Blackhawks Fall To Sharks In Shootout

After 65 minutes of hockey, it took two rounds of a shootout for the visiting San Jose Sharks to earn a victory at the United Center on Sunday night.

Hjalmarsson SJ

Jason Demers scored his third of the season to open the scoring in the middle of the first period, and the Sharks would hold onto their lead for more than 30 minutes. But Chicago put two quick scores on the board to take a lead early in the third.

Both of Chicago’s goals came from defensemen. Jonathan Toews set up Niklas Hjalmarsson for his fourth of the year at 1:27, and Marcus Kruger received the only assist on Michal Rozsival’s first of the season less than three minutes later.

Unfortunately, Brent Burns tied the game at 11:01 into the third, and the score would stay tied at two until the shootout decided the game. Burns’ goal came after he delivered a nice crosscheck to Hjalmarsson that went uncalled.

Hjalmarsson was credited with a team-high five blocked shots in the game, while Rozsival was credited with a team-high five hits.

Corey Crawford stopped 40 of 42 shots but allowed both of San Jose’s first two shooters to score in the shootout. Alex Stalock stopped 33 of 35 to earn the victory.

Coach Joel Quenneville put the lines in a blender early and often on Sunday evening. Brandon Saad opened the game on the second line with Patrick Kane and Michal Handzus, but Handzus was replaced by Andrew Shaw by the end of the first period. By the third, Handzus was back with Kane, and Kris Versteeg had moved back to the line opposite Kane with Saad moving to a third line with Kruger and Shaw.

Kane was credited with a team-high seven shots on net in the game, and three more that missed the mark. Handzus skated 15:48 but won 10 of 16 faceoffs. The only other Hawks to win more than half of their faceoffs in the game were Toews, who won 12 of 22, and Patrick Sharp, who won two of three.

Kruger skated 16:08 and only won six of 17 faceoffs in the game; he was credited with one hit and one takeaway with his assist. Versteeg was credited with two hits and two takeaways in the game, and Saad had two hits in the game.

Once again, Bryan Bickell was a ghost. He skated 5:20 – nine shifts – and was credited with one hit in the game. He didn’t step on the ice in the third period, and continues to show a significant lack of confidence while trying to get comfortable on his legs after returning from a knee injury.

The Blackhawks have now lost their last five overtime games. Their last win that came after regulation was a shootout victory in Dallas on Nov. 29.

However, in eight games since Dec. 20, the Blackhawks have killed 18 of 20 penalties successfully. On Sunday night they killed the one power play the Sharks received, a Brandon Bollig penalty late in the first period.

The Hawks host the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.

58 thoughts on “Blackhawks Fall To Sharks In Shootout

  • January 5, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Illegal goal by Burns. It was so obvious, yet no call. I noticed it in real time before the replay. San Jose’s two points were ill-gotten.

  • January 5, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    I saw the icings & boardings/high hit on Sharp.

    What happened on their burns. I didn’t see it.

  • January 5, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Brent Burns cross checked Hammer in the back to give himself space to score. Very obvious.

  • January 5, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    TT can’t get here fast enough… the SLOW 26, 29, and bad 52 are really starting to be exposed…

    What are the options??? Call back guys like 37, 11??? We really don’t like you either- but- you are better than the stiffs we have now…

  • January 5, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Thought the Hawks played well enough to win but didn’t seem like they were on their A game. I’m starting to wonder if the Hawks hit a wall between the Holidays and Olympic break. With so many Hawks playing for their country I wonder if they have looked ahead. The Hawks havent played a full 60 mins in a few games now. No cause for concern now just an observation

  • January 5, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Hawks have played 45 games so far this season. That’s the most in the league and they have been at the top of the league in games played all season. St Louis has only played 41 games. At some point it will even out, but for now its a 4 game gap.

  • January 6, 2014 at 12:19 am

    This game may end up being a very pivotal one for the Hawks this season…the concerns that this board has exposed time and time again for the Hawks, exploded in Q’s face tonight, so much so, that something will have to give as a result…and that’s the good news…

    We ran three lines, one of them centred by Handzus, and lost…AND WE WERE LUCKY to get a point…yes, the Burns goal should never have counted, but without Crawford, the Hawks lose, 6/7-1…if that was Raanta in net, we would have been bombed…when the Hawks roll 4 lines we are virtually unbeatable…when we shorten the bench and skate 3 lines, we are a .500 hockey team at best…and who’s to blame for rolling 3 lines with an organization that bursting with NHL talent??? The Coach, no one else…

