Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers Hold Off Hawks

The magic numbers was 11 for the Rangers on Wednesday night, as the visitors escaped the United Center with a 3-2 victory.

Ben Smith NYR

The three scorers for the Rangers – Brad Richards, Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin – each scored their 11th goal of the season. But it was the 11 saves made by Henrik Lundqvist in the third period that preserved the regulation win.

Corey Crawford had a rough first period, allowing two soft goals while facing only nine shots. After the first intermission he was exceptional, though, stopping 22 of 23 Rangers shots. Unfortunately, his teammates couldn’t get a third shot past Lundqvist before time expired and he took the loss.

In the game, Crawford stopped 29 of 32 shots; Lundqvist made 35 saves on 37 Chicago shots.

Jonathan Toews got the Hawks on the board with a power play goal – his 16th tally of the season – at 6:17 into the second. Brandon Bollig scored his fourth of the season less than two minutes later to tie the game, but that would be the sum of the Chicago offense for the night.

During the game, coach Joel Quenneville swapped centers Marcus Kruger and Michal Handzus, moving Kruger up to the second line between Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg. Kruger only skated 14:21 in the game, winning half of his 14 faceoffs and was credited with an assist on Bollig’s goal. Handzus skated 12:12 and won four of only six draws.

Bollig, in spite of his goal, skated a team-low 7:46 in the game. Ben Smith was the only other Hawks forward held under 10 minutes in the game, skating 7:57 on the night. Smith was credited with one blocked shot and one hit, and won all three of his faceoffs while skating only 13 shifts.

On the blue line, Quenneville spread out the ice time. Duncan Keith, who was credited with an assist on Toews’ goal, led the team but only skated 22:32. Niklas Hjalmarsson (21:32) was the only other defenseman over 20 minutes in the game. Brent Seabrook (16:56) was held to the lowest ice time total for the Hawks’ defensemen on the night.

Kane and Keith led the team with two takeaways each, while four Hawks were credited with a team-leading two hits each. Kane was also credited with two blocked shots in the game, one behind Johnny Oduya’s team-high three blocks; Andrew Shaw, who created good traffic in front of Lundqvist on Toews’ power play goal, was credited with a team-high six shots on net.

After the game, Quenneville expressed some frustration.

“We have too many guys right now not contributing to the level we saw most of the season,” he said.

For the Rangers, Olympian Derek Stepan won only seven of 21 faceoffs while Richards had the only multi-point game on either roster (one goal, one assist).

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75 Responses to Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers Hold Off Hawks

  1. Pete says:

    It was a disappointing loss, but I’m not going to overreact. Some over passing in the offensive zone led to some missed chances that could have made the difference. I feel like Kane is a little out of sync. Anyone else noticing that.

  2. Sr. Brad says:

    Dear Rufie might not like this, but the Hawks continued to stumble as team when the play only 3 lines…

    I have said this ad nauseam…when the Hawks roll 4 lines we are virtually unbeatable and when we don’t we are a .500 hockey team, and they are a dime a dozen in the NHL.

    The Rangers deserve full credit…they played a more disciplined game, used their 4 lines and their goaltender is better than ours…

    Until Q goes back to a lineup that is 4 lines deep that can skate, this will continue…and its probably a good thing…the Hawks, including Q, need some contrast before they truly understand their problems…Michael Hanzus is simply not good enough to be anything more than a rotational 4th line centre…sorry if that hurts some feelings…but its true…Bickell played more minutes tonight, but he wasn’t a lot better…and although Bollig scored a goal, he was a ghost most of the night, and Ben Smith kept him company on the bench…

    The only thing Q is accomplishing right now (besides wasting away points in the standings) is tiring out his star players who are about to head out on a 3 week Olympic Odessy…and when all 10 of them are finished, they will be even more tired than they are now…

    The good news, is that the Hawks have the talent and depth to win it all again this season…but they won’t unless they go back to rolling 4 lines…look at the stats Rufie, when we skate 4 lines, we win…when we don’t, and shorten up our bench, we often lose…and whose fault is this? Stan Bowman’s??? I think not…Bowman has a loaded team with a loaded farm system…this is ALL on Q…

  3. Phil says:

    Another game that could easily have been won. Looks like the guys are showing some fatigue even with some extra days of rest. The shortened bench is not helping matters and Q’s comments regarding the level of play from some players being down is an understatement. Brad I agree 100% with you regarding the use of 4 solid lines. When the Hawks do this they are very good. This 3 line setup we have seen lately is not getting it done. Better play from Bickell, Bollig, Zus is needed. Kane has looked kind of pissed off that past 2 games as Zus is really slowing the whole thing down. And again, why no Versteeg on PK duty??

    Crow gives Rangers two softies out of the gate and the team was sluggish in the 1st again. Spotting any team 2 goals makes it tough to overcome even for a talented offensive group like the Hawks. The guys had a good second period and CC picked it up. I like that Corey battles back after giving up a softy (or 2), and his compete level is strong. He just looked completely out of sorts to start the game. Seabs had a bad game IMO and if my memory serves me he was way to passive on the first Rangers goal. Rangers were on the ropes late and without Lundqvist to bail them out we might have snatched a point or two. Another game where points are left on the table.

    With a 60 minute effort this is a game we win. Rangers are not very good IMO, but they played well enough to beat a Hawks team that is over passing instead of shooting. The lines need to solidify soon. Bring up some fresh legs via Rockford. Rest Zus, Bollig. As Brad said this one is on Q to get the mix right. Speaking of coaches, I hate losing games to AV!!

    On a positive note I am pleased to see that 10 Blues players are going to Olympics that should increase their fatigue factor in time for playoffs. I am impressed by their record, but I very much believe this group is overachieving offensively, and will come down to earth by Spring time. They have had our number so far this year, but margin has been very, very slim.

    So for me it’s off to Montreal tomorrow for the Sat. night Hawks-Habs tilt. I should get to the morning skate Saturday at Bell Centre and will watch with interest. I promise to do my best in supporting the local breweries, and hopefully bring us home a winner. Au revoir mes amis.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  4. noonan96 says:

    I think this is just one of those spots in a long season where you might see a few loses, and a dip in the standings, this is natural and happens to all good teams.

