Jimmy Howard, Red Wings Beat Blackhawks… Again

The Blackhawks have been pushed to their breaking point emotionally by the Red Wings.

Now, they’re at the brink of elimination.

This year, the Blackhawks hadn’t:

  • been shut out. Not any more.
  • lost three games in a row. Not any more.

And, unfortunately, it was the same story as the previous three games for the Presidents’ Trophy winners.

Coach Joel Quenneville tried to create space for his stars by mixing up his lines right away. Michal Handzus started the game between Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, while Jonathan Toews was between Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell. Dave Bolland started on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik.

There was good jump from the Hawks in the first 20 minutes, but they once again couldn’t beat Jimmy Howard. And that trend held for the full contest.

How does the “powerful Blackhawks offense” get shut out?

Kane was credited with two shots in over 16 minutes. Sharp and Hossa were each credited with one shot on net in the loss. One. Brandon Saad failed to register a shot in the loss.

The harassment of Toews continued, and his frustration boiled over on Thursday night. After serving 27 penalty minutes in 48 regular season games, he was called for three penalties in less than six minutes. He was better at the dot, winning 11 of 18 faceoffs, but was only credited with three shots on net and, once again, zero points.

The Hawks’ leaders in putting the puck on net on Thursday night: Dave Bolland and Handzus, who were credited with four each. And, once again, neither of them won 50 percent of their faceoffs.

Brent Seabrook has been a ghost in the series. After having his minutes cut in Game Three, Quenneville said the coaches were “looking for more” from the 2010 Olympian. On Thursday night, Seabrook skated 12:03, had two hits, and was minus-one.

When the top six forwards that were dominant the entire regular season aren’t putting the puck on net, it’s impossible for any of them to break out of an individual slump.

And the poweplay continues to be a laughingstock.

When your stars are slumping, and your role players are getting outplayed, you lose games. Now, the Hawks have lost three in a row, and have scored only twice in those three games.

There were a number of bright spots for the Hawks in the loss, however.

Corey Crawford played well enough to win a playoff game. He allowed only one goal against 26 shots. In the second period, Crawford faced 12 shots, many of which came while the Hawks were short-handed and with traffic in front of him. The one goal he allowed was just before time expired on Toews’ second penalty of the middle frame, ending the Hawks’ penalty killing perfection in the postseason.

Michael Frolik had a very good game. He was credited with three blocked shots, and (unlike the Hawks’ highly paid superstars) was able to create a few good scoring chances. Unfortunately, like everyone else on the roster Thursday night, he failed to convert. In the game, Frolik skated 11:28, of which 3:20 was on the penalty kill.

Bickell also played a good game. He brought a physical edge to the game right away, and three of his four hits on the night came in the first period. Bickell also continued to be the only Hawks player that showed any willingness to stand up to the extracurricular activity from the Red Wings, especially around the net.

Duncan Keith skated over 30 minutes, and his partner, Niklas Hjalmarsson, played a fantastic game as well. While Seabrook and Nick Leddy (only 8:38 on the ice on Thursday) have disappeared in the series, Keith and Hjalmarsson have played well enough to merit their top-pair billing.

And Andrew Shaw played better than the box score indicates. He won only two of seven faceoffs and his stat line only shows one hit in the game, but he continued to be the Hawks’ best net presence in spite of his 5-11, 180 pound frame.

Now the Blackhawks will come home searching for answers, with a crowd of 22,000 waiting for them to answer the bell. If they don’t, a disappointed United Center will empty on Saturday night for the final time in the 2013 season.

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126 Responses to Jimmy Howard, Red Wings Beat Blackhawks… Again

  1. Pete says:

    I still want Handzus out of the lineup and then put Morin or Smith in his spot. At least then we would have 12 forwards that can skate. 8 minutes of ice time for Leddy? Leddy is our fastest puck moving defender. I would think he should be out there more. If we get knocked out Saturday I’m wondering whether Q is in jeopardy. This whole disaster started in game 2, which was not competitive as our fastest player didn’t play. I say get our fastest guys out there and lets turn on the jets and shoot until Howard cracks. At least this game was an improvement as we were only one goal down late the in third. In my opinion it was a fine line between winning and losing this game. Accordingly, every little small thing could be making the difference. It also means we can still turn it around. Lets go Hawks.

  2. Matt says:

    Agree with Pete. Once again, we hit two goalposts. Not sure I agree that Leddy “disappeared.” He had one of the goalposts, and had a near one-man breakaway. Seabrook was awful.

    Question for those that know more than me: the broadcasting team didnt make a big deal of it, so I imagine I’m just ignorant of the rule…but when Zetterberg pulled 19 down and got called for a hook, why no penalty shot for Toews? Looked to me like he was essentially in alone, absent the hook.

    The PP continues to be clownshoes. At this point, if you’re an opposing player, and you think there is any chance anyone wearing four feathers is going to generate a decent chance, you trip, hook, hold, high stick…do whatever. We won’t make you pay for it.

  3. JS says:

    To continue from the previous game post:

    Brad- Hawks had won 44% of their faceoffs through 2 periods. You realize that’s a difference of like… 4? With the teams best faceoff man spending 5:59 in the box for being a dumbass incapable of controlling his emotions? Faceoffs ARE important on a PK/PP. Hawks have killed off all but 1 second on 62 minutes of penalty kills this post season with a horrible faceoff man leading the way. They would have killed off ALL of this time had it not been for Hammer biffing on a clearing attempt.

    While losing all of these faceoffs in the first period, they still carried the tempo. They were flying… then Toews happened. I said it when the Hawks lost to Minnesota, Toews has not performed in the playoffs since 2010… and he wasn’t even that strong towards the end of that run. Everyone jumped down my throat when I said he needs to be better and that the Hawks won’t make a deep run unless he starts putting points on the board. Oops.

    And I think this is time number 10000001 that I’ve said the Hawks still have the top 3 centers they had when they won the cup. IT IS NOT STAN BOWMAN’S FAULT THAT Q REFUSES TO PLAY SHARP AT CENTER. Bolland has become a shell of his former self, blame that on Bowman. Pretty bad paper there. Who wanted to hire Kompon? Who made the decision to take Leddy off the PP? Who continues to put #2 on the PP when he offers you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING? Who benches your fastest skater against a team that gets beat by speed to the outside and stretching the ice? Why break up the third line multiple times when it has proven to be effective?

    Oh, you need size to beat the Wings? How did that work out for Anaheim?

    It’s probably Crawford’s fault. He should have allowed -1 goals tonight or at least he could have tried to score one himself. What a clown.

    This isn’t an issue with talent on the roster not being good enough. This is an issue with the talent on the roster not performing and not being coached properly. Hossa looked drunk tonight. Patrick Kane probably had his worst game of the year. Do I need to mention Toews? Why is Leddy only playing 9 minutes?

    Hawks in 7.

  4. Sr. Brad says:

    Good synopsis Tab…its tough to watch right now…because the Wings just aren’t that good…they are playing well as a team, but as they progress, they simply won’t have answers against real playoff teams who can match their physicality and dominate physically in front of Howard…the Hawks can’t.

    Crawford played great…he gave this team the game they needed. It took being peppered for 2 PPs in a row before he was beat, and only then because the puck went off of Hammer and then off the inside of the post…a seeing eye goal is no shame. I don’t know if any of you saw this tonight, but CC had those EYES again, the ones he had against Vancouver 2 years ago, and the ones he has when he’s on a big streak. He wasn’t going to let anything past him, and essentially he did just that…and before we all hand this over to the wings, remember Vancouver…we went from 0-3 to OT in game 7 because of Crawford…and even then, the only way the nuckleheads beat him was on a horrible giveaway.

    CC, Duncan Keith, Hammer, Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw, Victor Stahlberg, Oduya, Sharp, Frolik and Kruger all deserve a huge thanks tonight because they did something that the rest of team didn’t do, and that’s battle every second of every shift. These players gave us a huge chance to win this game…how many posts did we hit again? How many incredible saves was Howard forced to make? How many big hits did we dish out? We played well enough to win, but as Tab put it so well, when your superstars dog it, don’t get shots on net, and lack compete, you’re going to lose.

    I am literally in shock over Toews game tonight…was it from a lack of care or effort? Never, but he’s clearly not the same player with no one trying to rally around him. But Kane, Hossa, Seabrook, Handzus, Rozy, and to some extent Bolland were incredible disappointments. That last PP, with 5 minutes left and EVERYTHING hangng in the balance, didn’t even generate a shot…not even a chance. We couldn’t ever win the zone and NO ONE seemed too upset about it. As I posted earlier, someone is going to lose their job over that PP…mark my words…whether its a player, a coach, or a front office person…someone will pay for that…that PP will live on in infamy as a low point as we transistion this hockey team from the cream puffs to something of substance.

    Nick Leddy was NOT bad tonight…he may not have had the greatest series thus far, but he competes and he makes plays. I know this sounds almost impossible to say, but Seabrook is holding Leddy back. I think JS has referred Sebs play to his concussions and really, I don’t think there is anything else that could account for it, unless its a substance abuse issue. Sebs has let this team down, whether he meant to or not….and we are paying him a fortune to be part of our core…sadly, this can’t be allowed to continue. With a tight cap like the one that’s coming, you can’t spend the kind of money we do on defence, and not have it shine during the playoffs. As I said earlier, Clendening and Stanton are coming…Brookbank is still under contract as the 7th guy…Hammer and Keith have played all world…Leddy is a star in the making…do the math…

    The one thing Tab didn’t mention, and shouldn’t have missed, is that this team for a 3rd consecutive year is hurting badly because we don’t have a legitmate #2 centre…a physical player who wins faceoffs…like O’Reilly from Colorado. Handzus is a good guy, and has had a good career, but its over for him, for good, and we are skating him as the centre for our 2nd line when we need answers the most. I mean, come on, that’s almost comical…even more comical than say Brendan Morrison. Stan Bowman has done a lot of good things in Chicago (Kruger, Saad, Shaw, Stahlberg, Oduya), but once he traded Campbell to free up that enormous salary that was being smothered he didn’t replace Campbell and didn’t use the money like he said he was going to for that 2nd line centre…and that’s ultimately how Bowman should be judged, because it was a very shortsighted, stubborn, arrogant stance he took and we are now paying for it for a 3rd consecutive post season. We almost lost every single faceoff in the 2nd period tonight…the hungry, but not overly talented Wings CAMPED OUT in our zone on their PP, while our superstar laden roster couldn’t muster a PP chance let alone a shot.

    But I won’t say this thing is over…if you watched Kane, Hossa and Toews tonight, you might be tempted to think that. But there were a bunch of guys who were great and competed hard on every shift. CC looked like he regained his “eye of the tiger” and we are coming back home…win game 5 and it puts a WORLD of pressure on the Wings to win game 6, because lose it, and they are now up agaisnt the wall. So its going to take one shift at a time, until the MO starts to shift…but once it does, we can be right back in it.

  5. wihawkfan says:

    so the formula for beating the hawks is focusing of abusing the captain.

    how do the hawks put an end to that?

