Chicago Blackhawks Come Back, Force Game 7

After a knuckling puck beat Corey Crawford from nearly 40 feet out, the Blackhawks returned to the ice for a third period with 20 minutes of effort standing between either the end of their season or Game 7 on Wednesday night.

A huge effort from the entire roster brought the Hawks back, and a 4-3 victory means there will be hockey at the United Center later this week.

Marian Hossa scored a powerplay goal to get the Hawks a lead less than four minutes into the game. The Blackhawks dominated the first ten minutes of the game, but the momentum switched ends of the ice and the Wings came back with a strong second half of the period.

A series of events started by a failed clearing attempt by Dave Bolland, followed by a failed box out by Bolland and a rebound off Crawford, ended with Patrick Eaves tying the game with less than 70 seconds left in the first period.

Detroit dominated the action throughout the second period. Crawford faced 18 shots in the middle frame, many of them in traffic and from within a few feet of the net. But it was a knuckling shot by Joakim Andersson from just inside the blue that beat Crawford half-way through the period that put the Hawks on their heels.

When the second period ended, the Hawks were trailing on the scoreboard 2-1, were getting out-shot 28-20, and were losing more faceoffs than they were winning. In fact, if not for a number of big saves from Crawford after the goal, the score easily could have been 3 or 4-1 in favor of the Wings.

Between the second and third, the energy changed.

Only 51 seconds into the third, Michal Handzus patiently put a puck over Howard’s right shoulder to tie the game. From there, the momentum was wearing a white sweater and the next nine minutes were breathtakingly dominant.

Bryan Bickell, who played another strong, physical game, scored his fifth goal of the playoffs from right in front of Howard at 5:48 into the period. Less than four minutes later, Michael Frolik blocked a shot and sprinted the other direction. Carlo Colaiacovo was called for slashing and Frolik was awarded a penalty shot, that he converted.

In less than ten minutes, the Blackhawks had turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.

With five minutes left in the game, seats started appearing empty in the lower bowl in Hockeytown. The fans in Detroit made their way to the exits early, and almost missed an epic finish.

With Howard on the bench and the Wings skating 5-on-4 (Henrik Zetterberg and Hossa were in their respective penalty boxes), Damien Brunner scored with 51 second left in regulation. Johnny Oduya iced the puck with 30 seconds left in regulation, but a faceoff win and clear by Toews gave the Hawks breathing room to finish the game with a victory.

In the game, Crawford was very good with the exception of the Andersson goal. He made 35 saves against 38 shots in the game; Howard faced only 28 shots in the game, allowing four goals to the Hawks. Over the final 40 minutes, Crawford stopped 26 of 28 shots.

Andersson’s goal was exactly what keeps fans from believing Crawford can win a Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks. But the 30 minutes of hockey that followed should give those ready to run him out of town a moment of pause.

The harassment of Toews continued again, and the Hawks’ captain spent a couple minutes in the penalty box in the first period. But Toews showed his mettle in the game, battling back to win 12 of 24 faceoffs and added two assists.

Hossa also had a two-point night, adding the secondary assist on Bickell’s goal to his first period goal. He took a bad tripping penalty late in the third period, just a few seconds before Brunner’s goal brought the Wings back to within one.

The re-worked lineup from coach Joel Quenneville worked again. Brent Seabrook was back with Duncan Keith for a second straight game, and he once again looked like a completely different player (in spite of his minus-two rating). Both Keith and Seabrook skated over 23 minutes in the game, with Seabrook leading the Hawks with four hits. He was also credited with two blocked shots in the game, one of which was a huge sliding block of a Dan Cleary shot in the second period.

In spite of his terrible icing late in the third, Oduya had a strong night. He led all Blackhawks with 24:37 on the ice and four blocked shots in the game. Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked two shots and was credited with three hits as well.

The Hawks killed all three of the Wings’ powerplays in the game.

Game 7 will begin at 7 PM CT on Wednesday night.

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97 Responses to Chicago Blackhawks Come Back, Force Game 7

  1. Morrison says:

    HARRISON FORD.

  2. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    HARRISON FORD! I have no idea what that means! I hope I am wrong about this team, I would hate for them to get this close and not seal the deal! Great 3rd period for the Hawks, cmon boys keep your eyes on the prize.

  3. Pete says:

    I take it all back about Handzus. That was the key goal. Also what a play by Frooooooleeek. GO HAWKS.

  4. Tab Bamford says:

    Harrison Ford as in “Never tell me the odds”?

  5. RyanDale says:

    Take the gifts and get the hell out of town boys, one more game to go before sending them packing. Frolik is in the record books! What a shot, love his energy.

  6. Dean Youngblood says:

    Harrison Ford as in “Get off my plane!”

  7. torourke says:

    If the Hawks go on to win this series–and I think they will–and then go on to make even more noise in the conference final and SC final, then the early third period goal by Handzus just might be seen as the turning point for the Hawks in this playoffs. When you are down going into the third, it is critical to score EARLY, otherwise the fans get into it and your team starts to press. That was huge, and Handzus was great at the dot and in blocking shots too.

    Of course Handzus scored that goal because Hammer had a really nice pinch. Hammer to me was the best player on the ice. His shot-blocking and overall control in his own zone…dominant.

    I thought Saad was outstanding too. I loved the way he back-checks. The one guy who looked shaky to me was Sharp. Let’s hope he’s better come Wednesday. Go Hawks!

  8. Ryan says:

    Zeus baby! Making people eat their words.

    Loved the Q stuck with the lines from game 5 tonight. Yes he made some changes in game to keep Toews from Zetterberg, but I think that was to mess with Det as much as anything. We will have last change Wed night.

    Sharp – Toews – Kane
    Bickell – Zeus – Hossa
    Saad – Shaw – Stalberg
    Kruger – Bolland – Frolik

    I love these lines. The top line is loaded, The Jumbo line is tough to play againt, The 3rd line has a gritty C and 2 quick players on the wings and that 4th line has really active sticks that just get under the skin the opposition.