    Q steadfastly continues to play Handzus night in and night out as the 2nd line centre…here’s a stat for you that JS pointed out after the last game…Kane has over 20 goals this season and NONE OF THEM have come when he is on the ice with Handzus…is there any need for further discussion??? And Zus is only getting worse…the last 3 games, at least once a game, when the Hawks have broken out of their zone with Zus up near our Blue line, he is only at the opposition blue line by the time Kane or Saad have created a scoring chance…during the 3rd tonight when Kane circled around the Sharks net for over a minute, twice he has to make spinorama moves just to avoid running into Handzus…that’s how bad things got…right now, Zus isn’t good enough to play wing on our 4th line…he “exists” on our 2nd line, because Kane and Steeger/Saad are carrying his aged a$$…because Zus was so slow and useless tonight, when Q shortened the bench, AGAIN, to 3 lines…it was really only 2 lines, as the Zus lined struggled every shift, unless Kane got possession and held on to it for a minute…Zus has been exposed to everyone in the league, and Kane has come back down to Earth over the last few games, as teams simply double team him and force him to the perimeter…

    Bickell and Bollig…wow…Q has had an obligation to play Bickell, as he is coming off an injury and we are paying him $4 million a year…but for the last 2 weeks, Bicks is only getting WORSE…and the last 3 games have been disasters…either Q plays Bickell regular shifts and let’s him “find” his game, or he scratches Bickell until he is healthy…this 5 minutes a night CRAP is killing this hockey team…and now for Bollig…he has single handedly taken apart the 4th line…tonight Ben Smith was the victim, barely skating a shift over the last half of the game, as Kruger was moved to the 3rd line centre spot…a 4th line would have looked like Smith centring Bickell and Bollig and Q didn’t have the comedic background to field that line…so for those who think that Bollig should be a regular Hawk, playing night in and night out…think again…he has taken a powerhouse 4th line that was logging 12-14 minutes a night, often against the opposition’s top lines, and has now forced 2/3rds of it to the bench…while Nordstrom, Ross, Morin and Pirri continue to play in the minors…Nordstrom is now on Ross’ line, and now he’s on fire…but in Rockford he stays…

    When the Hawks skate 3 lines and tax our “superstar” forwards, we are exposed for what we really are…a team of average to above average DMen (who don’t really like contact) and have a penchant for turning the puck over…our Defence is often called the best in the league, and often our goaltenders look a lot better than they are because of our incredible, consistent back checking by all 4 forward lines…but when we shorten our bench, the same “effort” and consistency simply isn’t there from our forwards and our defence look “surprisingly” awful…

    Look at tonight’s game, that couldn’t have been Duncan Keith wearing the #2 uniform, and being talked about as a shoe in for the Norris this season…because #2 was AWFUL…Oduya…awful…Leddy…awful…Seabrook and Hammer average at best…in fact the only good Hawk DMan on the night was Rozy…

    6 weeks ago when Zus was injured…Pirri was centring the 2nd line and Morin was playing on the 3rd line, we controlled games with puck possession, and many commented that the Hawks had the best depth in the NHL…maybe the best depth in Hawks team history…all of a sudden, at home, during an lighter part of our schedule, we couldn’t field 3 solid lines in one game…again, why? Who’s behind this? Its Q and his stubbornness in the face of obvious truth…Zus shouldn’t be skating regular minutes, and shouldn’t be anywhere NEAR the 2nd line and Patrick Kane…Bollig, should be a rotational 12th/13th forward…having to prove himself night in and night out for playing time…allowing younger players with actual talent, to rotate their way into the lineup…but its not happening…and while this continues, we will continue to be outplayed each game, and rely on either excellent goaltending or Patrick Sharp hat tricks to get us wins…

    The good news? This is an EASY fix…(1) give Kane a legitimate 2nd line centre (Versteeg, Kruger, Saad, Pirri, or Shaw)…(2) rotate Zus and Bollig in and out of the lineups…and (3), sit Bickell until he is ready to skate and contribute…if we do this, we are more than fine…you saw CC tonight…we have seen Raanta…Keith and Seabrook have been considered for the Norris trophy…with our 4 great lines, and Q’s total team commitment to defence and back checking, the Hawks will go back to virtually unbeatable…continue this asinine stubbornness with Zus,Bollig, and Bickell, and this disturbing trend will continue…its up to Q now…

  • January 6, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Again, let me stress…the Hawks problems of late are “man made” and are very fixable…but they must be finally addressed, once and for all…Zus cannot continue being our 2nd line centre…and we cannot continue to squash all the talent in Rockford that is NHL ready, right now…

  • January 6, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Bollig, Zues, Bicks…….yep

  • January 6, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Good comments by all. I give San Jose lots of credit for playing a very disciplined tight game. There was little to cheer about last night for the home fans, and the Hawks needed a strong performance from CC as they did not have not very many quality scoring chances. As stated above Rozy was very good too. I doubt the shortened Hawks bench we saw last night will stay that way for very long. I agree that Zus should be rotated in and out of the lineup as his legs are looking even heavier than normal(as if that’s possible?). I think it right that Q sat Bicks for the 3rd. His game was pretty vacant yet again. I read in the Trib. that he is having difficulty getting accustomed to skating with knee braces. He clearly has no jump at all. One would think though that he could be doing other things in his game to compensate? Right now he is a wasted roster spot. When all is considered I’ll take the point last night.

