Washington Steals A Win At The UC

The visiting Washington Capitals, who has lost their previous five games, got all the offense they needed in the final five minutes of the second period and escaped the United Center with a 3-2 victory.



The Hawks dropped their third straight at home for the first time since 2012 in spite of dominating much of the action for the first 35 minutes of the game.

Brandon Saad scored his second of the season and first in eight games; he also led the team with five shots on net and was credited with one hit and one takeaway in 16:26. With Patrick Sharp out of the lineup, Saad was bumped up to a line with Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw and posted his highest ice time total in a non-overtime game since the last time he scored a goal (Oct. 21 against Philadelphia). The five shots were a season-high for the Hawks young forward.

In his 700th career regular season game, Duncan Keith gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead early in the second with a power play goal.

Unfortunately, Keith’s partner – Brent Seabrook – was victimized by a terrible pinch with five minutes remaining in the second period. Andre Burakovsky flipped a shot over a sliding Keith to beat Crawford and grab the momentum for Washington.

Marcus Johansson scored with 46 seconds left in the second period to tie the game, and Joel Ward gave the Caps the lead with four second left in the middle frame as the wheels totally fell off for the Hawks.

The third period saw the Hawks out-shoot the Caps 13-4, but they weren’t able to capitalize. Corey Crawford was pulled with around 90 second left in the game, and the Hawks put pressure on Braden Holtby but Washington’s netminder finished the game strong.

After allowing four goals in each of his last three starts, Holtby made 38 saves against 40 shots to preserve the lead his skaters gave him in the closing moments of the second.

Crawford stopped 21 of 24 in the loss. Friday night was only the second time in eight starts this season that Crawford has allowed more than two goals in a game; he had allowed four goals in three games since returning from injury.

Washington, who came in with the second-ranked power play in the league, had only 67 seconds with an advantage in the game. Troy Brouwer cut their only power play short when he was called for interference. The Blackhawks converted one of their three power play opportunities.

Two-thirds of the Blackhawks fourth line of Jeremy Morin, Brad Richards and Peter Regin skated only two shifts in the third period. Regin (8:08) and Morin (8:25) were the only Blackhawks skaters under 10 minutes in the game. In his 11 shifts, Regin was credited with one shot on net, two hits and two takeaways. Morin was credited with three shots on net in his 11 shifts.

Richards skated 12:52, including 2:32 on the power play, and won eight of 10 faceoffs. He was on the ice for two shifts without Morin and Regin late in the game, and finished the game with the best CORSI (plus-18) and Fenwick (plus-12) on the team.

David Rundblad skated 14:51 and looked more comfortable in his third straight start. Rundblad was credited with four shots on net, one blocked shot and one hit. His partner, Trevor vanRiemsdyk, skated 12:49 in the game.

CHI WSH Shots.11.7.14

56 thoughts on “Washington Steals A Win At The UC

  1. Is this year Ground Hog Day-please someone smash the alarm clock! Barely above .500 with a favorable schedule.
    To the earlier debate-Q is a good NHL coach-stubborn and old school to a fault but it appears his players like him and respect him. To say he cost them a Cup creates a convenient scapegoat and is pretty insulting to the Kings.

  2. This isn’t the same Hawks team that dominated the league in 2013. This isnt the same club that made it to the western finals last season on guts and will power. This is a middle of the road squad that will over power some teams and lose to others. 14 games in and this team looks completely average. This team is barely a playoff contender right now. After this season the roster will be over hauled because of the cap and contracts and Stan will get another chance and building another contender. This team is not a cup contender this season!

  3. Something is really missing on this team. They just don’t have that hunger. A reporter asked Keith if it’s tough to get up for games in November and he said it shouldn’t be this is our job. Keith then went on to say when it was 2 – o, they seemed to think everything was going fine then bam they were down a goal and playing catch up.

    With all the money that is paid to Toews, Kane, Keith, hossa, sharp, bickell, Seabrook, hjalmarsson, oduya, shaw, versteeg(my fingers are hurting from typing all their names so I will stop), to be 7-6-1 after 14 games is really embarrassing.

    For some reason, the huge success the franchise has had since 2009 maybe has diminished their hunger. They don’t seem to “hate to lose”. Watching this team ply there just seems to be a real cruise control feel to a lot of these games and once they try to hit the switch and turn it on its just not enough at this level.

    Bottom line is 9 th or 10 th place in the conference at any point in the season, with this roster, should make the powers that be disgusted.

