Blackhawks Bag Leafs On Hockey Fights Cancer Night
The Blackhawks and Maple Leafs took the marquee on Hockey Night in Canada on Hockey Fights Cancer Night, and Chicago put together a complete, 60-minute victory.
Dave Bolland was welcomed back to the United Center during the ceremonial puck drop and again at the first media timeout. Other than those two moments and his two minutes in the penalty box in the first period, it was hard to notice Bolland on Saturday night; he won four of nine faceoffs, was credited with two shots on net, one hit and one takeaway.
The first 20 minutes saw more action in and out of the penalty boxes than it did on the scoreboard. Chicago out-shot Toronto 9-3 in the opening period, and both teams successfully killed two penalties.
Bryan Bickell got the Hawks on the board at 5:32 into the second with a nice goal. Bickell showed good patience in depositing the puck behind Jonathan Bernier for his first goal of the new season. In spite of a solid stat line that included one blocked shot and two hits, Bickell was limited to only 17 shifts and 10:47 in the game.
Nazem Kadri tied the game 91 seconds after Bickell’s goal with Duncan Keith in the box for interference. The score was tied for only 2:35, as Mike Kostka scored his first career NHL goal against his former team. Kostka received a nice pass from Brandon Pirri and Bernier was behind a solid screen from Brandon Bollig on the play.
Pirri would add his second goal in as many games on a power play later in the second to give the Hawks a 3-1 lead. A gorgeous cross-crease pass through traffic from Brandon Saad was redirected into the net by Pirri, who was named the Number One Star of the game. Pirri skated only 9:37 and won two of only five faceoffs, but contributed 1:44 to the power play in the game on the second unit with Saad and Marian Hossa.
Hossa was credited with a team-high seven shots on goal; Toronto only had 20 shots as a team in the game. Jonathan Toews won 11 of 19 draws, Andrew Shaw won four of five and Patrick Sharp won three of four as the Hawks won 30 of 54 faceoffs in the game.
Meanwhile, Corey Crawford made a few nice saves en route to a 19-save victory. The skaters in front of Crawford did a nice job of keeping shots away from their netminder; Chicago blocked 14 shots, led by three from Johnny Oduya.
Nick Leddy was credited with two assists in the game after the young defenseman had only one in his previous seven games to start the season. Pirri now has three points in his last two games, and Saad played a fantastic game in every zone.
Coming into the game, special teams was a key; both of Toronto’s units were near the top of the NHL while Chicago’s had been struggling. However, while the Blackhawks did allow one power play goal to Kadri in the second period, but successfully killed four of five penalties on the night while converting one of three power plays of their own.
NOTE: earlier on Saturday, the Blackhawks announced that the organization has signed defenseman Viktor Svedberg to a two-year contract. The 6-8, 234-pound defenseman is currently playing with Rockford.
6 thoughts on “Blackhawks Bag Leafs On Hockey Fights Cancer Night”
It was nice to have a ‘huge’ 2 goal cushion for a change, The kids were definitely alright tonight. Pirri, Leddy and Saad all had strong efforts. Which I hope brings about more ice time. And Kostka was impressive too. After a bit of a sleepwalking through the Blues game, we came back strong and got the 2 pts we needed. Special teams were about a wash which, if grading on the Hawks curve, equals a win in that department. 10/81 continue to pepper shots at will and they will go in sooner rather than later. Strong answer from the Blues game vs a decent opponent. Looking forward to getting away from the UC and proving we are road warriors
Pirri (and Morin-if and when he sticks) should be given PP ice time- both are snipers/finishers.
Nice to see Hawks use 1-3-1 set to score on PP…
??? why was that the only PP/time they used that set???
Don’t know why Pirri is even getting ice time. Kid has no future in the NHL! (fart)
Yes, I know he won’t be a goal a game player… but the kid has skills in the offensive zone. I also think he will be better when he gets more time and learns the speed of the game, because sometimes it seems like he thinks he has more time than he does. Maybe, if he keeps playing like this, Q will give him a promotion and more than 10 minutes a game.
