Corey Crawford, Blackhawks Eliminate Wild

Patrick Kane scored the dramatic game-winning goal in overtime, but Corey Crawford was the story as the Chicago Blackhawks escaped a tough series against a much-improved Minnesota Wild team.

The Wild once again were all over the Blackhawks, out-shooting Chicago 35-27 and carrying the action in the second and third periods. But Crawford was up to the task, allowing only one goal on the night and making a number of fantastic saves to keep his teammates in the game until Kane could come through in the clutch.

Peter Regin was in the lineup again and played a very strong game. He was battling in front of the net when Kris Versteeg banked a puck past Ilya Bryzgalov only 1:58 into the first period, and drove Ryan Suter past the bouncing puck to give Kane an open look at the net on the game-winner. Regin also deflected a puck out of traffic in front of an open net late in the game to keep the score tied. Regin skated only 12:24 and won only four of 13 faceoffs, but he was strong all over the ice in the victory.

Brent Seabrook led the team with five blocked shots, and he and partner Duncan Keith were both over 29 minutes int he game. Seabrook also led the team with three hits and was credited with an assist on the game-winner; he now has 11 points in 9 playoff games.

Jonathan Toews led Chicago forwards with 24:05 in the game, and was credited with one blocked shot while winning 14 of 31 faceoffs.

Once again, the Blackhawks penalty kill was stellar. They killed all three of Minnesota’s power plays, and were once again led by Marcus Kruger (3:40 short-handed) and Michal Handzus (3:39).

The low ice time man on Tuesday night was Joakim Nordstrom, who skated only 6:57 and 12 shifts.

While a number of players had nice – not great – box scores, the man of the hour was Crawford. Minnesota out-shot the Hawks 14-8 in a strong second period, but Crawford allowed only the one goal to Erik Haula.

For Minnesota, Justin Fontaine led the way with six shots on net. Ryan Suter played over 32 minutes in the loss. Zach Parise (one goal, three assists, minus-three) and Suter (zero goals, three assists, minus-four) weren’t able to carry the load in the series, but the improved depth for the Wild made this series a significantly tougher test than the first round battle between these two teams a year ago.

The Hawks will now wait for the winner of the Kings and Ducks in the conference final. Anaheim will take a 3-2 series lead into Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

In the Eastern Conference, the champion will be an Original Six franchise. The New York Rangers knocked off the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, and will face the winner of Montreal and Boston for a chance to play for the Stanley Cup.

Crawford MIN

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87 Responses to Corey Crawford, Blackhawks Eliminate Wild

  1. Mining Man says:

    Incredible. Crawford is a superb goalie, not just great, but superb and he always has come through in the big games with incredible performance. It looked like Minnesota had ten guys on the ice all the time and we weren’t going anywhere but the big difference was Crawford. We were badly outplayed but yet again found a way to win. Was especially delightful to see it was Cooke who was chasing Kane and behind his play on that roof daddy winning goal. If it was not for Cory Crawford we would not have won that game. Shout outs to Regin and Versteeg. Q very excited, acting like schoolboy on victory..he deserves it.

  2. RyanDale says:

    thanks Tab, CC was indeed the main man again while getting little goal support.

    Who was that persuing 88 to the GWG trying in vain to disrupt Kaner? Cooke u say?, nice!

    JR knows, in OT u go 88.

  3. Sr. Brad says:

    I think JS is right about Crawford, he is going to give up some soft goals, but overall, he battles back and gets the job done…even in the regular season, he started slow, but everything balanced itself out…and the same way in these playoff series, he’s had some low moments, but over the whole series, he gets the job done. OK, goaltending is solved, next…

  4. terrible says:

    CRAWWWFORD. Those goofs in MN can feel free to keep chanting his name throughout the off-season.

    How about Cooke’s cleaned up play? Let’s keep talking about how clean he’s become.

    Hawks played an absolute shit game. Gonna have to figure this out eventually. I think Regin and Steeger are going to have to be a part of the lineup going forward. Morin > Nordstrum without question. Zeus on PK earns his roster spot as 12th forward.

    Seabs got burned a coupla times by Niederreiter and Brookbank played a pretty bad game. Overall though, I thought the D mostly ran into trouble because of speedy aggressive MN forecheck and the Hawks not having a great breakout strategy or forward passing options to counter it. Babcock actually used a pressure-point type attack as well in the Hawks-RedWings series and it gave the Hawks fits. Yeo probably studied this, since Red Wings got closest to beating us in the playoffs last year… Q needs to study this and have an adjustment. Hawks breakouts were lousy throughout the series and MN active sticks, gap coverage and backcheck severely impaired a major Hawks signature: transition game. Use this time off to practice zone exits with D under pressure, neutral zone play and how to properly execute a dump/chase or chip/chase. The goal in OT is proof positive that we need to be using dump/chase as a way to mix up the attack.

  5. Sr. Brad says:

    Defence…prior to the series a number of us were suggesting that Q might want to give BB a look and keep him “in the game”, also Rozy didn’t have a great season and hasn’t been good in the playoffs…the last 2 games BB, and 2 wins…Hammer another huge effort…Seabrook was good, not great, and Keith is struggling a little bit right now, but he will turn that around. Defence with BB and Leddy, problems solved, next…

  6. Tab Bamford says:

    Crawford thru 2 round: .931 save pct & a 1.97 goals against average. Thank God for game managers…

  7. Tab Bamford says:

    Corey Crawford:
    Round One – Series Tied 2-2
    Games 5 & 6: 3 goals against vs 65 shots

    Round Two – Series Tied 2-2
    Games 5 & 6: 2 goals against vs 63 shots

    Thank God for game managers…

  8. JP says:

    Exciting and nerve racking to see the Hawks win and move on.

    They have a lot of work to do to improve for the next round. They let the Wild enter their defensive zone too easily. They weren’t standing up at the blue line like the Wild were. It seemed constantly when the Hawks tried to enter the offensive zone , a Wild defender would be there to turn them back or take away the puck for transition. This is something we struggled with in this series. Also when we line up forwards between the blue lines in a defensive posture, it has been too easy for the Blues and Wild to pass the puck around our defenders and enter our zone. Forechecking was another problem against the Wild. Most of the times when we did try to dump the puck in, we couldn’t retrieve it, and the Wild defensemen faced little pressure moving the puck up to the forwards and out of their zone. This is one reason we were under so much pressure.

    I think we need to take Nordstrom out of the lineup and insert Morin. He will bring some grit and won’t be as easy to knock off the puck. We also need a lot more from Saad and Sharp. Both have struggled during the first two rounds. Saad looks slow out there to me and seems to constantly have trouble receiving passes cleanly and handling the puck when it is on his stick.

    Hopefully with a few days off, the boys can recharge and get ready for the next round.
    It’s going to be another tough series.