    I’ve been trying to support the thinking for using Handzus, like size, face offs, experience etc. But like A. Brunette, eventually time passes you by. With the loss of Stalberg and Frolik they aren’t as quick in general but it’s becoming more obvious (and painful ) that a really good NHLer is ready for other things in life, and can’t keep up with elite players. Hopefully they have an exit plan.

  5. Mike says:

    Broken record here…..Hawks are 2 skaters away from dominance. Bollig and Zues need to be rationed. Yes Bollig scored a goal, surprised everyone, especially Lundqvist. That one was a gift. Otherwise, I am not sure Bollig ever leaves the neutral zone. Q and the staff are smart as s**t. Why they play these two EVERY night has me baffled.

    This is not a mock on management…..but I would love to know the real thinking behind the roster.

  6. wall says:

    Crow was bad… 3 softies IMO… “my” Goalie controversy begins- Crow hasn’t won since his return.

    Brad and Phil… Hawks can’t roll 4 lines (they really can’t roll 3 good lines)- cuz they don’t have “the Depth” you are thinking they do… not w/ current roster… 26, 52, coupled w/ 29 (injured, or non-contract year), and 23,81 clearly are past their primes…

    As is- the Hawks will be lucky to get to a WCF this year… they need TT, and 1-2 other prospect/additions to contend again!!!

    On a positive note 16 played his ass off last nite- Hawks actually had two lines playing when 16 was moved up- proving JS’s point about 26…

    Saad looks better on LW.

    Q needs to do major juggling… BUT I fear none of it will really matter…best to go back to SC type lines for balance… BUT w/ 29 playing like DOG- it will just give Hawks 3 OK lines vs. 2 good lines (w/ 16 on 2nd)…

    Phil regarding Blues… yes they were close losses…BUT- it’s the way they beat us… they Pulled the Hawks 2012-13… they just push the right buttons at crunch time and take over- winning every board battle and willing their way to the win… very similar to the Hawks last year!!! AND they were missing two Stars last time they did it!!!

  7. JS says:

    Bollig also gave up a goal with a stupid penalty. How the hell do you let Daniel Carcillo goad you in to a penalty? Pathetic.

    Just wanted to point out that the Hawks have more success when they roll 4 lines because they are typically winning the game in the first place.

    The HUGE PROBLEM is that Handzus CAN NOT play 2C with Patrick Kane, no matter how delusional Q and Rufus might be. What happened when he swapped Kruger and Handzus? He couldn’t play the fourth line because Bollig and Handzus together would get smoked. So, by dressing Handzus and Bollig every game, he really eliminates his ability to use the “line blender” because he can’t have those two skate together.

    So, in order to “fix” the problem with the scoring depth, Q either has to get rid of his blankie or break up the best line in the NHL.

    Changes are coming.

    Enjoy Montreal Phil!

  8. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Teams go through slumps. The Hawks are diving into a slump. But alas, the type of slumps this team can get itself into pale greatly versus the deep slumps other teams suffer. Point being…relax.

    I tire immensely of Sr. Brad ripping the shit out of Quenneville from his armchair. But the handful of people who do post on this ghost town of a blog tolerate his nonsense.

    We can all make statements of the blindingly obvious that rolling 4 lines is better than 3 !! Wow, what clarity that brings to the subject !! The problem for the Hawks right now are varied.

    1. Bickell sucks. Period. He has sucked pre injury and post injury. Its getting to the point where he needs to be a healthy scratch.

    2. Toews and Hossa have been, generally speaking, middling in their performance of late.

    3. The Hawks are rounding their top goaltender, Crawford, back into the swing of things and, not surprising, he is taking a little bit of time to get his game and confidence back in full swing. Patience is needed in this regard.

    4. Ideally, Handzus sits 1 out of 3 games AND the option exists for somebody credible to rotate into that 2nd line Center spot “in-game” when Handzus is in the lineup and of course when Handzus sits. Unfortunately, the clear option for that role doesn’t exist right now. And no, it is not fucking Brandon Pirri the Rockford Shuttle Wonderdog !

    5. Bollig and Smith should probably each sit 1 our of every 4 or 5 games. But a nice veteran and reliable bench option (like a Danny Carcillo or Jamal Mayers) doesn’t exist right now. And no, the magin answer is not fucking Jeremy Morin the Rockford Shuttle Wonderdog, Part Deux. Morin would not be effective playing less than half the games at this level.

    6. The “showcase Sharp for the Canadian Olympic squad” got the line play and team chemisty a bit sideways. Now is the time to cure that. No biggie to recalibrate things.

    7. Oduya and Seabrook are slumping a bit. Dragging a bit on the ice. Each needs to get his second wind…it happens…nothing to get anybody’s panties in a bunch over.

    8. Leddy is increasingly an ill fit for this team, no matter how unpopular it is for some of you to hear that. Is Leddy talented? Hell yes he is. But his fit for another Cup run within the context of the overall roster mix is a growing concern. Don’t be surprised therefore boys and girls if he gets moved in a deadline deal. Seriously. Again, Leddy has substantial talent…this is NOT a rip on said talent.

    9. The Hawks can’t quite settle on the highest and best use of Saad. Part of this dilemma is driven by the fact that Bickell has sucked and the team is being patient with him. But now is the time for the Hawks to get Saad settled into a truly defined role. Too much talent and ability to be a huge piece to a 2nd half push.

  9. Negzz says:

    While I thought the team was flat and soft for most of the night, this loss is on Crawford. All 3 goals were soft, the 3rd one set up by his weak and ill advised clear attempt turnover leading to a flutterer that he dropped leading to the rebound goal. He made some good saves in the middle range of the game but you can’t let in 3 softies and expect to win.. Kane also had a BAD night imho, as did Shaw (who seems to be in a slump the past few weeks.)..

    I also guess that the Hawks are no longer going to hit ANYBODY from here on out? I’m not seeing any fire or desire for contact at this point. I guess it’s just too fun to score goals than to bring a physical presence and no one wants to get hurt before the Olympics? If that does not change we will not go far in the playoffs this year, let alone repeat. Time for a wake up call…

  10. wall says:

    Rufus- agree w/ a 1,2,8, and 9… will add Crow IS NOT an elite goalie!!!
    Hawks got the best Crow last year!!! cuz Team in front of him was so Great/fast/smart!!! They even made Ray Emery look GREAT TOO!!!!!!