    The Madhouse will be rocking on Wed and we have seen these last couple games it is tough for Det to play on one day rest and that will be the case again Wed. I absolutely love our chances. But we must approach this game as the most important of the season.

  9. ZebraGreg says:

    One thing to ponder is that the recently formed top line (10,19,88) as a unit has not clicked yet; that’s a pretty good sign, with others taking up the slack, in my book.
    Besides the top unit still not clicking yet this was a real team effort. Frolik may have a record that will be a long-standing one…two career playoff PS goals. His effort needs to be acknowledged as well; he never takes a shift off…way to go 67!

  10. Tab Bamford says:

    Note: in the last three games, Corey Crawford has allowed 5 goals against 90 shots (.944 save pct).

    In the last three 3rd periods, Crawford has allowed 1 goal against 19 shots (.947 save pct).

  11. JS says:

    I was kind of nervous after Crow let in the 50 foot knuckler. After that third period I’m fairly certain we’ll see a lot of people come here and say, “Oops.”

  12. Tab Bamford says:

    In six 3rd periods vs DET, Crawford has allowed 3 goals vs 38 shots – a .921 save pct.

  13. Ryan says:

    Crawford should have had that shot. It was almost like he anticipated the puck to dip cause it was fluttering but it never did knuckle and dip it stayed on the same plane.

  14. Ryan says:

    that said just like Tab is posting Crawford has come up large in these games. he has kept us in just about every game

  15. Tolly says:

    Hossa and Sharp with two of the dumbest penalties I’ve ever seen, under the circumstances. Almost blew it, was unfortunate, game was in the bag till that point. Just happy they found a way to pull it out.

  16. Peter says:

    Really amazed how well Frolik and Kruger have played in this series. Both have been great.

    Additionally, I guess this is why we wouldn’t amnesty Seabrook. Thanks for talking me off the ledge Tab.

    Let’s go on Wednesday Night.

  17. Tails says:

    Maybe Harrison Ford as in, “You’re all clear kid, now let’s blow this thing and go home.”

  18. RyanDale says:

    No question CC has been great this post season, only Quick has better numbers

  19. Chris says:

    Could someone put Frolik’s heart in Kanes body?

  20. Sr. Brad says:

    Every Hawk fan should have a long memory about that 3rd period and who showed up in it. Because without that 3rd period, the Hawks would have been done…

    And who showed up? Because unlike what Tab said, it wasn’t everyone…Kane was MIA all night…Patrick Sharp had his worst game in a long, long time…and his penalty with 5 minutes left capped a horrible effort by our Asst captain. Nick Leddy struggled all game with mental mistakes and eventually stopped getting ice time.Viktor Stahlberg has yet to get out of Q’s doghouse, and he played like it tonight. Dave Bolland does little right, and contributes very, very little to our game plan…I hate to say it, but he’s becoming a liability on our 4th line.

    But Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw, Brandon Saad, Johhny Oduya, Hammer, Micahel Handzus, and especially Toews, Frolik and Kruger (who can’t win a faceoff if his life depended on it) all played Herculian games…and when it comes time to handing out contracts next season, this is something that Stan Bowman had better consider. For the better part of 3 months I had resigned myself to the notion that Bickell was gone next year…stop the presses…the guy needs to be resigned…because not only did he have a very good regular season, and showed great strides as a Defensive forward and a passer, he has been a stud in the playoffs. His brute strength, intelligence and pure will on our 3rd goal, should be legendary in Hawk’s history…that was one of the best Hawk goals I have ever seen and perhaps the most important. Andrew Shaw…another great game, no mistakes, just tons of smart plays and a great effort. And before we dump Frolik because of his contract and apparent lack of ability to score, his work this season and post season has been breathtaking…that PS goal was the culmination of an incredible effort by an undersized guy…I knew he was going to score, because his will was too strong to fail…Oduya had a horrible mental fart with the icing call when he forgot that we were at even strength, but Oduya would have blocked the ensuing SOG with his teeth if he had to, to make up for it…YOU WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS with guys like this…Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane had weak 3rd periods, and they did not drive this train. So when Bowman is thinking about filling out his roster next season, he needs to remember, four #1 lines don’t make for a SC…character guys, muckers and grinders do, along side the Jonathon Toews of the world.

    As we mentioned earlier this week, we would win if we got continued big efforts from Seabs and Handzus…we did and we won. This has to continue…Handzus’ faceoff ability is CRUCIAL on this team, as outside of Toews, no one else can consistently win a faceoff.

    But we still have some things to improve on…

    Yes, CC stayed strong after letting in that goal, but HE SHOULD NEVER HAVE LET IN THAT GOAL. He is a guy that makes things so hard on himself…and it doesn’t have to be that way. Crawford must get even better from here on out for the Hawks to win and that means an improved mental focus. He has all the physical talent in the world to be an elite goalie…its up to him from here on to become that.

    Marian Hossa must play strong mental and physical hockey from here out…we need him…and that penalty with 2 minutes to go was DUMB beyond description…it was also lazy…Hossa must get tougher from here on, because we won’t get by the Pacific division winner without a top effort from him.

    Patrick Kane cannot disappear for the majority of a series in the playoffs. There hasn’t been a lot of room out there, but Kane must still play hard at both ends of the ice and learn to contribute in other ways. To this point, he hasn’t. Patrick Sharp had a night to forget…but he’s been stellar, and should likely rebound from it.

    Nick Leddy must rebound…at his age, Rozy needs a capable D partner, not someone he has to overcome…Leddy’s game tonight was atrocious, and most of it was from a soft mental approach. Whatever Nick needs to do to improve, he must.

  21. Morrison says:

    Two days between games nhl… bitches.

  22. RyanDale says:

    We earned the right to host a G7. Thats it. If we can’t finish, it’s all for nothing. I think we are squarely in their heads now but we still gotta play the game and I doubt they will be bearing gifts like they were tonight. Gonna have to earn it but I like our chances moving forward

  23. Dickie Dunn says:

    Tab, accurate summary, as usual…

    Even better, the *interesting* statistical information about Crawford.

