Patrick Kane, Blackhawks Win Game One

The Minnesota Wild gave the Hawks all they could handle for 50 minutes at the United Center on Friday night.

Then Patrick Kane happened.

The Hawks led 2-0 after two periods, but they were outplayed for most of the game’s first 40 minutes. Bryan Bickell tipped in a Brent Seabrook shot for a power play goal in the first, and Brandon Saad made a magnificent pass to Marian Hossa for a power play goal in the second to give the Hawks the lead, but Chicago was out-shot by Minnesota 25-16 (including 17-3 in the second).

If not for another strong performance from Corey Crawford, the Hawks could have easily been tied or behind when the third period started.

Crawford did allow two goals in the first seven minutes of the third period to tie the score. Clayton Stoner and Kyle Brodziak were able to convert to get the game even, but that’s when Kane took over.

Kane scored the eventual game-winner 86 seconds after Brodziak tied the game, and added a second goal to effectively put the game away at 16: 47 into the third. Bickell added an empty net tally to close the books on Minnesota.

With five goals, Kane is now tied for the postseason lead with Colorado’s Paul Stastny (who is watching from home).

After the game, Kane spoke at length about Ben Smith’s contributions in the game and throughout the season. Smith skated 19:30 with one hit, two blocked shots and an assist in the win.

Seabrook and Patrick Sharp had two assist each, and Hossa added two assists to his second period goal in the victory. Jonathan Toews won 16 of 24 faceoffs and had an assist in the win as well.

Brandon Bollig led the team with seven hits in 12 shifts (exactly 8:00) in the game. Seabrook led the team with three blocked shots. Saad played another strong game and was credited with the assist on Hossa’s goal.

Crawford made a number of big saves and showed great rebound control for most of the night. He made 30 saves against 32 shots while earning a victory for the fifth straight game. Crawford has allowed eight goals in the Hawks’ last five games.

The Blackhawks continued their dominance while short-handed as well, successfully killed all three of the Wild’s power play opportunities.

Unfortunately, the win wasn’t all good news for the Hawks. Andrew Shaw was hit hard by Stoner in the first period and left the ice favoring his right leg. He did not return to the game, logging only 3:01 on five shifts.

In Shaw’s absence, Joakim Nordstrom – once again playing in place of Kris Versteeg – saw his role increase. The young forward played 10:37 in the game, and was on the ice for both of Minnesota’s goals.

On the blue line, coach Joel Quenneville distributed the ice time pretty evenly. Duncan Keith led the team in ice time (as usual), but only played 24:42 in the victory. Seabrook (21:29) and Johnny Oduya (20:00) were the only other defensemen to reach 20 minutes in the game; Kane led Chicago forwards with 20:04 on the ice on Friday night.

For the Wild, Erik Haula played a strong game in the loss. He won eight of 13 faceoffs and was credited with five hits, two blocked shots and an assist. Stoner led the Wild with six hits in the game, while Mikko Koivu won only nine of 22 faceoffs after winning over 60 percent of his draws against Colorado in the first round.

Ilya Bryzgalov allowed four goals against 21 shots in the loss.

Kane MIN

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44 Responses to Patrick Kane, Blackhawks Win Game One

  1. Mining Man says:

    Pretty incredible from Kane and Crawford. Bollig had good goal nixed by bad ref call…hope this doesn’t go this way again as we get way way way more than our share of that kind of thing. Minnys first goal was garbage , just crazy sequence and law of physics playing exception game. Minny played well and we were outshot but there was a strong air of confidence throughout the whole game from our guys. I’m sure we will not fall into an overconfidence trap and move on to the next round, to much playoff know how out there from the Blackhawks. The Cup is ours to lose….don’t think its going to be taken away from us. We are strong.

  2. ebonyraptor says:

    I’ll take a slight issue with you Tab regarding the Hawks being “outplayed for the first 40 minutes”. The middle 20 minutes – most definetly, but I thought the first period was was fairly evanly played and in fact the Hawks outshot them 13-8. But then the second period was 17-3 in shots for the Wild and that shot total was a pretty indicative of the play. Between Corey playing well and the Wild missing the net on a bunch of shots – somehow the Hawks had a 2-0 lead. But everyone knows what 2-goal leads are good for this playoff season – absolutely nuthin.

