Lightning Shoot Hawks Into Submission

Poor Cam Ward.

After Corey Crawford played a marvelous game in Columbus on Saturday night, Ward had the… unique privilege… of playing behind an absolute garbage fire on Sunday evening.

Nikita Kucherov opened the scoring with his second of the year at 3:21 into the game.

Eight minutes later, Alexandre Fortin scored his first career NHL goal.

The breakaway was a great play and terrific shot for Fortin who had was could have been his first goal credited to Marcus Kruger on Saturday; Kruger did redirect the shot.

After 20 minutes the game was tied at one.

Then the second period happened.

We won’t spend much time on the play-by-play. The second period felt like a preseason game with the soon-to-be AHL squad taking on the starters on the other end. Tampa Bay established a new Expansion Era record by putting 33 shots on net in the second period alone. The Blackhawks barely touched the puck and Ward suffered the consequences.

After 40 minutes the Hawks trailed 4-1. And they were fortunate to be within three.

When Victor Hedman made it 5-1 in favor of the visitors at 9:31 into the third it would have been hard to find fault in folks at the United Center heading for their cars.

But the Hawks didn’t go away quietly.

David Kampf scored his first of the year on an awkward play at 15:17. The puck hit an official and bounded into the Lightning zone where Kampf put it home.

After the goal Louis Domingue completely lost his shit and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. He unloaded on the goalpost and shattered his stick, earning a teammate two minutes in the box on his behalf.

On the power play for the Domingue penalty, Joel Quenneville pulled his goaltender with more than four minutes left in regulation.

Nick Schmaltz fired a shot that appeared to either go in or be saved, depending on which team you favor.

Domingue caught the puck, but he did so behind the line. Schmaltz knew it, Patrick Kane knew it, and soon those remaining in their seats at the United Center knew it. A video review confirmed the goal for Schmaltz and suddenly it was 5-3.

The comeback wouldn’t be complete, though. Tampa added an empty net goal to make the final score 6-3.

Tampa finished with 55 shots on net, scoring five against Ward who made 53 saves.

One positive from the game was Brandon Saad showing up. Finally, eight games into the regular season, Saad competed his ass off.

Kane had the only assist for a Blackhawks forward in the game. Jan Ruutta had two helpers while Duncan Keith, Henri Jokiharju and Brandon Davidson were credited with one assist each.

Jonathan Toews won 12 of 16 faceoffs but his line with Alex DeBrincat and Dominik Kahun failed to register a point. Toews led Chicago skaters with five shots on net in the game.

50 thoughts on “Lightning Shoot Hawks Into Submission

  1. Tab-
    Wards #s compared to years past are astronomical this year. I mean a whole point+ higher than last year. I understand small sample size, but do you see him as the issue or like tonight, the people in front of him as the issue?

  2. Appreciate the write up as always Tab! Personally, I would have liked to have seen Crow in net vs Tampa tonight just to see how he looked playing back to back nights. That said, I don’t think it would have mattered. Collectively, this team is awful defensively(collectively meaning all five on the ice) and about three quality defensemen away from competing on a nightly basis..add in the lack of quality depth in the bottom six and while I like the fact that this team will at least try to compete every night, i feel as though i’m going to watch another 74 games for no real reason..we’ll be in the lottery this year, and probably next year until the Hawks can dress at least two quality blueline pairs..

  3. Wes McCauley is a joke. Lysiak tripped his father and he will hold a grudge against the Hawks to his grave. The penalties against the Hawks all in a row changed the complexion of the game.

    Ward outstanding, he played even better than Crawford last night.

    Its nice to see Manning out of the lineup this weekend. The larger problem if you ask me are the lower tier forwards (not including Saad who regardless how he plays actually is a legit NHL player). Kunitz was directly or close to it responsible for the first two goals against, and I think he was on the ice for the fifth goal as well. He isn’t just struggling; simply stayed, he sucks. He makes Sharp last year look like Mike bossy. Sharp could still skate and keep up w players; kunitz cannot. He isnt doing one thing well. If kunitz was a young unproven player, he would have been sent to Rockford long ago.

    Martinsen is an another complete waste of a forward slot. Kampf and Kruger are no great shakes either. So thats ten forwards at best (if you include Kruger & Kampf, which is a coin flip).

    One would think the D men are the problem, but other than Manning, they can only do so much w such a sorry group of bottom six forwards. Reinforcements need to be made and soon or the season will get away quickly.