    And, “…a failed clearing attempt by Dave Bolland, followed by a failed box out by Bolland and a rebound off Crawford, ended with Patrick Eaves tying the game with less than 70 seconds left in the first period.” (really captured the spirit of the thing) — I almost pissed myself laughing at Babcock’s post game comments…”the Andersson goal was a gift” and “…the call on Datsyuk was (horrible)”, etc. — I thought all three Detroit goals were gifts…add Hossa’s stupid penalty. Maybe he believes he’s grabbing some psychological edge with his bullshit?

    Sr. Brad — I don’t agree that Kane was MIA…I concede that it was not his best game, and that Sharp, Stalberg, Leddy, Rozsival, and Bolland probably were a little less than effective. Regroup and showup Wednesday.

    GO HAWKS!!

  24. Travis says:

    How about a stick tap for Crawford’s rebound tonight? After letting in a soft goal in front of a national audience, he pulled himself together and made a number of HUGE stops to keep us in it. If that’s not mental toughness, I don’t know what is. That guy should be really proud of himself tonight, because that’s exactly what he worked on the past offseason– letting go of bad goals (which happen) to focus on stopping the next opportunity.

    Letting in that soft goal isn’t necessarily a lack of ability or concentration. You can lose a puck in a black shirt in the stands, or black hockey pants, or a towel on the bench. It’s rare, but it happens, and it’s nobody’s fault. Our goalie isn’t soft; on the contrary, he’s outstanding. We’re just not getting many breaks.

    In my opinion, it is remarkable that despite all the posts, despite all the disallowed goals (admit it, you were expecting Hossa’s opener to be called off for dislodging the net), and without a clicking top line, we’re going to Game 7.

    DEPTH, baby. It’s given us a chance when little (besides the penalty shot call) has gone our way in this series.

  25. McKay says:

    Sr Brad – welcome to the “cut CC bandwagon”. Go call Geoff Courtnall and ask him how the Red Wing’s scouting of the LA Kings is going.

    When CC gets goal support, he’s incredibly competitive. For the entire season, the Hawks average less than 2 goals a game against. They average nearly 3 goal for. Look at this entire series and it’s not about whether or not CC is letting in soft goals. It’s about Sharp, Hossa, Toews, Kane, Bickell, Shaw, and Saad doing what they do and scoring. Help him with some goals and don’t rely on him (or any goalie for a shut out) and we’re going to do okay.

    Could Bickell be the “new” Byfuglien? I don’t see why not. He scores unique goals that no one else on the Hawks can get. In a contract year, I hope we/he milks it for everything it’s worth.

    3rd line plays great at the UC.

    One game at a time.

  26. NJ Dave says:

    Disagree on Kane being MIA. He had a nice rush, made Howard makes a tough save on a backhand, and then another save in close.

    Also disagree on Sharp. Not his best either, but great effort on defensive support. I wish he could have a least had a shot on goal with the 2-on-1 with Kane.

    Overall solid game. Det dominated some part abd Crow was great. Hawks dominated others and scored.

    One last thing, the Hawks need to shoot the puck more. Seabrook, Sharp, and Leddy come to mind off the top of my head. Howard comes out so far which gives so little room on the initial shot, but opens up the net on rebounds. Shoot hard and low, and hunt for rebounds!

  27. McKay says:

    Go watch the Frolik penalty shot again… that is a Kane-esque quality shot. Don’t take that for granted – Howard doesn’t even move. Love it!

  28. Al l says:

    Sr Brad, Please get OFF your high horse. You use this blog as your way to tell the world how smart you are and who you know. Did you ever notice your posts are 3 times as long as everyone else’s. Cant you just say “great job” and move on. Why aren’t you coaching hockey at a high level if you know so much? This is a FAN blog…be a fan and not a know it all…
    I’ll wait for your long winded answer…

  29. Tom Jaremka says:

    Boys…….very nice game, last night!! I thought we were in trouble when crow let in that Hoyt Wilhelm shot from 45′ out, but he rebounded and did a great job. I’m pretty sure that Detroit is wondering what went wrong, last night?

    Let’s keep the mojo going into wednesday and knock these guys out and move on!!

    Sr. Brad, I called Gordie Howe and he said, “who’s Jimmy Howard”? LOL.

  30. Mike says:

    Nice article Tab….keep us informed on what happens between now and GAME 7.

    Toews was GREAT last night. His best effort. Not because of the two assists but because of his mental attitude. Games 1-4 he said to himself “these guys are killing me”. Last night he said to himself “come get me you assholes”.

    I am gonna give Hossa a break on his stupid almost game killing penalty. It is not his game to do that so I will just tell myself it was inadvertent.

    This was not Leddy’s strongest game but I think he has FAR outplayed his young counterpart on the other side (Smith). A 22 year old kid is bound to make mistakes in bunches. But Leddy is smart and skilled enough to learn from his mistakes. For the next few years, however, strength will be somewhat of an issue against big forwards. That said, he is handling the pressure very well.

    IMO Kane and Sharp will have big games Wednesday

    Fans, I do not think that we will have to worry about Bickell not getting a fair offer from the Hawks. Unlike Stalberg (as rumored) Bickell wants to stay here and will for a fair price. I am thinking 3 years @ $8MM keeps him here. I think it will take someone offering over $3MM+ to pull him out of Chicago.

  31. Mary says:

    Frolick’s penalty shot was payback for game 3. Way to go, hawks! Don’t stop believing! !

  32. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Great game 6. Now it all rides on game 7. The key to game 7 in my estimation is whether Kane shows up. With all due respect to the enormity of his talent, he needs to show up. He just does. The other key? Crawford will need to be stout in goal. I see game 7 being a low scoring affair…a game that comes down to one back breaking goal being the difference…a game that is defined by the goaltenders.

  33. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Bickell is in line for a pay raise via free agency that makes his return very doubtful. I just don’t see how it can work unfortunately. And as we learned in the summer of 2010, players aren’t going to take “hometown discounts”…and who can blame them. The NHL career and earning power of a Bickell type is brief. These guys owe it to themselves to take the money. And keep in mind also these guys lost money during the lockout.

