Michal Handzus, Blackhawks Stay Alive

It took more than 82 minutes, but the Chicago Blackhawks survived an elimination game at home with a dramatic 5-4 win in double overtime.

Coach Joel Quenneville mixed his lines once again, and this time found a winner in Patrick Kane, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad. Kane had four assists – including three in the first period – and Saad had one goal and two assists to lead the Blackhawks to victory.

Two minutes into the second overtime, Saad and Kane led a rush up the ice that concluded with Michal Handzus burying the game-winning goal.

Chicago sprinted to a 2-0 lead in the first 3:40, but Jarrett Stoll cut the lead in half. Saad scored his goal 1:17 after Stoll’s tally, but Marian Gaborik made the score 3-2 only 2:10 later.

Unfortunately, the pretty numbers put up by Kane, Saad and Shaw (who had two assists as well) were overshadowed in the second period by another rough 20 minutes. Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson scored two minutes apart in the middle of the second period to give the Kings the lead and deflate all emotion from the United Center.

Late in the second period, Shaw took Jake Muzzin into the boards and it appeared his leg bent the wrong direction. He stayed down and appeared to be in pain for a moment, but was able to skate off on his own. He returned for the third period.

After a hideous shift led to the game-tying goal, Kris Versteeg found himself stapled to the bench. He didn’t take a shift in the third period or either overtime, finishing with only nine shifts and 6:48 in the game.

A Ben Smith goal 1:17 into the third period tied the game and brought life back into the building and the Blackhawks. The Hawks out-shot the Kings 16-8 in the third period and forced overtime with their backs against the wall.

The first overtime period took only 26 minutes of real time, as the teams skated back-and-forth with quality chances on both ends. Neither team was able to close the ledger for the night, however, so the game went to a second overtime.

Once there, Handzus scored his first game-winning goal of the playoffs to extend the Blackhawks’ season at least one more game. It’s the first overtime playoff goal of Handzus’ career.

After the game, Quenneville said that “might have been the greatest overtime I’ve ever seen.”

Not only did Quenneville mix up his forward lines, but he threw his defensive pairs into the blender as well. Here’s how the ice time broke down for the six defensemen Quenneville dressed on Wednesday night:

  • Duncan Keith – 37:37
  • Niklas Hjalmarsson – 31:47
  • Johnny Oduya – 29:01
  • Michal Rozsival – 24:41
  • Brent Seabrook – 24:39
  • Nick Leddy – 14:45

Seabrook led Chicago’s defensemen with three blocked shots in the game; Smith added a team-high four blocks and three hits to his game-tying goal. Shaw and Bryan Bickell, both of whom skated more than 24 minutes in the game, finished tied with a game-high eight hits; Brown had eight hits for the Kings as well.

Saad led the team with seven shots on net and also had a team-high three takeaways, playing his best game of the postseason.

The Hawks’ special teams bounced back from a rough three games to kill all three of the Kings’ power plays on the night. Seabrook’s goal to open the game was a power play marker for the Hawks, who were 1-4 with the advantage.

Crawford was visibly frustrated throughout the opening 40 minutes, and rightfully so. The fourth goal was one he’ll undoubtedly want back, and he trailed entering the third in spite of Jonathan Quick allowing three goals in the first period.

But Crawford bounced back with a strong third period and even better overtime(s). He stopped all 19 shots he faced in the final 42 minutes, and finished the game with 40 saves against 44 shots in the victory. Quick also stopped 40 shots, but faced 45 in the loss.

Los Angeles once again dominated the Hawks at the dot, winning 40 of 73 faceoffs in the game. Not surprisingly, Anze Kopitar led the way for the Kings, winning 15 of 26 faceoffs. Drew Doughty skated 39:04 and was credited with four blocked shots, nine shots on goal and two hits on the night.

There will be more hockey for these Blackhawks. Puck drop on Friday night is 8:00 pm CT at Staples Center. Can they force a Game Seven?

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117 Responses to Michal Handzus, Blackhawks Stay Alive

  1. Tab Bamford says:

    Also, fwiw…

  2. torourke says:

    J.S. and Tab called it. Take a bow gentlemen.

    Unbelievable game.

    Brandon Saad is 21 years old. Think about that.

  3. Mining Man says:

    Zus! Lumbering up like an eighteen wheeler. All detractors now must back off. How many here wrote over and over that Q had better not dress Handzus or Bollig and to do so was insane. Well we need that eighteen wheeler. Just to put some icing on it he spent his career with the Kings, who dumped him. Superb OT periods, eight minutes with no whistle! Good thing we got those early goals or else big trouble. Get on Quick early seems to be a good strategy. Keith was back big time, thinking he’s a bit hurt. Saad big step up. Kane magnificent and don’t say it was because he didn’t have Zus anchoring him down because it was Zus that won the last faceoff and Kane/Saad assisting. Nice for the home crowd…if we go down Friday so be it but as of this evening we are still very much alive. If we bring the emotion and energy we can do it.

  4. McKay says:

    So many blocked shots. It’s a total momentum killer for the Hawks. When the pucks get through or get deep, we play much better.

    I don’t know why NBC is focusing only on Crawford’s visible frustration (actually, I do know why… to build an easy story line). All of the Hawks are visibly frustrated throughout this series: Hossa ready to break his stick over the boards, Hjalmerson’s stupid penalty, Shaw’s stupid penalty, Sharp’s stupid penalty, and the list of stupid penalties go on and on.

    Kings have been on absolute fire and Doughty is in Bobby Orr form. I expect their team pace to regress sometime soon.

    These Hawks are 8-2 in elimination; 12-0 in games 5, 6, and 7; and have won three straight playoff games last year against the Wings and against Vancouver in 2011.

    Just need to steal that road victory and it’s a series of one.

  5. wall says:

    Once again- Q with the great coaching call- and takes 26 off of Kane’s line… I wish some people here would have that of that first!!!

    How did Versteeg get that bad that quick???

    So will it be Regin or Morin- Hell, Q might as well make 10-26-Brookbank the
    “checking” line… Please no more Versteeg… 23 was also -imo – caught watching the puck and standing 2-3 feet from the King’s scorer.

    I really think Morin could help the Hawks-
    If Shaw is 95% healthy and Morin played… I almost think the Hawks could force a game 7…

    the 2nd goal on Crow was weak too!!!

    The Crowd really effected that game… The Hawks were on fumes in the 1st OT… Shaw hurt, Bollig putting on Verbeauties make-up on the bench, Zus skating here and there…

  6. Travis says:

    This series is not over.

    Our second line outplayed their second line.
    We won the special teams battle.
    Kane is producing.
    Saad is producing.
    Sharp is showing signs.
    Bickell is showing signs.
    Shaw is back in form. Hope he’s not hurt.
    Crawford rebounded admirably.
    We overcame a massive momentum change, in the game and in the series.
    We finally got a break on Kopitar’s post.
    We won despite below-average puck luck.

    We can beat LA. We are right there. We are flirting with “the next level” on a consistent basis that has been absent all playoffs. If we hit it… watch out.

  7. EbonyRaptor says:

    Aside from the stress on the Hawks fans watching their team face elimination, that was a very enjoyable game to watch – a whale of a game.

    Obviously with Q having last change he was able to get favorable matchups for 20-65-88 and they were the difference makers tonight. It will be interesting to see how Sutter adjusts to try to shut down that line.

    Hopefully the refs call it a little tighter regarding the interference LA was able to get away with all game long. The Kings players are very good at getting just enough of the body to keep it borderline but still impede the progress and disrupt the potential play. It’s frustrating but fortunately the Hawks have the determination and focus to play through it and not let it throw them off their game. They just kept coming tonight and that was encouraging to see. Hopefully the Hawks will keep their composure in Game 6 and just play through it.

    Even if the Hawks don’t win the series – the game they played tonight is one all Hawks fans should be proud of them. They played like champions tonight. Not perfect – but with will and determination.

  8. Mining Man says:

    Well said again EbonyR…this was a fine fine game in the annals of Blackhawkdom and one to remember and be very proud of….now IF only the Kings go in thinking they are so much better and can toss these worn out and battered guys then we can exploit that overconfidence because that is something custom made for us. We have many weapons that we have yet to use. Thinking all of the following are hurt and playing through it or having great difficulty…Crawford, Keith, Seabrook, Versteeg, Shaw, Hossa…so before you start tearing these guys up think about that. We DID play like champions tonight and this scenario before us is just the kind of thing we can succeed at. Great team. Very proud…

  9. Well I can breathe again, although my liver is bummed we have to do this again. Crow was good enough, and I know many people want to call him elite, but I think the difference between he and Quick is clear. They both make great saves, Quick just actually intends to make them. Crow sells out on the first attempt, Quick plays for 2 shots. quick looks around and beats screens himself, Crow STANDS MOTIONLESS LOOKING DIRECTLY AT THE NAME ON STOLL’S SWEATER I STILL CAN’T GET OVER THAT ONE. Hey, Crow pulled it together, as did the D for the most part, and man the Kings have been white hot with seeing-eye shots, maybe that cools off, hopefully for 2 games in a row coming up.