  4. P.S. Anisimov needs to be thrown into the grouping w/ Kruger & Kampf as borderline at best. He cannot keep up w opposing forwards most teams as well.

  5. Transition yr means
    We beat a good top 10 team CLB 4-1
    We got beat by top 3 team TAM 6-3

    Thought before these games a split would be good. Get greedy when you win the first one and you tie game 1-1.

    Outplayed by a lot in 2nd. With assistance from refs calling every penalty against us and not any they did. That fueled their 2 goals.
    The 4th goal, what was that-garbage

    There just a top3 team/best roster in league last 3 yrs and now. They still havnt won anything yet and no show up for game 6 and 7 against WAS is still pathetic. This is it for them. This yr or bust.

    Were simply not a top 10 roster yet. We are closer then people thought before season started. Prob borderline top10 team we are/towards the top of the 11-22 teams range.

    We took it to them the last 10min of 1st period, outshooting them 17-9 and that woke them up-factor in they blew a 3-1 lead last night in regulation/got a gift to tie. Then outplayed us 19-2. 3 penaltys called against us and they did not call the 2 against them fueled that shot total.

    For where out team is at right now, were right where we want to be 4-2-2, playing 5 of 8 against top 10 teams (3-1-1), and need to get better as we go along. Eight 6-4 segments get us to 16 over .500 and in playoffs. 2nd 40 games sch is better.

    Fortins goal was awesome. A taste of whats coming once were deep again.

  6. Every team should be able to give the league a list of 5 refs/per team that are not allowed to ref any of their games. I mean that’s basically fixed when you have refs doing that on purpose. Black ball those refs.

  7. Agree about Kunitz and Martinsen – would like to see Highmore and Sikura given a chance instead

    Maybe Saad should be tried with 19 and 12 he did play really well tonight

    Also Fortin with his first goal was sweet and Schmaltz finally scoring was good

    The puck management all over they ice in both weekend games was for the most part atrocious – the first TB goal where Kunitz had the puck with no real pressure and made a weak ass pass that ended up eventually on Hedman’s stick sending Kucherov away being a good example – TB was gifted a great scoring chance out of what should have been a routine play and that happened time and again over those 2 games

    The forwards have been as guilty as the D the last 2 games – not recognizing the situation and not been hard with a pass, a dump in, a forecheck, a backcheck – in other words mentally lazy or just stupid, take your pick

  8. One thing that doesn’t help for making playoffs, is 2 of the top 3 teams in league are in division and will be 1 and 2 seed every yr, until were a top team again.
    Makes it tuff.
    Be good for younger guys to get a taste, so they know what kind of level playoffs is at and it gets them more prepared for the yrs coming when were deep again.

    We got work to do/get better.
    Iceman, I hate saying things about refs but when your right about refs you have to.

  9. I’m going to try really hard to concentrate on positives tonight.
    Therefore;
    Saad had some activity offensively and defensively. Had a couple of good back checks. Had his legs moving.
    Ward made some great saves and probably will feel like he was beaten with a pillowcase full of pop cans tomorrow.
    That is all.

    Now, the boys need to get ready for those punks from Anaheim and their goon tactics. Crawford will be in net and the Blackhawks need to support him from getting a shot or two around the noggin from Kesler and the rest of those lowlifes.

    Go Blackhawks!

  10. Embarrassing. Passing was atrocious. Unforced errors abound. The coverage… eep.

    “Who gives a shit” means taking risks to attack and accepting that you’ll give up goals sometimes as a result. I have zero problems with that. It doesn’t mean playing like garbage and shrugging it off.

  11. My God. That was not fun.

    The hockey iq on many of these players is not great.

    I dont like Schmaltz and Kane together. -7 sure stands out. Kane needs good two way forwards to cover his often dzone laziness. Saad should be an answer but he and kane have never clicked. No idea why.

    I still dont know why kruger was brought back. Kampf is the same player. Now we got two of the same. Doesnt make any sense.

    Kunitz. Just make him go away already.

    Watching from the pressbox does Stan Bowman like this team? Really? Does he believe in this defense? Hes fine with the abysmal pk and pp again? Hes fine with the high danger chances on our goalies game after game?

    I dont get it.

