Niklas Hjalmarsson Leads Hawks Past Penguins

Niklas Hjalmarsson did his job on Sunday. He and Johnny Oduya were tasked with shutting down the Penguins’ top line, and Hjalmarsson was as good against Sidney Crosby as any defenseman in the league could be.

But Hjalmarsson scoring the Hawks only goal? That was not expected.

Hjalmarsson put a shot through traffic and beat Marc-Andre Fleury for only his second goal of the season early in the second period, the only shot that would get past Fleury in 65 minutes of hockey. In the game, Hjalmarsson skated 22:12 and was credited with three shots on net and two blocked shots in 31 shifts.

Crosby came in among the league leaders in scoring, an expected position for the game’s “golden boy.” He skated 20:42 and was credited with four shots on net and two missed shots, finishing the game minus-one. He was called for tripping Johnny Oduya, but the officials overturned the call because… yeah. Crosby also won 13 of 24 faceoffs in the game.

Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad came in as one of the hottest offensive lines in the league, but went head-to-head with Crosby’s line all day. Toews won 10 of 18 faceoffs and was credited with one assist, three hits and two blocked shots against Crosby.

Toews, of course, has three items at home that Crosby doesn’t: a Conn Smythe, a Selke, and a second Stanley Cup ring.

Hossa led the Hawks with four hits and Saad led the team with two takeaways in a stellar defensive performance from the Hawks’ top line. Hossa and Saad were both credited with a blocked shot in the game as well.

Nick Spaling had the lone goal for Pittsburgh, putting a rebound past Corey Crawford less than four minutes into the third period. Crawford was exceptional the rest of the day, though, stopping 36 shots against one of the more talented offenses in the NHL.

Ryan Hartman was the low ice time recipient on Sunday, skating only 7:35 with only one shift in the second period and only four in the third. Patrick Sharp, who scored the game-winner in the shootout, also received only four shifts in the third period and skated only 13:04 in the win; coach Joel Quenneville had Sharp on his fourth line with Ben Smith and Marcus Kruger for much of the afternoon, with Sharp occasionally swapping with Kris Versteeg to skate with Brad Richards and Patrick Kane.

Kyle Cumiskey got the start over David Rundblad and skated 10:25 in the win, but was beaten badly by Beau Bennett on the play that eventually ended with Spaling scoring Pittsburgh’s loan goal. Michal Rozsival returned to the lineup and was credited with three hits in 16:42.

Ben Smith also returned, and helped the Hawks successfully kill both of the Penguins’ power plays. Daniel Carcillo was a healthy scratch.

53 thoughts on “Niklas Hjalmarsson Leads Hawks Past Penguins

  1. Blackhawks and Hogs next games are Wednesday; I wonder if we’ll see some roster shuffling. Hartman barely played today – I did not see if he had a turnover in the 1st period or what. He hardly saw the ice the last two periods.

  2. Super Solid game by Crawford. You can’t tell anyone that Quick, Price or Rinne would have been better than that. Outstanding effort and goaltending. Shaw really wanted to pot one…he should have passed over to Versteeg in the last seconds of the first period. He had a good game though and threw his weight around. Thought Rosy and Oduya had solid games. Hjalmarsson was a one man wrecking crew. Fabulous game from the Captain…he was far superior to Crosby one on one. Even got him put in the penalty box, this time for real! Thinking we should kidnap that Bennett fellow…he’d make a nice fit on our team. Great game…almost playoff calibre…just luv it when we beat the Penguino’s. Please note, especially to Tab, that the 3:00 pm posting under the previous topic of “Nashville Blockbuster” was not me…some moron used my name and made derogatory and stupid racist remarks and all under Mining Man. That really sucks and I ask Tab to delete that comment and kick whoever that was off the site. My credibility and trust is at stake.

  3. Moderators, t has come to my attention that a poster named Mining Man has been writings things here today that have nothing to do with hockey, I blog here with my 11 year old son who is taking an interest in the sport. Please either confront this individual or ban him if necessary. We have a good thing here and one person shouldnt spoil it.