    It only takes one team to offer Bickell a lot of money. And with multiple teams having a lot of cap space…and some of these teams also needing to meet the new salary floor threshold…you can bet the ranch the bidding for Bickell will be robust.

  34. Peter says:

    Sr. Brad, I don’t mind your insight/opinions. This is one of the better sites where fan commenters across the board actually provide some good analysis with a fair amount of facts (not all the time, but mostly). I think everyone does a pretty good job. I don’t read the comments on every site…

    I think Crawford should have stopped the 2nd goal, but I’m also not an NHL goalie. The puck was knuckling, and I think he thought it was going on a different trajectory. From catching knuckleballs in baseball, I know you really have no idea where they are going. You have to watch the ball all the way into your glove and not guess. I think Crawford guessed and could have played it better, but I also don’t think it was an incredibly soft goal.

  35. Tim G says:

    That was the game we needed. We stole momentum early to build confidence AND overcame a 3rd period defecit. That showed what kind of team we have. I fully expect us to close this one out. These boys never gave up, nor should they have.

    Although I think are watching then end of the Stalberg era. He has been good, but not unreplaceable. With guys like Hayes, Smith, and Morin looking for roster spots, his is the one that will be open. Even though you can’t teach speed, I would think 29, 8 and 16 have bought themselves new contracts first. If there is room for stalberg on the cheap, maybe he sticks around… but I’m feeling they will let him walk when he get a decent offer elsewhere. Perhaps next year 29 sticks on the top line, and the Saad replaces Stalberg (as the shooter on the 3rd line) and pairs up with Hayes (to replace bickell as the big body) and Shaw.

    But back to this year… We need to exploit Brenden Smith all night tomorrow. He has been a weak defensive link and we can use it to our advantage. Also, i think Coliacovo is exploitable. He is a very solid defender, but he is agressive. Frolik showed he can be skated past and he took a BAD penalty for it. Sure enough the PS was the Game winner. I was really impressed with 16/67… they have been stalwarts on the PK. Everyone in the organization should be taking notes. Shaw has been doing the little things great… finish checks… agitate… keep the emotion in control… LOVE IT!

    The UC will be rocking tomorrow and We can take this. LETS DO IT!

  36. goldenbladz says:

    There are some people (cough cough Detroit fans) that think the Frolik penalty shot was unwarranted…Perhaps? but if that one isn’t called then sure as hell the mugging on Saad on the breakaway should have been. So one gets called and the other doesn’t…deal with it. Detroit has been clutching and grabbing the whole series because they can’t skate with the Hawks. Nice game plan Babcock but it is going to backfire as the Wings are wearing down. BTW sick backhand by Frolik on that goal.

  37. Gou says:

    Before the third period started I shot a text to a couple of 2010 band wagon jumpers and are now completely hooked on Reddsteel. Time to unleash da Kracken. And the boys did.
    Like I said the other day, ya gotta believe.

    And as usual many great posts and opinions. Makes for great post game day coffee reading before hitting da grindstone.

  38. JS says:

    Al l- Let me tell you a secret. When it comes to the internet, if you don’t want to consume something, don’t consume it. If you don’t like what Brad has to say, ignore it, post your “WOOHOO HAWKS BEST EVER” and go away. Brad wants to look at the team critically, and he is allowed to do that. I probably argue with Brad and Wall more than anyone, but I also appreciate their contribution to the site a whole lot more than people that post “GO HAWKS” drivel.

    I don’t think Kane was bad yesterday. He had a couple jaw dropping plays that make you remember how much skill he has. He was pretty strong defensively and he didn’t take any foolish penalties.

    Hossa went to the net hard a few times. No idea what he was thinking when he took the penalty in the last two minutes. However, with efforts like that, Hawks will be in pretty good shape.

    I don’t remember the exact number, but I think 4 and 27 were more than -30 in CORSI. That isn’t good at all. They were having issues with the puck all night. And as much as we want to jump on Leddy, Rosival had a lot of terrible turnovers that led to goals and scoring chances. Leddy wasn’t on point last night, but he had a lot of slack to cover with the way Rozi was playing.

    If someone learned how to shoot a knuckle puck at will, they would score 90 goals a season. Yeah, Crow should have stopped that. Yes, I understand why he biffed it. However, as I was saying earlier in the series, the Hawks are supposed to be able to overcome those errors, and they did.

    Hawks in 7!

  39. Sr. Brad says:

    Great job Al!

  40. Sr. Brad says:

    Shit, sorry Al, I said Al…

  41. Negzz says:

    Impressive. So Crow gives up another terrible, critical, playoff, season on the line, soft goal and sucks the mo out of the Hawks. You could see the air come out of our balloon, the Wings get a huge lift and dominate for the balance of the 2nd period. I could already hear the Crawford apologists preparing reems of stats to defend their boy. Season over? No sir! HUGE Zues goal to swing mo back our way. Bickell show what’s it like to man-up as he continues his amazing playoff performance. Team grinds and beats it’s way through all the grab and clutch BS. CC tightens up, D plays smart, Hawks win. Wow. This was an incredible show of guts by the boys.

    Thoughts: Worst penalty I have EVER seen from Hoss. If intentional, is unforgivable given the circimstances and season on the line (as such, I’ll have to go with previous poster and agree to give him slack as “inadvertant.”) By rule, the PS call for Frolik was absolutely correct. Bickell should be getting more time on line-1 with Toews, brings toughness and net presence that is needed. Thougt Saad has been getting better and better as he’s slotted lower in the lineup. Hats off to Q for re-uniting Seabrook and #2. Rozy was lost and slow last night, not a good game for him..

    Hawks win game-7 on Wed 4-2..

  42. Dominic says:

    Do we know what Geoff Courtnall says now?

  43. JS says:

    Just wondering if anyone saw the second goal Quick gave up in Game 6 of the game they lost 2-1. A guy like Quick would never let in a back breaking soft goal that would hurt his team.

    Anyone see the goal Rask let in after falling on his butt and watching the puck skitter by?

    Anyone see the goal Niemi let in where he played a terrible angle and let someone bank it in off of his body?

    Anyone see the multiple rebounds Howard has given up in the last few games that the Hawks have driven home?