    Saad, what a performance, he’s been pushing the puck and tough on the boards and behind the net all series, finally a breakthrough game for him.

  10. Sr. Brad says:

    First off, yeah, we won…great speech by Phil/Bluto today to inspire the boys…great job!

    Second, congrats to Michael Handzus on the winner…he is such a quality human being and I am very glad for him…now for those of you who think that Zus gets a passing grade because he scored the game winner? Wow! He was AWFUL skating a measly 14 minutes in a game that lasted over 82…on the first King goal, which should NEVER have happened, Zus was painfully slow making his way back into our zone and while Sharp fought tooth and nail in the slot to get rid of the puck, Zus slowly skated right away from Stoll and the puck, and proceeded to skate behind Justin Williams and cross check him to the ice while Stoll finally tapped the loose puck in…it gets better. Late in the first with under 30 seconds to go, Zus swiped wildly at the blue line as Doughty skated right around him for a scoring chance, Zus then slowly made his way back to the net NEVER ONCE looking for a free King skater around him, allowed the puck to go past him for a 2nd opportunity, and then didn’t move while the Kings got a 3rd and 4th scoring opportunity right in front of him. After this horrible shift, Zus didn’t see ton’s of ice time. And while Andrew Shaw our great 3rd line centre, went out and sparked Kane and our suddenly unstoppable 2nd line (gee, I wonder why???), Zus proceeded to destroy Patrick Sharp and our 3rd line. He did have 2 blocked shots, but barely won a single F/O, didn’t check or hit anyone, couldn’t make a pass and the first pass he received all game, in the 2nd OT, led to the winning goal. Again, nice guy, awful hockey player…but to some, he’s our hero???

    Brandon Bollig…wow…just wow…Versteeg was AWFUL tonight and became everyone’s poster child for what’s wrong with the Hawks, while Bollig skates a minuscule 8 minutes, was a minus 2, and like Handzus didn’t ONCE pick up a single King defender in his own end. Q screams about Defensive zone responsibility will get you played and failure to do so will get you benched…unless its Zus and Bollig with ATROCIOUS D zone play…they fly under the radar…yep, Versteeg was slow and seemingly lazy out there tonight, so he’s the one that gets dumped for game 6 and not Zus and/or Bollig. On the Brown goal, that ended Versteeg’s night…as he raced around the boards to take Seabrook’s exit pass, he was cross checked by the Kings to the ice and was slow to get up while la scored…and that gets you bench for the rest of the game while we suffer with only 9 forwards skating against LA’s 12? Again, no defence for Versteeg’s performance tonight, but Zus and Bollig were worse!!!

    There were 2 keys to the Hawks win tonight…one, by demoting Zus and promoting Shaw, our 2nd line woke up for the first time since Ben Smith did it in round one. They had one of the most dominating performances in recent playoff history…what a surprise that Kane had a big game huh? And two, the Hawks killed all 3 la PPs while we scored on one of ours. And we scored that goal, because Andrew Shaw crashed the front of the la net and provided the screen. Our 3rd goal was scored because Shaw not only one timed a hard shot on the la net, but he simultaneously took out an la defence man, leaving Saad all alone for the goal. Early in the 2nd, it was Shaw’s dog eat dog play in front of the net that led to Saad’s scoring chances, where he was robbed by Quick. And on the Hawks all important 4th goal, it was Shaw’s great positioning and hustle that led the la defender to go with him through the crease leaving Smith alone to tip in the great feed from a phenomenal Saad. And people here are saying that Shaw’s not a centre? He played a flawless Centreman’s game tonight (short of the penalty)…and is getting better and better on his F/Os. His play as a centre consistently elevates the play of those around him, and his physical play opens up the ice for his wingers, hence Kane’s big game. This kid has been the heart and soul of this this team in many ways over the last 2 seasons…and losing him during the MIN series has really hurt us. Last game Shaw was trying desperately to get his game back up to speed, and tonight it was…Shaw gives us an edge and hope for beating the Kings in la.

    As soon as Seabrook got more even minutes, his game improved…Toews, Hossa and Bickell did everything but score a goal on Quick who robbed that line all night. Rufus today was once again ripping on Saad, telling us all how over rated he is, and how he’s nothing more than a 3rd line player…thanks for getting it all wrong again…Saad was superhuman tonight, and one of the main reasons we won that game…the line of Saad-Shaw-Kane gives us a fighting chance in la…Crawford was soft on the kings 2nd goal and was inexcusably bad on the la 4th goal, a goal that could have deflated us to a point of losing the series…but as usual, he fought back with a strong 3rd period and a brilliant OT…he’s a fighter and a good goalie. And while Sharp just hasn’t produced this post season, he’s trying…but no matter where he goes, he seems to draw Handzus…and Zus is simply not supporting Sharp’s offensive play and is killing whatever line he’s on. Sharp cannot be wasted on a line of Zus and Versteeg, its that simple. Leddy was tossed head first into the Q dog house again tonight, reducing the Hawks further to 3 lines and effectively only 5 DMen…when we are tired already…Ben Smith is a damn good hockey player and is being WASTED on that 4th line…every chance Smith gets to showcase his talents with better players, he delivers…but is CONSTANTLY sent back to skate with Bollig…brilliant.

    The Hawks won tonight in spite of their coaches who ended up consistently putting the Hawks in dangerous positions by dressing that lineup and effectively reducing 4 dressed players into fence posts and marginal contributors. On the game winning goal, Seabrook made a great play to break up a king’s rush and push the puck forward…Kane made a great play to also move the puck forward…Zus trailing behind the play and skating backwards, lost control of the puck and it bounced off a kings player right to Kane, who gave it to Saad and Saad an AMAZING pass with tremendous vision to a slow Zus trailing way behind the play. The timing of it all work perfectly, and Zus did a great job of going forehand to backhand and tucking the puck above Quick. Go figure…

    So going into game 6 in la, it will be an incredibly tough task to win. Once again, skating 3 lines against 4 is going to be very tough on the road, especially as la has the last shift. But Shaw replacing Zus on the that 2nd line, and Saad playing out of this world, gives us a chance…but Corey Crawford is going to have to get better and win us another game…as with a bad 4th line because of Bollig and a horrendous 3rd line because of Zus and Versteeg, we are going to have to rely on essentially 2 lines and perhaps only 5 DMen. Not impossible, but Q is making it very hard to win this series…

  11. morrison says:

    And then it begins.

  12. Tim G says:

    ER- “Not perfect – but with will and determination.” That is exactly what i said we didnt have after game 5. We were being out-willed… last night, we showed up, and look what happened.

    It wasn’t perfect, but we will take it!

  13. Al Lipponeur says:

    Wait for it….roll four lines, Q was out coached, in my coaching experience, blah, blah, blah. The long winded post is still to come . You know who you are…

  14. Hawklover77 says:

    I think most of us have already seen how Versteeg has gotten “that bad, that quick”, he’s terrible on both sides of the puck & brings nothing to the game. He thinks he’s Kane with his attempt to stickhandle through defenders & his defensive presence is pretty much nonexistent. Much rather see Regin in the lineup than him.

  15. Mike57 says:

    ZUS IS GOD!

  16. Mike57 says:

    Great game from Saad, Kane, Shaw. Amazing HOW GOOD Kane is when given decent linemates. Ben Smith had ANOTHER great game too. Winning so many board battles it just makes you wonder why he still starts games on the 4th line. The 3rd line of 16,28, and 10 might work if you use 26, 12, and 11 as the 4th line.
    Loved Saad’s comment after the game, “I saw Zus coming with speed” on the game winner. It only takes 82 minutes for everybody to slow down to Zus’ speed. Used correctly he is still a valuable part of this team.

  17. NJ Dave says:

    Can’t say enough about Saad ‘ s game. He was so strong on the puck and showed so much determination on every shift. It was a Hossa – like performance.

    Maybe Q found the right match up with Toews line even up with the Kopitar line and then the new #2 line pushing the offense. Can he get the same match up in LA though?

    Also a little worried about how much the first two lines had to work for this win. But it was necessary.

  18. Mike57 says:

    We know Q will not give Morin a chance to play so I could see 26,12,and 17 as the 4th line and that would give you a chance to play Brookbank on an occasional d shift to keep guys fresh.

  19. Sr. Brad says:

    Hey how about Andrew Shaw and Jeremy Morin…not bad huh? Where are all the folks yesterday denigrating their abilities and calling them bottom 6 forwards???

    Hey, good thing every time we are facing elimination Q takes Zus off the 2nd line, and then we win!!! Good news huh?

    How about those 3rd and 4th lines last night…short of Ben Smith who belongs in the top 6, those 2 lines played some of the worst hockey seen in the last 5 Hawk seasons. People talk about Versteeg, how did the Hawks get so “un-deep” so fast? This is a team with one of the best records in the league this season that was virtually undefeated rolling our 4 lines with the deepest roster in the league. Suddenly we have 2 lines and 5 defence men. Boy, that Bowman sure is an idiot…

    Hey kids, how about Q-staches GENIUS plan of not skating Zus for 30 minutes during the 2nd half of the game, and then unleashing the GIANT in the 2nd OT to win it. Now that’s coaching!!!