    29, 26, 52 are bad now… no fixes for 26, 52 unless Prospects/trades happen!!!
    29- let’s hope it is lingering injury effects… but- those knees may not get better…
    Hawks are in big trouble-

    Kool-aid drinkers… they can’t skate even 3 lines right now w/ this roster!!!

  11. AJ says:

    Whelp I’m gonna disagree with all of you. I thought for the most part the Hawks dominated the game. Once Kruger and Saad were moved to Kane’s line, things really started to accelerate in a positive direction. The staff is very reactionary but will probably start to make adjustments. Options are pretty limited because $ and #’s.

    Better game from Bickell, especially in terms of possession. Pretty disgusting stuff from Leddy once he went crazy and started doing his Paul Coffey impression.

    Seriously though Lundquist played an awesome game. They piped at least one shot that I can recall and had a few stolen. They just aren’t getting bounces right now and over an 82 game season that stuff evens out. There are significantly worse ways to lose a game.

    Probably need to move a D man so they can get another skater/center on the roster and jostle up the bottom line a bit. Not in total panic mode yet. First regulation loss in 10 games. Oops.

  12. Negzz says:

    …and btw- since the Hawks lost to the Blues they have scored 2 or less goals in 4 of the past 5 games (the exception was to NJ, which they won 5-3.) Including the Blues they’re 2-4 in the past 6..

  13. Negzz says:

    I did like the adjustments having moving Zus back to line-4 and thought 52-26-28 were decent in that config, at least against an E/Conf team like the Rangers…

  14. Peter says:

    A lot of banter back and forth after this tough loss.

    The worst play of the night in my book was Bollig punching Carcillo in the face. How do you let him draw a penalty on you. Additionally, as Danny Carcillo goes he wasn’t really doing his normal borderline play last night. Really disappointed in that penalty. His goal was actually a bit of his skill. It was a surprising, hard shot short side…pretty nice. Bollig is a fourth line player and when he was with Frolik and Kruger it was okay; but in all honesty I don’t think Ben Smith is that much of a downgrade from Frolik except in wheels and game experience.

    The problem goes back to the 2C and Handzus. He just can’t guide Kane and he is so slow on the PK. I think, he needs to sit regularly. Kruger at the 2C was alright last night. I wonder if Nordstrom can come up and play the 4th line center role. I would rather do something with a call-up or two than do nothing.

    Versteeg has become somewhat of a ghost since his torrid start. I thought Bickell was alright last night…I really think some line blending needs to go on…

    88-19-20
    81-16-10
    23-65-29
    28-42/26-52/37

  15. JS says:

    Rufus, I thought Danault was the clear option for the 2C spot and he would be playing it “maybe even before Thanksgiving”? Change of heart?

    Do you want me to show you the statistical proof on how much better the second line is with Rockford Wunderkind Brandon Pirri? I KNOW you don’t like him. But it can be statistically proven that the line is more productive when he is on it.

    Few questions on Q. Why does the best possession line not take more defensive zone starts? Sharp/Hoss/Toews can flip the ice on anyone, I would like to see them start more in the defensive zone. Especially because of how deadly they are in transition.

    Why does Andrew Shaw ever take a defenzive zone faceoff? I realize he plays with possession monster Brandon Saad, but still…

    Why did Leddy and Rozsival have the most defensive zone starts? Wouldn’t it make more sense to give that responsibility to your stellar top 4?

  16. wall says:

    AJ-what game were you watching?

  17. JS says:

    Also, I’d like to point out that I don’t love Pirri or even think he’ll be on the Hawks beyond this year. I just know he can help the team more in a 2C role than Handzus. However, if he’s going to continue getting PK duty (which I don’t think he should since Versteeg and Sharp are much better at it), he needs to get minutes… but if you aren’t going to shelter Handzus with elite players, I don’t know think he’ll fit in with the bottom 6.

  18. Tim G says:

    Did anyone else see that 3rd goal coming?

    As soon as Crawford got that puck to his left, you could almost read his thought process as it happens… “I should clear this to center ice… wait here is Rosy coming back into the zone… I’ll pass it to him… Oh No, it went awkwardly to the half boards to my right, i need to scamble back… Oh No a shot is coming from the point… Crap they buried the rebound…”

    It was like watching a car wreck you couldn’t stop.

  19. wall says:

    Tim- I saw the same thing!

  20. Sr. Brad says:

    First, Phil, have a GREAT time…enjoy the experience at the Forum…

    Rufie, you are a joke…you take the first section to spew hate, and then spend the rest of your post pretty much confirming what I, JS, Mike, Pete, Peter, Phil, etc are all saying…your “differences” on the problems are simply semantics…you WON’T give credit to your “enemies” here, so you find different ways to say the SAME THINGS.

    What am I suggesting? Bickell can’t play right now, not at least in the top 9…you agree…

    Handzus CANNOT be the 2nd line centre any longer…now you are climbing down from humble pie mountain on that one and suggesting that he needs to be rotated…THE SAME F$CKING THING I SAID…the only twist is the incredibly STUPID comment that it would be nice to have Dan Carcillo or Jamal Myers back…WOW, just f$cking WOW…

    Then you defend Crawford for his 3 soft goals by saying that he needs to “round back into form”…nice, dumba$$, we pay a goalie $6 million a year to work out his problems during games instead of practise??? Why do you think the Hawks practise so much?