    And then Kane. WOW!

    Hopefully the Hawks bring a little more energy and urgency on Sunday.

  3. Mining Man says:

    Original six matchup in the final is looking very good. Has to Beaners/Rangers/ Habs out of the East…Pittsburg is looking like last Thursdays leftovers. Once the Kings and the Ducks finish decimating each other and whatever walking wounded is left to play the speedy and skilled Blackhawks we will put away and dispatch. Chicago/Rangers would be really great, Chicago/ Boston would be ultra great but personally detest the dirty cheatin’ hockey they play, but…Blackhawks/Habs…wow, best of all….fast, skilled, endless end to end action and we can get our revenge for ’72 and we will!

  4. morrison says:

    Were all not going to agree totally on everything… we do see just about everything the same though.

    When it comes to the goals by both teams with replay. Lets not let the refs make up for that game 5 they gave to COL affect anygame in this round. Were not COL, refs. Not complaining on that stuff, this game… but I better not have to beat anybody.

  5. morrison says:

    Kaner, holy shit man.

    Do it. Do it.

  6. Windy City Z says:

    So far so good on my prediction. ;-) Another game the Blackhawks & especially Crawford refused to lose. I agree with E.R., I thought the Hawks came out a bit rusty but played decent in the opening period with plenty of cycle time in the Wild’s zone, but yes they definitely got badly outplayed and out shot by 17-3 in the 2nd period which seemed like a rerun of last game….but Crow stood on his head again. Anybody want to bitch about his contract now? Bowman knows what he’s doing. Crawford is the steadying force of our defense many times when we need it most.

    I hate to 2nd guess after a playoff victory (but I will anyway), but why is Nordstrom playing. What is Q’s problem with Morin? The kid was great in the final games of the season, and not just offensively, he was playing with speed and tenacity, going after the puck and playing solid defense. Now Versteeg is in Q’s doghouse, fine, so why not give Morin a chance? and please don’t give me the Morin is not a 4th line player speech, that’s bs, Morin is bigger, stronger, and faster than Nordstrom, he can play the 4th line just as well if given a chance I suspect.

    With that said… Kaner. Wow. After the game this is what Sharp said when asked about Kaner’s Game Winner, “Nobody else in this dressing room has that shot,” “He just gets the puck on his stick, and it goes straight up.”

    Hawks Win!!! 11 more wins to go…. Go Hawks!!!

  7. Jeffrey Kenny says:

    Mining Man, you are so right about the Habs. But if my memory serves me, the 3-2 home loss in game 7 was in ’71. There’s also the Finals loss to les Canadians in ’73.

    My little brother and I have waited a long, long time…

    Revenge is a dish served cold.

  8. smitty says:

    Kane……….completely unbelievable goal.

    Nordstrom may have been on the ice for both Wild goals but I thought he played reasonably well. The second Wild goal was all on Bollig. He couldn’t get the puck past center ice and then coming back slowly left his man wide open in front of our net.

  9. Sr. Brad says:

    WTF, WTF…Tab’s commentary and then 5 comments and NO ONE is commenting about the elephant in the room. We should have lost that game last night because MIN has 12 effective forwards and (after the Shaw injury) we skated 8. If EVER there was a message or lesson to be taken from a game it was last night. Q can no longer go forward with this lineup and if he does it will be disastrous for the Hawks season unless players begin to play radically different from how they have this post season.

