Kings Overwhelm Blackhawks Again

Before the puck dropped, most of the Blackhawks said Game Four needed to be their best.

After the puck dropped, not many of them did much to back up their words. And now they’ll return to the United Center for a do-or-die Game Five.

Brown LAK goal

Coach Joel Quenneville made a number of roster adjustments to open the game, inserting Peter Regin for Brandon Bollig and putting Patrick Kane on a line with Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell. He also opened the game with Marcus Kruger between Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp, moving Michal Handzus off the second line.

None of the changes mattered.

Special teams were once again the Hawks’ Achilles’ heel, with the penalty kill allowing two goals in the first period as the Kings hung three quick goals on Corey Crawford.

On the first goal of the period, a power play tally for Jake Muzzin, Jeff Carter was allowed to set up in front of Crawford without anyone paying attention whatsoever. Muzzin had all day; Crawford didn’t see the shot until it bounced off the back of the net.

On the second, Duncan Keith carelessly gave the puck away in the corner. Anze Kopitar threw the puck on net, and Marian Gaborik tipped it past Crawford. Gaborik, like Carter, got to the doorstep without much resistance.

On the third LA goal of the opening 20 minutes, a power play goal for Dustin Brown, not one but two Kings were able to post up in front of Crawford without notice from Chicago’s defensemen. The puck was shot in, and Justin Williams made a nice cross-crease pass to Brown for the easy score.

Three goals in less than seven minutes.

In the second period, Drew Doughty made the lead four goals, with another assist going to Kopitar. The Doughty shot appeared to be tipped by either Williams or Dwight King, who were (you guessed it) easily parked in front of the Hawks’ netminder.

In a series with a lot of star power, Doughty and Kopitar have been two of the better players every night; they once again played exceptional hockey on Monday night. Doughty has been the best defenseman in the series (and it isn’t close), and Kopitar has been able to neutralize Toews.

Brandon Saad scored 80 seconds after Doughty’s goal, flipping a nice backhand shot past Jonathan Quick. Quick may have been bored in the game’s first 40 minutes; he faced 16 shots and saw most of them easily in the first two periods.

Bryan Bickell added a second goal for the Hawks at 9:29 into the third, but the hole was simply too deep for the Hawks to climb out of on this night.

Tanner Pearson added an empty net goal with 55 seconds left.

The Kings won most board battles. They beat the Hawks to almost every loose puck. They executed their game plan with ease in the first two periods and took advantage of a team that simply didn’t match their compete level.

Many will point fingers at the Blackhawks goaltender, but Crawford didn’t get much help (again). After an exceptional run through the first two rounds of the playoffs, Crawford has been torched by the Kings in the last seven periods.

Toews had an assist on Bickell’s goal, but won only seven of 21 faceoffs. Jarrett Stoll won 16 of 24 to lead the Kings at the dot, where LA has held an enormous advantage in this series. Michal Handzus dressed, but saw only six shifts (4:28) in the game.

Regin played 11:08 and won five of nine faceoffs in the game. Kris Versteeg was minus-two in 9:54. Michael Rozsival skated 20:02 and led the team with six hits, while Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked a team-high five shots in 18:02.

If the Blackhawks don’t want to shake hands on their home ice, they’ll have to be a helluva lot better than they were in either game in Los Angeles.

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133 Responses to Kings Overwhelm Blackhawks Again

  1. smitty says:

    That was ugly all the way around. Too soon to give up given we have home ice for Game 5. I am certain we will be better.

    Watching those horrible performances on the PP tonight I couldn’t help but think the most important off season personnel change for the Blackhawks this summer won’t be a player move but rather hiring a coach who knows something about power plays. It is absolutely disgusting to see such a talented roster consistently produce so little with the man advantage. We not only don’t score but we provide a spark to our opponents.

  2. Mining Man says:

    Oh boy oh boy. To quote “morrison” …”anyone got an idea? Now with apologies to “Down goes Brown”….(amended a wee bit )…”Hey guys remember when Chico Maki beat the tar out of #17 from the Islanders, a guy named Steve Junkers, stayed in the NHL for eight games…lets all wear jerseys that Steve Junkers” and and remember Sergei Krikokasov, yah well he was one of us, a Blackhawk eh, and every playoff goal he scored was an OT winner! look it up…can we get him back! and and heres an idea,,,remember a guy named Terry Yake, heck we can call him Teriyaki…pretty cool eh? and and remember a guy named Per Djoos…we can call him Pear Juice! …we can fix this team…how about Larry Goodenough…good enough eh? and Bill Derlago…”Builder Lego”…that out to do it. That out to do it Q. A bit of humour at this point cant hurt…we go back to the Windy City and start three consecutive wins. Did I tell you the one about Junkers? I want a Junkers jersey.

  3. terrible says:

    1) Credit to Q where it’s due. He made some excellent changes. I actually liked Regin’s play a lot. Zeus brought down made me not even notice his slowness. I haven’t seen the numbers yet, but I felt like we got a lot more zone time with our 3rd and 4th line this time around. It’s now quite clear that the lineup changes help a bit, but do not make the difference in the series.

    2) Sharp and Kane are getting rubbed out. Kings are competing and using active sticks and they are just not moving the puck effectively.

    3) Rozi got burned again tonight a few times, but no one got burned worse than Keith on more than a few occasions.

    4) How about Ben Smith? Seems like the Hawks only hope in the corners. The fight along the boards in this game is the fight for the series, since all our offense is being pushed wide.

    5) Gotta love Toews. He bungled a zone exit that led to the first goal for LA, but that guy plays his guts out and fights LA at every turn. Best captain, best leader in the league. It’s how he plays against adversity that really shows it.

    6) Steeger had exactly 1 good shift in this game. He kept trying to pass the puck through to the slot (directly to an LA stick); twice. Love that guy, but I think he’s donezo in CHI-city.

    7) Brandon Saad – proves that you have to go high on Quick.

    8) Bickell – proves you have to park in the slot and high on Quick to get the rebounds.

    9) Leddy – proves you can enter a zone carrying the puck. Indeed you need to. Did we have a single shot on net as a result of a dump and chase? Pretty sure we’d have to be winning at #4 for that.

    10) The LA Kings are playing a lot better hockey than the Hawks. I can’t say they’re a better or deeper team. I can say they are fighting for pucks on the boards, skating hard for the puck races, boxing out the Hawks stars, passing the puck really well and blocking or stopping pucks in the key moments. If they beat the Hawks, they deserve the cup and I’ll be rooting for them over whatever trash the East floats our way.

  4. Ditschler says:

    All you Q apologists on this site, answer these questions:

    – Why play Handuzs this much, especially when he’s supposed to be the PK master and the PK sucks, and he gives you nothing else?

    – Why bench a guy with true scoring ability who goes to the net–Morin–when we’re playing a strong defensive team and are in need of scoring and guys crashing the net?

    – Why play old, tired, sloppy Rosival when physical Brookbank is fresh, especially against a physical team?

    – Why give turnover-prone Versteeg as much ice time as he got?

    – Could you see Mike Babcock or Daryl Sutter making the choices Q has made through these playoffs, especially when we have the opportunity to win another cup?

    No way.

    I could go on, but you get my point: Q has lost his touch. Something has crept into his mind–his own greatness/infallibility, or ego, or some struggle against Bowman and/or his critics, I don’t know. But his decisions have been off and we all see that. Even the national press is writing about his stubbornness in regard to his lineups.

    I know we can’t win the cup every year, but when you’re close and you have the horses, you have to go for it and put the best lineup on the ice, not be “loyal” to old vets or role players who don’t give you what you need.

  5. imtgrill says:

    Not only do the kings have their system down, but they’ve mastered ours. They control the boards and the faceoffs. Only the desperation play that the hawks seem to consistently achieve with 3 minutes left is going to save this series. I like to think if we came back against the rival wings we can do it against this team…

  6. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    This team looks like it have given up or run out of gas. The Kings are winning board battle, dominating at the DOT, and outplaying the Hawks. The Hawks just look outclassed. Hopefully Stan has some nice moves in store this off season because I think this season ends on Wednesday.

  7. torourke says:

    It’s going to be tough to lay this one at the feet of Q, Handzus or Bollig. We were out-competed for most of the game. Seabrook looked totally disinterested, Keith with a bad turnover, Toews struggled, our passing is awful, the puck hops over our sticks…yikes. Hopefully the home crowd can motivate these guys to turn it on because it doesn’t look good right now.

    If we win Game 5 then maybe we can put some pressure on them and flip the script so to speak. But the Kings are playing really good hockey right now.

  8. Dickie Dunn says:

    I guess I’m about willing at this point to concede that the Kings are just the BETTER team. Going into the series I didn’t believe it (even with their TOO OFTEN hyped “resilience”), but they are making the Hawks look really bad…Engblom observed that the Hawks were a step behind on everything (something like that).

    Crawford can’t be blamed for any of the goals against tonight. To me, Seabrook looked like he may have been on heroin…and, when was the last time Keith looked so “ordinary”? The Rangers and LA both won three-in-row to take a series, but at the moment, that looks impossible for the Hawks.

    Is Kesler still dead? — I saw that name dropped here recently. Please let that die. I can’t see any reason to OVERpay (- pretty Unlikely the Canucks do not OVER value + their M.O.) for an expensive 30 year old with a recent history of injury problems.

  9. Travis says:

    Good lineup changes. We came out strong. Got two PPs out of it. Keep that lineup.

    LA is an excellent team. Not many mistakes. They got some huge breaks in Game 2 and they made the most out of it in 3 and 4. Credit to them. But we can beat them if we play desperation hockey for 60 minutes. The first 40 minutes of Game 2 and the last 40 minutes of Game 4 indicate that it’s in the cards. We’ve just gotta reach the next level for the full 60. LA is too good to beat them with your B-game or B-effort.

    Some puck luck would be nice, too.

    Whatever happens, I hope you all enjoy our current status as the Defending Champions. It might not last much longer, and it is a very special and rare occurrence to watch your team defend the Cup with another deep run. Many fans, hockey or otherwise, go their entire lives without seeing their team win it all and attempt to defend it. Win or lose, it has been a thrill (so far) watching this gassed team make a push. We may still have many games left. But with us on the brink, I’m making it a point to treasure our title as Champs as long as we have it.

  10. Dickie Dunn says:

    “Man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.” (- Lou Mannheim, Wall Street)

  11. morrison says:

    Even though they have cashed in on their penaltys more, we got screwed by 2 bullshit penalys in game2. That is the difference being tied 2-2, bottom line. I dont care how much sunshine they get.

    I think LOS/BOS/CHI are the top 3 teams in hockey roster wise, whats that 5 cups in a row between them and more to come. 6of8 for Cambell conf. and counting.

    They are not better then us, but they are right there. We will get more depth these 3yrs coming up, LOS/BOS already got there prospects/young players up. Ours are coming.

    What was good about this game was the 2&3 period we outplayed them and outscored them. That’s what we needed, so we know when we outplay them we’ll out score them too, for now on. No more bullshit 3rd periods/penatlys. We got the momentum/crowd for this one, win at home. Then we’ll have some momentum (instead of feeling/know we had a 2-0 lead and wernt up 2-0 going into the road game). If we win game6, then theres a game7…

    There not the redwings/fucking canucks & we do not hate them like that (or MTL does BOS) to fuel a fire, but LOS did lose 3 games in a row to SAN & ANA. LOS won but were down 3-2 in both, being up 3-2, they… There due for a 3 game losing streak. Its not going to happen against NYR (even with Bettmans help NYR should get whitewashed, unless they wipeout Quick, too?) but it will be our turn again in ’15&’16 against them. It just would have been nice to play a non-top10 in finals. This would be the 2 worst teams in final in 10yrs (NJD/NYR). The wheel of suspended games.

    Does the stick have to go into the neck of Regin (requiring stichs) for a penalty on that or… instant replay for all goalie interference starting next yr. So refs can see what really happened, a dive (Smith). That’s our power play goal and 1-0 lead. Whatever. How many penaltys did they let them get away with after the Saader goal (when we had momentum) then we could win a game we didn’t deserve to, too.

    We got screwed by refs/instant replay off. in game2 against BOS and won game4 to be tied 2-2, this time same thing, got screwed in game2 with 2 bullshit calls but didn’t get game 4 to be toed 2-2.