    Now, you agree that Bollig should be rotated in and out of the lineup…parte tres…deal done…you have just CONFIRMED the 3 keys I suggested 2 weeks ago as to how the Hawks fix their problems…YOU HAVE AGREED WITH EVERYTHING I SAID…and in fact, I haven’t mentioned Morin or Pirri (both of whom I like as people and players) because I don’t care who the Hawks bring up…there is LOTS of skill and depth that can come up now and fix their problems…Ross and Nordstrom would turn the Hawks around in a heartbeat…

    I love how you throw Ben Smith under the Bollig bus…suggesting that he be rotated out of the lineup as well…Smith is a fixture with the Hawks because he does EVERYTHING well…give Kruger and Smith a decent line mate on the 4th line, and they would score like our 3rd line…to make a comment like this you can’t possibly be watching these games…

    And the grand finally from Rufus…Toews is “middling in his performance of late”…again, INCREDIBLE…Toews for the past 2 weeks has been over his injury and has been on fire…he’s a PLUS 21 and just scored his 16th goal of the season, while dominating again at the dot…when you make incredibly STUPID comments like this, you lose any CREDIBILITY you may have had left…Hossa has NOT been himself since his 2nd child was born, which I have said for the past 3 weeks…thanks for agreeing with me yet again…

    If you hate this “ghost town” so much, LEAVE…turn on American Idol and lose what’s left of your pea brain mind…oh, and BTW, Danault just went his 10th consecutive game without a point, while Rockford has lost 9 of their last 10…he has 2 goals and 12 points in 34 games…yep, there’s our answer for the 2nd line centre this season…

  21. Phil says:

    Well pointed out the stupid Bollig penalty. To Carcillo of all people. Not a good moment.

  22. Phil says:

    If there was a positive to be taken from last nights game, it was Tazer getting his hands back. Looked good/strong on his stick with face-offs, and his rebound goal demanded quic/strong hands. I take this as a good sign since I was really worried that his hand/wrist injury was going to become a year long issue.

  23. Sr. Brad says:

    JS, the Hawks win consistently because they roll 4 lines consistently…over the last 2 seasons in particular, when Q shortens the bench, we often lose…and there’s a reason…the 9 Hawk forwards that skate those extra minutes simply cannot come back and check with the same consistency over 60 minutes…this exposes our Defence…Leddy and Oduya are a perfect examples…when we roll 4 lines and they are aided by the consistent back check, they look like all stars and people clamour for Leddy in the top 4…but when we shorten up the bench, their lack of strength and physicality are exposed and people clamour for their heads…

    Here’s a big compliment for Q (let’s see if Rufie recognizes it)…his system of play is the best in the league…rolling 4 lines with total commitment from the forwards to team defence is what has brought us 2 Cups…it makes our goalies and defence look better than they actually are…that’s why I was not in favour of CC’s big contract…many, many goalies could do what Crawford and Raanta do in Chicago…just look at Ray Emery…he looked like a starter last season…this year he is exposed for what he really is…and what would happen to Oduya or Leddy if they got sent to say EDM…good god…both would be -30 faster than the temperature…

    Q absolutely knows that we have to roll 4 lines…he knows that his stubbornness has cost us points and he is taking it out on “those players that are not contributing right now”…Q has chosen to skate Zus EVERY SINGLE GAME since he came back from his injury, even though Q’s OWN REMARKS, during Zus’s injury, were that he needed to be brought back with care and attention to his level of health and energy…yet he hasn’t done this…Q helped to kill our PK earlier this year by playing BOLLIG on the PK…wow, not surprisingly, since he was taken off our PK has improved 6% points…Q knows he has treated Morin and Pirri poorly and has stuck his neck out on the line for Zus and Bollig…and now that he wearing his own noose, Q is frustrated that his star players are no longer bailing out his poor player personnel decisions…this doesn’t take anything away from the fact that Q is a FANTASTIC bench coach…probably the 2nd best ever behind Scotty Bowman…but Q’s BIASES and stubbornness have gotten him into trouble many times before…and still he doesn’t learn…

    This does NOT take away from the fact that Q is a great bench coach, but like all of us, he’s his own worst enemy. The answers to our “problems” are SIMPLE…as soon as Q starts up the Rockford shuttle again and skates 4 lines, we will start winning consistently again…and I don’t care if it is Morin and Pirri…it can be Ross and Nordstrom…the skill, the legs, the hustle is there to turn our fortunes around…simply.

  24. MS says:

    As Negzz and Tim G point out CC’s terrible puck handling led directly to the 3rd goal. Is it just me or have his puck handling skills deteriorated dramatically this year? I get extremely nervous every time he tries to move the puck as it has led to several bad goals.

    I also continue to wonder why we are keeping 8 d men on the roster. It seems like we would be much better served to have one of the rockford prospects on the roster which would allow Q to sit one of the forwards who are struggling for a game. A little competition on the roster would be helpful after this recent stretch.

    Lastly, I agree with Rufus regarding Leddy. I don’t believe he is a bad fit and I felt he had a pretty strong game last night but he is the logical player to be moved to find a better 2nd line center option. Even Q couldn’t stomach watching Zus for very long the last two games as the 2c. I can only imagine what condition Zus will be in after participating in the Olympics.

  25. Pete says:

    Nobody has commented on whether Kane appears to be out of sync lately. To me he looks like he is but I am curious if anyone else feels the same way. If so, is it the line combinations, fatigue or the normal ebb and flow during a long season? I realize its a lot of speculation, but that what we fans do and why it makes it fun to post and talk Hawks.

  26. RyanDale says:

    Busy here, so if i am repeating, its because you guys are too chatty to keep up with! The end of the quietest 10 game pt streak ever, although it did include 2 impressive Ws over LA and a drubbing of Colo. I agree that we were guilty of over passing which happens alot at home. We had 37 SOG and should have been near 50. Get it on net , and quit trying to make a pretty play. Why is this a lesson that hast to be learned over and over for us?!

    1st pd we were sleepwalking, 2nd we start off good and have Hank on the ropes and seemed to back off, happy we had tied it up. Gotta keep pushin right there, get their heads spinning a bit. 3rd we come way too slow , cant get anything on net, and end up playing frantic keep up at the end and by then Hank was Hank. AND turnovers, we are nowhere near as good this year as last in terms of taking care of the puck and its one of the quickest ways to let games get away from you.

    Shaw and Versteeg need to start getting some goals. Shaw had alot of shots tonight, maybe thats a good sign. But he’s got to score like he’s capable, and hes got to stir the pot a little more as far as agitating. He had a 9 hit game recently, but nothing much since then. I agree with neggz, hits are important, I dont care if you have the puck for 50 minutes a game, that other 10 you better be willing to do anything to make a play and get it back It is hockey! one hit can change a game around. And Crow def was guilty on the clear attempt

    Playing poorly vs East teams is not a good sign. We have enough to worry about in our own division(9-6-2) We are in the middle of 6/7 at home and need to make hay while we can. After 2games we have 1pt, with Ducks, Avs, Bos still coming.

