Blackhawks Survive, Beat Canes

With a number of key players missing from the lineup, the Blackhawks handled their business and earned two points for a regulation victory at home on Friday night.

The Hawks dominated the first period, not allowing a shot to reach Corey Crawford for almost 12 minutes to open the game. But the score remained tied heading to the first break.

Patrick Sharp got the Hawks on the board, receiving a pretty pass from Andrew Shaw and completing the breakaway just over three minutes into the middle stanza. The goal was Sharp’s 30th of the season, a benchmark he has now reached in four of the last six NHL campaigns.

It took more than 13 minutes for another goal to be scored, and it was the Hawks once again impacting the scoreboard. Kris Versteeg handled a great pass from Nick Leddy and scored his 11th of the season to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead. It was Versteeg’s first goal since the Stadium Series game at Soldier Field on March 1.

Unfortunately, that margin wouldn’t last long.

Alexander Semin scored with 38 seconds remaining in the second period to cut the Hawks’ lead in half, and would add his second of the game and 21st of the season early in the third to tie the score. Semin’s second goal came while the Hawks were trying to kill a 5-on-3 advantage with two key penalty killers – Duncan Keith and Michal Handzus – in the box.

Only 31 seconds after Semin tied the game, Jonathan Toews scored a short-handed goal that would hold up as the game-winner.

In the game, the Blackhawks killed five of six Canes power plays, but weren’t able to convert any of their advantages.

Corey Crawford allowed two goals but played well in the final 40 minutes. After a slow first period, Crawford finished the night with 26 saves against 28 shots. On the other end of the rink, Anton Khudobin allowed three goals on 25 shots in the loss.

Andrew Shaw continued his hot play. His assist on Sharp’s goal extended his point streak to three straight games; he has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his last eight games.

Jeremy Morin returned to the lineup and saw ice time on the Hawks first power play early in the game. His shifts became fewer as the game continued, however, and he finished the night with only 6:52 on the ice. He did manage to register one shot on net and two hits in only 12 shifts, though.

Sheldon Brookbank played well as the 12th forward. He received a team-low nine shifts in the game, but made a couple key defensive plays in the third period to keep Carolina from having a quality scoring chance.

The Blackhawks next game is Sunday night against the Nashville Predators… and it may be Teuvo Teräväinen’s NHL debut.

Toews CAR


BOS COL Central

53 thoughts on “Blackhawks Survive, Beat Canes

  1. I think this is a big win for the Hawks. To win in regulation while missing a bunch of players is huge, plus Colorado is losing. I just see this as a key game that sets the Hawks up for a nice run to close out the year and into the playoffs.

  2. Too much Handzus, too much Handzus, why oh why so much Handzus?
    It’s still a great time to be Hawks fan!!

  3. Was I the only one screaming at my tv after the 2nd Handzus penalty. At that point I thought I’d check TOI. After that he got more than 2 minutes of ice time. Morin on the other hand, while he didn’t wow, with the exception of one hit. He definitely didn’t do anything that would warrant so little ice time. Just under 7 minutes, to a little more than 14.

    I just wanna see what the kid can do. BTW, Pirri has 7 points in 9 games and is plus 2 in Florida. Whatever that’s worth.

  4. Colorado lost in regulation. Is there any word on Saad. Foley indicated day to day lower body. That conflicts with reports of upper body with indications of a concussion as a result of the hit by Kronwall.

  5. The Hawks had a great pace to start to the game. They lost some momentum but never really lost control of the game, even with the penalties that allowed Carolina to tie it up. So another big two points and as far as I could tell no one got injured.

    I thought Morin had a couple nice plays but there were also a couple times when he couldn’t handle a pass right on his stick which ended up losses of possession.

    Even though he took two penalties (the first one was pretty iffy), Handzus did some other good things. He made the pass up to Shaw who passed it Sharp on Sharp’s goal – so he got an assist. He blocked a couple shots and played pretty well on the PK. I really don’t mind Handzus as much some other fans – I think he can contribute and be a useful player when he’s used in the right way, which would be sparingly 5v5 (and not on the 2nd line) and on the PK.