  12. Well that was ugly. Maybe I should remind myself (again) this is a rebuilding year. Ah, yeah … still ugly. But, there are some positives to glean from an otherwise abysmal performance tonight. Ah … um … I’m thinking … well … um … give me a minute … I know – we’re one game closer to drafting Jack Hughes! Yeah, that’s it.

    But actually this is a rebuilding/transition year and as such these games should be judged more as player development and evaluation than as wins/losses. Anyone who watched our team defense tonight knows in their heart of hearts that the Hawks aren’t a contending team – even with Crawford back and looking in top shape. We simply do not have 6 legitimate d-men and some of our forwards don’t commit to playing defense every shift. We would have to outscore our opponents and with only 3 forwards scoring and essentially no Power Play – that isn’t going to happen with any consistency.

    So take some small snippets of future potential and that will have to do. Tonight we had Fortin use his speed and finish getting his first NHL goal. Is he Viktor Stalberg meaning he’s all flash and no cash or will he have enough finish to be a part of the future team. We don’t know that yet but he bought himself a little more time to show the Hawks what he can do. He’s a player worth evaluating – he has a chance.

  13. Couldn’t get the game in Ontario- but the stats/results tell volumes about:
    -brutal defensive zone coverage
    -hanging goalies out to dry (33 shots in ONE period ?? not even Ken Dryden could be expected to wear an “S”!)
    -slow moving forwards- if you are going to “run and gun”, allow 55 SOG, 6 goals… then bring up the speedy, smaller, scoring kind of guys and shed the deadwood!!
    Let’s not be critical of the goaltenders when defensive play is that atrocious.
    I hope Hayden was in the lineup ?!

  14. Definitely need upgrade on bottom 6. Toews the only one on his line who is doing anything when opposition has puck. Sacrificed defense to get offense going on that line. Saad should be back on Kane line AA doesn’t play at his and Schmaltz’s pace, need speed and skill there.

    Nobody bumping Kunitz off 3rd line or Martinsen out of lineup, shows a need there. I know the Q being stubborn arguments but he wantd to win and knows what it takes. More needed there. Kunitz and Martinsen at least hitting some people when they don’t have the puck.

    A minute eating 3rd pair on D is a needed upgrade to balance things out there. Davidson may look better than Manning but he isn’t going to help improve it. With some help from the forwards and defebsemen return from injuries/callup improvement is possible.
    Elite goaltending and scoring on top 6 is going to carry this team to where it’s going. Better overall team defense is going to be suspect.

  15. Thanks for the honest recap. Grateful I had work life stuff that needed to get done so I was not in front of any TV or radio for this.
    Can the Kunitz thing be remedied? Or are we stuck? Serious question.

  16. There seems to be more commitment by our fans on this page than our players!!! Our players were beaten to virtually every puck in the second period. We aren’t even 10 games into the season and they are to TIRED to skate. What a waste of time and cash to watch a team that doesn’t want to play hockey at a professional level.

  17. Kind of miraculous that the Hawks actually got a point out of this weekend. Thank you Corey Crawford for Saturday night.

    Last night well, at least we were treated at the UC to what seemed to be kind an historical event, and one that Hawks fans will not likely forget. First period, not too bad, and actually Hawks were putting on lots of pressure. Domingue save on Kane was insane. And then it all caved in for the Hawks in the 2nd. Bolts shot totals didn’t include the percentage of high quality chances were huge. Ward was unbelievable to keep the rout from going to a Bolts 10 goal lead. Hawks team defensive effort was pathetic. Even more grating to me was watching the Lightning do what they wanted shift after shift. No willingness from Hawks players to at least try and hammer someone to say “hey, not in our house”. There is a price to pay. Nope nothing except a little push from Martinsen who I wish would just go away. Hayden back asap, please Q? It was as though the Hawks got paid off not to physically engage. Joki sealed a couple of Bolts off.

    Otherwise, WGAS? We knew this team would stink the joint up at times, and that’s what we got last night and to a lesser degree the night before too. I was hoping to see the Bolts put up 60 plus SOG just to say I was there when it happened.

    Pretty decent number of empty seats last night at the UC. I hit the exits at the 10:00 mark of the 3rd. Just to painful to watch any more.

    Ok Hawks, what do you have for us tomorrow? I don’t think Hawks get any sympathy from the Ducks…

    Lets Go Hawks!