    By moving Kruger to the 3rd line, Q has created 3 excellent lines, that all can win the battle for puck possession and out chance their opponents. BUT, and this is a MIGHTY but, the game is 60 minutes long, most teams in the playoffs have 4 pretty good lines, and during the game sh$t happens, like penalties…even with these 3 excellent lines, the Hawks are always in very tight games because they get tired with the minutes they log and the frequency of their shifts. Plus most have to contribute to STs. And if there is a single injury, like last night, all HELL BREAKS LOOSE. I don’t know how many of you noticed it, but the game in the 3rd period finally turned back to the Hawks favour with Kane’s goal (obviously), but also with Q FINALLY putting one of his 4th line up to fill out the 3rd line (which was Nordstrom, not Zus or Bollig, but a freaking lanky rookie with 1 previous playoff start). Until this time, Q was doubling shifting top 6 forwards, like Hossa, to play with Kruger and Saad. What a sh$t show…and this from supposedly the deepest team in the NHL??? What a laugh! Where is the depth on this roster?

    The Zus, Bollig, Nordstrom line was a TRAIN WRECK all night. And no one here, not even Tab mentioned it. I watched the MIN broadcast last night, and they were actively cheering for our 4th line to get more minutes. Because of penalties, they played very little in the 2nd period, but when they did, we gave up scoring chance after scoring chance. In the 3rd period with our top 8 forwards out of gas, the 4th line had to play, and they were BEYOND AWFUL. I am sorry, but there is no other way to put it. Zus skates 5 on 5 minutes like PK minutes, he collapses deep within his zone, abandons the front of the net, and never wins a puck battle. Bollig loses track of his man every shift and is always a second or two late to prevent a glorious scoring chance. Nordstrom competes, and I like him, but he is too green, too weak and too nervous to make up for glaring holes in the other’s games. Not skating Versteeg last night was a STUPID decision by Q…it was a surprise move that bit him in his own a$$ when Shaw went down. Versteeg can skate 20 minutes. Versteeg can play on any line, none of the others on the 4th line can. Reckless and stupid have been the decisions of Q these playoffs. We were fortunate to get past a seriously slumping Blues team in the first round, as they outplayed us basically every game…and MIN, on the road, with a VERY average goalie, massively outplayed us last night in our house? If we lost that game, or if we lose Sunday’s game, we might have/will be in major trouble.

    This Hawks team is loaded with talent, heart and character on the top 3 lines, then there is an AVALANCHE in the drop off to the 4th line? How did this happen? For the better part of the last 4 to 5 years, we have skated the best 4th line in hockey. Suddenly when the playoffs start we don’t have one??? Zus, Bollig, Nordstrom is simply NOT GOOD ENOUGH to skate together in the playoffs. With Versteeg, against the Blues, they were awful as well. So Q changes the ONLY decent part of that line to Nordstrom, a rookie, and they are even worse. What a f$cking surprise!

    Brandon Bollig had 3 hits and an abysmal Corsi heading into the 3rd. There, he had 2 atrocious giveaways that both led to goals, and fumbled every pass he received and missed on every pass he made…and yet Tab mentions Bollig because of his 7 hits??? He was a f$cking joke and there is no other way to describe his game. Michael Handzus??? Wow…he was beyond awful last night. The official scorers in CHI last night, gave Zus 9 of 16 FO’s, don’t you believe it. Zus won only 6 of 16 and lost EVERY meaningful draw in his own zone. He didn’t hit anyone (except for Crawford in his own crease), he didn’t lead a rush, he didn’t get a shot on net, he didn’t block a shot, he didn’t make a decent pass, he didn’t break up an opposing rush…during a crucial PK late in the 2nd, when his PK partner fell down off the draw (another draw Zus lost in his own end) he failed to recognize it right under his own nose, and backed away from the puck allowing Pommenville to walk in free from the point and unload a howitzer at Crawford…an no one wants to talk about this??? What the f$ck did he do except handicap us? The MIN announcers were talking about how long it took for Q to give Ben Smith the 2nd line Centre spot in the playoffs, when Zus couldn’t handle the role in the regular season? And Zus can’t handle the 4th line centre spot either. That’s because he no longer posses the skills and abilities to play centre. If Q want to use this waste, then he has to take Bollig’s spot as the 12th forward and Bollig is off the roster.

