Scott Darling, Blackhawks Blank Blue Shirts

Against the top team in the league at Madison Square Garden, Scott Darling collected his first career shut out in spectacular fashion as Brad Richards scored the game’s only goal.

Brad Richards NYR

Richards patiently waited with the puck and beat Cam Talbot for his 11th goal of the season at 7:31 into the third period, a tally that would hold-up as the game-winner. Richards was honored by the Rangers early in the game after helping lead New York to the Stanley Cup Final last season, and came back to bite the team that bought him out soon after their loss to the Kings.

Talbot was fantastic in the game, stopping 30 of 31 in the loss, including 17 shots in the third period after the Hawks put only 14 on net in the game’s first 40 minutes.

But the story was Darling.

Darling made 25 saves, many in traffic – especially in the third period – and a handful when his team needed him most.

The Hawks blocked 12 shots in front of Darling, but a few careless passes (like the one by Brent Seabrook above) put Darling in a tough spot. But the rookie was up to the challenge. Brandon Saad led Chicago with three blocked shots in the game.

Richards played an inspired game against his former teammates, putting a team-high six shots on net in the game while winning six of eight faceoffs.

Chicago’s top line played another strong game but failed to register a point. Patrick Sharp had a couple good looks at the net late but, as has been the case all season, failed to finish. He was credited with three hits and five shots on net in 18:37, while Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa were only credited with one shot on net each a night after they combined to score all four of the Hawks goals.

Joakim Nordstrom returned from his two-game suspension and replaced Kris Versteeg in the lineup. Nordstrom skated 12:11 in the game, including 1:59 on the penalty kill where he stepped back into the role he assumed next to Marcus Kruger when Ben Smith was dealt at the deadline. The Hawks successfully killed both of the Rangers power plays on Wednesday evening.

Kimmo Timonen skated only 7:30 in the game as he continues to get his legs back. David Rundblad dressed in place of Michal Rozsival and blocked two shots in 14:15.

Bryan Bickell was on the ice for only 10:20 in the game, the lowest ice time total among Chicago forwards. He was credited with two hits and one shot on net in 16 shifts.

79 thoughts on “Scott Darling, Blackhawks Blank Blue Shirts

  1. Great B2B road win against a quality team. The Hawks team defense and goaltending has been stellar over the past 10 games and it’s not a surprise they have won most of the games. The Hawks will go as far as their team defense and goaltending will take them and right now that looks pretty good. Lots of games remaining but I like the way they are raising their game. The arrow is pointing up right now.

  2. Crow was spectacular… He baled out the team again… Another goalie win!!!
    blah-blah-blah!!!

    It’s a good thing SB didn’t have another $5M to spend on Kesler last Summer or Yandle this year!!! the Hawks might even be better!!!

    Could you imagine how much better the Rangers could be banking $8M and paying better players to skate in front of Cam Talford (don’t remember his name- – But 8 straight games allowing 1 goal or less… alas… it’s not the team in front of him… Tab Calbert is that good!!!)

  3. tremendous hockey game. hawks defense was very very good. short passes out of the zone and out of trouble spots were noticeable. rundblad played perhaps his best game. he kept up with the pace, took the body and made some good passes and pinches. the coaches clearly noticed as he played a regular shift in the 2nd and 3rd periods while timonen saw spot duty. still waiting for vermette to do something that indicates he was worth a 1st rounder. i guess that might come with time, but so far (other than the shootout goal ) not a difference maker, in fact very average.

  4. Couldn’t be happier about the points, but I don’t think it’s fair not to mention the Rangers obvious goal in the first that was negated by an early whistle. This remains my only problem with nhl rules. Had that been or goal, we would have been quite upset…unless I missed something there.

  5. Even though we only scored one goal, we shutout the NYR in all 6 periods we played them. (theres no 4on4 and shootout in playoffs so they do not count in my books)

    Gutsy win on road 2games in 2days/3in5days and they had extra rest.

    BOS is the type of team that beats them in the first rd. They have a top5 goalie and a defense oriented system. Do not score that many goals but wont have to against NYR. Just depends on who are the 1or2 seed and the 4or5 seeds.

    And for the love of God, can people stop trying to put doubt in peoples minds, when were in our annual slump. When we play, we play. We know how good we are when we are focused and play with purpose.

  6. Wall,

    Has the thought ever crossed your mind that the Hawks are blessed to have two very talented goalies right now? Your theory is to spend less in net on a more average goalie. It’s flawed, because Crow & Darling are anythjng but average. The Hawks aren’t over-paying Crawford. In fact, he’s been a major reason for the hot streak as of late. In all honesty, a goalie is only as good as the team in front of them.

  7. Well whaddya know a disallowed goal goes our way…first time in a bajillion years vs numerous times we got the shaft. Great game for me, watched from a local bar with a small group of Blackhawks fans wearing our colors, jackets and hats…made our presence known thats for sure. way to go Mr. Richards!…Scott Darling was and is a monster both fiquratively and literally. Ebony right on …”arrow pointing up”and Morrison says “gutsy win on the road” …wall gets game misconduct for dissing Crawford …Kesler instead of Corey? I’ll buy you a beer and you can sit with us but we have some ‘splainin to do and get you right again man.