  4. Hartman sat down because Q was shuffling the lines and the game was tight. He has a history of kids disappearing in one-goal games against top competition. I didn’t see anything bad about Hartman’s play today.

  5. Kudos to 4/27 on putting the clamps on Cyndi Crosby. One of Oduya’s best games of the year. I was really pulling for Sharpie on his shootout attempt-glad he got the job done. 10 is a class act and I for one will hate to see him go next year as a cap casualty. The Hawks seem to be in Fleury’s head come shootout time. Other than the first period Hawks D zone breakouts seemed much better.

  6. Even though the Pens had a few off man rushes and they put 37 shots on net, it seemed to me that the Hawks played a pretty solid defensive game – at least to the eye test.

    After the icing-a-thon in the 1st period, I thought it was a pretty well played game for both teams.

    The reversed penalty against Crosby was the first time I ever saw that happened. Afterward I learned that it wasn’t precedent setting – it has happened at least two other times recently this season. However, even with the fact they got the call correct and that it isn’t the first time the refs have huddled and reversed a call for something other than delay of game, I still think it’s wrong to introduce a change of procedure in the middle of the season, especially one prone to ambiguous interpretation. I’m in favor of officiating the game so that (1) all penalties are called regardless of game situation, and (2) the same in playoffs as regular season, and I’m fine with the refs getting together to discuss what they saw, but it has to be done in a controlled and consistent manner. It can’t be done willy nilly in the middle of a season such as it was today. There are going to be missed calls and calls that should be reversed, the key is that the refs can’t DECIDE when or when not to call a penalty. If it’s a penalty – call it. If a ref makes an error – reverse it. Just do it EVERY time.

  7. That’s right. All penalty changes need to be done offseason only. I am for that as well, same rules all season and score/team quality doesn’t matter.

  8. Rockford won 2-1 on home ice today to sweep their 3-games-in-3 weekend. I did not see the game but was told by a buddy who did that Darling was excellent between the pipes. Wednesday they play a morning tilt, their annual school day game.

  9. Thanks for the update hof. 3 for 3 impressive work by the Hogs. I see Dillon Fournier is playing regularly. I hope he turns into a player. But it might take some time.

    Good win for the Hawks today. I am not sure I buy all the Cumiskey love. As stated above, he was beaten wide on the goal, then beaten wide later on a rush by Bortuzzo.

    His feet are better than Rundblad’s for sure. He also plays at a quicker “pace” which is a favorite term of Quenneville. But I’m not sure the hawks have discovered anything here.

    Same type of minutes as Rundblad, a little more sure of himself due to experience.

    Why did the Hawks trade for Tim Erixon, when they had already signed and waived this guy?

  10. Sharp played 13 minutes. think about that. 13 minutes for a “core” player if he is even still that.

    I found his reaction to the shootout winner to be F-that. “They barely played me and I won the game. ” I could be wrong. But I went back on the DVR and there was something there, something in terms of he wasn’t overjoyed, seemed more vindicated and angry.

    I think there is something burning inside Sharp, he’s pissed about something. Maybe we will find out by March 2nd.

  11. My feeling, Sharp is simply frustrated. First off he likes Chicago and being a Blackhawk. Secondly the speculation for nearly a year now has him being traded. Then the big bucks for 19/88 along with the lack of growth in the cap make the need for roster changes even greater. Finally he has been struggling to score at his normal pace this year and is often playing on the third and fourth line. That just makes the likelihood he gets moved even greater. Who wouldn’t be frustrated. Too many things are beyond his control. The pressure must be immense and yet he carries himself pretty well. After all who was interviewed on NBC today prior to the game – Sharp.