  27. RyanDale says:

    Pete, he is still getting looks, just not scoring last 4-5g. I’m not too worried about 88. He was bound to cool off. Cant be great every game. Maybe I am too concerned with others to see what you are??

  28. Peter says:

    Pete, I thought Kane looked a little frustrated last night. Thought he really was upset in playing with Handzus. I thought that he did back check pretty well last night, but then when Crow was pulled for the empty net he was banging his stick on the ice a lot…and not getting a sniff of the puck (30 seconds left on down).

    I actually think Handzus won’t play much for Slovakia, but I could be wrong. I mean he will travel and get to practice, but will he play…who knows. That might actually be the rest he needs as he will still get to practice but not have to play…I mean can you imagine him on large ice? Yikes.

  29. wall says:

    Kane’s problem? 26/23

  30. EspoForever says:

    Could not agree more with Tim G about the 3rd goal. All the writers and commentators talk about was the first 2 soft goals but the 3rd one was the worst in the bunch. When Corey says “I will clear this myself” what that says to me is that he thinks he is better at passing a puck with a goal stick and a catch glove than the multiple sensible options he could have handed off to. He had all his players trying to get open (away from Rangers) and suddenly, unexpectedly, because of his need to be a hero, they were in crisis mode trying to get TO Ranger players to cover them and we saw the result: chaos.

    This is no surprise though as Corey had times each of the last 2 seasons when he played himself out of the net for stretches and he shat the bed in the first round of the playoffs 2 of the last 3 years.

    We will see how frustrated Q is when we see if he gives him the net in his hometown Saturday. He made nice saves, but I expect that of a goalie making $6m of our cap hit.

  31. Sr. Brad says:

    Pete, I think the difference is the increased defence Kane is facing…he is getting much less space on the ice with which to skate around in…and when he cycles with puck in the offensive zone, and extra player is breaking off his “man” to double Kane…this leaves someone open (usually Zus) but nothing seems to happen with this mismatch…

    The biggest thing is this…Kane does not have a single goal this season when Zus is on the ice…Handzus has killed the 2nd line, and they carried us for while when Toews was struggling with his injury…the difference was Pirri was the centre…Ryan said that Versteeg has to start scoring again, but he’s playing with Zus as well..Handzus equals no goals for…he and Bickell are the only Hawks to be minus players over our 10 game points streak…the fact is, Zus cannot be our 2nd line centre…but as JS points out, you can’t have a 4th line of Zus, Bollig and Smith…and if you move Zus to the 3rd line with say Shaw and Bickell, that would be a disaster as well…the sad reality is that Zus doesn’t fit on this roster…he has been “masked” by Kane’s surge, but with Kane no longer scoring, Bickell killing the 3rd line, and Bollig killing the 4th line…we are a one line hockey team, and Sharp can’t say hot forever…

    I predict our recent troubles will continue until such time that Q gives in to pressure and brings up new faces from Rockford…

  32. RyanDale says:

    Phil, jouir!

  33. AJ says:

    RE Zues: Correct me if I am wrong but I am under the impression that they have a full roster and are dry humping the cap. I am also pretty sure that they do not have any forwards or centers sitting in the press box. Those are kind of a problem. Hands are tied here. That is a GM issue, not a coach one. I think Zues should skate 8 minutes a night in protected minutes with Bollig on a personal level but Q seems to be trying to be cute hiding guys.

    Bickell, as the possession numbers indicate and just watching the game played much better last night. Will probs not be “right” until close to March or March but I refuse to complain about the guy. He needs minutes and some will be painful.

    If relying on Shaw and Versteeg to win you close games
    then you are drunk
    else if not thinking clearly in some capacity or another

    Hossa has been fine. Hitting a similar slump Sharp hit where he just couldn’t find twine. He will hit another big streak in a matter of time. Law of averages and such.

    All the big shooters with the exception of Toews lately have cooled off. Once Kane or Hossa get hot again they will go on another tear and be back in first place and the world will be right once again.

  34. Sr. Brad says:

    So true Espo…CC hasn’t done a thing this season to indicate that he deserved that raise and length of contract…his numbers in EVERY category, before the injury, put him in the bottom 10% of the league’s goalies…and to that end, as good as Raanta has been, his numbers are anything but spectacular…both have had pedestrian numbers…the difference has been that Raanta has played very, very well while we are shorthanded…while CC has not…CC’s goal’s against numbers while we are shorthanded are the 2nd worst in the entire NHL…

  35. AJ says:

    Crawford was pretty sick last night. Kane gave puck away, odd man rush and goal. Def Crawfords fault and Hammer gets smoked on a wrap around due to an easy neutral zone entry on a PP… Totally Crawford. Should probs start Raanta every game for the rest of the year.

    If you watch the video on that clearance there were 9 guys up the middle of the ice and clearing it to the bench was a more open play. The guy from NYR read the play well and no one was interested in recovering fast enough to clean up the initial save.

    Fail to see how awful Crawford was.

  36. Sr. Brad says:

    AJ, it is Q’s decision to keep 8 DMen…no one else’s…there is CAP space available to bring up guys from Rockford…so you are WRONG when you say that Q’s hands are tied…they are tied at his own doing…7 DMen worked well for us last year…and I argue that 8 is NOT helping…guys like BB and Kostka are not getting enough ice time to stay confident between their playing time…heck, even Rozy hit a stretch where he only played in 1 of 4 games without being on injured reserve…Bollig can be sent down to the minors as well, but as he has a 1 way contract he would have to clear waivers…who would take a flyer on Bollig? And what would that cost us?

    Q is protecting Zus, Bollig and now Bickell and it is more than our roster can handle…so don’t blame this mess on Bowman…Stan went out and got Versteeg (for HALF of his salary) because he could see the problems that we had at the forward position…Q did not ask for this trade and had no say in it…this was Bowman working “ahead” to prevent a drop off…but with Bickell back and not skating or contributing it is simply too much…the answer lies in bringing up good skaters from Rockford and the CAP space exists to do this…

  37. JS says:

    Hawks have 1.7m in space if they send Kostka down. That is more than enough to bring up two “Rockford shuttle types.”