    Whether were the first team to repeat in salalry cap era (if Bettman will allow that) or not. We have a wicked team & organization and were going to be a top3 team for a long time baby. This wont be our only chance to repeat. I love everybody here. Even you to Ruffas. No matter what were are going to win again, and that’s not what every team/fan/bandwagon can say.

  12. morrison says:

    2 days between games, bitchs.

  13. wall says:

    I didn’t watch game (cuz -imo- Hawks were done before it started).

    But by reading some of the posts- “Seabrook looked like he was on Heroin”- Perhaps my post after game 3 loss – Hawks need to dump some $$$ from the D line (insert some D prospects) and use some $$$ to buy a Forward or two… doesn’t seem so CRAZY now.

    Morrison- my reply to last article’s post… Wild, Avs, Kings “will have to pay their guys”
    actually- these teams are in better position Cap-wise than the Hawks are- to keep their players. And Kings have been great for three years.

    I am talking about Cap/Trades…. cuz this year is over my friends… and Hawks are in need of some changes/ or some prospects need to Pan out really soon… cuz there are plenty of teams ahead of them now.

    JS- where have you been??? Did you finally put down that cup of Hawk’s Kool-aid and Vodka? It is time to start discussing the needed off season moves.

    That JHayes trade is going to hurt Hawks… Hawks could use some size and rumor is KHayes is going to hold a grudge…

  14. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    The Hawks were thrashed, period. Thoroughly whipped in every phase of the game. Very clear to me two things. One, the Hawks have indeed run out if gas. The warning signs have been there for four months and in all honesty this current configuration of a roster went further than objective analysis would have suggested otherwise. If not for Crawford standing on his head versus St. Louis then we were a first round casualty. Two, the Kings are a superior club at this point in time.

    Bowman has some work to do. He needs to start by acquiring a legitimate veteran center. That needs to be followed by Shaw moving to RW permanently and Versteeg to take the first bus out of town. Safe to say also the Hawks will need to address the sobering reality that a 35 year old high mileage Hall of Famer to be Hossa won’t be able to contribute to historic two way levels any longer. And that a 33 year old rather greedy family man in Sharp has seen his best days on the ice, though still obviously formidable in the scoring department. Conclusion? The talent will need to improve around Toews, Kane, Keith and Hjalamarsson (the real core 4 right now) moving forward.

    Saad is everybody’s darling and of obvious talent, but in my eyes was disappointing this season. He needs to improve. Bickell was largely atrocious on the season. What does that say moving forward for a well paid guy expected to be a top line contributor? Shaw is essential on multiple fronts, but we all fall into the trap of thinking this overachiever is something more than what he really is. Kruger is underrated, but then again will never be much of an offensive generator with the assist or goal game. Smith is of the sort who should always be looking over his shoulder to be replaced. Bollig is a role player that is insanely maligned…he is far down the list of essential problems to fix and of course should always be fighting for a job just like Smith.

    Not going to be seduced to thinking a kid from Finland in Teuvo is the silver bullet cure. Let him compete for a job and let the chips fall wheee they might. Bowman in my mind needs to upset the apple cart and make a substantial move. Toews, Kane, Hossa, Keith, Hjalmarsson and Crawford aren’t going anywhere. But anybody else should be fair game in a move to look at getting better and to address weary complacency. I won’t be shocked therefore to see a “name”‘or two be shipped off.

    Surely Bowman and Q have taken notice of the dramatic improvements of Colorado and Minnesota. Anaheim and St Louis shall remain flawed but very impressive clubs. And this LA team seems destined to notch their second Cup in three years.

    Winning back to back Cups is enormously difficult. The Hawks just weren’t the same club they have been dating back to January. Yet on the back of Crawford they made it to the WC Finals. Kudos for that.

    But an offseason of work and reality and objective analysis is clearly in order.

  15. Tim G. says:

    I’ve been AWOL since the birth of my son, but I wanted to chime in. (i’ll also apologize now if I reiterate things already discussed, as i didn’t have time to go back and fully read all the comments over the last few days

    Since the 3rd period of Game 2, the Kings have been in Turbo Mode, and the Hawks have been in slow motion. When the 50/50 pucks are 75% to on team, its not a matter of talent, its a matter of will. Aside from Shaw, Saad, Leddy and Toews, no one has had the heart to do things better than the next guy. Sharp, Kane, Versteeg, Keith, Oduya, and even Hossa has just looks heart-less for most of this series.

    The Kings have every bit of motivation in this series. They out lasted San Jose when everyone wrote them off when they were down 0-3. They recovered after a losing 3 straight vs ANA. They lost to Chicago 4-1 last year… The Kings have ZERO reason to coast. They know to NEVER give up or take a night off.

    The Hawks look like they are expecting to beat the kings by making the “simple plays” work. However, that theory only works when you out-hustle and out-will the other team. Right now, no team has more will than the Kings. Not the Rangers, Not the Habs, and not our Hawks. The Hawks have had a system that worked for the last 5 years, but there comes a point when people figure you out. You either adapt, or lose. right now teams figured us out and we are losing. Minnesota figured us out and Crawford stole us that series… He gave us a shot and the team has not repaid him in this series. (on a side note: those crawford chants in LA tick me off… they are acting like they are beating crawford. They are not. Not a single goal from last night was crow’s fault.)

    All i see is the same thing over and over. get a puck-fight through a forecheck-force a pass back to the other dman-force a pass back- skate up the the blueline-make a pass across ice to the farside winger- skate in and take a rushed shot to the short side, or try to set up and have a point shot blocked. And occasionally, LA doesn’t even let us get the forced pass to the winger and we start over. The hawks have had no odd man rushes… there have been no “A+ high percentage scoring changes” (as me and wall like to say)… And even when we do get a good rush or shooting lane, the Kings defenders clear the rebound and kill the buzz we may be generating…

    The Kings have hustled and willed themselves to MANY rushes. I would be willing to bet that the Carter/Toffoli line has more than all the Hawks lines combined. In game 3, I felt like the Hawks didnt have a single “good” scoring opportunity until about 7 minutes left in the period. You can’t win games with no scoring chances.

    I’ll take a deep breath though. I never say die and even if we lose tonight (currently down 4-2 with 5 minutes left), we aren’t dead. We beat the wings last year; we can beat the Kings this year. We just need to pull our heads out of you know where first.

    My hope for game 5… (not that it will happen)
    20-19-81 (Get Saad more time)
    29-28-88 (Maybe Bicks intensity can get Kane going)
    10-65-11 (Hide Sharp from the “top Kings lines” and maybe steal a goal when Shaw is pestering)
    23-16-12 (no Bollig, no Zus, so that line looks fine to me)

  16. AJ says:

    Haha dickie an expensive injury prone player like Gaborik?

    #keslerwatch

    Seabs got torched for two goals last night. Really really ugly game. Oh well.

  17. shamrock says:

    The sad thing about this series is that the hawks should be up 3 to 1. This is the only game the kings owned from start to finish. That kings aren’t do anything special they are just more committed to winning. They charge our net, they win faceoffs and board battles, they score on the power play and kill the pp. These are all things the hawks can do but just aren’t. As for the line up going forward its time to try something different. Sit handzus, bollig, Rosie, and maybe versteeg and lets play regin, Morin, and brookbank. It can’t hurt. Also our pp has got to change. With the hawks talent this power play should be much better. Is it the players or the coach? Either way just keep ot simple crash the net, shoot the puck, and move.

  18. Travis says:

    Thought this might lift some spirits. On the prospect of Hawks and Kings meeting in the WCF in the years to come.

    http://www.downgoesbrown.com/2014/05/how-long-will-western-reign-of-kings.html

    This series still isn’t over of course… but if worst comes to worst in Game 5, it’s still a wonderful time to be a Hawks fan!

  19. Phil says:

    That was a mess. Tab pretty much said it all as it did Tim with a fine synopsis. Nice write-ups guys.By the way Tim congratulations on your new addition, a baby boy!

    Where to start with that shit show? Most glaring was pretty much total domination by LA. Hats off to a big effort. They wanted it more, pure and simple. That can be enough, because when you are winning board and puck battles you get puck possession, and more chances to score goals which they wasted no time in doing. While the Hawks played some pretty good team defense in the previous 3 games, that was not the case last night. Hawks d men I hate to say it look gassed. Seabs and Keith were just plain bad. Lack of any grit to defend near our own net was embarrassing.

    Even if we throw out all of the above mentioned problems the special teams nightmare remains the most glaring mismatch. We would be challenged to dial it up any worse against any opponent. Never mind this special teams meltdown qualifies as the worst I can ever remember, and against a team that one can ill afford to blink during those critical possessions. Much of the success LA has enjoyed against Hawks the past 3 games comes from simply wanting it more, and the ice tilted their way with good bounces. Speaking of bounces the ice looked dreadful again last night if bouncing, rolling pucks were an indication.

    Refs bad last night imo. No calls that should have been penalties, and really strange icing calls that clearly were not icing in the 1st period by the Hawks. Regin getting a stick caught around his neck behind the Kings net without a call might have been the play that most exemplifies this series.

    I actually did a pretty good job last night of syncing up the radio feed on WGN via my smartphone to the TV. I don’t like the TV call at all, be it the 2nd string we have been getting or even Doc Emmerich. His voice gets under my nerves after awhile. Like I said it would be great to watch a game with NO announcers. Just the live feed from the ice, just like it is watching in person. They could do replays and WE could figure it out.

    We ain’t dead yet, but the pulse is very weak for the Hawks. A win Wed. night could change momentum that does not seem possible to go more to LA than where it is. I just want the guys to give a solid effort, and if they lose, so be it. The Kings have been a worthy opponent and are rightfully in control of this series.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  20. Mike says:

    The power of youth in the NHL can not be denied. The Kings are using the proper mix of their energetic, fearless, talented young players to a tee. This is the present and future of the NHL. Q will get off his veteran kick and soon. The future looks bright for the Hawks. They simply need to replace Zues, Rosy, Oduya (even a Hossa’s time will be limited) etc for younger faster stronger players. And they will. Detroit and LA are doing it. The Bruins found out and so will the Hawks. UFAs over 32 will find their marketability thinner and thinner.

  21. AJ says:

    And also, the Hawks were pretty solid in the second half of the game which was the opposite of how the last few have been. You gotta think they are going to put together at least one complete effort. If they get bounces or not is one thing but I am thinking Wednesday has to be a better performance.

    Oh and also Jeff Carter had what appeared to be a chronic foot problem before heading out to LA soooo another guy round 30 who may or may not have been on a “decline” and is injured pretty much all the time kind of paying off. Just say’n. Dare I throw secret playoff weapon Dave Bolland in that mix as well? Not at the same level but he knows when to show up.

  22. morrison says:

    Mike, The ‘youth’ calvary is coming. 2/6 here now.

    Saader, Shawzer
    Teuvo, Ross
    Danault, Hartman

  23. Tab Bamford says:

    Morrison brings up a great point. For everyone screaming about the Hawks’ alleged inability to stockpile prospects, they have a top-five organization and have some nice young players coming. Teravainen, Ross, Danault, McNeil, Hartman, Johns, Clendening, Dahlbeck are all coming to supplement the roster… but they aren’t 2014 playoff ready. This fall we should (emphasis on SHOULD) see the organization begin looking to replace the likes of Handzus, Brookbank, Rozsival with kids from inside the system.

    But the Hawks need to address the center position still. Teravainen might be a game-breaker with the puck on his stick, but I have concerns about him at the dot against a guy like Kopitar or Stoll or Thornton or Getzlaf – and the Hawks 2C will have to play against those guys at times.

  24. Section 333 says:

    The Hawks look like the kind of team that is more talented than everyone else they play against and when necessary can turn it on and blow the other team off the ice (see St. Louis and Minnesota). But the second they run into a team that is their equal, they fall flat. The sequence that sums up the last 3 games is Seabrook standing there watching his ring-around pass while Gaborik crashes the net. One team is committed, the other looks disinterested. None of Q’s changes are going to get Seabrook’s feet moving. This is on the guys on the ice. LA isn’t better than Chicago, they just want it more.

  25. Icehogst says:

    It ain’t over ’til it’s over. The Hawks right now can be a very dangerous team because, like Dickie says, they are staring at at the Hole. Two Cups say they’ve got it in there somewhere.