    Hey kiddies, how about Brandon Bollig’s 8 minutes and -2 hockey…Bollig hit more end boards in disgust with his inability to check anyone, then he did king players…

    Hey everyone, good thing Q-staches knows that Leddy is a lousy DMan and plays him only 14 minutes, while Keith skates almost 40…good thinking…and Rozy skating more than Seabrook, again, that’s what we want…

    Keep of sleeping America…don’t try to think, it only hurts…

  20. AJ says:

    Kane is a scary player with space. Brilliant game from Saad. You gotta think Hossa is going to get a bounce at some point. And thank GAWD they changed the PP scheme. Actually looked threatening.

    Liked Keith and Hammer together of course.

    Hilarious Zeus finished the game off. Pretty sure the combined bullying from most of the Hawks fan base inspired that so we all should get an assist too but he made Quick look awfully stupid.

    Crazy game. Hopefully they can take the next one.

  21. AJ says:

    Versteeg was awful Brad but you gotta give the staff credit for adjusting the power play, getting the forwards up on the penalty kill and letting those defenders run rampant all over LA. When momentum swung in the 2nd I don’t think you can blame the staff. While I am irritated that it took so long I am glad they showed the capacity to solve some problems.

    And I have no issues with Keith skating 40 minutes. Rafalski and Lidstrom did the same. Kane skated a lot of minutes as well. They gotta lean on someone.

  22. JS says:

    It wasn’t a hatty, but close enough.

    And yes, you get Kane away from the boat anchor and he makes plays with forwards that can keep up with him and crash the net. Want to know the center that Kane had the most points with this season? Andrew Shaw. Want to know the wing that Kane was most productive with this season? Brandon Saad. WHAT A BRILLIANT COACHING MOVE BY Q TO LOOK AT SOME FREAKING NUMBERS.

    Saad is pretty good at hockey. His speed to the outside was a game changer. LA will have to watch that tomorrow night and watch for him to break it up the middle.

    Wall- How excited were you about the change in the power play? I was actually laughing when I saw them move to the umbrella with Toews in the middle. I’m pretty sure we should be bench coaches next season since we know what they are going to do a few games before they decide to do it.

    Can’t defend Versteeg anymore. Absolutely brutal game and he isn’t potting goals to make up for the mental lapses.

    The hilarious thing about all of the talk about Crawford and his first period yesterday… Quick gave up another goal on the same amount of shots, but he escapes media scrutiny. Alright. Quick’s save percentage is under .900 on the series.

  23. CDN Hawks fan says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if Sharp could become a contributor? WTF dude? Who are you and what have you done with Patrick Sharp?

    All the talk about who might be injured and nobody mentions this guy as a candidate. It’s like the regular season ended and he decided to go on vacation.

  24. Mike the Mook says:

    This blog has bashed ZUSSSS all year and finally his relaxed, skilled and hockey IQ shined for all to see. I like the Defense Mash up, but still wonder why or how after 2 years Q is just now figuring out who is who in the zoo? Like who performs best with who and chemistry and flow and confidence and mixing size and skill players. Anyway we’ll take the win they at least owned that to us the FANS. LA will continue to keep it simple and out smart Hawks with Simplicity. While a better game for Hawks still very inconsistent. CRAWFORD was amazing in the first over time, simply Amazing, he actually won the game, hope he stays confident friday.

  25. Section 333 says:

    Saad in beast mode last night. Looked like Hossa’s little brother out there. Hopefully he continues to learn at the foot of the master and becomes Hossa 2.0. Already looks well on his way.

    My only quibble is why did it take until the 99th game of the season to give 88-65-20 a test drive? Hopefully Shaw’s knee knock isn’t too bad. He looked like he was on one leg in the 2nd OT.

    Fun game to watch last night. You could hear the broadcast guys were practically giddy with the end to end chances.

    BTW, Brad you want us to say… what, you were right? Is that it? I can’t tell. Your sarcasm needs some work. Q-stache says you are a healthy scratch for the next post-game recap.

  26. Mike says:

    I think Q WILL play Regin for Versteeg in game 6. That will be his only change….but would be a good one. It allows some line mix options……23, I love ya, but you gotta get to 100% over the summer.
    29 19 81
    20 12 or 16 88
    10 16 or 12 65
    52 26 28
    We need a line up where the 4th line gets 10+ minutes or we will be in trouble in LA.

    Got to love the Zues goal but it was noticeable how invisible Sharp was with 26 as his center. 26 is a drag on offense, but I think 52/26/28 makes a respectable 4th line….28 deserves a top 9, even a top 6 spot, but I think in game 6 he will need to anchor the 4th line. 26 will be in the line up so what do you do. We need more out of the 3d line so 16 or 12 needs to be there.

    I am not too worried about Kieth….but he visibly looks tired. I more worry about Kane and Toews, man they played a lot of minutes

  27. Pete says:

    What a game. Hawks have the momentum now lets break LA. Versteeg and Bollig have to come out of the lineup. Put in Regin for Versteeg and Morin for Bollig and Zues for spot duty on the 4th line etc. Thats the Hawks best chance. Bollig is contributing exactly NOTHING so why not put in Morin. Regin for Versteeg is very obvious and I think Q will do that, but this infatuation with Mr. -2 aka Bollig is scary. Every time I see Bollig on the ice I assume LA will score. LA could choke this and I believe the Hawks have the better team.

  28. Tab Bamford says:

    Sr Brad – you doin ok? Maybe need to sleep one off after a long night? We’re getting Morin & Q-stache references all over the place

  29. el jefe says:

    comments from UC. SHAW KANE SAAD totally dominant. Shaw-Heart of a lion. Crawford continues to be shaky. Quick stops Toews on 3 on 2 then LA comes down on similar break and scores. fourth goal pathetic. He has to step it up to at least match Quick if Hawks have any hope in game six. Overtime first period one of the best to watch for a fan of this great game. Non stop action end to end. And Zeus? He surprises us all from time to time.

  30. Icehogst says:

    What a glorious hockey game. Guts, determination, artistry, screw-ups, teamwork, passion that got better and better as the game went on culminating with the whipping boy saving the day. The men showed up to play last night. Both teams. They did our game proud and anyone who don’t agree can go watch Masterpiece Theater on PBS.

  31. kid says:

    I have found myself saying this over and over for the past year or so… I think Saad is my new favorite forward in the NHL!

  32. Tim G says:

    Saad is about to get PAID!!!

    I’d assume he gets extended this summer before he has another year to raise his value even more… I’m guessing something in the 3.5M maybe even 4Mil range. It could legitimatlly be higher, since they gave Bicks 4+, but either way I think they need to lock him down NOW!

  33. JS says:

    Tim G- Saad is a RFA, Bickell was a UFA. I would imagine that Saad gets a bridge contract similar to Leddy. 2 or 3 years around 3m per year and he’ll still be restricted when it expires.

  34. hawks2010 says:

    Great game tonight! Now the reality of trying to beat LA in LA. No way in hell will we see Versteeg in game 6. Even Q will realize he is a turnover machine. Bolig has got to go. -2 in 6 minutes. Hopefully Q pulls his head out of his ass and gives the guy the rest of the playoffs off. Good to see Zus have some success. He still should be benched but it won’t happen. I would like to see Regin and Morin in for Steeger and Bolig. Hope Shaw is ok. The team sure had heart tonight. They had to beat LA and Q.

  35. Dickie Dunn says:

    GREAT!!

    Happy for Zus – rewarded for effort – but he’s still a liability. That goal looked like a slow motion replay in real time. He’ll dress to PK, but we hopefully have seen the last of Versteeg and Bollig (who was effective as a 12th forward when taking a regular 4th line shift – no longer the situation post season). Regin and Nordstrom could bring possession and speed…and who knows what Morin might bring – effort, for sure.

    Crawford/Quick “Elite” comparison – (Nick in SD) “the difference is clear. They both make great saves, Quick just actually intends to make them.” – Really? Does Quick intend to give-up rebounds or is that just part of being “Elite”? Comparing goaltenders is difficult because so much depends on the team in front of them. You have to admit Quick gets a LOT of help (and at times so does Crawford, but the Hawks slip into fuckingaround in their end…more than LA in this series) and, when he doesn’t, sometimes pucks go in, as is the case with all other “Elite” net minders.

    Hopefully, the Hawks can bring even more Friday – they’ll need it. GO HAWKS!!

  36. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    I’m happiest for Corey Crawford. He was (perhaps still is) psychologically a mess. While he has given up too many goals, he has been victimized by inexcusably bad defensive zone play. He was practically on suicide watch mid game. I’m VERY HAPPY for him right now because this is the same guy who is the singular biggest reason why we beat St. Louis and why we beat Minnesota. He deserves a better fate, and Handzus came to his mental rescue last night.