  8. Wall for a stats guy you certainly choose your times to fogert them.

    25 shot shutout versus 35 plus saves the past number of games for crow. His numbers are fucking insane during this run. Just pull your head out of your ass for once and admit you’re wrong. You honestly look like such a tit.

    Back to the actually game. The Hawks power play has been retooled and looks waaaaayyy better. I thought 29 had a good game. And the 10, 19, 81 line looks deadly again. Great defensive effort by our boys, a disallowed goal and a timely goalpost made this a great victory. Darling played well, but Crawford still remains on another level as of late.

  9. Fun game to watch, congrats to the rookie on his shutout*! I didn’t notice too much slop in the D men in the defensive zone (above video notwithstanding), but man, it was impossible to get any offensive momentum in the first two periods with all the unforced errors by Dmen holding, rather failing to hold, the point. Rundblad was guilty of that like almost every D suited up for the Hawks tonight, but overall, he seem to have a very nice, active game. Richards too, on both sides of the puck, as tight as the Rangers D had been prior, it seemed like he held the puck for a minute and a half before his shot went in. 19? 10? Yikes. Talk about missed opportunities, Toews could not buy a clutch face-off win. Can’t really fault anybody’s effort though tonight, tough to complain too much about two BIG points on the road against the Presidents cup front runners. What a huge performance by the rookie on 50’s well deserved night off, and we’re not far off from a home playoff series or two.

    *referee assisted ;)

  10. Obvious shoutout to Darling for a heck of a game. But i also really liked what i saw from Runblad last night. he seemed to be making good decisions everytime i noticed him. Also TT seemed to play that 2nd line role very well. definitely trending upward.

    Wall, you are right that you can find talented goalies for moderate prices, and then let someone else pay them. But the unfortunate thing is that when you let your goalie walk to get paid, you need the next guy up. No one expected Darling to be “this” good. Carruth hasnt quite gotten there. When they paid Crow, they didnt have that “next guy” to pair with Raanta and i dont think anyone would suggest Raanta and Leighton would be a top pairing, even with another good defender in front of them. Yes, i would feel ok with Darling and Raanta with what they have shown… so if there was a taker for crow at the draft so be it. But then you also have to think it is a PR move too… you have a kid you is in your pipeline his whole development… you move your goalie infront of him to give him his shot… he wins you a cup… and then you dont pay him??? that just looks bad. The next guy wont want to sign with you if you arent going to pay him when he proves himself.

    Crow spent 5 years in the A waiting for his shot. Then he makes the all rookie team, and then goes on to win a jennings with a cup. The team SHOULD reward that. My only gripe with the contract was the length. I would have given him 4 years all day… the 6 year term is what makes that contract a bear.

  11. Tim G – Rundblad twice got caught pinching in when not much was there. Once he was saved by a forward (Hossa I think) and the other was a bad breakout by the Rangers. He was the only defenseman that seemed shaky to me last night.

    Back to the game. Solid win on a back to back against a quality team. I like that the team is playing a playoff style at this point of the season. Top line was fantastic again. They played a great third period. Nice win.

  12. That was a great game and I think all the Hawks played well. Rundblad had a great game and so did Darling. Timmo didn’t get a whole lot of ice time. just my thoughts…The Rangers are a good team but the Hawks are better. Rangers get a late PP to try and tie and can’t. Sharp had a breakaway and another point blank chance in front of the net from a Hossa pass ( which could have been two goals). Moore dove on that penalty on Deshardins . The funniest thing was Boyle hitting the crossbar late in the game because even with Darling down he is so big that Boyle had no choice but to shoot high and hit the bar. Let’s keep it going and overtake the Preds Go Hawks!!!

  13. Good game and as it’s said “one goal games” are what is gonna go down in the playoffs no matter who you “guess” hawks will play. Hawsk have no advantage over any of them, You just can’t help but “wish / wonder” about Cam Talbot as Hawks net minder, he would dramatically improve this team. Crawford is very good but Talbot is just toooo good to not go after if possibel, so if any Crow rumors come up Talbot is the guy, he can win games for you all by himself, unflappable and floppable! Talbot is the type you CAN build a team around. Darling was okay last night, as back up no complaints, HAWKS play the BEST TEAM DEFENSE in the NHL. That is also why at times they don’t Score a lot, they are defense first and if ya don’t back check ya wind up in the hotel room watching Happy days reruns. So we cant really complain about scoring, they’re not built that way BUT that is why these LINES need to be figured out. Vermette, Saad and Versteeg need to be on a line. Kruger and Nordstrom and Shaw play well together and forecheck with reckless abandon but lack scoring threat but that is not their job. I’d put Tevo between Bick and Desjardins, Tevo would get his back protected and could easily set up this two bug guys, as they pound the corners lots of lose pucks for Tevo to take to the net sort of like Richards did last night. Hammer had a great game, Plus as we see, any player who get a rest in this gruling NHL game like OH-do-YA looks like a allstar when they come back rested, he’s also playing very very well and really pushing it on the offense. Hammer made some skill plays like a hall of famers and even Seabrook who the ranger played to pass and give it up, skated up with the puck like a Jerry Corab. ALL teams play Hawks d-men to pass, last night was a first night they did not as a unit, and it confused the Rangers. Hawk d-men are that very talented sticks, and passing and skate well, so when ya bash them remember they play the entire ice, not just camping out on the d end. Very good game defensively , cant wait for playoffs! Crow will need to be OUTSTANDING he’s been very good so far.

