Predators Hammer Blackhawks, Even Series

After an awful first period was covered up by a victory in Game One, the Blackhawks waited until the third period to implode in Nashville in Game Two. Corey Crawford had an awful three minutes and the Preds hung a half dozen on the Blackhawks to even the series.


Colin Wilson continued his dominance of the Blackhawks, opening the scoring with a power play goal less than three minutes into the game. Crawford went down too early and Wilson took advantage with a hard, high shot.

This time, however, the Hawks tied the game in the first as Patrick Sharp scored his second in as many postseason games.

But the Hawks relaxed in the final 20 seconds of the period and paid the price, as Roman Josi danced through the “defense” and scored with less than five seconds left in the opening period. Nashville out-shot the Hawks 16-6 in the first period, but a strong effort for a full 20 minutes should have kept the game tied.

The teams exchanged goals in the second period. Patrick Kane tied the game with a beautiful shot that probably should have been waived off; the Hawks appeared to have too many men on the ice when Kane took the puck into the offensive zone. It took less than five minutes for Nashville to regain the lead, though, as Craig Smith put the Preds up 3-2 at 14:54 into the period.

Shea Weber left the game during the second period and did not return for the third. With Weber out, the Preds played to maintain the lead for the first ten minutes of the third period and the Hawks failed to capitalize.

And then the wheels came off.


Crawford failed to control a rebound and Filip Forsberg, who had been fairly quiet in the first five periods of the series, tapped the puck into the net to extend the lead to 4-2.

Less than two minutes later, Smith scored his second of the game to push the lead to 5-2.

Only 32 seconds later, Mike Santorelli scored his first of the playoffs and the lead was an insurmountable 6-2.

What followed was a five minute meltdown. Kris Versteeg threw a reckless elbow into Wilson and went to the box at 17:56. Just 1:21 later, Kimmo Timonen slashed Wilson and joined Versteeg in the box for the game’s final 43 seconds. While Timonen was skating to the box, Andrew Shaw mouthed off at one of the officials and was sent to the showers.

When the dust settled, Nashville out-shot the Hawks 35-26 and took advantage of Chicago’s stupidity down the stretch. Bad passing and mediocre rebound control killed the Hawks in the third period, but all three of the Predators goals in the final frame should have been stopped by Crawford.

If the decision to start Crawford instead of Scott Darling was easy for coach Joel Quenneville before Game Two, this performance should make putting Darling back between the pipes to start Game Three equally simple. Crawford allowed all six goals in the loss, and has not been sharp in four periods of playoff hockey.

Shaw led the team with five hits, but spent two minutes in the penalty box before getting tossed late in the third. Versteeg served two minor penalties in the game, the first of which resulted in Wilson’s goal in the first period and the second of which was wholly unnecessary.

Niklas Hjalmarsson led the team with three blocked shots. Michal Rozsival had another brutal night, doing his goaltender no favors.

Sharp and Kane looked good offensively for most of the game. Kane led the way with six shots on net and Sharp was credited with five, and each scored a goal. Jonathan Toews rebounded from a rough night at the dot to win 15 of 23 faceoffs.

In addition to Darling, Antoine Vermette should be back in the lineup for Sunday afternoon’s game. Versteeg and Shaw both gave Quenneville ample reason to sit them, but Quenneville will undoubtedly keep fans scratching their heads.

The health of Weber, and Mike Fisher, will be significant for Nashville moving forward. Chicago successfully split the first two games on the road, but have plenty of work to do after an ugly Game Two.

73 thoughts on “Predators Hammer Blackhawks, Even Series

  1. Ebbs and flows of a playoff series for sure. As Brad Richards said on Comcast, the Hawks need to get the lead and force Nashville to play from behind, hopefully on Sunday.

    Vermette needs to play, this is what they acquired him for, period.

    Roszival is overmatched. The problem is Rundblad cannot play at the “pace” of NHL playoff hockey. He struggled against teams hard on the puck like Winnipeg.
    Cumiskey is faster and makes plays quicker. He might be a better option.

    No reason to panic. Hawks need to come out flying on Sunday and go from there.

  2. I say put in Darling and see what he can do. Not all of the goals were on Crow tonight but at least three of them were. I dont think we win this series with crow in net.

  3. Some of the more positive takeaways from the game….Sharp is looking real good and in his zone, something we really need and badly miss..Kane is back, all the way back…we dominated this game for several lengthy stretches making the Preds look like rank amateurs but Rinne was superb tonight and then he got into our heads. Feel bad for CC …he sure was a sad looking goalie after that 6th goal went in…just knelling on the ice looking down and so dejected. He will be fine. Going to hear and read all the usual about Rosival, defensive pairings, Bickell, old men, skating, lack of this and that and so on, let me say this…we will bounce back from this big time and take this series in 5 or 6. Its just too bad we had to witness this meltdown after such a great comeback.

  4. Embarrassing and certainly not looking like a team poised for a run at the Cup. I fully supported CC to be back in net tonight but after his performance they have to turn to Darling on Sunday.

    And allow me this forum to post my wish for the off-season no matter what the outcome of this season turns out to be. Even if they somehow get their act together and win it all with Crow in net for the run, if at all possible, try to move him. With the impending roster reconstruction they will not need a $6M netminder; especially one that can be just shy of elite (IMO) for stretches but also one that at other times will look like nothing more than a career backup. A truly elite netminder will not falter and self-destruct like he did tonight and has done at times in the past. I’ve seen enough of him; try to make the move come June, move him, and go into next year with Darling and Rantta.

    Tonight, the vaunted and dynamic offensive jugggernauts of Mike Santorelli, Colin Wilson and Craig Smith looked like the snipers that many of the Hawks once looked like. Tonight, 3rd & 4th line Preds looked like true snipers…again, embarrassing. Our offense couldn’t even take advantage of Weber’s absence.