  4. Fuck the kings they have had this kind of reg season rec everyyear since they have been good. What’s there best reg season 5th seed.

    We played down opp level in 2010 all the time.

    Watch us go 8-2 against non-favorable sch. at some pt in dec/jan.

  5. Craig, in my opinion, YES!! (Agree.) on: “Something is really missing on this team”, “just don’t have that hunger”, “after 14 games is really embarrassing”, “a real cruise control feel to a lot of these games”, and “with this roster, should make the powers that be disgusted”. I don’t have an answer or solution. I believe that “With all the money that is paid to…” SHOULD be a given, and I would hope that personal pride would be a LARGE motivator to any “professional” (especially an athlete…or, entertainer – anyone who performs “in the spotlight”).

    I’m not ready to write-off the season (…and play for the draft pick – insanity), or even feel the need for a shift to “Panic Mode” or a major shake-up, at this point. Coach Q has earned respect — I hope he come up with something to right the ship. There are a few good things – lately the play of Richards, Versteeg, and Rundblad has improved noticeably, and Crawford has been *at least* “Elite”.

    Back at it Sunday… GO HAWKS!!

  6. I’ve seen this episode before where the Hawks basically control the play until one of their players decides to play for the other side for a while. Against the Leafs it was #27 and last night it was #7. The pinch was brutal and then he had a nice little tip-in goal to tie it up for the Caps. Hey, at least he didn’t shoot it into his own net like he did in Soldier Field.

    On the plus side, I couldn’t believe how well #23 was moving. Nice to see #20 get on the board too.

  7. Towards the “lack of effort, urgency etc.” above, I see it a little different. I see a team that never thinks it is out of a game, that’s good. But I also see a team that believes that are a great team and they simply do not expect to lose. This is especially true given the fairly easy schedule the Hawks have had. The question becomes, when will 9th place be “unacceptable” to them?

    Q and the Hawks need to find a way to counter the collapse around the net that occurs when the Hawks apply pressure.

  8. Sobering conclusion is this team has devolved to become very ordinary. The elite thing is gone for now. If you look for example at the forward mix it really is telling overall…

    Toews, Kane – two of the best in hockey and in their primes, but now saddled with a lesser supporting cast and depth

    Sharp – a solid and productive veteran who is vitally important but getting old in hockey terms

    Hossa – one of the greatest two way players ever, but clearly slowing down and unable to dominate on a consistent basis as been his legendary hallmark

    Saad – a very ordinary player who has definitely not stepped up to become a upper tier player as the hype machine led us to believe was his destiny

    Shaw – a gritty invaluable and well liked player who is out of position at Center and truthfully relied upon to do too damn much, especially given the shortcomings and disappointing performances of others.

    Kruger, Smith – okay players but who in truth are really dime a dozen types in the NHL and who aren’t really capable of delivering a lot offensively

    Morin – a Rockford shuttle type with not a lot of upside

    Bickell – two seasons in a row of the same maddening play on the ice and a major disappointment no matter how you slice it – would have been traded by now and replaces if not for the contract

    Richards – an ill fitting slow a skate mess

  9. I will always believe that the Hawks were better than the Kings last year and should have advanced. Playing Bolig and Handzus watered down the Hawks skill advantage over the Kings and the Hawks basically started the games with 10 forwards. Over 7 games that made a difference in my hunble opinion. But they are gone so looking forward I say go young and go fast and if there are mistates by talented young players live with them. Is Richards this years slow veteran on his last legs killing the lineup? I don’t know, but hopefully not. A conceern I have is that he sketed on the 4th line for the Rangers in the finals last year. Being an upgrade over Handzus isn’t good enough for me. I say put the best players out there period. That being said, I think its too early to make a call on Richards. The best players on Rockford need to play with the Hawks this year. Including TT. Stop babying TT. Lets see how the Richards thing goes for another 6 weeks and if it works great. If not, bring up TT and lets go forward with the best players and win or lose with them. GO HAWKS.