  18. That’s because were dynasty Stanley Cup fans/people. Dedication and Passionate.

    Ian, good thoughts/others to. Saader will be back top 6, once he gets up to speed. It took 5 or so games, and now hes getting closer.

  19. When playing for the Cup-
    We heard thunder. Didn’t see any lightning.

    When playing reg season game-
    Blackhawks struck by Lightning.

    Glad were always on the right side of that.

  20. Sorry but this is a broken record. Kahun is a 3rd or 4th line player at best but Coach Q has a bromance going on like Osterle last year. Saad needs better players and should be moved up with Toews and DeBrincat, stop the nonsense.
    Same with AA trying to play second line centre. Schmaltz is a centre, stop that nonsense too. Read on TSN’s web site the arrogance of Bowman’s theory on Panarin’s contract negotions in Columbus as the reason he was right to trade him??? What a fool!!! He should have traded AA in that off season and save that ridiculous contract he gave for a 30 ,barely 40 point centre. Instead he traded Hammer as well and took Murphy a expensive bust his entire NHL career. He had the best duo in the league with Kane and Panarin.
    Let’s not get xcited and protective of Ward. He needs to be jusged on the goals he lets in which he could have and should have saved 90% of the time. He is awful and a $3million awful to boot.
    Kunitz and the rest of the bottm six are horrible except maybe Kampf? or Hayden? Still fringe players.

  21. Hull65 – you are improving, sticking to the facts much better. Overall, sound analysis based upon the facts. And you admit from the very beginning “broken record.” Good job.

    What your analysis depicts is what we all know and a lot of us have said (and for certain yours truly, broken record) is that Bowman from an NHL player standpoint is getting an “F” or at best a “D”. His NHL player related transactions (trades and free agent signings, or lack thereof) have been a disaster. The last decent trade he made was acquiring Vermette (who would be an improvement to Kunitz leaps and bounds and he’s five years or so younger and an elite faceoff man) who was critical in helping to win the last Cup. Since then, it’s been a perpetual train wreck.

    Bowman’s young talent acquisitions have been solid (drafts and free agents). Based upon this, he should be banned by his superiors from making any more decisions as to NHL related players, and solely stick to the young, non NHL players.

    Once again Hull65, good job, and keep sticking to the facts w/out going off stride. We are not the only individuals who read blogs like this, there are micro managers in the Hawks’ organization that keeps tabs (no pun) on matters as such.

    Good day to all.

  22. Compete for 60 min. and you can hold your head high. That was not the case in this game. If I watch another player whacking away at our goalie without any Hawk knocking them on their ass I’ll explode. Playing the game like they’re in a no check league, quit playing like pussys or risk losing fans.

  23. No one looked good last night except for Ward.

    I thought that Schmaltz hasn’t looked very good so far this year. He hasn’t been bad exactly, but I feel his overall play could be a lot better. Not sure what it is but he looks very tentative with his shot; his default MO seems to be to stick handle then pass. I wish he would put the puck on net more often. Comparing him and DeBrincat, the Cat has 25 shots, Schmatlz has only 13. Schmaltz being predictable about looking for the pass has to make it easier to defend him. Just shoot the freaking puck already!

    I agree with many of the comments about Kunitz and Martinsen (and the bottom 6 in general.) If Martinsen is only going to get 7:23 of TOI and Kunits only 11:34, those numbers are not that far off from guys like Johnson and Hayden (8:55 and 10:030 TOI respectively.) So why not give the youngsters more games/starts since having the “veterans” in the lineup doesn’t seem to change the number of shifts from that role (bottom 6)?

    Not a very entertaining game unless you get sadistic pleasure from watching your goalie get shellshocked. The high entertainment value of the games from early this season resulted from an inflated scoring from guys like Toews and DeBrincat and a wide open, uptempo game. As defenses tighten up on the Hawks and the top guys production regress to their mean, the games will become far less entertaining unless secondary and tertiary scoring can support the top lines normal production levels. Someone needs to start scoring goals whose name isn’t DeBrincat, Kane and Toews. Saad, Anisimov, Schmaltz, Kunitz this means you…

  24. Yea 8 is better then he has played these 8 games, same with 20.
    You can only do so much with 4 lines when were not deep enough yet.

    6 of the 8 games were fun, this one was until 2nd and that ref penaltys called on us/not called on them.

    Not complaining. Make moves and adjustments.
    Keep getting better. Cant make young guys ready until their ready, so these other bottom 6 guys are here until then.
    We just have to work with what we got.