    3 points up on the Avs with Nashville on Sunday. That’s a winable game and we owe them for that loss last week. Gotta make hay while the sun shines and that sun is shining on the Chicago Blackhawks again.

  6. Its a win, and thats about all you can say…Q played everyone for the 1st period and we dominated play…in the 2nd, he stopped trusting players and shortened his bench, and Carolina began to take over…in the 3rd it was Q trusting only his guys, and the minutes piled up for some while others never saw the ice, and Carolina took over…

    We were fortunate to win, and these were 2 crucial points…but no matter who is in your lineup, you have to play them…and for those supporting Handzus…WHAT? He took two lazy, stupid penalties in the 3rd that nearly cost us the game (mostly because he’s slow and caught out of position) and was mostly ineffective all night…his assist on Sharp’s goal was accidental…but Q rides his 30 something year old horse all the way to the glue factory, while fresh, talented legs sit on the bench…

    Oh well, its just a game, and its 2 points…hopefully we roll 4 lines Sunday, because against the Preds, if we don’t we won’t win…

  7. I didn’t get a chance to watch the game yesterday…I was wondering what the lines were? Also any predictions on where exactly teuvo might fit if/when he plays on sunday?

  8. Rolling 4 lines is great but as a coach you better depend on your top players in tight games and shorten your bench or I’d bet you never get close to 700 wins. It’s obvious our record is great when we roll 4 lines because those are the games the Hawks control before the 3rd period. If the other coach is double shifting his top 6 forwards you better be giving your top 6 ( your goal scorers) some extra ice time or you are going to get outscored most of the time. Q’s reliance on Handzus bewilders me, but you can’t question too much because of his continued success. Many complain about his not giving young players a chance but Saad and Shaw have done their jobs and look at Ben Smith, kept working and now an important part of the team. I am thrilled to be a Hawks fan, today and looking ahead.

  9. Tab, forgive those that yearn for Pirri, it’s hard not to wish he was on the ice for Handzus. You know we are a stat driven society so it’s easy to quote stats to make your point. Most of us don’t know what all goes into these decisions and it seems all of us wonder how 26 gets so much ice time. It’s like, if I see how shitty he’s playing how can’t Q see it? It is enough to drive us common fans to yearn for Pirri, TT, or anybody to take those minutes.

  10. Anybody have any thoughts on how Rundblad played last night? It was only 8 minutes, but I am wondering if he’s being groomed to have a role either filling in this year if needed or for next year.

  11. Switched to the Boston Colorado game after Chicago won, Roy pulled Varlamov with 5 minutes to go. I think he really wants home ice.

  12. Pete, regarding Run-bad… Q was very discerning – while using him…
    So he didn’t get into a lot of trouble… He had one decent pinch to keep puck alive…

    BUT- His board play- makes Leddy’s look like Stephen Johns’… landed on his ass on a very weak effort behind the net…

    I think Runbad actually fell to his knees when a 12 yr. old pounded the glass with his hands on one play!!! He better have one hell of a shot!!!

    But who knows??? Stalberg fell on his ass early and often when he started w Hawks…
    25/Hawks improved that part of his game immensely… Maybe Keith can teach him that 360 degree wiggle – on the boards to elude the hits???

  13. Regarding Handzus, the fans often wonder why Q can’t see how poorly he plays like all the experts in the stands do, never giving a moments thought to the possibility that the guy who makes his living evaluating the play of the players on his team might possibly see things that escape the fans and those things are why he trusts him and plays him so much. Lest someone accuse me of being Handzus’ agent, I will admit that I would prefer other players over Handzus too, but I see some value that he brings too and I think the criticism is too much – both for him and for Q continuing to play him over other players.

  14. ER- Q willingly skated John Scott at forward… well really skating John Scott at anything is pretty dumb. Also, Daniel Carcillo on a line with Toews and Hossa. Skating Zus is fine, but he pretty much ruined Patrick Kane’s season when he threw that boat anchor on a line with him and refused to take him off.