  12. Craig N… as I stated on earlier post/topic… Fournier really impressed me with his skating Sat. nite… if he is not in NHL in 2-3 years– it will be because His IQ is not good or injuries… the kid can skate!!!

    fwiw- Watched The rescinded Crosby penalty… stopped in slow mo… 27 steps on just a small piece of 87’s stick… I have seen that called before – regardless of intent…

    BUT WORSE than that… when is the NHL going to eliminate the Cross-check???
    Letang squarely planted his stick into Kane’s back and extended… then did same thing to 19 in crease with a few minutes left in game… Both No Calls!!! Really??? I just don’t understand what a cross-check is…

  13. Wall – ABSOLUTELY agree with you on the crosscheck – this afternoon, for one example, Toews was crosschecked down viciously (- the Mathieu Perreault contact was by comparison child’s play) just outside the crease – if Cracillo had been the perpetrator, it probably would have been a 12 game suspension. It seems if it’s a d-man in front of his goaltender, these are just “hockey plays” (trademark “BULLSHIT”).

  14. It was a very tight game. Pens did an admirable job of playing disciplined defensive hockey as did the Hawks. I was not aware that Pittsburgh played in this style from what I have seen in the past, but if they adhere to that discipline they can go deep in the playoffs given their offensive weapons. So enough with being nice.

    Well called out by Wall and DD about the no call crosschecks that continue to rain down on players. The strange thing about this is the randomness of it all. Sometimes refs call crosschecking, and most of the time they don’t. The question is, when IS it a penalty? Generally the refs yesterday let em play. Few penalties called. The Crosby call/no call was truly bizarre. Never seen one like that. So what if refs missed an early trip on Oduya? In this case refs should have left the tripping call on Crosby, and if the call was really botched, call Oduya for diving. That evens it up. If Crosby extends his stick, hits Oduya’s skate and Oduya loses his balance and coughs up the puck for a turnover, it’s a penalty! Adding insult to injury there was ZERO explanation by the refs to the crowd at the UC and the PA announcer said nothing. Like it never happened. No replays of course at the UC of a significant play. How can this be so difficult to do? Other arenas do frequent replays. Not at the UC. Is this some written code from old man Bill Wirtz that Rocky has to adhere to as Chairman? I have to text out from the UC to someone watching on TV, to find out what’s going on at a game I’m watching live. ARRRRRGH!!

    Nice job again by Corey Crawford! For those that say Crawford doesn’t help win you games, this weekend says otherwise.

    Shootout was a doozy, and I don’t generally like shootout idea. Shots by Toews and Kane were top notch. Toews especially subtle move. CC has emerged as a high end SO keeper. Yes, Sharpy did have a stern look on his face after potting the winner, and yes it could well have had something to do with playing on the lower 6 yesterday.

    Let’s say a big thanks for the 4 point weekend and get back to it Wednesday against what should be a competitive game against the under rated Wings.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  15. Being and ex-referee, after I heard every “blow hard” in the TV booth say how excited they were about the reversed penalty call on Crosby, I wanted to throw up!!

    Believe me, every referee has called a non-existent call. Sometimes they jump the gun and have their arm in the air expecting the penalty to happen and it never does. That just happens to a ref sometimes. But reversing a penalty call sets a bad precedent in my opinion.

    Soon, every coach will be asking for a “penalty meeting” by all the referees to discuss a questionable call. The call was correct, the tip of Crosby’s stick got under Oduya’s skate and made him fall. That’s a penalty!! The call was correct in the beginning.
    I was taught in Ref school that even if you make a bad call, you stick by that call!! Period!! And if you make the bad call, you never say, “coach, I screwed up I will make it up to you”…….NEVER! I’ve told players and coaches, “I screwed up”. That’s it!

    The game has a way of evening itself out as it goes along, it just does. So after every penalty call we are going to have a meeting with the referees, or better yet, let’s go to a replay camera to see if we got the call, correct.

    RIDICULOUS!!

  16. Reg, as an ex-ref myself, you are exactly right. Every player is responsible for his stick. Add to the fact that Crosby was chasing cements that deal. Yes, we want the refs to get things right…..like the no goal call that worked against us the other night. But penalties MUST be left to the judgement of the refs on the ice. Think of the high sticking that will be reviewed to determine if the player was in the act of moving the puck……or challenges to interference calls. Or off sides etc etc etc Just can’t happen.