  10. Did anyone watch dineens short interview at the start of the third period with Edszo and foley? He acted clueless…telling sign of what the brain trust of this team is going thru! We lack size and strength in front of both nets. That’s blatantly obvious. One plus that I hope to see more of going forward is saad’s goal with a “onetimer” . That’s been missing far too often from many of our forwards. The pass first mentality frustrates all of us in the offensive zone, even though we lead the league in shots, they need to be quicker before the goalies can react. Just my two cents…

  11. Closing out periods is a challenge for the Hawks and many in the NHL. Hawks played okay but again pucks not in the net. Also despite all the “stats and data” often meaningless “puck possession” which one would assume to be an advantage is not really for the Hawks (nor is playing at home really ) smart teams keep the “stars” away from the net and from wandering below the dots, so passing the puck around and around out front and giving up 17 foot slap shots in traffic is the perfect strategy teams are sitting back a little and are aware where a Hossa is or Towes and even Kane is. Sort of like 4 corner offense in the ole college b ball days. so the dominance is an illusion without goals, runs, points etc.

  12. Rufus- A very well detailed post…

    Dickie D- sorry, it is time to start playing for a top ten Draft Pick…I totally agree that 23,5,91 are playing much better…BUT 81,88,19,29,65 aren’t!!! One D guy is having a brain cramp every nite and checking out leading to HIGH QUALITY shots for the visitor… It IS GroundHogs day!!!

    88 gets one shot on goal skating with 19 and on PP??? Kane is having very similar season to the One when I was begging for him to get traded??? Is it Because he is skating by Himself??? OR is it because he ISN’T skating????
    Puck is exploding off of 81’s stick on a regular basis (in a bad way)… getting more penalties then I can remember which means he is losing a step to the league…

    Hawk’s Continue to Play/skate like the Ice Capades around the Perimeter with low quality crap shots being thrown on net…AND losing the Transition Game= Slowing team or bad Chemistry or both???

    I am really is getting to sound like a broken record!!!

  13. Rufus you forget one thing-
    4 is one of the best d-men in hockey but he is getting rocked two or three times a game-elbows, pucks etc-the guy is tough but can he sustain day in day out pounding and still perform to his level.
    Smith looked good-the problem is it’s usually one or two guys that truly show up per game. TVR the one true surprise (+) this year.
    Can they win as a good team in a sea of good teams?

  14. Another game lost, given away, by 1 goal. Five bad minutes to close out the 2nd and somehow no points. Otherwise, really not a bad effort. Very frustrating for all of us fans to see more points slip away. It is inexplicable to see this trend continue unless one subscribes to the theory that this team is very much over rated. I am not going there yet, but a loss like last night was maddening to watch at the UC.

    As nominated VP of the Dipshits by Emperor Rufus, my first act is to proclaim that there’s one too many people on this blog Rufus and that’s you. Your sniveling arrogance invokes whatever negative push back you get from people here. Yet, this in an open forum. You make some reasonable assertions and observations occasionally and then you just blow up with negativity whenever this team isn’t winning the Cup. Back in the days when I had season tickets at the Stadium, I was surrounded by the whine brigade. Nothing was ever good enough for these people. To their credit they were there almost every game, but it was their warped desire to hope for mistakes so they could complain to everyone within an earshot that I believe motivated them to go to the games. Maybe you were one of those guys? Red line, bench side, 2nd balcony row D 1979- 1994? I had seats 21, 22, 23.

    The Seabrook point pinch resulting in an odd man breakout for the Caps with a 2 goal lead and 5 minutes left in the 2nd period was just plain stupid. The Caps looked out of the game at this point and had the Hawks gone up 3-0 we would be talking about how good the team played last night. Adding insult to injury, the Hawks didn’t circle the wagons and finish out the period. One could feel the momentum shift after the Caps made it 2-1. That is what pissed me off last night, that a vet like Seabs would make such an ill timed gamble with a period and probably the game almost closed out. The Caps were hanging their heads prior to that.

    That was the worst loss of the year IMO. Inexcusable to give away those points. So count me in with the bitch bunch today. Sharks will demand a better effort from the Hawks, so lets hope they can rally back. They can do better than this.

    Hail Freedonia Rufus!

    Lets Go Hawks!

  15. Tough loss. As Dickie points out there were some positives. Runblad has suprised me. He has shown some offensive skill, skates pretty well and seems to be gaining confidence. Hopefully he will get stronger on the boards. Although TVR is not the fastest guy in the NHL, he sure knows how to be in the right place at the right time. Good decision making on his part. The 3rd line d pair is on the right path.
    Tough game for Seabs. He will bounce back. 27’s regression continues. He has lost a step and continually turns the puck over. Many on this blog saw this coming last year. Richards is now making a contribution offensively but his defense is horrible. Did you see him try to get back on defense when the Hawks were on the pp. Richards defense will be a problem come playoff timeQ calls up Regin and then only plays him 8 minutes. That shows real confidence in his call up. I have not thrown the towel in yet but some personnel moves need to be made.