  6. Sr. Brad says:

    JS, stop trying to defend the faceoff issue and the lack of the 2nd line centre…if Sharp was that guy a desperate Q would be playing him there, but he hasn’t. In the 2nd period the Hawks almost didn’t win a single faceoff…and with Toews in the box on his 3 in a row, they didn’t win ANY…why? Because in 3 seasons Bowman didn’t provide Q with anyone who could do this. Now if Patrick Sharp is that guy and Q stubbornly refused to play him there, then you’re right…but if not, this hangs on Bowman.

    Q was rattled from the beginning by Babock, and he’s been schooled in this series. Babock has much lesser talent then Q has to work with, but their STs function, and their 4 lines roll like clones of one another…ours used to, but not so much anymore.

  7. drewp says:

    No wonder 19 is frustrated. Forget Zetteberg and Red Wings. Look at Hossa, Kane, Seabrook.
    Toews, despite lousy nite pleays his guts out. How many “superstars” can Wings shut down in one game? Or maybe they are not.
    There is a reason playoffs hockey is considered different game. Pretty doesn’t cut it.
    I have been calling our PP “2 minutes off the clock”. So far they havent prove me wrong .
    Bring the kids up for Saturday game and then see you Wednesday
    Go Hawks

    Bring the kids for Saturday game and then see you on Wednesday again.
    Go Hawks.

  8. JS says:

    I’d say the reason they didn’t win any with Toews in the box was because they are going against really good faceoff men with Bolland and Kruger. Bolland only because Toews was in the box. Again, the center of one of the top PK units in the league was destroyed at the dot yet remained elite.

    And there is no reason to stop defending the 2C crap. Patrick Sharp was the 2c when they won the Cup. If Q deemed it important, he would be the 2c now. I doubt Bowman acquired Handzus thinking he would skate with the top guys. He was supposed to be a bottom of the roster fill in that Q decided should play between two all stars.

    Don’t disagree with Seabrook though. No idea what is going on there, but it isn’t good.

  9. Sr. Brad says:

    Well, and I don’t disagree with Sharp if he’s that guy as the 2nd line centre…why Q wouldn’t use him though is mind boggling…I know late in the season when Sharp was in and Bolland came back, Sharp played wing but took all the faceoffs…over a few games Sharp had an incredible faceoff win %…I kind of thought it would have continued into the playoffs, but hasn’t…and as to Bowan’s comments on Handzus when he acquired him, he did mention that this was a role player acquistion, not a miracle to solve our problems.

  10. JS says:

    Want to make a list of mind boggling things Q does? Read up a little bit, I started one.

  11. Morrison says:

    Nothing matters. The nhl is a discrase with their rules of suspensions & how game penalty’s are called/noncalled. It is what it is… not making excuse.

    To GIVE any team 3 days between the first 4 games, when every series & team has the usual 2days between games…

    The only way redwings have a chance to win in 7 game series is for them to be given. When you win in 5 games your suppose to rewarded not screwed by the sch. When you have to play 7 games, you play without extra rest/days off in between rounds.

    The eastern conference will never see boston or pittsburgh (while still have their cores for next 7-10 yrs) when redwings are in their division/conf. or Maybe that will be the end of the redwings biased sch., etc. once their in the east? What will it take, is Crosby enough for league management to have something ref/sch. evenly/right&wrong.

    Would a nball sport be better to have that leagues management serve this sport better.

    CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER. The only question is, will juctice be served to the deserved’ (Harrison Ford).

  12. Dickie Dunn says:

    JS, “Hawks in 7.” – thank you for brightening my evening.

    I’m having trouble believing it – gullible, I guess, and I’m disappointed. Before the first game, “Chicago in six” seemed reasonable…

    The officiating isn’t supposed to be an excuse, but it seems like a significant factor to me – should it be accepted (did the hawks not get the memo) that interference and holding are legal?

    Sr. Brad, “its tough to watch right now…because the Wings just aren’t that good…” – I completely agree with the first part, but Detroit has outplayed the Hawks three games in a row. The Hawks have beaten Howard at least six times only to hit the post or crossbar, but overall, the Red Wings have been GREAT (to say the least) at limiting Chicago to mostly routine shots (from less-than-optimum angles, mostly) and few good rebounds.

    It seems to have come to, “Do you believe in miracles?” – GO HAWKS!!

  13. Sr. Brad says:

    Don’t get me wrong Dickie, the Wings are playing their system brilliantly…but their overall level of skill isn’t that impressive…the Hawks are in shock over how easy it is for the Wings to thwart them, and unless the Hawks get out of this MENTAL funk and just start rolling 4 lines and 3 defence pairings, forgetting matchups, they will be done Saturday, at home or not.

    This isn’t about the Wings being the superior team, this is about the Wings being a superior coached team and they are believing in what their coach is telling them. Just look at the Hawks…they are CLUELESS on how to fix the PP…that’s coaching…Sharp says we just have to shoot more…holy shit, you have to be able to enter the zone with the puck to be able to get a shot off…and that’s not happening with the man advantage…now explain that.

    Q downplayed it during the post game comments because he has to…it directly connects straight back to him…but that last PP was DISGRACEFUL, not even the Florida Panthers would have been that inept.

    Honestly, Q and Co. might be done in Chicago.

  14. Dickie Dunn says:

    Tab – thank you for another good game summary – I think “you really captured the spirit of the thing”.

  15. Rawr says:

    This is on Q. Don’t think anybody has mentioned it,but in the 3rd Kane had a total of 3 shifts. The third being out there for the empty netter. How the fuck does that happen? What message was Q trying to send? Did Kane make a booboo and had to sit in a time out or something? Same with Leddy. How does he only get 8 minutes? How does Rozsival play point on the PP?

  16. Dickie Dunn says:

    Sr. Brad, “the Wings are playing their system brilliantly…but their overall level of skill isn’t that impressive…” – I understand, but this smacks of the better team “on-paper”, which is age-old (bullshit?) in sports, and perhaps especially in Chicago(?). And, related (- does anyone here know the answer to this one?), how can offensively skilled players like Kane, Toews, Hossa, Sharp, Saad, Leddy, and Keith SUCK on the powerplay?

    And, honestly, I’m not so certain about “superior team” vs “superior coached team”, because Q and staff can teach/preach and implement a game plan, but it still comes down to the execution on the ice. “clog the middle”, “forecheck”, “backcheck”, “close gaps”, “clear rebounds”, etc., are nothing new (and neither is “interfere”, “hold”, “fuck with Toews” (or any other opponent’s stars). Obvioulyy, the match-ups are not insignificant, but we’re talking about about a really talented and deep team (against one whose “overall level of skill isn’t that impressive”). Is it fair to blame Quenneville because for the most part, Sharp, Hossa, Kane, and Seabrook have been MIA the last three games?

    GO HAWKS!! – win game five and take it from there…

  17. Morrison says:

    How does Kaner only play 3 shifts in 3third/wtf. Maybe in a period when
    were on the pk for 8/20 (when they commit 40-60 vs our 10-15 penaltys over a few games/tell it how it is-non biased), when they call 4 penaltys to each team (only scoring opps…). When in reality its like 40 vs 10 over a few games… Didnt kaner play a little on that 4on5 for 5min Hossa boarding, team killing pk-Soaps-to-Hossa gwg.

    I would love to play the redwings with a evely ref game/league sch. series. but until that happens their being sent to their biased/sch. place to the east with Crosby. I guess Boston gets screwed along with us…

    We will always laugh last. We just might have to wait over the next 6-9/yr period to win 2-3 more cups w/Hossa & Shooter. It took them 15, etc./yrs to win 4 (w/no salarycap…) It just sucks that Hoss/Shooter cant be part of all 4.

    HARRISON FORD.

  18. Morrison says:

    GET OFF MY PLANE.

  19. Tim G says:

    3 PP’s… 2 shots… Nuff said for me…

    6 shots in the 3rd… again.. nuff said.

    For my $$$ Leddy, Bicks and CC were the 3 best hawks last night. Which begs the question that has alread been hammered down our throat “why only 8 minutes for leddy?”.

    We have been pushed to the brink… oh well.. lthat just means its time to strap on the works boots, grab our sack lunch, and go to work.

  20. McKay says:

    God I hated this game. What a let down.

    Regarding the refs… even if they called everything… can we score on the PP in the last 2 years? No.

    Are any of our stars going to show up? Even if they shut down Toews… where is Kane, Hossa, Sharp or the Third line? Everyone is MIA. We have the highest goal differential b/c we score goals and defend well. When is anyone on the roster going to score a goal please? It’s affecting everything else in our game plan.

    Incredibly frustrating to watch. Nothing leads me to believe we will win Game 5.

  21. Al says:

    I say why not let Brad Sr. Coach the team next year, he seems to know everything….

  22. Mike says:

    All who point to Detroits game system I agree with you. At the beginning I expressed worry about them. Detroit’s management up and down their farm teams force feed their system. Someone on this post said that SB is trying to do the same in the Hawks system. That will take time. Since we all agree the Hawks are more talented man for man, it comes down to breaking the other teams game plan. In that respect the Wings are superior. The Hawks run and gun has turned to hit and run.

    Q is freaked out right now. My guess is that his emotions are getting the best of him. Hawks did not have to go through Detroit in 2010 and Q has never beaten them. IMO no one wants to beat the Wings more than Q. Babcock is really in his head.

    I think the Hawks actually played well enough in both games 3 & 4 to win. But the fortunate bounces we got in the regular season just are not there in this series.

    I personally would like to see the Hawks go back to the game they play best. Don’t worry too much about matching physicality. That seems to take the Hawks out of their game plan. We have seen the Hawks get out hit 2 to1, 3 to1 and even 4 to 1 and win, even win big some times. A team that relies on speed and quickness should not slow themselves down by looking to be physical. That part of the Hawks game has to relegated to the 3d line. I am not saying to get rolled over, but don’t look to hit for the sake of hitting.

    Come on Hawks!!!!!

  23. wall says:

    JS- ” Hawks in 7″… Did Stalberg tell you that while you were performing fellatio on him?

    Dickie- great post… The Phoenix Suns- I mean Hawks aren’t tough enough physically or mentally to WIN PLAYOFF type games- where effort, will, Physicality, and SIZE matter (JS). Patsy Kane = Steve Nash…. Run and Gun = One and Done (One weak shot attempt or centering pass to ??? no one standing in front of the net) why is no one in front of net- cuz Wings checking/interfering w/ Hawks skaters (who were able to skate where they wanted ALL REGULAR SEASON)… but these are the PLAYOFFS!!!

    And like a very wise-man said earlier this year— “if the refs call the game like the Regular season (interference/holding/etc.) the Hawks can win… but if the refs swallow the Whistle/ like they normally do in Playoffs) the Hawks will have a tough time in Playoffs” w/guys like Kane Who stops skating and Hoss who is looking over his shoulder for the next Raffi hit!

    By the way that wise-man was me… and you don’t have to watch a lot of Hockey to know that!

    The NEW PP look was BRILLIANT Q!!! I didn’t see that coming… Bowman should give him an extension for the New PP lines alone!