  14. Rundblad played well, I feel he is a solid d-man and fits the Hawks System. He will get better because what he does not do it all the time “Teachable” it is just his body position. I think he is going to be very good and is already to me, the best offesive threat we have on d. Very accurate shot, good passer and shots on NET not into traffics, just has a superior iq for offense. When you ask and demand d-men to bring the puck or even make the entry pass or enter the offensive zone they will get TRAPPED or PINCHED. It is a gamble but Hawks team defense is why that is a good chance to take, they need goals. Also if your playing D behind the number one you have to move up. But all 4 lines back check and COVER better than anyone team i have ever seen, ever. But that means defense first and often means offensive players who don’t, well don’t fit, CATCH-22 read the book?

  15. Glad to see and read some Runblad Support Here! He like 24 and will get even better playing next to these type of players. I was born and raised in Chicago, season tix but moved to MAINE 2o years ago for the ocean, fishing and environment, short story short I watched this kid play in Portland with the Pirates in the AHL he was good, and will be better. I hate BRUINS but go to a game once in awhile to keep my eye’s sharp, to mcuh hockey on tv, I only watch the kid Torey Krug play, he’s small but reminds of what Runblad will be with patience.I have sen Krug develop it takes time, but the skill set is there. He just needs to get ICE TIME!

  16. Mox17- your comments are appreciated-

    D-bird- “all stats aside” what stats are you speaking of… I think I made my point completely… Talbot- STATS are incredible- 1 goal or less in 8 straight– BUT – they make my point completely (like my Crow/contract)… Is Talbot better than “King” or are the New additions to the NYR- making them (goalies) look that Great??? If I have to answer that for you… You are the TIT!!!!

    And while I didn’t know Darling would be this good/adequate… My Point is – you keep shuffling guys in there until you “find the Guy”… Hoffman in Ottawa??? Talbot???
    Dubnik- has been less than average- most of his career… Now he is playing for Wild- a very good team- playing for something… and he is all-world… THAT is the point!!!
    And for $5M more- your Team in front of Goal would look even better!!!

  17. imtgrill- The homer in me says that Darling had the puck and was hacked to squirt it free. Good call on the whistle. In fact, Nash and others were banging on the big guys glove all nite (would not have been tolerated in the old days.)

    Craig N- Funny, but I was thinking the exact opposite about our TDL acquisition related to 80. What encourages me about this teams potential for the playoffs is that they are so much stronger up the middle than last year. With Richards and Vermette, we now have multiple, viable options to match up against the opposing teams top 2 lines. It’s no longer 19 and pray (which burns Toews.) 19, 80, 91, 16 is a strong stable (and throw in alternate options such as 10, 86 and 11). Bottom line, #80 may not be particularly noticeable for his O prowess as a Hawks (to date), but his 200′ game is excellent and that gives Q the ability to chess match with any team in the league.

  18. Tab—-do you think we will see TVR back in the Indian head this season? He’d ne a great exchange for Runblad as our 6th dman

  19. The Hawks played a great game last night. They were also fortunate in some respects like the goal that was waved off. Nice to see a call go their way in that respect. Their defense for basically all of the season has not been that good. Guess it shows that they can “turn it on” whenever they want.

    Savvy finish by Richards.

    Rundblad terrifies me in his own zone and trying to pinch, woof.

    Otherwise, very entertaining game to watch.

  20. Should also point out I thought 86 had a good game last nite. His ability on the PP to find open men (like he did 81 for a 1-timer), makes him a great weapon. He seems noticeably stronger on his feet and must be getting work on this in practice (although he avoids the boards like the plague.) That said, the Rangers are not a team that plays a Ducks, Kings, Blues or Preds type style, so waiting to see how he hangs in those types of games as a playoffs indicator…

  21. Out of the post lockout Cup winners (they’re 9 of them) three have won with cheap goaltending.

    Carolina in 05-06, Detroit in 07-08 and the Hawks in 09-10 (though the Hawks had 5mildo sitting on the bench in Huet). 4 if you count Pitt but that was a ridiculous combined effort from Malkin and Crosby and MAF still gets his monies.

    Every other team had a goalie who was paid well or got paid shortly after winning.

    Minnesota was on a slide until Dubnyk came along sooo system can’t save everyone and if someone fits into your system then you kind of have to pay them because like it or not goalies are a scarce resource. Dubnyk is also 28 and looking at his last chance for a decent contract term and money wise.

    Crawford and Quick aren’t the best ever but there is something to be said for consistency and reliability in that position, which for the most part, those guys offer.

    Edmonton, Ottawa and Philly got to the Cup and didn’t win. Also count Detroit and Pitt again with their eh goalies.

    Guess its pretty much 50 – 50 but the last 3 winners have all had well paid guys in the net.

    I don’t think you can conclusively say one way is better than the other.

