Blackhawks Loss At Rangers Both Encouraging, Frustrating

Last night’s 3-2 loss at the New York Rangers was a mixed bag for the Blackhawks. There were strong points to their game, and a lot of frustrating aspects as well.

Encouraging

  • Brian Campbell came back, skated 19:58 and 21 shifts, and was effective all over the ice.
  • With Campbell back, the Blackhawks allowed only 23 shots on goal. This is an enormous improvement from October, in which the Hawks had been out-shot in nine of the previous 13 games without Campbell and allowed an average of 35.2 per game.
  • The Hawks put the puck on net. A lot. They got 35 shots to New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist, and other Rangers blocked another 33 before they reached the blue paint.
  • Troy Brouwer is a totally different player with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. That line was magic last year, and continues to look great. Leave them alone. Please.
  • The power play continues to score, going one for four last night. The Hawks have now scored a power play goal in 10 of 14 games this year.

Frustrating

  • The Hawks scored only two goals. With Marian Hossa and Dave Bolland injured and Bryan Bickell on the bench (again), the Hawks clearly lacked players that could create their own shot. Tomas Kopecky had a number of great chances and couldn’t finish, and a mishandled puck cost Patrick Sharp his 11th goal of the year. The effort was there, but all the shots amounted to little more than pounding sand.
  • Jack Skille tries really hard, and is shockingly fast up and down the ice, but his hands are keeping him on the fourth line. He can’t finish.
  • Fernado Pisani does… nothing. He’s an effective penalty killer, but a healthy Blackhawks team has five or six of those. I’m not sure how he’s on the roster still.
  • John Scott sucks, but he was on the ice last night. I have seen enough from Bickell in the last two years that, even if he’s in coach Joel Quenneville’s doghouse, he would be more effective with nine shifts and 5:51 on the ice than Scott was last night. The global understanding of Scott’s purpose on this roster was to be an enforcer; he can’t skate, had terrible hands, and doesn’t pass well. For further evidence of how much Scott sucks, watch this video clip. After Keith gets knocked half way to Wednesday, watch Scott’s (lack of) reaction. WTF?!?

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