    This Hawks team is entertaining/like Suns B-Ball w/ Dantoni/Nash in Regular season… but not built for the slow-down, grinding, Playoff type wars!!!

  24. Tom Jaremka says:

    We’re down 3-1, but we’re not out, yet. This type of play by Detroit is tough to watch on T.V., so it must be difficult to skate against this boring type of defensive system.

    The only way we can win a game is to do what we hate to do…….dump and chase. Detroit is pulling out of the offensive zone and putting 5 players in the neutral zone. The only way we can make anything happen is to dump the puck, retrieve it and then set up and shoot at Howard. However, when we finally end up doing that, we have no net presence, at all. It’s frustrating!!

    As Jim Shorts would say, “it’s gut-check time”!! We need to just outwork Detroit. Not out pass, out hit or out finesse them…….we need to out work them, period!!
    Captain serious………today, have a closed door, players only meeting. Find out just how bad you boys want the Cup. After all, there is no shame in being outplayed by a better team, but being outworked by an inferior team cannot be tolerated!!

  25. wall says:

    JS- ” Hawks in 7″… Did Stalberg tell you that while you were combing his hair?

    Dickie- great post… The Phoenix Suns- I mean Hawks aren’t tough enough physically or mentally to WIN PLAYOFF type games- where effort, will, Physicality, and SIZE matter (JS). Patsy Kane = Steve Nash…. Run and Gun = One and Done (One weak shot attempt or centering pass to ??? no one standing in front of the net) why is no one in front of net- cuz Wings checking/interfering w/ Hawks skaters (who were able to skate where they wanted ALL REGULAR SEASON)… but these are the PLAYOFFS!!!

    And like a very wise-man said earlier this year— “if the refs call the game like the Regular season (interference/holding/etc.) the Hawks can win… but if the refs swallow the Whistle/ like they normally do in Playoffs) the Hawks will have a tough time in Playoffs” w/guys like Kane Who stops skating and Hoss who is looking over his shoulder for the next Raffi hit!

    By the way that wise-man was me… and you don’t have to watch a lot of Hockey to know that!

    The NEW PP look was BRILLIANT Q!!! I didn’t see that coming… Bowman should give him an extension for the New PP lines alone!

    This Hawks team is entertaining/like Suns B-Ball w/ Dantoni/Nash in Regular season… but not built for the slow-down, grinding, Playoff type wars!!!

  26. JS says:

    Weren’t the Suns one game away from the finals before the officials totally biffed it? And suspended Amare for taking like half a step off the bench? Whatever. Hockey is not basketball.

    Let’s all insult Patrick Kane’s inability to play in “playoff” style hockey when he is the only guy that has scored in the past 3 games. Yep. He sucks. Get rid of him! Trade him for a guy like Antoine Vermette. That guy knows how to perform in the playoffs!

    How many odd man rushes have the Hawks had in the past 3 games that they failed to bury? A LOT. Toews has enough confidence to not pass the puck to a streaking Kane, but when Viktor “I can only finish women” Stalberg is on the other side, he’ll try to force a pass through the defender.

  27. JS says:

    Also Wall, Detroit is a smaller team than Chicago. So yeah, size matters.

  28. Need to be committed says:

    Suggestion: next time we have a PP, only send out 4 guys, and 2 of them should be 8 an 29. I’m fed up watching 3 guys standing within 5 feet of one another. That’s not too tough to defend genius. Hell put 67 out there too. At least he works his tail off. This PP will be the death of this team. I’m only partially kidding. SB needs to find someone whose point shots can actually get through. Souray would have been nice.

    If this team was created in Detroit’s shadow who is our Holdstrom or our Draper/McCarty/Draper line? I won’t even mention some of the others for fear of making myself sick. Puck possession is one thing, but they had grinders and guys with great point shots too. Adapt or continue to disappoint in the playoffs.

  29. Stinky says:

    Isn’t fellatio some kind of pasta dish?

    If power play = competent; print Hawks win; else Hawks lose

    Why Handuz is being ridden at this point is absurd. Kruger or Frolik should be moved up and Sharp OR Kane needs to play center on the second line. This is getting disgusting.

    Would not mind Bolland sitting and some kind of rookie taking his spot and anyone else centering the 4th line.

    While not playing badly they need to inject some type of life somewhere in the roster. Top, bottom, really doesn’t matter.

  30. Gou says:

    Many good points and discussion.
    This team reeled of 3 in a row a couple of years back before being ousted in game 7 OT in canuckleland.
    CC is matching Howard, but Babcock is out coaching Q.
    My problem I bleed red,white, and black.
    That being said, as long as I can look into the eye of the terminator and still see a glimmer of light, I will believe this team can come back, but the heart has to want it.
    Reddsteel in 7. Ya gotta believe, period…

  31. Tab Bamford says:

    Would someone please pass the Xanax to wall….? Thanks

  32. Peter says:

    Wow. A lot going on in the comments.

    Tab, great write up as per usual.

    I am a little bit surprised at the level of Q bashing. I do think the PP is his fault; however, I liked the change in lines (besides Handzus having to play 2C which is and always will be Bowman’s fault imo). The team came out more fired up and the first period was all Blackhawks. I mean he is doing something. The only detriment to changing the lines is you will have some players not used to the new linemates. That is why Saad probably didn’t have a shot. If you noticed, Shaw and Stalberg had good chemistry when out there. Saad didn’t know where to be.

    I place this game (and series) on the stars. Hossa avoided countless board battles last night. Plus, they won’t shoot the damn puck. How do ‘Zus and Bolland lead the team in shots. I agree Zus is slow, but at least he knows you have to shoot to score. Additionally, the wings are in Toews’ head. How he doesn’t shoot and try to pass to Stalberg on that breakaway is beyond me. How he doesn’t attempt to pass to Kane is crazy. Finally, if Howard is going to play so aggressive in net (come up to “meet” the shooter) we need to pass more and park someone at the net.

    I thought CC, Shaw, Frolik, Kruger, Keith and Hammer played well. I liked what I saw from Leddy from his limited time. I didn’t see enough of Kane to know if he should be playing more.

    In game 5 something is going to have to change. You have to sit someone and I feel you need to play Smith. Do something different.

    29-19-88
    Smith-10-81
    20-65-25
    16-26-67

    Finally, the #2C thing is on Bowman. We talked about this during our “poor” stretch during the season. I like Sharp at 2C from the players on the team now, but (as Tab pointed out) he probably does not want to play it. I know Sharp come out later and said he hasn’t ever been approached about it, but it has to be clear to the coach and GM. We have a coach who won’t put him back there even though he won a Cup with him there. We have a GM who tried to tell us 88 was going to be the 2C of the future in ’11/12. Bowman has seen this parade of players in the past 2 years and done nothing to fix it. Who are you going to get or who is available for what you need, is the question people come back to. He needs to give up some of his precious pipeline or he is going to waste 19 and 88.

    Finally, and Tab you always say no to this question and I just wonder why. Why would we not amnesty Seabrook? I would say this is his first poor year in awhile, but it has been really poor. I mean he is the 6th man right now.

  33. Tab Bamford says:

    Still a big no re: amnesty for Seabrook. You tear him apart in his exit interview and see how he responds, but you don’t buy out a “core player” and let him walk away for nothing.

  34. IceHogst says:

    During the regular season the Hawks won left and right by rolling 4 lines and 3 pairs. Q must have been seeing a shrink to resist the urge to juggle lines. Spread the ice time around. Don’t worry too much about physical play. They won fantastically.

    What the hell is happening now? Keith is back to 30 minutes. The lines are a revolving door. Q’s old school dog housing has the boys tighter than shit. And the stars are ineffective. Completely ineffective. Get back to rolling lines and pairs and forget about what the Wings are doing. Skate over their faces.

    If hawks score first and the breaks begin to come their way they can still turn this around. They need to take a collective dump to get rid of the pressure.

  35. Bob says:

    Everyone keeps saying, “you can’t blame the refs, it’s playoff hockey.” While I understand that less gets called in the playoffs, it shouldn’t be that way. Teams go through the entire regular season with the game being called one way. Then, suddenly in the playoffs, actions that were illegal before are suddenly legal. Who does that benefit? Less skilled teams like the Wings who can build a game plan around hooking, holding, interfering and disrupting the Blackhawks style in ways that would have been prohibited in April. Swallowing the whistle doesn’t let the players decide the outcome. It’s inconsistent officiating and inconsistent officiating is affects the outcome.

    That said, if I were the Red Wings, I would reach for a one goal lead and then commit penalty after penalty. I would have absolutely no fear of the ‘Hawks PP. No one goes to the net and when they do, the refs are fine to let the ‘Wings D trip, cross-check, hold and hook to prevent follow up chances. Once the puck is on the ice in front of the crease, it’s always been no holds barred. But this series, I’ve seen so much slewfooting and holding and hooking before the puck even gets to the net that I’m not sure how the ‘Hawks are supposed to overcome that without getting more calls from the refs.

    It sucks to see a team built around playing under one set of rules gets manhandled because the rules have changed in the playoffs. It’s not the only reason the ‘Hawks are down 3-1, but it’s a big reason because I don’t think the Wings would have been able to hang with us without there ticky tack b.s.

  36. Pete says:

    Q won’t role 4 lines because he’s fully committed to Handzus who is a specialty role player. If we have to dump and chase then do so with the fastest highest skilled players we have and go for it. If Howard beats us again then so be it. But at least its a full all in effort with our best players.

  37. Mike says:

    I think there is more to Seabrook’s play than we know. My guess is that he (and Q) will take the time to access his play over the summer. Seabrook will either have a great year in 13-14 or he will be traded by deadline.

    But for right now, he has to step up his game to the best of his ability.

    Hawks are experiencing something that has not happened since to 9 game losing streak. Loss of confidence. The Captain on edge. Q mystified. Putting the blame on the refs…….whatever. The Captain is now a cheerleader calling his team amazing. It is like bazzaro world for the Hawks right now.

    The series comes down to 1 game. Game 5. The players have the ability to decide the outcome. The odds are in the Wings favor. I hope the Hawks have the pride to extend the series.

  38. Hawkey says:

    Frustrating. I’m trying to make sure I’m not wearing Hawks goggles, but I think this is still a series. The Hawks are a little better than the Wings. The breaks have gone Detroit’s way. I don’t want to go so far as to say its “luck”, that’s not giving enough cred to the Wings. But we’ve hit numerous posts and they’ve gone out, they won last night by hitting a post and it going in. Howard has won a game for them, despite Craw playing well enough to have won one himself.

    The final score is a reflection of the talent, who has the better performance, and some breaks. I’m convinced Hawks have better talent. They have proven this year that they perform on a regular basis. Unfortunately, to win this series, we’re gonna have to run the table three games in a row on the breaks.

    Hate that we’re in this position, but I just don’t feel this is over.

  39. wall says:

    Tab- lmao- Thanks!

    Tom- agree w/ last 2 paragraphs- but still have the problem of where is the 2nd /3rd guy to pass/cycle to on dump and chase? ( no where!/ we are losing most of the little battles)…

    JS- Will, strength/power, grind/toughness, and Size matter- and JS- I didn’t do a Statistical Analysis on size of Wings Vs. Hawks- but just Eye-balling the rosters… they are actually very, very similar in size not smaller.