    Kris Versteeg has played his last minute in a Hawk uniform. He’s been one of the very rare Stan Bowman mistakes…he’s been highly inconsistent and flaky on the ice since day one of his arrival. But he’s done now. Had Troy Murray and John WIdeman on the ear phones….Troy went absolutely balistic on Versteeg, as he should have. He’s done. I imagine Joakim Nordstrom starts Game 6. Which with his skating ability and defensive focus should be a nice upgrade in the role player role.

    Brandon Saad had the best game of his career last night. He took his vitamins, and clearly showed what he can do. I’ve been critical of his season to date….there is no denying the talent level, but he really did not have a very good season in my estimation. But last night it was much more than straightline burst skating. So very much more.

    We had all better hope and pray Andrew Shaw is “OK” for Game 6. His loss would be a nut kick to this team and the worst possible time.

    Patrick Sharp showed glimpses? I missed something from my seat then. He was rubbed off the puck all night long and the Kings have seriously gotten into his head on the boards.

    If Marian Hossa can resurrect one of his patented games? And Crawford can regain his mental state? And Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook can play to the near level of Nik Hjalmarsson? Then I’m cautiously optimistic about Game 6. But there is no room for error. None. Nada. Zero. Period 2 last night proved that.

  37. CJ says:

    What did Troy Murray say? I heard he said he shouldn’t play another minute but what did he say in particular?

  38. Tim G says:

    I wouldn’t mind a bridge contract, but you also run the risk of signing him for say 3M for 2 years and then in 2 years, you got to pay him Sharp-esque $$$ around 5.5/6M.

    I just see Saad’s ceiling so much higher than Leddy’s. He knows that, his agent knows it, Stan surely knows it… That’s why i think you just pay him better now and offer the 5-7 year deal at like 3.75. The year he extends is when Oduya/Rosy come off the books (assuming they aren’t moved sooner) and as discuess yesterday maybe they move Seabs by then too for even more space.

    i’d be willing to give Saad that kind of money (high 3’s, low 4’s) for that length. Maybe Stan can talk him into taking a little less for the good of the team and what not, but if he is up for negotiations a few years after next year, i think the price tag goes up significantly by then.

  39. Mike says:

    I like my lines above (even if I say so myself) and I think there is NO way Handzus sits BUT I will take Nordy for Bollig in a heartbeat. The line of Nordstrom/Handzus/Smith would get “some” opportunity.

  40. wall says:

    The Biggest difference between Quick/Crow…

    imo- the Kings D really do a better job of “tackling/playing the body” on those loose pucks between 4-6 players… the Hawk’s D just plays the puck/stick… the Hawk’s are “built” that way… sometimes it works- sometimes it doesn’t…

    Perfect example- King’s first goal… puck was at the feet of several players in front of Crow… Stoll saunters in picks up the loose puck and scores… Versteeg had ample time to put a body on him/tie him up/hold him/box him out/whatever…But just watched and waited for the puck to squirt out… (I watched several times in slow-mo)– terrible!!!

    Shaw will be a HUGE loss- if he isn’t skating near 100%

    Hawks still in BIG trouble- cuz they will not be able to dictate match-ups as much in LA… that Drew Doughty is pretty fricking good.

    Anyone else have this thought?
    The NHL- better be aware that the Reffing non-calls in OT are getting a little obvious… cuz “Refs don’t want to dictate the outcome”… thought the Hawks got boned on some non-calls late!

  41. Phil says:

    Bluto was right!! Wow, that was a barn burner at the UC last night. Incredible drama as 2 good teams slugged it out. First OT was some of the most entertaining hockey one could ever hope to watch. Did it go 8-9 minutes without a whistle? Edge of your seat stuff where every shot to net and every scrum by the crease had the greasy goal feel for both teams. Yikes! All I can say is when you are at the UC and the Hawks win in OT during playoffs it is simply goose bumps electric. A unique sound.

    Those that doubted Saad, shame on you. This kid can play and even though one might want more consistency from him, at age 21 he is starting to find it. The kid has a huge future, hopefully here wearing the Indian head. Saad, Shaw, and Smith had big games. Hilarious that Q after throwing all the players into a bowl and shaking it up finally comes up with Shaw, Kane and Saad. Sounds like a legal firm…Were those boys good or what? They caused huge problems for LA that I dare say should continue to do so if Q lets those guys play together again in game 6. LA had no answer with what is now going to be 2nd line moving forward.

    I was very proud of Shaw last night. His play had to be inspirational to his teammates. He was relentless last night, which is the best way for me to describe his drive and sense of purpose. Big oh nooo when he weant down after going into boards with Muzzin. That was right below me and I couldn’t see what had happened. I was worried it was his knee or concussion, but it was huge to see him return to the game. What heart this guy has. Plays his ass off, and while he takes some dumb ill advised penalties, his plus column is alot longer than the negative ledger.

    Kane finds/creates ice space and becomes a very dangerous player. Could be no Zus with Kane is a decent idea I seem to have read about?? Kane could have had 3-4 goals last night. he is close to finding the range. You think that wasn’t discussed in LA dressing room? The fact is, LA d men are slow except Doughty. Hawks gotta keep those skates moving.

    Refs basically swallowed their whistles last night to the benefit of the Kings. There could have been 10-12 penalties doled out no problem. Both teams got away with plenty with some advantage to the Kings. From my angle at the game Muzzin drilling Kruger was a punch through to the head and he left his feet. Really dangerous play.

    second period was a train wreck last night for the Hawks. Very disheartening to watch and back of my mind I feared the boys might have been done. Smith goal early 3rd was massive, as the crowd got back into it. Hawks reticence to play the body last night until the 3rd period was glaring. All of sudden though, the brought physical play and the game felt like it might be tilting to the Hawks. Bicks was huge along with Shaw, Saad somewhat and Smith. They started banging Kings and the Kings don’t like to take what they give. Moving forward we need consistent physical play from the Hawks.

    Versteeg as mentioned was beyond brutal last night. He should not dress again after such poor inferior play. Horrible puck decisions. Hurts me to say because I have always rooted for him. I thought next year would tell us what he really has, but knee problems don’t cause the brutal turnovers and bad decision making. Bollig contributed zero. Why suit these guys up? Play Morin and especially Regin!! Short bench should ultimately do Hawks in and that falls squarely on Joel. Kings skating 4 lines to 3 should prevail due to attrition and mistakes overworked/tired players tend to make. As ironic as it was to see Zus score game winner, he is a liability 5 on 5 due to poor skating ability. Sorry, but at best he is your one utility guy, a special situation player to be called on. That said I was very happy for a class guy like Zus to pot the game winner. He knows he has not been very good, and like a good pro takes it personal when he isn’t helping his team. Bottom line is it is really hard to beat a strong balanced team in a long tough playoff series when 3 guys don’t get many minutes.

    Keepers last night probably made fans from both teams nervous. Quick was laying out rebounds like crazy. Corey just didn’t present a very confident look. Both guys made great saves but looked shaky doing it. 4th LA goal Corey wanted back, but that’s hockey. He found a way to win. I still see Quick as getting overly fawned over by media pundits.

    Huge emotional win last night. Guys didn’t quit. We can beat LA. I just want to see a game 7 at the UC. I like our chances if we can grab game 6.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  42. Tab Bamford says:

    re: matchups – the Saad-Shaw-Kane line saw King-Stoll-Williams the most last night. Obviously Kopitar was chasing Toews (and vice versa) the entire night… which means the problem w/ matchups in LA will once again be the 70s line of Pearson-Carter-Toffoli. I’d like to see Sharp-Kruger-Smith line up against that line if we’re going to keep Sharp away from both Hossa & Kane moving forward.

    Based on his usage last night, I think there’s a reasonable expectation that Versteeg could be in the press box for Game 6… which could open the door for a 4th line of Handzus-Regin-Bollig (wish it were Morin).

  43. Phil says:

    Forgot to mention that Hawks special teams won the battle last night and guess what Hawks won! This has really been the deciding factor. Let’s hope for good PP and PK work again tomorrow night.

  44. Erick says:

    Great game from the Hawks last light. The new Saad-Shaw-Kane line was dynamite and electric all night long. Got to love that Zeus scored the game winner. Not a lot of people would have picked him to be the hero but glad it was him, shows who much depth we have. IMO I think it might be time to inject some fresh blood into the lineup so to speak. Steeger needs to be replaced, just to many turn overs and bone headed plays. Stick Regin or Morin into the line up which injects some speed and fresh legs into the mix. Also Rosi needs a night off. He started to slow down a lot by the end of the game resulting in his defensive partner having to cover. He has been playing well but could use the time off to freshen his legs. Putting Brookbank in I know is a bit of a risk but we need Rosi to be ready for the finals.

  45. Al L says:

    Tab, Hopefully Sr. Brad will take his genius to another blog so he can grace more people with his insight and wisdom or better yet, take his coaching skills to the NHL, Where I am sure a team is looking for all the talent he brings. Maybe he can even grow a “stache” and roll 4 lines ….I hear Vancouver is looking….

  46. Brokerwayne says:

    Had to turn off the volume last night….. My head was exploding from the Micheletti nonsense.

    Coach brokerwayne-stache lines for mañana:

    10-19-81
    88-65-20
    29-12-11 (Just for you, Tab)
    28-16-26 or hopefully 42

    Tab, any possibility of limiting characters …… I mean letters, not posters???