  22. While I respect your hockey insights Wall, it would appear you are playing some sort of fantasy NHL game with goalies. You have become obsessed with move Crawford and get the money. I believe one can never assume players will remain healthy first of all. Having 2 quality keepers is very difficult to sustain withing the cap. The Hawks have succeeded in doing this. Secondly, if a player plays up to or exceeds an organizations expectation, he should be fairly compensated based on what the industry is willing to pay a person of that caliber. CC was paid fairly for services rendered. His contract is not a burden on this team considering the quality of play he continues to bring. Those that have watched countless hours of hockey are aware that goalies can get hot and a team can ride that keeper for quite awhile, especially in playoffs. You have mentioned 2 good examples of this going on currently with Rangers and Wild. Talbot and Dubnyk outstanding play has been a huge bonus to their respective teams. Wild has had goalie problems for past for few years, and Rangers have King Henry. Rangers won’t move the King to save money while Wild got a good deal with inconsistent Dubnyk. Talbot isn’t Rangers guy anymore than Darling(whose play I really like) is the Hawks go to guy. Could they be? Given whom they play behind I don’t think so when a long season and playoff grind is considered.

    Will the Hawks move CC to open cap space? Maybe, but CC is a known entity. I understand, and to a degree agree with your premise that a quality team that plays a strong 2 way game with an ave goalie can compete. Adding a strong keeper to your formula just makes the team better.

    Hawks have a good team right now, that could use another pair of D men and some beef up front. The Kevin Hayes question burned with me somewhat last night. I would love to know why that guy would not sign with the Hawks. I place that sore around Bowmans neck. The money had to be pretty close. I guess ultimately Hayes thought another team would get him more NHL ice time out of the gate. He would have looked good in a Hawks uniform and Bicks would get the gate. By the way I am referring to Bickell as “the Ghost” until his play says otherwise. WTF is wrong with this guy? Oh yes, I forget. He saves it all for playoffs. Think there is some pressure on this guy to produce as we inch toward the real season?? He just looks lost out there.

    Sorry to ramble, but Wall you should stop pounding this move Crawford save cap space notion. Not going to happen my friend anytime soon IMO. Meanwhile, its fun to debate.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  23. Figured this was going to be a tight game and nice to see the Hawks pull it out. I was surprised to see Shaw out there, thinking he’d get benched for being stupid, but instead it was Versteeg being benched for being bad.

    The team rounding into form like most of us hoped without the doom predicted by others. Savvy, veteran group knowing that the key is to be rounding into form in March and April. Much better to be in this position than the Preds.

    The Central playoff “round” looks like it’s going to be a brutal grind no matter where the teams finish. Blues, Preds, Wild, even Peg all look tough. The Hawks are within striking distance of taking the division and home ice could make all the difference in those first two rounds. We have several should-win games coming up (Canes, Flyers, Jackets) hope we continue to pile up points and close the gap before the 2 games vs. the Blues the last week of the season.

  24. wall – thanks for bringing up the Minnesota Wild when talking about your “any goalie can win w/ a good team” theory. Because the Wild were out of the playoff picture and had guys playing like garbage to the point that their head coach had an uncharacteristic tirade during a practice… with goaltenders who, previously, were “good enough.” They trade for a guy who had struggled other places and find magic in a bottle.

    There’s something to be said for the RIGHT GUY as much as the team making the goalie/goalie making the team schools of thought.

  25. By the way, last nights game was top shelf enthralling stuff. These two teams have played two coin flip contests recently. Chippy stuff not there, just good up and down hockey. Hawks finally got a goal/no goal decision there way. How many in recent years have gone against us? Pity a game like last night is influenced by the refs.

    Hawks put in 60 solid. Coming on a rough overnight back to back this was even more impressive.

    Scott Darling was the Amazing Sasquatch last night. Love how he fills the net and can extend when down. I’m really happy for this guy to have finally “made it” after such a long journey. Darling also is slick with his puck movement as well, and just inhaled shots leaving few rebounds. He was the player of the game.

    As good as Talbot was late night in my eyes he leaves glove side high open. Only Richards went there, although Tazer tried early and hit the glove instead. Sharpy should have buried 2. The guy is just bit.

    I like where the Hawks are at. When they play that strong 2 way game they are top tier NHL and tough to beat.

    Pity LA lost last night…… I’m buying at Swig if those guys don’t make playoffs BTW.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  26. Regarding the NYR goal that was waived off – so what, it happens to every team and it has happened to the Hawks a few times in recent memory. But rather than racking it up as the Hawks catching a break – let’s review what actually happened. The puck came into the crease and after it bounced around for a second Darling put his glove over the puck. For that split second the puck was covered. But then the Ranger player poked Darling’s glove with his stick and the puck popped loose. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think a player gets to hit the goalie’s glove when he has it covering the puck. I know it happens often but that’s why the refs are to blow the whistle – to prevent the goalie from being beaten with sticks. So this whole notion of catching a break fails if in fact the puck was covered, even only momentarily, and it was.

  27. True and well said ER. I saw it that was as well. Troy Murray also spoke of this post game on WGN. Knowing that it could have been allowed to continue as well….and goal counted.