    As far as Kane- of course he is an elite/skilled player… but if others aren’t tough enough to skate thru the clutching and grabbing Playoff/wings… who is he going to pass to?– he quickly stops skating because he can’t skate thru it either!
    And Like Nash/Suns ( he still scored his 20 points in playoffs)… Kane/Nash could not overcome the Playoff grinding game…

    Tab- Try to trade 7 or 2 (which might not be easy w/ cap and latest performances)
    and free up money to by some grit/skill… and by grit – I don’t mean CBomb type…
    I mean Ladd, Marchand, Brown type!!!

  40. Hawkey says:

    Another example of the breaks going against us. Three penalties each last night. But the breaks of those penalties are in the Wings favor. On the Wings penalties, those were legit Hawks scoring chances snuffed out by penalties. But on all three Toews penalties, while the calls were warranted, they had no impact on the game. Six penalties. Three PPs each. But three scoring chances lost for Hawks versus zero for Wings. Just tough breaks of the game.

    To me, Wings have certainly played above their talent level. But in doing so, they have NOT outplayed the Hawks, they’ve only risen to a nice, even game. They’ve put themselves in a position for the bounces to go their way.

    Argh. So frustrated that we’re in this position.

  41. RyanDale says:

    Frustration is a common thread here and well deserved. What really got me last night was, in what should have been a totally desperate team in the 3rd, when the game was there to be won, we managed to net 6SOG. Pathetic. PP=Pathetic. Regardless of how the series turns out, CC will not be bearing the brunt of the criticism. There is plenty of that to be spread amongst the skaters. CC should just relax and play another game like G4.
    I mentioned it during last nights game in another article, and its been hit on here… If we take G5(and we will!) at the UC , this series takes on a whole new dynamic with DeadWings having a lot of pressure to put us away in G6. The desperation lacking in the 3rd last night needs to be front and center at Home. And it needs to be carried throughout the game as much as possible. Can’t wait to watch it. I refuse to believe our guys will go out like whimpering pups vs. a team from Mich

  42. Sr. Brad says:

    I grew up in Victoria with Geoff and Russ Courtnall…they played in the NHL for quite a while, and we were close friends growing up, especially after their father tragically died. I called Geoff this morning (he knows I’m a Hawks fan, always have been)…it was like he was waiting for my call. We talked last year during the PHO series and he felt the Hawks were overrated…that PHO was actually the better team and deserved to win. But this morning he shared a few thoughts with me…some I will keep to myself, but he did say that the Wings weren’t close to the talent level that the Hawks have, and that the Hawks are playing tight because Q is tight. Geoff knows Mike Babock very well, and is very good friends with Kenny Holland. Geoff essentially said that Babock is flat out coaching Q, and that Q is at his wit’s end as to how to respond. One thing I can share, because I think everyone knows this anyways, is that the Wings Mgt. went into the series knowing that they were going to clutch, grab, interfere with the Hawks at every turn because they were certain they could keep the Hawks PP off the score sheet…the Wings were worried 5 on 5.

    The other thing of note is how much Babock/Holland love/respect Toews…Geoff said they feel Tazer is what makes the Hawks go, and when he’s not going that energy doesn’t flow through the rest of the team. Every player was apparently told going in that Toews had to be hit/agitated at every turn…in an odd way its a compliment to Toews, because that’s how highly the Wings think of him.

    I asked Geoff what he thought the Hawks could do to win this thing…he said flat out, NOTHING…they’re done…the Wings are already heavily scouting LA and to some degree SJ. I asked Geoff why have the Hawks been so easily shut down, and he also responded quickly on this as well. The Wings are forcing the Hawks to play dump and chase and outside of our 3rd line (which Q broke up) we don’t like to play dump and chase. As to our PP, much of what he said I won’t repeat (I’ll leave that your imaginations, but most of you will guess it) but he said that no matter how any team plays you, there is an answer…the Hawks know the answer on the PP. Rush hard up ice with speed and then lob the puck in, NOT slap it in, which is what we have been doing. The Wings have been told to stand 4 up at the blue line, and when we slap the puck in it just comes right back to the Wings at the boards without having to move. What Geoff said was MAKE THEM MOVE THEIR FEET which is their weakness…fast approach, then soft dump in and use all that Hawk speed to seize the puck, gain control and shoot the puck…

    So take it for what it’s worth, but if there was one thing about the conversation that I wanted to convey is that the Wings Mgt. feel like this series is done (I don’t think that translates down to the players though). What can the Hawks do in the future to win in the playoffs??? Geoff said, too many cute players and not enough grit…not every line has to be another first line…you win Cups with muckers and grinders, and like he said, who do the Hawks have, Bickell?

  43. Casey Leslie says:

    The PP makes me sick..PERIOD.
    We need a goal behind Howard.
    I still have hope, game 5 we do need to outwork the wings!
    Win that game, gain some respect and confidant, go to Joe Louis and win another game…. and we will have a GAME 7 in our building!!! C’MON!
    CC looked good, Saturday night game at home… Let’s do this!!!!

  44. RyanDale says:

    interesting… thnx Brad

  45. John says:

    As a die hard Hawks fan, we just have to call it what it is: Give them credit, Detroit is the better team. Better D, better toughness, better goaltending and better coaching. Hawks have more top nothc players but Detroit is a better TEAM. We also have no net presense on either side of the puck. Where is the grit and toughness. Miss you Big Buff! The scoreboard doesnt lie in a 7 game series.

  46. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    The more I reflect back on last nights game the more angry I get. Crow, has stepped up and played soild but has been out played by Howard! Toews,…WTF. I was reading the trib, Toews hasn’t scored a playoff goal in 10 games, he’s the capt and the number 1 center. Screw his CORSI rating im talking about pucks in the net and setting up playoff goals! That problem number 1. Guess what the Hawks record is durning those games? below .500

    Number 2 or should I just say lack of a number 2 center. Has Sharp been taking draws? Well he probably should be. Bolland and Zues are completely useless in that role and Shaw and Kruger arent equipted for 2nd line duties. How many seasons are we going to discuss a lack of a 2nd line center?

    Brent Seabrook? paging Brent Seabrook a 6’3 225 pound ghost out there,…all season LONG

    Coach Q gets the Boozer award for getting absolutely owned by someone else(Chris Bosh owners Carlos Boozer). Mike fucking Babcock has taken Q to school now, staring down the barrel of an 0-6 lifetime playoff record vs the Wings!

    How’s the Iggy trade looking now? Iggy has 12 playoff points so far! How would Steve Ott look out their at the dot? Probably could have had Jumbo Joe when the Sharks were selling off players. What did Stan do? He did exactly what he does nothing! Let me be the 1st to Congrat Ray Shero and the Pittsburgh Penguins for putting all their chips on the table and winning yet another cup!

    Can’t wait to see the Presidents trophy banner it will be about as worthwhile as the 90-91 one! Sing with me, “Here comes the Hawks the mighty blackawks and their fucking offseason!”

  47. JS says:

    Remember when Iginla said he only wanted to be traded to the Pens? Good times. We should discuss about how Bowman should have traded for him.

  48. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Hey JS remember when Fester called Stan about trading for Iggy and Stan didnt take his call? Cause I sure as heck do, I listened to the Fester pesser and if Stan decided to “man up” the Hawks could have had Iggy, 2 days before the trade with Shero. I think his reply was, “we’ll get back to you.” Im not saying Iggy would have meant everything but if you watched the Pens/Sens game Iggy is playing like the 05 Iggy which is a point a game player!

  49. Tab Bamford says:

    SouthSide: stop w/ the “Stan didn’t take his call” nonsense. If you “remember” that, you need to stop hanging out w/ Amanda Bynes.

  50. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    I’ve been a diehard for over 3 decades. It is my sobering conclusion right now that Stan Bowman has to restructure this roster beginning this summer. Lets face it, 3 seasons in a row of significant playoff underachievement. It’s time to challenge the makeup of “the core.” This team isn’t constructed for playoff success. It’s just not. And funny thing is we were all worried about the goaltending in the playoffs, and Crawford has come out and been this team’s playoff MVP so far.

    Extraordinarily disappointed in Hossa this series. He’s been a non-factor. It’s inexplicable.

  51. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Hey Tab what me and Amanda Bynes do on our personal time is our business! But I think we are getting further away from the point I was trying to make which was this team had legit flaws dispite all the regular season success. Stan decided to do much nothing which is exactly what he has done since taking over for Dale. Its also funny that I made like 9 seperate point but JS is only concerned that 1 point

  52. Tom Jaremka says:

    Gee Brad…….it took a long distance phone call to Geoff Courtnall to tell you what everyone on this blog has been saying for a week……..LOL.

  53. Dave says:

    if it were to be different who wouldnt rather have ladd and buff instead of sharp or hossa seabrook bolland the list goes on its weird when bickel is one of the best players on the ice

  54. wall says:

    Brad- great post!

    While I am not a Hockey expert – like your friends… it seems like I have saying the same thing for the last few year’s… would love to hear more on their “real” PP fixes- cuz once again Hawks ain’t designed for that Power/grind style…

    SSHM- agreed! Except my money is on Bruins vs. Kings… two teams w/ skill/toughness/grit! I’ll take B’s…

  55. Tab Bamford says:

    With all due respect, the “Stan has done nothing” rhetoric should have died 2 years ago. Stan has had to do entirely too much to re-stock the organIzation because Dale went on a spending spree before re-upping w/ 2, 19 & 88. It’s amazing how quickly everyone can forget that the Hawks had little/no organizational depth and a cap-driven armageddon on their hands when Dale left, and that Bowman turned that into a good group of prospects and a Presidents’ Trophy winner… Bowman deserves some credit at some point…

    BUT

    With that being said, as has been pointed out by every blog and every commenter in Chicago over the last 2+ years, the Blackhawks still have not addressed two key elements: size and the 2C position. Unfortunately, neither of those areas are dime-a-dozen players like Oduya or Frolik, so a GM can’t just “go out and get” one. As we’ve discussed here before as well, the rock-vs-hard place dialogue that every front office has to have, especially now w/ the cap coming back next year, is whether or not the team can/should afford to mortgage their future – ie prospects – to get a veteran that might be here shorter term/be too expensive. Pittsburgh traded a couple college kids and a 1st round pick for Iginla; if Bowman had made the same offer, the Blackhawks would have been without a pick in the first 3 rounds of what is expected to be a good, deep draft this summer (Bowman dealt this year’s 2 & 3 for Oduya last year).

    If Quenneville is going to “think outside the box” as far as starting Handzus between Sharp and Hossa, maybe he should consider REALLY throwing the world a curveball by putting Patrick Sharp at 2C…

    That, and he should have Kompon tape a copy of a story from any NY daily about Brad Richards being a healthy scratch last night for the Rangers on Seabrook’s locker before practice…

  56. JS says:

    I only responded to one point SSHM because I’ve pretty much already stated the same things did! I just get bothered by people saying Bowman should have traded for him or him or her or that thing when they have no idea what the other GM wanted. I’m pretty sure it’s also been put out there that Iginla only wanted to go to Pittsburg and the Flames pretended like he was going to go to Boston to try to get Pitt to up their price.