    The officiating crew last night was worse than normal last night. Blown icing calls, to no calls at all from the refs, was advantage Sharks. The Burns crosscheck in front of Hawks net to Hammer clearly provided the space for 2nd Sharks goal. That one had to be called simply because it was so painfully obvious and resulted in a goal. No call late when I think it was Shaw getting pulled down on a D zone breakout was also badly missed as the Hawks had possession and were on the move. Bottom line is these guys were sub par and were about as bad as the refs in the Kid tourney that was just played in Sweden.

    Brad you are 100 % correct in mentioning that the Hawks are a good team rolling 3 lines, but a great team when they skate a strong 3rd and 4th line. Time to make some more call ups from Rockford. Morin and Pirri need to come back to the big club where they can make a difference and take the load off the stars.

    Once again I have to mention how entertaining some of the post game WGN radio interviews have been. Last night with Hammer was hilarious. He had Troy and Judd exploding with laughter to the point Troy had to compose himself to continue the interview. Hammer is a REALLY funny guy and very well spoken. His command of the English language is impressive. I left the game after the OT. No stomach for the shootout(which I hate anyway), and I needed to get my daughter home. How about waking up to -12F this morning. Yikes!

    Stay warm everyone and,

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  • January 6, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Brad- very nicely said…

    The only “thing” that might not be “easily fixed”… Bickell… I am not buying the Knee braces are causing me to be lazy/slow!!!!

    Either his knee(s) are still shot (perhaps off-season surgery required)…or he is just slow with that fat wallet on his ass!!! Perhaps 65/25 made allowed him to look open/ fast…
    I don’t think 29 is fixable if his knees are really the issue… I know from experience- that skating with a torn/partially torn knee ligament is not doable… SURGERY and 4 Million$$$ down the drain!!!

  • January 6, 2014 at 8:14 am

    As Brad says, it is the rolling four lines thing that drives me crazy. I think it is obvious, we are better when the 4th line gets 10-12 minutes a game, but Q will shorten pretty quick. I think he has a weird balance of wanting to win every game and also not caring if we drop a game. It is really strange, but I feel he shortened the bench last night because that is what would give the Hawks (in his opinion) the best chance to win the game; but then if we lost he doesn’t care because it is one game. I can’t really describe it any better.

    I think the game last night will force the hand and at least see some new player up if it is Nordstrom, Pirri, or Morin. I vote for Pirri, but I do not know how his overall game is playing in Rockford…I know his offense is down, but is his defense also suspect? We will see.

  • January 6, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Peter- right now Nordstrom is playing the best by far!!!
    Morin- is either sulking OR actually working on things Q/Hawks asked him to work on!!!
    Pirri- has been hurt – (don’t know injury)- and like Morin- hasn’t been producing!!!

  • January 6, 2014 at 8:36 am

    If Brookbank had been playing last night instead of Rozy the Hawks lose that game going away and don’t even get the one point. With Rozy we are a blown call away from winning in regulation even with the shortened bench and the Bickell issue percolating. The whole season is going to come down to the playoffs so the Hawks should do whatever they have to do to get 4 good lines rolling at that time. With two rings I think we have to trust the Hawks brain trust even though I agree with what is being said on this board.

  • January 6, 2014 at 8:58 am

    That being said, if I have to criticize one thing its the 2 million contract for Khabby. IMO it was a waste that has become clear in 20/20 hindsight because Raanta was ready. People on this blog criticized the Khabby signing at the time before it played out the way it did. Would that 2 million be beneficial now as they prepare for the playoffs? I realize the safer move at the time was to sign Khabby. But I never agreed with it and neither did a lot of other fans. If one offseason move could be redone in hindsight thats my vote.

  • January 6, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Pete, Q is a great bench coach…one of the best in history…but his fielding of lineups is hurting his abilities as a bench coach…he left himself little or no options last night to generate offence by dressing Zus, Bickell and Bollig together…something has to give here…Peter made a very astute comment. which is the juxtaposition of Q’s coaching mentality…in one breath, we play to win NOW, and every point is vital down the stretch if we are going to win the President’s Cup…but in the same breath, he is constantly saying and demonstrating his willingness to “provide opportunities” and allow players to grow…however, those players are “his” guys and not the youth in Rockford…Bollig hasn’t missed a game this year…Bollig has been given PK time (gee, we are ranked at the bottom of the league, and suddenly Bollig doesn’t get any more PK time…), and until late has been given consistently over 10 minutes a night and even taking shifts, until late, in the last minute of the game…ok, I get that Q is trying to broaden his game, and give Bollig a bigger, overall picture to the game…but he’s the only one getting this…certainly Smith has been given similar opportunities, but the difference is that Smith has actually EARNED this time and responsibility…as Peter said, it is an odd fact about Q…