Wall- I think they drop into that set on PP2 because Leddy is a real QB and Seabrook understands it’s his job to find open ice as a trigger man. The 1st unit did have a lot of scoring chances, but I think it just comes down to personnel. I’m starting to really dislike Sharp at the point on PP1. I don’t know if he’s supposed to find open ice and he doesn’t, or if they want him at the point taking 60 one timers. Either way, I think PP1 is starting to move better, and thus, will start scoring more goals.
I think Kostka needs more playing time. 1st period he looked pretty bad and made a lot of could-be-awful mistakes, but once he loosened up he had a pretty nice game.
I didn’t think Nordstrom had the best game and my guess is that Q is losing faith in him. Might be time to swap him down with Morin, or just give Ben Smith more time. I think the kid has a future in the league, but it’s 20 pounds and a year away.
And as I said the other day, Toronto is a bad team that has been getting lucky. They are outplayed like that nightly and somehow have 6 wins.
This was a pretty complete game last night by the Hawks. The score was closer than the game really appeared. Leafs had 9-10 shots on goal at the half way mark. Like many games this year the Hawks just can’t get that 3 goal lead that would take the heart out of opposing teams. Even in the 3rd last night the Leafs were a lucky bounce from being right back in a game that they were otherwise badly outplayed. Lots of Leafs fans last night which is fine with me as I have always had great respect for those supporting the Maple Leaf sweater. Some good and loud Go Leafs Go! chants were fun to hear, especially when drowned out quickly with LETS GO HAWKS! from the faithful. Back to the Blues game the other night, I couldn’t help but think that with Dead Wings not available to hate as much, it will now be “St Louis sucks!” as the familiar UC refrain as there is so much to dislike about that group.
Hawks special teams looked better last night. PP movement pretty good that could have resulted in more tallies. I like our d men pinching in down low in the O zone. Hammer showed some fine hands down the by the goal line with some nifty moves. Speaking of hands Bicks goal was a beauty, and Pirri clearly has a fast release. I thought Pirri looked more relaxed last night and looked quicker on his skates.
It will be interesting to see what the Hawks do with Smith, Pirri, Kostka, Nordstrum, Hayes, and Morin. It could well be we get some rotation in and out of Rockford with this group to keep them hungry yet some NHL experience every few weeks. It is good to have that as an option. As the season progresses, Hossa, and Zus should get some days off. We need those guys healthy and fit into the playoffs.
If Keith can start hitting the net with shots from the point more goals will come. He has been missing badly, and I can’t write that off against placement for deflections. He seems to be not well squared up to the net sometimes. One will assume that aspect of his game can only improve with some extra work in practice.
Bolland received a strong ovation from the fans, and he looked a little choked up on the bench. I was watching to see if he would go the wrong box when he took his penalty. Bolly will be missed by this fan, and I hope he prospers in Toronto.
Good for the Hawks honoring the cancer kids last night. Heartbreaking to see those little guys out there, but those children are tough cookies, and I was happy to see their plight receive that kind of attention. That kind of show once more proves the Hawks are a classy operation.
Lets Go Hawks!
Very happy to see Bicks get on the board. I have been critical of him, but I think being the third line for a little bit is better for him. Its almost like when he is with 19/88 hes skating on egg shells. he’s trying not to make the error that will kill the shift. But when he is with 65 they just can just throw pucks to the net and get sloppy goals. He can get that “grit” back and then come back to play some top line minutes.
Leddy played another strong game. He could be turning into Brian Campbell 2.0.
A number of thoughts here about the Hawks start to the season…many here have speculated that they look a little tired and listless and I would agree…its hard to get back into the full swing of things, especially the physicality after the beating the players took through last season’s playoffs…BUT, it will come, its just a matter of time…
So far there are a number of reasons to be very excited and a number of players to be excited about…the youngsters, especially Nordstrom, Pirri and Smith…Nordstrom may have been sent down but he will be back, and I am sure it will be this year…he has simply done too many good things not to come back up…as Rufus has said, Nordstrom skates well, is tenacious and has a high hockey IQ…but as Wall points out, he is weak existing his own zone as a winger…to that end, I would like to see him play wing in Rockford if he is going to play wing in the show…once he gets a little stronger, and more experience, he won’t be so rushed to clear the zone irresponsibly, and will learn to take the hits to make the plays…so I have no worries about Nordstrom, as ER said he is going to be a Hawk for a long while.