    Toews has been under performing in the playoffs for years but now it’s really coming in to focus.

    Hawks in 7!

  57. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Rufus I completely agree, 3 yrs of failing to advance past the 2nd round is a big enough sample size to know the “core players” need to me shuffled. I also agree with the Hossa comment, I’ll get back to him in a minute. If you follow the money and yrs on deals. I have 3 core guys that I feel should be moved this offseason; Bolland- Bolland gave the Hawks next to nothing this entire season he has 1 yr remaining at 3.3 million. At 5.9 million Seabrook is the 4th most expensive Hawk behind Toews, Kane and Sharp. He has 3 yrs remaining at the start of next season. This season has been a diaster. He reminds me alot of Hammer last season. Seabrook can fetch alot of value IF the Hawks move him now. Brent is 28 yrs old and in his last 3 playoffs years has 1 goal and 3 assists in 19 games including zero points in this years playoffs! In 09 and 10 he played 39 games 23 points. He is probably the biggest reason why this teams has done nothing the last 3 playoff years.

    Last and the least favorite for me is Hossa. His a baseball type contract and is under the Hawks control until 2021 LOL . Hossa turns 35 in Jan and his crazy deal is a cap hit of 5.275 million a season. His entire contact is valued at 12 yrs for 63 million dollars and he has roughly half remaining in yrs and money. How many good years does Hossa have left 3 maybe 4 tops? Those are generous estimates. The Hawks will be paying a 38 & 39 yr old over 5 million? I know Jagr and Teemu are still playing into their 40’s but that doesnt sound like a sound decision to me. It would be great if the Hawks could buy him out in a yr or two but the CBA doesn’t allow it. Tab please correct me if Im wrong. Also Tab Amanda Bynes told me to tell you Hawks in 5 (whatever that means she’s too smokey)

  58. Tom Jaremka says:

    Throw some caution to the wind…….what have we got to lose???
    Put in Mayers, Carcillo, and Bollig. Sit Fro, Krug and Zus. Move Sharp to center and see what happens. Detroit wants us to dump the puck? Great, we’ll dump the puck and play ugly.

  59. Tab Bamford says:

    @ Tom – you would skate Bollig & Carcillo over the team’s top 2 penalty killers? Thank God you aren’t the coach!

    @ SouthSide – If you really wanted to buy out Hossa, there is an option w/ the new CBA to use an amnesty buyout in the summer of 2014. With that being said, I would imaging the Hawks would consider purging deals off their NHL books for next season – specifically Olesz & Montador – before unloading one of the better defensive forwards in the game. Yes, Hossa’s had a very pedestrian series against Detroit (like he did when he was w/ Pittsburgh), but he’s still an impact player.

  60. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Tab let me clarify what I meant was Stan has done nothing during the trade deadline specifically. The Hawks have alot of minor league depth and I give Stan alot of credit for that, Dale did leave a mess for Stan. However, his inability to improve this team during the trade deadline was a HUGE misstep in my opinion

  61. Tab Bamford says:

    @ SouthSide re: Bowman deadline – you’re assuming Bowman had the ability to improve this team with an appropriate move at the deadline. Just a friendly reminder: it takes 2 GMs to make a trade, and both GMs have to feel like they’re getting good/appropriate value in the deal. Last year everyone bitched about the Hawks not getting a 2C out of Dallas… and then rumors swirl that Nieuwendyk wanted Saad in any deal. Again this year, the power forward market was lined up w/ Jagr (not helping) and Iginla, and I’ve already pointed out the fatal flaws in thinking the Hawks would have traded away a 1st round pick for him.

    There might be something to the idea that the Hawks value some of their assets more than other GMs, and the production coming from young players in Rockford hasn’t translated into NHL trade value (yet). But it takes 2 to tango.

  62. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    I think Bowman has to shed Bolland. He’s useless in all dimensions of offensive play…creating scoring chances for gifted line mates, scoring, face off dot. Kruger can do what he does defensively and at a better rate. Seabrook should strongly be considered for trade as well. Way too expensive for what he is and coming off a disappointing and eratic season. Hjalmarsson is distinctly more valuable as a blueliner. Hossa? Lets face it…he is monster when he is on his game. But a age 34 and coming off serious injury he has become soft and highly protective of himself on the ice. He got his ring and now has a young family. His heart isn’t into doing what is necessary come playoff hockey. And other teams know it.

  63. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I completely agree Tab that I takes two. I’m just venting online because you have a GM in Shero w Pitt that hit HR after HR during the deadline and that team is just crushing it and then you have this Hawks team that well is about to be eliminated tomorrow

  64. Tab Bamford says:

    re: “[Hossa's] heart isn’t into doing what is necessary come playoff hockey.”

    I actually laughed out loud when I read this. You honestly aren’t serious… are you?

    @ SouthSide – Shero has great vision, but he’s also got some brass balls. Trading away a kid like Jordan Staal takes serious stones, but that trade has worked out incredibly well for PIT. Unfortunately, the Hawks don’t have a Jordan Staal (read: legit 2C playing 3C because of Crosby/Malkin) laying around to leverage in a deal for a cheaper, better-suited 3C like Sutter. Let’s also remember that Shero dealt two 2nd round picks for Douglas Murray and one of their better blue line prospects for Brenden Morrow. The same Brenden Morrow that was scratched for the last game… so we’ll call that a sac fly? Certainly not a HR. It just feels like he hit all home runs because Crosby came back from his jaw injury looking like Superman.

    Again, it all circles back to the REAL market value of a team’s assets, and what they’re looking to add via trade.

  65. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Yes, I’m serious. Hossa has become soft and self protective on the ice. He won his Cup and has a young daughter to think about. The label around the league is that Hossa is very soft these days. You can ignore and live in denial on that. I’m not attacking the player or his historical elite play.

  66. Tab Bamford says:

    @ Rufus: “The label around the league…” stop. please.

  67. Tim G says:

    Per twitter, 11 skaters and Emery at an optional practice today (Toews, Saad, Frolik, Kruger, Carcillo, Bollig, Smith, Mayers, Leddy, Seabrook, Brookbank).

    For some reason, I think that practice was about 15 or so guys short…

    No body should take a day off when you are one game from “golf season” and you just got shut out… Maybe that is just my opinion.

  68. Peter says:

    Tab, I consistently like your grounding and you are right it takes 2 GMs to Tango. However (and as you just pointed out) it seems the Hawks really like their young talent and think they can help them next year, 2 yrs, 3 yrs down the line. Shero probably mortgaged a little bit of the future to win now, but if you have a shot isn’t that what a GM does. You hear this in so many other sports, but no one gives up on today for winning in the future when you can win now. I don’t know a lot of other hockey GMs that do that either. Is Bowman protecting all of the young talent for the next GM? Enough with me whining.

    Game 5 is a must win. I sit Bolland and play Smith. I roll Frolik and Kruger a little more during regular time because they seem to dump and chase and actually bang on the boards. I let Leddy run point on #1 PP with Saad, Shaw, Stalberg and Sharp. I keep the change with Saad and Bickell and I will live and breath with the Hawks for 2 and half hours on Saturday night.

  69. Peter says:

    *breathe

  70. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Tab, you are wrong on this. It is prevailing opinion in hockey circles. Where has Hossa been vs the Wild or Wings? Where was Hossa in many if the hard scrabble games this season? I’m not suggesting that Hossa wasn’t a great two way player…in fact he was the best in the league. But now is different. He’s paid the price and achieved a Cup and possible HOF enshrinement. He doesn’t have the will to sacrifice like he once did. This happens to many great athletes with the passage of time.

  71. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    The offseason will be about changing up the sacred “core”. It has to be. First order of business is finding a top 2 line Center. And a blueliner. And a LW with stones, especially since Bickell will be lost to FA.

  72. JS says:

    I’m really looking forward to the Hawks coming back and winning this series and going on to win the Cup. That would make me happy for so many reasons I can’t even count and yes I would hold it against everyone forever.

  73. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    JS I hope you are right there is a 92% chance you are wrong. Or has Brain Fantana says “They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time it works, every time. “

  74. Tom Jaremka says:

    Tab, all I’m saying is that what we have out on the ice is NOT getting it done. It takes big, physical bodies to play “dump and chase”, so the bigger bodies would help us. I’m not saying that it’s a great idea, I’m just saying that so far, the smaller guys aren’t getting it done.

  75. RyanDale says:

    Outside of the glaring hole at 2C, I actually like our roster. But when you have guys like Seabs and Bolland playing so far below their previous norm it makes it tough. Add in the fact our big guns are being neutralized by the wings style, you get a 3-1 deficit. Still think messing with our normal 3rd line is a big mistake. Are we going to wait too long to see Smith or more aces? I would hate to go out in 5g without ever seeing an infusion of some young talent. Anyway, I still think we will make this series go the distance. Go Hawks!

  76. Mike says:

    The Ice Hogs are not the answer. I would be in SHOCK if Q pulled in anyone with the exception of Smith. If our stars are having trouble with the Wings grinding style…….how many mistakes might the call ups make?

    Q and Toews have to do a little soul searching, get the team to play their asses off and with passion (not recklessness). If they do that they should win.

  77. RyanDale says:

    fwiw, Wasnt implying more than 1 or 2, with Smith being the obvious first pick.

  78. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    There has to be some subtractions this summer. Bolland and Seabrook need to exit. And Bowman has to get aggressive in making a key trade or two. We need to finally move some prospects. 3 years and the strategy isn’t working. Can’t sit back any longer and live in denial about this roster and its failings in the playoffs. Center, PP, net presence, blue liner and physicality on the ice all need to be addressed.

  79. NJ Dave says:

    I watched the game with a Rangers fan of mine and he said the Hawks looked disinterested. Not a lot of battling for loose pucks, a step slow to the corners, and unable to make a clean pass. I think that says it all.

    I hope this turns but I’m having a hard time believing it right now.

  80. BigsmokeJ says:

    Bowman ain’t going to make any big moves. That is not his way of doing things. Its true Tallon screwed the organization over when he failed to submit the paperwork on time for the RFA’s at the time. And Bowmen has done a very good job of stocking the system with decent talent. But as I said at the time half these guys won’t make it in the NHL, that is facts of all prospects.
    People bring up Iggy saying he wanted to play in only Pittsburgh, well that’s not entirely true, what he said was if he had to choose between Boston, LA and Pittsburgh he wanted to play in Pittsburgh. He never said he didn’t want to play in Chicago and my guess is he would have but when the Bowmen doesn’t make an offer, how can he go there.
    Some people have tried to point out the short comings of this team but most didn’t want to hear it or ignored it. They needed to get tougher and they needed a 2C, two things they have failed to do for the last three years.
    Sr Brad comments of Detroit taking away Towes makes sense kill the head and the body dies and that is what Det has done. And since Q can’t make the changes needed to combat his nemesis Babcock this team is done.