    Game last night was pretty bad. The Hawks didn’t look very good at all. Crow was awesome again but we’ve gotten used to that.

    And again, Tab, not sure what TT has to do with Pirri.

  15. Great comments Mike57…

    Wall, I saw the same thing with Rundblad, it doesn’t take much to get him off his feet…and for those who have played and coached hockey, you know that the first thing you teach young DMen…Balance…you can’t go down to your knees and or on your ass…and Runblad does that a lot…

    ER, for those of us who have played and coached hockey a lot, its very easy to see what Zus or any other player is or isn’t doing during the games…I can assure you that Zus ins’t doing some incredibly amazing things in the shadows of the ice…Q simply “trusts” his veteran guys (to a fault IMO)…but again Q has 700 NHL victories as a HC, and I have none!

  16. Sr Brad – being a little pompous there with your “for those of us …” remark. Your intention to lord it over someone you disagree with is exactly the type of thing that discourages true debate and turns it into a pissing contest. I’m not going to play that game.

    I never said nor thought Q is infallible and I’ve question some of his decisions too. My point in defending Handzus and Q for playing him is that all I see are negative comments regarding Handzus and the truth of the matter is that Handzus has done some good things as well. I think used in right way he can be and has been effective so there should be a more balanced assessment of Handzus than is given him.

    As far as Handzus “ruining Kane’s season” – what a krock. To start with – Kane has had a pretty good season with 69 points in 69 games – that’s a point per game if my math is correct. So Kane’s season wasn’t ruined be anyone and that includes Handzus. And don’t trot out the Kane didn’t score a goal with Handzus on the ice because all that proves is that Kane and Handzus weren’t on the ice together as much as some of you want to find something to complain about. He’s scored 19 of his 29 goals at even strength so somehow Q must have had him on the ice without tethering him to the anchor.


  17. For those who are still pining for Pirri I suggest you listen to Chris Block’s interview on The Third Man In. While he goes on and on and on….he has good background on Pirri’s time with the Hawks and I believe he captures the simple truth which is that the Hawks did not think that Pirri’s skating was good enough (which I agree with from the cheap seats). The skating issue was compounded by the fact that he does not have a thick frame so he will likely take some tough punishment along the way. With the growing depth of prospects in the system I wouldn’t be surprised if SB traded for a top center prospect during the draft in exchange for wing/d prospect or even someone on the Hawks.

    While I have joined the chorus of those hammering Zus throughout the year, I think it is appropriate to acknowledge that he is a true pro and trying to contribute any way he can. While I still wish we had a better PK option he has blocked more than his share of shots and it is hard to argue with the PK results since the awful start. Lastly I would make a similar comment on Brookbank. I think he has been much better (at least as a d-man) than last year and his toughness was evident in the Philly and St. Louis games.

  18. Kane was on pace for over 100 points and had Hart mentions before Handzus came back from injury. Saying he scored 19 or 29 goals at even strength and only 1 with Handzus on the ice just furthers the point. When he got away from him, he was more productive with both goals and assists.

  19. Not really the right place for this, but I just had a thought in how the Hawks go about signing Hayes and Johns. Could they sign AHL contracts with the Icehogs, then have those contracts purchased by the Blackhawks in the summer? I believe thats the route Andrew Shaw took. Don’t know if that would still count on the contract cap, or if they could even sign with the Icehogs in the 30 day window.

  20. I’m with those who know that the only thing (pre-injury) separating Patrick Kane from the league scoring championship – and possibly Hart – were more dynamic, faster, and consistent linemates. It was said here earlier that 88 may not be a stone cold lock to resign with the Blackhawks because of it. That’s a little over-stated, but somewhat plausible. I predict he re-signs (does anyone really believe otherwise??) but his camp may make an issue out of this before he does.

  21. MS- pretty much what Rufus and I have said about Pirri… Great shot, decent passer, but skating is average to below… Still moves better than 26… but not a long term fit for Hawks… Just like Hayes- they will both score… but hard to see them playing big for elite teams… Hayes still could be an asset for decent team in Offensive role/around the net… but both really aren’t dependable skating vs. other teams top lines-imo.