    These amazing goalies would never let in a softie the way Crawford did.

  44. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    After game 6′s amazing and unlikely vicotry im scared, all the factors are showing that the Hawks should win and it makes me nervous. So I’ll lay out those factors and see if everyone agree’s. 1. at home 2. quick turn around(those 2 game layoffs early on where insane) 3. momentum 4. The Captain has showed up and has been STRONG since his powerplay goal. 5. Powerplay is clicking! The Wings have allowed 20 third period goals,…whoa!

    Cmon boys make me eat my words! Go Hawks!

  45. Sr. Brad says:

    The heart of the comment Al is to appreciate that effort last night…CC did a great job of rebouninding, as Travis said, on national TV…it showed a lot of character to do so with everything on the line, and its greatly appreciated…however, put your body in front of the shot and stop it…he just can’t let that goal in…and moving forward the chances of overcoming a goal like that become slimmer and slimmer.

    Great post Mike…and you’re right about Bicks…he wants to return…any reasonable offer from Bowman gets him IMO. I hope Kane wakes up for the rest of the playoffs.

    Peter, you’re right a knuckler isn’t easy, that’s why they teach you to get your body in front of those shots. Good comments.

    JS…with Hoss you have to give him a pass because he is such a complete player, but boy that sure looked like a lazy stick to me…and we need Kane to show up big time the rest of the way…he’s just too important to this team to be a twilight player. And you’re right, Rozy and Leddy have to get better…we need 14-15 good minutes from them every night.

    The bottom line is this…what’s done is done…frankly, the Hawks needed this adversity moving forward to elevate their game for LA/SJ and then BOS/PIT. Toews has been through the ringer in this series and I can only imagine how much better he will become as a result of it. It’s turn Crawford into a real scrapper and Bickell into a MONSTER!

  46. JS says:

    Oh, and Hawks record in games in which they have scored 2 goals this post season? 7-1. Definitely Crawfords fault they lost those games in which they didn’t score more than 1 goal.

    Did Crawford sleep with your lady, Negzz?

  47. Tab Bamford says:

    What many of these posts have pointed to is something fans should be excited about heading into Game 7 and, hopefully, beyond.

    This team is better than 2011. And better than 2012. Crawford is better. The mental make-up of this team is stronger. They showed last night that they wouldn’t let a soft, potentially back-breaking goal cost them a game with 30 minutes left on the clock. The mettle and resolve showed in the third period last night was impressive, and credit should be given to the coaches, the leaders in the room, and the role players that dominated the period. Sure, there were a few mental mistakes – awful penalties by Hossa & Sharp, a stupid icing by Oduya – but that period was owned by the Blackhawks. They refused to quietly let the series slip away. And that, friends, is impressive.

  48. Sr. Brad says:

    Seriously Dominic, you don’t want me to share info on the Hawks from a former NHL player??? Growing up next to the Courtnall’s doesn’t make me special…it just allows for some insight…but I’m pretty sure I know what Geoff would say about you.

    SSHM…after the adversity the boys have faced, they will be ready for game 7 and they will win…we just need to keep Seabs, Handzus and Crawford battling for this thing to continue…they are the keys right now.

    JS…CC’s having a very good playoffs…he’s our goalie and we all love him…he just needs to take the contrast out of his game…he doesn’t need to have those brain cramps anymore…he’s better than that. IMO, Crawford, Seabrook and Handzus are the keys to winning the Cup…if they continue, we’ll get there.

  49. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I’m thinking the SHARKS pull it off tonight, the roadteam hasnt won BUT the SHARKS will snap it and pull it off

  50. Sr. Brad says:

    The only thing SSHM is the Sharks haven’t looked very good on the road at all…but Niemi is capable of stealing one in LA…whoever wins, we are in for a very tough match up.

  51. Phil says:

    Quite the drama last night and I am proud of the effort put forth by the boys. They brought what was necessary right out of the gate in the 3rd when the game was really on the line. Huge goal by Zus that showed what smart older players can do in that situation. Incredible presence of mind. A great play by Hammer to set him up in front of Howard, who just got beat pure and simple.

    Al l, WTFRU to abuse someone on this forum who is simply expressing an opinion about the Chicago Blackhawks is wrong. If you disagree, make an argument. State your case or else STFU. Don’t dismiss comments out of hand and walk.

    The Fro PS was a thing of beauty. I believe the PS was called because the slash knocked the puck away from Frolik’s stick. If he gets off a clean shot then it’s just a slash. The Wings fans can bitch and moan all they want. Shaw could easily have been given a PS a few games ago, and we also had the disallowed goal that was huge that went in the favor of the Wings. Detroit fans can’t complain given the fact that the Babcock coached Wings have employed the same hook, hold and interfere tactics for years. 70-80% of that stuff goes uncalled, because they do it basically every shift! The Babcock complaint at the post game press conf about the Datsyuk penalty was hilarious. How about Zetterberg dragging Toews by the arm down the ice following a center ice face off?

    Bicks has really elevated his game in this playoff series. Yes, it’s a contract year for him which should provide some extra motivation. He is however doing the little things he wasn’t doing before to get pucks to net, take a hit to make the right pass. Backchecking on defense. Most importantly he is providing the physical presence he can provide based on his size to make a difference in the game. I would like to think the Hawks find a way to keep him, yet he should not be worth more than 2.5 M in my book as a third line winger. Kudos to Bicks though for the effort! Keep bringing it.

    It’s funny that in the playoffs 3rd and 4th line guys often are the difference makers. The stars tend to cancel each other out. I continue to love what our 3rd and 4th lines are bringing. The lineup last night looks good with all 4 lines cohesive. Would I like more out of Bolland and Stahlberg yes. Can Sharpy, Hossa, and Kane play better yes. I am loving what Shaw brings given his size. He gives everything he has. Kruger, Saad, Frolik and playing their asses off. Saad back check last night was top end stuff. These young guys can play.