  16. To Rufus’ player evaluations:

    19, 88, 81, 2, 4 are among the best in the world at what they do.

    20 needs to be shifting w/ one of the top two lines every night. Last night we saw how explosive he can be w/ someone other than Carcillo/Bickell/TBD on the other wing.

    10 is injured.

    16, 23, 28 are exceptional depth players on a very good team. 16 & 28 are fantastic penalty killers who keep 19 & 81 off the ice short-handed.

    Love 65, but he should be at wing.

    Bickell drives me crazy… he’s the inverse of Troy Brouwer. Doesn’t appear to work, looks like he gets slower over the course of a game, and avoids contact with other players and the puck at as much as possible at this point. I’ve said it since 2011 when the line he was on w/ Frolik & Bolland disappeared for a month – he’s an anchor. The sooner he’s gone the better.

    Richards isn’t a great skater any more but he’s finding a nice niche on the team now. He’s here for 1 year.

    Seabrook has one game in every five or six where you wonder if they finally finished the lobotomy. More times than not, he’s outstanding the next night. It just so happens that two plays by him personally cost the Hawks 2 goals last night.

    Corey Crawford is fantastic. Unlike Bickell, he appears to be worth every penny.

  17. Yikes, what a horrible last 5 min. of the 2nd period. They outshot the Capitals in the 3rd but simply outshooting the opposition doesn’t get it done.

    We are not seeing much from Toews and Kane either. On the plus side, Runblad is looking better.

    One other play that stuck in my craw was the Washington goal with 4 seconds left. Saad was going out covering the point and did the flamingo – the shot got through and it goes in for the 3-2 deficit. In the last 10 seconds of the period in a tie game, get down and block that shot, those last second goals are killer. Certainly not pinning the loss on Saad but it was just a play I particularly noticed.

    Off to Rockford later today and hope to see an Ice Hogs winner.

  18. To add…In past years when Hawks got down late… Ya knew they had a chance to come back…could always “Will” a goal… Nothing this year gives me that same feeling…
    Instead- I find myself saying – It’s over…

    The days of 88,19,81 putting the team on their backs, and creating 2 on 1’s/3 on 2’s seem to be -gone… the days of Saad “The Man-child” stripping a guy of the puck w/ a tenacious fore-check and leading to an easy 2 on 1 – gone…

    As frustrating as the lack of scoring is… it is really a poor read/play/ or Turnover by the “Stellar top 4 D” that has caused a lot of these losses ( + a few of 91’s PP gaffs)

    So… good news- the D reads/and TO’s/mental stuff are fixable (at least I hope)… But the Skating/shooting around the Perimeter – is A LOT tougher to correct due to “player/make-up” and lack of talent – imo

  19. Wall, what does ” playing for a top ten Draft Pick” say to the PAYING customers? We’re discussing a professional sports franchise.

  20. Can one of the stats junkies confirm what it feels like to me – that the Hawks are in the bottom half of the league in giving up the most leads. It just seems like we have to blow a lead to re-focus and pick up the energy level.

    I have felt for the past few years that Shaw’s game was a barometer for the Hawk’s and he is struggling at the moment. It can’t help that the lines change every few minutes. I wish I felt as confident that Bickell will snap out of it but he just seems to disappear much of the time. Also thought that the 4th line had as many chances as any other line and I don’t understand why Q doesn’t give them more of a chance to contribute. Perhaps he should try re-uniting Regin, Morin and Bickell who were very good down the stretch last year.

  21. In addition to some good insights above, what I see is a team that just can’t finish. You can look at blown leads like last night and other games where we need a goal to tie or win and it’s just not happening. They may pepper the goalie with tons of long range, bad angle shots but the dirty work isn’t be done to get the ‘W’.

  22. The 7 losses have all been by 1 goal, and all because the offense has struggled (whereas the defense has been overall very good). They are definitely playing below their norm offensively. While I suppose it’s possible the offense will continue to struggle, I still believe it’s highly unlikely. I think it’s more likely that the offense eventually rises to normal level and then the key will be to continue playing defense as well as they have to date.

    I’m optimistic that things will get better and the Hawks will be a contender when it matters.

  23. Tracey Myers saying the morning practice is intense and featuring one on one battle drills. Everybody (players) are present and on ice except of course Sharp & Carcillo.

  24. ^ agreed ER

    Rufus, u forgot to mention Sharp was ridiculously selfish and a terrible teammate.