    Come Sunday, if Shaw is out for a while, and it looks like it, simply adding Versteeg back into this lineup in place of Shaw is not going to resolve our problems, it will only exacerbate them. I mean it, if Q plays Zus, Bollig, Nordstrom and Versteeg on Sunday, we will lose. In fact, nothing short of Crawford continuing to steal games for us will allow us to win this series. So to those of you sitting at home all comfortable thinking things are great with the Hawks up 1-0 against the Wild, think again. Last night massively exposed the huge problems the Hawks have right now, and unless Q wakes up, Corey Crawford is the only thing standing in the way of us exiting the playoffs!

  10. JS says:

    Bollig with a neutral zone turn over while trying to skate through 3 people and it turns into a goal? How many shifts did he miss? 0 (zero). High five Q! NOT ONLY DID HE TURN THE PUCK OVER. Rozsival got control of the puck on the boards and all 3 forwards – Handzus, Nordstrom, Bollig- started flying the zone and he had no where to outlet.

    Nordstrom was awful all game. He was being eaten alive. He does not deserve playoff minutes yet.

    “Patrick Kane is not a playoff performer.”

    I think it’s time to stop questioning Crawford’s ability and his contract. He is a top goalie in the league, regardless of the occasional softie.

    I think it’s time to stop questioning Bickell’s contract.

    Minnesota played as good as they can. Blackhawks played about as bad as they can. Hawks still won by 2 + ENG. Minnesota is bad.

  11. Fan since 2010 says:

    Go Hawks! How long U been a fan??

  12. Sr. Brad says:

    While my comments once again await moderation, in brief, Crawford stole that game for us, and we are at massive risk of exiting the playoffs because we don’t have a 4th line. Zus and Bollig were beyond awful last night, and Q chose to skate Nordstrom over Versteeg. Unless the lineup changes and either Zus or Bollig exit it, Crawford is the only thing standing in the way of us being out of the playoffs. We should have lost last night, plain and simple.

  13. Sr. Brad says:

    And Patrick Kane was singing the praises of Ben Smith last night because this is the first decent Centre he has been given over the last 3 years (short of Toews). Kane’s game (coming off a serious injury) has exploded because he is skating with Ben Smith…and yet when the playoffs started he was given Zus yet again…the genius Q at work again.

    Ben Smith is a VERY good hockey player, and does not have a contract going forward. Brandon Bollig is a train wreck and he has a 2 year deal with a nice raise???

    And remember this hockey fans, Michael Handzus will NOT be in the NHL next season. His sorry play is being protected by a HC who won’t even have him to protect next year.

  14. Sr. Brad says:

    Remember, Kane’s amazing goal to give us back the lead, doesn’t happen unless Ben Smith makes an all world pass…

  15. Phil says:

    Some rust in the Hawks game last night especially the 2nd. CC did his job though and kept the Hawks in it. After Kaner’s magic act the Hawks seemed to get more motiavted and skate with more urgency. I thought Saad had a huge game last night. he was a dangerous player and his back check was excellent. He appears to be back in action after a tepid start to Blues series. This is great news for the Hawks, who seem to have lost Shaw in what I am afraid was a knee issue. Stoner just plastered him with a huge check. Glad to see Bollig remind Stoner he was around. Stoner was pretty free with his stick last night. First period he crosschecked Kane off the play which the ref saw but did not call. Blatant interference. Watching Danny Heatley play last night brought back memories when he was with the Sharks. He was a dick then and remains so. Penalty he drew off Leddy was a BS call as Leddy was just trying to free himself from Heatley at center ice, and in doing so threw his arm up to get loose.

    Wild are tenacious and will rue the fact they didn’t steal one last night on a Hawks team that was not on their game. Once again Corey made the big saves and bailed out his team. This I take as very positive sign. Corey looked cool, calm,and collected eh RD? Nice to see him come up big. Wild are hungry and like the Blues inexplicably kept missing the net on quality scoring chances.

    Speaking of coming up big, Kaner just continues to amaze. That backhand roof shot was world class. I had some Minny fans right in front of me, and they just put their heads in hands, and did the WTF head shake with eyes closed after that goal. Thank you Ben Smith for another great game as well. His game is trending higher.