  9. Sr. Brad says:

    Forwards, Toews/Hossa monsters…Smith/Kruger monsters…Regin/Bickell/Versteeg looked good, as did Kruger/Smith/Versteeg…didn’t someone here pontificate that Steeger was useless and should sit??? I can’t believe Q ever had this guy out of the lineup. SC ring, lots of talent, lots of heart, 2 way player, can play on every line. Regin, 2 games played 2 Hawk wins, what a surprise! Incredible that Q hasn’t dressed him until the last 2 games. Handzus centring Kane/Saad had the WORST Corsi #s through 2 periods and only had 2 shots on goal, both by Kane. Q FINALLY dumped Zus and gave Kane different centres, including Regin…guess what? Kane comes alive and scores the game winner, gee, what a surprise! Nordstrom has been eaten alive the last 2 games in particular and should have sat…he didn’t and skated only 12 shifts, once again limiting the valuable minutes that Kruger/Smith could have played. But, if Shaw comes back for the next round, Regin HAS to stay in the lineup, so out goes Nordstrom & problem solved! Next…

  10. Sr. Brad says:

    Summation…getting an LA win tomorrow is key…The Hawks need Andrew Shaw moving forward. We simply can’t skate Zus as anything but a PKiller and 4th line role player. If we get 5 days before the WC Finals, Shaw could be ready for game one. Get rid of Nordstrom, keep sitting Bollig and let Regin/Brookbank keep playing and making this team better. The Andrew Shaw led 3rd line, will be tough for any team to handle, and if Ben Smith goes back to 2nd line Centre, thats 3 dominating lines. But, remember, the keys to these last 2 Hawk wins, were Crawford and rolling 4 lines. When Q does this and trusts his depth, we are just very tough to beat!

  11. ebonyraptor says:

    Yeah … I called it – Hawks in 6. A walk in the park for the champs. Never in doubt.

    Yeah right …

    I called Hawks in 6 because I knew the Wild were a better team than last season and would be a tougher challenge for the Hawks than a lot of people thought. But I didn’t think the Wild would be as good as they were. They are as sound on team defense as any team in the league and they play a lot faster than I thought they would.

    It seems that every team that goes on to win the Cup has a tough series along the way. The Hawks faced an incredibly tough test last season when they faced 3 elimination games against the Wings. The series against the Wild may very well turn out to be this years crucible. What a series!

  12. Jax says:

    In Crawford we trust.

  13. Scottie P says:

    Definitely didn’t think the hawks would be in the WCF. Bottom lines still struggling greatly but it seems Kane Toews and Craw are just willing them to wins. Glad I am an idiot and wrong all the time. Blueliners gotta clean it up, hopefully some time off will do Dunc and them well and get Shaw healthy. I am incredibly impressed with a 4th trip to the WCF in 6 years. I will forever eat my words on this playoff run.

  14. Travis says:

    First off, CRAAAAAAWFOOOOOOOORD!

    You know the cliches… winners find ways to win even when they don’t bring their A-game. Winners can beat you in several ways. I believe in those cliches to an extent, but Jesus, we need to improve to repeat.

    Not taking anything away from the Wild. They’re much better, much more aggressive, and gave the Hawks everything they could handle. Very impressive, especially with their 4th string goalie. Unheard of. No doubt this series should have gone 7. I don’t need to look at Fenwick to know that it’s uglier than the last girl in the club.

    Our passing is a major concern. Passes in the skates, passes well behind the receiver, pucks bobbling… resulting in neutral zone turnovers, dump-ins when a clean entry was possible, and unnecessary board battles. It’s really hard to win, particularly as a transition/possession team, when your passes aren’t crisp. Some of that is due to Wild pressure. But a lot of it is just unforced errors.

    Really liked the Bickell-Regin-Versteeg line. Regin has to stick. But I kinda hope Bollig returns to the lineup, because this board’s reaction will be hilarious.

    Where does Shaw slot in?

    GO HAWKS!!!

  15. Sr. Brad says:

    ER, this series might have been different if the Wild weren’t playing their 4th string goalie. CC was great and Bryz was okay. The Wild played well, but I think it comes down to KNOWING how to win. They are a deep, fast, tenacious team, but clearly they don’t fully believe in themselves yet. While the Hawks, warts and all in their game, EXPECT to win. In OT, I was just waiting, literally, for Kane to pop the winner, when he did, I wasn’t surprised at all.

  16. Sr. Brad says:

    Travis…

    Bickell/Versteeg-Toews-Hossa
    Sharp-Smith/Regin-Kane
    Saad-Shaw-Versteeg/Bickell
    Zus-Kruger-Regin/Smith

    Seabrook-Keith
    Hammer-Oduya
    Leddy-Brookbank

    As I have said for a while now, that’s a lineup we can win another Cup with.

  17. RyanDale says:

    88 is just money and we are getting too casual toward greatness watching him and 19

    I kept looking for the Cup after another closeout on road in G6

    Next years Central? yikes, Scary thought.

    Crawford will probably be viewed as the lesser goalie from here on, no matter who we get …. Hank, C Price, Quick, boy wonder. ~~ smh

  18. morrison says:

    Yippee kai yay.

    …waha ahhh.

    Holly there’s your landing light.

  19. morrison says:

    Cheers Tab, brother.

  20. Fun game and series. To quote myself from a couple nights ago, “let’s get some flukey goals and finish up in 6.” I’ll take it. The Wild were faster and hungrier, but the Hawks know how to poke a puck away, block a shot, and make the most out of opportunities. Skill and efficiency won this series. Haula was frightening; second, make that third best player of the series behind Toews and Crawford, and Suter is Suter. Bryzgalov seemed a lot better than just good to me, when was the last soft goal he gave up?

    I guess the numbers bear out that the Wild carried the play in the second and third as Tab reported and most commenters feel, but from my seat I was watching one team playing a little too fast for their own good out there… The wild were possessing the puck more, but weren’t slogging the game down like they did in their big wins.

    I’ll give the Wild credit, even though Parise and Yeo don’t seem to want to give the Hawks much. “We had our opportunities, it just didn’t go our way… You hate to lose like that…” Yeah, yeah, it’s hockey, every team gets opportunities. How about not losing the other 3 games? The Wild got every bounce til the last play of the series, every call and no call this game and most others, yeah you had your opportunities. Put them in the net next time and until you can do that show some class and give more credit to the team that knows how to WIN.

    Room for improvement? Big time. But the Hawks got it done.

    Crow!

  21. Travis says:

    Sr. Brad – Good looking lineups. Bickell on the top line, Versteeg on the 3rd.

    Final note – Our secondary forwards need to produce. That CNBC graphic said it all… our secondary forwards were outproduced by the Wild secondaries, and by a wide margin. Our stars got us through, as they should do once in awhile, but we’ll need production from all 4 lines moving forward. Depth wins cups, but only when they’re used (Q) and make their chances count.