  28. Here’s the deal, Wall. You are looking to catch magic in a bottle, and if you don’t catch that magic, your season is over. The goalie investment is there so you don’t have to worry about catching that magic.

    Let’s say Dubnyk didn’t start playing the best hockey of his life? Mike Yeo probably gets fired (not his fault since their losses were basically pinned on the goalies sucking), and they probably still go out and either try to trade for a goalie, or spend big money acquiring a FA. However, they caught that magic. Guy may poop the bed come playoff time, and then they will spend big money on a goalie anyway.

    The Islanders have been an up and coming team for years. The biggest problem? Evgeni Nabokov being below league average. They spend a decent amount to get Halak, and while they were healthy they were the best team in the East because they finally had league average goaltending.

    So yeah, I get your point that the team in front of the goalie probably matters more than the actual goalie. But how much are you willing to risk to go with an “unproven”?

  29. Let me see if I can figure out the logic: Crawford is nothing special, he only looks good because of the team defense played in front of him … whereas the team playing in front of Talbot doesn’t merit a mention when espousing his superior goaltending.

    Meanwhile, the Hawks look to have finally gotten back on the right track by playing sound defensive hockey and the discussion turns to the necessity of getting rid of the player who has been the teams best player over this recent stretch.

    There is a dynamic to the team game of hockey that can’t be fully known and appreciated by those outside the team. It appears to me from the outside that Crawford is a large part of the fabric of the team. How well the players fit together on and off the ice is a part of that dynamic. The salary cap hit of individual player shouldn’t be looked at in isolation – there’s more to it than that.

  30. Wall, “It’s a good thing SB didn’t have another $5M to spend on Kesler last Summer…” – INDEED!!, because the cost would have included Taravainen.

  31. Mike the Mook, “can’t help but “wish / wonder” about Cam Talbot” – No. I believe the Hawks are pretty well set in goal, AND we’re assessing Talbot based on a 51 HNL game sample, playing on a very good defensive (shot-blocking, transition from their zone) team, which is in first place at the moment.

    “Vermette, Saad and Versteeg need to be on a line” – No. Teravainen has played well with Saad and Vermette. Versteeg hasn’t played very well since his hand injury. If he finds his game, he can possibly strengthen the third line.

    “HAWKS play the BEST TEAM DEFENSE in the NHL.” – completely agree, when they feel like showing-up to play.

  32. Mike the Mook, “Rundblad played well, I feel he is a solid d-man and fits the Hawks System.” – completely agree. It’s possibly that part of the reason he makes the occasional mistake is the sporadic opportunities to play – I believe he should rotate with Rozsival, who seems more effective when not worn down.

  33. So based on wall’s theory, the Hawks are now 7-1-1 with out Kane, so the Hawks can be successful with TT in his spot, trade him and save the $10.5m!!!

    Let’s go back to the summer of 2013. The Hawks have Crawford with 1 year left, Emory with an expiring contract, they had just signed a hot young (unproven) Raanta, and Scott Darling was fresh off his first full season in the ECHL (where he wasn’t even the full-time starter!). One could say they didn’t need to extend Crawford, but his performance since the Cup win would have only solidify his stance and there would be no way to get him cheaper than he is currently getting.

    So, does a Cup contender with a potentially closing window (with Kane, Toews, and Saad all due significant increases) go into the 14-15 season with Raanta (who had been a backup for one whole year) and Darling (who they picked up off the scrap heap)?! Let’s be realistic here.

    CC is the definition of consistency, which is extremely valuable to a team like Chicago. They pay him to be a top 10 goaltender, and he performs like a top 10 goaltender (especially in the playoffs). They have to find the market inefficiencies in their backup (see Darling, Scott) and bottom 6 (TT, Danault, Hartman, McNeill, Ross, Schmaltz, Nordstrom, Pokka, Johns, TvR, Rundblad). That is why Smith had to go and we may see Shaw, Bickell, and Kruger all gone after this year.

  34. My biggest takeaway from the games against the Rangers is that arguably the fastest team in the NHL didn’t really have many plays where they looked to overwhelm the Hawks with speed. Considering where the defense has been this year, that is very encouraging.

  35. I for one, think Q did this exactly right. Keeping the under performing Versteeg in against NYI because of NYI’s speed and fast break game. Letting Shaw play after taking a really stupid penalty was also right. Shaw did exactly what he was asked to do against NYI. That is stand in front of the net and take the beating. His instinct got the better of him but Q showed how much he appreciated his play from Tuesday night.

    I also think this was a deserved win for the Hawks. Yes a NYR goal was disallowed and there was a huge post hit that beat Darling…..But, the Hawks had 3 one on the goalie chances (Richards burried his) so NYR was lucky those didn’t go in as well. End of the day most things evened out and we came away with 2 HUGE points

  36. The only thing that matters regarding goalies is whether the team has full confidence in them in the playoffs. Although Quick has struggled a bit this year he clearly has the full confidence of the team as does Crow and Rinne. I have my doubts about Elliot and whoever the Ducks decide on. Saving money on someone that has not proved themselves in the playoffs is a huge risk IMO.

    Any thoughts on how long it will take Kimmo to find his legs? I must say I am a bit surprised to see him playing less than 10 minutes a night.