    Wall, the best player in Rockford for 2 months has been Garret Ross…Nordstrom is on fire right now, but then so is anyone who plays with Ross…Dent has taken a slumping team and has rotated the slumping forwards to Ross…when it was Ross, Danault and McNeil, they were the best line, by far, and all were producing…now that they are off his line, their production has stopped (coming on a month now)…when the Broadhursts played with Ross, they were on a huge roll…same thing, without Ross their only points come from PP time…now that Nordstrom and Winchester are skating with Ross, they are hot…now Winchester is back off and the slumping Morin is one…and bang…one game and Morin is off the skids…

    Certainly bringing Nordstrom up wouldn’t be a bad thing…he is too good for Rockford, but so are Pirri (injured), Morin, Ross and Clendening…take my word for it in this one instance…Garret Ross, in a short time, is the stick that stirs everything that is good in Rockford…he is strong, smart, positionally sound, and has learned to get shots on the net…plus Ross is a great skater…he could come up right now and skate 10-14 minutes a night with the 3rd line, in place of Bickell, and do nothing but help the Hawks…

    Phil, you are right…I didn’t want to bring up the officiating because the onus was on the Hawks lack of energy and the usage of 2/3 lines…BUT, those refs were either incredibly blind, or biased…EVERY call in that game went in favour of SJ…and the only penalty was one to Bollig who did nothing more than “gently” defend his team mate who got cross checked head first into the boards…BRUTAL refing…

  • January 6, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Just a comment on shootouts, I know 88 has struggled this year with them and that 10 is probably above his career average. The 2 of them have swapped the 2-3 spots after Johnny, but if its me, there is no way I go into a shootout with the chance 88 will never get a shot. Last night was not the first time we’ve gone down like that. Just a thought, I know we have bigger issues….. Like 6’4 230 big

    last night, another game we grab a point while not really looking that well. We are probably fortunate our point total is as high as it is. Glad to see 50 jump back in and look sharp right away, he’s been solid and should have gotten 2 Ws. Right now this team is just dragging too many boat anchors around to put any kind of a run together.

  • January 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Sr. how could they miss the cross-check on Hammer. I mean come on. If a casual fan like myself can see it on a tv in real time from my couch, how can four expert officials who grew up with the game miss it when they are standing right there.

  • January 6, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Brad- to add… Ross has played with Saad back in Saginaw… they should have some chemistry together… so that might be a good option… gotta be better than 29 skating with a wallet filled w/ $$$$$

    I will have to trust your judgement on Ross as a skater… but I find it hard to believe that Ross skates as good as 42… Watching Swedes vs. Fins… ALL of those Swedes can skate!!! Fins won – cuz TT, Goalie, and better coaching!!!

    I hope Hartman skates as well as Shaw… if yes- he will be a great upgrade to 52 in near future!!!

  • January 6, 2014 at 9:42 am

    RyanDale- why do other teams make it look so easy to waltz in and go top shelf on our goalies in the Shootouts???

  • January 6, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Shoot out attempts should either be top corner or 5 hole attempts. Hawks look like they HATE shootouts. No fun on any faces.

  • January 6, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Even when the Hawks play average they are pretty damn good, they are built on speed and speed to the puck, it is painfully obvious when we do have a few players who don’t play up tempo, quick and fast. So YES, Hawks have a few players that don’t have the overall speed and skating skills but overall they are well balanced. But Think of the difference in speed of Keith Speed vs. Seabrook or think of Saad’s Speed vs. Hossa’s or Sharp Speed to Zus, Bickell and Bollig. But while speed kills Hawks need skill players Zuz is skilled but slow and some WEIGHT like Rozzy who had a great game last night, to make it to the CUP again. Hawks remind of BULLS who rely on 110% defense, hustle and speed and guys like Bozzer don’t fit. So when the TEMPO is off the charts those who have a slow or off game look horrible.

  • January 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

    wall, lmao i tried to ask you the same thing months ago….you never responded. strange 50 can stop penalty shots almost without fail. i think JS Had a theory on it

  • January 6, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I’m almost ashamed to admit I’m a former referee after witnessing 2 BRUTAL no calls that happened within mere feet of a guy wearing the “bands”! I’m not sure if they were by the same guy but if the NHL Officiating is to have any credibility the 2 referees from last nights game need to be taken to task.
    The first call is a dangerous non call where a player could have gotten hurt bad! To add insult to injury he then compounds his mistake by calling Bollig for attempting to address the issue that the ref refused to do.