    GO HAWKS!

  22. noonan96 says:

    They beat a talented, hard working team-they were a little lucky but as they say, “you have to be good to be lucky”.
    Crawford is establishing himself as a ‘big time’ goalie who looks like he thrives on pressure. They would benefit from Shaw to stabilize lines and after seeing this much of Regin he needs to stay in the line-up. Although I really like Morin I don’t see it happening short of a injury.
    I would prefer it go seven and see the Ducks win in triple overtime. I think the Hawks match up slightly better against the Ducks-although if I remember the Hawks did well against the Kings this regular season.

  23. BarryB says:

    Cory! Cory! That is the chant we need to hear at the next UC tilt. Wow it wasn’t pretty but as many have said on this board, the Hawks just know how to win. Toews, Kane and Hossa, your superstars will always put you over the edge – unless of course your numbers are 87 and 71 and you play in Pittsburg. Minny was a very scary team at times but the Hawks just have more experience and the superstar difference makers.

    And talk about depth – no Andrew Shaw, and a lacklustre effort from the D-Corps, yet the Hawks get it done. This team can win in many different ways and that is certainly a sure sign of team depth, we may not have had a plethora of players standing out, it was mainly the usual suspects, but man the team just ‘Believed’ and it was just enough to get the job done. The Hawks remind me of the Habs of the 70’s, a very resilient and dangerous team that can win because they believe that they can turn the game around at any time. They may take a beating but they are a savvy, veteran group that does not panic or get too excited, the calm and composure of players like Toews and Hossa are infectious for the team.

  24. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Wow! To get outplayed like that for long stretches was shocking. I can’t recall a series that looked like that one in the Kane/Toews era. Matt Cook should be suspended to start next season for the boarding call. He and Torres should be out of the game for good.

    It’s safe to say Reign earned another start in the lineup. Did anyone miss Bollig? I thought Steeger had a good night too. I was m-fing sharp all night. He has had a lousy playoffs.

    Kane, just wow! I told the wife before the game its Kane turn to be great. Kane wasn’t great but he had a great shot and a excellent 3rd period. The sample size is growing on Crow. This guy has been able to up his compete level in playoffs and big games. Good for him the fact he still has naysayers is stupid. And I wanted this matchup over the Avs lol

  25. wall says:

    Nick and RD- yes- Wild will have tons of Cap room (Heatley’s Fat stacks will be gone) next season- and will be even better (assuming they spend the money)..

    Wild front office- has done a great job collecting some non-N. American born talent…
    Haula-Haula!!!

    Q- Really- how does Regin NOT play more and sooner???
    Regin w/ 29/88 in OT looked Damn good!!!

    Crow’s best game of the year???

    Also- agree w/ Hawks IQ and “true finishers” -have really been the difference this PS

    I would prefer to see the Kings over Ducks… imo- Ducks are faster than Kings 1-12
    AND that GIBSON kid is playing like the 2nd coming right now!!!

    Haven’t looked into all the Corsi stuff– but my EYES tell me the Hawks were outplayed/Corsied- and still won!!!

  26. BarryB says:

    This was a good series for the boys, and it showed that they can handle any style of hockey you throw at them, great adjustments by Q and staff. It may not look like Q knows what he is doing but there are subtleties that we just don’t see from our vantage point that make a difference and though Q has his detractors, including me, I have to believe he is in control and knows which buttons to push.

    Having said that,going forward, I believe that Q has to keep Regin in the lineup, he has been impressive and is impacting games and I agree Morin should get another look over Nordstrom. Hopefully Shaw comes back to center the third line and get us back to our best lineup. It depend on who we play, but the lineup I would like to see is:

    10-19-81
    88-28-23
    20-65-29
    11-16-12

    7-2
    4-27
    17-8

    The speed and tenacity of that fourth line will give any opponenet fits. If Morin doesn’t get it done, which if he is given a chance shouldn’t happen, then insert Nordstrom. I like his speed and energy over Bollig’s pilon impersonation and dumb penalties. Roll these four lines and play a tighter defensive style and we can punch a ticket back to the holy land.

  27. Mike says:

    Great Championship type win from the Hawks and my hat’s off to Crawford. Talk about stealing a game!!!

    Wild east west game gave the Hawks fits all series. I am sure our next opponent sees this and will take whatever they can from that. Our guys were chasing most of the series. The Hawks north south game was severely hampered by the Wild trapping defence. Wild looked like the superior puck possession team. Outshot us badly. Q will make the proper adjustments

    I read Q’s comments about his trust of Handzus……but come on. The first two periods were spent in the Hawks zone for most of the 2cd line shifts. Zues has a role, but please put him on the fourth line.

    I am with this blog on seeing NO WAY to sit Regin or Versteeg. With Shaw expected to return at some point and Q’s hardon for Bollig, who knows? However, I think we have seen the last of Nordstrom and Morin until next year regardless of whether Shaw is back or not.

    My fear is a 4th line of 52 / 16 / 26. Too slow for either WCF opponent, particularly on the road.

    I am hoping for an LA win tonight, then not sure I really care who the opponent is.

    Go Hawks

  28. auggie1955 says:

    I am hoping the Hawks get the Kings. They did better against them during the season and would home ice advantage vs the Kings.

    I don’t remember the former player and hockey analyst’s name, but he was on WGN radio and he referred to Crawford as the “Rodney Dangerfield of goalies” because he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He made that statement after game 5.

  29. Pete says:

    Great game by Crawford. Unbelievable goal by Kane off the roof of the net. What a play. Regin had a great game as well and he has to play. Handzus proved to me that he has a role on the team. Yes he is slow and hurts the team at times, but he also eats up space, made some passes and he hit some people. He works for me as the 12th forward. Ben Smith played well and I like him on the second line with Kane. The key going forward for me is that Bollig has to stay out of the lineup. I am very nervous that Q puts him back in and that changes the whole dynamic of the team because you can’t play him that much and then it magnifies the negatives on Handzus and stresses the rest of the lineup. No Bollig please. He is fine for the regular season in and out of the lineup, but not in the playoffs when the Hawks are trying to repeat and make history. I also like Nordstrom despite some issues. He is fast and he has weaknesses, but he will get better. When Shaw comes back put him in for Nordstrom, if Shaw remains out rotate Morin with Nordstrom. I also haven’t given up on Rozy. I think he should be rotated with Brookbank, matchups etc. Enjoyed the game and I too am hoping its LA.