    And at least 26 is big and lay down and block some shots on PK….

    Looking forward to seeing this Carey play… I always am interested in such an off the radar find/signing… also- how well does this Mashinter skate??? Good size, points look OK for Hogs… if he skates as well as Bollig or better and has decent Head/IQ,,, seems like another good Play by SB!!! But I really have no idea on Mash’s skating–
    anyone have report on him or Carey’s skating?

    And I know this sounds crazy but- Carey looks like a chiseled athlete ( he’s got that Andrew Ference- “I work out 14 hours a day face!!!”)

  22. To state again as I have many times throughout this season here and other places – I don’t think Handzus should be the 2nd line center. I would prefer just about anyone else on the roster play there. But that doesn’t mean Handzus can’t play effectively for the Hawks. I don’t intend to continue belaboring this point but I wanted to set the record straight that my earlier comments sought to balance the debate that I thought was too heavily skewed to one side – not to advocate Handzus should play 2nd line center.

  23. Some staunch opinions today…so let me add mine on something Sr. Brad touched on earlier.

    I watched the last 30 minutes of the Blues/Flyers today. #1, the Flyers are playing well. They took some bad penalties, but the game was called pretty tight.

    #2, the Blues hit 3 posts with no goal so they had a little puck luck against them. But Miller was in goal and he had such a strange look on his face like he really wanted to win, but could do nothing to help his team. Additionally, as good as Backes looked in the Olympics with some actual skill he is back to his crappy self. I have to wonder if Hitchcock is doing this to him. Philly played the Blues style, but better.

    #3, and this is why I am so glad to be a Hawks fan, the Blues felt they needed big acquisitions and while Miller I believe has 2 losses with them, I am not pointing him out…Steve Ott, is a joke for them. He again didn’t play the puck in order to make a run at somebody…with his team down 1 until the final few minutes. As Hawks fan, we sometimes call for the big acquisition and I can see some obvious value in a player like Kessler, but the Hawks don’t “need” him. Bowman has a plan and that rarely relies on bringing in a big name. I would say Hossa was the last big name acquisition and he was brought in during the offseason, on Tallon’s watch. We as fans are lucky to not need these players on our team…look what Pittsburgh did last year to no avail and maybe what the Blues have done. It probably doesn’t hurt though that our Captain may be the best leader and all around player in the game today.

  24. And Blues will miss Tarasenko… Guy might be the most skilled Offensive shooter/Hands on the team.

    With all the injuries to Hawks 88/29/20, and Tarasenko out… Maybe Avs. are in driver’s seat-come Playoffs in this Division…

  25. Ryan Miller – .923 S% with Buffalo. .910 with StL. But shouldn’t his statistics improve playing behind an elite defense?!? I don’t get it!

    Sample size, I know. I also know he isn’t the difference maker that people thought he would be.

    Meanwhile, Halak is putting up a .935 with Washington. His numbers have increased while playing behind a shitty defense. CRAZY.

  26. JS – Hope your early analysis on Miller continues to be proven by actual results. I’m guessing heads will roll if that big transaction doesn’t work out – that would be a shame…

  27. ER, I thought we were past all of this…first, I didn’t say anything about Kane playing with Zus, those were JS’ comments, which I happen to agree with…and there was no “attack” on you…its simply stating an opinion, and that’s a bad thing?

    As for the comment “for those of us”…how else do you want me to word this??? You made a comment that Q was seeing things about Zus that clearly “we” weren’t and that’s why Zus was getting these minutes and you were supportive of it…that’s fine…I am not attacking your opinion about Zus and Q, I am just saying that for those here who have played and coached the game for a long time, we can see what goes on the ice…and with new TV technology (DVR), its amazing what you can see by going over the games again…But I don’t know that I’m the only one, or part of a select crew? Who knows, it simply applies to those who have…

    Zus hasn’t earned this ice time by his play this year, he’s done it with his play over the years…Q is turning a blind eye to a LOT of mistakes by Zus…and not just that’s he lost his skating ability…ANY other Hawk player, outside of the core, that took 2 lazy, stupid penalties in the 3rd period of a 2-1 hockey game would have found themselves on Devil’s Island the next morning…and Q doesn’t mention a thing…and that’s fine…but if that was Morin, and he took even just one of the those 2 penalties, he would be playing Midget hockey again next week.