Now I am not sure why Rufus is so biased against Smith and Pirri…both have shown well…Smith can play either the 3rd or 4th line, he is very responsible defensively and always goes to the net offensively…he is a plus player and already has a goal…in fact that 4th line with Smith, Pirri and Bollig has been dominant in the short time they have been together. Pirri has been great in VERY limited minutes…he is faster than most of you speculated, he is strong on the puck, he wins face-offs, he has good vision, makes nice passes and CAN FINISH, which is what this team needs right now. There is a reason he was the first 21 year old EVER to lead the AHL in scoring and it is showing…he needs to stay in the show, and as Wall said, be given extra minutes by playing on the PP…yep, he’s a player…
Hossa has been incredible…coming off that injury at his age with limited practising and no pre season games, he has been, well, Hoss…and how about Lil Hoss…Saad is official…he’s a beast and going to be a great Hawk for a long time…as ER, Wall, Phil and Mike have all said, his biggest area of improvement this season is in his positioning and defensive play…he knows where to be, and uses his strong frame to win battles…and if Saad had some line mates that could finish off their chances, he would have 15 points by now…
Handzus has been great…yes, he is as slow as a mule, but he is as smart as Hossa and very strong defensively…and coming off his injuries, he has been a big surprise to me at how good he has been…but I don’t think he is our 2nd line centre…he can play minutes there and won’t hurt us, but I would like to see Pirri get that shot between Sharp and Hossa…move Saad up with Kane and Toews and let Bickell find himself with Shaw and Smith/Morin.
Andrew Shaw has been great…I am not sure AT ALL where some of the criticism towards him has come from, but he is such a smart, strong player…I just wish he could finish a little better…and whether it is Shaw or Kruger as 3rd line Centre, Shaw should and will be a permanent fixture on that 3rd line giving us a huge edge over the opposition…that 3rd line has also been dominant with Shaw and Saad and if Bickell settles in there with Shaw/Kruger or Shaw/Smith, it will continue to dominate…
Brandon Bollig and Marcus Kruger have also been great…Kruger continues to show more offensive skill and may get a longer term shot with either the 2nd or 3rd lines, and he continues to be stellar defensively…just an amazing 5th round pick, like Shaw…and Bollig, wow, speed and toughness to his game, but now, suddenly, he gets it…he is SMART as to where he needs to be and when to be “tough”…he is a key part of that 4th line success, and very sound in his own zone…great improvement!
On defence, Hammer has been awesome IMO, no question our BEST DMan right now, and not even close…I would say that Oduya (bad hop aside) has been our 2nd best DMan, Leddy has been our 3rd best, Sebs 4th and then Keith…Duncan is struggling right now as he is not playing physical enough against all those good, strong forwards that he is matched up against…and I can understand it…it was a short off season and Duncan has been used a TON for the past 4 years…it will take some time, but I think he will come around once again…Seabrook has also started inconsistently against the top lines, but at least he has his physical game in tact…Sebs too will come around, but right now just too many mistakes…Nick Leddy has been quite good, especially considering that he has had a merry-go-round next to him, and Brookbank and Rozy haven’t played well…the best thing for Nick right now would be to let him settle in with only 2 guys, not 3, and let one of them take most of the games right now, and I think that should be Kostka, I have been VERY impressed by him…he is smart, he is composed, he uses his stick and body very well, and has an offensive side to his game…given more ice time, I think that Kostka could become a very good Hawk Dman…let Rozy come along slowly and get back into game shape and DUMP Brookbank…he doesn’t fit or belong with the Hawks…and with our depth in Rockford (Clendening, Peckham, Olsen, Dahlbeck) we are more than capable of handling an injury…the 3 player rotation around Leddy is NOT helping and needs to stop, and with Kostka showing so much, we have an answer…
Bickell and Keith have really only been “disappointments” but they have their compete levels and their games will turn around…for Bicks, he is skating on egg shells with Toews and Kane, and its NOT helping their games…so for Bicks to go back and spend time on the 3rd line to find himself and his game is more than fine…and so what if we are paying him $4 million a year…he will earn it come playoff time…we just need Bicks to contribute somewhere on this team right now, and he did so very well on that 3rd line versus the Leafs…
CC has been very good…not great just yet, but some of that has been our horrendous PK, which has taken a lot of energy out of CC and left him a little tired and sloppy during the rest of the time…but there is NO DOUBT that the Hawks are more than fine with CC and Habby…and with how good Kent Simpson and Raanta have looked in Rockford, this organization has no issues in goal for a long while…
And speaking of Rockford, a few points…Jeremy Morin should have made this team…he may not be a blazer on the ice, but he can skate…plus he is a natural goal scorer who has a strong physical aspect to his game…his isn’t afraid out on the ice, and plays with a lot of confidence, which will translate well to the Hawks…when he was demoted, he has one game (as did Pirri) where they sulked (and probably justifiably so), but since then he has been lights out…I don’t know who exactly needs to come back down, but all I know is that Morin needs to be given a legitimate shot in Chicago…he won’t fail…2nd, Clendening has been outstanding…yes, he can be more responsible defensively, but he has such speed AND strength, that he is able to make up for some of his positional mistakes…and while he is not being “hurt” right now in Rockford, he is definitely ready for the NHL…Theo Peckham has had a slow start adjusting in Rockford…I think he has game, and should find it in the next week or so, but right now, he isn’t there…the biggest surprise, without a doubt, has been Dylan Olsen…he had a very good camp in Chicago and has been GREAT in Rockford…right now he is a team high +4 and is making good decisions at both ends of the ice…clearly he has finally “got it” and is making up ground in leaps and bounds…and honestly, I think this is the biggest reason why Stanton was allowed to go…sure Kostka has been very good, but Olsen’s turnaround obviously gives Bowman and Q huge confidence in that next group coming up and thus Stanton was expendable…and this is great to see as Olsen’s bright future was very much up in question at the end of last season….good for Dylan! Any thoughts of LeBlanc being our 2nd line centre this year has been dispelled…he is very much a liability in the defensive zone right now, but he is trying hard…and his offensive game is excellent…so there is a lot of hope that he will be a Hawk one day, but its not right now…Danault and McNeill have both had a great start to their AHL seasons, and have been better than I think the Hawks hoped they would be…but any thoughts that Danault will walk in around XMas time and be a Hawk is simply unfounded…I am a HUGE Danault fan, but he’s not ready…the game is a little too fast for him right now, and he still needs to get a little stronger, so that he won’t be a liability in the FO circle…I have no doubt that Danault will make a good Hawk for a long time, but again, its not right now…its actually McNeill that could, if needed, take a spot on the 4th line for the Hawks, but we don’t need it, and he will definitely benefit from a whole year in the AHL…Jimmy Hayes handled his demotion very well and has been great in Rockford…there he plays with much more confidence in his game, and when he is with the Hawks he is simply too nervous…not too slow, not too lazy, just too nervous…when Hayes finally gets hungry enough to WANT the NHL more than anything, and comes up here and bangs people around like he can, he will stick…he is a dangerous guy…all that size, with that speed, with those hands…all he needs now is the MENTAL toughness to make it…Garret Ross is doing well, but he hasn’t had a lot to show for it…he needs to settle in and start burying his chances…he skates very well, he is positionally strong, and is very physical, he is just showing stone hands right now…and finally Klas Dhalbeck has been very good…like Olsen, he had a good camp in Chicago and isn’t far off IMO…he is a very sound DMan, much like Hammer was at that stage…
Kudos to Stan Bowman, because if one thing is very evident so far this year, the Hawks organization is literally BURSTING at the seems with legitimate talent…the Hawks actually have some serious issues (in a good way) going forward, because the NHL team is loaded with good players that deserve to be there, but so is Rockford, and that doesn’t even take into account TT in Europe or the College and Junior players who are all seemingly having great starts to their seasons…where do they all play a year or two from now??? Players like TT, Clendening, Olsen, Morin, Hayes, Smith, Pirri are all ready right now, and guys like Danault, McNeil, Ross, Raanta, Simpson, etc. aren’t far off…good problems to have…
Kane and Toews have been good, but not really great…neither is shooting enough, and it seems that both have other things on their minds…but I have no doubts that both will find their games and continue to improve…I think Toews game will improve a lot when Saad finds his way back to the top line…