    Enough of Versteeg and Shaw, as well, with their continued lack of composure. The boy’s better take both home games or there will be problems winning this series.

    F’ing embarrassing.

    One more time…embarrassing.

  5. Great Roundup Tab!

    My bias is to put Crawford back in at home and see what he does. They have home ice advantage now, having split the games in Nashville, and Crawford being pulled will mean the end for him in this playoffs (at least of his confidence). I also think Rozy needs to sit. Somebody who can skate faster than him must be in on the ice. Recall that if Darling doesn’t save the day in game 1, Hawks are down 2-0 in this series and the d-saster is a big piece of that. Hawks should not assume a second goalie-win happens and use game 3 to trial a defensive adjustment.

    The lightbringer, Q, will I’m sure be playing 5-dimensional chess with the lineup, so I like your phrasing Tab. We fans will likely be left scratching our heads. No doubt this will be due to an abstruse rationale which should be immediately obvious to those with hockey qualifications (i.e. 750 wins, 2 rings, IQ of 180) but which is impossible to render for those of us in the idiot brigades so that we can comprehend it. It’s almost like we’ve had this argument before – I’m just getting it started now before any actual decision is made…

  6. ZebraGreg: You mean like elite goaltenders such as Rask and Quick? Yah they really carried their teams all year long…right onto the golfcourse..they had more meltdowns and screwups than the Bruins in a game 6 and all season long. Crawford got us here…he was superb and stellar down the stretch…we are co-winners of the Jennings for cripes sake. Put the game in the garbage can, fuggetaboutit.

  7. That was a horseshit on Steeger in the first 5 min of game. Gave them the first goal and the lead they didn’t earn. There not going to score first every game.

    Shooter is starting to bring it, and hard. Kaner is getting the remaining rust off. He will be 5 and 7 days in for these two home games, that is going to help him/line/team.

  8. Does anyone think the Flyers will trade the 2nd round pick they Stole from SB … back to Hawks for Crow and Bickell??? This would unite Crow with Emery for that unbeatable tandem that was so dominant in 2013, and should make Flyers an instant SC contender!!! Or was it the team in front of the goalies that was so special??? I forget… Can anyone help me on that one???

    Hof- a penny for your thoughts!!! lol

    All kidding aside… The Hawks gave up too much time/ space for shooters to Pick the corners… the game was not lost by Crow… he gave up 4th/5th as softies… the 1st goal, down too low… but like I said in 1st game post… if D keeps going too high on PK (27 twice now) – the PK will not do well…

    27 is getting torched trying to stand guys up at blue line

    And they really should start CC again… Not for winning purposes… but for confidence and Trade purposes… If not – CC’s contract will be “Handcuffs 1.5” … the 1.5 is times 29’s salary!!!

  9. Wall – who do you think would trade for Jennings winner Crawford if he has a Luongo-style playoffs this year? Talon already has Luongo…

  10. The only reason the Hawks made the trades and gave up the picks was to win this year-(Yes they haven’t been stellar)
    The goal-tending decision is the same-who can do the best job now?
    Given Crow’s body language late in the game I would ride the rookie and hope for some magic. Either way they need to play well in the first period.

  11. I said the big question was how would the PREDS respond, they answered the bell without their best player. Hats off to them.

    Crow was fighting the puck all night long. The Colin Wilson goal was awful, the GWG was just as bad with Crow almost inside the net and then it just got worse. Clearly it’s Darlings net on Sunday.

    The Hawks looked like they wore down in the third. Now it’s Chicago’s turn to respond.

  12. I’m sorry to say it because I have been a huge Crawford supporter this season. He’s had a career year and was a big part in us keeping pace for the playoffs most especially down the stretch. But he has been absolutely the worst player on the ice. Absolutely abysmal and this loss falls directly on his shoulders. Should have had the first goal, way too low. Sat on his knees on the goal line for the third goal, amateur at best. What the actual
    FUCK is he doing not covering the the puck before the fourth goal?!?! And then he just gave up.

    He simply has no business playing game three or the remainder of this series. His head is in the clouds, he looks slow, sluggish, clueless and 40 steps behind. Get that loser the hell out of the net because he is seriously fucking BRUTAL through two games.

    23 looked great for most of this game, nice to see 88 get his touch and confidence back, 10 was everywhere tonight! Could have had a hat trick! 19 being 19! 29 through his body around but didn’t look effective otherwise. And 65 had been marvellous through these two games. I’m sorry to say it but this game has a different outcome with 33 in net. 50 was completely useless!

  13. Crawford started out of loyalty and because Q felt sorry for him. Not because he gave the team the best chance to win. This loss is on Q. He knows Darling is the hot goaltender. You play the hot hand. Come on Q wake up. Crawford is making millions. Stop feeling sorry for him and play the guy that gives the team the best chance to win. Play Darling already!!!!!!!

  14. Zebra Greg- totally agree with the 2nd Paragraph… hope CC rebounds (and controls it)
    wins a series… and SB moves him for something this summer… Size matters- and Trend is for Bigger goalies… Darling and Nilson/Russian are both huge…

    also agree with 23… he is floundering out there

    Kero scored his 4th in 5th game for Hogs!!!

    I would be ok putting 29 on 4th and 86 on 2nd!!!

    Timmo AND Rosey should both sit… Cumiskey and 5 are way faster… and Hawks are getting out quicked!!!

  15. @ftr

    There are at least 20-25 teams what would be interested in Crow if the Hawks shopped him. He’s not an elite tender but he’s really damn good dispite tonight’s God awful performance.

  16. I don’t care what Crawford is on the trade market. He is not the best goalie right now that the Hawks have on the roster to beat Nashville. Crawford and Darling have each played 4 periods. Crawford has given up 9 goals, Darling has given up 0 goals. Darling has to play and Crawford needs to sit. If Q tries to start Crawford in Game 3 management has to step in. Its that bad.