    Keep getting better and do/learn the right way-things.

  25. A few games back i remarked on a certain captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs disrespecting us in our own barn ,.,.,i remarked that clowns like that should be knocked on their ass . My thought was what has been amplified in a few previous comments ,.,.,the fact we let teams away with WAY to much in our house .
    Someone needs to send a message ,the sooner the better . Play with some emotion boys ,.,.,wholly crap !

  26. Over the summer there was much commentary made about acquiring a top-6 winger to fill out our top-6, the implication being that we already had (5) top-6 players so all we needed was one more to have a full complement of top-6 players. That meant we considered Toews, Kane, DeBrincat, Schmaltz and Saad to be top-6 players. I don’t think anyone would dispute that Toews (now that he’s playing well again), Kane and DeBrincat are top-6 players and playing like top-6 players. However, I think Schmaltz and Saad are open for debate, at least in terms of how they’ve played through the first 8 games. I agree with Hull65 and some others that while Kahun is playing well he is probably more of a 3rd line guy on teams that have 6 or more legitimate top-6 players. Who else is there on the roster that can legitimately be considered as a potential top-6 player? So all the talk over the summer of being one player short of having a legit top-6 may need to be amended to say we are three players short of having a legit top-6.

    There’s still hope that Schmaltz can pull it together – it is only 8 games so far and he showed marked improvement between his rookie year and last year. Saad still has his wheels and he showed a heart beat several times against Tampa so let’s keep our fingers crossed on him too.

    But all this hand wringing about the forwards is taking focus off the biggest problem which is the team defense. It starts with the d-men who cough up the puck with regularity each game which snowballs into the Chinese fire drills we see all too often is our d-zone. It exacerbated by the forwards who make mistakes of simply don’t how to work as a unit when stuff gets “scrambly”. It’s exacerbated even further when the Hawks player rush plays because they don’t want to be pinned up against the boards and lose the puck by bigger/stronger players. Keith and Seabrook will take a hit to make a play but not one other d-man will. Rutta can make pretty passes like the one to Fortin but he is constantly bailing out and not clearing the puck when pressured and so does Joki, Gustafsson and the other two guys.

    Las Vegas went to the Cup finals with a team of 2nd and 3rd liners who played fast and tenacious. A winning team doesn’t have to have 6 all stars on the top 2 lines – but if it doesn’t it better have a team defense that plays hard and smart and fearless all game long. The Hawks have neither.

  27. This is what happens when you draft or sigh European ,Russian players ,..,especially D men ,.,.they are not full body contact hockey players ,been saying that for some time .
    It`s all fine to have a great outlet pass but,.,.,.if you can not defend against big physical forwards you are fucked . Good point ER about our lack of top 6 forwards ,throw A.A in there to ,he`s big but does not play like it ,.,.playing the Import way ,cheap shots and hooks .,.,.,.,We have lost our way here boys ,where is the grit ? Aint got any , Pretty sad for Seabs and Keith ,.,.,living out the golden years with that sad assemblage of back end material . Toews and Kaner keep giving it but hell the talent on this team falls off very quickly . Oh yeah i forgot it`s a building decade .

  28. Agree with Ebony. Biggest problem is team defence. Hawks do it in stretches in games but does not seem to be in the DNA of the team and when you are cursed with scrubs for defencemen it just exacerbates the whole situation.

  29. I’m really sick of hearing about the defensemen and how they suck. Bottom line is those contracts aren’t moving and they won you 3 stanley cups so enough already… Jokiharju, Davidson and if we see Boqvist are all upgrades from last year. I’d like to see more of Davidson than Manning. Hopefully Rutta plays better when Forsling is back and I have no expectation for Murphy…. Trade Saad and Murphy for someone that can shoot on the power play(Panarin). One note I’d like to make about last nights game and all the games this year and last is the power play…. We have lost so much offense in the last 3 years(Hossa, Sharp, Panarin…) and two of the biggest power play guys are Sharp & Panarin. If you look at Panarin’s stats the two years with the hawks, he was one and two in ppg’s scored, total of 17. Brandan Saad has a total of 6 ppg’s with the Hawks all time(6 years)… We need someone that is made to shoot the puck on the power play….Bowman please fix this. We had a guy and you traded him away why??? I wonder in these games where Cam Ward(.885 SV%) can’t stop a beach ball and the defense is getting eaten up how it would change these games like last night. A huge momentum shift would be a power play goal. It would sure be alot more fun to watch….