  30. michael petan says:

    Crawford played well, I believe he will get even better over time. Still out of position at times and exposed and does not have control and speed going post to post. He is very good and can get better. Hockey is such a lucky, chaotic and unpredictable game, you can get out played and lose! Regin played very well, Hawks finished some checks tonight, not hard or brutal a la Boston but effective. Still no excuse for poor puck control in our end! Unforced errors and blind passes to crowded areas of the ice will kill us. Stop with the long game, the bomb to Willie Gault syndrome, use our skill two passes out of the zone skate it in and get pucks to the net. Hawks like to dump it in at times and we don’t have the size or weight to play that game, nor skill. We do have the skill of a Leddy, O-Do-Ya, Kieth on defense. Wild exposed one weakness of the Hawks, that is the “Hammer” he is a great pure defensemen but is a little weak on his back hand out let and can get moved off the puck too same for O-do-ya Wild knows like Bruins did who to attack, When pressured those two will turn it over, Even my hero Keith looked almost average and turned it over like the plague. Hawk fans lose memory when once a week a long “bomb”pass gets us a break away but dont see the turnovers. Horrible, Hawks to skilled to rely on that type of play. If Crawford had a stand up defense that did not turn it over so much and actually cleared the crease like MEN Crawford just might be as good as this board thinks! Go hawks!

  31. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Make no mistake. Corey Crawford WON the Minnesota series. The Hawks were severely outplayed for much of these 6 games and was reduced to Minnesota dictating the style of play in all 6 games. Very odd, very strange, very troubling, ultimately oddly successful and gratifying series.

    Hawks, oddly enough, struggle against teams with great speed. Minnesota has wicked good speed and athleticism in the making. They add a defensive piece and they will be a contender of substance.

    Suter is flat out a superstar. Unbelievable in that series. He was vastly superior to Keith thorughout the series, and I have to tip my cap to the man. Great, great player and warrior.

    The resident idiot / parrot talks out of his asshole again. All Michael Handzus does is contribute to a winning strategy. And all Joakim Nordstrom did was provide speed and aggressive two-way play that was vital in this series…of COURSE he is a work in progress and prone to have liability moments on the ice, but he’s ridiculously better than Jeremy Morin.

    Kris Versteeg stepped up. But he also had 3 specific instances where his puck movement on the wing was inexcusable and led to to clusterfuck of a moment Wild breakaways. SOrry, I’m just not a fan.

  32. wall says:

    Yes- I will take 42/11 over 52… 42 brings a decent forecheck at least… still prefer 11 for scoring/shot… but 11 still gets a little emotional sometimes and makes bad decisions when he does… 42 got the short leash cuz of TO- that led to Haula goal… BUT part of that goal should be on Keith for flipping the puck softly into 42 from about 10 feet away!!! Perhaps Q thinks 42 should have batted that puck the other way- or perhaps 42 was in the wrong place- but didn’t seem to play much after that.

    52 will play because of “size” vs. some big guys from both Cal. teams…

  33. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    The overwhelming preference for me is to play Anaheim. The Kings and Quick always make me nervous. Anaheim on the other hand has one monstrous superstar line and nothing much else that worries me. Hawks can lay the wood the the Ducks. Getzlaff and Perry can score all the fuck they want and it won’t matter in the end.

  34. hawkfacts says:

    Rufus, can we get off the Suter superstar angle. The number of his turnovers in the last 2 games alone were amazing. Big time negative fancy stats too. Watch that final goal. He lazily lets Regin get inside him, tries for the facewash instead of having his stick on the ice. Boom! goal. Also, he totally brings their powerplay to a standstill. Sometimes reputation far exceeds performance.

  35. Tab Bamford says:

    Lots of ways to spin either potential opponent for the Hawks in the Conf Final that look favorable… but many had the Hawks in 5 over the Wild. Have to play the games.

    to Rufus’ overwhelming preference of Anaheim – Gibson in net for the Ducks is a game-changer. He’s special – a future superstar.

  36. Joey Zamboni says:

    I have a different take on this “Hawks got outplayed” idea.

    Remember how we were complaining about how the Hawks out-shot & out-played teams and still lost…….??

    I believe they have learned a lesson.

    The old story goes – a young bull & an older bull see a herd of cows in a valley, the young bull says “lets run down & get us a cow!” The older bull replies “why run down & get 1 when we can walk down & get them all”

    I think the Hawks are older & wiser & choose to conserve their energy for when it counts.

    Yes the Wild were all over the Hawks and at times it worked, but over a 7 game series you need to run a marathon not a sprint. You also need a stud goalie like Crow!

    The Wild didn’t really have as many quality scoring chances as it appeared.

    The Hawks did the classic lull the Wild asleep & then “BANG” pucks in the net, game’s over series over…….

    It’s funny to be saying this but 19 & 88 are not “kids” anymore & are learning from 81 to pace themselves.

    Tab -That Crosby pic is hilarious!!!!

  37. RyanDale says:

    To the many folks outside this blog, or maybe in , who want to make it sound as if the Blackhawks should apologize for winning the series IN SIX and on the ROAD because the Wild were better. Kiss Cooke’s Ass if it will make you feel better. We WON it.

    NEXT!

  38. Buck Turgidson says:

    Tab – there was an error in your Crosby post. Why would he need 2 tickets – that assumes he has a friend.

  39. Mike says:

    Rufus, you not being a fan of Versteeg, I get it. But because Brad and others not being huge fans of Handzus, they (we) are idiots??? I doubt the winning strategy last night was to be outplayed 75% of the time, have CC stand on his head to keep us in the game and have a second line that was mostly invisible the first 40 minutes. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Last night we got lucky.

    JZ, I gotta disagree. I think CC stopped several Grade A chances by the Wild. Also it is hard to pace ones self when chasing rather than controlling the puck. I agree with the concept but pacing is executed by having a 4th line capable of playing 10 solid minutes a game.

    I don’t care who the opponent is, just want LA to force a 7th game.

  40. Mike says:

    RD….agreed…..winning is all that matters…….F$#% the Wild

  41. Dickie Dunn says:

    Sr.Brad…”can’t believe Q ever had this guy out of the lineup. SC ring, lots of talent, lots of heart, 2 way player, can play on every line” – the other side of that is, “It’s about time!”. Until the last two games, Versteeg really had not done too much – barely even a glimpse of talent/heart/can play. And, he wasn’t alone – for much of the last four games Minnesota made most of the Hawks look severely limited.

    I agree about needing Shaw back, Ben Smith centering the second line, and keeping Regin and Brookbank playing – it seems like icing the lineup that gives the Hawks the best chance to win(?), but as someone said, “Q will be Q”.