  17. Reg/Mike… and what do you think about the Letang C-checks to 88/19???
    I know the game was tight/ and late in game, but why not “Legalize” (and the refs were just several feet away- plain view)- if they are not going to call it half the time???

  18. Wall…..That is a great comment because it is so true so many many times. I have been to hockey ref school and they talk openly about it…..(but Reg probably has a lot more experience. I switched to baseball cause it paid better). Anyway, you hear and see for yourself all the time….The refs tightly control the first 40 or 50 minutes then “let em play” the last 10 and OT. The refs biggest fear is making a bad call in a close game that upsets the results…..that’s why the “swallow the whistle”.

    From a players prospective, he doesn’t really care if the game is called loosely or tightly as long as it is for the whole game and is called evenhandedly. Since the Hawks are generally not a physically aggressive team, late game “loosening” of the rules can be a problem. However, as I have said many times, the best way to keep your opponents honest is to play with a 1 or 2 goal lead.

    The toughest job a ref has (Reg…tell me if you disagree) is the blowout. The team that is down “wants” to stir trouble. This is really the only time the refs should change their game plan mindset.

  19. Wall- Read the Puck Daddy article with the interview with Tim Peel. It will give you all of the information you need to know about the NHL officiating. The NHL wants the games to be close, regardless of actual infractions. That’s why penalties so often even up and they are even looser when you are trailing.

    As far as the game – Corey Crawford seems to have recovered from injury. Hopefully he can keep this up into the playoffs, because it’s the only way they are going to win a cup with the bottom 3 defenders playing as poorly as they have all season (although, with Oduya having a couple good games lately).

    Can we be done with the Cuminskey experience? I’ve had enough of it. One of the things that frustrates me about Q is his seeming inability to give kids enough rope to learn at the NHL level. While I don’t think Dahlbeck was great in his time at the show, he didn’t get enough time to actually adjust and show us what he could offer. Rather than playing Rozsival every night and wearing down and already worn down defender, he could have given more games to a kid to let him learn the NHL game and be able to contribute come playoff time.

    Something must be wrong with Sharp. I can’t imagine Q cutting that many minutes from him if he isn’t being bothered by something. That being said, he seems to be hitting the post an awful lot lately. Maybe those will start going in. The sub-2% shooting percentage at evens is insanely low for a guy normally around 12%.

  20. If I was Sharp I would be frustrated too! Too many trade Sharp comments for how many years now ? I would be pissed too! Hearing day in and day out trade rumors and questions and fans saying stuff. His reaction to that Shhotout goal was release from so much pressure on him. Hopefully now he can get into the swing of things and score more goals.

  21. JS,

    Cumiskey, not Cuminskey. And I agree he is not a long term answer. Dahlbeck, by the way, is now the longest tenured Ice Hog.

  22. ER/Wall, totally agree with same penaltys being called 82game/playoffs. A penalty is a penalty regardless of score or team quality and the crosscheck/bs in front of net.

    Not complaining/whining/conspiracy, etc. Just saying it was blatantly obvious that they were instructed by league/or themselves that they let them get away with 5ro6 and us maybe a couple. 1-inter ferrence on 32, 2and3-too many men o ice 2times, 3-guy holds 88 stick to make it look like a hook, 4-slash to glove area/textbook slash on gloves/crosscheck are followthrough and 5-crosscheck on 19. or its possible they were just instructed to keep game tied throughout game so it would be better entertainment. Sometimes it is a mistake, cant see it, thinking they see something they didnt, fast live action and there doing it on purpose/instructed. I am not complaining to get my way like 87 what a panzy. Just want the league to have proper/better standards for these things.