    Corey Crawford remains an enigmatic keeper, that drives you crazy with some soft goals and then follows up with moments of brilliance. I would like to think he is going through a positive maturation process. He has proven that the softies are not hurting his confidence(never mind ours…..). If anything he seems to have found a way to have that motivate and elevate his game. My God though, that 2nd Wings floater last night drove me nuts!

    I think the Hawks are finding their game following a yawner series against the Wild. There was quite a bit of pressure on the guys as the number one seed. Their confidence appears to be growing as the performance the past 2 games would attest.

    So we get these guys back here for game 7. It should bode well for us, but strange things can happen in game 7′s. We want/need to get a lead early and let the energy from the crowd help elevate the level of play. Don’t want to see this game close down the wire, but you know that’s what makes the drive for the Cup such a riveting experience. The lack of an extra day off should work to our advantage. Anyway, I am jacked to be at the UC tomorrow night. The joint should be rockin’ following a Stones gig there tonight! Just hope the ice isn’t bouncy for a game 7, but it probably will be. Let’s Go Hawks!!

  52. BigsmokeJ says:

    I for one have to eat some crow. After game 4 I didn’t think the hawks had what it took to get to a game 7. But they sure showed me. Not sure who or what was said to Shebs, but he has been a different player these last two games, as has Zues.
    Crow has played the same style all year. He lets in a goal we all shake our heads at and then stops chances only an elite goalie stops. Those chances the wings had after he let in the knuckler kept them in the game.
    The one area they must improve on is face offs, other then the Capt they are getting destroyed at the dot. If they can improve that they should give themselves a chance tomorrow.

  53. Tom Jaremka says:

    Hey boys, I guess “what goes around comes around”. The first couple of games it seemed that every bad penalty call or borderline call was made against the Hawks. Then, Fro gets a penalty shot on a play that should have only been a 2 minute minor penalty for slashing. The key part of the rule is that he wasn’t allowed to get a shot on goal, so he was awarded a shot.

    If this is “luck” than I will take all the luck we can get. But I think that this is the result of hard work, great team work, good coaching and a little good luck. I love when a 3rd or 4th line guy like Frolik makes a HUGE difference in a game with his hustle and his skill.

    Let’s hope that this run continues through tomorrow!!

  54. Brian B says:

    Just a couple of thoughts, I mean you guys really cover all the bases, as usual.

    Bick will likely see more ice time, not sure which line. And I hope we can hang on to him after this year. He’s gonna make some pretty good coin, but we definitely need his size.

    I thought Kane had a better game, a little more aggressive, need to see a little more.

    I’ll stand by what I said about Crawford. When you have a guy giving up 50 footers; when your goal routinely gives up one or two a night that he shouldn’t, it’s tough to win a series. When we were up 4-2, did anyone feel the wings were any more than 2 shots away from OT? We know we have to hit Howard with 2 or 3 in a row (usually) to get one past him. With Crawford any shot is a potential goal. That’s a problem. Anyone is allowed a bad game, and no one expects perfection. But when you’re a pro, you don’t routinely give up one or two that had no business showing up on the board.

    Thought Saad had as good a game as you can without scoring a point. Great forecheck and backchecking by him. I liked the energy of 20 and 65 together.

  55. Peter says:

    Brian. I agree Saad and Shaw really work together. Obviously Q knows this but Saad’s ability to play with Shaw is really the only way you could have broken up the 3rd line. Kudos to Bickell for dominating his opportunity with better lines.

  56. Tails says:

    @Al: I know I called out Brad and Wall the other day because of their attitudes (too pessimistic and Wall can be excitable), but they do know what they’re talking about. I often disagree with their opinions, but their comments are educational.

    @Brad and Wall: Sometimes your comments annoy me, but thanks for posting intelligent, well written comments.

    Some general thoughts:
    -Crawford has been by far the best player on the Blackhawks in the playoffs so far.
    -I 100% agree with Brad that Zeus, Seabrook, and Crawford are the keys to the Blackhawks success.
    -Bickell has been excellent in the playoffs. Before the playoffs started I thought the Hawks should resign Stalberg and let Bickell go, but now I would keep Bickell. I think he could be resigned for $2-3M, depending on how far in the playoffs the Blackhawks go.

  57. Sr. Brad says:

    Great comments Phil, Tom, Brian…don’t you see this series as the perfect prep for the Hawks going forward? We are going to have to be so mentally tough to win the next 2 series…

  58. Boogknight2002 says:

    Cut Corey Crawford? For who…who is out there right now that is better? You want to judge a goalie by his playoff numbers, then look at how CC has done:

    .935 save percentage, 1.78 GAA, with a shut out.

    Who is better right now in the playoffs? Quick and Vokoun have better Sv%, Quick is the only one better in terms of GAA (outside of Kevin Poulin who only did 2 games for the Isles). Even Niemi is lacking in both categories.

    So when you recommend that we cut CC, you have to answer the follow up question of “for whom”?

    While a team full of top 3 forwards is not ideal, a team of role players also usually comes up short (see Buffalo, 1998 I believe). But then again- we can argue that they were robbed.

  59. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Fact is Corey Crawford has been the most vital strength to the Hawks in both the Minnesota and Detroit series. He’s not remotely in the league of being an elite goalie like Rinne or Quick. But he has MORE than gotten the job done in these playoffs. He has answered the bell. So what that he gave up a soft goal last night. He’s largely been a pillar of strength in the postseason.

    If the Hawks lose to Detroit, then the post-mortem on this season will speak quite positively on Crawford in the playoffs. And quite negatively on how the “core” greatly disappointed.

    The pressure isn’t on Crawford on game 7. That’s a load of horseshit…the pressure needs to be squarely on Hossa, Kane, Sharp and Toews to stand up and deliver. Ditto Keith and Seabrook. 6 names…6 core players.