  42. Al L says:

    I am so tired of hearing certain people (roll 4 lines…squawk, squawk) on the blog question Q’s process. It is very apparent that this guy knows how to read his team. When someone like Babcock or Hitchcock change up their lines, they are looked as genius and when Q does it, he is screwing with chemistry. He has also taken heat for not having patience with the younger kids. It is apparent that he has patience with the kids that want to play a 200′ game and buy into the Hawks system (i.e.. Saad, Kruger, Shaw, and now Smith).A few days ago, someone even mentioned that he was being outcoached by Yeo. REALLY. This guy has put us in the WCF 4 of 6 years and 2 cups and is the 3rd winningest coach in NHL history. If they don’t win it this year…so what. The cup is the hardest trophy in the world to win. We have become so spoiled that we expect perfection every night. I am so proud to be a season ticket holder and fan. The highest level I got to play was Junior B in London, Ont. and would kill to be in the position that these guys are in. We need to embrace the success we have and know that just being in the position to win the Cup is the most important thing. If we win it…that’s gravy. Its been about 14 years since a team won back to back cups so it ain’t easy. So, go ahead and bash if it makes you feel better, for me, I will just enjoy what we have.

  43. Dickie Dunn says:

    RTF…”Suter is flat out a superstar. Unbelievable in that series. He was vastly superior to Keith thorughout the series, and I have to tip my cap to the man. Great, great player and warrior.” – can’t really dispute any of that, but it would be interesting to see how effective he’d have been if he took the hits/physical play Keith faced throughout the series.

  44. Boy Named Sioux says:

    Ryan Dale – “Central Division next year comment”: I totally second that one. Five teams from Central Division in playoffs this year. #5 team should have extended Anaheim to 7th game. #4 team demonstrated their improvement over last year in the Division finals. Three teams with at least 107 points during regular season. And the defending Stanley Cup champs lost more games vs. Central Division (13) than the rest of the league (8)! Somewhere Barry Trotz must be smiling.

    Lastly, a big shout out to #4 for shadowing MN Wild #11 for six games. Hell of an effort!

  45. Montana Blackhawk says:

    If Lundquist is “the King” then Crow is “The Supreme Emperor”…All Hail CC!

  46. Montana Blackhawk says:

    Dickie, very likely it will surface that Suter was pretty banged up.

  47. JS says:

    For people that are incapable of throwing a bad word at Q, why did it take a Bollig suspension for Regin to get in the lineup? And why did he come in the lineup and IMMEDIATELY CONTRIBUTE? Right… I’m sure it was just a timing thing. It’s because Q is so smart he knew he should save Regin until Bollig boarded someone. He didn’t to show his hand too early… right?

    Get over it. The guy doesn’t always make the best lineup decisions and it’s pretty well known all around the league.

    The Hawks don’t win that series with Bryzgalov in net. So how about we all continue bitching about how overpaid Crawford is. Funny story, check career numbers between Quick and Crow.

    I’m really pulling for LA, just because I want the Hawks to have home ice.

  48. Sr. Brad says:

    Al, Baa…Baa…Q is great…one goal is never wrong…Baa…Baa…

    You should NEVER be satisfied to just “be there”…the Hawks have fortunately found themselves in the WC Final for the 4th time in 6 years. We need to take advantage of these opportunities or you just become the Minnesota Vikings…Q has been flat out WRONG on several of his decisions, and we still have won. Why? Because not only do we possess top world class talent (Toews, Kane, Hossa), we have players and coaches who EXPECT to win. And as a coach, this is the hardest thing to teach to the kids. You can tell them it again and again, but until they actually BELIEVE it, it doesn’t actually help.

    Outplayed or not, the Hawks expected to win last night. So to suggest that Crawford was the only reason we won that series, is ridiculous. CC was great, and a huge part of it, but when his game went south in games 3/4, the Hawk nucleus only got better and stronger to overcome. Its like when CC was injured for almost 2 months and we had to count on the rookie Raanta, we had our best stretch of the entire season because we rolled 4 lines and the nucleus stepped up and “protected” Raanta, and they can do that because the KNOW they can.

    The Hawks are VERY close to figuring things out this postseason. There are just a couple more key changes/adjustments to make and we will have our 3rd Cup in 5 years. Believe me when I tell you this, and not the naysayers on this site…the Hawks Championship mindset combined with their style of play and world class talent, make them so good, that only they can beat themselves. Which is what we have witnessed these playoffs. Nordstrom isn’t ready, Bollig isn’t positively contributing, Zus is a 4th line role player, Rozy had a rough season at the end of his career. Accept these realities, make the necessary changes, and I personally guarantee another Cup regardless of who we play.

  49. Boy Named Sioux says:

    Ryan Dale – “Central Division next year comment”: I totally second that one. Five teams from Central Division in playoffs this year. #5 team should have extended Anaheim to 7th game. #4 team demonstrated their improvement over last year in the Division finals. Three teams with at least 107 points during regular season. And the defending Stanley Cup champs lost more games vs. Central Division (13) than the rest of the league (8)! Somewhere Barry Trotz must be smiling.

    Lastly, a big shout out to #4 for shadowing MN Wild #11 for six games. Hell of an effort!

  50. Sr. Brad says:

    JS, not only home ice, but the huge “mental” advantage over the Kings…

    Also JS, I would argue that we would still be playing the Wild if Regin and BB had not been inserted into the lineup in game 5.

    Suter is NOT the best DMan in the league or a superstar. He’s a very good DMan in excellent condition, that can skate a lot of minutes…that doesn’t make him the best. Suter wasn’t even nominated for the Norris this season while Keith was…Weber is the superstar and best DMan in the league, Keith is not far off, neither is Hammer really. And I would take Hammer over Suter ANY day of the week, not even close in my mind.

    As for Morin versus Nordstrom…I like them both, however they are very different players. Nordstrom is a taller, faster Kruger…Morin has a real chance at becoming a smaller, faster, more productive Bickell. I want to have them both moving forward. And to the 1 or 2 Morin detractors, if Q gave the chances/love to Morin the same way he has to Nordstrom, Morin would likely be one of our top playoff scorers thus far. Coaches have favourites…and Q is very old school.

    BTW, good thing we got rid of Pirri right? His performance was so good in FLA to finish the season, the Panthers are talking about building a line around him…not bad for what was he called??? Oh yeah, a nobody nothing…a Rockford shuttle. BTW, seems like Hayes and Olsen both had good years in FLA too. And weren’t Smith, Morin and Regin our best players after Toews and Kane were out of the lineup??? Hmm…

  51. Sr. Brad says:

    “It will surface that Suter is banged up?” And every member of the Hawks aren’t? Keith hasn’t played this poorly in a couple of years, you think his health is 100%? How about Toews playing with one shoulder and still being the best forward in the playoffs? That’s what truly great players do, they find a way to dominate even when they are not 100%.

  52. JS says:

    Brad- Florida has tried to build around a lot of players that didn’t work out. You know I believe the kid is going to make it in the NHL and I would have liked to see him stay a Hawk, but I often question WTF Florida is doing.