    Two things the boys got away with for years have been exploited by an excellent Kings team. One, a lousy power play, a power play so lost that it’s an advantage for LA to be shorthanded. King forwards push the point men to the boards, their D collapses to form a shell around Quick, and they ultimately break up the endless perimeter passing the Hawks do instead of attacking the frigging net. (This is the exact opposite of the present Hawk PK). Two, our D allow Kings to stand in front of the net. All night. Hawk D are caught in that weak position of half hearted attempts to block shots, thereby creating more traffic for Crow to see through, while the big butt of Carter is in his face. I think Crow has been average, but his D are more concerned with stick checking and starting the transition game than defending his net.

    Desperate hockey on the way, and Q should stick with last night’s lines. That arrangement looked good. It ain’t over yet. Repeat, it ain’t over yet.

  26. Mike says:

    Morrison, Tab, I agree. That is why I said the Hawks future looks bright. And Tab, I still think there is a place for Morin if the Hawks keep him. We have a stockpile of young, energetic, fearless talented young core in Rockford and Juniors. Still, a bit of new thinking from Q is needed to work there guys in on a basis that makes sense for their development.

    My biggest fear is that the Hawks blow a bunch of dough on a 30-35 year old 2C, or pick up 3-4 free agents. We don’t need that. We need a Smith or a Kruger or a Shaw to step up and win that spot. Give Regin a shot as well. Give our prospect forwards some meaningful NHL time. I am hoping for a VERY quiet summer from the Hawks.

    We need to re pair the defense so that Leddy plays with a consistent partner, Clendening and Johns get the advantage of pairing with Seabrook, Kieth or Hammer. That would also re energize those guys by mentoring younger guys.

    Lastly, We do need a backup goalie for when CC needs a physical or mental break. Raanta is not that man…..yet. I am not bashing CC, but he looks frustrated and confused.

    That said……I think the Hawks were down 3-1 to the Wings last year and won the Cup. I am not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

  27. 'hawks58 says:

    “Kopitar has been able to neutralize Toews. ”

    And Toews has been able to neutralize Kopitar. Toews has 3 goals and 1 assist (and only a great/lucky stick from Doughty kept the Captain from getting his 4th of the series) on 5 shots; Kopitar has 0 goals, 3 assists (how is that goal still Doughty’s, did it not deflect off Williams AND King on it’s way in?) on 4 shots.

    Just like last year in the Detroit series, everything is made of how the opposing center is shutting down Toews, all the while he has better numbers than the player he is facing (and it isn’t like they are checking centers only, both Zetterberg and Kopitar are relied on to drive their team’s respective offense just as much as Toews is).

    The real difference is our 2nd lines; Sharp/Handzus/Kane combined for 2 points (neither of those points with Zus on the ice) while Pearson/Carter/Toffoli have combined for 18 points. That is a monumental task to ask the other 3 lines to make up for; especially when the Toews and Kopitar lines are canceling each other out (8 points vs 8 points) and the Hawks 4th line is getting minimal minutes and horrible zone starts (though depending on who you consider 4th line; Kruger/Bollig/Smith are at least keeping pace with Clifford/Richards/Lewis).

    The Hawks are losing the 2nd line match up 8-1 (-7), the series goal differential is -6. Pretty easy to see why the Kings are winning the series.

  28. JS says:

    I’m here Wall! I’ve tried to post a few times but it tends to make the site crash so I gave up for a minute.

    Anyway, Seabrook was god awful. So awful it’s like he gave up on the season before the puck dropped. He couldn’t win a board battle and got beat to the front of the net 3 times. It’s a shame that Crawford couldn’t bail him out, but I don’t think he had a chance on any of the goals.

    I actually might be ready to throw in the towel. LA is really good and Q couldn’t afford any missteps… he made a bunch. It’s going to be a challenge to win 3 in a row against this team… but both the Sharks and the Ducks did it. I’m tired of railing on Q though, mostly because there are enough “2 rings!” supporters that it seems like wasted effort.

    The 4.5 minutes of icetime that Handzus provided were really helpful. I love that Leddy played 21 minutes. He was phenomenal last night.

    I’d like to see Sharp’s stats ever since Shaw lept into him along the boards and bent his elbow backwards. The guy has to be hurt.

    I think Wednesday is a must win game, what do you guys think?

  29. Sr. Brad says:

    First congrats to Tim on his new son and welcome back! To the game, here are Sutter’s and Kane’s comments after the game:

    “That’s clearly the difference in the game; first period is clearly special teams,” Sutter said. “I think there are four total, and that’s the difference.”

    Special teams not only decided Game 4, they are also deciding the series. The Kings have won the past three games and taken a 3-1 series lead because of special teams. The Kings have scored five power-play goals on their past 10 power plays over the past three games — a span during which the Blackhawks are 1-of-11. The Kings also scored a goal two seconds after a Chicago penalty expired in Game 3.

    “How can it not be a [difference?]” Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said. “The stats, you can just take a lot from looking at the numbers.”

    Once again, it is not smoke and mirrors. How LAK and MIN are giving CHI fits is VERY SIMPLE. One, you clutch, grab, interfere, use your stick to equal out the speed and skill, because during the playoffs the refs put away their whistles for the most part…and if you do get called, two good things happen, one, CHI goes on the PP which ends up giving you back momentum, and two, the refs EVEN things up in playoff hockey. So then the littlest thing the Hawks do gets called…its a good system for teams playing the Hawks. Second, KISS…keep it simple stupid. Don’t give up any gifts for the Hawks, make them earn it all by having to play dump and chase. All LAK and MIN are doing are dumping and chasing with 4 LINES…getting the puck low, putting pressure on our DMen and looking for turnovers, and they’re getting LOTS, and they stay FRESH because all 4 lines take regular shifts. Third, get every shot towards the net, with elevation, and bodies in front. THAT’S IT!!! Its not rocket science…and why is their PP working when ours doesn’t??? ONE simple difference. We GIVE them possession in our zone, and they are allowed to do their little game of all elevated shots at the net with bodies in front. WE CAN’T GAIN THEIR ZONE with possession of the puck, and if we do, no shots to the net with bodies in front of Quick. SIMPLE.

    And while this is on the players to execute, their are TWO crucial points to remember…one, Stan Bowman has not built a dump and chase team…ours is built on speed and skill, with the noted exceptions of Zus, Bollig and Rozy…and two, our COACHES DON’T ADJUST THEIR SYSTEMS to make allowances for what the opposition is doing, and that’s just BAD coaching plain and simple!!!

    Why is LA winning? Is it because we are more tired than they are? Yes, but only because Sutter rolls 4 lines and we have only 3, sometimes 2, or even 1 1/2. Are they winning because they’re personnel is suddenly better than the Hawks? Suddenly Yes, but only because suddenly we don’t have 4 lines because we don’t dress our best players and shorten our bench instead of playing what has worked for us for the last 5 years! Are they winning because they are getting better goaltending? Yes, but only because our Goalie can’t see and thing, and theirs sees EVERYTHING. So again, why are they winning?

    C O A C H I N G ! ! ! ! !

    Sutter designed a defensive system to grind the Hawks to a snail’s pace. They cannot win trying to play “hockey” against us, so they play “rugby”. Offensively they can’t out skate or out skill our team defence, so they do the one thing to take advantage against all of our defensive speed and skill…they flip pucks at the net, without letting our goalie see them. Sutter hasn’t even had to design anything new for the PP, we just give them EXACTLY what they need…easy possession of the puck in our zone, to set up their “flip and screen” game. What has coach Q-Stache done?

    N O T H I N G ! ! ! ! !

    It took him until game 4 just to change the lineup!!! And ONLY 1 player. Bollig out and Regin in. Guess what, Regin played well all night and ended up centring our 2nd line…but hey, Bollig could have done that, right? Stan Bowman, Scotty Bowman, Tazer and Kris Versteeg ALL said between games that the Hawks needed to get back to rolling 4 lines. So what does Q-stache do? He dresses Michael “I’m Done with Hockey” Handzus and promptly skates him for ONE FREAKING MINUTE 5 on 5 effectively killing our 4 lines. Marcus Kruger skates only eight 5 on 5 minutes??? And yet Tab says that “all of our lineup changes amounted to nothing”…what f$cking line up changes? Regin for Bollig, and still no 4 lines??? What f$cking lineup changes???

    Let me all ask you a simple question…why has Q NOT put Ben Smith back as the 2nd line centre, which worked and helped us win against STL??? Why Zus? Why Kruger starting in that role last night when it has failed all season? Why Regin to that role during the game when Regin has shown chemistry with OTHER players? If you don’t mind, please take the time to answer me this question.

    Here’s another one…why does Q still dress Zus and then effectively NOT play him??? He was good enough to be our 2nd line Centre FOREVER, and now he’s not capable of centring the 4th line for 8 minutes??? Why keep Zus in our lineup as a PK specialist when all our PK does, now, is give up goals??? Why does Rozy skate again last night (20 minutes) and give away the puck at least 10 times in our own end or in the neutral zone when Brookbank, who’s faster and fresher and has actually PLAYED WELL, sits in civvies??? Or finally, why did it take Q so long to RE bench Bollig after dressing him, hardly playing him, allowing him to take stupid penalty after stupid penalty, and having one of the worst +/- ratings during the playoffs??? Or how about this one…since LA is killing us on the PP, why don’t we suddenly stand up at our blue line, and make all those big, slow forwards try and work their away around our faster, nimble Defence??? On our own slug PP, why don’t we try putting Nick Leddy as the main point man on the #1 PP instead of Duncan Keith, who suddenly forgets how to skate, pass or shoot when he’s on the PP??? Or how about teaching our incredibly skilled forwards to break down LA’s PK, by executing quick, short passes designed to get us to their net? Or have our defence pepper their net with shots on goal from the point WITH traffic in front of their net???

    But no, lets’ not think or use logic right? LA are just a juggernaut right now that can’t be stopped…we are dead tired from a long season last year and ultimately it would be better for the Hawks to simply lose now, get a longer rest, and count on the Finish rookie to solve all of our problems next year!!! That’s much simpler than all that detail above, right??? Go back to sleep America, everything is fine…

  30. Tab Bamford says:

    So the PK players/system that dominated for 7 weeks before the LA series is now the the coaches fault? God forbid we give credit to an opponent executing…

    Why did Quenneville dress Handzus and then not play him? Because the Hawks were chasing 3 goals after 20 minutes. Everyone has railed on the guy as an offensive liability since he was acquired, and now we’re begging for him to get ice time while the team’s chasing a field goal? This Hawks roster has no answer for the size LA has down the middle in Kopitar-Carter-Stoll-Richards, and 185 lb Teravainen (or Kruger… or Smith…) doesn’t change that.

    There are aspects of the game the coaches can – and need to – do better, but it comes back to the players backing up their “need to play our best” talk with actions on the ice.

  31. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    The Kings are superior to the Hawks right now. They have thrashed the Hawks. On offense, defense, the PP, the PK and in goal. Keith is poster child for the wearniness of this roster. The usual suspects pooh-poohed this theory for months … no way could the Hawks be tired … well, you have been proven dramatically wrong.

    The Hawks are clearly very tired and ready for summer break. More importantly, I absolutely believe the Hawks are in a state of transition now and that Bowman surely knows it. This team MUST, repeat MUST, acquire a proven veteran center. As I stated before, there is the stone cold reality of Hossa and Sharp likely to be declining performers here on out. Hossa has been absolutely essential to winning two Cups. Most important member of this team in that one direct regard.

    I expect Bowman to shake things up. Toews, Kane, Keith, Hossa, Hjalmarsson and Crawford aren’t going anywhere. But everybody else is fair game. I will not be surprised in the least bit to see Bowman pull of a stunner, as in trading away Seabrook or Sharp. And he may not be so beholden to Saad and Leddy as some of you think…which is NOT an indictment on their talent by the way. Sometimes very talented players are removed as part of the pruning and improvement process. I think that might happen in the coming weeks.

    Give props to the Kings. They are wicked good right now. Gaborik has been reborn and their young forwards have added electricity to a team that relied on dump and chase in addition to the magnificence of Quick. And let nobody be confused on this…Quick (and Lundquist) are the two best goalies in hockey and it’s not even close. Quick is a very special player.

    Kings will slice thru the Rangers like a Vegematic. Could be a quick 5 games max series.