  17. Dark Bird… welcome to the Dark Side… all new members must pay a one time initiation fee…

    Hof- Your membership is free if you join before Sunday!

  18. SSHM- 20-25 teams??? No!!! Too many teams are all ready paying too much for that spot… Not even close

  19. Wall the first goal was soft and it was a complete meltdown in the third and I think there was one other soft goal. Its the same players in the lineup in front of Darling and zero goal given up by him compared with 9 by Crawford. People need to stop making excuses for Crawford. For whatever reason he doesn’t have it right now and Darling does. Play the hot hand.

  20. ftr- ironically- Crow wins the Jennings (really team)… but CC has the lowest winning %,
    lowest save %, and highest GAA of the 3 Hawks goalies this year

    Pete- You know I have hated/hate the Crow contract from day 1…
    wts- I am a big picture guy… and Big picture to me is get CC’s trade value up… so that means – he plays well… wins a series… (don’t think Hawks are good enough to beat wild)
    and Hawks can move him for some picks…

    if he doesn’t play/win… SB is going to be in bigger trouble than he all ready is in with these TDL moves/cap- and those “20 teams” will become 2 (for 3rd rounder)

  21. Would Raanta or Darling have the same numbers as they do if they were the #1 goalie for 50+ games in a season? I don’t think so but we don’t know. Being the starter is obviously different than being a backup. Bernier had great numbers backing up Quick in LA and got traded to Toronto. He lost the starting job there. Crawford has to rebound from this. He can’t be a backup goalie with that salary and how could he be traded? It almost seems as if his NHL career is in jeopardy. At least he won a cup and a big contract. I think he bounces back…well I hope so.

  22. I know it’s fun to pick on 32, but it looked to me that 4 and 2 played like number two, chasing toward the net all night.

    How is sitting Crawford a loss at this point? If Darling continues to play out of his mind, we win. If he doesn’t, you get a goalie with something to prove coming off the bench. 50 is a head case, always has been he’s never been good when he’s intense and mentally tight, he’s always been good Winnies loose and happy, I’ve noticed it in every single interview before or after games I’ve seen with him. granted that’s not a huge sample but he has two distinct personalities and one of them is a tense crappy goalie. If this series gets to the point of an elimination game he’ll be between the pipes, he’s still our guy, he just happens to suck ass at the moment.

    It’s always a bummer to lose a winnable game, especially when the offense was starting to have some possession. This series wasn’t going to be a sweep anyway, and hopefully Collin Gretzky has gotten all of his goals out of the way.

  23. The Hawks can’t worry about Crawford right now. Whether his feelings are hurt, his contract, whether his psyche damanged or what. They need to win playoff games NOW with the players that give them the best chance to win. Right now that is Darling at goal. The evidence couldn’t be more clear. Will Darling keep playing like he did in game 1, who knows. But what we do know is that Crawford has played poorly two times in a row.

  24. Crawford makes us want to turn off the TV as the most frustrating player on the team to watch.

    I say bench Crawford for the entirety of game 3, who’s with me me?

    The hawks need leadership from their Goalie, someone who can inspire.

    Crawford will be fine resting up on his piles and piles of hundred dollars bills.

  25. A little harsh on the Crow front but I agree 100%-Darling needs to play-
    I’m worried about the quick pull mentality for both but I think 33 can handle that right now better than Crawford. I’m not sure if he was going to punch out or break down to the reporters-he’s a pro but he looks lost.
    Darling seems to be thriving-almost oblivious to the pressure and given what he has gone thru maybe that’s true.

  26. I think you go with Darling in Game 3. See how the team responds – they can always go back to Crawford for Game 4 if need be. Tweak the lineup and put Vermette in for Versteeg.

    It was a bad game – from the goaltender on out – a few bright spots but just throw this one in the garbage and get ready to win on home ice.

    Watched most of the Ice Hogs game on tv last night vs. the Wolves. Alex Broadhurst with a two point night in the win. None of the recent Swedish defensemen additions played, it’s down to tonight’s game to see if Rockford can finish in 1st place. They need to win and have Grand Rapids lose.

    Tanner Kero, the free agent they signed from Michigan Tech, is having some great puck luck – he scored his 4th goal as mentioned above – shots are going in for him but not to minimize his skills – he has them and it’ll be interesting to see how he competes in training camp. Smart player but whether there’s room will be another story. One other observation is Pokka’s play has leveled off, it’s been a long year for him at his young age. Not that he’s playing badly, he’s very hockey smart but he’s not as noticeable in a good way as he was a month or so ago.

    Ice Hogs are playing well down the stretch. They had Gotovets and Keith Seabrook in on defense last night, they’re fighting for 1st so I guess it’s understandable why the new Swedes weren’t in there. Standing room only tix left for tonight’s game, I will not be there but should be a rocking crowd.

    By the way, the Carl Dahlstrom kid they brought over who was their 2nd round pick a couple years back – he now goes by Calle. Calle Dahlstrom. Not sure what the deal is.

  27. MudTurtle… That Bernier stat… IS MY WHOLE ARGUMENT!!!
    Bernier wasn’t that good- the Kings were/and Leafs Ain’t… Just like Emery is bad… yet had same stats as Crow/2013…

    At end of day… Crow ain’t no $6M- goalie… the Hawks could have made several Goalies (who aren’t worth $6M… look like they were stat/record wise… cuz 2103 hawks were that good)

  28. There is no way Crawford doesn’t start Sunday. You don’t jerk around with your number one goalie in the playoffs. Not the guy who has been huge 4 years in a row in the playoffs and was team MVP this season. He knows what he needs to do to improve and will do it. But him starting Sunday is sacred territory for a guy who has earned that right. Q knows this too.