  47. Milton says:

    I agree with all those wanting Bollig and Versteeg out and Regin and Morin in. Sutter trusts all 4 of his lines and Q doesn’t. If Kings win the series, it’s on Q for not trusting Morin and Regin when they both earned playoff starting spots at the end of the regular season. Also I was very disappointed in Sutter’s interview where he blamed the refs for a “questionable” call on Doughty’s trip on Toews. There were plenty of non calls that favored the Kings. I have lost respect for Sutter.

  48. Maybe '14 says:

    A tremendous win for last year’s Stanley Cup Champions. Q’s message to Seabrook over last game’s performance was received. Versteeg is a disappointment. Crawford gets the award for battling the puck, himself, and defensive lapses in front. I think he stole several games in the two earlier series which people are quick to forget (NPI). Can’t add anything to the comments about Saad, Shaw, and Kane. Congrats to Q for reviewing past performance in 1-3 win against Detroit last year and center and wing combinations this year which supported Kane and making the changes.

  49. EbonyRaptor says:

    Brevity is the soul of wit. It is also much appreciated unless you’re writing a spellbinding novel. I look myself in the mirror and know I’m not nearly as witty as others would have me.

    Can’t see the message through all the words.

  50. Phil says:

    Like your lines Brokerwayne.

  51. EbonyRaptor says:

    When I reflect back on the game last night I find it hard to believe they won. The d-men were coughing up the puck all game long. Clearing attempts by d-men and forwards were not making it out of the zone for one reason or another. It would be shortsighted to neglect the many good plays they made, but usually when there are that many giveaways and poor plays in our zone ir ends up being a loss. Good thing it doesn’t always go according to Hoyle.

  52. Reg Dunlop says:

    Okay……I am a DOUCHE BAG!! Forgive me for ever even thinking that the Hawks were toast. Reg is a DOUCHE BAG!!

    Now that I feel better…………..
    Tab……as usual you are correct. Versteeg will sit game 6. But I would love to see Zeus, Regin and Morin as the fourth line. The kids speed along with Zeus size and ability to block shots AND win a few face offs would be a welcome sight.

    Somehow we found our legs and the game turned into an up and down shootout. To me, if LA wants to play that game, we’ll beat them. Like every other team in the NHL, the way to beat the Hawks is to clog up the neutral zone. They got away from that game, last night, and when they opened it up the Hawks took it from them. If that trend continues the Hawks will dominate.

  53. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Last night was the type of game and effort where if the Hawks had lost it wasnt because of lack of effort of focus. Good thing was they won. Wow give the Kings alot of credit they go down 3-1 and come back and score 3 unanswered. They will not go quietly! If the Hawks can bring this effort again they will be in good shape! Go Hawks lets bring it back home.

  54. Jax says:

    Don’t really understand all the praise heaped on Quick, and shit piled on 50. Beginning of game they show series stats for Quick, then last two game stats for 50? Make a big deal about 50 being frustrated and stickwork after 2nd. I feel the most important and newsworthy body language comes at the end of the game, you know, Quick face down and sprawled out on the ice because you just got beat by the oldest guy on the ice. (no disrespect to 26) He is most certainly a top netter, but the mental toughness 50 shows time after time, plus I don’t think he has hit his ceiling, and I Quick has, means I take 50 over Quick. Besides Quick gives up more rebounds than Brittney Spears.

  55. Brokerwayne says:

    Thanks Phil!

  56. Boy Named Sioux says:

    Tab – I thought we saw plenty of 10-16-28 line combination after 23-26-52 were sent to the dog house. Or were you merely requesting more of that combination? I second it if that was your intention.
    Did anyone note 20 winning four of eight draws, including some key wins in the defensive zone? I guess we can consider those wins a result of his brief trial at center during training camp, eh?

  57. Scottie P says:

    That was the loudest I have heard that building in a while. If we lose game 6 I am glad the madhouse gave us all one last thrill. Incredible to watch live. The Kings are incredible and Drew Doughty may be the best Dman in the league. They are relentless and unphased by 22k desperate maniacs. 52,32,26,23 were all terrible, but we all know Q will play some combination of at least 2 probably 3 of them tomorrow night. I do not think they will be able to get it done, but I sure hope they do. Hats off to the Kings. They are an incredible opponent and have made this series unbelievable to watch. Lets go Hawks tomorrow. A WCF game 7 on Sunday in Chicago would be unreal to see.

  58. Montana Blackhawk says:

    Will the real Patrick Sharp please stand up!?

    With all of the attention 19 & 88 get from the Kings, one would thick 10 should be able to contribute something!

  59. JS says:

    May I have your attention please.

    Patrick Sharp is hurt. Patrick Sharp has been hurt ever since Andrew Shaw lept a foot off the ice while trying to hit Orpik, and hit Sharp instead.

  60. Phil says:

    JS, I thought a few weeks ago that Sharp might be hurt due to the incident you mentioned as I remember that play well. However, Sharpy has plenty of mustard on his shot from what I can see. He is taking and giving out some checks which one would think he would otherwise try to avoid. Clearly he is not finding the net, but I don’t think it is injury related at this point. Not to say your theory is wrong though. Everyone probably nursing some painful issues at this point in the season.

  61. JS says:

    Phil- his shot still seems strong, but with 0 accuracy. He also seems to grimmace whenever there is a lot of contact. He’s been way too bad to be healthy.

  62. Morgzie says:

    ER – agreed on wondering how Hawks won. Doughty is a beast. And many of the Kings are playing very well – Stoll, Brown, Kopitar, those 70 dudes, Muzzin. They are just really strong on their sticks (why Versteeg is getting hammered, too soft).

    Is Shaw ok? Will Sharp and Hossa show up bigger? Can Bickell get back to his physical beast mode? I think we gotta do some of the physical stuff we did early with the Blues. Gotta hit Doughty, wear him down. Carter too. Williams too.

    The Kings are good and on their game. I’m worried about Friday.

  63. RedTopParking says:

    Did you all see the espn story online about the idiot fan in L.A. filing a battery charge against Corey Crawford. Evidently, when CC went to the bench late in game 4 he was being heckled by some a%#hole LA fan and Crow sprayed him real good with the water bottle! Way to go Crow. Rocky: send the lawyers on the team plane for Friday’s tilt

  64. Negzz says:

    Attn Please: No news flash, but for those those “can’t criticize him” apologists, Crawford is struggling and we need him to find his game on Friday. Period.

    CC’s LA Series Stats:
    * GAA: 3.6
    * SV %: .882

  65. Negzz says:

    BTW- Quick is not exactly tearing it up either:

    LA/Hawks Stats:
    * GAA: 3.0
    * SV %: .894

  66. Negzz says:

    This series really demonstrates 3 primary issues frequently discussed on this board:
    * walls concept of high quality scoring chances vs SOG
    * importance of ST’s in playoffs
    * What happens to your ability to roll 4 lines when you carry a specialist that can’t cut the mustard on a regular shifting line

  67. Negzz says:

    Another thought- anyone realize that the Kings strength up the middle is the result of acquiring both Carter and Stoll via trades? Unreal we can’t seem to solve that position…

  68. morrison says:

    Sharpy is hurt on a shoulder or something like that. When he got hit by 2 MIN guys at once you could see him take his time. Whatever it is that reaggravated it. Sharpy would look good with Krugs & Smith.

  69. Frolik Navidad says:

    I just don’t see Versteeg getting scratched tomorrow. I know he had some bad turnovers but Q won’t put in Morin, Regin, or Nordstrom. Versteeg has actually fared better than all three. His Corsi percentage is better than all of them

    Versteeg 42.7%
    Morin N/A won’t play anyway
    Regin 40%
    Nordstrom 36.5%
    Bollig 38.6%
    Handzus 37% just as a bonus

    Expect to see much of the same:
    29-19-81
    20-65-88 (how bout the “Mutt-Mullet Line”?????)
    10-16-28
    52-26-23 (doghouse line)

  70. wall says:

    ER- I had exact thoughts/panic attacks w/ 2 and 27 turning the puck over way too much…

    JS- Gotta agree on 10… although he has skated with 26 a lot this Post Season… which might actually hurt 10 more than a separated shoulder.

    Negzz-which specialist are you speaking of ??? the PK/Faceoff guy… or the “Enforcer” – who gets punched in the face every 5th game and skates about 2 minutes/period???

    Shaw- did not skate well after that knee got re-injured… but Q was forced into pushing him out there with no trust in some others… Really a shame -cuz he won’t be near 100% Friday… and 20/65/88 were fun to watch last nite.

  71. Mining Man says:

    Bob Cole’s call of the game last night sums it all up…..”Crawford….stop!….Craaaawwwwford….Stop!……..Handzus……..Goal!

    Didn’t hear any ragging about Versteeg, Bollig, Q, Handzus and how much better the Hawks would be if only we had played Morin or kept Pirri, Olsen blah blah blah.