  32. Dickie Dunn says:

    AJ, “Haha dickie an expensive injury prone player like Gaborik?” — “OVERpay”…(Canucks OVERvalue their talent…Luongo, etc.) Sure, if the Hawks could get Kesler in a deal similar to the Gaborik trade…”Matt Frattin”-type (4th rnd 2009, 17G 35PTS in 125 NHL games), a 2nd round Draft pick, and a conditional 3rd round pick. Most of the NONSENSE was something like: Leddy, Saad, Shaw, Teravainen, and a first round pick or TWO for Kesler. (“Haha…”)

  33. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Kesler – no chance in hell the Hawks get him “in a deal similar to the Gaborik trade.” Take that idea, wipe twice and flush. There are too many interested parties for the Canucks to give him away for cheap. The market for Gaborik was somewhat limited because of Vanek & Moulson also being out there + Gaborik’s injury issues. The Kings got the right guy and found their lightning in a bottle.

  34. Dickie Dunn says:

    “LA isn’t better than Chicago, they just want it more.” — it may be semantics, but to me, that *makes* LA the better team.

  35. Dickie Dunn says:

    Tab, “in a deal similar to the Gaborik trade.” Take that idea, wipe twice and flush. – my point was the RIDICULOUS suggested trades/rumors made out of TOTAL DESPERATION, which is notthe position the Hawks are in as far as acquiring Kesler. Obviously, they must address the 2C problem, and regardless of any fact or fiction of Kane’s preferences or (even) threats, the solution does not have to be (OVERpaying for) Kesler.

  36. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I wouldn’t go as so far to say the LA wants it more, I have zero doubt the Hawks want it just as bad. LA is just playing flawless as they are just playing a better game. How many times have the Kings went top shelf post and in. Its just one of those series where the Kings are playing better and the bounces are going their way night after night. Their hard work and effort has allowed them to make their breaks. The Hawks are swimming upstream and are a tired bunch. It sucks but that’s how I at least see it.

  37. wall says:

    RTF- while I can agree that Lundquist and Quick are two of better goalies…. Isn’t Quick the guy the Hawks have owned in the past??? Why? Cuz Hawks had the better/healthier Team!!!!!! The Hawks lost some players due to Cap – and the Kings added some… The Kings are just way better today!!!!

    Which brings me to my Bitching of the Crow contract (and once again – Crow isn’t the reason for Hawks losing) …. but less $$$ in front of Goalie= Lesser team!!! And NEED for Cheaper/prospects to contribute and not just be 4-6 Krugers skating smartly with a weak ass shot and no physique. (once again -I like Kruger- but you won’t win a cup w/ 4-6 #16’s vs. Kings or other good teams)… Which brings me to the “Hawk’s great prospects” BS!!! None of them have done shit yet… Danault= Kruger, McNeil looks like 2nd Beech… They will NEED 2 or more to be Shaw/Saad “Pans” or the Hawks will need to deal… plain and simple…

    I still think the Hayes deal ( JHayes needed to skate on Hawks top 2 lines to be effective-imo)… but the real bitter pill- will be losing his Brother- who is probably most ready to step into the Hawks top 6- and He has size!

    So back to my opinion- Hawks D Prospects are actually a stronger/more ready group than the Forwards… Deals may be coming this Summer.

    Or Morin/TT/Carey/Other will NEED to be Factors next year- for Hawks to really be better off than now!

  38. Tab Bamford says:

    Again, I’m not necessarily buying that Jimmy Hayes skating in the top 6 instead of Bickell is a deal-breaker for this team. And it would be in place of Bickell because he’s the one wing that isn’t named Kane-Hossa-Sharp that would be replaced by Hayes, who didn’t show me enough to be worthy of top six minutes. His size would have been a plus against the Kings, but that’s assuming Quenneville would have put him in the lineup; Morin is an enormous upgrade offensively from Bollig or Handzus or Nordstrom, but the other three keep getting a look…

    Also, fwiw, Kevin Hayes’ twitter account still says he’s a Blackhawks prospect playing at Boston College. Not sure it’s 100% that he’s gone this summer, especially in light of the situation at center facing the Blackhawks. I’m not saying it’s likely he’s in Chicago next year, but one has to believe his size would at least be worth a looooong look from the front office given how the Kings are manhandling the Hawks at that specific position in this series.

  39. Sr. Brad says:

    Mike, you are exactly right about the Hawks moving forward. No big signings, no big trades and no more giving Q ancient, faulty toys that he can play with. Mike, Phil, Mo are exactly right about youth in the NHL (and not just players, but coaching too). It cannot be denied. Teach them well, let them learn, and then feed off of their energy. Consider this, we don’t win last year without Andrew Shaw. Its that simple. His passion, his energy, his tenacity was infectious and pushed our team be “grittier”. Jeremy Morin was our best forward down the stretch with Toews and Kane out…he’s fast, he’s great with the puck, and he goes to the net…why not play him?

    Considering what we have in Rockford (an abundance of good “bottom 6″ forwards), I don’t get the Bollig signing at all…however, if Bollig was rotated in and out of the lineup with another younger forward, that would be a nice “12th man” next year.

    With Ben Smith showing how good he is, and as a Centre playing with top talent, and Jeremy Morin ready, I think TT is going to have a tough time making the Hawk’s roster next year. As Mike and Bannerman and Belfour say, its better for these kids to play at least a year in Rockford anyways, forcing them to compete hard for their roster spots. Just think of Morin…after what he has been through, I can’t see him taking a night off any time soon.

  40. Sr. Brad says:

    Tab, the Hawks have to at least match the Kings 4 lines. They are big and strong, and it takes a lot of energy out of our 9/10 forwards skating against their 12. As to our PK for 7 weeks, myself and TONS of others around the league have been saying the SAME THING…Crawford was the reason. He had atrocious PK #’s before his injury and turned it around after he came back. But it didn’t change the fact that the Hawks system of killing penalties is STUPID! You are playing with fire when you constantly allow teams to easily set up in your zone and take pot shots at your goalie, and he can’t stop everything if he can’t see anything. You are relying on your PK forwards to block shots, your DMen to clear people out of the front of the net and most importantly, to win “own zone” F/O’s, which we as a team do a HORRENDOUS job of. With our speed and skill, we should be ALWAYS pressuring the puck on the PK. We are fast and our players have been taught to use their sticks well. And with our offensive skill, we would literally have opposing PP’s on their heels worrying about giving up shorthanded goals instead of focusing on pressuring us. Since Q-stache arrived, our ST’s have fluctuated greatly and have had LONG periods of struggles. We are capable of good stretches, but that’s because Q-stache coaches the best combination of talent and character perhaps in NHL history. I would be embarrassed to congratulate Q for our PK team.

    We are literally the only team left in the NHL that runs this stupid system. Everybody else pressures the puck, which BTW, creates turnovers and shorthanded goals. Why did we have so many shorties back in 2009/10??? Because our ST’s were run differently. And our 2 Asst’s that did such a great job were let go or allowed to move so that Q-stache could bring in 2 of his disciples who do the same things that he does.

  41. goldenbladz says:

    I agree with you Mike today’s NHL is being strengthened with alot of youth that bring speed to the game. Ccoaches have to realize this and integrate them in spots to make them better and the team better. You simply cannot show up with the same lineup year after year and think “hey we won it last year” let’s roll the same lineup. Handzus, Rozy, Versteeg should be moved/retired. I would also move Bollig, Oduya and possibly Seabrook.

  42. AJ says:

    Point being is Gaborik is a lotta dollars for a lotta risk but with also a lot of potential. Same could be said for Carter who is ripping things up.

    My issue with the coaching staff is they refuse to make adjustments until its just about closing time. Not good. The PK has taken a bit of a crap but the Kings also changed their scheme and them free point shots are causing problems. They should have tape and you’d think a competent staff could figure it out. The Power Play has been marginal to dastardly the last few years so that isn’t too surprising. They also do the same godamn thing every single time through so surprise surprise. Maybe shuffle that deck a bit.

    Hayes was obviously not an answer but Pirri could have been useful in some capacity. Morin wasn’t going to shoot 3% the whole year and he does fewer stupid things than Bollig. Would have been nice to see Regin used more to get in a flow before desperation set in, like during the regular season. Sharp at center would eliminate a few issues. Not sure why that hasn’t been visited. Tell me 20-10-81 wouldn’t be scary and help round out the bottom 6. It makes no sense and is despicable roster management and awful for player development.

    STL and the Wild were definitely inferior teams talent wise and this is a little bit of a different animal. Going from one goal scorer per team to 4 or 5 is kind of a change.

    Fix the penalty kill, get some luck in front of the goal and I think the next game will have a better result. The deck needs to get reshuffled and they need to make some adjustments tactically, especially special teams wise. It strikes me as nothing short of incompetence to continue to do the same unsuccessful things over and over and over again.

  43. Gilles Marotte says:

    As a Kings fan I would like to say that I have read with interest the comments on this board. They are much more in depth and honest. The Hawks are a great team with a whole lot of talent but I think they have run out of gas. Last year, after the St. Louis and San Jose series, the Kings were beat down and tired and the Hawks came in and mopped the floored with us. This year the shoe is on the other foot. Even though we went 7 games against San Jose and Anaheim we are no way as physically spent like we were last year. Toews is an amazing captain and the other Hawks players need to raise their level of play like he has. Every time he has the puck, I worry. But he can only do so much. I still am in disbelief of how well we have kept Kane, Sharp and Hossa almost completely ineffective. The Kings cannot allow Kane and company to light up the net in game 5, otherwise the emotional uplift might propel them to win 3 in a row. In my humble opinion shutting down Kane is the key to the Kings winning the series. Take care Chicago fans and hopefully we’ll see you next year in the playoffs as well.

  44. Tim G says:

    As far as the Kings being lessed “gassed”, it probably really helps not to have to leave SoCal except for 2 games in the last month… lol

    I know STL and MIN are “far”, but nothing like what LA had.

  45. Phil says:

    Thanks for participating Gilles Marotte. Good insights. AJ, isn’t the defintion of insanity doing the same thing over and over with the same undesired result? I like your thought about Sharpy at center. Win or lose in this series Q should bear some responsibility with how he matched up in this series and how he ran his best horses hard most of the year to the point of limiting their current effectiveness. I believe that running the 4 line formula with the players he has had available would have left our core guys with some gas left in the tank. There may be some fumes in there left, but the fuel gauge has been running low since the Wild series. Had Crow not been on top of his game we might not have escaped.

    I think the Hawks can win tomorrow and hopefully Kaner, Hoss, and Sharpy, can find the back of gthe net. Hard to believe all of those guys can be shut down in a 7 game series. I am still holding out some very cautious optimism. Can’t talk about off season stuff yet. Last I looked at the schedule it says we are still playing hockey in Chicago tomorrow. Remember that clinch games are the toughest to win usually. Lets’ see if a win tomorrow can gain a momentum shift to the Hawks.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  46. EbonyRaptor says:

    I feel like penning a postmortem but the patient isn’t dead yet so I’ll just say that the Hawks are still a very good team but aren’t playing at peak efficiency at this time. Let’s see what happens in Game 5.

  47. JS says:

    The Kings have played 4 less games than the Hawks over the last calender year.

    Daryl took 2 kids and stuck them with a really good (playing great) vet and they’ve been absolutely dynomite. Meanwhile, the Hawks offensively capable kids, have been traded or buried beneath the Bollig’s and Handzus’ of the world. God that Bollig extension.

    It’s frustrating knowing that the Hawks should be able to compete with the Kings, but they simply haven’t made the right moves and even if they do now, it will probably be too late.

    LA has done an incredible job of taking advantage of the lack of mobility of Handzus on the PK unit, but he’s still out there because if he can’t get minutes on the PK, wtf is the point of dressing him?

    As far as the Power Play? It’s always been absolute clown shoes… but why don’t we take a minute to think of why the second unit is playing better than the first? Who on the top unit can win a board battle besides Toews? LA is simply making the Hawks dump the puck by stacking 4 at the blue line and no one is capable of retrieving. Once that second unit goes out there, Saad, Hossa, Bickell… they are all capable of doing work along the boards. Also, with how aggressively LA is attacking the point men, it’s leaving space in the middle of the zone, would be nice for someone to sit in it. All of the rings on the Blackhawks bench can’t figure this out.

    Anyway, irritation setting in.

  48. wall says:

    JS- welcome back… Like I’ve said before… the best way to combat a pressure PK is go to 1-3-1 and KNOW that when they attack on boards someone should be wide open in the middle of the ice!!!