    And if you think the Hawks WANT to be outpossessed, I don’t think you know anything about Quennville. Look at his SF% over the course of his coaching career. The guy always wants the puck and is infuriated with his team when they don’t have it. The Hawks were outplayed and they won the series because of spectacular goaltending and timely scoring. I’d rather they never play like that again.

  53. Al L says:

    When did anyone call Pirri a Rockford shuttle or a nothing? He was a GREAT offensive player with limited defensive skill. I also think its great that the worst team in Hockey wants to build a line around him. Good for Olsen and Hayes also. Maybe some year that team will finish 20th in the league…

  54. JS says:

    Pirri was not bad at defense. Can we pleeeeeease stop saying that? The Hawks simply said they want him to improve his two way play because they didn’t want to say things like, “We don’t think he’s a good enough skater for our organization.”

  55. Espositive says:

    While I try to stay a reader rather than poster, I’d like to say thanks to all the contributors to this blog who make this site a rallying point and sounding board for Blackhawk faithful. Everyone here shares a common desire for the team’s success, although our love for the team certainly doesn’t translate to sharing the same opinions. We all have strong viewpoints about certain players/strategies, but as Blackhawk fans first and foremost, let’s respect one another and politely agree to disagree!

    Thank goodness the Wild are gone, as their team game proved a formidable opponent. I cannot recall a Blackhawks game in the last 4 years where we had less puck possession than we did in game 6 last evening. The second and third periods were literally painful for me to watch as we continually turned possession over to the Wild with constant dumping in all zones. We dumped it out of our end; we dumped it into their end. It seemed to me there was little effort on our part to actually carry the puck or make passes to gain the offensive zone, which is what we’ve come to expect from Blackhawks hockey. The Wild counterattacks were sustained, often dangerous, and unrelenting. They proved a handful, but as someone else wrote, nothing really matters but the Win. Onwards and upwards!

    As diehards it’s natural that we feel extremely passionate about who should play and who shouldn’t, but sometimes some of the expressed opinions make me wonder if we’re all watching the same games! Despite my feelings to the contrary on a few players, I must say that Q and Stan have obtained the desired outcome so far, so I guess they really do know more than I do! Since part of the fun of this board is considering the viewpoint of others, I cannot end this post without saying that Marian Hossa’s performance in this year’s playoffs is far and away his best Blackhawks postseason (and we’re only halfway through it!). His strength on puck control is amazing. We’re also blessed to have the defensive depth we do, absolutely the best in the league, and Sheldon Brookbank’s play has been unbelievably reliable—consistent, with a knack for making the smart simple play (despite partnering with the own-zone-challenged Leddy). Kudos to one guy for whom we have big expectations, and one guy for whom we don’t!

    Eight to go!

  56. Negzz says:

    The series story? Good Corey. Bad Corey. GREAT Corey. Hawks win!

    To win a series like this (where your team is clearly outplayed), shows the importance of championship winning experience, the Hawks simply believe they are going to win somehow- and they seem to pull it off. Amazing the dif’t ways they have won PO games the past 5 years or so.

    Will be very interesting to see who skates to start WCFs. Like others here, I’m of the mind that Regin has to stay in the lineup. If so and Shaw returns, who sits? Zus will play as a PK specialist (that is Q’s commitment and he’s not changing.) So what happens? Scratch 52? 42? 11? 23? Will have to wait and see what the apparently unquestionable HC decides..

    if it’s me:
    88-19-29
    10-12-81
    20-28-23
    11-16-26

  57. AJ says:

    Um. Suter is really good. Keith is really good. They don’t really have an apples to apples skill set aside from the fact that they both play their position well in the system employed by their organization. And that is all I have to say about that.

    Q really is a silly sometimes. 2 Cups and a billion wins, whatever. If there was justification beyond veteran loyalty and dancing with who you brung you could start to sell me the Q is infallible notion. The whole winning thing is great but I like it when things make sense. Want my cake and to eat it too gosh darnet!

    And in terms of the comparisons to other coaches… Babcock got into the playoffs with an AHL team and a few guys duct taped together. He is probably the best coach in the league and the Eastern Conference should be glad he doesn’t have the roster he did 5 years ago.

    Minnesota outplayed the Hawks that series for a lot of stretches. High five to Crawford for making the difference and the guys who are paid to score, scoring when it mattered most. Really makes the talent gap clear as well. Minnesota has a few nice players but pretty incomparable when you line their “difference makers” up against Sharp, Kane, Toews and Hossa and then stack Saad and Bickell behind them. Totally different echelon and I think that plays a part.

  58. Tab Bamford says:

    It cracks me up that Sr. Brad mocks people for stale discussion on here, but then he brings up Brandon Pirri OUT OF NOWHERE… LOL. Really? Congrats for going 3 full posts w/out lambasting Handzus for being alive, but BRANDON PIRRI? What’s next – gonna bitch about Byfuglien?

    Moving on, big game in LA tonight. I’ll be fascinated to see if a) the Kings can score 2 goals, and b) if Sutter shows any emotion other than just-sucked-on-a-lemon face…

  59. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Pirri – “the Panthers are talking about building a line around him.”

    The Panthers high point producer this year had 38 points. Andrew Shaw ranked EIGHTH on the Blackhawks with 39 points this year.

    Yes, the Florida Panthers might build a line around Brandon Pirri. When you have ONE player w/ more than 16 goals in an 82-game regular season on your roster, a guy like Pirri can be a building block.

  60. Barry Brown says:

    Greate posts Al L., Epositive …

    I am not a Quenneville admirer, don’t really like much about him, it’s just a gut feel, but I cannot deny that he is a helluva NHL coach.

    Fact: Q is the third “winningest” coach in NHL history following only legends Scottie Bowman and Al Arbour, who both lead their teams to NHL dynasties.

    Fact: Q has lead his current team to two SC titles and 4 WC finals in 6 years. The team has never missed the playoffs under his tenure.

    The Rest of the Story: who cares. The guy is a winner, has won wherever he has gone and I for one am very glad that he coaches the Chicago Blackhawks.

    We all need to give Q his props and stop wasting our breath complaining. If the Hawks win it all again this year, and even if they don’t, you cannot diminish what Q has done with this team. Can any other coach in the league right now do a better job? Mike Babcock, Ken Hitchcock , Mike Yeo(who apparently out coached Q all the way to the golf course)?? Professional athletes and coaches are ultimately judged by winning championships, and the current coach of the Chicago Blackhawks has two and counting. End of story.

  61. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    One thing I won’t stand is censorship. So to Tab, I quit your board. You aren’t to post my post? Pound sand up your ass pal.