    We mentioned this front of net stuff 7wks ago about having the ‘right’ standard in front of net. Other things that’s better for the hockey (that would help the refs out and they can concentrate better) are why cant they/can they use the technology that in tennis. Where they can do a very fast 3d instant replay that shows the puck completely cross the line, offsides/after every goal (there should be a 90sec tv timeout after every goal, they can check on that/or already have it and just show refs during the 90sec tvtimeout), stick tip above plane of crossbar, puck over glass and anything along these lines that this technology could show. It would be instant/very fast and this way the refs can do a better job with penaltys, etc They wouldn’t have to think/worry about these kind of things.

    And whatever the league does/doesnt, they should have to do it offseason only.

  23. Mo- and speaking of ALL those penalties… Hawks are about to play one of the “dirtiest” best coached teams in NHL… if/when Wings are allowed to “play” that way… they instantly are on my radar as one of the best teams in league…

    They remind me of the Seahawk’ D… the Wings- hold, grab, interfere- on a constant basis… just like the DB’s on Seattle… they basically “Use” the fact/probability that the refs- ain’t gonna call it every time…

    Glanced at them playin the Kings several weeks ago… tons of interference/grabbing away from the puck…
    no calls!!!

  24. Hah Wall – I made the same comparison with the Kings a few weeks back. I feel like a lot of teams get away with that against the Hawks. Gone are the days shortly after the first lockout where they were calling every bit of interference to speed up the game.

  25. Reg & Mike & anyone else in this reading audience who has officiated hockey games – I mean no offense on a personal level because I realize what a difficult job it is to referee the fastest game in the world with 10 guys flying around a relatively small area carrying sticks and trying to hit each other. Furthermore I have never believed in conspiracy theories that have the objective of favoring one team over the other.

    Now that I have cleared away the discalaimer, let me state that I think NHL officiating is far and away the worst officiating in the major professional sports. The reason it is the worst is because it is not called with an unambiguously consistency.

    The league is run by small minded people who give lip service to the most appealing aspect of the game, which is the speed and artistry of the worlds best players, but then engineer the product to be close games with as little stoppage of play and interference by on ice officials. The result is a slower grinding game that doesn’t showcase the speed and creativity that the league itself markets. The league can’t seem to move past it’s past when thugish neanderthal hockey is what the small fanbase wanted to see. The old “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out” joke was based on reality and the fans in the stands loved it. But if the NHL wants to market their product to a large TV viewing audience (and yes, they do), then they have to complete the transition from old style hockey to the more aesthetically pleasing game of speed and grace and amazing plays, and the way to accomplish the final phase of that transition is to eliminate interference and obstruction, and to do so consistently from the opening minute of Game 1 through the playoffs. This would inevitably result in the game slowing down initially as there would be a parade to the penalty box but just as inevitably the players and teams would adjust and penalties for interference and obstruction would become less frequent. The key is the refs need to be re-trained to see penalty – call penalty with consistency. Seems simple enough to me, but then I’m not one of the old boy club.

  26. Wall, I sat in my chair at home and called both of those penalties against Letang. Both were vicious cross checks that were let go.

    Before games and between periods, refs and linesman talk about what is happening in the game. They have a feel for how it should be called. They also have a feel for how violent the game is played on that particular day. Every game is different, every player is different. Sometimes things will take you by surprise because you just don’t expect it to happen at that particular time. Both cross checks happened on very mild plays. The one to 88 was by the boards and was real scary because Kaner was defenseless while staring at back of another player near the boards. He wasn’t injured and just got up and skated away. Again, no harm, no foul. It doesn’t make it acceptable.

    When Crosby tripped Oduya(and he tripped him), I thought the refs gathered to see if Oduya was to be given an “embellishment” call, too. When Crosby walked out of the box, I was sickened!! Although the process of the gathering officials looks “professional”, in my mind, it’s ridiculous and against everything an official is trained for. If they gather to discuss an out of play call, or even a high stick call, that’s fine. What’s next? We have a meeting on an offsides call in a tie game?

    Although the TV announcers were praising the officials, my guess is that the officials were on the phone last night with their superiors getting their butts chewed out about an unnecessary reversal!!

    Let the game take care of itself!!