    The 2nd call was quite obvious for what it was “incompetence”……..

    As a former ref I don’t like to blame the officials, they do a great job 99% of the time, but it doesn’t matter if the infraction was committed a white sweater or a red sweater those calls HAVE to be made!

    WOW its COLD out!

  • January 6, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I’m almost ashamed to admit I’m a former referee after witnessing 2 BRUTAL no calls that happened within mere feet of a guy wearing the “bands”! I’m not sure if they were by the same guy but if the NHL Officiating is to have any credibility the 2 referees from last nights game need to be taken to task.

    The first call is a dangerous non call where a player could have gotten hurt bad! To add insult to injury he then compounds his mistake by calling Bollig for attempting to address the issue that the he refused to do.

    The 2nd call was quite obvious for what it was “incompetence”……..

    As a former ref I don’t like to blame the officials, they do a great job 99% of the time, but it doesn’t matter if those infractions were committed a white sweater or a red sweater those calls HAVE to be made!

    WOW its COLD out!

  • January 6, 2014 at 11:00 am


    Never have I been so bored from a game that had 77 shots.

    I thought the Bronx Cheers from the icing calls was the most entertaining part of the game. Yes, Burns got away with a blatant cross check on his game tying goal. Not as important, but the Hawks got away with a few including Hammer boarding someone in the last minute.

    RD- my thought on Crow in the shootout was probably just a lack of time to get into his own head for the PS. When he’s positionally sound, he’s really hard to beat. I believe he still has one of the higher save percentages for shootouts, Pavelski and Marleu are just really freaking good at them.

    A big problem with last night (something I may have been bitching about for months), is no scoring from the second line. The second line has had NO production. But Patrick Kane all of the points, you say. Oddly, the points mostly occur when on the power play or shifting with another line. It’s hard to break up that top line, since they’ve been so dominant… but Q needs to try something. Throw 29/19/88 out there for a few games and see what happens.

  • January 6, 2014 at 11:10 am

    CC is indeed top 5 save pct for active goalies, though he is 18-16


  • January 6, 2014 at 11:12 am

    only Hank, MAF, Niemi and Varlomov have better %

  • January 6, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Pete, I agree…there’s no way the refs could not have seen the crosscheck on Hammer…the one ref was RIGHT BEHIND the play, and the other was in the high slot…brutal non call…

    Wall, as for Ross, he can skate…but the big thing, is that he’s just such a SMART hockey player…I can’t wait for Hawk fans to see him play in Chicago…I think he has a bigger ceiling than Shaw.

  • January 6, 2014 at 11:37 am

    JS- I like your idea of 10/26/81 again… but 29 is almost as slow as 26 this year (assuming knees)…

    Tab, is it time to start “looking” for that late season add on???
    Nielsen might be had for cheap!!! And How great would Hawks be w/ TT and Nielsen next year???
    I don’t like the Hawks chances this year without late season add + 29 looking bad!!!
    Not to mention- Blues looking great/and don’t have to play Pacific team until WCF’s!!!

  • January 6, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I doubt Stan will tinker with this lineup either from Rockford or outside the organization. The problem w Zus and his lack of production is that Hawks have legit choices at center and neither of them are too far away. TT will probably be with the big club next season and Danault isnt to far off. Those are the Hawks 1st and 3rd rated minor leaguers according to most experts. (Clendening is 2nd FYI). Personally I’ve always got the impression that Pirri wasn’t much more then a stop gap 2nd line center. I thought he played well early on. His defense is a liability and Zus hasn’t been in the past. Add in Q’s track record w Zus and that’s why he is skating his heavy minutes. Zus clearly is not getting it done now but after watching Mr. Conservative Stan Bowman I seriously doubt he makes any type of splash.

  • January 6, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    SSHM…I agree, I doubt the Hawks add any other pieces at the deadline because there are so many centres ready to arrive in Chicago at any moment…but Q must do something about Zus…he wasn’t a 2nd line Centre 10 years ago, and certainly isn’t today…he has killed that 2nd line, and now Bickell is killing the 3rd and Bollig the 4th…6 weeks ago we had the greatest depth in the NHL and likely Hawks history…last night we couldn’t field 3 solid lines…that’s on Q, not Bowman.

  • January 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Sr. Brad is a moron, but then again the sane posters who have stomach enough to periodically drop into this ghost town of a blog already know that. Now that I have that off my chest, a few points.

    1. Bollig has generally been solid all season. Yes, solid in the context of what he role on this team is. He does need to chip in with more clean hits and the like, but overall he’s been an asset to the 4th line.

    2. Bickell has sucked all season…pre injury and post injury…it doesn’t matter. I have to assume that right now he is far from being 100% or pyschologically adjusting to having been injured.