  62. Al L says:

    Tab, barry & Epositive…Thanks for being voices of reason…I don’t always agree with the moves Q makes but I am smart enough to realize that he has a lot more insight to the team than ANYONE on the blog. He knows what goes on behind the scenes and makes educated decisions based upon practice, training, medical and classroom. Are they all right, no, but than again who’s is. Who here in their day to day dealings in life make the right decisions all the time? There are a few people here that think they are always right. Hope you all run a team someday…..Good luck and good night….lol

  63. Pete says:

    Al, I agree with your last post. However, this is professional sports and the fans have opinions and its fine to raise questions about coaching decisions. Q is a Hall of Fame coach, but like you say everyone makes mistakes. Maybe on a very rare occasion he is wrong and some of the fans are right. Who knows. Bottom line there is nothing wrong with debating this stuff. Its fun.

  64. Mike says:

    I think we all know that Q has more hockey and team knowledge than most of us combined. He does, however, coach from emotion and places his highest “trust” in his veterans. For example, He has to know that Zues as 2C has hindered that line all year. Yet he doesn’t replace Zues on that line til he needs to.

    It is ironic that Q is a diehard defense first coach that possesses the best offense in the league. The Hogs have not earned Q’s trust for a good reasons, at least in his mind. The Hogs had about the worst GA average in the league and they are not WINNERS. Sorry, but that is the truth, no excuse not making the playoff, again! Not confidence inspiring to a guy like Q. Handzus is a defensive forward….Q likes him, trusts him and in a way keeps Kane out of trouble. As fans, we just want his role a little more limited.

    I think a lot of us fans see youth and speed quickly taking the league over. The average player’s age will continue to fall. Even teams like Detroit see that their veteran guys, who Holland and Babcock trust to a fault, can not keep up with today’s speed and skill game. Goons like Cooke are on their way out.

    We all hail the success Tallon, Bowman and Q have brought to our team. We just think Q makes things harder on himself with some of his line combinations. We are just waiting to be proved wrong.

    Anyway, Tab thanks for your insights and this blog.

    Go LA

  65. Mike says:

    BTW, speed and skill are far more exciting than a slow defensive game. What fan says, Oh yeah, I love the way we put the other team to sleep??

  66. Reg Dunlop says:

    Well boys, although this was a great victory, going forward concerns me. This team looks tired. They have played more hockey than any other NHL team over the last 2 years. Although they will have a few days off, I’m not sure that it’s just a physical exhaustion concerns me. Mentally, they look flat. The last two games, Duncan Keith and Johnny Oduya have given the puck away many times in our own end. Everyone, at times, have made AWFUL passes that turned into scoring chances for the Wild. If not for Crow, things could have been really bad.

    That all being said, somehow this team digs deep and finds a way to win games. Maybe it’s the combination of Q, the assistant coaches, Toews and the talent on this roster that just seems to find a way to get it done, I don’t know. But whatever it is, if the HAwks can win it all, again, it will be the greatest hockey victory in 50 years.

    I just hope that they have enough strength and mental toughness to last another two rounds.

    GO HAWKS!!

  67. JS says:

    If we aren’t going to question his decisions, how are we to look like keyboard geniuses when he starts doing what we said he should do 2 weeks ago?

    We all think Q is a great coach… but if you can tell me one thing that Brandon Bollig does better than Regin, Morin, or Versteeg, maybe I’ll understand what Q sees.

  68. Sr. Brad says:

    Okay, this is out of control, exacerbated by none other than Tab taking sides.

    Let’s all grow up, including me, and recognize that for better or worse we are part of a family that follows and enjoys the Hawks. And that’s what this is supposed to be, enjoyment. So to Rufus, et al, let’s keep our comments solely on the game and its combatants. We all want the Hawks to win, and perhaps see it coming to fruition in different ways.

    As Espositive said, let’s all get along and respect one another. I don’t instigate, but its childish of me to retaliate. So to that end, I apologize.

    As for the Hawks Tab, Zus is a marginal role player IMO that will be out of the NHL after these playoffs. If that somehow bothers you, and I couldn’t imagine why, just turn the other cheek and respectfully disagree. Just like I did with your comment that Handzus turned around our PK. The great thing about having so many smart, strong minded posters here, is that all these different takes ADD to our own thoughts and help us to understand the game from all perspectives. I bring a more of a basic systems approach coming from my playing and coaching experience…JS and others bring a more detailed analysis of the stats and what they relay about the team. I don’t agree 100% with JS on all the things he says, but I respect him a ton (and pretty much everyone here) because he is selflessly SHARING his thoughts and ideas with the rest of us, to improve our understanding of the game. The guys here who have season’s tickets or go to lots of the games like Phil, Mike, etc, are so incredibly valuable because they are noticing things happening at live game speed…and its not the same as watching it on film or TV.

    So to everyone, here’s to an improved atmosphere here, and to the Hawks winning their 3rd Cup in 5 years!!!

  69. Tab Bamford says:

    Not taking sides – stating the obvious… Sorry if that exacerbates things

  70. Sr. Brad says:

    Not stating the obvious, stating an opinion and taking a side which isn’t productive. None of my comments on Zus are “out of left field” they are all based on facts and stats. You don’t have to like it, but you should respect it. As for Pirri et al, he was part of the Hawks family, and most of us like to follow up on former players, especially prospects. Pirri did very well for FLA…and FLA beat a # of good teams down the stretch. Plus I was responding to a comments about the “Rockford talent” which I happen to follow and really believe in.

    Someone earlier today made a great comment about Crawford. And for as good as CC has been, he still is surprisingly sloppy at times with his goalie mechanics. The poster opined that there is likely still an upside to Crawford’s game, and I agree. And with CC getting better and better, with Leddy improving, and with Clendening, Dahlbeck and Johns all waiting in Rockford, Chicago’s team defence looks very solid moving forward.

    I would really like to see Q put Ben Smith back at the 2nd centre spot…he and Kane developed a chemistry immediately and I am not sure why Q brook that up?

  71. morrison says:

    Paging, Shazwer. We need you now.

  72. Phil says:

    Pretty amazing win the other night to close out the Wild. Hawks were on their heels much of the game, but Corey kept them in the hunt with a fantastic performance. For me he was difference maker in this series. I loved Minny player comments following the game about how they felt they should have won, but were in disbelief that they got beat. There was some truth to this in that the Wild took it to the Hawks big time, but they could not score. They have only themselves to blame! Similar to how PHX beat us a few years ago. You just have to tip your hat to the other team. A hot goalie can take a team far in the playoffs. Wild players also should look themselves in the mirror. They will see they do not resemble The Cpt, or Kaner, or CC. These guys know how to raise their game when chips are down. Our stars ended up beating their stars pure and simple.

    How great was it to see these slick world class hands Kane possesses come to life and suck the life out of the Wild? Zippo, game over. How great to see, oh who was it Matt Cooke(POS) lose his coverage on Kane on the winning goal? How cool was it to see Regin pave the way for game winner by taking out Suter? Electric stuff.