  37. Negzz – completely agree re: Vermette. The defensive structure is so much better with 80 on the 2nd line and Shaw back to the wing. We may be scoring less but I like our game much more.

  38. Catching the Preds or the Blues is important. I would LOVE to see the Hawks get home ice in the first round.

  39. It’s simple. The Hawks don’t win a Cup in 2013 without Crawford. The Hawks also don’t get to rhe Western Conference Finals in 2014 without Crawford. And the 2014-15 Hawks start the first third of the season in a deep hole without Crawford. To underestimate his supreme core importance to the Hawks is to be moronic.

  40. Negzz/ER, I see what your saying about the other team whacking the goalies glove/blocker numerous times and besides that when you think about. The refs judgment call of when they think the puck is covered (whether it is or not) is like their judgment call of is their enough contact with the goalie anywhere for it to be goaltender interference/not allow to play position type of judgment call. When you look at it that way, I agree and your right. That was the right whistle by refs. Teams shouldn’t be able to play hogwash style and poke/whack goalies glove/blocker to score. if its loose/not covered, ok but if it covered/or looks to be covered by judgment of ref then not ok and they then they did make the right call/whistle. Not being a homerism at all on this.

    Probably about 10-12 have gone against us over recent yrs and this would be about 4 for us.

  41. Mike, that’s right we had more grade A chances then they had but it always about them and the goal/s they should (puck covered by goalie, then poked out/crossbar) have had and not us. That is NY Capitol Hill Homerism with a capitol H.

  42. As much as I appreciated Ben Smith, I believe that last nights grouping of 11, 42, and 16 was the best version of the 4th line this year, if not the last couple. I especially like the aggression that 11 brings. I’d keep those guys together.

    And I’m fine with Versteeg, Rosival, and Carcillo remaining the healthy scratches.

  43. Just found out Matthew Wuest, capgeek founder has passed away. I had lunch with my mother today and his site came up. A quick google search to see if there had been updates. Get back from dinner and found out of his passing. He had been battling colon cancer.

    Mr Wuest, as someone that frequented your site. Thank you for all your tireless work. Capgeek was truly revolutionary. What you were able to accomplish out of your home office was simply remarkable.

  44. Oh Oh-Pirri 17th goal in 38 games-not bad for a throw away. Yes I’m probably moronic but Florida still plays in the NHL.

  45. Phil- I like to bring up the Crow/contract when others here – take jabs at me with “the crow is the 2nd coming”… which a few did after the Isle game…

    And the same clowns claim the Hawks are better with the Trade deadline guys….
    Yet- I have been making the same frickn argument (Crow’s $$$ for 1/2 better skaters- would make Hawks better… the logic- only seems to work – when they want)

  46. Actually the logic never works, because it’s entirely illogical. Strangely enough Rufus put it perfectly. And Tim G also made one of the best points to date. You can’t just have a revolving door of unproven goaltenders and expect them to come up big for you time after time without eventually paying them.

    So anyone who would like to entertain delusions that it’s feasible to have a 300 thousand goaltender every year and win and cup. That’s on you. I’m simply over engaging with fools who live in pipe dreams and what ifs. We aren’t GM’s, we’re armchair quarterbacks who need to realize the best we can do is speculate and comment on what actually happens. Not would could or should.

  47. Oh great, someone resurrecting the Brandon Pirri debate ! The same one dimensional Center who was a below grade skater and was incapable of playing two way hockey in the Q system of play. But hey, since he has 17 goals for the lowly Florida Panthers then Q should screwed up and his bias against young talent has come back to haunt ! Crikey.

  48. Rufus, while you’re at it, can you tell us more about how lousy a player you think TT is? How he shouldn’t even be here for the playoffs? Thanks.

  49. Just because its a slow day at work, i’ll bite…

    Pirri always had some skill, but it was bottom 6 skill. he is exactly what he has shown in FLA. a 20 goal 3rd liner who can give you some flashes, but will ultimatly be nothing special (think the Center version of Kris Versteeg). The problem was the Hawks didnt need more Kris versteeg’s… they needed a 2C and he wasnt that. so they dealt him for picks. While I hope Brandon finds success, i didnt see anything wrong with moving him. I think he could have been a decent 3C, but at the time Shaw had that locked down on our roster and there wasnt really any place for pirri to get in.

    but thats enough of that… lol

  50. 17 goals in 38 games is kind of good.

    Obviously, they can lose Sharp’s and Bickell’s salary and not drop off a cliff. Shaw has become a replacement level player as well and no reason someone on an entry level deal cant bring some energy and jam.

    The Hawks went from a barren wasteland in goal (when Crow got his money) to being “loaded” it seems. Detroit has a comparable problem with a younger guy who has been mostly lights out.

    If Crawford can be moved for quality value, they should probably listen, but priority wise – getting Sharp and Bickell out the door should be at the top of the list. Darling is also on the books for another two years. Getting him extended reasonably as a back up again next year and then moving Crawford if necessary to fit Seabs new deal may be the more prudent course of action.

  51. Also, Kris Versteeg has been the most productive Hawk this season in terms of points per 60 minutes. AKA he’s been freaking fantastic and those that are knocking him aren’t paying attention.