  72. RyanDale says:

    Blackhawks in pressure packed playoffs. Elimination games, Defending the Cup, Sudden Death OT, Video Review in Toronto, Killing Penalties, Pleading for a bounce/call in our Favor, Next Game bigger than Last, rough estimate, 5-6 years off my life and I can’t quit the stuff that’s killing me! Addict?

    Pretty big game Friday. WCF – subtract another 20-30 days

    Note to Muzzin…. dude, …. you can’t hurt Marcus Kruger.

  73. Windy City Z says:

    Versteeg isn’t the only one who’s had a tough go of it. We’ve talked about Brandon Bollig plenty these playoffs. Same goes for Michal Handzus, who scored the game winner on Wednesday but admits it’s one great moment in a postseason that hasn’t had many.

    “It’s one game only. I know I’ve got to get better,” Handzus said. “I haven’t played very well. I want to help the team as much as I can. I’ve been playing on the penalty kill a lot but I (haven’t) played a lot offensively. I wasn’t happy with my play.”

  74. Gunny Goo Goo says:

    Oh Lord help me Jesus ! Bunny fell down the steps.

    Nordstrom will go tomorrow nite. Versteeg is done. Not getting out of the doghouse and thank heaven for that because the peckerhead has been killing this team. Regin is not ideal for RW, hence Nordstrom. Big stage for a kid and let’s see if he can rise to the ocassion. He can skate and be can kill penalties.

  75. Sr. Brad says:

    Phil, great post…I started to make an excuse for Versteeg last night and a good friend stopped me in my place with basically what you said…I was shocked by how bad Versteeg was. But again, I repeat, Zus and Bollig were worse…and I just don’t know how we are going to beat a good la team, on the road, with only 9 forwards…and if Q doesn’t play Leddy very much, then we will be down to 5 DMen again…very tough.

    Tab, I thought Brokerwayne’s lines were the best, but unlikely plays his “unfavourites” in such a key game. So to that end, I agree with your thoughts about the Carter line being matched up with Sharp-Kruger-Smith…The fact is, if Zus and Bollig are going to dress again, then riding 3 excellent lines is probably the best way to go. Q wasted so much time last night by trying to skate lines and 3 and 4…they were awful and soon stopped seeing ice time.

    No matter how you slice it, Crawford is going to have to play his best game, and we are going to have to find a way to score more than 2 goals on Quick. For anyone attempting to defend Zus’ presence in the lineup, in a friendly manner, let me just remind you, that his “style” of PK doesn’t really match up to the adjustments the Hawks made last night…and he’s a liability 5 on 5. I think its important to remember, Q kept Zus on the bench for a little over 30 minutes straight last night. How can you justify dressing this guy? Really? Shaw takes over Zus’ spot, and Kane pots 4 points and could of have 10. Bollig only skated 8 minutes because he was awful and couldn’t be trusted. So Q didn’t trust Zus, he didn’t trust Bollig, he didn’t trust Versteeg and he didn’t trust Leddy. You can’t dress 4 guys in your lineup that you can’t trust in a win or go home playoff game.

    The thing about brokerwayne’s lines that I like so much, is that the Bickell-Regin-Morin line was our best down the stretch this season with Toews and Kane out. The Sharp-Toews-Hossa line was the best line in hockey until after the Olympics. And the Saad-Shaw-Kane line put on a display for the ages last night…and that’s with the Stoll line out against them most of the night…how is Sutter going to adjust to them? The Stoll line is his best checking line. As much as I hate seeing Ben Smith stuck on that 4th line, having him and Kruger help Zus through 9-10 minutes of 5 on 5 time, should work.

    And we are all going to have to think positively about tomorrow night as Will Ferrell will be in attendance with a King’s hat on, and he attributes everything to positive thinking…we need to out “cowbell” Will tomorrow! I’m telling ya, fellas…

  76. Sr. Brad says:

    Negzz, great comments…and Carter was acquired without giving up the house.

    Mo, I too thought that Sharpie was hurt on that hit…I know I say him visibly wince after the double collision.

    Fro, those are essentially the lines that Tab laid out, and if we are going to skate those players, then I agree that 3 excellent lines and one barf line is better than watering down lines 3 and 4 like last night.

    Great/funny comments RD…we have to hope that Crawford plays the game of his life tomorrow night.

    Windy, Zus is such a great person and a stand up guy…it pains me to see him perform so poorly, but its not his fault. He is being given responsibilities that no one has any business dumping on his lap.

    JS, the thing about Sharp is that he is still competing well and trying hard…he needs to find a home…as Wall said, he’s been the odd man out down the stretch and into the playoffs being saddled with Zus. Kane had done little to nothing until he became free of Zus last night.

  77. Sr. Brad says:

    Mining Man, Zus last night admitted himself he’s had a terrible playoffs outside of the PK…you can stop being a Q apologist now…its no longer plausible. Bollig is an embarrassment…and this is 2 awful playoffs in a row for Bollig…that 2 year deal Bowman gave him for over a million a year is looking pretty ridiculous right about now.

  78. wall says:

    RD- I have been drinking and smokin for almost 30 years… And I am still NOT Addicted!!!

  79. Boy Named Sioux says:

    If 8 is going to end up in the doghouse by mid-game then 17 needs to dress and take 23 or 52’s “substantial” minutes as a 4th line winger. 17 will be available for D rotation when 8’s ice time evaporates.

    Nordstrom was a neutral ice turnover machine against the Wild. Not enough NHL seasoning to throw him in the mix right now.

    Frolik and (a healthy) Bolland would go a long way in solving the 4th line dilemma the present roster faces. I know, quit dreaming.

    Hoping for a repeat of Game 6 vs. Wild. Two words – “Goalie Win”!

  80. Sr. Brad says:

    BNS…I agree 100%…I like Leddy’s play and would prefer to see him dress, but if he isn’t going to be used, then by all means skate Brookbank…even though a BB/Rozy pairings could only be outdone by adding room for Zus.

    Nordstrom did become a turnover machine against MIN, his post season should be over.

    As for Zus, I loved his response last night to hearing that Saad described him as coming up the ice with speed on the winning goal…

    “I think he slowed down for me.”

    Again Zus is such a quality person!

  81. Peter says:

    Brad, really liked your 9:48 PM post. I noticed the Blackhawks change in PK strategy and immediately thought this doesn’t fit Zus anymore.

    Hey the Hawks did something different on the PP!

    I think we all know Zus is playing tonight. I like a lot of the previous lines mentioned and would love to see Regin for Versteeg and Morin for Bollig. These two players would also let Q line mix the best throughout the game because Q gonna Q.

  82. noonan96 says:

    Guys relax, stop thinking and Enjoy the day-
    whether you’re 30 or 50 or more you have witnessed at least two Cups, with the potential for more to follow-

    There is no greater difference between men than between grateful and ungrateful people. ~R.H. Blyth

  83. Mike says:

    I agree with all those who say Q will not change the lineup much. However, a few thoughts come to mind.

    If Shaw is NOT 100% then Regin is almost a must. Who would take Shaw’s place if his minutes are limited?

    Zues will be playing so Regin, if he gets the call, will replace Versteeg or Bollig. The question is who? Based on Game 5 minutes, looks like Versteeg sits.

    Morin will NOT get the call.

    Brrokbank should get the call. If Q plays Rosy and Leddy gets limited minutes, there is gonna be some tired Dmen on the Hawks bench. That will not be a good thing. I know Leddy is not the greatest player in the NHL, that is why he is a 3d pair Dman. However, how many times does Leddy have to bail out his partner and leave his position, maybe the cause of some unfortunate scoring chances, yet he gets wrath of Q. I give Leddy credit for the team effort

    Sharp will have a better game IF Zues is put on the 4th line from the start. And If Sharp is not 100%, who would skate those minutes?

  84. Phil says:

    One of the projects facing the Hawks tonight is Doughty puck possession. I am not an x’s or o’s guy, but can’t a strong forecheck force Doughty to get rid the puck along with putting the body on him? Make him work extra hard to get free from the pressure, and make Muzzin or whomever be forced to bring the puck forward. Once the Kings enter the zone, you know they like to bring their point men into the play so keep those defensive sticks moving and feet moving. Puck pressure wouldn’t hurt either as I think the Hawks have been a little passive in that regard especially on the pk. We know the Kings apart from the Wednesday night game at the UC had Kaner pretty well contained. Doughty is the Kings offensive engine. Keeping him off the sheet or less involved would go a long way in getting the Hawks a W tonight.

    If Corey is on his game tonight I think we have an excellent chance in seeing some more hockey this weekend at the UC. Hawks have to take the body early and often. Finish checks with some authority. Give Muzzin some of his own medicine. Lastly, I really hope Shaw’s leg is not too messed up, but that kid wouldn’t miss this game unless he couldn’t walk. I just hope Q dresses a lineup that can share minutes. Two to three guys dressed that don’t play 11 plus minutes won’t cut it tonight. The Brookbank suggestion is a good one IMO.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  85. EbonyRaptor says:

    The Brookbank love is akin to the fans clamoring for the backup QB after the starter throws a couple interceptions. He may come in and play well but he will more than likely come in and prove why he’s the backup. One thing Rozsival does much better than Brookbank is jump into the play in the o-zone. He has had countless plays over the past couple years where he gets his point shot through or he makes a little play/pass that ends up as a quality scoring chance for the Hawks. There’s not doubt that Brookbank is faster and more mobile than Rozsival but he isn’t really better at much else. If Q wants his d-men to activate on offense like in Game 5 than Rozsival seems the better choice to me.