    93-94 ~ 2nd balcony aisle7 secG rowF seats11-12. Roar!

  25. Crawford just isn’t good enough. Mediocre at best goalie and on any other team he’d be lucky to be the #1. Management was smoking the drapes when they extended his contract at the value they did and it, along with Hossa’s, Kane’s and Toews is going to hurt this team big time down the road.

    Something that’s been bugging me the past couple of months: J Toews is a God in my mind, and I like Kane a lot, but how greedy are both of them that they wouldn’t stay on a team like the Hawks for less money? AND, how stupid is Bowman for giving it to them? Can you see past the end of your nose Stan? I guess being on a cup contender for your entire career isn’t worth what overstuffing your pockets is.

    2010 cup winning team would probably have gone on to be one of, if not THE best NHL team ever iced if they hadn’t had to punt the likes of Buff, Ladd and Brouwer to stay under the cap. Now we have Toews and Kane contributing in a big way to the same problem on top of BS contracts to Hossa and Crawford.Do you really need to make $10M per boys? Neither one of you is the best player in the NHL but now you’re going to get paid as though you are. Congratulations because one of you is down the road and soon. Guess who it’ll be Patty? It’s either that or this team has to start shedding the contracts of players that actually “are” worth their money and take a fast dive into alsoranville.

  26. Correction re Crawford.

    On a LOT of other teams he’d be lucky to be the #1. I can count 20 where he wouldn’t be.

  27. Dickie D- I am not suggesting the Hawks mail it in for Drafty pick… Just saying they don’t have the Speed/MoJo/Whatever- to do much… So I personally would be ok- with not making the PO’s as opposed to making it as 7th seed and being outplayed by Wild or whoever…

    Hoff- Maybe I will see you @ Hogs… going to go watch Sasquatch get Hogs #8 in a row!!!

    Alberta – agree on Crow… little above average goalie… above average Salary

  28. The Hawks will make the playoffs and they will be one of the teams to beat in the playoffs. However, the fact that we have to watch them lose sucks. I am not buying all the lost a step or that they are overrated comments. The problem with this team is complacency and the lack of motivation. We all know that Q goes easy on this team in practices and has done so since 2010. That stems from the character of players he has in the core of this team. He believes in them, as he should. Players and coach alike know they are good and they are waiting for the second season – THE PLAYOFFS. They do have “Cruise Control” demeanor because they will do what they have to do to make the playoffs and are coasting. Unfortunately for all of us, that does not make for entertaining hockey and actually is brutal entertainment.

    With regard to Oduya, I’m not a big fan, but I believe he may be experiencing residuals from his broken foot. Prior to the season, my wish list was for 2 of the following players to be gone, Oduya, Rosy, & Leddy, to make room for Clendening, Dahlbeck, and Johns. I really can’t wait to have Johns up here. I believe he will be a stud for us in the future.

    As was suggested to me because of my frustration with their play, I have been selling my tickets. However, demand has not been great because of their level of play. I’ll start going after the new year. By then, I hope to have sold enough tickets to pay for the balance of the season. :-)

    Go Hawks!!! I hope the person that bought my tickets for tomorrow’s game sees the game that turns around this unpleasant to date season. Watchout, here come the Hawks.

  29. The funny thing is all offseason all the regulars here voiced concerns over the 3rd pair, versteeg and the forth line. Versteeg has looked excellent. He’s not a top 6 forward IMO but he’s a proven NHL talent.

    Last night was frustating because Ben Smith gets the 1st line duty w 19 & 88, why? Q is not putting these guys in the right position to be successful. Shouldnt Q develop guys into the right rolls? Saad or Mo should be flanking Toews not Smith. Q hasnt done Mo any favors by skating him for bottom mins. Its not a stretch to say Mo has a bigger upset then Smith.

    The more I watch Bickell the more I realize his Hockey IQ is subpar. He looks so clueless out there at times. He will never be more then a bottom 6 forward.

  30. SSHM – Agree with your post right down the line. I love Ben Smith but Mo or Saad should be with 19&88. I think 16 28 stay together with maybe steeger on the 3rd line and p1 12 and 29 get the 4th line with 91 getting extra minutes on the power play and 12 getting some extra time on the PK and 29 getting some extra time on the bench.

    And the 3rd pair certainly has surprised me as 57 and even 5 have been better than I expected.

  31. Crawford is definitely not a subpar goalie. He had a case for team MVP before his injury. The goals last night weren’t really softies (2 on 1 perfect shot, Seabrook’s goal, and a deflection).