  28. A quick prospect update-Guelph is beating Plymouth 2 to 0 in their series-no surprise as Guleph is really good-probably the best team in the O, if not the CHL-they shutout Ply. yesterday.
    Hartman looked good the game I saw, the 5-2 loss. He was playing the point on the power play and got an assist and then scored the 2nd goal. (both while on the power play)
    A word I would use for him is poised. he’s really focused on playing his position well.
    My guess-and it’s only a hunch is that the Hawks have talked to him about his future and they like him in a certain role (his style has changed a bit)-he is very un-Shaw like in Junior.

  29. Sr Brad, by couching your comment within “for those of us …”, you’re doing one of two things – you’re either disminishing the opinions of those who have not played or coached, or you’re elevating the opinions of those who have played or coached to the level of the coach with the 3rd most wins in NHL history. Both would be wrong and serve no purpose other than to set a dismissive tone to exclude the opinions of those who have not your criteria to adequately assess the play of Handzus. Simply put, hubris and arrogance on display.

    The other comments in that post were not meant to be addressed specifically to you.

  30. Sorry to pile on Handzus but he doesn’t offer anything to the Hawks. Maybe inspiration in the dressing room or on the bench but definitely not on the ice. I was watching closely as he was on the PK and he is A) too friggin slow and B) does not block shots (which is the only thing he could be good at with his size). I thought Brookbank has played decent and i don’t see Oduya or Rosy back with the Hawks. I would really like to see Clendenning or Johns for a game or two if the playoff race can afford it.

  31. goldenbladz, let me first say that it is not my intention to become the official Handzus apologist because I would prefer he be replaced by other options, but it is my intention to attempt to counterbalance the comments being expressed which, in my opinion, go too far in their criticism of Handzus and the decision of Q to play him as often as he does.

    I’ll use your comment to prove my point. Your wrote “he … does not block shots”. That is a demonstrably false statement because, in fact, Handzus was credited with 2 blocked shots in the Carolina game. By misstating facts, you are doing the very thing I’m attempting to counterbalance.

  32. On the year, Handzus has the 4th highest Quality of Teammates on the team, behind Hossa, Sharp, and Toews.

    Handzus has been on the ice for 32.4% of Kane’s 5on5 time. Kanes point production when on the ice with Handzus? 1 goal and 7 assists. The only person on the team he has worse production with is Marcus Kruger, which is why it makes sense that Q pulled the plug on that quickly. Which center is he most productive with? Andrew Shaw.

    Remember, while Handzus was out hurt, Kane won back to back player of the month awards. When Handzus came back, he stopped scoring.

    Again, I think Handzus has value to the Hawks. I’ve never said that he didn’t. But pairing him on the second line with Patrick Kane was an absolutely huge mistake and you won’t find a single statistic that doesn’t back that up.

  33. ER blocked shots!!!! credited???according to who a homebased stats guy? i was watching Zus and he has no idea how to block a shot. in fact he is too slow to lay down and get back up on his feet. Just standing in front of the shooter and hope it hits you is not shot blocking. There is actually a technique to it (a la Guy Carboneau)

  34. In fact the way he tries to block leads to misdirected or deflected pucks toward the net. to be a great PK specialist you have to be either very quick to get to the shooter with a active stick to stop the shot (a possible breakway) or lay down or down on one or both knees and block but be able to get up quickly to keeping moving. Zus can do neither.

  35. Whelp. Kane is done for the rest of the regular season so hopefully something intelligent happens in the playoffs like Bickel Toews and Kane back together again.

    And STL is still the most overrated team in hockey again. Just like last year and the year before. They don’t have the horses. Fact.

  36. Hawks PK is like 90% since the new year when Handzus got back on it, goldenbladz. He does enough to make it better. Sure, his face off percentage sucks and he’s really slow to cover the point men, but apparently what he is doing is working.