    Once again- I didn’t watch- but you are 2nd person to confirm that Seabs- looks a little lost… Does Johns or D-back make Seabs expendable?

  49. Tab Bamford says:

    “Does Johns or Dahlbeck make Seabrook expendable?” – not for at least 12 months, more likely 24.

  50. kid says:

    We be missing Frolik and Emery to help hold the defenses together. Cro just needs a break is all.

  51. Tab Bamford says:

    kid – Emery held the defense together less than the rug did the front room at Lebowski’s place… stop it.

  52. JS says:

    Wall- I think Seabrook is expendable… but I don’t see him going anywhere. He’s been here for a minute and him and Keith are pretty much Best Friends Forever.

    And why can everyone figure out what to change about the PP besides the Hawks coaches? I DON’T UNDERSTAND!

    Also, Quick’s save percentage is under .900 for the series. Sure would be nice if the Hawks could get some more shots on goal… (not a shot at you Wall!)

  53. Tab Bamford says:

    A player is “expendable” if you can adequately replace/upgrade him. That isn’t the case with Seabrook

  54. Sr. Brad says:

    Wall, with essentially no major deals/movement this is what I see for the Hawks lineup next season…a line up capable of winning another Cup, but will be even better in 2 years time…

    Morin-Toews-Hossa
    Sharp-Smith-Kane
    Bickell-Shaw-Saad
    Regin/Bollig-Kruger-Nordstrom

    Keith-Hammer
    Seabrook-Leddy
    Brookbank-Clendening/Dahlbeck

    Crawford/LaBarbera

    I honestly wouldn’t mind Raanta as our backup, as he is going to be a very good goalie, but he needs to play if he is going to get rid of those bad habits…and the more he plays the faster he will get better. A 4th line of Kruger, Nordstrom and Regin would be incredible. They have the speed, the smarts and character to match up with ANY other team’s top line. Plus, 3 guys who can play Centre all on one line. A 3rd line of Shaw centring Saad and Bickell would be crazy. Good speed, lots of goal scoring ability (three 20 goal scorers), sound 2 way play, and TONS of physicality. This is a line that would dominate. The 2nd line of Smith Centring Sharp and Kane might seem risky to some, but I have seen enough of Smith to know how good this line would be. Insanely fast, with top notch puck possession…they would have incredible Corsi #s. Plus, Smith and Sharp would ensure that Kane continued his 2 way play. Finally a top line of Toews Centring Hossa and Morin I think would be huge. Playing next to Toews and Hossa, Morin’s defensive game would undoubtedly become another strong point…plus his puck work and possession game would lend themselves perfectly to Toew’s and Hossa’s strengths. This is another line that would dominate and control puck possession. Plus, could be physical if they ever chose to.

    On D, its clear Leddy is ready for the next step. He and Seabs have paired well together already. They would make a great combo. Keith/Hammer is a no brainer…they compliment one another well. And for the 3rd pairing, we have got to start getting younger on D and next year will be the year to start. There is no doubt that Dahlbeck is ready for the NHL. Very quietly he had a HUGE season in Rockford. He greatly improved his skating and offensive game, and has always been smart and physical defensively. I have no doubts about his ability to succeed. Clendening is an AHL record setter and twice now an AHL All Star. And while his D game can still get better, he is an elite puck mover and PP QB, which we desperately need. Give these two someone like Brookbank, who knows our system and is having a good season, and they will be a responsible pairing, with a massive ceiling for improvement. The following year we bring in Johns for Brookbank, and we are set for a LONG TIME.

    So, there is no need for any doom and gloom here. The Hawks have the system and talent to continue winning at a very high level for a very long time, we just need for Bowman and Q-stache to be on the same page, and to be willing to let these youngsters have moments of difficulties that they can work themselves out of. Is this the coaching staff to do this??? I don’t know…but I do know that if Q-staches trusts these kids, they will pay back huge dividends.

  55. JS says:

    Tab- look at the UFA market for defensemen, then look at all of the teams in terrible need of defensemen. Trade value for defensemen this offseason will be insane. While I don’t think Johns or Dahlbeck can step in and immediately do as good of a job as Seabrook, I think skating next to Duncan Keith makes the transition a lot smoother. Did the Hawks D suddenly crumble when Seabrook sat out 3 games for being an idiot? Do you think Brookbank will be better than a Johns after a season of experience?

  56. Tab Bamford says:

    I never questioned the trade market for defensemen, JS. What I did question was the Hawks’ ability to replace the ONLY physical defenseman on their NHL roster capable of skating 20+ decent minutes 80+ times per season right now. No way you move Seabrook right now.

    With that being said, JS just made the case for Oduya to wear another sweater next year. With the defensemen coming up thru the system – and Leddy ready for a more significant role – it’s time to move 27 and elevate some other players. In a thin free agent market, a guy like Oduya will undoubtedly fetch good value around the time of the draft.

  57. JS says:

    I don’t see him being traded either, Tab, but I wouldn’t be upset. I think a lot of his faults are covered by how good Keith is.

    I definitely see Oduya being moved, no idea wtf will happen with Rundblad.

  58. wall says:

    JS/Tab- Johns is bigger/stronger than 7, and like JS said- Keith can hide/cover a lot of mistakes… I will take the $5+M and invest elsewhere… But that would be a “ballsy” call by Hawks Brass… it would be easier/safer to keep 7. BUT- I think the Hawks would be better off w taking the gamble if the “right” Forward is available… bigger scorer, who could contribute to PP instantly!

    Which brings me to Brad- The line-up you propose is basically what the Hawks could skate right now (if Morin was inserted)- You really think this line-up beats the Kings??? Can win a cup??? NO!!!!!!!!

    That is why two very well scouted $3M/type players need to be added… or Two + prospects must shine… I don’t see that next year… unless a “Big” trade happens.
    So before the year- I predicted 2015-16 for the Hawks to make next serious run… unless the “splash” happens-

  59. EbonyRaptor says:

    My gut says Teravainen will need a year in the AHL before he’s ready to take on the responsibility of playing center in the NHL. But maybe he surprises me? So I won’t pencil him into any 2014/15 lineup projections. Therefore unless the Hawks acquire a legit 2C, they will (again) go into next season with a hodgepodge of 3rd and 4th line wingers to play 2 of the 4 center positions. Kruger may be able to play 3C, but then you still need 2C and 4C and if Kruger is better suited at 4C, then the Hawks need a 2C and a 3C. Smith is a 3rd/4th line winger. Shaw is a winger. Regin doesn’t have enough offensive ability to play a regular shift at center for 82 games.

    So unless TT surprises and win the 2C job in training camp – going into 2014/15 is going to look pretty much the same as going into 2013/14, with the only exception being the addition by subtraction of not having Handzus (I hope).

  60. Tab Bamford says:

    wall – NO WAY do you drop a kid straight out of Notre Dame into a lineup and expect him to replace a guy skating 22-24 minutes/game.

    Given the Hawks’ organizational depth, I don’t see the big splash a lot of knee jerk reactions are suddenly craving… They’ll look for Teravainen to slot into the lineup, and will probably matriculate 1-2 defensemen up from Rockford to replace Brookbank and Rozsival/Oduya. Beyond that, Versteeg might be a salary dump but don’t get your hopes up for a blockbuster summer on Madison.

  61. Tim G says:

    While i think Clendening and Johns will absolutly replace Seabs, it wont be this year.

    He will stick around next year, and then get dealt in the 2015 offseason when he has 1 year left on his deal… and someone can take him and resign him long term.

    There is no way the hawks resign him with Hammer locked long term, and the plethora of D-men in the system. He will want 5mil + and thats the summer we resign 19/88, so there is no way they keep his current 5.8 on the books and extend him after that.

  62. Mike the Mook says:

    Not Crawfords fault, in fact he should be pissed for 2 years now with how our defense lets players “Camp out” in the crease. Plus the turnover behind the net, to his side, he is a nervous wreck in there! Hawks Power Play is so bad it is ameture at best. Not only no advantage of simple possession, no advantage of shots on net and certainly no goals. They stay so wide at the point and have to execute long passes, KINGS keep it tight close and quick shots. Unreal but it has been this way for sometime. Coach Q lime shuffles repeat “not effective” and when second tier players get moved around they get confused. Hawks defensemen may be a little over rated, the forwards do such a great job getting back that now the KINGS show the real weakness. IF we are fans the REAL DIFFERENCE is that when KINGS get the puck they have 3 or 4 players head down skating to the net, I mean head down sprint! Every time! Hawks are so slow with the puck looking for that lame “outlet pass” and hesitating upon entry, always looking to pass side ways or drop pass, HORRIBLE. Hawks should lose at home, no reason to think they would or even should win, game 4 was it. Weak performance but a very weak offensive game plan, they dump it in to players who are not there, poor ben smith is so over matched in the corners! Poor timing and very poor execution. They don’t have the HORSES to dump and chase an dominate the corners, the speed yes but not the size. Way too many small players, who like to poke check not play the body. This game is getting more physical in the future not next. And that skinny Kids fans have been waiting for will be out with upper body injuries for his entire career! WE need size or maybe KESLER from Vancouver. give them Hammer, Smith and verstegggggg ugg!

  63. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    The Hawks are going to make some changes this offseason. I fully expect Bowman to engineer a sigificant deal to get a credible Center. And he may very well ship Seabrook and / or Sharp out of town. Which AGAIN, is not an indictment of either player necessarily. But both are at the zenith of their remaining value in the NHL and I’m convinced now more than ever that Bowman is going to shake things up.

    Oduya? He’s got one year left on a favorable contract and has been solid all season long. The pairing with Hjalmarsson has been a CONSISTENT strength of the Hawks. Oduya ain’t going anywhere. I would think Clendening has an excellent shot to make this club next year.

    Smith is a notch about Bollig in terms of being perpetually replaceable. People can obsess about his future all they want, but its tantamount to worrying about one of the least consequential roster spots on this team.

    Saad? He’s got to be better folks. I’m sorry, but his great straight line bursts are not going to overly seduce me. His game needs distinct improvement. This season he has been a disappointment.

    Nordstrom can SKATE and provides a two-way defensive intensity at forward that is sorely needed. He’s not going to generate much offense in terms of assists and goals (yet at least), but he needs to be in the plans. Particularly on the PK. The Hawks are having increasing trouble with teams that can skate…it MUST be addressed this offseason.

    Teuvo? Probably needs a year in the AHL. He can’t be penciled in to fill a role on this team…not yet. If he somehow makes the team out of camp as the 4th line Center or something, then that is gravy.

    Versteeg? At this stage he sucks. Sad, but true. He deserves to be playing back in hockey purgatory with some non-playoff team. He needs to be gone within 24 hours of our last game.

    Shaw? Desperately needs to move to the wing. No more center play for Shaw.

  64. Negzz says:

    What do I see?
    1. Why is repeating so hard? Mental fatigue and the related willpower to motivate yourself to pay the ultimate price game after game is a much higher challenge than being physically tired. Hawks are victims of their own hubris in many ways and I am afraid they can’t dig out from this one.
    2. After a balls-out effort against StL where the Hawks played tough nosed, physical hockey, the team has defaulted to soft, skills competition hockey resulting in barely beating Minny and now down 3-1 to LA. No surprise to me as this is playoff hockey and demands a toughness commitment we are not seeing from this team. Hope they can call up the heart of a champion to try and reverse course at the UC.. Will be difficult mountain to climb.
    3. Dump and chase is not Hawks hockey, how crazy is it to keep this up? Get serious, get angry, get faster and better with puck, get desperate and win some board battles to pay the price in front of the net or forget it.
    4. Sharp, Zus, Keith, Seabrook and Rosy have had poor series… and Crawford has not been anything to crow about. Bad timing or fatigue?
    5. Finally, sad to say but I believe that Q’s lineups have demoralized several players by shorthanding the team in order to stick with what he trusts and knows. This stubborness, despite the the performance metrics staring him in the face (and his players see it too), will ultimately cost the team the series imho.

    My hope at this point is that we can make one last stand at the UC and not lose the series on home ice. Live to fight another day!

  65. Negzz says:

    What’s next year look like? (regardless of how season ends)?
    * Hawks will NOT be making big moves this summer. Not Jr’s M-O.
    * Will likely dump 27, 32, 26 and maybe 23
    * I don’t see TT ready to make a big diff next year, so who plays 2c? Smith will be the guy.
    * Will keep BB (the new Rosy rotator), bring up a young D-man (or 2) from Rockford, and give Morin and Nordstrom more of an oppty.
    * Try to sign 19 and 88 to extensions with decent (read not Malkin/Crosby) combined numbers.