  60. ratboy36 says:

    Here we go with the hate,Brad Sr may write a lot and maybe opinionated but he atleast knows what he’s talking about.Obviously Tab and a couple of others also.So before you go pointing out what you dont like,ya might wanna learn about Hockey.These new fans I tell ya.They follow a team that wins a Cup,makes some noise by doing other great things.And now they all of the sudden they all about the game. I appreciate people who know Hockey and who don’t like this team or Sports for that matter just to feel better about themselves.You know who you are.I kinda miss the old days when these people were not around when we sucked.Wait no I don’t :) Anyway I rather play the Sharks,even with Stoll out the Kings are dangerous.Quick can get real hot,Doughty,Richards,Brown,Carter,Kopitar are top of the line.Our track record against the Sharks are pretty good and I don’t believe they have the depth LA does.And I rather play the Pens as crazy as it sounds.I pick Boston to win that in 6

  61. Phil says:

    If the Hawks can push through Detroit tomorrow it will be an important psychological boost for everyone in the Chicago dressing room moving into the next round. In that sense Detroit may have served a higher purpose for the Hawks than I had originally thought. Many of us here were pleased that we drew the Wings in round 2. It is a credit to Detroit they have done so well. I am not speaking of this in arrogant terms. The Wings have some playoff tested champs on the squad and Babcock gets every ounce out of his roster. They beat a pretty good Ducks team too. Over the course of a 7 game series dynamics change. Coming back to win 2 elimination games requires skill, character, and some luck. It also builds important confidence with the team goals exceeding individual honors. I also liked playing against the Wings because I felt they wouldn’t beat the hell out of our guys like some other teams in the conference would. Going into the semis requires a healthy squad. Let’s win and stay healthy tomorrow for the next step.

    We are almost half way up the mountain to get the Cup.

  62. JS says:

    Anyone else feeling sick in anticipation of tomorrow night? Ugh.

  63. ratboy36 says:

    Crawford maybe doesn’t have the history Rinne has,and ofcourse not the elite glove he has.But Crawford is making strides to join that group.

  64. Phil says:

    Come on JS, bucker up! This kind of excitement is all good. The games mean something. If we score 3-4 I think we win. I want that feeling we got last night when they popped in those 2 right at the start of the third! Let’s hope its in the first tomorrow.

    Let’s Go Hawks!!

  65. Negzz says:

    @JS: “Did Crawford sleep with your lady?”

    LOL! (Not that I know of..) So, I am obviously a little down on CC after last year’s playoffs.. WIN this year and I’ll get over it.

    As for your examples of other goalies giving up bad goals this playoff:
    * Quick: 2011-12 Stanley Cup Champion, starting goalie
    * Rask: 2010-11 Stanley Cup Champion (although Thomas did ALL the work during playoffs)
    Niemi: 2009-10 Stanley Cup Champion, starting goalie
    * Corey Crawford: SHOW ME (and I’ll be a believer)..

  66. RyanDale says:

    re: core Everyone wants to see goals and lots of them but in this era of playoff hockey it’s just not that easy game in, game out. Our guys have done a great job of keeping the wings stars neutralized. I dont have the series numbers to back me up but it seems our core is far out performing theirs in most areas. Do wish we could win a few more faceoffs though. Turns out a B.Smith is indeed making an impact in the series, just happens to be in the other teams jersey. He’s been stellar for us!! Would love to hear Mickey Redmonds excuses for why wings have been hosed in this series. ONE more game! FINISH

  67. RyanDale says:

    I have a hard time thinking Hoss tripped that dude on purpose. 81 is not 36. But that last 1:23 was an eternity with crazy penalties, the icing, 19s effort at dot…

  68. JS says:

    Strangely enough, first two years in the playoffs:
    J Quick: 4-8 .900 S% 3.42 GAA
    CC: 5-8 .912 S% 2.54 GAA

    Quick won the Cup on his third attempt while putting up ridiculous numbers. So far on CC’s third attempt he’s a win away from the WCF with some pretty ridiculous numbers. I know, numbers don’t count. CC’s numbers are inflated because he plays behind a great D. Quick was the only reason the Kings made the finals with such a weak D.

    What about CC in elimination games? 6-2.

    And Rask didn’t play in 2011! That doesn’t count! He gave up 4 goals in game 7 against the Leafs and had to be bailed out by the most amazing comeback in NHL Playoff history to make it out of the first round.

    But seriously, if the Hawks keep scoring more than 2 goals a game, I see great things in their future. CC might even get to skate around with the Cup over his head! (hopefully he doesn’t drop it)

    And I can’t help it Phil! I’m so nervous about the outcome it is silly.

  69. Tails says:

    JS I have to give you props for consistently having the best comments. I agree with basically everything you’ve said on this page.

  70. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Crawford has been a strength in these playoffs. He’s stepped up when frankly I didn’t think he had it in him. The success or failure of the Hawks will boil down to how the core performed . So far it has been a disappointing story in this regard.

  71. Sr. Brad says:

    Tails…I agree, I have been pimping Stahlberg and the need to sign him, but winning SCs is what it is all about…and Bickell is that guy…and really there isn’t any magic # to resign Bickell…give him a fair offer and he will return here. As for #25, speed doesn’t help a ton in the dog house. If #25 would like the priviledge of returning to play for the Hawks next season, then he needs to turn on the jets for the rest of the season and EARN a good offer from Bowman

    Phil, Ryan…great comments…

    JS…Crawford will be fine…Seabs will be fine…so really tomorrow, we just need Handzus to show up and play well…after his last 2 efforts I don’t doubt that he will. We’ll win tomorrow, and then come the tough challenges.

  72. Sr. Brad says:

    Ratboy, I don’t think it will matter who we play next…both are going to be tough…and another tough series for the captain.

  73. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Bickell coming back is a long shot unfortunately. Players like Bickell have a limited window to make their money. Combined with loss of salary during the lockout means Bickell will act like 99% of other players and take the money. I can hardly blame him. We learned this lesson the summer of 2010 folks.

    And the cap goes down $5 M and there are team out there that need to get up to the new salary floor.

  74. Brian B says:

    Sr. Brad, Agree both will be tough, and both will be going to school on what Det has been doing to Toews. He can expect more of that whomever we get.

    I heard someone say they expected Bickell’s cost to double next year.

  75. ratboy36 says:

    No question it will be tough.After tommorows win,its time to seperate the “Men from the boys”.I don’t wanna speculate just yet.Set to watch this Sharks/Kings game.Go Sharks(who I despise)unless Chicago plans on Golfing this weekend then Go Kings.I like Doughty and Kopitar.