  27. unambiguously consistency … s/b unambiguous consistency … sorry, I was hyperventilating in my righteous fervor. :)

  28. JS- Re: Sharp… Yes, he is hitting some posts… but to My Eye-Test his “scoring chances” are way down… so I am not so convinced His %’s will improve much… Of course – he has played down on 3rd or worse more than ever before… but which came 1st the Chicken or the egg??? (10 playing poorly… or 10 playing on 3rd line which will yield poor results?)

    Unlike Hoss- who was getting “good looks”… Hoss was just too predictable w/ that quick 5-hole shot – that is probably a fraction slower… BUT- Goalies know he’s gonna do it, and The early Butter-fly is just the norm!!! So – now 81 is going a little higher… and scoring…

  29. Let me add, lest I be misunderstood, that I am not in favor of eliminating fighting from the NHL game. While I don’t think there is a place for staged fights, which have all but been eliminated already, I do think there is a time and place for spontaneous fights. I don’t want the game to change to namby pamby, I love big hits and that should always be part of the game – just eliminate the interference and obstruction. The saying “let the players play” is usually meant for the refs to not call penalties, but I say let the players play – free from interference.

  30. In reference to this discussion about officiating, one of the other prominent Blackhawk blogs noted there are whispers the Hawks players themselves would like a more physical element added to the team because a lot of the abuse they’re taking is not being called. And it’s said they’re tired of getting beat on game after game.

    Supposedly via some sources close to the team (but who knows) – it doesn’t sound like unreasonable made up stuff to me.

  31. If it’s true the NHL wants games to be close, then that flies in the face of their stance to showcase high end skills. If one team is dominating another due to their superior skills, just let it play out instead of making sure the calls are “even”.

    It won’t change, though. That stuff has been going on for over 30 years, yes I’m looking at you Kerry Fraser, Andy Van Hellemond, Bill McCreary, Don Koharski, and so on.

  32. So true about the officiating in hockey, where it’s called one way through 40-50 and differently at the end of the game. In baseball for example (Mike maybe you can comment on this) yes there are a lot of bad calls as well but it doesn’t change in the 9th inning or extras. I have had an ump come over to the dug out and inform both teams that he would be calling a loose strike zone so be prepared to be swinging in order to speed up the game. At least both team know the expectations. I haven’t seen that in a hockey game. The whole evening out the calls is ridiculous.

  33. Wall – I said in one of the other posts I think that Sharp looks off. I was at the game Friday and he was really dragging. Sunday he looked better but something, either mental or possibly lingering injury has him off his game big time.

    I was talking to one of my friends about Versteeg after Friday’s game. He compared him to Mike Dunleavy of the Bulls. Solid glue guy that you notice most when he’s gone or injured. Pretty funny comparison that I thought I would share.

    Anyway, two points are two points. Bigger challenge the next 4 games. Hopefully they’re dialed in.

    I like what looks like an attempt to expand Krugers role. Hopefully he is able to seize it.

  34. Sharp isn’t going anywhere this year way too valuable. Crawford once again a solid performance, really has been key in keeping Hawks in these “way too close” games. Home ice advantage is zero but going into the playoffs a little bit as an underdog works in the hawks favor. Letang is so super efficient on the offensive end and really has the IQ to get in deep, and get out quickly, interesting style an skill set. Brilliantly played game by Kris, sadly Hawks put pressure on our D-men to really step up in that way BUT they’re dna is pure defense and they make a few small mistakes that shifts the mo of game and give the “other guys” odd men rushes. Hawks d continues to get pinned at times deep below the dots. But okay game, but i felt this was a game where Hawks where gonna break out, have to wait. The shootout seemed to very well orchestrated finally our first three guys picked three different corners, 5 hole etc. so the MAF got no flow and had to guess. Sharps goal is why he is going nowhere, ya wont get enough for him.

  35. Ah Hoffy, the NHL officials Wall of Shame. Should include guys like John Ashley, Bruce Hood, Rob Schick, Don Koharsky, Ron Hogarth, Denis Morel. Old timers must remember the echoes at the Stadium of “Ashley is a bum!!”