    3. Handzus is an asset to the Hawks, period. To dispute that is silly. Sr. Brad would like us to believe that he’s of superior hockey intellect that Bowman and Q, therefore prescribing the return of the suckfest that is Pirri. 9 out of 10 nights a sane mind would pick the aging Handzus over Pirri or any other current option for a Center role.

    4. Danault will be up soon.

    5. Leddy is the most overrated member of the Hawks. That’s not to say he isn’t talented or that he doesn’t sometimes flash excellent play, but he is doubtful to be with the Hawks beyond this season. Clendening will assume his role and/or the Hawks will add a serious poor man’s Brett Seabrook type for the role.

    6. The Hawks are just fine and will be just fine. The Western Conference is quite competitive right now. There are very few games that are going to be easy the 2nd half of the season, particularly with the idiotic 3 week interuption for the Olympics.

  • January 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I was wondering when Rufus would show up.

    1. Bollig is supposed to be a physical presence that doesn’t make mistakes. He’s done good at not making mistakes. The experiment with him on the penalty kill was a failure and it took forever to address. Now that they removed him, the numbers are getting better.

    2. No doubt Bickell has been bad. To be honest, he’s just returned to non-contract year form. There is obviously something wrong with his skating still that can hopefully be fixed with the Olympic break.

    3. There isn’t a person on this board that doesn’t think Handzus is an asset to the Hawks. But he is NOT better at 2C than Pirri was and I’ve thrown plenty of numbers around that prove it. If you want to see the numbers again, let me know. Handzus would be great getting 4th line minutes and contributing to the penalty kill. Skating him next to Kane for 60+ games is an absolute crime and probably going to be huge ammunition for Kane’s agent. Also, Bowman would LOVE for Q to skate Pirri at 2C. He said it 100 times over the offseason and even more during the season. This is Q’s decision alone.

    4. Where is Danault going to skate? Is Q going to sit Handzus? Shaw? Kruger? Bollig? Smith? According to you he would be up by Thanksgiving. Now you want to add another offensive black hole in the middle? Alright.

    5. Clendening has half the footspeed of Leddy. Sure, he makes up for the lack of speed with great anticipation, but Leddy will still be a RFA when his current deal runs up. He has great value. Also, I’m not sure who Brett Seabrook is, but the Hawks already have a poor man’s Brent Seabrook. His name is Michal Rozsival.

    6. I agree.

  • January 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I’ll say this, Oduya has been BRUTAL the past few weeks. Getting tired of the poor/weak clearing attempts, cowering/afraid of being hit turnovers and inability to clear the front of the net. The goal last nite as he flailed on his a$$ after turning the puck over behind our net was pathetic. As I am a fan of Hammer and Leddy, would far prefer we move 27 (even if it’s just for picks and to clear some cap and roster space), and bring up Clendening or Dahlberg/Johns for some minutes than lose anyone else on D.

    Agree that 3 lines are killing us and not going to get it done. If Bicks can’t go 100% yet (and he obviously can not), sit/rehab him and bring up a Hog (Morin, Pirri or Danault would all work for me). That means sitting Zus and/or Bollig on a regular rotation which makes more sense than burning the stars at this juncture in an Olympic season… Frustrating game to watch, although CC was excellent after his softie..

  • January 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    We havnt seen Ross yet, maybe e gets a chance in the 2nd 40 (that’s when 65 got in…).


    rotate 37 with 26 & 52 with 29. Role 4 lines.

  • January 6, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Well, Rufus, I can be a moron when I spend time “talking” with you instead of my beautiful wife, but other than that…

    Most of what “you” have said, I already have…so I guess that makes you a moron as well…and really, your “idea” that Danault is soon coming up and our saviour pretty much confirms it…as I have said ad nauseam, I like Danault, and in time he will make a good Hawk, but he is NOWHERE near ready right now…if you watched any Rockford games you would know that Pirri, Morin, Ross, Nordstrom and Clendening are ready…that’s it…and then your defence of Zus puts you past a moron…I guess that’s like the sun rising in the east, because it is so far past west…

    Patrick Kane doesn’t have a single goal when skating WITH Handzus and we are past the half way point of the season…what part of DOG don’t you get? I have never stated that Handzus is useless and should be off the team…he’s a quality person and a veteran player who is smart…but his role right now, at 36, should be playing every other game on the 3rd or 4th line…taking key face-offs, and staying fresh for the playoffs…

    Bollig is becoming USELESS…he is little to no physical presence, and when he tries to be, he usually commits a penalty…and last night was a good example as he rushed in and took a worthless penalty when we were down in a 1 goal hockey game…it got him the bench for the rest of the night…and wore Toews, Hossa and Sharp out…

    Now, go back and read what I have typed here…and if you still think I am a moron, then you will explode in 26 seconds…dweezil…