    Q tells Bowman how he wants to shape his roster. Bowman has seen Q play Pirri and Morin limited minutes in order to give Handzus 2C minutes. If Q wants to use a different forward he says, “Hey Mr. Bowman, can I have another forward?” and then Stan says, “OK! Here is _______”. Then Q plays them for 5 minutes a night.

    It seems to me that Bowman made the trade for Versteeg because 1) Q didn’t want Morin and 2) because the PK was awful and Versteeg is good at the PK and 3) Kris Versteeg at 2M for guys that won’t make your roster? Alright

  38. AJ says:

    No. It is Q’s suggestion that they keep 8 defensemen. It is Bowman’s decision to acquiesce to that request. As far as I am aware, and someone please correct me if I am ignorant, but the roster decisions are made by the general manager and the nightly line up card is made by the coaching staff.

    Q isn’t protecting Zues, he is trying to hide him to the detriment of one of the top 5 players in the league. I get that. I have done it coaching U12 soccer because “everyone has to play.” He is an idiot if he thinks this is a good idea in any capacity. Not stubborn but straight up stupid and that behavior should not be enabled and should not have an excuse.

    Bickell NEEDS TO PLAY! His issues can only be sorted out on the ice.

  39. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Go fuck yourself Sr. Brad. Your an asshat who pontificates from your recliner that Quenneville is a bum. Keep talking out of your asshole pal. Any more statements of the brilliantly obvious? Any more statements of how to “fix” the Hawks in your simple shit for brains mind?

    Crawford is entitled to “round into shape” asswipe. He’s a Stanley Cup winning goaltender. Just like Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Quick have worked to get back on the bicycle, the same applies to Crawford you fucking moronic idiot.

  40. Phil says:

    JS, I understand why they brought in Versteeg, but what I don’t understand is why he does not get PK time as this is one of his strengths. At least it used to be…Bicks needs to get his mojo playing somewhere, just better. I think he will get better, but it is rough to watch right now.

  41. Sr. Brad says:

    AJ, the “line up card” or active roster is ENTIRELY the coach…Bowman simply fields an organizational roster…the coaches decide who plays and who is scratched…Q has made it very clear this season that 8 DMen are his doing…in an Olympic’s year, he wanted the depth…but as I said, it doesn’t help, it actually makes things worse…

    And by hiding Zues, he IS protecting him…

    You are right, Bickell does need to play to work out his issues…and Bicks is simply too good and too “honest” to not come around…but with Bicks struggling and protecting Zus and Bollig, its too much for this roster to sustain…

    Garret Ross would be a great player to bring up because he is so sound defensively and can skate…plus he plays a physical game a la Shaw. Nordstrom is certainly ready to come back up…he is tearing it up right now…he, Ross and Clendening are the 3 Rockford players ready for the bigs IMO…

  42. Sr. Brad says:

    I love that Ross was our 5th round selection…when he gets promoted that will make 3 years in a row…Kruger, Shaw, and Ross…got to love that 5th round…

  43. wall says:

    Now Rufus play nice!

  44. JS says:

    As far as Bickell goes… much like DRose failed to realize last year, the most important part of any knee rehab is playing the game. He needs to get more comfortable on his knee during game situations. He will improve.

    Stan has mentioned before how him and Q work together to shape the 23 man roster. Q tells Bowman what he wants, Bowman gives him the person he feels can best do what Q wants. Bowman can’t tell Q to not play Handzus, all he can do is trade him. Bowman specifically said he acquired Versteeg to help the penalty kill, it’s not on Bowman that Q isn’t using him.

    And AJ, there is no difference between hiding someone and protecting them. It means the same damn thing. Like you can pick a fight at the bar and hide behind me. Or you can pick a fight at the bar and I’ll protect you.

  45. wall says:

    Crow let up 3 softies

    29,26,52 + aging 81, not the same skater-23 and the Hawks aren’t as good as last year

    They will not make WCF’s this year-w roster as is

    Blues have man handled the Hawks to date

    Crow/29 = two bad contracts

    TT + 1/2 prospects/ changes need to be made for this team to be serious contenders again in 1-2 years

    37/11 are better than 26/52

  46. Phil says:

    The full moon isn’t until later next week.

  47. ebonyraptor says:

    Some people need a hug … sheesh!

    There’s a lot to chew on, that’s for sure. Just touching on a few things:

    Saad needs to simplify his game. Less fancy pass and more shoot the puck.

    Shaw should never take d-zone faceoffs. Period.

    Patience is still required with Bickell – the Hawks need him to at least get back to his previously inconsistent level of play.

    And finally, playing Handzus at 2C every game is simply idiotic. Try anything else.

  48. Sr. Brad says:

    Rufie, Rufie, Rufie…once again, as JS points out…you get angry but never respond to what is actually being said…all those points I just made are untenable by you, so you call me names…what a child…your ideas are similar to my ideas, and yet you see us as “far apart” on the issues…we are not…and Q is NOT a bum…where do you get that I say or infer this…he’s likely the 2nd best bench coach in NHL history…as for what is happening of late, how else do you want to explain it…its somehow the GMs fault that we have gone from a virtually unbeatable 4 line hockey team, to a .500 team skating suddenly one great line and two other substandard ones???

    As for CC, yep, he has to play and work through his issues…he’s just shown that he is not deserved of his recent new contract…when you play against a goalie like Henrik Lundquist, you don’t give up a single soft goal, let alone 3…

    Having said that, goaltending is NOT our problem…

  49. Sr. Brad says:

    ER, I agree that patience is needed with Bickell, but not when you are currently shuffling your lines to protect Zus and Bollig…its not just that we have recently gone from a 4 line team to a 3 line team…we literally now have one great line, and 2nd line that has NO PRODUCTION and Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg are the wingers, and 3rd line with limited minutes and no production, and a 4th line that has virtually disappeared…adding Bickell’s current problems to the mix makes it an unfixable issue, as is…something has to give…and continuing to lose these game, especially at home, may likely be a “good thing” as it will force changes that don’t seem to be happening…I mean you can’t simply swap Kruger for Zus…a line of Zus, Bollig and Smith doesn’t work, unless it is strategically played for about 5 minutes a night, and then we are right back to skating 3 lines…

  50. JS says:

    Hossa is putting up more PPG than last year and he’s shooting 4% lower. He’s averaging 3.4 shots a game up from last years 2.9. Being concerned about Hossa is misguided. He’s a career 12.7% shooter, he will start scoring again.