    That’s all folks..

  66. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Regular season grades (playoff grades in parenthesis)…based on an ALIGNMENT of the each player’s designated role

    Crawford – B (B plus)…Hawks don’t beat the Blues without Crawford
    Raanta – B minus (N/A)
    Keith – A (C minus)
    Seabrook – C plus (C plus)
    Hjalmarsson – A (A)
    Oduya – B (B plus)
    Leddy – B minus (B)
    Rosival – C plus (C minus)
    Brookbank – C (N/A)

    Toews – A minus (B)
    Kane – B plus (B)
    Hossa – B (B minus)
    Sharp – B (D)
    Bickell – D minus (B minus)
    Saad – C plus (C minus)
    Shaw – B (B minus)
    Kruger – B plus (B)
    Smith – B minus (C plus)
    Versteeg – D (D minus)
    Bollig – C minus (D plus)
    Handzus – C (D)
    Regin – C plus (C)
    Morin – D plus (N/A)

    The parenthetical grades tell the story the most…a tired team that just ran out of steam, later than I would have guessed.

    And what also goes underreported because we like to live in denial on these things, is that the “chemistry” has changed on this team. In the last few years Sharp, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson have all gotten married and become fathers. Each of these 5 have won two Cups…and Keith has two Olympic golds while Sharp and Seabrook 1 each. At some point, you have to conclude that the “EDGE” has evaporated on some level for 4 of these 5 names…NOT to include Hjalmarsson, who keeps on getting better and has become one of the absolute most underrated players in hockey. Food for thought boys and girls. And Hossa and Sharp now have age and high mileage working against them.

  67. Dickie Dunn says:

    Seabrook doesn’t *have* to be “expendable” to be moved…for those in love with Kesler and anxious to rid Chicago of their #2 d-man – Seabrook-for-Kesler ONE-for-ONE. The Hawks (allegedly) have depth coming on defense, so they would be dealing from a position of strength.

    Back to reality – Last Call? GO HAWKS!!

  68. Sr. Brad says:

    JS…great comments as always, nice to “see” you back…

    Wall, I absolutely stand behind these lines as good enough to get us deep into the playoffs and potentially another Cup win, but like you, I see a 2 year “dip” until the changes that need to be made take full effect. As Tab said, you can’t just plug and play Clendening, Dahlbeck and Johns into the NHL GRIND and expect them to be All stars. But we MUST start this transition period now. That is why I was really hoping for a Cup win this year…

    Go back and look at these lines again…

    Morin-Toews-Hossa
    Sharp-Smith-Kane
    Bickell-Shaw-Saad
    Regin/Bollig-Kruger-Nordstrom

    Keith-Hammer
    Seabrook-Leddy
    Brookbank-Clendening/Dahlbeck

    Crawford/LaBarbera

    These are essentially the same lines as this year? YES! Wall we were a 3rd period meltdown at home away from being up 2-0 on the Kings with all of the blunders that Q has made!!! Think…next year NO Handzus…how much better does this team get by this simple subtraction??? Bollig reduced to a role player who splits time on the 4th line…again, just by that subtraction how much better are we? That 4th line with a bigger, stronger, more confident Nordstrom will be a terror that can take over the role of shutting down the opposition’s top line. The Shaw line will be crazy good with Saad and Bickell…lots of goal scoring, lots of puck possession and physicality. The Toews line gets better IMO as Morin brings the speed and the style that meshes perfectly with Toews and Hoss. And as for the 2nd line, just go back to the STL series when we needed to win under tough circumstances (down 0-2 and losing Seabrook to a 3 game suspension)…Smith came in without any preparation and did a fantastic job as the 2nd line centre…not an adequate or okay job, a fantastic job. Do you remember the Kane goal that Smith deflected to him perfectly, without looking, from a point shot? Ben Smith is far better than we here think he is. He has been a top player and a winner at EVERY level in his hockey career. And as for his size, so what…what makes Ray Rice suggest a great RB? Strong body low to the ground. Smith is fast, strong, smart, talented and has good hands…he can flourish in this role.

    Its the DMen that are the question mark, but again, the changes need to happen. I think that Tab, JS and I called moving Oduya more than a year ago. And really, a top 4 of Keith/Hammer and Seabrook/Leddy is as good as it gets in the NHL. Clendening is a rare prospect that is ready. Dahlbeck is another very solid prospect that is ready. So yes, I do think this lineup, NEXT playoffs, could beat the Kings. The Hawks prospects are a lot better than you are giving them credit for…not that any of them are elite talents, but they don’t have to be…they just need to be tenacious 2 way players that know how to win, and Bowman has drafted a ton of them. IMO while you need the Toews and Kanes, you don’t win without the Andrew Shaws and the Marcus Krugers. These are the kind of players Ross, Danault, and Hartman are…none of them will likely every score 30 goals a year, but we don’t need them to.

  69. Section 333 says:

    I should revise my earlier statement that the Kings aren’t better. They certainly are playing better but I wouldn’t say they have any edge in talent. What the Kings are doing is really getting after it, causing chaos and forcing mistakes (Keith on the bad turnover to Kopitar). Following those mistakes the Hawks aren’t getting back to cover for them (Seabrook standing and watching) while LA is making them pay (Gaborik going straight to the net). Then on the next power play, Sharp falls down leaving Seabrook to either go out to block Muzzin’s shot or clear out Carter. He does neither, goal. Those two plays perfectly captures the series – LA is making the extra effort, Chicago is not. Is that a systematic failure or one of effort? Is this team really that different from last year? I want to see them turn it around but I see little evidence of the team giving everything to do so.

  70. AJ says:

    Haha, send the BC boy home. I floated Seabs for Kesler straight up a while ago and would make that trade in an instant.

    I really wouldn’t mind bouncing Seabrook anywhere after this season depending on the return but if he stays I would like to see Hammer moved back to his natural side and either Oduya or Leddy moved.

    I am also not convinced Leddy’s ceiling is that much higher. Especially with this coaching staff. Sure he would score more with more minutes but still gets rattled fairly easily and the inconsistencies are getting old. 258 NHL regular season games deep and +300 if you count the playoffs. I could care less about his age, how many more games until he maturates and figures it out because it is tough to keep making that excuse… Seems to me that he should be rounding off into a top calibre player at this point and I expected him to be further along.

  71. Tab Bamford says:

    “Haha… I floated Seabs for Kesler straight up… and would make that trade in an instant.”

    Last 5 seasons:
    Seabrook: 367 games played, 173 points
    Kesler: 335 games played, 253 points

    2013-14:
    Seabrook: 41 points in 82 games – 142 blocked shots, 171 hits, 35 takeaways, 22 PIM
    Kesler: 43 points in 77 games – 52.6% faceoffs, 68 blocked shots, 133 hits, 47 takeaways, 81 PIM
    Kruger: 28 points in 81 games – 56.7% faceoffs, 70 blocked shots, 22 hits, 27 takeaways, 36 PIM

    Cap Hit:
    Seabrook: $5.8M thru 2015-16
    Kesler: $5.0M thru 2015-16

    Thank God AJ doesn’t run the Hawks…

  72. CJ says:

    I understand all the hate on Seabrook after some lackadaisical play these past few games, but trading him would be a colossal mistake. The Hawks don’t have any young d-men who have been rotating in and out of the lineup (unless you count Rundblad, in which case go see a psychiatrist), showing they can log 20 heavy minutes a night. Seabs contributes in ALL situations (PP,PK, 5 on 5). I love Versteeg but he has NO trade value as now. A summer of rest should work wonders for his knee and hopefully career. Expect him in training camp as a versatile forward that plays anywhere and everywhere when asked. Morin and Smith should be resigned at reasonable prices. Rozy, Zus, and Brookbank will all likely be gone. Oduya another possibility due to the thin market. Raanta has potential and hopefully resigns. If I had to bet, I bet someone breaks out during camp this year and suprises us all by making the team, sort of like Nordstrom this year. We might all expect Teuvo to light the world on fire but maybe someone like Hartman, KHayes, or Ross makes the team. On one hand, I don’t want Bowman to sign veterans so we go through another Zus saga, but on another the Hawks need to be infused with the desperation of wily veterans. Someone chasing the cup. We all know Toews is probably the best Captain in the NHL, but do the Hawks get past the Red Wings without Mayers’ leadership in giving the post game 4 speech- something they need now- and telling them how rare opportunities like this occur?
    Shooting in the Red Wings’ net during warmups seemed to help as well.

  73. Hawks2010 says:

    I believe the folks on this blog are underestimating the talent of TT. He is the second highest rated prospect in the world. He is the reason the Hawk farm system is ranked in the top 5. I have watched him extensively and he has incredible hands, skating explosiveness and hockey sense. He does need to get bigger and stronger. I will be very surprised if he does not make the team next year. Then again, coach Q does not like rookies. He would rather hang on to tired old slow veterans than give the kids a chance. I just can’t see how Handzus, Bollig and Versteeg are playing ahead of Morin. I also can’t understand how those three guys would be playing ahead of a guy like the traded Pirri. I also wonder how great our farm system actually is. Rockford didn’t even make the playoffs.

  74. Sr. Brad says:

    AJ, I too don’t understand the comments about Seabrook. He is still “coming around” from all those concussions in succession…he’s one of the best DMen in the league, just not playing like it right now…but guys like Seabrook don’t come around very often. He’s a special combination of talent and size, and should remain a Hawk. I like him very much on a pairing with Leddy, and taking FEWER MINUTES…the same for Keith…fewer minutes. We need to develop a 3rd pairing that can take bigger minutes keeping Keith, Seabs and Hammer all around 20 minutes per game. Leddy can easily handle 20-22 minutes and a combo of Brookbank/Clendening/Dahlbeck should be giving us 15-16 minutes a night…Clendening can step right into a full time PP gig and Dahlbeck is very good on the PK because he can actually push guys out of the way!

    Hawks 2010, I don’t think anyone here is doubting TT’s talent level, but that isn’t enough to guarantee success in the NHL. I think a year in Rockford would do him a lot of good learning the NHL GRIND more than anything else. Plus, in the AHL, he will learn how to deal with heavy sticks hammering his body…you have to learn to play through this stuff. I think Tab, myself, Wall and others all feel he’s going to make a good pro for the Hawks, but just maybe not next season. Like Nordstrom (and Kruger did), he needs to put on weight in the form of muscle. I think Nordstrom is a player being under rated here. Give that frame of his another 20 pounds of muscle, and he could become a monster player, because believe it or not, Nordstrom actually has pretty soft hands. And I think Morin is a consistent 25-35 a year goal scorer…so is Saad…Shaw is YOUNG and he just potted 20 this year, and had his line dismantled in front of his eyes in the last quarter of the season.

    The Hawks don’t need any major changes…the talent is here, it just needs to be played. We would have been FAR BETTER off to continue this season with Pirri and dumping Handzus.

  75. Sr. Brad says:

    One other note Hawks2010, our farm system is very good, and its not predicated on Rockford making the playoffs. We had a playoff spot lined up before Bowman traded away the Hog’s best players leaving a VERY YOUNG group of kids who had never played Pro hockey, and a VERY thin blue line. Trust me, the talent is there, it just takes time and being given a chance to prove themselves. Hayes, Pirri and Morin have not been given that chance to this date, nor Olsen.

  76. Jon60614 says:

    Does anybody have any insight on where Hartman will play next year and what his future is with the Hawks.

  77. Mox17 says:

    Tab,

    Any shot we see Nordstrom or Morin tomorrow?

  78. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Fascination for limited skill 4th line at best material in the form of Pirri, Morin, Hayes plus Olsen knows no bounds. It’s just another way of the blog’s prolific high maintenance starved for attention poster with Rockford tickets to rip on Stan Bowman. Fortunately Morin will be playing for another organization next season so we may be insulated from the daily barrage of the great injustice done to Morin at the hands of the evil and diabolical Q. Morin can join the other castaways in a non playoff team environment! Can you imagine the possibilities of Morin playing wing for Florida or Calgary ?!?!? Oh the humanity if that happens !!!

    The Hawks will make a substantial move or two this offseason. It’s been coming all season long. My suspicion is that Seabrook will be sent packing. Bowman will absolutely positively acquire a capable veteran Center and will have the players, prospects and cap wiggle room to definitely achieve that goal.