  76. Dark Bird says:

    Obviously I’m a devout Blackhawk fan but before we start talking about who we’ll face next round, let’s actually finish off the round at hand.

    The Wings have exhibited incredible resolve in games 2, 3 & 4 with how they mentally, physically and emotionally outplayed us. We have a tremendous amount of momentum heading into game 7, but that can occasionally work against you if we let our emotion take over.

    Detroit runs a clinic on sound play at both ends and preys on mistakes. We’ll have to be certain to keep everything in check and just beat them at their own game, which coincidentally is a game we modelled after their lead.

    This game 7 will have to be our best yet, beating Detroit 3 times consecutively is a serious feat with the coaching and conditioning they have.

    GO HAWKS!

  77. wall says:

    @Tails- you agree with JS- “that Crawford has been sleeping with Negzz’s woman!”???

    I think Suzzanah Collins has been sleeping with JS’s Man (25)!!! Maybe that’s why she got fired… and Stalberg has been slow of late/in Q’s doghouse.

  78. Tails says:

    @wall: Hahaha I did say basically everything, emphasis on basically. Though it would explain Negzz’s feelings on the subject.

    @Brian: Bickell’s cost will for sure more than double. He’s getting paid hardly anything at all right now. His salary is only $541,667 per year, compared to the minimum of $525,000 per year. I’d expect it to be over $2M next year at least.

  79. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    and I thought the Sharks were gonna win,…. ;-(

  80. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    and I thought the Sharks were gonna win,…. ;-(

    LA only had 18 shots in their game, and Quick had some lucky saves! I am not saying Quick isnt a good goalie but that game could have easily gone to the Sharks. The Kings got up 2 and dropped 4 men back for nearly 40 mins. I’m amazed by this Kings team. Nothing about them excites me, I wasnt sold on them after they won the cup as an 8 seed and Im still not sold on them as a repeat guest in the WCF. I dunno whatelse to say about them other then Quick is good, Doughty is good, Brown and Kopy are very good.

    If the Hawks win the last 4 cup champs will be remaining, pretty cool when you think about it.

  81. RyanDale says:

    Detroit is definitely feeling a little beat up and tired. They also have a huge goal disparity in the 3rd period thru 13 games. We have to run them ragged and pound them best we can. This is no time to sit back and feel each other out much like the LA/SJ G7. We need to use our speed early and often. The wings will wilt the farther the game goes. The operative word for tonight should be PRESSURE. Pressure on the forecheck, pressure in the offensive zone with d-men joining in. Sustained pressure on the power plays. And pressuring the puck on penalty kills. Make them see and feel that at every turn there will be a red jersey or 2 or 3. Roll the lines and pairings in waves and make your own luck. It’s there for us to take, we have to grab it! Earn it!!

  82. IceHogst says:

    I gotta ask. RyanDale are you Keith Richards? And if you are, why are you messing up our ice?

  83. RyanDale says:

    hello mate It’s good to be here, … it’s good to be anywhere. and ice is best used for drinks

  84. Tim G says:

    Thats a good point SSHM… and even if you just take it as of right now… the 5 teams left are the last 5 champions… The cream will always rise to the top.

    I dont expect detroit to make many errors to night (like the Handzus goal, where smith left his guy)… so we will have to make our own chances… we can do it though…

    On a side note, why am I at work right now?… Im too excited about G7 to be productive at all… lol

  85. Phil says:

    Hey, RyanDale, you and the boys were very good last night. Keith is back on his game and so is Ronnie. Always liked the Keef photo by your name. Now lets Go Hawks!!!

  86. Great Blog! I’m from Stockholm Sweden. I love the NHL. I will be watching the game tonight with a lot of excitement. I do feel that the Hawks will be riding the momentum wave all the way to the finish line tonight.
    I support Bajen fans, a swedish hockey team, you guys should check it out.
    You think NHL has good and load fans, come to Sweden and hang out with me…BOOM!
    I do like Snus and a cold Falcon as well.
    Some people call me Super Ted, some people call me “pundare”

    Have a great night everyone!

    // TED JOHANSSON

  87. Tim G says:

    BTW… Schedule released. If we win tonight… GM1 Saturday, Gm2 Sunday due to the Stones concerts.

    Will be a very interesting start to the series.

    Not to get ahead ourselves, but if you’re Q, do you roll Crawford both games?

  88. RyanDale says:

    >Phil, good to know! I saw the setlist, little longer than the last UC shows in 06 ….good indication that the guys are feeling good. Lets get this thing done tonight!!

  89. JS says:

    Tim- My guess would be Crawford starts unless he gets absolutely shelled, or the game goes into a few overtimes (and knowing Crawford it won’t go past the first shot in overtime).

  90. Tab Bamford says:

    Other than injury, I see no reason for Emery to be on the ice again as a member of the Blackhawks. Coaches alternate during back-to-backs during the course of a regular season, but with a maximum of 7 games left on your schedule before mid-September, everyone in rink knows what’s expected.

  91. Tim G says:

    I love this game… Tied… 3rd period… game seven… This is Hockey!!!

    Now we just need to finish this off!

    GO HAWKS!

  92. RyanDale says:

    Me thinks we just got robbed

  93. Tim G says:

    Its ok RD… Justice was served! Bring on LA!

  94. RyanDale says:

    INDEED! enjoy TG

  95. Tails says:

    F@*# yeah! That game was so tense.

  96. Pete says:

    Can someone please explain to me what Saad did to get called for the ridiculous coincidental. I mean he gets thrown into the bench and down on the ice and this bozo ref waives off the goal and its 4 on 4. That guy shouldn’t be a ref in a pee wee game. They should fire him immediately.

  97. Tim G says:

    He grabbed at the back of Quinceys head. After the hit into the bench, you can see Saad reach up and try to pull Quincey to the ice with him… because of this, Quincey gave Saad an extra little shot… That has to be what it was. It was a horrible call either way. This series saw too many scrums to have that be a penalty, let alone cancel a scoring chance.

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