    Bickell will be fine. We can get off this train.

    Not every goalie is perfect every game. At the start of the season, Quick and Henry were both struggling big time. People in New York actually wanted Talbot to start over Lundqvist. People in LA were upset that Quick came back because Jones had been playing so well. Crow was the best player on the Hawks in the playoffs last year, he got a fine contract and will earn it.

    ER- completely agree on Saad just needing to shoot.

    TTisabeast- are you wall with a name change?

    Hawks are still odds on favorites for the Stanley Cup. Don’t believe me, ask Vegas! Regular season moon poundings don’t really matter, I want to see St. Louis do something in the playoffs.

  51. Tab Bamford says:

    Looks like we could see more of Versteeg-Kruger-Kane moving forward. Quenneville claims reluctance to move Kruger up because he “doesn’t finish” (enter Swede joke here), but over the last few years he’s tried to keep 1-2 of his primary penalty killers on the 4th line. Simple resolution: put Handzus on the fourth line. Since he joined Kruger the PK has improved. I like Kruger’s hockey IQ and hands and wouldn’t mind seeing him between 23 & 88 for an extended period of time.

  52. Tab Bamford says:

    In response to Rufus…

  53. wall says:

    JS- I wrote several hysterical, crude, intelligent, nasty posts as WALL – and none went thru… I assumed that I was Blacklisted for being so Non-conforming, and an anti-Hawk-kool-aid drinking, bitch… so I went to another name. And -it went thru???

    Kudos to JS for being such a clever Dick-tective- just kidding.

    Phil/JS – yes Blues haven’t done Jack yet. Just don’t like the authority they displayed – coming from behind and MAN-handling the Hawks (kind of like “Deliverence”)/out willing them!!!

    JS- I am guessing Vegas/odds liked the Wings when they were up 3 games to 1 on Hawks last year-lol

  54. Morrison says:

    I do not count it as a loss unless its regulation or overtime. Shootouts are garbage & GIVE one team 2pts, but their not wins. So, yea we went 10 games without a loss until that one. You could say the nyi one/that was ot. The only thing that wasn’t good about 6-0-4 is that we didn’t get half of the shootout GIVEN 2pts (then we were 8-0-2). We played really good or good in those games until these recent 4… we only played for a period & a couple 1/2 of 1st periods. Can’t play really good or good all 82 games, no excuse, just goes with the territory. Like one fellow mentioned, its a good thing actually that we need to see every once in a great while now again… Just like game 3 against Minn.

    Not sure who mentioned trade 8, it would have to be for a established natural top6 center. Whos that Briere, Nielsen is good. Is there anybodyelse that’s possible (reguardless if their ufa) for a top6 center. If its a 3or4 center, I like Goc but do we need that. I do not think trade is any answer but at deadline could be a welcome boost/complete roster.

    We always like to trust in the guys, so while were ‘slumping’ (for us, tie some games/6-0-4 & then 1 loss) As good as 20-19-81 & 10-19-81 have been both yrs, I wonder if Q goes with 20-19-88 and 10-26/16-81 temporarily/until break to get everybody going more then we have been these recent 4 games…

  55. Sr. Brad says:

    Tab, I like the line of Kruger, Kane, Versteeg, because although they are “smaller”, they would dominate with puck possession, where Kane is at his most dangerous…the problem is Zus going to the 4th line with Bollig and Smith…that line is screaming for 5 playing minutes a game, and that’s back to rolling 3 lines and not 4…when we skate 3 lines our Defence are exposed…but again, I like that new 2nd line…another option would be to skate Steeger at Centre and move Saad to wing…

  56. JS says:

    +1 for Tab on the Brick video. Some people get way too emotional.

    Wall/TTisabeast- the name + your typing style made it kind of easy. And I’m sure the Hawks were huge dogs when they were down 3-1… but I knew they were going to win! even though I probably looked like an idiot when I kept saying it.

    Tab- I’m kind of curious as to why Q is playing both Versteeg and Saad on their off wings. Saad/Kruger/Kane makes a lot more sense to me. Also, you talk about putting Handzus on the 4th line… do you trust him and Bollig on the ice at the same time for 10 minutes a game? Q won’t be able to use that as his “checking line” anymore.

  57. JS says:

    Also, Q saying he’s wary of Kruger’s ability to finish… does he think Handzus actually can? Handzus has 3 even strength goals while playing most of his minutes with Patrick f’ing Kane. Seriously, what is this guy watching?

  58. AJ says:

    Protecting defined by skating 6-10 minutes / night on favorable shifts against the other teams scrubs and maybe sitting in the stands every 3rd game so he isn’t getting torched as often and not dragging better players down. Not unreasonable and probably a better role. Keep somebody or something safe: to prevent somebody or something from being harmed or damaged.

    Hiding defined by putting your worst player next to your best player and hoping your best player can play so bestest that you don’t notice the worst. Move out of sight: to conceal yourself, or something or somebody else, from view.

    There is a definite difference.

    Like I said, the GM makes the roster and the coach picks the nightly line up. Right now Stan is enabling Q to do silly things because there is no flexibility. Maybe Q doesn’t want flexibility and that is fine but as a GM you should see the hole and try to fill it as best as possible otherwise why even have a GM? If the coach doesn’t do anything about it then failure at that point is on him.

  59. ebonyraptor says:

    Don’t look now fellas, but Scott Powers from ESPN just reported Q saying he’s going to give Kruger a shot at 2C.