  30. This is what happens when you win 3 cups in 6 years and there’s a hard salary cap – mistakes have been made but the cap is a reality that can’t be avoided and is the number 1 reason for the Hawks current situation

    To blame it on European and Russian players or even just D men from Europe and Russia is to ignore Lidstrom, Chara, Karlsson just to name Norris trophy winners off the top of my head and if you include forwards how about Ovechkin, Malkin, Kucherov, Laine, Kuznestov, Backstrom and on and on.

    If other teams are so much better at running their teams than the Hawks why hasn’t any other team beat the Hawks rate of winning Stanley Cups in the salary cap era?

  31. Yes Yes.

    Its got to be better to have elite players in the top 6 and top 4 then have an entire team of 2nd and 3rd line and 6 2nd pair D and get to finals without a chance to win and get lucky WIN was worn out using extra energy to beat the 2ns best team in league.

    Were not deep now. It will take 2 yrs to get there, then we will be.
    What do we need to do during these 2 yrs.
    Let it sort out on its own, then makes moves accordingly.
    We draft very well, that’s what we need to build from within.
    It cant be that hard to get a guy like 11/26/80/next guy, when were ready for it.

    People wanted to hang Saad, Bowman, Q and others.
    Watch those guys end up being on top, by the time were ready.
    Patience, and make the right moves our lives are counting on it.

  32. I like Kahun where he is. He keeps the puck well and avoids pressure to create space. He makes good decisions. The top line is a bright spot, not a problem. Don’t touch it.

    ER is spot-on. “It starts with the d-men who cough up the puck with regularity each game.” Exactly. When our D get the puck, it’s almost like the other 4 skaters take a split second to process what to do next. But by that time, our D is already under duress. Turnover.

    Fortin showed that there is another option when he scored. He started a breakout before Rutta had the puck. He assumed the puck would be turned over and started attacking. Rutta won the puck and sprung him. We need more of that. When possession is being contested, e.g. a board battle, we need a forward or 2 to facilitate a breakout in case we win the puck. Yes, sometimes we will not win the puck and a forward will then be out of position. IDGAF, because the other option is that everyone stands around waiting to see the outcome of the battle before deciding what to do. That strategy leads to a clear at best (and forfeiting possession) and a Chinese fire drill at worst.

  33. Iceman, well said. Thx. Hm, wonder how the Edjsell experiment is going on in Rockford. The fact is playing the fence as Bowman does slows signi8ng washed up NHL fringe players is the downside of any team development. Of course you need the horses to keep the prospects knocking at the door. Thus, when we see who leads the scoring race for Rockford, the reality is for our eyes only. We are suffering immensely from that Panarin and Hammer trade and that falls on Bowman.
    So, we hope he can swallow his pride and put all those signings on waivers like those he signed last year, I include beach ball artist Cam Ward and let Iacopelli, Knott, and others HE DRAFTED come up to be judged. Thus, we can also judged his scouting staff.
    Still believe Kahun is a bottom 6. Saad needs to be put in a situation to succed which is with Teows.

  34. By the way, the Rockford approach is also flawed when you have Bowman signing free agent career AHLers to play big minutes thus slowing down the development of drafted prospects. Did we need Tyler Sikura, Shroeder, Broadhurst, etc at Rockford this season? Just like Bouma and the rest took minutes away from Knott, Iacopelli, Fortin etc in playoffs? To sell Icehog tickets?,……
    Sound familiar? Bowmanism!

  35. I hesitate touching the top line because it has played better than anything else we got going. So maybe don’t touch it now, but at some point it will probably hit a lull and then I would like to see Saad given a shot with Toews and DCat.

    I hope Q gives Fortin another shot with Kane and more than 2 games this time. Hopefully with Anisimov at center because Schmaltz just isn’t a good match to be Kane’s center whereas Anisimov doesn’t have near the speed and skills Schmaltz does but he knows how to play to open space for Kane and the other winger to make plays.

    Hopefully Sikura earns his way up and then I’d like to see this lineup given a look.

    Saad-Toews-DCat
    Fortin-Anisimov-Kane
    Kahun-Schmaltz-Sikura
    Kampf-Kruger-Hayden

  36. Put the referee-bashing to rest. It’s ridiculous and sophomoric at best and strikes of whining, bitchy fans that always and only see things one way.
    Right now, the teams not good enough.