    The problem is this team has talent limitations this season. We play with 3 1/2 defensemen and that isn’t good enough right now. We all saw how poorly this team matched up with physical and speedy teams throughout the season too. Hell, the Hawks were owned and stoned by Winnipeg this season.

    What would really help the most is if Hossa could find the fountain of youth for some games. It’s been sobering to see his game this season and it has happened because he is now a NHL senior citizen with extreme mileage on those skates.

    But the epitaph on this season may end up reading, the Hawks didn’t have the defensive depth to get it done. We all honestly know this is a big problem. Ripping Rozy or Kimmo is non productive because that is the option base we have to play.

  29. I’m good with playing Vermette in replacement of Versteeg. But I suspect DesJardins is somehow inserted into the lineup before Vermette.

  30. Mining Man…there’s no consideration of the quality of any other goalie or the job Crow has done in the past. All I’m saying is that once the off-season gets here, this team will be in reconstruction mode due to the contracts for 19 & 88 and salary cap challenges. It’s a given that there will be attrition, trades, that some of the mainstays will have to go, and that youngsters will be brought up. With those kinds of changes, I think it’s fair to expect a year or two quite unlike the past 4-5 seasons. Why pay a goalie $6M a year over that span when the team is in reconstruction mode. That money can be better spent on bringing in other talent to fill the gaps left by the above moves.

    If all that happens, when the Hawks next mount a serious challenge, Crow certainly won’t be in net. True, he’s carried the team at times and shares the Jennings this year, but are you going to keep and pay him for past performance while the team rebuilds? Certainly, not a wise move and not what’s best for the overall complexion of the lineup. And I don’t think anyone believes he’s of the pedigree that must be kept at any and all costs.

    I don’t think he’s worth $6M a year under these conditions when they can go with a much less expensive goalie combo and make better use of the money elsewhere. Darling has shown signs, albeit for a short period, of being at least a very solid option and the combined tandem of Darling/Rantta costs half or less in salary as compared to Crow.

    Finally, comparing Quick, Rask and Crow when they have experienced periods or seasons of their best performances, I’d take Quick over both with Rask second.

  31. I am so glad that Stan Bowman, brilliant hockey mind that he is, gave up the draft assets he did to land all-star, minute crunching playoff performers like Vermette, Desjardins, and Timonen. Sure they’re crunching popcorn while leading the pressbox team but still….

    What an epic fail. Is there a missile headed for the sun with two extra seats for the Bowmans by chance?

  32. The charging penalty on Versteeg was rather light. I don’t have a problem with that penalty. I have a problem with the goal. Full speed you could see how early Crawford went down. Predators took notes that when Crawford went down, he stayed down.

  33. Make no mistake, it was Nashville who was generally screwed over by the officials way more than the Hawks. It was comical the Kane goal was allowed when the Hawks clearly had too many man on the ice. And there were 3 other calls that were just plain wrong in favor of Chicago.

    Versteeg has reverted back to the unreliable puddin head he was in his first go around with the Hawks. Sure he does some nice things. But he isn’t reliable in any regard. Nice to see also Sharp playing for a higher trade return for the Hawks.

  34. To SSHM

    “There are at least 20-25 teams what would be interested in Crow if the Hawks shopped him”

    Not a chance. I can think of 5. Maybe.

  35. Lets face it, it was not a complete game by the team last night. That being said I feel Crawford’s play has been lacking to say the least. Yes he’s looked great at times, making big saves etc. but it’s the soft ones that just kill a team!

    I have played most of my 55 years & ref’d over 17 years & I’ve seen first hand how a soft goal deflates a team….. I understand “soft” goals happen but it seems like Crawford has been regularly giving them up in the last 6 games or so….. His confidence is shot right now & this is not the time or place to let him fight through it to get it back, the stakes are to high and the pressure on him is enormous.

    Yes he’s one of the main reasons we got to the dance, but it’s time to sit him & let him get his head on straight & get some extra work in with the goalie coach. “If” the Hawks get past the Predators Crawford will be needed down the stretch.

    Finally the team just play better in front of Darling……

  36. I hope we have seen the last of Nordstrom. Desjardins will elevate Teavo’s game and give him more space to create chances. He is not an easy player to play against. We ll find out tomorrow how far Q’s obsession with Nordstrom has reached.

  37. I have been a huge supporter of Crawford but he has completely lost his confidence and must sit the next game. That may have been the worst performance of his career. 32 & 44 should also sit. Runblad and Cumiskey will add some needed speed. I would put 80 in for Richards who has been non existent.

  38. Rufus hits it right on the head. So well said that I’m pasting it again here….

    “The problem is this team has talent limitations this season. We play with 3 1/2 defensemen and that isn’t good enough right now. We all saw how poorly this team matched up with physical and speedy teams throughout the season too. Hell, the Hawks were owned and stoned by Winnipeg this season.

    But the epitaph on this season may end up reading, the Hawks didn’t have the defensive depth to get it done. We all honestly know this is a big problem. Ripping Rozy or Kimmo is non productive because that is the option base we have to play.”

    We all complained about the 3rd pairing all year. It was obvious to us. TVR was down after 18 games, but did we do anything to develop prospects or anything else to address that issue? NO! Now we have to suffer through Q doing his Zus II (Rosy) and Zus III (Kimmo) impersonation from last year. We have our top three dmen playing their positions and covering the over the hill gang. This while playing TOO, TOO many minutes. We have been giving up a ton of shots for awhile and CC has earned $6 Million this year. We have to continue riding him.