  79. Fletch says:

    Awww c’mon guys it’s so simple…it’s all ball bearings nowadays. Maybe you need a refresher course.

    There will be definite changes made by Bow Jr. Decline, weariness and complacency have set in and Stan is not about to turn a blind eye to that. Nor live in denial on certain realities. The answers will come via a few quality additions as the team waits also for a few kids to compete for roles. The Western Conference competiveness an key changes happening among teams like LA, Minnesota and San Jose will not be ignored. St Louis and Anaheim are about to embrace some changes too.

    Buckle up. Stan is about to get busy.

  80. Reg Dunlop says:

    Well boys……although I read and like a lot of the comments, we need to realize one important thing…….the Black Hawk players didn’t suddenly get god awful terrible in the last few games. They are still all very good NHL players that, if traded, would be able to help any team.

    But this team is MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY exhausted. Period.

    That’s why Toews, Keith, Seabrook and the rest of the team are making HORRENDOUS mistakes throughout the game. The effort is there, the desire is there, the preparedness is there, but their brains and their bodies are just toast.

    To me, if they come back and win this thing it will be the greatest comeback in NHL history. But my guess is that they will lose tomorrow and it will all be over. If you look at the players on the bench you see the “thousand mile stare” in their eyes because they are trying their best, but they cannot figure out how to beat the Kings.

    They feel helpless and disgusted, just like their fans.

  81. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Agree completely Reg and Fletch. Hit the nail on the head the both of you is what you did.

  82. Dickie Dunn says:

    If “But this team is MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY exhausted. Period. The effort is there, the desire is there, the preparedness is there, but their brains and their bodies are just toast.” is TRUE (and it certainly seems to be), WHY aren’t the Kings tired, etc.? Didn’t they play an 82 game schedule against NHL teams, and two previous rounds in the post season? (I know there are several contributing factors…)

  83. Sr. Brad says:

    Over the last year the kings have played 4 fewer games than the Hawks…yeah, the Hawks are dead tired and the kings are fresh…the kings have also just got by 2 of the best teams in the league, both in 7 games.

    Wow, what people will believe because its EASIER than thinking.

    Maybe the young, big, fast talent that the Kings added to their roster this season, while we dragged along Zus, Bollig and Rozy are having an impact, huh? Have you checked the points and +/- numbers for these 2 groups??? And also remember this, we were 1 period away from taking a 2-0 lead in this series…and 5 on 5, we have better numbers than the Kings…but yeah, we are tired…

    Go back to sleep America…

  84. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Hawks are tired and, more importantly, the Hawks simply aren’t as deep or as good as they were. In the fiercely competitive and improving Western Conference this a problem. Scotty Bowman never once in his five decades of piloting teams in one role or another turned a blind eye to reality. His career was defined of adding to and sustaining great teams, and making ballsy moves in the process. Stan Bowman is his father’s son and will not stand pat. He knows he needs to make changes. He knows also that Hossa and Sharp will decline steadily here on out and that banking on youngsters in the pipeline will only go so far…he’s not going to piss away a few seasons waiting for the next wave of youth to maybe / maybe not pan out completely. He’s got 4 Hall of Fame players on hand and won’t piss that away. Toews and Kane are in their prime. Keith should still be in his prime. And the aging high mileage Hossa still can remain formidable at times. This team will absolutely acquire a real Center and get more athletic on the wing. No question in my mind that Bowman will be aggressive in the coming weeks.

  85. EbonyRaptor says:

    Looking at these lines … sorry Sr, don’t like them.

    Morin-Toews-Hossa – not convinced Morin is good enough to be on the team – let alone on the 1st line. Plus I think he usually plays RW.

    Sharp-Smith-Kane – Smith is not a 2C. He is at best a 3rd line winger – probably more like a 4th line winger.

    Bickell-Shaw-Saad – Shaw is a winger who should be playing on the wing – not center. Saad plays better on the left side and he should be put in the best position to succeed.

    Regin/Bollig-Kruger-Nordstrom – I have no problem with this line.

    Keith-Hammer – I see no point in switching Hammer and Seabrook but I don’t really have a problem with it either.

    Seabrook-Leddy – LD/RD are reversed but that’s nitpicking.

    Brookbank-Clendening/Dahlbeck – scary but if we need cap space and have to trade Oduya and Rozsival than one or two kids are going to have to step up and play.

    Crawford/LaBarbera – I hope we can do better than LaBarbara for the backup.

  86. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Oduya has been solid and has one year left on a favorable deal. He isn’t going anywhere. If a D man goes it will be Seabrook.

  87. B says:

    Hawks are DONE…. Unless crow steals 3 in a row…

  88. Tab Bamford says:

    Rufus: how many years did Scott Bowman coach with a hard cap? Great point if there was any relevance….

  89. B says:

    Hawks are losing because the kings are the better team at this point in time… PERIOD

  90. Pete says:

    If the Hawks win Game 5 LA may start to white knuckle and look out. Its not over in my opinion. When Q sat Bollig I became hopeful and if he sits Zus even more so. The problem is Quick can steal any game at any time and the Hawks now need three in a row. Big picture, I feel that there is too much resistance in the Hawks organization to bringing younger players up and living with some mistakes in the NHL while they develop. I would much rather watch a young player get better every year as opposed to a player on his last legs. Whether its Handzus, Bruno, Boynton, Pisani etc. That list is way too long. Go with speed and youth and live with some mistakes.

  91. Tab Bamford says:

    “Oduya has been solid and has one year left on a favorable deal. He isn’t going anywhere. If a D man goes it will be Seabrook.” No

  92. morrison says:

    Jon, Hartman was in juniors this season and then went to Rockford. In 9 games he had 7points & scored 3goals. Hartman looked good and Johns looked like he fit in right in right away. It was nice to see that from Hartman. He will be in Rockford for the season.

  93. noonan96 says:

    Seabrook may be tired, a little hurt but I wouldn’t trade him-unless it was an absolute steal and GMs don’t like to get fired. Size and skill (and heart) are tough to come by for D-Men–
    The Hawks are in tough-especially to win three but lets wait till the season is over.

    They-re in the hospital but lets make sure they-re dead first–

  94. el jefe says:

    If anyone doesn’t think the Hawks are gassed look at Keith and Seabrook., arguably one of the top pairs in hockey. Keith may win the Norris but both are now playing as though they don’t belong in the AHL. Keith played poorly against Wild also. Although Crow can’t be faulted on the four goals you still can’t let in four of eight shots or two out of four as he did in the previous game. he ‘s got to come up with the big save as Quick has been doing (see Seabrook in game 2 although had Seabs roofed it). Hawks being manhandled. They have to get bigger and stronger next season. Right now only Bicks and Seabrook are big boys. Agree that they are getting crushed at center and TT at 160lbs is not the current answer.

  95. morrison says:

    Lets go now.

  96. Travis says:

    WTF people?! This series isn’t over. LA is a very streaky team, especially in this year’s playoffs. If we can turn the momentum, LA might not be able to get it back.

    We have been flirting with “the next level” for the past three games. But Toews is right; this team can bring more. We’ve not played our best game yet, or even a great game yet, and we’ve still dominated long stretches of play.

    Come on, Hawks. One complete, 60-minute game. Turn the tide. Then let’s see if this streaky LA team can stop the train.

  97. Phil says:

    Travis is right. All Q has to do is play this before they go out on the ice to start the game.

    http://youtu.be/ep-xgd_eETE

    If it doesn’t play just do a net search for Bluto’s speech.

    Remember, this is supposed to fun. No way we lose! Lets do it…
    and
    Lets Go Hawks!

  98. wall says:

    Tab, I am not saying it (7 trade) is going to happen… I am suggesting it MIGHT make the Hawks better – faster-and is needed… mainly because I think the D men in Rock are more NHL ready than the Forwards… Morin is ready, Hartman and TT will be good (but may not be ready)… Nordstrom is close (checking role)… I just don’t see this incredible prospect pool that the Pundits are claiming… Honestly – Hinostroza will be very good- but years away…

    Secondly, I think the last time you said “No Way” to one of my suggestions… It was about Andrew Shaw getting called up and Sticking with the Hawks!!!

  99. AJ says:

    Well I should be clear that I don’t think that Seabrook should be run out of town by any means. However, I think the Hawks are strong enough to deal from that position. Hammer is a better player has a more favorable deal. Keith’s deal is amazing. How much are they going to have to pay 7 in two years?

    I would prefer Sharp played center to be perfectly honest with you, like he did for a good chunk of his career, but apparently that isn’t an option.

    If they could shed salary I would love for them to go after Statsny but I think a trade is more feasible $ wise. Unload Sharp to any eastern conference team he approves maybe and throw stupid money that way? Move Bickell, Oduya and Leddy? There is a market for all of them…

    Bottom line is regardless of how this series turns out, they need to shuffle some stuff around after this year and get another difference maker up the middle. If I were Patrick Kane I would not sign a deal until that is sorted out but maybe he’s a nicer guy than me.

    1-0 Hawks win tonight — Kooga GWG

  100. Sr. Brad says:

    Travis, Phil…IF the Hawks can win in a convincing fashion tonight by MAKING ADJUSTMENTS, then the pressure falls completely back on LA because their game 6 at home becomes a MUST WIN affair, or it comes back to CHI…but the key is the Hawks adjusting to what the Kings are doing…and the reason is that it will give the la coaches and players something to worry about and bring a sense of uncertainty to their game. Because right now, believe me, that is THE problem. The Kings believe absolutely that they can win playing this little game of their’s and the Hawks look lost trying to play theirs. A change is needed.

    Einstein said that no problem can be fixed with the same energy that created the problem. New energy is needed to find the solutions. This is universally accurate, as the Hawks need to believe that something is going to give them the edge.

    ER, that’s the great thing about ideas and theories, everyone has a different view point. I believe those will be the lines and I know that they will be successful, but it doesn’t mean that you have to. As for Shaw at Centre, I think his record speaks for itself…why would you take a young player away from his position (3rd line Centre) when he has excelled at it…20 goals, a big +/- number, great Corsi #’s, and his line mates succeed next to him. Why try to fix what isn’t broken?

    Wall, again, I think you are right about the Hawk prospects…few are legit “top 6″ forwards and fewer will be ready at the start of next year. BUT, remember, for the next few years, other than 2nd line Centre of which I think we have an answer for, we don’t need more top 6 forwards matriculating from Rockford. If Morin plays like he did down the stretch, he’s one. Ben Smith or TT will be able to take the 2nd line centre role, Smith has already shown this during the playoffs. What’s left? Nothing. Saad is a top 6 forward likely playing on the 3rd line. Shaw scored 20 goals as the 3rd line centre with a revolving door of line mates down the stretch, whose game could fit into a top 6 role. Bickell can play like a top 6 forward and is being paid like one, likely playing on the 3rd line. Right now for the foreseeable future, the Hawks need a stronger Nordstrom, maybe another Andrew Shaw (see Garret Ross) or a young Brian Bickell (perhaps Mark McNeil), and we have these components right now.

    The difference between winning and losing games in this league is razor thin, so simply dumping Handzus off the roster for good, and restricting Bollig’s role, how much better are the Hawks simply by subtraction??? A stat that very few of you have responded to that is huge for this season is this…when the Hawks have started Zus in the lineup for the WHOLE season and playoffs, we are now 5 games UNDER .500!!! How can this be when we had a good record, 107 points, and are in the Western Final? Because when Handzus doesn’t play, WE WIN…its that simple. When Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin were in the lineup, we won at an .857 clip, and they were just learning how to play in the NHL…Addition by subtraction.

  101. Jocelyn Lemieux Beatdown says:

    Trading. 7 would be a mistake. He has the lone consistent shot from the point that is usually on target with enough sauce to get through. He’s also the lone physical dman that can effectively take a guy off the puck. Plus, he has a penchant for scoring big goals. Look elsewhere guys. We were screaming when he didn’t make the Olympics because he’s that good.

    No reason to look past tonight. Forget three straight. Win tonight and worry about 5 and 6 later. Not over yet!

  102. hawks2010 says:

    Trade Seabrook or Leddy? You gotta be kidding. Seems like panic is setting in on this blog site.
    We need big boys like Seabs and speed guys like Leddy. If Q would just get off Leddy’s back and let him play he may become a star.