  52. That wasn’t to knock versteeg or pirri for that matter. My statement was only that they provide similar attributes to a roster. and after aquiring Versteeg in the Olsen/Hayes deal, moving Pirri for picks was logical at the time.

    Both have been good since the deal… and its good for both of them.

  53. Versteeg — “he’s been freaking fantastic”…really? How much of that “most productive Hawk this season in terms of points per 60 minutes” was accumulated during a relatively brief hot stretch early in the season while playing with Kane and Richards? Lately, pretty much since his hand injury, he has not been playing very well (“like shit”, is how he put it, I believe).

    Pirri — obviously he has skill…his last season in Rockford indicates, perhaps even enough to be a Top Six player on some NHL team, but not in Chicago. I agree with Tim G. In my opinion, Pirri does not skate well/fast enough to be the #2 center the Hawks want…besides any shortcomings playing defensively.

  54. Some grind an axe and some act the ass
    CC is number one to some and others think that’s really dumb
    some think TT is the next coming and others that he should be going
    some like to spew about Q while others prefer to pan Stan
    and the world goes round
    and the world goes round

  55. A. Pirri is a 4th line Center on a good playoff team. He cannot play defense and his skating is below grade. He fits a non playoff team model.

    B. Teuvo will dress or play minimally once the playoffs start.

    C. Crow is supremely important. A core player. A non replaceable player.

    D. Versteeg has always been what he has been. He needs a periodic wake up call and always going to be alternatively useful and a charter member of Q’s doghouse because of stupidity on ice. All in all, he’s been an asset. This season at least because he once again can skate.

    E. Nordstrom has been a godsend and is material upgrade over Ben Smith. Key role player next season.

    F. Desjardins will be invaluable in the playoffs.

  56. ER I agree with all of what you have said most recently and like your verse. RTF good points except that I think Teuvo will see plenty of ice time once the puck drops for playoffs. By the way Rufus ole buddy, I believe you owe us some cookies.

    Trend is up for the Hawks. Blues dropped a point last night. 2nd place in the division is doable. Blues games coming up should make for good theater, and of course back to back next weekend with Jets and Kings. Some good hockey on tap for sure! We are right in it!

    Hearing talk that Kaner is healing ahead of schedule, but no need to rush him back IMO. Get it right for the long haul of this upcoming playoff run.

    Lets Go Hawks!

    Lets Go Hawks!

  57. K A N E I S H E A L I N G A H E AD O F S C H E D U L E

    Just the thought of that, there mere idea, the slimmest of possibilities is giving me warm fuzzies :)

  58. Didn’t mention Pirri because I thought he should be with the Hawks (just wanted to get a few reactions)-sometimes things don’t work-he’ll be a 20+ goal scorer in the top 9-perhaps top 6 of the Panthers
    but I do believe trading TT would be a huge mistake-no comparison on the upside

  59. People crack me up. Brandon Pirri is on pace for 37 goals over 82 games on a bad goal scoring team. He’s cheaper than Richards, faster than Richards, and probably just as good/bad (however you want to look at it) as Richards at defense. Essentially, the Hawks developed a NHL level goal scorer and gave him away for another developmental player. Then, they went out and signed someone with about equal (maybe less) value for more money in Brad Richards. I’m not longing for Brandon Pirri, and I understand that StanBo was basically forced into this by his coach, but think of how ridiculous that is.

    Dickie Dunn – do you understand how P/60 works? Sure, he put a lot together in a short period of time, but it still means he has given you the best bang for your minute over the course of the year.

  60. Pirri has great hands and has proven he can score but can we stop extrapolating from a relatively small sample size that he is now a proven top NHL scorer. If you are going to question why the Hawks gave him away then you should also question why the Panthers scratched him for a good part of the year.

    Still would like to hear other comments re: Kimmo and whether he will be able to play a more meaningful role or whether a year off at his age may be too much to come back from.

  61. MS-
    I haven’t seen all the games lately but Kimmo still seems out of sorts and I would question how effective he will be. The pace will pick up and he probably won’t.
    Apparently he is a character guy so from that point of view he will be good in the room, otherwise bot sure?

  62. JS, do you consider *consistent* performance important? One might consider P/60 a relatively meaningless stat.

  63. Ugh, Timonen hasn’t played hockey in a year. Probably still a few weeks away from getting his legs under him.

    20-80-86 is going to be the 16-36-24 combination from days of yore. Should be a massive boost to Toews and Hossa in the post season and will allow Kane to slay scrubs when he comes back.

    I don’t think that Richards and Pirri are that comparable. Even though he isn’t as productive as he used to be or skate exceptionally well, Richards still has a very good sense of where to be on the ice and how to open up space for other players. He was able to QB the power play successfully until he came to whatever abomination the Hawks run. We could also have the intangible “he has won before” conversation which I hate. Pirri has an incredible shot which is neat. I don’t know how much they need a slow version of Sharp, but I guess at least he plays center. Pretty clear that Q was not a fan of either so there’s that.

    Anyway, Toews, Vermette, Richards, Kooga up the middle is a pretty great situation. Yay for natural centers.