    Hawks have better game in them and we haven’t seen a full 60 from them yet in these playoffs. When Q will roll 4 lines is anyone’s guess. I hope Morin plays Sunday. I think the chances are improved now that Shaw is hurt. Nordstrom speed is an asset and if Morin suits up we get more energy.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  16. MS says:

    Zus isn’t going anywhere due to PK success. My issue last night was with Bollig – not only did he get the primary assist on the Wild’s second goal, he didn’t hit anyone all night. Although I don’t see Morin as a 4th line guy, we need a little more physical presence especially if Shaw is out.

    Crow looked very confident and Bickell looks better than last year IMO.

    It seems like every time the opponents have a high quality chance I see number 8 on the ice. Thankfully Crow has bailed him out several times.

    Great to get a win while not playing near our best.

  17. wall says:

    I thought Nordstrom was good- except on boards exiting his zone… (which is the reason he was sent back to the AHL- to work on that part of his game… he is still wetting the bed- there!)

    I will add that 42 was blatantly grabbed/twisted at center ice by Heatley – prior to that 2nd goal… Obvious call!!!

    Game was pretty much what I expected… Boring play/chances for both teams (except for the Odd-mans the Hawks were giving away in first two periods)-until 3rd.

    The Hawks – better get out of that “Rut” of giving up odd-mans… That was why they lost several games near the end of season…

  18. Miroslav says:

    The thing I notice the most about Ben Smith is how well he plays the cycle. He is so elusive and handles scrums on the boards well. The amount of time the Hawks control the puck with him on the second line is impressive. I’d like to see more size on that line, but Sharpie has been playing with an edge and plays bigger than he is, so maybe they don’t need more size… In any event, smith had certainly made the most of his opportunity.

  19. RyanDale says:

    Copy that Phil = 50 is playing at least on par with his post season ’13. PK awesome still. Those 2 things can get you places. Throw in hawks heart, and will with few studs like 88, it’s a Chi-town recipe for success

    Felt Bryz needed to start series ultra hot if he was going to get W in the UC. I see a 2-0 lead when post game Sunday gets here with him in goal.

    88 first goal, while not a spin- o- rama, reminded me of the one in Dallas last season. btw, might behoove us to keep him happy as possible…if ya know what I mean

  20. MS says:

    Wall – The Wild got away with interference and blatant picks all night. I counted at least 4 times..

    The Smith pass to Kane for the 4th goal was amazing both for the skill and awareness. Not many top second line centers in the league make that play. Hope SB is making progress on a new contract.

  21. McKay says:

    I agree Miroslav. Smith has the best stop-and-go move on the Hawks, even better than Toews. He shakes the D every time.

    If I’m the Wild I’m pretty happy with that game. They out-paced the Hawks to start every period. They couldn’t get to the hard scoring areas in the slot, though. Almost like watching the Hawks against the Blues in the first two games.

    If Shaw’s out, I’d like to see Morin get a taste. The hit didn’t look that bad, certainly nothing Shaw hasn’t seen before, which makes me nervous that it’s a bad knee injury.

  22. Sr. Brad says:

    Phil, Bollig doesn’t intimidate anyone…so much so, that Stoner was headhunting for Bollig last night, and Bollig did nothing about it…some enforcer…an if he is not an enforcer then why is he on this roster? Did he take Shaw’s minutes on the 3rd line? Did he make any plays…cycle the puck in the offensive zone…stay with his man in the defensive zone? He is a liability with Q playing him this way, and whatever confidence Bollig had, its now long gone.

  23. Gou says:

    Morin has to get his chance. He proved justification during the end of the season.
    Steeger is not the same Steeger. Bollig is a definite liability as stated several times.
    This game is a mild wake up call for those that thought the Wild were gonna be a pushover. The additions of Moulsen and Pomminville along with some increased play from their younger players has made this team more dangerous.
    As far as Heatley, he is a worthless POS. Always has been. He needs a good jolt from 29 who will square that up real soon.