    I agree with SSHM, Smith should not be on the first line. He’s a good all around player, but he’s not a finisher. I’d put Saad with Kane and Toews. Versteeg has been one of the best Hawks forwards this year. Morin is obviously snake bitten and can’t buy a goal.


    I’m not ready to tank this year. This team, when fully healthy, is one of the elite teams. Come playoffs, anything can happen. We saw the Kings in 2012 and the Flyers in 2010.
    Would you rather the 12th pick in the draft?

    Or a chance to win the cup with the current roster before the massive overhaul?

  32. Let’s not jump off the bridge, yet, boys. This is a frustrating team to watch, at times. Again, we had a 2-0 lead and we “lost our focus” according to 3 different players on 3 different sports interviews. If “lost our focus” is the truth, and to me it sure looks like exactly what happened, then I put the blame on the leadership of this team. It starts with Q and runs through the rest of the coaches, Toews, Seabrook and Keith.

    It’s got nothing to do with “lack of size”, loss or lack of player talent, old skaters, lack of toughness or whatever else we all think the problem is. The problem is truly a lack of focus when the Hawks believe the game is already decided and it is truly not decided. We have defensemen pinching at the wrong times, players turning the puck over and players making bad decisions, overall.

    The Hawks used to be able to overcome these mistakes with their speed, depth and skill, but now the league has caught up with them and they have to minimize their mistakes and get a lot smarter in a short amount of time.

    The other thing to remember is that this team was never without it’s faults, even in the Stanley Cup years. They tend to go through rough stretches where they play erratically and carelessly, but then they gather themselves together and start to win 7 out of 10 or 11 out of 15 games. This team was always built for the long haul and the playoffs. Plus they know that winning the division means very little.

    I agree with Tab(that’s a first!!) in that Shaw needs to be on the wing. After the all-star break the Hawks will adjust some things and you will see TT up here for the remainder of the year and the playoffs. Moves will have to be made if this trend continues.

    Q needs to sit Bickel for 3 games and let him stew about his lack of production. $4mil / year for this? Right now, Stan has to be doubting this signing. Our better players have to make better decisions on the ice if the Hawks want to “right the ship”!!

  33. Alberta,

    Your comments regarding C2 eliminate any possibility that one should grant you credibility. As Tab correctly pointed out, Crawford has been amazing. His stats show that. Moreover, I think he’s elevated his game this year – he seems to be much more relaxed and better positioned, allowing the puck to hit him. He is NOT the problem here.

    The main issue in general so far this year has been the Hawks inability to score, be it at opportune times or otherwise. The Hawks did the right things in Montreal to correct the problem, i.e. getting players in front of the net. If they commit to doing that on a regular basis, and continue to outshoot opponents, the law of averages says the shooting% will rise to the norm and the wins will come. The season has to play out, and its still early – I believe this is still a Cup Contender.

  34. Well, what can I say? Tried to refrain from commenting over the past couple of weeks. Seems when things are going not as planned the idiot brigade comes out en masse…Crow not being wanted by 20 teams? Really?!? Jeez…
    Lets see where we are at at the end of the month before some of you spout your idiocy regarding Q, Stanbo, leaders on the ice, ok? This organization has earned my trust, my patience, and my faith. No, I am not a kool-aid drinker, but understand that all of us here combined possess MAYBE .01% hockey IQ in comparison to Q, etc…many of you seem to forget there is a salary cap at play here, can’t just bench this guy, bring up that guy from the Rock, etc…these guys are pros, they know what needs to be done and when the times comes, all I can ask is 100% effort and focus on and off the ice towards another viable cup run. If we have the horses, we will be there in the end, if we aren’t, then perhaps this was indeed an in-between year. Sorry for rambling on, but enough is enough…

  35. All you guys killing this hawks will be loving them soon enough. The bottom line is they have been playing better than their record shows. I do not think this team will miss the playoffs, and they will have to got through the division in the playoffs which is what the season will be judged by. Not the hottest of starts but I am FAR AWAY from condemning the season. Their are a lot of positives thus far in my opinion and the wins will start comings soon enough. They are a playoff team and a threat when they get in.

  36. Hogs win 3-1…McNeill w/ Hat-trick…

    Pokka was smoothest D man…I sat about 10 feet from Hogs Tunnel… Pokka is the thickest player on Hogs by far…chest like a Keg, he was able to get a few shots thru from point.