    Also well pointed out that teams like the Wings and the Kings that crosscheck, hold, interfere, and hook every shift until it gets called. Then reload and start over. These teams have played this way for years, especially Babcock teams. So in the end 1 out of 4 or 5 gets called. That might be too conservative. It is a huge advantage. Only way to punish them since the refs wont’ is to score on the PP. I think the Hawks can use 1-2 more players, changing out the roster with some quick guys that have some bite. You know guys you hate to play against, but would love to have on your team. Lately the Hawks have been pasted hard regularly starting with the most recent West coast swing that finished in St Louis. The Hawks have been the Timex team for quite some time. At some point someone on the Hawks getting run is going to get hurt similar to what happened with Sharpy against the Habs earlier in the year. I like the Hartman response Friday night, and Shaw yest at the end of the second. You give, you get is the way it needs to go down. Problem is Hawks SB built DNA is not suited to that game. Brian Bickell are you out there? Saad has the beef to throw around more as well.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  36. Big win, important game for Sharp. As others have stated this is undoubtedly Sharp’s last season in Chicago. Truth is he has not had a good season so far. So it pleases me that he might be getting angry, frustrated, all of the above. Why? Because I hope it can wake up his game for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs. Let’s get him fired up and see him leave Chicago on a high note. Maybe with a 3rd ring.

  37. John Ashley – in the 1st Balcony there was this leather lunged guy who would always yell out “HEEEEEYYYYYYYYY ASHLEY” and then there’d be a 3-4 second pause and everyone would yell out “YOU STINK!” Way back when that was an insult …

    A story went around that Ashley was doing a game in the old Boston Garden and some fan during warm ups came up to the glass and said “Hey John, we’ve got a town near here named after you” and Ashley took the bait and said “Oh yeah?” and the fan says “Yeah … Marblehead”. LOL.

    One time my wife and I were in Toronto at the draft years ago and we see Koharski walking around and I say, hey that’s the ref Don Koharski. And she says to me “I didn’t know his name was Don, I thought all the refs had the refs had the same first name … fuckin'” Like Fuckin’ Koharski, Fuckin’ McCreary, Fuckin’ Van Hellemond, etc. Haaa haaa haaa …

  38. RTF great point on Sharp. I’m sure he is frustrated. Maybe it will wake him up. BUT I hope not at the expense of bad penalties. There have been times that I thought Sharp did not deserve the “A” on his uniform because of selfish retaliatory play.

    Blades….It is up to the Captains on the team to communicate (not whine) with the officials before and during the game. Generally officials will tell the Captains what they see.

    Reg….I too thought the refs were considering diving on 27.

    Canadians play the Wings tonite in Detroit. On TV the camera follows the puck so it is difficult to see the “clutch and grab” style the Red Wings use to a tee behind the play. Babcock will play this way until the league stops him.

    If the Hawks players are concerned about the physicality against them, the current roster has the ability to step up. Outside of Kane, Kruger, Versteeg, Oduya and Rundblad, the Hawks roster is all 200# or better. I know they are still on the smallish side but the Hawks CAN be more physical. If you say, well its just not their style and would take them out of their game…….so would replacing 3 or 4 players.

  39. You can still have a puck possession style team that’s more physical. And they should in my opinion but it’ll be difficult to change it until summer at least.

  40. Sharp after goal , ”yeah,… f **kin right”.

    Damn near what I said.

    I wouldn’t bet against 10. Or any of the core guys. We’ve at least learned that much in the last few years haven’t we? The PP is much maligned here. Where is it without 10 putting in 7ppg ? Near the bottom of the league. His goals are down big time, but not so with helpers. I still say skate him on 2nd or top. Why bury him so he has a harder time getting looks/goals? Get him going by giving him 88 every night. He needs more shots! Numbers are puny since those 10sog in Winter Classic. And those A’s aren’t just done by lottery.

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