  24. Dickie Dunn says:

    When Bollig was an effective 12th forward (and he was) during the season he was taking a regular shift with mostly the same line mates (Kruger and Smith). Now, maybe part of the reason he looks SO awful is that he had very little ice time in the previous series (average less than 2 minutes per game?) and the 4th line was thrown together with Zus and Nordstrom (who’s adjusting to NHL playoff action)…?

    Minnesota will play hard – the Hawks just have to stick to their game. Any word on Shaw? They don’t have anyone to replace him, but Morin will bring his skill set and energy if given the chance. Versteeg will probably be Q’s choice? I would prefer Regin – Versteeg hasn’t done very much.

  25. ebonyraptor says:

    Bollig turned the puck over at center ice and then lost his man (Brodziak) positionally and then lost the stick on stick battle (from behind) and Brodziak scored their second goal. One bad play compounded by a second bad play by Bollig – so I’m on board with taking Bollig out of the lineup, but let’s state the facts here. He played 8 minutes and had 7 hits (by far the most on the Hawks) and he did challenge Stoner who declined his invitation. So for those saying he didn’t hit anyone and he didn’t play his enforcer role – those are factually incorrect. I still want him benched though because there are better options to make the team better.

    Smith is a revelation, at least to me. I didn’t think he would be this good. He has a low center of gravity and is very difficult to knock off the puck. His board play and his ability to take the puck to the net are very good. He may not be a prototypical second line center but he’s the best the Hawks have at this time and he’s good enough.

    Certainly the Hawks didn’t play anywhere close to their best game and I’d be very surprised if they aren’t much better in Game#2, but for those who think the Wild played their best game yesterday – I disagree. What the played was their normal game but shot poorly. I think we can expect the same type of game from them in every game, the only difference is that it’s doubtful they will shoot as poorly as they did in Game#1.

    I thought the Hawks would win the series in 6 games but I wouldn’t be surprised if it went 7 games. I’m sticking with that.

  26. Mining Man says:

    Bollig had a perfectly good goal disallowed, missed by ref who was too far away to make the correct call and not reviewable. This business of “when I intended to blow the whistle is nonsense”…should be able to go to Toronto for overturn upon review. The league is going to have to fix this. Bollig is one of four Blackhawks ( Seabrook, Sharp, Leddy ) who did yeoman duty and played all 82 games in the season. One could nitpick about every player at some point but had the goal counted the complexion of the game would have been a bit different. Not for a second am I second guessing Q, Stan and ( Scottie)….they didn’t go for the Presidents trophy or Western Conf. Crown this year because the read was it would impede winning the Cup this year. These guys are genius…Bollig is a valuable and important Blackhawk as is Handzus. Our penalty kill is #1 in the playoffs. Smith and Kane are fixture for the playoffs. Morin will get on at some point, trust these guys to make the right choice at the right time. Loss of Shaw could be a huge factor, we need the pesky guy and he is a critical component. Let’s hope he is back super quick. I saw the same game as everyone else…Minny played ok, but…I simply don’t see them as that big a deal…never saw panic or loss of confidence from us once…Crawford was enormous and big part of all that confidence in the players. Showtime!

  27. Sr. Brad says:

    We don’t have a 4th line…you can defend the players all you want, but throughout the STL and now the MIN series, our 4th line is embarrassing themselves. They almost cost us that game, again, last night. Q cannot afford to have both Zus and Bollig in the lineup at the same time. We must have a 4th line that can take regular shifts and play puck control, LIKE OUR REGULAR 4TH LINE DID THROUGHOUT THE SEASON!

    Doesn’t anyone else see why this has changed??? I feel like I am taking crazy pills…Zus was kicked off the 2nd line for Ben Smith and needed somewhere to go (to the bench is where he should have gone), so to start the playoffs, Q moves Kruger to the 3rd line, instead of Jeremy Morin or Kris Versteeg, and dumps Zus on the 4th line next to Bollig and Smith…except, Ben Smith was gone to the 2nd line, demoting Versteeg to the 4th line…and now the unproven, untested Nordstrom.