  37. Been away for over a week but enjoyed the comments about the last few games-will be nice to see Crow play.
    Saad deserves some time/flexibility given both the money he makes and his former skills but some players do get out of the gate well in the NHL, get good money and then fade-has happened many times.

    I wish Rockford had more to be excited about. Other than Johnson who works real hard but isn’t a top 6 guy and Sikura who unfortunately may be a a talented but fringe type, what is there?-perhaps you get a 4/5 guy out of Hillman or Forsling. Highmore not sure. Hopefully the guys in college, CHL and Europe/Russia develop.

  38. The offense is fine, scored 2nd most goals in league so far. Top line is fine for now, if adjustments needed, then fix it when its broke. Schmaltz is there because Kane is at his best when he can play game at high tempo, Schmaltz is able to give him a center who can do that. He is a primarily a playing making center with elite skill there and speed who feeds his wings. He has 6 shots in last 2 games, and a couple more good chances and a goal. He is over 58% in faceoffs last 4 games and 50% last 6 after a rough first couple of games there. Put Saad there and let them try to make it work together.

    Cutting down on scoring chances against is the concern not changing where things are ok. Use AA as 3rd center, let Fortin show what he do can there, and when Sikura is ready to be called up put him there. If working with Kunitz will help Fortin elevate his game until then and nobody stands out as should be there put Kunitz there for now. Finding an effective 4th line that doesn’t need Martinsen to add an edge to it, that can play with and without the puck is a big concern.

  39. All the forwards need to play better in their own end of ice, wuthout the puck, that is something that can be done, just need to committ to it. That alone makes a positive difference.

  40. I’m never been a Q basher but there is one thing I’ve complained about for years (along with multitudes of other Hawks fans) and that’s his twitchy trigger finger on the line blender, specifically for what it does to “chemistry” not just on offense but equally if not more important on defense. The forwards are usually the ones guilty of making d-zone scrambles look like Chinese fire drills when they’re running around chasing the puck – it’s like watching cats chase a laser pointer. That is made worse when forward units haven’t formed that “Sedin twin” sixth sense of knowing where their line mates will be because they have different line mates every couple games.

  41. Everyone calls out our players coach and GM when they do something wrong or are bad. When the refs suck or theirs one like that Mccally person, they will be called everytime they suck. At all other times, yes, donot want to sound like blaming thing on refs. We can win or tie a game and the refs can suck, it doesn’t have to be a bad/loss.

    Good day.

  42. Well Mo I don’t remember names of the crew from the Saturday night game against the Jackets, but that group was terrible. Bad calls against both teams.

  43. Interesting line combos for tonight. Kunitz should help 4th line, good to see Hayden in but Johnson recalled so we wi?l see. Lots of speed on 3rd line, Fortin getting a chance there, see if Schmaltz can make the offense go and shoot score a bit. Kampf in middle, could see Kruger and Johnson as 3rd and 4th centers for a bit to help defensively also.
    Hopefully Kane can spark AA and Saad offensively.

  44. Yea those refs sucked, in the way they called every weakass penalty. It seemed to just to call more overall for the game, to both teams.
    Why would they do that. It better not be because they know that particular team is a top 5 OFF and has a good PP and that our PP sucks so lets call the weak stuff.
    Not thinking that, but during games when they do that, it crosses my mind and I get shame.

  45. Ian, yea I thought after ER posted those lines what I thought would be good.
    Having 8 on 3rd line and keeping 15 with 88 just try a different element for that 2nd line. ER thought the same for those two players.
    Now be nice to see our ideas be good for the team/those players.

  46. Thinking for defense improvenent they mught go all 2 way centers and speed on the wings. Wouldn’t be surprised if Saad still sluggish to and Toews line cool off that he puts Schmaltz with Toews and Kahun oppisite Kane and try to get chemistry there. Still not convinced it’s just temporary for a couple of games to spark things though.

  47. We do it every yr and it works. We do not do it to mess guys up, its to get the lines to what is best for that yr, with who we have. Usually by the 15-25 games/depending on how long it takes, we get to what lines are the best and then we roll from there. People bitch and moan about coach doing this/too bad it works every yr. Most yrs we had a deep roster, still same concept. How long depends on the players.

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