    McNeill, Danault were the best forwards… TT looked good on PP… Fell down a few times skating (I will cut him some slack- has had some virus last week)

    Nordstrom – quick… Moose looked good… In all it was a tough game to really get an offensive groove in… Both teams were very content on “making the right plays” chipping the puck back and forth between the blue lines.

    Cden, Brennan, – Meh!!!

    A guy who actually impressed me with his desire, compete, IQ- shockingly- LeBlah…
    BUT he is just not fast enough!!! BUT- he did play smart and worked his ass off!!! so I have to give him credit.

  37. Good dialogue on here. You wonder how patient bowman will be once they get to the 20 game mark. They really are just going with the same guys over and over expecting a different result. I realize it’s a marathon, there is an assumption that they are so talented they eventually will get it together. There was an announcer on hockey night in Canada last week who said Joel quenneville’s concerns and headaches are much less severe than most coaches, due to the hawks bevy of talent. But at some point this “chosen group” must start stringing victories together.

  38. Can anyone explain to me why the Hawks always feel the need to sign an ageing veteran on his last NHL stop? It never works out and all it does is eat up cap space, slows down the team and prevents a younger player from moving up. It seems so obvious that they should go with young players around the core. The upside is so much higher and if they make mistakes, so what, you live with them. If I am missing something here I am happy to be corrected.

  39. At Rockford last night, agree with some of Wall’s comments on the game. A defensive battle all game long although there was a ton of back and forth. Fairly entertaining game, definitely not a snooze fest.

    Agree about Pokka – he is smooth, makes the right plays and has top notch hockey sense. I will differ a bit and say I liked both Clendening’s and Brennan’s games last night. I actually thought Ross was the best forward but that’s quibbling.

    McNeill had all three goals, he was fortunate on two of them. The first was a bang bang rebound goal in the 1st off a TJ Brennan point shot. His second goal in the 3rd period was a 2-on-1 and McNeill was trying to pass and the puck glanced in off the defenseman’s stick. His third was an empty netter on a long backhand from before the red line – would’ve been icing had it not gone in but hey, it did.

    McNeill also had two awful turnovers early in the game trying to be cute with blind drop passes and Danault took an untimely slashing penalty in the 3rd but the penalty kill was solid and the team plays hard which is nice to see. Teravainen was back in the lineup, didn’t do much but looked ok I guess.

    Leighton was in goal and did a nice job. Full house and a fun night, get up there to see a game if you can.

    By the way had a great lunch at the new Rockford Brewing Co. right on the river on Prairie Street. Cool place in an old brewery building – breaded pork tenderloin sandwich (schnitzel) and one of their house beers, a chocolate porter. Switched it up from the usual stop at Carlyle Brewing on State St. a few blocks from the rink, another great place. Mrs. Hofmeister liked a couple of the Rockford resale shops too.

  40. Hof- fair enough on Cden and Brennan… My Point – they didn’t do anything to make me “interested”… then again- because of the whiplash/back-n-forth between the Blue lines… it was hard to “scout” most players – imo

    I was going to add that the Hogs were skating fast and had some nice “Frolik” like fore-checking at times – and Ross was noticed there.

    Didn’t pick up on McNeill TO’s- perhaps they happened too far from my seat ( I was behind Griffin’s net 3rd row)… but he did finish the 1st goal w/ decent hands and being in good position for the rebound. OR perhaps I was watching Bass ( I think ) Put a Griffin into His Bench heels over head (twice)…

    it was a fast paced/entertaining game…

    thx – for the Restaurant tip

  41. I didn’t think the game was that bad and to call the Hawks average is not correct. It was 2-0 Chicago and they need the sense of urgency to put teams away. If that goes 2
    3-0 that game is over and a rout. Instead Seabrook had a brain malfunction and the tide turns. It’s clear that Seabrook is the guy that needs to move next year to clear cap as the Hawks have plenty of D in the waiting. Also Bickell is a waste of space both literally on the ice and through the cap

  42. RyanDale, TCB, The Greek

    Firstly my post was in no way a knee-jerk reaction to how the current season is unfolding. I don’t have any doubts about the Hawks, barring injury, being in a contender position when the smoke clears.

    I assume then that you believe Crawford will sustain his current .930 SV% rather than regressing to his historical .915. Sorry but I’m not buying it. Pretty small sample size thusfar as well. We’ll see how the year unfolds.