  81. Hoks Fan says:

    Q is ruining the team with his moves. He breaks up the 3rd line that has been one of the main contributors to the team during the 48. Then proves a point by benching the top skater on the team for not 1 but 2 games, the second game being the turning point of the series. Since when has Seabrook been downgraded? These are all panic moves by Q, and the team is following suit by panicing and has lost confidence. Plus Wings are playing well, as they always have against us. Who were the geniuses that wanted the Wings vs SJ that we swept in 2010?

    Crow was good in game 4 but not in games 2 and 3. Perhaps we should consider going with our top goaltender in the regular season?

  82. wall says:

    Rufus- agree- it would be nice to dump some of the “Core”… but my fear is there aren’t to many buyers for 36, 7 type contracts… maybe 36- cuz 1 yr.- but the guy is always hurt…

    re: Hoss- still my favorite Hawk- great IQ… smart enough to stay out of the areas where people will hurt him… to keep my Hawks/Suns analogy… he is like Amare was… unstoppable till he got hurt- now he settles for the Soft areas – can’t get to the paint anymore!

    JS- Really “Hawks in 7″… that’s a JOKE right? Please tell me you are kidding! These games are as Ugly as last year’s Yotes games- actually worse w/ respect to SOG and Quality chances!!! I will give you 5 to 1 on that bet-

  83. EbonyRaptor says:

    Lot’s of angry and disillusioned Hawks fans here.

    I’m not ready for postmortem discussion – the patient isn’t dead yet and, although chances are slim, could still recover.

    Nothing to say or do except wait to see how Game#5 turns out.

    I’m keeping the faith until the flame is extinguished.

  84. Ryan says:

    There has been a lot of uninformed crap thrown around in these comments. However, I love the talk regardless of how crazy a lot of it is.

    Why all the talk about bringing in young talent and referencing our AHL team? Saad is 20 and will still be 20 at the start of next season, Shaw 21 Leddy 22, Kruger 23, Kane 24, Toews, Frolik and Hammer all 25, Dave Bolland 26, Stalberg and Bickell 27.

    Game 4 came down to 2 bounces. Leddy hit the inside of the post and the bounces out, Lindl hits the inside of the post the puck goes in. That was the difference. Well the other difference is that Det hooks and holds and set picks constantly that aren’t called.

    There should have been 2 penalty shots called in the game. Both Saad and Toews were brought down when they were one on one with the goalie.

    Wall maybe you think it is apropos to make a basketball analogy because the Wings clearly think this is basketball with as many picks as they are setting? Just a thought…

  85. Ryan says:

    Hopefully the Hawks are breaking down film on Howard. He is getting overly aggressive on far out he is coming. I think we can exploit him in Game 5. If they do get it rolling these cocky Wings better look out.

  86. Ryan says:

    I think we need to roll 4 lines and roll 3 D pairs. If Q wants to tinker this is what I’d like to see Sat.

    Saad/ Toews/ Bickell – I liked Bickell with Toews
    Sharp/ Bolland/ Kane – Sharp takes draws if Bolland struggles
    Stalberg/ Shaw/ Hossa – This isn’t a demotion for Hossa it balances lines.
    Kruger/ Handzus/ Frolik

  87. smitty says:

    As a Hawk fan for over 50 years I have seen plenty of disappointing ends to what seemed like very promising seasons. There were several in the 60’s and early 70’s and then in ’91 we went down four straight to the Pens after blowing a big lead in Game 1. Unfortunately it looks like we are done again. This outcome is not a fluke like that goal that slipped by Tony O from center ice. It will though be a bitter end.

    Our GM failed to toughen up the team for the playoffs. Boys can succeed during the regular season but it takes men to win a Cup. The Wings are men and our guys are playing like boys – soft, out worked and out muscled far too often.

    For reasons unknown the coaching staff has yet to organize our PP. Completely useless performances there in first periods of the past two games have actually given the Wings momentum and confidence when we could have taken control of the games. Q has been a complete dud on that front for over two years now.

    The guys that were big guns while playing against boys during the regular season are now MIA. I have been a big fan of Kaner but he might as well be off drinking with the college kids because he sure isn’t able to play hockey against grown men. Unfortunately he is just too small and often seems completely disinterested. Dumping him this off season should be a priority even if the return is limited his departure will free up big cap space.

    Toews is inexplicable. Obviously he is very frustrated and not nearly the player many were touting for individual awards. Q doesn’t help there. Why was Toews even on the ice right after coming out of the box after his second penalty? As I said to my son at that very moment almost anyone could see he needed to be sat down and given a chance to cool down. Unfortunately Q didn’t do the right thing again. In my profession such failures lead to unemployment.

    Many fans talk of the great young players Bowman has added to the farm system. If these players are so great how come none can crack a line-up that clearly has several holes? Successful teams are strong up the middle – after 19 our guys would struggle to make the 4th line elsewhere. Where is that farm system?

    I will be watching again tomorrow night – ever hopeful – but unfortunately not very confident.

  88. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    This is more disappointing than the early 80s. We lost to the Edmonton dynasty then. Substantial changes have to come this summer. Stalberg and Bickell will be gone as cap casualties. Bowman needs to split out the core. Get it done Stan.

  89. wall says:

    Ryan, good catch! But moreover, its the fact that “fastbreaks” are minimized – and the subtle little grabbing and holding, bumping (no easy layups) approach is dominant.

    Q is a good coach… BUT — The PP lines he (or someone MASTERMINDED for Game 4)
    Was a sign/act of desperation!!! Babcock probably Pee’d in his pants laughing at that!!!
    And the whole Stalberg thing????

  90. Morrison says:

    Whatever team has beat vancouver has won the cup (or 3rd) 6 years in a row (counting this year). Maybe more than 6 (Im not sure about yrs before that).

    Well find a powerforward/center with all the extra players available because of cap & buyouts.

    Were going to win the cup again, in the next 5 years (this last year being yr 1), but this time we will be able to keep all our players.

  91. smitty says:

    I have trouble with the concept of Q being a good coach unless you agree good is just OK and well short of great. Great coaches win the Cup time after time – ask Stan’s Dad about that or even that guy behind the Wings bench. Not much else counts. One might say AV was a good coach but he is now unemployed because he was not a great coach. Great coaches win the last game of the playoffs. That is really all that counts. Q is about to set an all-time record – zero for six in terms of playoff losses to a single team – passing guys like Billy Reay who broke our hearts far too many times. Not what anyone wants to be remembered for but that is all good gets you.

  92. IceHogst says:

    It ain’t over ’til it’s over. Get the first goal and the floodgates will open.

  93. Aman says:

    As a Red Wings fan, I must compliment this group, no name calling, trash talking etc.

    I must say I am very surprised the Wings are up 3-1 against a power house like the Hawks.

    I think the Hawks will bounce back, each game they seem to get better and better.
    Sure I would like to see the Wings win the series, but I also, have to be realistic, the Hawks are the better team.

    I think thenHawks were out coached, Everyone says Towes was out off control, I think Q is the one out of control.

    I still believe the Hawks will come back and take the next three.

    Either way good luck, glad I found this site….

  94. RyanDale says:

    ^cant argue with that!^

  95. Aman says:

    Oops, make that Toews…

  96. Sr. Brad says:

    Look…let’s focus on a few things here (just like the Hawks need to do)…first, the Hawks are in serious trouble…after the game last night I posted right away that I thought we could still win this thing, especially the way CC looked and played, but after watching and reading the post game interviews, I am convinced we are done. To a man, the Hawks were happy with their performance and were in shock that they didn’t win the last 2…

    What? Happy with those performances? While we certainly didn’t play bad, and could have won the last 2, we didn’t…we didn’t because we can’t score, and we can’t score because we are not getting consistent pressure on the DET net…sure, we shoot the puck 40 times from the perimeter, but we don’t need that…we need 25 great opporutnities where we take the puck to the net, and then swarm the rebounds. Crash the net, screen the goalie and pucks will start going in. Being in “shock” over these last 2 defeats is ridiculous…look around at what you are not doing well, and fix it. How can you be satisfied with only drawing a few penalties out of DET while taking more? How can you be satisfied with that putrid PP?

    If the responses last night were “we’re getting better but we’re not quite there yet in what we have to do” or “to a man we have to work harder, play more physical and win more board battles”, then I would believe that this team could stil do it…but standing around in shock isn’t appropriate and isn’t going to win hockey games. Toews almost cried last night he is so frustrated. He needs help and he’s not getting it…Patrick Kane needed to give us his best effort last night, and he was a GHOST.

    Second, Q MUST trust his D pairings and his 4 lines and just roll them tomorrow. Stop all of the line juggling and unleash the depth that this team has. Dropping either Handzus or Bolland for Ben Smith would be a good start.

    Finally, to all the suggestions about all the changes the Hawks need to make moving forward…there aren’t many. This team won the President’s Trophy and set a record for not losing games. We are simply one, maybe 2 player’s short, and we all know who these 1 or 2 players are…and to Tab defending Bowman…stop it…he’s had 3 YEARS to pull the trigger…if it were just this trade deadline, then you could make some of the arguments you did, but when 3 full seasons go by, there’s no excuse. We could have thrown an offer to Ryan O’Reilly earlier this year, that crash strapped COL couldn’t have matched. Yes, it would have meant dropping another starter next year, but we need to make room for Smith, Morin, Pirri, Hayes, Clendening and Stanton anyways.

    The fact of the matter is Stan Bowman is a bit of a mystery. He has been so good in some areas, and so ignorant/bad in others. Going into these playoffs Wall and I screamed that the Hawks had to add a legit 2nd line centre…no one listened and now heading into game 5 down 3-1, what we need right now more than anything else is that 2nd line centre.

    Wall, you have been saying the right things for 3 years now and Bowman’s not listening…and if we do indeed lose to DET, someone on this team is gone, and I don’t just mean Dave Bolland.

    Q is in outright panick mode and it shows…he will have to answer for that last PP last night…that pig is going to get people fired.

  97. Sr. Brad says:

    Tab, I think the Hawks are going to have to look at that amnesty buyout in 2014 for Hossa. Certainly for next season, Olescz and Montador are gone…but looking at Hoss and his tenativeness during these playoffs, we simply canNOT justify paying him almost $6 Mil per year until he is 80.

    I will reiterate this again…while this current team isn’t constructed for winning a SC, we are close…and I think the answers are in Rockford. We don’t need more offensive stars on this team to win a cup, we have lots of those right now and they can’t score a goal. We need Ben Smith, we need the size and grit of Morin and Hayes…Pirri may very well be the answer as our 2nd line centre…we desperately need Clendening to QB the PP…and we can use Stanton’s consistency, and aggressiveness in front of his own net. On top of that, guys like McNeil, Danault and Johns are all strong 2 way character guys that will fit in nicely as well…and TT has elite skill. With Crawford showing up at the right time these playoffs, he and Karlsson can hold down the fort unitl Carruth and others are ready.

    But let’s face it…we are currently short what we need…and everyone around the league knew except for Stan “One Goal” Bowman.