    All this exists because Q wants Zus in his lineup. Kruger should be the 4th line centre. He doesn’t need to be on the 3rd line. That spot should be either Versteeg or Morin. Leaving Kruger to centre Bollig and Zus. If we are going to keep these 2 underachievers on the ice, this is where they belong. The disastrous 4th line of the playoffs lies entirely on Q when there is no need for this line to struggle.

    THERE IS NO OTHER REASON as to why the 4th line has suddenly become a train wreck.

  28. Sr. Brad says:

    ER, Ben Smith has been so good, it really doesn’t matter if TT is ready to be our 2nd line centre next season or not…Smith will only get better with more opportunities. Finally a 2nd line centre…and homegrown.

  29. Mining Man says:

    Also…..Seabrook…8 points in 4 games! Every time he takes that big slapshot from the centre of the blueline through traffic you know its great chance of a goal or an assist off Bickells tip. He could be leading in points for all players in the playoffs without that suspension. Unofficial Conn Smyth candidate …if he stays at this pace , wonder if that suspension weighs in and “disqualifies” him with the choosers. Whatever, we know better. He was the unsung big time hero last year, especially in the Detroit series. Could have, should have, would have…we won convincingly 5-2. This business of emulating Roy and pulling the goalie with 3 minutes or so left is really starting to go backward. Everyone doing it now. At least if your going to do that make sure your team knows about it and is prepared! Been a big joke lately.

  30. ebonyraptor says:

    No 4th line … and yet the Hawks are 5-2 and could have been 5-0 at this point if they didn’t blow leads in St. Louis.

    Ideally the Hawks are a better team when Q can roll 4 lines, there is no debate on that, and there are still 11 more games to win in this marathon so the long term impact of reducing heavy minutes on the top players by being able to give more minutes the bottom lines is understood too. But the objective is to win games and so far the lack of 4th line play hasn’t prevented them from achieving the objective. If Q continues to (essentially) play 3 lines and they lose the series – then complaining about the lack of a 4th line would be justified … but the criticism seems a bit premature at this point.

  31. Mining Man says:

    Agree with Ebony. Sr. Brad comments are very valid and a true concern. They have reason, logic, common sense and cause to them. The success to date is also there as well so something is going right and that is management and the coach. Not for a minute do I think Q and company are not aware. They will pull the trigger at the most optimum time. This is the most adaptable team in the NHL bar none. The winner of Lord Stanley’s Cup was on the ice during the St. Louis series and it wasn’t the Blues. The factor I do not trust is the officiating level this year. That is the random variable for us, or should I say , against us!…and injuries…got to get Shaw back. Versteeg and Morin in the wings give me comfort not anxiety.

  32. CJ says:

    ER- they may be 5-2 but the stars will be gassed before long. The Hawks can’t be completely fatigued if they expect to beat the Kings/Bruins/Canadiens. I still have confidence in them but they need to spread out the minutes better. If Shaw is out, insert Morin on that third line and if Versteeg is feeling better, replace him with Norstrom.

  33. Sr. Brad says:

    The Hawks had dead legs to start the 3rd last night, and Q had no choice at that point but to skate the 4th line. They gave up 2 goals, and almost a 3rd before they stopped getting ice time. If Q wants to skate Zus and Bollig, then he needs to play them 5 on 5 and they need to respond…and that hasn’t happened yet these playoffs.

  34. Tab Bamford says:

    “The elephant in the room is the Hawks should have lost because they only dressed 10 forwards.”

    BULLSH**.

    Minnesota skated Stephane Veilleux 8:56 & Cody McCormick 11:02 on Friday night.
    In their win on Saturday, the Bruins skated Thornton 3:42 & Caron only 4:52.
    In their loss on Saturday, the Habs had FOUR forwards (+ one defenseman) skate under 10 minutes.
    In their overtime win Friday night, the Rangers had two forwards skate under 12 minutes.
    Pittsburgh had two forwards skate less than 9 minutes in their overtime loss.