    JS…with Danault, its not only a “where’s he going to skate” factor, but there are so many ahead of him in terms of being NHL ready…there’s a line up leading to the Hawks…and with TTs performance at the world championships, you know he will be with the Hawks starting next season…so it only makes it tougher for a good kid like Danault…

  • January 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Negz, was that around the time 27 took the skate to head/chin area…

  • January 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I know that Brad, but if Rufus thinks he’s coming up soon, I’m just curious as to where he thinks he’s going to play. Since “9 out of 10 nights a sane mind would pick the aging Handzus over Pirri or any other current option for a Center role” that means Danault isn’t bumping Handzus. So I’m curious as to how he thinks Danault will fit the current roster. Since he thinks Bollig is so great as well, I guess that means Smith is the one to sit.

    With the likely arrival of TT next season, the Hawks will have 4 centers on the roster. Not that I think this will be the lineup, but positionally:

  • January 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    A few more notes:

    Neggz- I’ve missed you, come back more often. For the most part Hammer and Oduya see the hardest competition. What this also means is that they get a lot of ice time with 28/16/52. While that line has done a pretty good job of keeping pucks out of the net, they are a possession disaster and numbers indicate that they are likely to crash… hard. So while Oduya has had his sloppy moments, I can’t help but place some blame on the forwards.

    An interesting note on Brandon Saad. A few of us have said that he really needs to work on his shot to become a star in the league. He’s shooting almost 18% which is currently higher than both Patrick’s Sharp and Kane. I’d say the problem with Saad is that he doesn’t shoot enough. He only has 85 shots attempted in 45 games. That isn’t enough.

  • January 6, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I think it is very unlikely that Q breaks in 2 rookies at center next year. It sounds everyone on here can agree the Zus isnt a very likely option moving forward. Love the chatter about Danault but I wonder if he will be NHL ready next year. Thats again the problem about Zus is his replacements are likely 1 and 2 years away at the earliest. In the mean time the Hawks have a Cup to defend and Zus is performing like the Zus from last season and not the Zus from the playoffs.

    So for my money I’m most concerned with outside of Zus/2nd line center role is Bickell. I’m fine with Bickell being a “playoff” guy. Bolland was a playoff guy and won them 2 cups by producing almost a point a game in the playoffs. If he’s going to take the regualr season off he better show up in money time.

    I can live w Nick Leddy’s up and down play, and Oduya’s turnovers but most importantly this team needs to shore up the PK in the 2nd half. Teams that fail on the PK get eliminated EARLY from the playoffs. Teams can win with a below average PP in the playoffs but not a PK.

  • January 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Handzus is here to serve a role, and by all accounts he has done a good job in that role. Should he dress every night? No, he shouldn’t. But we’ve already pissed away enough time and energy with the Pirri experiment to know that he isn’t the answer. The problem is Shaw is not ideal for a 2nd line role. Nor is Kruger. Both Shaw and Kruger are of high and distinctive value in their current line roles. SO BY DEFAULT therefore Handzus has been the 2nd line Center. Not rocket science boys and girls. And Quenneville has done an admirable job of turning his line blender on within games to make sure Kane is paired with others, etc. Do we really have a crisis at 2nd line Center? Hell no ! Not in the least.

    When / if the 2nd line Center issue needs to be addressed next then my guess is Danault gets the tap. But it will have to be at a point where the Hawks can guarantee that he plays every game as a result of somebody being down with injury or whatever. He’s not going to come up and endure the same sort of treatment that is proper for a Rockford shuttle type (e.g., Pirri, Morin). Danault is a nice piece and we don’t want to mess with a nice piece.

    So relax. The Hawks are an elite club whose mission is simple…maintain a good state of team health while securing a top 4 playoff seed in the Western Conference and be ready to kick ass and take no prisoners when game 1 of the playoffs start.

  • January 6, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Neggz, I get your comments on Oduya…he runs hot and cold with his responses to pressure, but as JS and SSHM said, Oduya is a product of our back check…when we roll 4 lines and the forwards come back to help out, Oduya looks like an All Star and has fun out there…but when the bench shortens and the forward help isn’t there, he can wither…

    Oduya will definitely be here the rest of the way this season, and rightly so, but I do think Bowman will move him over the summer to make room for Clendening next year.