  98. BigsmokeJ says:

    Good points everyone.
    I don’t know if Q will be let go this off season, but it’s possible. He was in trouble and he and the front office had many a word, so anything is possible.
    The fact is Bowman has pissed away another year of this teams chances for a title. He has done good things like build up the farm system that was crap before he came, but. As I’ve said over and over not all of these players can or will be playing for the hawks. There are just not enough spots or they won’t be good enough.
    It WAS and IS his job to determine which ones to keep and which ones to trade for the players needed to win a cup. That’s the difference between a good GM and a Great one. One that can spot talent and one that can use that talent to build a championship. Will mistakes be made trading players, sure it happens to every GM in every sport. But the great ones are great because they minimize that.
    Bowman can’t for whatever reason pull the trigger. Is he being ham strung or can he just not do it.
    And please don’t bring up the refs aren’t calling penalties. Everyone said this is what will happen come playoff time and that the hawks better be ready for whats coming Well from the scores and the way they have played they were not and that’s from the coach on down.
    And you need look no future then Pitts to see what and how the hawks should be playing. They took a good Ottawa team and smacked them around.

  99. wall says:

    Aman- Agree- that Q is the one showing the most Panic!!!

    I am trying to picture the looks on the PLAYER’S faces when Q announced those New PP lines in practice!!! For some reason I am picturing Kramer’s face/head shaking in the locker room! I don’t think the Hawks can recover.

    Moving forward-Brad- yes- Stalberg is gone (even if/when we dump another contract/player to free up cap space) – His absence will make us weaker! 36- I don’t know if anyone will take 3+mill/glass body! Other than that- the NHL GM who takes # 7 (who is skating like he is one hit from being the 2nd coming of Monty)… should be fired!

    #7 and #36 are at the top of my list- but I just don’t see a lot of takers… which leaves MR. Norris/Keith… we pay that guy 6 million for Good outlet passes/and being a fast skater??? Oduya and Leddy- can do that for a lot less $$$- secondly, out of all the “prospects” Clendening is “supposed” to be similar to Keith.

    Hopefully Bowman can trade one or two of the above mentioned to his reliable trade partners from Winnipeg for Ladd or Buff or Scheifle (never gonna happen)

  100. Tab Bamford says:

    Quick housekeeping/reality check note for Sr Brad re:buyouts – each team gets 2. Total. So, if Olesz & Montador are out the door as amnesty buyouts this summer, there is no way for the Hawks to buy out Hossa in 2014

  101. Tab Bamford says:

    re: wall’s idea of trading Keith to ‘Peg for Ladd/Buff +… A) Ladd isn’t available, B) if you would trade Keith for Byfuglien at this point, you either haven’t watched Buff play since 2010 or you’re painfully clueless. If Seabrook’s overpaid and out of shape, Byfuglien’s the Titanic. Keith isn’t going anywhere this summer, and Seabrook isn’t likely leaving either. If someone from Rockford gets a shot at the blue line next year, it will be replacing Rozsival.

  102. Mike says:

    Patience is the key to long term excellence. This Hawk team was picked 5th, 6th, even 7th in pre season. You could say the Hawks overachieved during the regular season. Seems to happen to a lot of Pres Trophy winners. I believe now, we as fans expected to roll over the rest of the conference. That’s not happening….everyone freaks out. As a group I think they are confident and willing but credit is due Detroit. They are playing the game that they MUST play, we are not, at least so far.

    In a way SB big moves has been to take the heat and hold the course. Could he have made a bigger trade at deadline? sure. OK he didn’t, the team was around .800 at the deadline. The Hawks have troops waiting, good solid NHL prospects. They have played big ice time in Rockford this year to get themselves ready for the NHL. Playing 20 minutes in Rockford develops players better than playing 5-7 minutes a game in the Bigs.

    This formula has worked for several long time successes, particularly the Wings and the Pens. IMO the team, win or lose tonight, is headed in the right direction. My fear, we lose tonight and rash changes will be made…….I hope neither happens tonight.

  103. Sr. Brad says:

    You have Keith and Hammer moving forward as the #1 pairing…and they’re good. Oduya is under contract, and has really shown up these playoffs…he’s far from perfect, but he’s a good NHL DMan…paired with a physical guy, he’ll continue to do well. Leddy isn’t going anywhere…I really see Nick as a star in the making…but he also needs a stay at home, physical guy to play next to. A healthy, focused Brent Seabrook is what this team needs. If we dump him or trade him, then we are looking to replace him…so it would be much simpler if he just showed up. So there must be an issue with his health that is preventing him from doing so. Seabs should be in his prime right now, getting better, not having a drop off season…something’s wrong. Perhaps another off season will help his post concussion symptoms…who knows. If we assume that Sebs will be back, that gives us:

    Keith-Hammer
    Sebs-Leddy
    Oduya-Stanton/Clendening/Brookbank

    That’s one too many (and trust me that both Clendening and Stanton as 3rd pairing DMen are ready)…so who goes…as Tab said it won’t be Keith or Hammer…its not Leddy…so it’s either Oduya, Seabs or Brookbank. I don’t think it will be Oduya as he is very consistent at what he is…the Hawks know and can trust him…but if it’s Seabs then that means the 2nd pairing will be Leddy/Oduya (2 smaller, faster DMen) or Leddy with either Clendening/Stanton. I don’t know. I think trading Brookbank for a 7th rounder in 2015 might be the best thing. That way the 3rd pairing would be a rotation of Oduya with Clendening/Stanton. In fact with that group the Hawks could afford to rotate everyone out of the lineup from time to time to keep them fresh.

    Tab, as to a Hossa buyout, I simply took that from your earlier post that said the Hawks had an amnesty buyout in the summer of 2014, I assumed that was on top of Olescz and Monty.

    The Hossa question Tab is more complex than your letting on…because with a shrinking cap and a bloated, expensive core, the Hawks can’t afford to take the Hossa cap hit annually for years after he is no longer playing…and looking at Hoss right now, how much longer can he go at this pace…1 maybe 2 years??? He has been non existent against the Wings…and we can’t tolerate that.

  104. Chris Spieglan says:

    IMO the reason the Blackhawks are down 3-1 is that Jimmy Howard has been able to easily see at least 85% of the shots the Blackhawks send his way.
    Nobody on this team is willing to pay the price and camp out in front of Howard.

    Invoking the words from (former) Blackhawk coach Orval Tessier from about 30 years ago: This (current) team needs a heart transplant.

  105. Sr. Brad says:

    Mike, I can’t believe you just wrote that.

    Einstein…”the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.”

    Bowman has put together a talented, cute hockey team that will likely NEVER win an NHL playoff championship because they can’t…they aren’t constructed for it. It’s great for President’s Trophys but it doesn’t translate to the playoffs because the games are so vastly different. Look who is winning the Cup year after year…why did the Hawks win in 2010 with a rookie in goal? Because our talent was too good for everyone else??? Forget it…we have more talent now…we won because of the Andrew Ladd’s, the Buffs, and yes even because of our motley crew of DMen. Our 4th line had tenacity, toughness, grit and could score a big goal. You think it was a fluke that Colin Fraser won another Cup in LA??? He is built/designed for playoff hockey.

    We don’t need anymore of Bowman’s cute players…that’s why losing Stahlberg will not be the end of the world. Bickell is showing us that he is worth investing significant money into his future…Andrew Shaw will eventually win us a Cup…he is exactly the kind of player you win championships with…and we drafted his clone (Garret Ross, who is now in Rockford) to follow in his footsteps in another year or so. Mark McNeil may never become Mark Messier…we don’t need him to be…McNeil is a bull strong, mentally tough 2 way player that WON’T be pushed around by the Wings…this is who you win with. Danault is not as strong as McNeil, but if you have ever watched any of this guy’s games, he is NOT intimidated…he’s like Kruger is right now…a little small physically, but a good 2 way player that is oozing with grit…

    I have said this on this board a hundred times…if we are going to keep Patsy Kline on this hockey team, then we MUST have a handful of grit surrounding him. That’s why Shane Doan was the one player in the off season that would have put us over the top. He gives Kane that extra ice space 24/7, even in the playoffs…it keeps Kane feeling safe, instead of looking to hide under neath a rock. And this is why I made the comment earlier that we are not very far off from winning another SC.

    But a few things HAVE to change…our D is WAY TOO SOFT without 100% of Brent Seabrook. Think back to 2010…why did we win? Because we had a top 4 D unit that was off the charts…Seabs/Keith were lights out, and Hammer allowed Campbell play confidently in his game. We have Campbell in Nick Leddy…and Hammer is even better right now than he was in 2010…so what’s changed? Seabs…that’s why I said he’s killing us because we are paying him $6 million to be himself and lock things down. Rozy and Oduya were meant to be a 3rd pairing…come playoff time, play 14-16 minutes of very good hockey. They are doing that, but they are strained at 22+ minutes. It’s Seabrook…for us to win this series and the Cup this season, Seabs has to turn it on right now.

    With the forwards, Saad is going to be a star…another couple of seasons playing with Hoss, Baby Hoss will likely become Hoss. Toews is Toews…if he had HELP around him on this team physically, he wouldn’t be in this funk. He’s still my #1 player in the entire league…Sharp is a true Pro…you win with Patrick Sharp. Shaw and Bickell are ACES in my book…you win championships with those guys…Kruger is aces…give him one more year to fill out and he’s going to blossom into a very good centre. I love Frolik, but he’s undersized on a team of smurfs…we can’t afford to have him next year based on his cost and his lack of physical presence. If we could trade Frolik for Colin Fraser, I would do it in a moment, but LA wouldn’t.

    That leaves us with Patsy and Bolly…Kane scores big goals…he had a big season, but he’s not cut out for playoff hockey, even though he scored the biggest goal in this franchise’s playoff history. We need Kane, but he must be protected…we must add GRIT, WILL and TOUGHNESS to this lineup…the Dave Bolland’s, the Michael Frolik’s, the Victor Stahlberg’s and the Johnny Oduya’s of the world AREN’T going to give you this. Thus, they are expendable. Someone will take the rat for a 5th or 6th round pick…heck, Tallon might take him for a 3rd. He’s got to go…thus with a couple of keys moves, this team gets over the hump…we don’t need to replace goals, we need to infuse heart. Get us Mark McNeil ready to play 2nd line centre and we are set…give us Colin Fraser back on the 4th line, and we are good to go. And it’s really that straightforward…Seabrook back to 100% and our D is more than fine…a true, tough 2nd line centre and a Colin Fraser type on the 4th line, and we’re over the top.

    And I see that grit and toughness with the Ice Hogs and with some of our draft picks…Stephen Johns IS the replacement for Seabrook, but is he ready? Mark McNeil is our prototypical 2nd line centre, but is he ready. Garret Ross is that Colin Fraser 4th line guy, but is he ready. And Ben Smith and Jeremy Morin are ready to skate big minutes with this team, providing a lot of grit and heart…as that’s how they have played in Rockford for 2 years.

  106. EbonyRaptor says:

    dum … da dum dum

    tick tick tick

    At some point later today Blackhawks fans will either be jumping off ledges and to conclusions OR we will be will be jumping back on the bandwagon of hope.