    Happy days are here again
    The skies above are clear again
    So let’s sing a song of cheer again
    Happy days are here again

    Altogether shout it now
    There’s no one
    Who can doubt it now
    So let’s tell the world about it now
    Happy days are here again

  60. Mike says:

    The 4th line with Zues at center would be better served if Morin replaced Bollig. But my 4th line right now would be Morin / Pirri / Smith. There is some defensive coverage danger here especially from Morin. Smith would have to anchor this line on the D side. However, this line would control the puck MUCH better than 52/26/28

  61. wall says:

    JS- one of my missing “wall” posts – said Saad is better on LW!!! and let the Goalie controversy begin!

    Also, TT has missed last two games for Jokerit…can I dream SB is trying to sneak him into Chicago? (i assume he is just resting w/ new coach and Gold on his neck)…

  62. Tab Bamford says:

    wall – no idea why any of your posts would be blocked… not seeing them in the spam filter, either. Sorry about that!

  63. RyanDale says:

    AJ, i gotta assume you are addressing me about 65/32. I didnt say i expected them to win us close games. Just a little more production. G/A either one is fine. They are both capable offensive players. 65 has 2 pts in the last month, V has been a little better.

    If you think Hank had a great game, you missed the first 30 minutes. He was out of sorts, he’s been fighting it all year. Ranger fans been pissing themselves over it

    It also seems we have a different definition for dominating. I didn’t see red dominate the game much. But I can respect your opinions and also refrain from questioning your sobriety or mental state. So enjoy the games from your seat there, I’ll do the same here

  64. RyanDale says:

    TTisabeast – we hardly knew ye!

  65. ebonyraptor says:

    wall – ha, devious minds think alike – I thought the same thing when I didn’t see TT’s name in the boxscore for the past 2 Jokerit games. But it’s probabaly just him getting a couple days to recuperate from the WJC games and gold medal celebrations. Plus there’s that little contractural thingy.

    I’m pretty excited that Kruger is going to get another shot at 2C. I think he’s a better and more confident player than the last time Q tried him there for a few games. Plus I think he played with Hossa on his right wing and is probably more suited to play with Kane who can be the playmaker on the line.

    I’m also in agreement with playing Saad and Versteeg on their strong sides. Put Saad at LW with Kruger and Kane and put Versteeg at RW with Shaw and Bickell. And then leave them there so they actually get accustomed to the position.

  66. wall says:

    No probs Tab- just glad you aren’t working for them- whoever them is! I thought I was Fox Mulder there for a while.

    sorry for the redundancy…

  67. Mining Man says:

    Oh boy, hope we don’t lose too many more like this….sad to see the Committed Indians Blackhawk Nation personally attacking each so viciously. Been a 100% Blackhawk crazy never wavering fan since 1959 and believe me I’ve suffered beyond the beyond after 60-61…..but its been a joyful ride nonetheless….trust me fella’s, this is nothing….we have the best GM, the best Coach, and what other team can boast such depth, such talent and system prospects that other teams can only dream of, plus all those Olympians! This franchise is built for the ages and we will be dominating for years and years to come. We will solve St. Louis in the playoffs and then extract our cold revenge on Pittsburg’s Penguin’s in the cup final.

  68. ebonyraptor says:

    Mining Man – I like the cut of your jib … plus it’s nice to find someone older than me (I think – I was only 7 when they won in ’61 and don’t remember it).

  69. Morrison says:

    No matter who makes a mistake, Q & Bowman are one of the best at what they do and I ll have words with anyone in the parking lot who wants to.

    No one else but these guys sees that Krugs has a jump (since Olympic hype/reality) and he is smart to take advantage. Things always work themselves out for themselves. I know everyone here is smart to and cares a lot. We are dang good, have a wicked roster and no matter what will kick a–. I do believe that everything we say here on this board, More than other boards, these guys read regularly and take note. We are a part of this team in this way and even when people here bithh and moan at the Ruf his comments are helpful to our coaching/gm/scout staff. So let it fly, we are helping/contributing in a meaningful way.

  70. Morrison says:

    I been drinking, but you know what I mean.

    Trying to capture the spirit of the whole thing. Lets go now. Stick ‘em.

  71. JS says:

    You (guys) make me feel so young!

    It only took 29 games of a failing second line for Q to realize that Handzus can’t play with Kane! Weird… I swear I/we have been saying that for a while…. but it didn’t matter because Q has a ring and he knows all. I demand an apology, Rufus!

  72. mhawk says:

    Always enjoyed the spirited back and forth of this site. (though I don’t post much) Difference between this site and other BHawk blogs is that the discussion is usually on hockey. When it gets into personal attacks, it’s not worth reading. Rufus – chill. Make your hockey arguments

    I can’t understand your arguments against Leddy (Is there really a third pair defenseman better than him out there?) He plays 16+ minutes a game, 19 pts, +10, his Corsi is better than Oduya or Hjalmarsson, his defensive zone starts are the same as Keith/Seabrook. And he does this with rotating partners. IMO he’s on the 2nd pair with Hjalmarsson next year. Oduya will be 33 next year, Leddy will be 23. Who would you rather have?

    Nobody has written about the boredom factor (malaise) that happens mostly to good teams. Whether it’s call-ups or line shuffles, the Hawks biggest challenge may be getting excited to do it all again. I personally think falling behind the Blues and Ducks might be the best antidote for boredom. Two teams they haven’t beaten and might need home ice advantage for. 14 games until Sochi. They need 21 pts to keep their current pace. This is their critical part of the season. (not after the olympics)

  73. Negzz says:

    @mhawk- My earlier post on potentially putting 27 on the block for a 2c at the deadline was similar in thinking to your views on Leddy, who I could see paired with #4 this year (if the trade was there.) Your 5-6 D guys would then be Rosy/BB/Kostka +/or a Rockford call-up to get some seasoning for next year. Not idea for the playoffs if you have an injury, and Leddy would have to step up in view of the minutes/competition that 4/27 see every nite, but it would be great to see if Clendening (or Dahlberg? what’s his availability status for the show?), could prove they can provide quality minutes when paired with a guy like Rosy.

    Anyway, these are “luxury/quality” problems the Hawks have and we’ll be a force to deal with in the playoffs either way we go…

  74. AJ says:

    Whelp regardless of the semantics debate and the desire for a similar end result; my point is there is a difference skating a guy 12-15 minutes a night with the best player on the team vs skating him 6-10 against scrubs with some nights in the press box.

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