    We don’t have the horses we used to due to aging and we have come back to the pack. Now the positive. We still went into Nashville and got our 1 game, that was the goal. Shaw, Bickell, & Nordstrom have been hitting the Preds D hard and often. Weber may be out due to unfortunate injury on Saad’s clean hit. Beck also was injured on a shot from the point. We will continue wearing them down. Our core is not washed up yet. It is a seven game series and we will overcome game 2 to win this series. Crow will play a major part in that. I would start Darling in game 3, but bring Crow back thereafter. If anything, starting SD will stoke the competitive fire that we have seen from Crow in playoff series past. We have seen all year how this team has stepped it up and beat the NHL’s elite when those opportunities arose. They will do it again this year. We may not win the cup, but we have as good a chance as any team in this field to take it.

  39. Oh yeah, I play #11 over #42. I actually hope #42 is playing for the Panthers next year. To me, he is worthless. I hope we see Vermette tomorrow. Also, I can’t believe I am saying this, but I hope we try 5 and 26, before it is too late. They can’t be any worse than 32 and 44. If 47 is eligible, throw him in there. These latter moves may at least cut the minutes of our top three dmen. We have to stay out of these overtime games…

  40. One last comment of most importance, DAMN!!! Kathryn Tappen looks hot as hell in that black skirt!!!!

  41. WALL …. I was wrong about Bernier losing the starting spot. For some reason I thought he lost it to Reimer but he didn’t. Bernier’s numbers this year weren’t bad considering the debacle that happened in Toronto, which,I know, is your point. It’s the defense in front of the goalie. I get your point about salary and all that regarding cap issues for next year. I just threw something out there to think about.

  42. So starting only three centers has been a terrible decision.

    Having Keith drag junk around on his off side has been idiotic.


    And ride the crap out of those guys. Spot whom ever the third pair is where you can and go from there.

  43. 1. Desjardins must be on the 4th line his size is needed, despite Nordstrom playing his heart out every night.
    2. Vermette must be in the lineup, enough is enough and YES play the guys who sacrificed all year but the time to give out “brownies and thank you cards” is over.
    3. We have a goal tending dilemma, if this was the regular season Crow would NOT start Sunday, now Q has to play “mind games” and “emotional tug of war” with Crows confidence. CROW LOOKED TENTATIVE LAST NIGHT! Hawks continue to allow “players to camp out” in front of him. Worst protection in the NHL.
    4. Rosy & Timonen age has caught up wit them obviously, BUT if we pay attention only Keith and Oduya has the skate speed in transition to press offensively and get back on defense. Hammer is horrible in transition but is one of the NHL top lock down defenders in our zone. Seabrook is no better at the point and getting back. Seth Jones, Duncan Keith and even Leddy are the prototype defensemen that the NHL will be built on. All about quick up and out transitions and actually scoring and getting shots to net., lot of pressure on world class defensemen like Keith. Hawks GREAT team defense “the back check” covers up for poor transitional defensemen.
    5. No Webber no win, a gift that was not cashed in
    6. 4 Minute power play and nothing, the 1- 3 -1 the 3 2 mumbo jumbo it’s not the problem. It’s the the ability to dump, chase and retrieve the puck. They often can’t even enter the zone effectively.
    7. TnT and Kane playing on the ice at the same time was interesting as the PREDS doubled Kane Q made finally a good line adjustment. Preds will continue to dowuble down on Kane but Kane is used to that BUT this opens space for Tevo!
    8. SADD can not be on the top line, ever, get Bick up there, because Bick can chase, crash the boards and create turnovers in the offensive zone. SADD is wasting his speed and skill on that
    line, watch how many time SADD is 20 feet ahead of Toews and Hoss in the zone with little or no support, BICK matches the speed and need, SADD is Awesome put him where his outside speed is effective.
    9. You can slice and dice these LINES like cheap coke anyway ya want but only a few guys really need to be on the same line for many reasons.
    10. Hawks did what they needed to do win one, but giving up that many goals it a team that struggles to score is not good. As i have said for years the Hawks can play hard and flawless and still win by ONE GOAL, they don’t dominate and that’s okay but the lack of size and the lack of “urgency” to finish checks and clear the crease for Sasquatch or Crow is critical. They wil easoiy advance the Pred’s but next round will be a nightmare!

  44. WOW, lots of CROW chatter here!
    1- If he continues to play like this and gets “labeled” a failure or Choke artist in playoffs then his Trade value is practically zero! Take that to the bank! He’s got to win sunday but I think he’s not starting, I would start Sasquatch . I think 6 goals is a long leash!
    2 -When we all try to use analysis or guess on CROWS real value, remember he plays on believe it or not one of the best defensive teams in the NHL. Remember Darling faced what 3 or 4 shots in the second period which allowed him to gain confidence. Remember Ver-Sticks bad early penalty and Hawks where down instantly.
    3. Remember that the lack of Crease Control and Clearing his vision by our defensemen makes Crows life hard, I have never seen a goaltender get pounded physically like CROW and have defensemen look on as if at their at Seal Tank and Lincoln Park Zoo, just a spectator. Horrible!
    4. Remember CROW is the worse starting Goaltender in the NHL when it comes to handling the puck behind the net, horrible! As I have shouted if he can drift behind the NET and break up the dump and chase once in awhile Hawks would dominate, but his lack of stick skill makes him a liability like a error prone shortstop in the world series, it’s happens! So they dump and pinch and defensemen make weak backhand passes to wingers who are at the blue line looking for that CRAP Break Out pass! Puck support!
    5. Crow is a top 10 goal tender, most goal tenders play in streaks, i felt he played the best i have seen down the regular season stretch, confident and even CLEARING OUT THE BLUES ALL BY HIMSELF in front of the net,
    6. Confidence is a a dangerous emotion to tinker with, Sasquatch attitude was as he said ” i had nothing to lose no one expects me to win the game” As a player that is so easy to perform with that weight than with the pressure dropping on CROW.
    7. CROW now not only needs a WIN he actually needs a god damn SHUT OUT.
    8. Sasquatch or Raanta could develop into consistent starters if CROW stumbles ya never know he’s traded next year and plays for St. Louis and wins another cup.
    9. This feels like a “Culter” type of setting. we are all only as good as our last performance on the ice or in life. Makes it all so interesting and fun to watch.