    Fanaticism!

  107. Tab Bamford says:

    With all due respect to Sr Brad’s citing of Einstein’s definition of insanity, that applies in Philadelphia. Not Chicago.

    There’s a reason nobody has repeated in 15 years, and it’s only going to get harder with the cap coming down next year. Sr. Brad did nail it when he said this team needs a healthy, in-shape, functional Brent Seabrook. If he’s hammering people and skating 2-+ minutes per night effectively, that’s a physical game-changer the Hawks desperately need in a series like this one. Bickell can’t be the only guy hammering folks. Seabrook got paid to be a force on the back end, and this year he’s been an overwhelming disappointment.

  108. Sr. Brad says:

    No, Tab…sadly it applies here too…Bowman’s current formula to win another SC is flawed and it needs to change…and I think that Bowman absolutely knows this, but he is waiting for the kids inside the system to fill the void in these needed areas…and they will…but what I, as a fan and fan alone, disagree with is how cavalierly he had treated these past 3 seasons. We are so close to winning it this year, but so far away, as is clearly evident by the det series…I would love to see Q promote Ben Smith into the lineup for a much needed spark. Let him centre Sharp and Kane and see what happens.

  109. jeff says:

    Tab to me it makes no sense that Seabrook “isn’t likely” to be traded/gone next year despite his horrible play through most of the regular season and post season. It’s kinda like a free pass to play slow, disinterested hockey. Oh well, I’m part of the core so it’s all good is ridiculous. Rozy has played better, why would his job be more at risk next year?

  110. Mike says:

    Sr Brad, one, you are missing the point and two, management the last several years is a HUGE departure from the past. Wirtz, the senior, was loath to sign a big dollar or long term contract for players. He did NOT let them develop properly. He had NO system. How many players from 1970 to 2005 were allowed to walk away. Is that the era of constant change you want?

    Wirtz the younger and SB are now at least running a system that seems to have long term goals. As you so kindly point out, maybe SB did not put together a Cup team in 2013, but I think he is on the right track. Playoffs that past 5 years. Now that’s change.

    Players in development like Smith, Morin, McNiel, Hayes and others will bring more physicality to the team. Since these are solid prospects and not superstars it is right to let them develop. Do I like it….no. I too would like to see some rookies called up. Hey, I am not Einstein but I am smart enough to know that Wirtz, Bowman and Q know more about what’s going on than I do. I wonder if they know more than you?

  111. Pete says:

    Sr. Brad, it would be great if Q goes back to what won the President’s trophy and rolled 4 lines and 6D with Smith or Morin playing instead of Handzus. Then the Hawk’s could maximize the pressure on Detroit’s defense with 4 fast and skilled lines until it cracks instead of changing everything around and watering down the Hawks talent advantage. I say take your chances on the faceoffs without Handzus, and if we have to we dump, chase and outskate them. But unfortunately I don’t think it will happen. Q seems absolutely committed to Handzus. This reminds me of when Ozzie kept putting Mackowiak out in center field despite everyone criticizing it as a fielding disaster. The more errors Mackowiak committed, the more Ozzie dug in on the decision.

  112. Tab Bamford says:

    @Jeff – Just so we’re clear, you’re advocating the Hawks bringing back a defenseman that will be 35 on Opening Night who played in only 27 regular season games this year instead of a 28-year-old after he had a bad season?

    Rozsival is an unrestricted free agent. His job isn’t at risk in Chicago next year – he doesn’t have one here in the fall. Seabrook is under contract and almost seven years younger. That decision’s a no-brainer.

  113. Tab Bamford says:

    @ Sr. Brad – what applies here too? The fact that Bowman has taken three years to purge bad paper off the books while trying to build an organization that can sustain itself thru Rockford from scratch? There aren’t a lot of kids that jump straight to the NHL from juniors like Kane did and succeed immediately; we all forget that Saad spend a full year after his draft in junior and, because of the lockout, another half season in Rockford before locking himself into the NHL roster. There weren’t any kids in the system that could fill the NHL roster after the Cup (remember Jack Skille?), so Bowman had rent veterans to fill the roster until the organization felt they were ready. In the fall, hopefully, we’ll start to see what these kids have at the next level. If you think Bowman has been cavalier with his approach over the last three seasons I’m sorry.

  114. Pete says:

    Tab, its a fair point, but aren’t Smith/Morin ready at this point to play tonight? Smith played two years ago in the playoffs against Vancouver and Morin scored a big goal against Detroit in Detroit this year. In your opinion is Q making a mistake by not playing one of them in this series?

  115. Tab Bamford says:

    @Pete – Personally, I do feel Smith & Morin are ready for the NHL. And I believe they’ll both get a shot at making the roster opening night.

    When I look back at the last three games, there’s one roster move that I pinpoint making a huge difference. After Game One, Mike Babcock removed Todd Bertuzzi from the lineup and replaced him with Drew Miller. Miller has had a fantastic series imo, and is a better skater than Bertuzzi at this point.

    The problem Quenneville has continues to be at the dot, and Handzus has at least been at/near 50 percent in most games. Nobody coming up from Rockford is going to be a faceoff winner for the Hawks in this series, which is what presents a problem.

    So what would I do? I would scratch Handzus for Morin and put Morin at LW on the second line with Sharp at center and Hossa at RW, moving Kane to the line w/ Toews and Bickell as they had to start Game 4. Morin played a very physical game in Rockford this year and scored a lot late in the season. This team needs scoring, and could use some snarl in the lineup as well. I’ve always liked Morin a lot, and would have inserted him after Game 3.

  116. Andrew Raven says:

    when all else fails, resort to voodoo against howard and the wings just like i do. the Hawks need a momentum changer. extreme measures are necessary…BECAUSE IT’S THE CUP! The Hawks can no longer play like Washington..it’s crunch time, so get to the front of the net and create traffic. Let’s go you Blackhawks!

  117. Pete says:

    Tab, there is still time. Text that to Q and his brain trust.

  118. wall says:

    Tab- 1st off my trade comment is more a stab at SB ( seems to like to trade w/ Jets/Panthers) and I reference Ladd, Buff, Schiefele (as types of players Hawks should target) size/skill/strength wise…

    2nd – no I haven’t seen Jets play much… but Buff’s #’s look as good as any D-man on Hawks roster (excluding +/-, which is as much team related # as any) over the last three seasons- +++ he would be a great asset on PP from point or in front of net!!!!!
    Schiefele- would be best yet- cheap/and we could reatian for years (probably untouchable)
    3rd
    SB- ain’t gonna make a “big” move anyway

  119. BigsmokeJ says:

    All teams take on the demeanor of their coach and this team is no exception. Who on this team other then Toews will get in someones face? Break a stick or rally the troops. There isn’t anyone. I believe that is the issue, (the grit, toughness), we are talking about. They have a high skill team with limited grit and toughness.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the benching of Stal, put this team on a downward spiral. Q thought it would bring everyone to the next level and with the right team if would have but that is not this team.
    My guess is Q makes no moves tonight and they go down in flames. If I’m Babcock I have my team come out and take it to the Hawks right from the start. Once Det gets the lead it’s over. The hawks haven’t had the lead since game 2 and if they get down in this game they will not come back.

  120. Tom Jaremka says:

    I have read and reread all of this blog a bunch of times. I would tend to believe everything on here except that, in my opinion, we are NOT being out played. I think if we improve on our face off wins, get more production out of our power play and get something passed Curly Howard….oops, Jimmy Howard, we’ll win this series.

    This is not an overwhelming domination by Detroit. In fact, I believe that luck is playing a huge part in their record in this series. I know, luck is when “preparation and opportunity” come together. In my opinion, in this series, luck is when you hit 5 goal posts and 2 cross bars and miss 2 open nets.

    If Toews frustration shows that we have hit bottom, then the only way to go is “up”. Tonight, let’s climb the ladder to a solid victory!!

  121. Pete says:

    Does anyone know how soon before game time we find out who is playing tonight and who is being scratched?

  122. Ryan says:

    There are a lot of posters on here that have been weighed and measured. The same people that were calling for heads last year when we had a losing streak. The same that were on board or so they said when things were good this yr. The same people that are back to old hat callin for heads again when a touch of adversity strikes.

    Honestly there are a lot of guys on here that I wouldn’t want as team mates on any team in any sport. And some of you questioning leadership have opinions of this team that blow from positive to negative like chaff in the wind.

    I also don’t like talking about the offseason in season, that’s why it is called the offseason. Enjoy the game tonight gentlemen.

    Go Hawks!

  123. Pete says:

    Ryan, I guess your point is that a fan isn’t being a loyal or a good fan if they question or comment negatively on team decisions that they don’t agree with. I agree with that position when it comes to say college sports. But this is a professional sport, so I don’t agree with you. I would also add that I have been a season ticket holder since 2005 and I have never boo’d the Hawks at a game even when they were terrible. GO HAWKS.

  124. Ryan says:

    @ Pete 1st the lines at the morning skate were
    Sharp – Toews – Kane
    Bickell – Handzus – Hossa
    Saad – Shaw – Stalberg
    Kruger – Bolland – Frolik

    However theses may not be the lines tonight. Q skated different lines in game 4 than he did at the morning skate.

    2nd Questioning Q and Bowman is not a bad thing at all. At times even questioning them can be positive. Calling for the firings of Q and Bowman is more then questioning and is down right absurd. 5 straight yrs in the playoffs: A WC Finals, Stanley Cup and Presidents Trophy over that stretch as well as 100 straight sellouts. (Oh and this yr ain’t done yet) Also look at the tv ratings the Blackhawks bring. Hardly grounds for firing Q and Bowman, maybe that’s me.

  125. Ryan says:

    And Pete I was talking about at all before. You seem very level headed.

  126. wall says:

    Ryan, If I am one of those fans/posters you are commenting on… ( I assume Brad and I are on that list)- I can say this- I have been pretty consistent ( And Brad has too -especially on the 2nd center issue) about not being “all in” this season… Pointing out that a lot of things have to go right for the Hawks/SC… and they still lack power/grind guy(s)… Now I had been a big Kane basher (and he has shut me up this year on that)- I am still not a big fan- ( I realize he does stuff that few can do…) but in the playoffs its ALL the little things that add up to success. And Kane ain’t the main problem.

    Secondly, if you didn’t “Want” me on “your” team – your team would lose!!! I don’t like losing/ rarely lose/ great team player.

    Tom, while I will agree on the “Luck” comment (series could be different if we had 5-6 posts/shots go in… then again I think Wings have hit the post a few times too)
    But the Wings HAVE outplayed the Hawks/ Out checked- Minimized our shot quality- controlled the front of the net- out coached…

    And Back to the 1st point- Hawks do need to make some changes- it’s 2 years in a row that the Inferior Team (on paper) has out checked/worked/frustrated them… It’s not always about speed/shooting/passing…

    Like Tab- I like the future- Morin, Smith, TT, Hinostroza, A.Broadhurst (winner).
    I just wish the future was now… Saad, Shaw, Kruger- are good- but they are still boys being out/smarted/sized/ by men…

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