    As for Danault, as SSHM said, there is no way Q will start the season with 2 rookie centres…and I don’t know that Danault would beat out Nordstrom for that same spot…assuming that Zus is gone and TT is here, then its Toews, TT, Shaw and Kruger…where does Danault fit in? Plus, as quality a kid as he is, he hasn’t shown that he can produce in the NHL…as for the wings, Morin, Ross, Nordstrom and McNeil would be the 4 first in line to take any available spots…

  • January 6, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    JS- Fair statement that Hammer and Oduya often see the oppositions best, but Hammer is the key to that pairing and frequently bails out 27 when he can’t seem to get the puck out of our zone while avoiding a check. I don’t have the time to dig the stats you are so capable of finding, but I’d guess his TO numbers must be high in relation to his defensive teammates? Similalry, on the stats side of our O, I think you’ve illustrated clearly there can be no doubt that Zus is a problem as 2C. Regardless, the eyeball test alone is clear in that respect. That said, I believe he’s a playoff asset and should be rotated/preserved/rested for that purpose..

    Brad- I agree that Johnny-O likely stays with the team for the season, but in view of the glut of bodies we have at D with the Show at in Rockford, I would like to see Stan explore trading him and his $3.3M for a F/C at the deadline if there’s a 1-2yr 2C for the getting. Could move Leddy up with Hammer, and for the 5-6 comb pair 2 of BB/Rosy/Kostka while getting some exposure for Clendening (if he’s ready?) Would be a big step for Leddy, but with Hammer having a great season and providing the pairing stability- why not? If it doesn’t work out, you could move Rosy up with Hammer (who’s showing more O in his game), and keep Leddy with the rotation he’s already been seeing all year…

  • January 6, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    You didn’t answer the question Rufus. If Danault is coming soon for 2C, where is Handzus going? And if you don’t think Handzus at 2C is hurting the team, I’m not sure you’ve been watching the games. Kane is skating the majority of his minutes with Handzus and he is not producing at even strength. I’d say that hurts the team. Can’t expect 10/19/81 to carry the load every night.

    Brad- I agree that Danault still has a ton of work to do. His numbers at the AHL level are miserable. 2 goals in 33 games with only 10 assists. I know he has a high motor and is a good skater, but how the hell can he not be producing more in the AHL? I hope I’m wrong and he can help this season, but I don’t see it happening.

    If he has a good camp next year I can definitely see him breaking with the team. Simple fix would be to have him be on Shaw’s wing and groom him to take over at center… but again there might be better options at Wing and Q seems to like Shaw at Center.

  • January 6, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Negzz- This might surprise you. It definitely surprised me.

    Player Giveaways Takeaways
    4 51 13
    2 35 28
    27 33 11
    7 33 22
    8 14 6
    32 12 8
    17 9 4

  • January 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    somebody awhile back was high on 4 for the Norris, I was shocked because i knew he was a to machine and kindly said so. he does some good things but…..

  • January 6, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Rufus- I do miss your input… and I don’t believe in Pirri (long term/either) -just like you… but 26 only works w/ 10/81 on 2nd line… the stats don’t lie on this point!!!

    but Danault? he has 12 points all year… the only place he would get a sniff right now is for 52!!! Danault is NOT ready!!!

  • January 6, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Ryan, that was me…up to the 25-30 game mark it was my contention that Hammer was our best DMan…I love Hammer, and his salary cap hit even more…

  • January 6, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Brad, idk bout that..I had a name in mind but I wasn’t going to say. I dont think you and I ever had a direct exchange it, maybe Im wrong. To be clear I am not anti hammer by any means

  • January 7, 2014 at 9:30 am

    JS- Those TO numbers definitely surprise me. That said, not sure how a “TO” is calculated per se? In other words, is flipping/clearing puck out of your own zone (a successful clear but technically a TO), would be considered same TO as failure to clear in your own zone wen gained by opponent? If so, #4’s ability to get to puck in D zone and clear it could be tilting those numbers? Interesting..

  • January 7, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I’m not really sure how they define a giveaway/takeaway. Seems to me that the Hawks defense would have a lot as a team because of the amount of stretch passes they try. I also wonder if it’s like the “hit” stat where it’s just judged by the home scorer. Hits are especially funny because of how they are credited. Check the Leafs hits home versus road.

  • January 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Definitely, you are always at the mercy of the guy doing the tabs and they are erratic at best. Pretty sure what neggz is referencing would not, or should not, be considered a gvway though. Just my take. And if those instances were included it seems the numbers may well be much higher than what we are seeng

  • January 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    variables at play here but….not a single giveaway in 45 games for Bollig. Only player in the NHL who can say that.

  • January 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    That’s only because he never has the puck.

  • January 7, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    true, and thats a variable! :)

  • January 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    JS- “that’s because 52 never has the puck”… hell, 52 is never even on my screen (and mine is 46” wide), when 16/28 are w/ puck!!!

    Perhaps 52 is assisting 26 off of the ice when 16/28 are battling for the puck!

  • January 7, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    He’s a lot like Handzus in that he takes forever to catch up to the play… and by the time he enteres the offensive zone, 16/28 are already pinned up against the boards behind the net. This is why I laugh at the idea of 52/26 on the ice at the same time. They would never see the offensive zone.

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