  45. RTF-two paragraphs that are well put, accurate and non confrontational-love it.
    Extremely optimistic about TT’s future-he skates better than I thought and with 10/15 more pounds he’ll be a big piece of the future-
    One comment on Versteeg-at least he worked his butt off last night. His brain and vision is just so different than Kane’s-the brain and hands/legs don’t work together.
    Don’t see 47 getting thrown in-he’s not ready for the pace-next year! Tough decision on who gets to play up front as well-having 2 guys-11 and 80 motivated and fresh would be nice, but other than 42 who’s out-Q won’t take Shaw out.

  46. Have not heard from Ebony yet…or Phil who was at the game. It is a difficult game to comment on because of all the negatives but please weigh in guys. . Q really should start Crawford but on a short leash,…thinking he would like to start Darling but cannot show a loss of team confidence in Crawford…very short leash. Personally didnt have the best of weeks myself, life happens and you deal with it and move on and get back to the good stuff that you know you are capable of. Sharp and Kane are back and that bodes well. Would like to see Keith and Seabrook together, and Hammer with Oduya, 3rd pairing(s) short minutes. We should concentrate our best for maximum time. Vermette should be itching to get in.

  47. First goal Crow was down early and not square to the shooter. 3rd goal he was way too far back in his net. 4th goal was another complete brain fart.

    We have no time to be assing around starting a goalie whose head is not in the game.

  48. albertahawkfan, “playoff performers like Vermette, Desjardins, and Timonen.” – True, Bowman traded for them, but infallible King-of-Coaches Quenneville is responsible for not playing them.

  49. Thanks for the update hof. Would like to see Justin Holl get a shot on defense but coaches seem to like Gotovets better. It also seems that Kero and Baun are the college free agent flavor of the month. Carey was what a healthy scratch last night and Leblanc is done in this organization. I actually like Stan’s approach on this. College free agents are like free draft picks. If they flame out, so be it, on to the next batch next April.

  50. Rufus T – agree about Versteeg (- perhaps you’re being too kind)

    Booman, “If 47 is eligible, throw him in there” – Full Speed Ahead!!

  51. The amount of contradictions from the “regulars” on this board is STUNNING! If you don’t fully understand the game of hockey, that’s fine, just enjoy the games, don’t get caught up in thoughts and judgements that you will simply chuck out the window tomorrow! Rufus, Mr. throw everything at the dart board knowing that something has to hit and stick says that “we” shouldn’t start playing head games with our #1 goalie now that we are in the playoffs…INCREDIBLE! Coach Q, who you apparently support at every turn no matter what (until he goes against the tone of one of your pointless rants), has already started the “head games” by yanking CC after ONE FUCKING PERIOD in game one of the playoffs!!! Why would Q do this? The same reason he started Versteeg, Richards, Teravanian and Nordstrom instead of other bigger, stronger, more complete options. He wants to win and will do whatever is necessary to do so, he was playing hunches based on what he has witnessed and it didn’t work, ergo, changes!

    When Q said that going back to Crawford after game 1 was an “easy decision” I guarantee it WASN’T! Q and Bowman know they need to win this season with so much uncertainty heading into the next few years with the Toews/Kane contracts kicking in. They wasted a glorious chance last year by choosing to go with Rozy and Zus at the trade deadline and it cost them. This year they went “all out” and SB brought in players that Q wanted, plain and simple. However, neither Vermette nor Timonen have panned out for the Hawks and Q, wanting to win at all costs, had no problem putting his and SB’s collective ego’s up for speculation by trying alternatives…he wants to win at all costs!

    Right now Corey Crawford is NOT the best Hawks goalie, and he wasn’t during the regular season…with a significant amount of games under their belts against tough opposition in tough arenas, both Raanta and Darling demonstrated the same sound positioning as Crawford with BETTER rebound control and MORE athleticism! Deal with it. In four periods of hockey, Crawford has spent more time on his knees than an altar boy in a Catholic church! Why has Colin Wilson scored 3 goals in 2 games? Everything he shoots goes Upstairs. Why did Colin Wilson score 2 goals last night? Because he went to the net and followed up on an infinite amount of juicy rebounds just laying in the crease. How does a DMan in Josi score with 3 seconds left in the first? By skating around a bunch of lazy forwards? NO! With his momentum taking him into the boards, Josi let off a shot from above the right circle and beat CC cleanly upstairs because CC was back too far and ON HIS KNEES! How and why would an “elite” goalie fall to his knees with a few seconds left in the period to defend a shot from near the point? A lack of confidence, as a goalie with confidence stands up and easily gloves that puck!

    In the third period NSH almost scored another when NSH forwards were given 4 chances in a row to tap at the puck lying in the crease. CC finally held on to the puck when it rolled down his back (along the goal line) and into his body!! Goalies give up lots and lots of rebounds when they stop being athletic and panic into playing like a cardboard cutout, which is exactly what CC is doing! In the playoffs there is NO TIME for loyalty or sentimentality, Q learned that the hard way last year with Zues and it cost him.

    That doesn’t make CC a bad goalie, he’s not, but CC’s biggest enemy has always been his own mind, overthinking mistakes and as a team we have run out of time for anyone to do this! Q must play the “hot hand” or the lineup that gives the Hawks the best chance to win. He didn’t do this in the first two games, playing hunches, and now he will change. For those that think that Nordstrom’s inclusion into the lineup was successful, it wasn’t…Nordstrom was a minus 2 last night and the fourth line struggled with possession in both games. Nordstrom (and to a lesser extent TT) is willing to go to the boards, but he still does not possess the strength to win those battles and is giving up scoring chances as a result. Rozy is a disaster (and EVERYONE saw that coming) and Timonen is not far from behind as he is SLOW and can’t win a single physical battle. They put us at risk overtime they are on the ice. Versteeg is slow, nonphysical (where it counts) and stupid right now without providing any other intangibles such as Vermette brings.