    Have we been bitching about Bollig dressing all year? Many have, absolutely. But these are the playoffs – EVERY coach is shortening his rotation to 9-10 forwards. Let’s not be so naive to think Quenneville is the only guy in the postseason “wasting” a spot on the bench.

  35. Mining Man says:

    Yes! What he ^ said!

  36. Gou says:

    Tab, Great job closing da deal with those stats. There is some great hockey to watch.
    ER in 2011 against da Nucks Smith almost beat them with his performance. If smith doesn’t get da Kronwall cheap shot in following pre-season leading to a concussion, he would’ve been a staple on this team.
    I believe Morin is in this same position right now as Smith was in 2011 playoffs. His energy would be a great addition. Just like Shaw brought when he joined da team mid season.
    As always da banter on this site affords me da luxury of not having to listen to da Chicago media which I do not miss.
    I also don’t believe da big horses are tired. They know all to well the toll of da grind to get da Grail. Lotta great hockey left.

  37. Fan since 2010 says:

    Gou, dat was da most painful post ta read.

    How long you even been a fan?

  38. morrison says:

    Gou- Its was Smith who hit Smith.

  39. noonan96 says:

    There isn’t an elephant in the room-but Sr. B has opened up a question that we don’t know the answer to. The Hawks best players thrive on playing a lot, on short shifts so their best three lines will roll and that’s OK. The 4th line is a chess piece. The mystery or unknown is–in back to back years playing deep into the playoffs, and throw in the Olympics just to make it longer and tighter, how will these guys respond in May and June. Mentally and physically what will unfold. And what kind of depth to we have when one, two or three key pieces go down for a game or a week or a month.

    I now feel much more confident that we can win back to back and this is partly due to circumstance but also because we have the Toews’, Hossas and Keiths that separate us from the other teams that want to win but can’t. These leaders know that being hailed as the best team of their era is important.

  40. Dickie Dunn says:

    Noonan96, you know somebody in Boston might suggest that they have the Bergerons, Krejcis, and Charas who separate them (or in LA, the Kopitars, Carters, and Doughtys…or is that Doughties?)…

  41. Pete says:

    I for one believe that the Hawks are better with Morin in and Bolig out. Whether the bench is shortened or not, I feel that Morin is the better option over Bolig. Of course I don’t know more than Q, but that doesn’t mean Q is making the right decision by sticking with Bolig. Don Shula had a Hall of Fame coaching career in the NFL. But does that mean he was right every time at the end of his career? As Tab points out other coaches are doing the same thing as Q. For instance Hitchcock was dressing Reaves and playing him low minutes. Its just a thought, but the Hawks are trying to do something here that hasn’t been done in 15 years, i.e repeat as champs. Maybe going against conventional thought and sitting the role players(Bolig and Zus or at least one of them) in favor of greener, but more well rounded players with upside is the way to go to give the Hawks an edge. Also, is Morin really going to do worse than Bolig in the few minutes that Bolig plays? Lastly, I read that Versteeg was sick and that is why he missed the game on Friday night. GO HAWKS.

  42. ebonyraptor says:

    By the way – Finland announced their WC roster after the last practice game today and TT was cut. Reading some of the posts from Finns who watched the practice games, some thought he probably should have made the team and others thought he was borderline. Reading comments over the past couple weeks about his play in games was similar to what we saw here – flashes of his skills but so focused on defensive coverage that he was tentative and ineffective on offense. The bottom line is he didn’t play well enough to make the team that has only a couple NHL players so he was, for the most part, competing against Liiga and KHL players. That tells me that we may need to hold off on all the hype of him playing 2C for the Hawks next season, and that he probably needs a year in the AHL, if not a couple years. I’m still very encouraged that he will be a good NHL player at some point, maybe even rise to elite level, but it’s probably a couple years away.

  43. Gou says:

    Thanks Morrison for da clarification.
    Fan, just don’t get in da detail like some. Just my two cents. You can disgard or blow right last it.
    Since da 60’s when my dad took me to a game.

  44. morrison says:

    Yea, just wasn’t sure if you were saying a kronwalled type hit or him doing the hit… that’s why I mentioned it was that Smith.

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