  64. My glass is half full theory on Bickell: he’s listed at 6’3″ 223. That’s honestly a fairly slim build for an enforcer type player, on an NFL roster he’s a corner back or wide receiver. No I’m not going to compare him skill wise to future Hall of Famer Chris Pronger, but build wise, it’s somewhat similar although Bickel is a little bit stockier. When you’re that build, you take a lot of abuse (Pronger’s not doing too well these days). Watch an interview with Bickell… he gets beat the £~<# up. If he keeps up his playoff intensity throughout the year, he probably won't be around for the playoffs. I say, if the guy shows up in the playoffs again, we have to just stop complaining about his lack of regular-season performance and ice time. It's just the way it is. He, and Q, are saving it for the playoffs. I hope. I loved Keith Jones' comment last year, something like, who do you want to pay big money for? A regular-season performer, or a playoff performer? It's a no-brainer. I agree.

  65. Hahahahahaha

    *Consistency* is relative. Which is why you measure things like Goals Averaged Against, or Points Per 60, or Shots Against and For or Batting Average or Shooting Percentage or Fairway Percentage…

    Over a long season ups and downs even out and all players hit peaks and valleys. Being able to quantify their contribution in a relative sense shows how well people are utilizing their TOI on average which is important because most irrational people emphasize the outliers and their personal bias.

    What is notable about Versteegs production is that his even strength TOI is second highest of his career while his points per 60 at even strength are the highest. What can be extrapolated from that is that the player is more productive in his new role and with more ice time which is not the typical trend. Typically as ice time increases points per 60 decrease.

    He is getting more offensive zone starts than his last stint with the Hawks but he also isn’t with stat enigma Dave Bolland and everyone’s favorite grinder Aaron Rowand… I mean Andrew Ladd.

    Either way the player has outperformed his historical production at even strength by a significant margin which should not be discounted or overlooked.

    If you want to complain about a streaky scorer please see Sharp, Patrick. And he does little more than float around and rip shots. Or 4th liner Andrew Shaw at the same cap hit. Yikes.

  66. With all the talk about the value of Crow did anyone see the goal that Elliot gave up late in the 3rd period last night? The Blues gotta be very nervous that once again their goaltending is going to lead them to another crash and burn.

  67. hawks58… the “kane”/$10.5M”… it depends on what players you can replace him with… Ya don’t Bank the money… you spend it– but how ya spend it- that’s key!!!

  68. When you talk about putting Brandon Pirri in the lineup, the first question is who does he replace? He has to have the skill and potential to perform better than the player he will replace. When you come up to the NHL, you are basically auditioning to replace a particular player. The coaching staff may not have made that decision when the candidate comes up but he will have at least ten games or more before they settlet on which player he is in direct competition with. Since he is weak on defense but is a scoring machine maybe replace Kane. Kane doesn’t play a Kruger defense but is a defensive Monster compared to Pirri. Pirri has only played in half the games. Where does he fit? Where does Leddy fit? Keith carries the puck. Leddy played 5 minutes in some of the playoff games last year.

  69. A comment on Bickell. His father was interviewed on TV shortly after Bickell signed new contract. I for one got the impression that Bickell could have signed for much more money with other teams, but much more was also expected of him. He and the Hawks were agreeable that he continue current level of play with the Hawks for less money than offered by others. What you see is what you get.

  70. Theres a reason why 29, 65, 32 and even 36 all a sudden look better once the playoffs starts. Its their style of play and what their good that stands out more then the reg82games. I would put 80 in this category too (in terms of standing out more).

    No matter how much 29, 65, etc. look like/are having an off reg82games yr for them. I see them all tearing it up in the playoffs because that’s their style.

  71. Nick in San Diego, “an enforcer type player” – I don’t believe that is what is expected from Bickell. Not sleeping thru most of the regular season would be a good start. For comparison: Milan Lucic LW 6’3″ 235…although he has never matched Bickell’s two outstanding post season stats,he’s proved to be a much more “consistent” (JS, “Hahahahahaha”…JS are you out there) performer. Obviously, icetime, lime mates, and PP figure in to it, but…

    Bickell: 2011 78GP 17G 20A 37PT 6 40PM
    2012 71GP 9G 15A 24PT -3 48PM
    2013 48GP 9G 14A 23PT 12 25PM
    2014 59GP 11G 4A 15PT -6 28PM
    2015 69GP 12G 13A 25PT 2 34PM

    Lucic: 2011 79GP 30G 32A 62PT 28 121PM
    2012 81GP 26G 35A 61PT 7 135PM
    2013 46GP 7G 20A 27PT 8 75 PM
    2014 80GP 24G 35A 59PT 30 91PM
    2015 70GP 15G 25A 40PT 13 77PM

  72. AJ, “Hahahahahaha “. So glad we’re feeling good!

    “quantify their contribution” – degree in statistics? ” has outperformed his historical production at even strength by a significant margin which should not be discounted or overlooked” – absolutely, I agree. But, I’ve watched the games, so I know what Versteeg contributes without feeling any need for measured quantification. Would you concede that “significant margin” was largely due to that hot streak playing with Kane and Richards? Bottom line: Over a long season ups and downs DO NOT EXACTLY even out…that tends to happen moreso in the case of *consistent* players.

    By the way, “irrational” is a judgment call.

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