    Darling, Vermette, Desjardins and Cumiskey/Paliotta need to come into the lineup and the Hawks need to go back to the no fun, no chance hockey they played since Kane was injured if they want to win a playoff series. Try and play run and gun, especially on the road, with this lineup and we are going to lose EVERY single time! We cannot win a playoff series with Brad Richards centring two smurfs, Kane or not, that line will continue to get exposed in the playoffs. Bickell, Vermette, Sharp should be there before Versteeg. Sometimes what works in December and January means zip during the playoffs!

    Q needs to and will go back to his “conservative” lineup and slow things down. All season long, both in Rockford and CHI, Darling has displayed excellent positioning, impressive reflexes for a big man (just look at game one), and solid rebound control. Plus, after going to his knees, Darling gets right back up, Crawford has fallen into the Huet habit of going from his knees to falling flat on the ice and being prone! Enough with all this talk of sentimentality! You want to win a championship? Then EVERYONE in the organization has to commit to winning now! The Hawks didn’t do this last year, but Q has been given the horses this year and its up to him to put the best lineup out there EVERY game no matter what!

  52. If the lineup was up to me, which it’s not, Richards would not be playing, he has not looked near good enough before his injury or since. Toews, Vermette, Shaw and Kruger should be the 4 centres with Desjardins on the wing ready to shift over or take face offs. Versteeg and either TT or Nordstrom would be sitting as well. Vermette is a much better PKiller than 42 and none of the three bring physicality or toughness to the Hawks.

    Q simply can no longer justify not playing both Vermette and Desjardins…both do EVERY little thing well and compete hard. Pucks haven’t gone in for Vermette, but not for a lack of trying! His responsible defensively first and Richards is not!

    And to anyone ragging on Shaw, take a big step backwards! He is absolutely essential to the Hawks playoff run and he rebounded very well last night at the dot. He’s a good player, playing hard every game. His penalty last night was calculated, purposeful and timed!

  53. Craig,

    The noise in Rockford on these college free agents is the org. was in on a few more but they signed elsewhere. They are already lining up guys for the prospect camp this summer too.

    Yup Leblanc is done, i doubt he will even hit the ice in Rockford any more. It didn’t work out, he doesn’t have the speed and they thought working with the skating coach would solve the issue but it didn’t. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t. Not sure if they re-up with Matt Carey either, looks like Tanner Kero has taken his spot on the depth chart.

  54. It is hard to recall a goalie look so “small” in the net as 50 did last night. No confidence at all on his part?

    Morrison – totally agree on 23’s phantom charge in Period 1.

  55. AJ, that’s what I think we do when we are in need to win a game 5 to go up 3-2. While were ahead 1-0/2-1 are we going to ride the split pairs. At some point that’s what I want to. Is that now for Crow to get on a roll.

    Good time to get Vermette in. Maybe Dijon too. Vermette is a good player and he is going to play good (he can take faceoffs playing RW). He might be the type like 29 or 36 that thrive in playoff type gameplay. With Sharpy bringing it hard, once Kaner get ups to fullspeed I think we make a little adjustment with the lines that is a large reward.

  56. I am stoaked about Teravainen. We will have the coming decade plus to yell in a good way but for right now its about the Dragon complimenting some of our scoring FW, like Sharpy.

  57. We’re not deep enough on defense, and that is a must if we are to be real contenders for the cup. We beat up our top four d-men by overplaying them to cover up for some short-sighted management blunders (and an unfortunate injury to TVR), and now we have no real choice but to play hard and hope for some puck luck, cause that’s the only way we win and advance. We may get by Nashville but not beyond that. And I’m still trying to figure out what SB was thinking when he brought over KT from Philly. Nothing against the old pro because he’s a class act, but the reality of KT’s situation this year – which we all know – would not have caused most (or any) general managers to drool over his services. But SB keeps saying that he was focused on him, he was the guy he wanted to get. What does that tell you about SB? Is he a sentimental fool? Did he really think that a 40 year old pro who had not played a minute all season because of life threatening blood clots would suddenly step in and be back to his old all-star self? Is he a gambler? I don’t get it. Someone smarter than me needs to explain that move.

  58. Tony, he was the one of the best on the market at the time and in hindsight maybe he doesn’t make it. First of all, timonen is a left handed dman. Rosival and rundblad are both right handed, so he gets a player to compliment the preferred right and left hand dman set up. Second, he is a defensively responsible veteran. Rundblad and Ericsson were both young and not defensively responsible. Q loves his veterans, so why not give the man something he will like because he didn’t like playing the other two choices. Three, there weren’t many good options available that were cap friendly and realistic. Sure yandle or sekeraj were better options, but it would have cost an arm and leg to get them with a high cap hit. What about Jeff petry? He is a righty and wasn’t great on a bad edmonton team. He isn’t the greatest defensively either. So we can criticize Bowman all we want because in hindsight his move didn’t pay off, but what is it worth. Handzus was a questionable pick up in 13 but he helped to win us the cup. Stan bowman is a good gm. We should stop basing our what the roster should be from nhl 15. Give the guy and coach a break

  59. Darling for game 3. Think q handled it right. Gave Corey game 2, left him in there too to eat it so there was no doubt who had to play game 3 and he will take it from there. Gotta play vermette too and dejardins if u ask me

  60. Terrible charging call on Versteeg to open the game.

    Hossa had a rough game

    Webers not playing in game 3 or 4

    Q can’t do anything about his third pairing. Who knows, Timonem might play a huge role in the locker room. I know Teuvo considers him his hockey dad. Also, veteran players chasing the cup offer different perspectives and experiences to the team. Mayers had a HUGE affect on the CHI-DET series from 2013 without lacing them up.