    Now take into account the defence Crawford plays behind, the fact that only 4 other teams allow fewer shots per game than the Hawks, and that only 6 other teams have allowed more total shots this ytd and I don’t think Crawford’s as big a factor as some might think he is. Quite a few goaltenders out there regarded as lesser talents would put up the same numbers Crawford does if they played for this team.

    As for my 20 teams where he wouldn’t be the #1, (Please reread what I actually said Greek), I’ve rethought it down to 17, but if you believe the numbers lower maybe you can tell me which of the following teams would benefit by ousting their current for Crawford at his salary:

    Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Calgary, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, LA, Montreal, Nashville, NY Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, TBay, Toronto, Vancouver.

  43. Alberta….Alberta…

    C2 has played 8 games so far. In 6 of the 8 he’s allowed 2 or fewer goals. He’s allowed 3 in each of the other 2.

    His GAA so far is 1.72.

    So the point is he is no way responsible for the Hawks sluggish start. No way.

    If you want to debate whether or not he will maintain his current performance level throughout the season…well that’s a different debate and only time will tell. You seem to have a beef with him and/or his contract. Again, a different debate. In my mind, C2 is a nice fit for this team. He’s a battler, and he’s steadily improved his game. And, oh ya, he’s got a Stanley Cup ring. So I like him on our team, and don’t feel in any way that the Hawks are “in need” of another goaltender. Do I love his contract? Maybe not, but then again does a guy like PK Subban deserve $9M/year? These decisions are made by management with salary cap implications in mind not at the time of signing but going forward. Sometimes you look back and realize they were good decisions (Hossa and Hammer for example) and sometimes not so much. But I got no issues with C2 in nets for the Hawks…and neither should you!

  44. Morrison – still hopeful, history is favorable

    Saying Crawford is ”mediocre, not good enough” seems to speak to his talent level,not his contract.. If you are still hung up on his ability it’s your own fault.

    If its a money thing, I don’t assist in negotiating contracts for NHL teams or players. Nor do I participate in fantasies of doing so.

  45. TCB

    If you like Hossa’s contract terms then we truly are a long ways apart in our thinking.

    Also GAA means very little. Save percentage is a far more telling stat. History tells us he’ll have a tough time sustaining .930 but who knows?

    As for the Stanley Cup Ring I hear you but…Niemi has one too so hey…

    My point was only that I don’t think he’s worth the money and that his contract along with JT, PK’s, and MH’s could mean the Hawks dumping good players and regressing after the season again ala 2010. With opinions floating around that there might not be any increase in the salary cap next year a team like the Hawks has to watch every penny committed.

  46. Bickell’s salary is the only thing that has kept him on the ice. He’s had plenty of time to prove himself and hasn’t come close (aside from playoffs). Agree with most here. Hawks just need to keep their focus and high energy. Those two elements could have won them most -if not all- of these games. unfortunately we just have to wait for the consistency, which we should all be accustomed to by now. Lines I would like to see:

    23 19 88 – seem to know each others tendencies- versteeg has been working hard
    20 91 81 – maybe a bit slow, but great IQ
    29 12 11 – had success at the end of last year i believe?
    28 16 65 – gritty, energy, possession, tough 4th line to play against

  47. TCB- Crow has not been the issue… but backups have similar #’s and are payed a fraction of what Crow is… So to Alberta’s Point – there are plenty of other choices… and to my point from day 1… Pay the $5M to 1 or 2 “critical” Players (like a Frolik)… and the Hawks are in a better position to allow even less quality/quantity shots on net…

    I really think 50 is playing well ( and is slightly better than Raanta/Darling), But the current Numbers of all Hawk goalies…only prove Alberta’s/and My point….

  48. The argument that CC’s numbers are good (as were Ray Emery’s when playing for this team), and/or that he’s won a Cup (as did Neimi with the Hawks) are reasonable arguments. Personally, I have been against the CC signing on the principal that $6Mx6 straps a team that can win with a decent goaltender and don’t need an A+ guy between the pipes.

    Neimi’s offseason will be a good proxy for the CC “going rate” debate for good goaltenders. Neimi will be a UFA coming off a $3.8 million deal.. Let’s see if he lands a $6M deal…

  49. re: Crawford’s contract – 14 NHL goaltenders will have a cap hit higher than $5.5M next season. Only 4 of them – Crawford, Quick, Fleury & Cam Ward – led a team to a Cup victory (Rask watched Tim Thomas win for the Bruins).

    Niemi hasn’t been exceptional the last two seasons, but if Kari Lehtonen is worth $5.9M in this NHL then Crawford is worth $6M imo

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