    Q will keep driving us nuts with his lineups. Insertion of Regin was huge, BB for Rozy big. Smith to 2nd center. Seems pretty logical. Takes a while for Q the artist to get what he wants on the canvas. In his case there is a method to the madness. Let’s all again give thanks to Bollig for getting suspended to get Regin some ice time.

    Versteeg I believe was a good acquisition this year that will be a much better player next year. His play has been erratic this season, but he does possess character, skill and drive to win. Let his knee get stronger in the off season, and I really believe he will be a much better skater next year and a bigger contributor. Meanwhile I thank lady luck for Steegers goal the other night.

    I was cracking up to listen about how great Bryzz was in net for the Wild. Let’s get real. The guy had little if any pressure to face. Quality Hawks scoring chances for long stretches was very limited due to insanely strong defensive coverage by the Wild. Those guys simply locked it down.You could read the frustration on Hawks players faces. They were exhausted, but did not give up. Next round if you please.

    Gary Suter in an excellent defenseman. He also had almost zero pressure from Hawks forwards which would have made him cough up the puck like Hawks d men did in the face of a withering onslaught from Wild forwards. Simply put they beat the piss out of our d men. Hawks turnovers in their own end came form relentless Wild pressure. Players are human. Knowing you are about to get slammed wears you down. Our guys were beaten up, but didn’t break. Duncan Keith I think was off his game the last 2 contests. Could be hurt or exhausted or both. He looked really really tired out there, but he has gone through 2 rough and punishing opponents in the Blues and Wild. Duncan Keith or Suter? I would take Duncs because I think here is a better all round player. Just my opinion, and I due respect Suters game alot.

    Of course the Kings are whom we should prefer to play. Mostly because we would get home ice, and I think we match up better with the Kings too. I’m liking these days off the rest of the week, and clearly the Hawks need a break to rest and re-energize.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I loved seeing Rangers drop the overrated Pens. Big kudos to the Habs for outlasting the unbeatable, bestest team of all time , the big bad Boston Bruins. Good stuff!!!

    Proud of our boys. Niederreiter…..dead.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  73. wall says:

    JS- Bollig can board and get suspended better than 11,12,23,42!!!!

    Also, 52 loses more fights than all of those guys– so that is 2 things 52 does better.

    Well- I was wrong about the Avs… But I did say that the Habs/Rangers were the two toughest Eastern Conf. teams vs. Hawks this year!!!

  74. Pauleen says:

    Tab-
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! About time someone writes a positive article about Crawford.

  75. MS says:

    Morrison – great call re: Shaw. It made me think that his absence from the lineup over the last two years seems to really make a big difference in our energy. I didn’t think about this during the Wild series but his toughness, grit,etc. was clearly missed by a Hawks team that looked lost for stretches in the series.

    Wall – Following up my post after game 5 re: Crow’s contract – I respect that the size and particularly the length of the contract causes heartburn for some. I have to admit I was not comfortable with the length of the deal, however no one can dispute that at worst its a market deal (and perhaps below market). It’s pretty telling that the goalies remaining in the playoffs are Lundquist, Price, Crow, Quick and Anaheim’s committee. Other than Anaheim that is pretty much the cream of the crop.

  76. Phil says:

    The question begs, are the Hawks not bringing their A game yet in playoffs because they are worn out, or because the teams they have been playing just don’t give up much, especially the Wild? The Blackhawks after winning the Cup last year came back to camp early because of the Olympic year schedule which forced an early start to the season. Less time to get bodies rested and strengthened. How many Hawks in the Olympics, 10? Less rest for those guys. Then the run down the stretch as teams jockeyed for playoff spots/home ice advantage. Very competitive games. Last and not often mentioned is the bulls-eye on the back of any Cup winner. Every team comes to beat you and brings THEIR best effort. A positive result in a few of the OT games would have landed the Hawks on top of the division and maybe the conference. No matter, we are off to the conference finals.

    I think the Hawks season was pretty amazing when all of the above factors are considered. Same with the first 2 rounds of playoffs. I still believe this team can find another forward gear, which will get the Hawks to the finals. Once there, the pedigree of this team will rise to the occasion. This is a special group that gets even more dangerous if we can get Shaw back.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  77. JS says:

    Wall- he’s also really good at not passing to Kane on a 2 on 1 and just shooting the puck wide instead.

    As far as surprises go this year… I was fully expecting a Final Four rematch. I still find it hard to believe that Boston and Pitt both blew their series’. You could really say that Price, Hank, and Crow all carried their teams to the Conference Finals. If you told me a month ago that either New York or Montreal would be in the SCF I would have laughed. I guess that’s why they play the games.

  78. AJ says:

    Carey Price .917 career regular season .911 playoffs (No Cup)
    King Henry .920 regular .922 playoffs (No Cup)
    Quick .915 regular .926 playoffs (Cup)
    Rask .928 regular .930 playoffs (Cup final – Thomas won Cup)
    Crawford .914 regular .926 playoffs (Cup)

    For all the incessant complaining people do about Crawford (or his $) he puts up some pretty dope numbers when compared to the rest of the bunch. Especially Quick who (I would argue) is sheltered by Suter’s system more than Crawford is by Q’s.

  79. AJ says:

    Sutter^

  80. Gou says:

    And cooler heads prevail.

  81. Dickie Dunn says:

    Phil, “I don’t know about you guys, but I loved seeing Rangers drop the overrated Pens. Big kudos to the Habs for outlasting the unbeatable, bestest team of all time , the big bad Boston Bruins. Good stuff!!!” — “Oh, indeed.”

    Milan Lucic and Mickey Abbott are the same person? Maybe not – one is a mental midget…

  82. wall says:

    Any chance Iginla wants to join the Hawks next year and takes a big pay cut to try to win a Cup???

    just a thought!

  83. JS says:

    Wall- You probably won’t see this (and I’ll be sure to point it out later), 3 of the top 5 Corsi For teams are in the Conference Finals.

  84. morrison says:

    Since hes been signing one yr contracts, hes not looking for money anymore. He does choose the top teams to be on. 3rd times the charm, just ask Hoss.

  85. Dickie Dunn says:

    Wall, Morrison – Iginla had a good year….but, does he really “fit-in”? Who does he push out of the lineup? (Bollig is too easy – the Hawks already have a few guys who can do that…) More pertinent, do the Hawks REALLY NEED Iginla? Does he improve the team at whatever cost, or is this just some sort of charitable act to get his name on the Cup?

    Hopefully, the Hawks win the next two rounds, CELEBRATE “accordingly” (Unprecedented dynasty in the cap era), and then consider options for 2015.

    GO HAWKS!!

  86. morrison says:

    Big pay cut like 1m.

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