    Drop Teuvo, Nordstrom. Add Vermette, Desjardins

    10-19-81 (Sharps feeling it)
    23-91-88 (not as bad as others stated)
    29-80-20 (Saad can take charge on the line. Vermette in between where he belongs)
    11-16-65 (Shaw on wing/gets minutes on PP. Kane double shift occasionally for Desi)

  61. Nick, I get all that, and it makes sense, but not entirely. Your second point, I think, would be better stated if you said he “was” a defensively responsible veteran, because at the time, in the state he was in after his recovery, there was absolutely no guarantee that he would be able to return effectively. Why would you give up draft choices for a guy you hoped could help you? A guy who had a huge question mark regarding whether or not he could play again? I think SB and Q were dreaming of what could be instead of the reality. So, if there weren’t many good options and none that worked for a cap-strapped team like us, I guess taking a risk like this seemed like a reasonably good idea. But like all business decisions that GMs make, there is always a downside to consider. I guess, my thought is, did they think about what would happen and where the team would be if it didn’t work out, and one of the most important roster spots on a team with championship aspirations would remain “empty” at a time when they couldn’t afford for that to happen? We have a huge hole, with seemingly no help on the horizon. And SB is responsible for that.

  62. Here’s what I think: reunite TT- Desi- Kruger 4th line

    1st line hossa saad toews

    2nd line kane sharp Richards

    3rd line Vermette bickell shaw

    Alas, I thnk Q will still put steeger out there. Those compromising pictures of Q that 23 has must really be nasty.

  63. Frolik-Q can do something about his 3rd pairing, he can change it. Obviously 32 and 44 are not working out no matter who you put them with? Try 5 or Cumiskey or Paliotta. Anything is better than 32 at this point. Drop 86 ? Seems to me there were several other guys who had a much poorer game than 86.

  64. Lots of good comments on this thread…must have been a bunch that went to moderation as they popped up later so I started at the top again. Personally relieved about Darling starting tomorrow. Thought Q would have to go with CC but this is the smart decision. Like those lines Demo. TT has been effective in that spot but the luv for him is a bit overrated. He is not setting anything on fire ala Gaudreau, Monahan or Forsberg. Still think we put it into gear and get it together, team will feel confident with Darling in net. Kane and Sharp will be huge.

  65. …and in other news…the friggin Edmonton Oilers win the Draft Lottery. No…no no no no no…redraw please. Well, wait…management does not know what they are doing in Edmonton so it might work out just fine..McDavid goes into a black hole from which he never emerges along with Hall, Eberle, Nugent -Hopkins and Yakupov. Yah ok…thats works out good for us. Was worried there for a minute.

  66. Ordered by areas of concern, here is my analysis of the series to date.

    Defense: 32 is a disaster and is getting targeted by Nashville, if they are smart they will continue to target him. 44 is not playing like he is capable, but not anywhere near the play of 32. 27 is just okay, he may be struggling a bit under the pressure of playoff hockey, because he was very good coming back from injury. 2, 4, and 7 are our work horses, but will they be able to play at their customary high level through the multiple playoff series that are necessary to with the Cup? This is my main concern and will be the biggest reason that we don’t win the Cup. Q will have to get creative, and definitely sit 32 in favor of 5 or 26.

    Goalie Position: so Darling starts in net today, that is the right decision, and as long as he plays at a high level, he keeps the net. Having said that, this is definitely not the same as the Niemi over Huet scenario, and there is no need to elaborate, anyone who has followed or played team sports should understand. So it is not easy for Q to make this decision but as I said, continued high level performance from Darling will take care of all the decision making related to the goalie positon. One other note here is if Darling plays well in the playoffs, then I think CC will be at least shopped in the offseason, I am not getting on the Wall bandwagon by any stretch but hockey is a business and to remain as an elite club the Hawks will have to make some tough decisions.

    Forwards: Lastly, please banish 23 to the nether regions of any hockey building that the Hawks will be playing in. He has been gawd awful and not capable of helping this hockey team, Vermette or Desjardins will be great improvements. TT stays, the kid needs the experience and has produced, e.g. beautiful set up to Hammer in game 1 and no glaring mistakes so he has earned it.

    I believe the Hawks win this series with solid goaltending from SD and the veteran leadership that has the needed resolve to get the job done, but the grind of playoff hockey will wear down the defense corps, if changes are not made and eliminate any chance of returning the Cup to Chicago.

  67. Ready to drive down to the UC to watch a very important game 3. Hawks have looked good in spurts but not consistent as far as pressuring Rinne. I think that changes today. Preds seem to be a veryt good 1st period team and I think stats would back that up. That said they tend to fall back in the 2nd. Hawks really need a strong start and to get a lead on these guys. I have noticed Preds forecheck guys are really coming in and staying late on finishing checks which is purposeful borderline interference.

    The CC issues in games 1-2 have been beaten into the ground but having watched closely at the game Friday in Nashville Corey seemd a bit deep in the net and was just daring these guys to go high, and high they went with almost all of their goals in game 2. Water under the bridge now. If Hawks bring a solid 60 minutes they will beat these guys today. They have to play a dedicated two way game. Apart from the meltdown that came once the game went 4-2 the other night Hawks were right there despite the fact we have not seen the best from our team yet.

    Preds game Friday was fun. It was crazy loud in there. Sort of a college type atmosphere in my mind. Preds have all these silly gimmicks going on in and outside arena. I got on well with folks I was sitting around. Preds fans are in the wannabe stage, but those guys can get ear splitting loud. After the game one would have thought they won the Cup. Hawks are big league franchise and Preds want some of that. I’m still beat to hell, but feeling better today having driven down to Nashville Friday and back yesterday. Thats almost 500 miles a day. Glad I did it though even though I paid the price in fatigue.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *