Blackhawks Fall To Avalanche

Just listen to coach Joel Quenneville’s post game comments.

There was a lot to he excited about, and a lot to be frustrated by in Saturday night’s loss. There were also a few things that were interesting.

Michael Frolik finally found the back of the net when he scored the Hawks’ first goal just 46 seconds into the secong period. His goal tied the game at one, and appeared to give the Blackhawks some life.

But Colorado got two goals in the middle of the period to take a 3-1 lead into the closing minute of the second frame. Less than ten seconds into a power play, Jonathan Toews scored his fourth goal of the season in the final minute of the period. The second ended with the Blackhawks trailing 3-2, and with a little momentum.

Jamal Mayers scored his second goal of the season to tie the game at 4:35 in the third, and almost exactly ten minutes later, at 14:33, Marian Hossa gave Chicago a 4-3 lead. However, with less than two minutes left in regulation, youngster Gabriel Landeskog scored his second goal of the night for the Avs.

Despite starting the overtime period with 1:57 of a four-on-three power play, the Hawks weren’t able to score in the extra session and neither were the Avs. As these two teams have done so many times in the last couple seasons, the game went to a shootout. Colorado emerged with the second point when Joakim Lindstrom beat Corey Crawford in the third round of the shootout.

That sums up what the scoring. What happened surround those moments is where Saturday night’s game was fascinating.

The honeymoon with Daniel Carcillo may be over. Early in the game, Viktor Stalberg took  a couple shifts with Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, and Carcillo found himself on the fourth line with Mayers and Marcus Kruger.

The third period saw Quenneville skating Patrick Sharp with Kane and Hossa, and Stalberg with Toews and Andrew Brunette. Stalberg played 14:44 and was credited with two hits; Carcillo skated only 9:05, the smalled ice time total for any Hawks player in the game, and was emotionless for much of the game. Despite his limited playing time, Carcillo was still plus-two in the game and was credited with a team-high four hits.

Corey Crawford didn’t have his best game, and appeared to be struggling with the puck all night. After allowing three goals in the first two periods on only 17 Colorado shots, the Hawks were clearly trying to fight back in the third. After Mayers tied the game, Sean O’Donnell skated back and tapped Crawford’s pads with his stick. When Hossa gave the Hawks the lead, both Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook skated back and tapped the netminder’s pads again.

But that was about the only thing Keith did that showed any love to Crawford. While the box scored only credits Keith with two giveaways, the naked eye from section 302 saw at least five or six on the night. One, which you can see in the video below, ended up in the game-tying goal from Landeskog late in the third period.

Nick Leddy played another strong game. He skated 34 shifts, the second-highest total on the roster, and 22:14 in ice time. He was credited with an assist on Mayers’ goal,  an impressive rush he led up the ice (see video above), two hits and one blocked shot. He has clearly established himself as a top-four defenseman in Chicago this season.

Colorado showed the Blackhawks in the last two games that they are certainly for real. There is a lot of speed and talent on the Avs’ roster and, if they can stay healthy, Colorado will be a team making noise in the Western Conference playoffs this year.

But the Blackhawks left a second point on the table on Saturday night, and showed that the depth moves made by GM Stan Bowman this summer have greatly improved not only the talent on the ice, but the resolve in the dressing room.

11 thoughts on “Blackhawks Fall To Avalanche

  • October 23, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Thanks Tab…but until Duncan Keith starts playing sound defensive hockey, this team is going to continue it’s up and down play…he had at least 6 giveaways tonight, and his play on the last goal, and the lack of communication between he and Leddy, cost us the win…plain and simple…he just looks like a completely different player…bizarre…

  • October 23, 2011 at 6:18 am

    I think Leddy and Keith should split the blame for Landeskog’s second goal. If you watch the video, it starts as a 2-on-3 as Brunette is backchecking the puck-carrier. Keith totally abandons his post and chases Winnik. Brunette subsequently does the same, which completely opens up the center of the ice. This is where some blame falls into Leddy’s lap. Instead of remaining stationary on his side he should have rotated to Keith’s position and covered the center/right wing, which was left wide open for Landeskog to walk right in (if you freeze the video at 0.06 all three ‘Hawks players are on the far side of the rink) This is the defensive zone breakdown crap that Q was so pissed about post-game.

    Another rookie mistake by Leddy. He needs to recognize those kind of things.

    But overall it was a bad night defensively, by far the worst the ‘Hawks have had yet. It was their offense that even kept them in the game. Expect Q to be going over a lot of video with the team over the next few days. He was pissed.

  • October 23, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Cody, I give the blame to Keith 1st, Brunette 2nd, Leddy last…

    Tab, I know my rant is getting old but… Keith does not look the same… Montador is just aweful (statue on 3rd goal, missed the net from 12 feet in front on 4 on 1!!!!), Brunette was a statue twice ( 3rd and 4th goal), and offensively he is slowing down the 1st line.

    Hossa must really be hurt… he was invisible until the late deflection ( I love Hoss, but that is the least effort he as given in a long time)… loved Q juggling Sharp to 2nd line and Stalberg to 1st… but Brunette is not working for me ( power play only). Need to bring someone up (Smith, Morin) in a few weeks to add some speed.

    Tab, who is on your radar(once Hawks dump Olesz) , that would fit in well (presumably from a poor/rebuilding team), that would be a great 2nd or 4th line center (Kruger, effort and I.Q. there… too weak physically still). Kane is doing fine, but Brunette is dragging the 1st and lines down IMO.

  • October 23, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I honestly feel we all need to slow down the “Keith is old/sucks/worthless” talk. It’s been 8 games, and he’s been pretty good in more than a couple. Has he been bad? Sure. But to say he’s awful is premature imo.

    re: wall’s question about who is on my radar, the answer is simple: nobody outside the organization. They haven’t been fully healthy for very long, and have plenty of talent. Is Brunette slow? yes. Did we know that before he signed here? Absolutely. But he has good hands (despite Saturday night). If the Hawks honestly think they don’t have the right pieces in the NHL, we’ll see Ben Smith and Jeremy Morin before there will be a trade for someone from somewhere else.

  • October 23, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I don’t know if I like Stalberg on the second line. Carcillo brought some much needed physicality, and even showed some good decision making and passing. Although it’s too soon to tell if it’s a trend, it seemed like Stalberg had a few turnovers and puck bobbles when they were set up in the offensive zone, ultimately ending the Hawk’s attack. Not to mention the shot in the third (?) last night that Stalberg missed; he had net for days.

  • October 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    @wall Say what you want about Keith but he made a lot of defensive zone errors in the 2009-10 season as well, the year in which he won the Norris. He just had Seabrook to bail him out that year. Playing with Leddy exposes the defensive zone breakdowns, case in point, Landeskog’s second goal. It’s not exactly terrible that Keith goes after Winnik at the blueline. It prevents them from entering the zone or get a clean dump in. The problem is Leddy. He needs to shift to fill Keith’s side instead of staying where he is. I don’t know how you can put any blame on Brunette. He did what we was supposed to do by giving support to Keith on the left side. The point is, if Leddy rotates over and coveres the center of the ice/right wing, Landeskog doesn’t go one-on-one with Crawford. End of story.

    Montador hasn’t been that bad. Get off him. Do you want them to bring back Boynton? For a third pairing defenseman he’s a huge upgrade. He’s been far from awful as you suggest.

  • October 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    @Wall We knew Brunette was slow when we signed him but he has good hands around the net and will pay dividends. He faked Varlamov out of his skates in overtime put couldn’t quite elevate the puck or game never goes to shoot out. Plenty of blame to go around defensively but a loss like this has a way to light a fire under a team and I think the play will improve. Lets remember the Hawks just played the best game they have played in over a year against Phoenix less than a week ago. I as well don’t see the Hawk’s going outside the organization at this point. Morin or Smith will come a calling at some point in time.

  • October 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    If the ‘Hawks don’t intend of making an acquisition at any point during the year, than what’s the point of having nearly $4 million in cap space (over $7 million without Olesz) We could acquire virtually ANY player in the NHL come deadline time with that kind of money.

    Personally I have my sights set on Shane Doan. He’s a prototypical power forward that can hit and make plays. He’s a perennial 20-goal scorer and one of more consistent offensive producers in the league (despite an overwhelming lack of talent around him) He’s basically a better, more mobile Brunnette. Plus he provides additional leadership (never a bad thing) and he’s hungry to win a cup.

    Phoenix is going to tank this season and will be looking to dump assets at the deadline. Plus Doan has stated that if Phoenix is out of playoff contention by February he will request a trade. I say trade a 1st rounder and Stalberg for Doan. Phoenix gets two nice rebuilding pieces and the ‘Hawks get a dominating power forward who can help solidify the top six. It might be overpaying but who doesn’t overpay at the deadline for a prime asset? The ‘Hawks have more than a enough prospects that losing a single 1st rounder won’t hurt at all and Stalberg just does fit on this team.

  • October 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I think Cody brings up a good point about Keith. First of all lets take a deep breath and realize just how good Keith is. He is a stud, but I agree not having Seabrook as a partner hurts him and his style. Keith is dynamic, makes plays not other players can make. But he needs someone that reads him and can adjust accordingly. Last night was a perfect example. Seabrook slides over to cover the open ice, Leddy keeps on skating backwards not knowing exactly what to do. I like Leddy a lot, he’s shown big improvement, don’t get me wrong. But lets not forget how young he is and with Keith’s style of play sometimes, Leddy just isn’t there yet to read and react. It happens. We’ll get better.

    My question is, what kind of contract does Olesz have? Does he have a two way deal, can we send him to Rockford?

    What a bad contract that is. It’s amazing how bad teams a lot of times have really bad contracts.

  • October 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    @Jeff Olesz’s contract is one-way, meaning he will receive his $3.1 million salary regardless of whether he plays in the NHL or AHL. He would have to clear waivers to be sent down. If he is claimed, the ‘Hawks are relieved of his entire salary. If he clears and ends up getting recalled, the ‘Hawks still have to cover half of his salary. So in other words, the best case scenario is that he get’s placed on waivers and get’s claimed. That would result in the ‘Hawks having over $7 million in available cap space. But as I said earlier, unless we do something with that cap space, then whats the point of having it?

  • October 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks for that info.

    I guess a point would be, if the organization has made a decision that he’s gonna be a healthy scratch this year, why have him take up a valuable roster spot?

    And this is a business, why pay a guy 3m+ if you have young guys at a fraction of the price that can play? And play better….

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