  86. Phil says:

    ER, your argument for Rozy skating over BB is compelling from an offensive standpoint. BB advantage lies in his wheels being better than Rozsival. I like Rozy’s experience and game better than BB, but if he is not moving well he can be a liability on the back line. Whomever skates tonight will bring a full effort I have no doubt. I just hope the guys do a better job of clearing some space in front of CC.

  87. Mike says:

    ER, agree with that assessment (even though BB has been used by Q at wing !??!). For tonight, however, LA will be coming hard and will have the matchup advantage. Defense takes a bigger priority for the visiting team. BB has fresh legs. He is just IMO the better choice for tonight. If we can get back to the UC, no issues with Rosy in the lineup.

  88. AJ says:

    Wall – agree a billion percent on the referees. They are inconsistent as hell and the late game free for all’s make me furious.

    Sharp came into the season allegedly beating Keith and Hossa in fitness testing. Maybe he’s just run himself into the ground and has numerous little things that are adding up to a general malaise. Or he drove off the post 30 cliff real abruptly.

    Going to be a crazy game. Hopefully Hatrick Kane is in killing for fun mode again. It really is something special when he gets some space to work with.

  89. AJ says:

    I think the bb rosy debate is a wash if Keith and hammer skate 30…

  90. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I just want the Hawks to bring max effort tonight, if they lose it happens. That’s why you don’t put yourself in elimination games odd things/bounces happen. We need top effort from out top guys. It would be nice if Hossa and Sharp showed up on the score sheet(especially Sharp).

    My random thought is the Kings have already faced 4 elimination games in the 1st round and 2 in the second round(i believe) so they are already playing at that top level. Perhaps the Hawks are there now and can steal a game in LA and win in Chicago. Crazier things have happened.

    My biggest gripe is all this Kings love. This team struggled all season to score, now all of a sudden they are leading the playoffs in scoring and everyone “expected” that? Hopefully the Kings crash down in game 6! Go Hawks!

  91. JS says:

    SSHM- The Kings were the best possession team in the league with the 29th (I think) shooting percentage. They are still dominating at possession, but their shooting percentage is starting to even out. So yes, it was expected.

    Some really good conversations happening on the board the last few days. I like it.

  92. Sr. Brad says:

    ER that’s a funny analogy of BB as the backup QB…but I think considering how well Brookbank has played, and how inconsistent Rozy has been all season, especially with road travel and coming off an 82 minute game, its the better play!

    As for the lineups tonight, how can Q justify keeping Bollig in the lineup after last game…forget anybody else. As for Regin, he should always be in the lineup because he’s responsible and fast, but most importantly he plays Centre and wing…

  93. Tim G says:

    Mark me as advocating Regin… Bollig, Versteeg- I dont know/dont care which Q will pull from the line up, but its never a bad idea to have an extra guy that can take faceoffs. If Shaw is banged up, the extra C will go a long way. Otherwise Zus will skate 15-18 minutes, and hes just not effective for that much time. 10-12 minutes all day, but Zus wears down when he gets pushed to more minutes.

  94. goldenbladz says:

    Anyone hear what the lineups are for tonight? who’s in and who’s out?

  95. Tim G says:

    Not to take away from talk about tonights game, but i saw this on another site and wanted to see what y’all thought about it… The debate was over the future of Sharp and Teravainen.

    People were saying trade Sharp for a true 2C, citing that we have FWD depth, and can replace Sharp, and that T.T. isn’t built to be a NHL Centerman. They went on to say that T.T., if on the wing, would be better as a RW than LW. But he’s not moving Kane or Hossa off the top 2, so is T.T. really a good fit for the Hawks?

    The arguement was that Sharp’s value is decreasing as he gets older and wont get the return he is “actually worth”. That a GM taking on Sharp’s cap hit wont give up a 2C with a 30+ Winger as the centerpiece of the deal…

    Thus, if T.T. isn’t built to be a Center, would T.T. be the “better” chip in a trade for someone like Kesler, but for agruments sake it could be any 2C. I thought it was an interesting view. Personally I’d like to give T.T. an offseason with NHL trainers to see if he can “fill out” a little before we send him packing saying “he’s not a good fit”.

  96. Sr. Brad says:

    Tim, I would have no qualms about that if the player in return was Stastny or O’Reilly…young, solid 2 way centres, whose contracts could be controlled for a period of time.

  97. Phil says:

    Yes Brad, lose your dreams and you will lose your mind. At least that’s what MJ and KR once said. Much truth in that IMO, and boy it would be the mother load to land either of those guys from the Avs. Along the lines of the historical Hossa acquisition.

  98. Phil says:

    All right you guys it’s game day, and we need a little levity to calm frazzled nerves. A good friend that lives in Toronto sent me this great video you can pick up on YouTube. Perhaps many of you have seen this, but if this doesn’t make you crack up nothing will. There are even Blackhawks references.

    Do a net search “Hitler Reacts to Leafs Missing 2114 Playoffs”. This is priceless.

    Enjoy and

    Lets Go Hawks!

  99. hawks2010 says:

    As I have mentioned before on this blog I believe TT will be a star in the NHL. I have watched him extensively in Juniors and am amazed at his hands, speed and hockey sense. He is the second highest rated prospect in the world. To trade him for an old Kesler means to me you are mortgaging your future. The way to build a long term winning program is through the draft. TT needs to get bigger and stronger. The last I read he was up to 185 pounds. His biggest asset is his ability to distribute the puck and play a two way game. Just exactly what you need in a center. I hope Stan doesn’t go down the path of many gm’s and start trading the Hawks future away.

  100. Sr. Brad says:

    OK, I have been saving this inspirational post for today…this information is what has always made me so sure that we were going to repeat this season, and has made me so frustrated with Q over these playoffs, especially with LA, because we didn’t need to be 3-1 down.

    If, and this is a big IF considering there is no knowing these days what Q will do, Q can dress 3 good lines tonight, we will win…and I will give 3 reasons why after I give you the lineups…

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

    Seabrook-Keith
    Hammer-Oduya
    Leddy-Rozy/Brookbank

    Crawford

    Point One, Q finally created and stuck with a powerful 2nd line. That line has ALWAYS been there, ready to go, with a myriad of players…it could have been done with Sharp or Ben Smith at centre (like in STL), but he has Shaw now…fine. This line means that Kane cannot be “doubled” leaving lots of room for the wingers to skate with the puck…this is what you saw on Wed, Saad and Kane skated CIRCLES around the King’s defence, and here’s why…the Kings only have 1 “shutdown” pairing, and that’s whoever plays with Doughty. Our new line 2 skated mostly away from Doughty, and likely will continue to because our first line is Bickell-Toews-Hossa who are virtually unstoppable unless the BEST OF THE BEST are dressed against them…that’s why Kopitar and Doughty HAVE TO stay with Toews…if they don’t, Bickell will have 2 goals and Hossa 4 assists…The Kings may try to switch the Carter/Toffoli line with Stoll’s, but it will eliminate LA’s only “free” scoring line by having them try and control Saad and company…and Stoll’s line won’t be able to generate a thing against our 3rd line, they’re defensive in nature, not offensive. You see, this has been the difference in the series thus far. LA has been able to skate the Carter line against our 3rd or 4th lines, which Q has done a terrible job of creating, giving them the advantage, as we haven’t had a 2nd line until Wed, because he refused to move Zus off of it…and Q KNOWS this. He knows that he has been playing with fire by sticking to his lineups. By having the Saad-Shaw-Kane line together now, Sutter has NO OPTIONS in how to deal with them. Just like Q has had few options to deal with the Carter line, which has killed us. So if you were thinking, or worried about what LA will do to try and fend off the Kane line tonight, don’t worry, Sutter has his hands tied. Even if he keeps Stoll against Kane and moves Doughty to this matchup, Bickell and Hossa will destroy the King’s 2nd or 3rd D pairings.

    Uh oh, this means that the heat’s on la now, and they’re at home in front of their fans…PRESSURE…a strong 3rd line (Sharp with Smith and either Kruger or Regin) means that if Sutter takes the Carter line to deal with Kane, then our 3rd line will torch Stoll…its a bad matchup for Sutter, once again likely meaning that he will have to keep the same match ups for tonight as he had Wed. So if Carter stays away from Kane/Saad, then our new 3rd line featuring Smith and Sharp, will be able to hold the fort against Carter. And what does this mean? It means that the tables are now reversed. WE, the Chicago Blackhawks, now have the “free” line that can score at will. Think back to Wed, if Crawford doesn’t let in those 2 soft/softer goals, la isn’t even in the game. And Quick had to rob Bickell and Hossa on a number of occasions to keep things from getting worse.

