of this season’s battles. It wasn’t pleasant watching this season and paying for the regular season tickets, but the playoffs and our next cup will be worth it.

  58. booman, Yes Man.

    Say it a million times. Then say it a million more and the word you will have said two million times is… Yes.

  59. Many things on this site i’d be guessing/opinion on but not McDavid vs. Eichel-
    McDavid as a couple have mentioned is a game changer-his speed and hands are totally sick and truly ‘generational’.
    If Eichel pans out he will be a star, perhaps a super star-Connor reaching his potential will be 4, 99, 66 material.

  60. Bannerman & Belfour: Oh so it was your kid who called me Rufus’ bitch. Yeah ok. Might want to keep that twerp on a leash. But then again I have no idea what your relationship with him is.

    You said Cumiskey isn’t a rookie and we misinterpreted? Here’s your quote:

    ” How would Kyle Cumisky be a downturn from Runbad or Rozy at this point (he wouldn’t)? And he isn’t near the Dman that Johns is. But, ugh, he’s a rookie, run for the hills.”

    If you weren’t talking about Cumiskey, you might want to be a little clearer in how you express things. But then again I have no idea what your relationship with your English teacher is like. Or maybe it’s your son’s English teacher.

    Well whatever, what’s the difference.

  61. Wow, that’s not the quote…you took the ending of the paragraph about Johns, being a rookie, and pasted it next to the discussion on Cumisky. I didn’t realize I was dealing with a child that needs to try and make themselves right…wouldn’t a normal person say, “Oops, sorry, I misread that”, end of story.

    This is the world today, internet fan boards where people rooting can’t for the same team can’t get along, or worse, be civil. I can’t think of many things more pathetic.

  62. I agree Noonan, McDavid had 5 goals the other night against a very good London Knights team. Eichel’s two goals his last game could have been scored by John Scott.

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