  37. Watched the STL/PHL game and thought STL got beat like a drum at there own game. PHL on a run right now, pretty much man-handled STL more and more as game progressed.

  38. goldenbladz, so now you have a different definition for a blocked shot and you’re saying the official scoresheet is wrong. Apparently, according to you, it is only a blocked shot if the player lays down to block it and it’s only an official blocked shot if you see it. I watched the game and I saw Handzus block a shot and Foley state it in his play by play. So I guess, Foley, the official scorer and I are all in on the conspriracy to credit Handzus with a blocked shot when in fact he didn’t block a shot because you say he didn’t. OKAY.

  39. JS, thanks, I appreciate the support. Again, I’m not saying Handzus is a good player or that he should be playing ahead of someone else or that he should ever be the 2nd line center – just that he isn’t totally worthless which seems to be the prevalent opinion here. I’m also not in agreement with every decision Q makes – but I do recognize that Q knows more about what it takes to put a winning team on the ice than I will ever know and that goes for every other expert that posts their opinions on here, although it seems some posters think they know better than Q, which at times gets to be a little difficult to take.

  40. Yea, ER I agree with you on Handz. I want him to e the 13/14th fw, the actual depth guy. Most people make it seem/comments that hes worse then he really is… The PK has been basically as good as last season since he went to it, but Kaner did basically nothing with him on same line. Hes a good guy to have, like Mayers was. (and still is, he was hanging in locker room with his baby talking to Tracy)

    I am surprised that Handz FO is that low (55 to below 50?) since he is usually a good at FO. I also would not have guessed that Krugs would skyrocket as well (45 to 57). Talk about trades, to have Krugs go up to that area & Handz to be lower then 50 is a good trade for future. Just like what everybody was saying about PK in the fisrt 10-20 games… I would trade the PK for the PP, to have it like it was last yr. We did and now we have both good. (you have to throw out the garbage from those first 10 games)

    The good thing is Handz shouldnt need to be on 2nd line, with Smith & T.

  41. Nothing against anyone but I do not know how you miss Handz blocking a shot. Its like a iceberg bouncing off a glacier.

  42. I am not the official Zus apologist and certainly believe he should not be the 2C center but I have seen several “sacrifice the body” type blocks on the PK this year and I only get to see about half the games. Say what you want about his speed and the erosion of his other skills but let’s not make up statements like “he doesn’t block shots.”

    To change the subject – How has the story been portrayed locally regarding the Icehogs D-man (Shea) that went after the Wolves guy outside the dressing room and the cops had to step in? Unless I missed something I hope the Hawks cut the guy loose pretty quickly as that reflects poorly on the organization.

  43. So you are saying that there aren’t better options for Q on the PK? As far as blocked shots even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  44. Brutal ER…I support Q a ton and have credited him with being a HOF coach, and one of the best bench coaches in hockey history, but he has always struggled with 2 things (and he has admitted this himself), one, his line configurations and two, riding his veteran players…and that did him in in both STL and COL…and he’s doing the same thing here, in the face of overwhelming evidence…he’s overcome this, because he’s NEVER coached a team with the talent base and character of these Blackhawks…

    Now, I counter that with this little nugget…the Hawks have won 2 SC championships in the last 4 years largely because of the system that Q implemented here, and his no nonsense policy to players who won’t commit to team defence…so he’s vital to our success, and a huge part of this franchise…

    So, its kind of mixed/complicated thought hey? I think he’s a HOF coach who has a couple of biases that can work against him…what a jerk I must be for thinking that and saying it…and your response to mine is the Pot calling the Kettle black…wow…

    I am not a better fan that anyone else and have never said so or intimated so…because of my hockey background I simply am able to add light in certain areas, and hopefully contribute to making this site a great place for all Hawk fans…and if I say it in a certain way that rubs you the wrong way…try and have patience…we can’t all have your calming demeanour.

    As for the game tonight, SAAD’s back!!! We should have 4 strong lines tonight.

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