    Okay, so point two, is that the Hawks, unlike a lot of teams in the NHL, have TWO shut down pairings (Keith/Seabrook and Hammer/Oduya, or a combination thereof), this means that we can have a top notch D pairing against the Carter line at all times…all we have needed is a decent set of forwards to skate with them…this is why I have been so hard on Q and Zus, because Zus’ current abilities prevent him from being this guy…he has to go to the 4th line if we are to win…and for WHATEVER REASON, Q has fought this, knowing full well he was taking huge risks. But one of the ways to wake up a sleeping giant is to put their lives against the wall…giving them no other choice but to wake up and fight. Perhaps Q has done this? I don’t know exactly HOW confident he is in this information, but make no mistake, Q knows that our 2 dominate lines and our 2 shutdown D pairings give us an advantage over EVERY other team in the league!

    Finally, point three…Crawford will be Crawford and Quick will be Quick. Outside of that one extraordinary season for Quick (and he’s had hip surgery since), he gives up a lot of rebounds and the top half of the net…yes, he keeps those pads wide on the ice and stops a lot of shots because of it, but notice how of late the Hawks have finally remembered to ELEVATE the puck. When you do, goals go in against him…the Hawks know this and can exploit this. Crawford has now proven himself as an NHL goalie…he’s a VERY good goalie that consistently let’s in soft goals and his numbers ALWAYS average out to his norm. Right now, his numbers are down, and he will find a way to average them back out, because he always does. Crawford has a tremendous personal will and it gives him a slight advantage over Quick. Considering the game tonight, you KNOW that Crawford will play well. So at the end of the day, goaltending isn’t an issue.

    No matter how you cut it, as long as Q puts Zus on that 4th line, we’ll win…Q has to know this and so do the players…its where their incredible confidence comes from. I cannot imagine any possible way Q won’t do this…he might start the game with Zus on the 3rd line again, which would be foolish, but he will drop him down like Wed, and then its not an issue. I would prefer the Hawks to wear down teams by skating 4 lines, but we really don’t have to, come playoff time…and this is why Stan Bowman kept Hammer and let Niemi walk.

  101. EbonyRaptor says:

    hawks2010 – by “juniors” I assume you meant sm-liiga unless you’re referring to the u20 tournament. I’m curious, how were you able to watch TT’s games?

  102. Tim G says:

    Hawks ’10- I get that trading for Kesler (a 30yr old guy) is one thing… does it change if its Couturier or O’Reilly?

    The concept was the debate, was really more around “Is T.T. a good fit given the build of the roster?” and “Is his potential too high to trade, or is it worth trading if we get a legit 2C in return?”

  103. morrison says:

    Lets go now.

  104. hawks2010 says:

    Ryan O’Reilly would be an interesting addition to the Hawks Tim G. I am still not sure I would trade TT for him though. ER- I am referring to the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships. TT had 3 assists in the championship game in which Finland beat Sweden 3-2 in OT. He led the tournament with 15 points . Several of the games were on NHLN and one site that I can stream on my computer is adthe.net. The quality is not the best and you get some pop up ads but you can get a wide variety of sports. I also think I found a streaming site from Finland but can’t remember what it was.

  105. Boy Named Sioux says:

    Per my post yesterday evening – dressing 17 over 52 or 23 comes into play because 8, in all likelihood, will get sent to the doghouse sometime during period 2. 17’s presence gives the team an option to skate 6 D-Men if 8 disappears. And, hell yes, 12 should be in the line-up at the expense of either 52 or 23 for all the reasons previously cited.
    Game 6 is the third game (plus one extra period) in five nights for these teams! And we all know who has the heavy ice time in this series. Here’s hoping for a “Goalie win” tonight.

  106. wall says:

    H2010… Re: TT – I watched all the televised games of TT Too… He really didn’t display any speed (not saying – he isn’t quick… just saying-it wasn’t noticed in the style/games played)… most of his assists- were just getting the puck quickly to the “right” player or space… Which showed great IQ, instincts… Had a few “Highlight” passes… but once again- most of his assists were just “the Right play” type.

    TT- w/ Hawks really impressed with his “being in the right position” on both ends… and a very quick stick to separate/deflect plays from happening on the D side… O-side he moves the puck extremely quickly (to a fault)… needs to learn when to hold/carry it… kind of same complaint I had w/ Saad last year… Saad- has figured out how GOOD he is this year- and carries/holds on to the puck like 81/and 88 more and more now. TT will learn this eventually too.

    Trade??? It depends who- O’Reilly or Stastny- sure…. Kesler might be too old…
    Cout- from Flyers- maybe.

  107. RyanDale says:

    play hard play smart come home 3-3

  108. Sr. Brad says:

    Got to get back to the company, but I wanted to quickly post this…end of one period… incredible…due to TV timeouts the Toews and Shaw line were able to be on the ice a ton and the Hawks dominated play, created a PP chance, and are down 0-1…why? How about Q…I literally can’t stand this clown anymore…blindly stubborn is not the way to coach. He has learned NOTHING about this season, these playoffs, or this series…after last game he dressed and then restricted 4 guys he couldn’t trust, Zus, Bollig, Versteeg and Leddy…so tonight we have 3 of the 4 and Sheldon Brookbank playing one minute as Versteeg’s replacement…UNF$CKING BELIEVABLE. All we had to do was dress Regin, who has played well, move Zus down to the 4th line, which he did last game anyways, and run 3 lines all night to get the win. So simple…but Zus is Centring PATRICK KANE again, and they are scored on as Zus shows ZERO defensive responsibility on a simple play that should never have been a goal. The job of ANY CENTRE is NOT to leave the slot and slowly fish for a puck that your DMan is already battling for. You have slot responsibility. King’s goal is entirely on Zus…again, incredible.

    Winning on the road in the playoffs is so hard…winning on the road while trailing is even harder…what a twit Q-stache is.

  109. Sr. Brad says:

    Oh yeah, in a game we have to win or we’re done, our 3rd line is Handzus centring Sharp and Sheldon Brookbank. WTF???

    Zus is now MINUS SEVEN for the playoffs. Just f$cking unbelievable.

  110. Brokerwayne says:

    Micheletti……… Urrrrrgggghhhh!!!!!

  111. Sr. Brad says:

    Real quick…it took Q a whole period to drop Zus and put Sharp together with Smith and Kruger…all us knuckleheads have been saying this for 2 days…wow…and then Q puts Zus on the ice with Bollig and Brookbank and la gets 5 scoring chances before they barely get off the ice…

    ONE period to go…NO ZUS, no Bollig, just go with the 3 lines for the rest of the way, and put f’ing Kane, Saad and Shaw back together again…GEEZ!

  112. Phil says:

    I have the WGN radio feed synced up. I can’t take the NBC guys. Hawks getting in Kings heads. Two very good periods . What does W smoke to play Zus with Bollig? Yikes. It’s a Hawks pace game. Refs bad

  113. Sr. Brad says:

    Sharp, you have to put that puck in the net…NO EXCUSES!!!

  114. RyanDale says:

    I hope 10 doesn’t have to be up all night/day wondering ”what if I …..”

    20 minutes

    JQ vs CC

  115. torourke says:

    Flip the script baby.

  116. RyanDale says:

    boy those kings are sooo resilient…phfffttt

  117. Windy City Z says:

    Hawks Win! Hawks Win! Hawks Win! Game 7 at The Madhouse!!! Kaner is a badass, amazing how well he produces when he’s not forced to play 2 against 3 on offense. Q finally did the right thing and took off 88’s Zus anchor. Don’t get me wrong, I love Zus on the 4th line/some PK, and in small doses so he can keep up but he’s has dragged down the 2nd line for much of the season. It’s not his fault, Q refuses to budge on letting younger guys step up until he is on the brink, and then his survival instinct kicks in. Saad is a complete beast. Yet it took forever to get him back on a top 2 line. Whether Shaw or Smith, you put a couple guys that can cycle with Kaner and it’s all over as he finds space. Speaking of Smith, I hope Q sees how good he is playing. He is relentless AND he has strength, speed, and stick handling. He’s becoming much more than a role player. Sharp looked a lot better, he’ll find the back of the net soon if he just keeps working like he did tonight. Toews, Hossa, Bickell, line has been a handful, constantly in the Kings zone, I’m looking for that line to finally break through led by big Hoss & the Capt. Keith, Seabs, Hammer, Oduya, Leddy, Brookbank, Rosival…if Q is barely going to play the 12th forward anyway then he might as well go 7 defenseman with BB playing some 2-way. I’m still holding out hope of hopes that Q finally comes to his senses with Bollig as well and plays Morin, Regin, or Nordstrom instead but that’s probably too much to ask. I’m starting to think that Q talked Bowman into giving Bollig that uncharacteristic three-year, $3.75 million extension to a 4th line player. I’m thinking Bowman told him that he could replace him with a better/cheaper player but Q wanted only Bollig, so now Q’s trying to prove how “valuable” Bollig is to the team….either that or Bollig has some pictures of Q (and possibly Bowman) in a compromising situation. Go Hawks!!! 5 more Wins to the Cup!!

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