  103. wall says:

    Hawks2010– nothing about panic… just- trying to GM/Engineer another Cup team…
    and with realistic view of other teams- getting better… Hawks will need to get better…
    Once again- I like 7… Just trying to engineer/tweak line-up to be better in Near Future.
    Kane, Toews, are in prime… Hawks need to “Tweak” -NOW!!! Of course, if TT and ???
    come in and Play/contribute like 20/65 immediately… The Problem is solved… But I am not Banking on it!!! And The Hawks shouldn’t either… Not only do 2 + prospects have to play like 20/65… but the Hawks still need 2 guys to step in and play like 67,36-great “Role” guys w/ High Hockey IQ… 28- is there- but 52… NO!!!!!!

    AJ- Great post- (we are agreeing way too much lately)… I was looking at UFA market- and actually my top Hawk guy would be Stastny (almost 0% -but maybe he wants to win and play with Kane- we can dream)… (assuming O’reilly-stays).
    The only disagreement- your prediction- Hawks 1-0 win!!! that’s a good one!

  104. hawks2010 says:

    I agree Wall that the team needs to be upgraded. I just can’t see trading Seabs who was +23 on the year and only 29 years old. I would be fine with trading Oduya and not resigning Rozy. Clendening may be ready for the big time. The big problem on this team that I see is we only have 2 true centers Toews and Kruger. Shaw should be on the wing. Smith is better as a winger. Stasny would be a great fit for the Hawks but I don’t see how we could afford him and sign Kane and Toews the following year. As some suggested on site maybe it is time to think about trading Sharp and getting some cap space.

  105. JS says:

    Hawks2010 – Seabrook had extremely favorable zone starts, paired with Duncan Keith, paired with the Hawks top line, while typically facing the second best unit of the opposing team. Seabrook is a fine defender, but I don’t think he makes or breaks the Hawks.

    Wall- You like to harp on missing Frolik, but I don’t think Frolik necessarily does anything better than Ben Smith. Bolland? Sure.

    Seriously, Handzus is the biggest problem this team is facing. He can’t play 2C without bringing people down, and he can’t play without two world class players without being a complete liability on the ice. It makes mixing and matching the lines damn near impossible. I was all about Handzus last year, but he just isn’t working out at all this year. Might have something to do with Q running him into the ground… but can’t blame him for anything! 2 rings!

    And Rufus, you like to pooh pooh on us for wanting to see Morin/Pirri/others get a chance on the Hawks. You call them 4th line material… Then you go out of the way to defend Brandon Bollig who doesn’t have anything CLOSE to the skill set of anyone we pine for. If you can seriously come up with something that Bollig does better than Morin, I would love to hear it. And if you are going to say he’s more responsibile in his own zone, that’s just not true.

  106. Sr. Brad says:

    AJ, if you are talking about not resigning Seabrook in 2 more years after his contract expires, or moving his rights just before this, I don’t see this as a problem. Because I don’t think he would be worth what his next contract would demand, not with his history of concussions. Plus in 2 years time I have no doubts that Clendening, Dahlbeck and especially Johns will all be ready to step in at a big level. Plus the Hawks have a lot DMen just outside of the radar screen who are going to be good as well. One of them is our 2nd round pick from Swedem, Dahlstrom, he was named the most NHL ready D prospect playing in Europe. I think one season in Rockford will have him ready to play for the Hawks. Plus Dillon Fournier and Michael Paliotta both have lots of NHL potential.

  107. 'hawks58 says:

    All of this talk about trading Seabrook reminds me of the 2012 offseason when everyone kept talking about how Hjalmarsson would never develop into the player it looked like he would become back in the ’10 Cup run and he was as good as gone. Maybe everyone should cool their jets on Seabrook right now.

    I would honestly like to see Oduya come back with Clendening/Dahlback rotating as the 6th. You could even move Leddy and Oduya down if you think Leddy is ready for an expanded role, but I’m not convinced he is yet. He still gets wonky in his own zone often and really isn’t trusted to skate anything but the most sheltered minutes 5v5 (plus 2:47 SH TOI all season really speaks for how they view Leddy’s play in his own end, I mean they were using Kostka on the kill before Leddy). Leddy is a very good PP QB (best on the team) and a huge offensive weapon when allowed to slay the bums of the league; not sure he is really ready to play against the top players in the league night in and night out.

  108. 'hawks58 says:

    *meant to type ‘move Leddy up and Oduya down’

  109. Tim G says:

    Hawks58- the differnce between Hammer than and Seabrook now, is that Hammer was a young player on the verge with his prime still in front of him, and Seabs is a vet, who has probably played his best hockey.

    I dont think anyone would suggest Seabs is “bad”… its just at 5.8 mil, he may be moveable in a year when Johns/Clendening/Dahlbeck/Svedberg/Fournier/TvR…. (and i could go on) all have had one more year of seasoning.

  110. wall says:

    JS- Frolik skates/forechecks/and PK’s better… Smith does have a better cycle, shot, knack for the Net… But I feel you…

    Brad- Good comment on the Hawk’s Depth In Europe… BUT- I will add- “little” Van Riemsdyke- from the little views of his YouTube hi-lites- Might be the best of the bunch-
    Looks like a great skater w/ knack/offensive instincts and a long reach… TT in his 3 games w/ Hawks showed high IQ and a great stick… Trevor- looks like he has same gifts (of course – they were Hi-lites!!!)… But Trevor put up some great offensive #’s for College D man… and he will grow bigger/stronger (if he is like his Bro)

  111. wall says:

    JS- to add… Frolik for 1 more year @ $2.2M- is and would have been a lot better than Zus @ $1M,,, Hawks could have found another $1.2M for this to happen!!!

    And Frolik can play several positions/lines/PK!!!!! IT’S a NO-BRAINER!!!!

  112. JS says:

    Wall- you also have to factor in the value they got for trading Frolik. Now he can use those draft picks for more players or for trades. I think we both know Stan wanted Pirri out of the gate for this season with Handzus being there as a rotational/depth center in case of injury. Same with Morin, but then Q decided to dress 7 defensemen instead of Morin. So combine that with the struggles of the PK, and you trade for Versteeg. Anyway, my head hurts now.

  113. Tim G says:

    saw a report that these were the lines at morning skate….
    29-19-81
    20-65-88
    10-26-23
    52-16-28

    I rather Regin in over Zus, and i’d make a case for Morin, but that would be more knit-picky.

    I like moving 10 to the 3rd line and moving Zus away from 88 (while moving 20 up). I wouldnt mind flipping 20 and 29 either.

    But we know Q will throw them in the blender anyway, so what does this really mean

  114. Sr. Brad says:

    Wall, I forgot TVR…you may be right…a lot of people are very high on him…plus I am forgetting about Matt Carey who Bowman signed on the promise he would get playing time this season…he has wheels for a big kid and one of the best shots I have seen in a while. He could be a top 6 forward soon for us as well.

    As for Frolik, you know I love him and wish we had kept him, but ONLY if it meant NOT resigning Handzus…the $1 mil for Zus would have allowed us to keep Frolik. Honestly, Wall the more that I think about this season, the resigning of Zus, giving him back to Q, has been the single greatest problem for this team, and that falls on the doorstep of Bowman.

  115. Sr. Brad says:

    Tim I honestly think we are in trouble for tonight if that is the case, because Blender or not, we only have THREE LINES again tonight and the King’s 4 big lines are going to wear us into the ground. Q-stache hasn’t learned a f$cking thing…

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

  116. Sr. Brad says:

    This from Q-stache this morning…”the pressure is on the LA Kings to keep winning”

    Justin Williams reply? “Pressure-Smessure, you can try and deflect it any way u want”

  117. AJ says:

    AND they don’t even use Versteeg to kill penalties.

    The coaching staff kind of dicked over the front office and some younger players.

    RE Seabrook: In my opinion he has regressed the last two years when +/- 30 should be his prime. That being from concussions, malaise or me seeing the game incorrectly are possibilities but I think it is concerning. And they could get a fair return there.

    Philly has some center depth and are dying for a replacement for Pronger. Couturier or Brayden Schenn (+ Prospects \ Futures) would look good in Red and White and help address some size issues. Could be beneficial to both teams trading form their strength. Maybe Leddy + gets that as well and helps Philly out cap and center log jam wise and you deal Sharp to whomever for futures.

    Get bigger, stronger and a front six with some combo of Hossa Toews Saad Kane Courutier/Schenn Bickell/TT looks pretty sexy in the fantasy land I reside in with cap room to have a decent bottom 6.

  118. AJ says:

    I hate everything about that line up

  119. Maybe '14 says:

    Q’s refusal to rotate four lines simply tells me he doesn’t think he can compete with all his players and must shorten his bench. I don’t really see any other conclusion. The logical conclusion then is to expect a larger number of changes than this board anticipates for next season. Board battles,loose pucks, and clean passes are not a current Hawk strength.
    I watched, with great interest, J. Hayes and Brandon Pirri playing for the Florida Panthers . Pirri’s defensive play is non-existent and Hayes is slow. I ,for one, do not think they could have added to the Hawk mix.
    Comparing the 2010 Hawks to the 2014 Hawks, I think the former was a much deeper team and Q was not afraid to rotate four lines.

  120. Phil says:

    Zus and Bollig to skate with no Regin is silly. Brad I believe is correct. Hawks skate 3 lines and the Kings 4 line machine will be very tough to best. It’s Joel’s ship, and right now it’s taking water. It just seems to me that Q is being incredibly stubborn.

    In the end, if the Hawks special teams can’t be much improved they will be hard pressed to win anyway. That has been the big difference in this series. Kill penalties and try and get a man advantage goal or 2. The five on five stuff hasn’t been lopsided to Kings.It’s all about adapting in these 7 game series.

    C’mon you guys, no one liked my Bluto speech for some inspiration tonight?? Sheesh, what a bunch of grouches out there. Off to the UC just a few short hours.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  121. hawks2010 says:

    If those are the lines for tonight’s game Tim we are in BIG trouble. The Hawks will be dragging around 52 and 26. Instead of Q’s 3 lines we will be down to 2 lines. Q needs to wake up. Why not try 12 and 11 in place of 26 and 52. There is one silver lining if we lose the game tonight. I will never have to see 26 in a Hawks uniform again.

  122. JS says:

    Handzus is going to get a hat trick tonight and finish out the series with 3 game winning goals, JUST TO SPITE US.

  123. Tim G says:

    If that’s what it takes JS… thats fine… lol

    I’d rather Zus make me look like a fool and raise the cup, than the alternative…

  124. Mining Man says:

    Re: Handzus…Bourque scored 16 total points all season and got a hat trick last night! Be careful what you wish for…you just mihjt get it.

  125. EbonyRaptor says:

    Shaw – his best position is right wing. It allows him to do what he does best which is get in on the forecheck and cause a ruckus. He’s not good at the dot. He’s not good defensively. He vision and passing are barely adequate. His small size doesn’t match up very well with other centers. He would be more effective crashing around as a winger. He’s only playing center because the Hawks have to play someone there and he’s the tallest midget.

  126. Travis says:

    I loved it Phil! We’re one complete game away from turning this thing around. Go Hawks!

  127. Pete says:

    I’m hoping Q is mind gaming the Kings and Bollig and Handzus won’t dress tonight. As a fan I have the right to hope!!!!

  128. JS says:

    ER- absolutely nailed it on Shaw. Couldn’t agree more.

  129. Jax says:

    Travis, I am with you 100%. I was taught to never give up or concede until there was not any time left. This team has been beat three times in a row twice in the last month by lesser teams than my hawks. Call me delusional, (been called worse) but I think there are three more games left in this series. Anybody that thinks Morin belongs on the first line of this team, that’s delusional at the highest level.

  130. B says:

    Trade sea brook! Ppg his value is high..

  131. Tim G. says:

    “Handzus is going to get a hat trick tonight and finish out the series with 3 game winning goals, JUST TO SPITE US.”

    Close enough… JS…. quick… give me some lotto numbers… lol

  132. Dickie Dunn says:

    AJ, Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn = interesting. I agree that either could look good in Chicago…depending on the cost and availability? It doesn’t seem the Flyers would want to move significant pieces of their future (ages 21, 22). Paul Stastny could be a great #C, but that’s not likely, either.

    Anyway, on to game 6 =====>> GO HAWKS!!

  133. AJ says:

    Yea none of it is likely. Just spitballin.

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