Blackhawks Hang On, Sweep Wild

The Blackhawks eliminated the Wild on Thursday night, and the most telling stat of the series was easy to pick out: Patrick Kane scored five goals; the entire Minnesota roster scored seven.

Game Four was chippy from the opening drop of the puck, as Ryan Suter took a whack at any Hawks player within the reach of his stick on the first period. Suter wasn’t alone, though, as Matt Cooke joined in with his standard brand of dog crap “play.”

But as the other teams have found over the last three years, cheap shots don’t win a seven game series in the NHL postseason. And while Suter was hitting the wrists of his opponents, the Hawks were scoring goals.

Brent Seabrook banked a shot off Marco Scandella’s skate and past Devan Dubnyk in the first period to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

Even with the dirty play, the first period ended without either team sending a player to the penalty box and both sides putting eight shots on net. Corey Crawford was perfect in the opening 20.

Jonathan Toews, who took a nasty Suter slash across the wrists in the first period, was the first player to head to the box in the second. His teammates killed off the penalty, and Toews set up Marcus Kruger for a good scoring opportunity quickly after leaving the box. Nino Niederreiter hooked Kruger to break up the attempt and went to the box.

On the ensuing Hawks power play, Andrew Shaw slapped a loose puck past Dubnyk to extend the lead to 2-0. Erik Haula cut the lead in half less than four minutes later, but the the period would come to a close with the Hawks hanging onto a 2-1 lead.

The third period opened with strong back-and-forth play (and more cheap shots), but it went absolutely crazy in the final seven minutes of regulation.

At 13:20, Bryan Bickell made a nice pass to an attacking Kane who rifled a shot thru Dubnyk. It appeared Dubnyk anticipated contact from Bickell and allowed Kane’s shot to get past him and in. That goal extended the lead to 3-1, a lead many assumed would be enough.

Bickell went to the box for boarding at 16:02 and Mike Yeo pulled his goalie, a bold, desperate and necessary move. Unfortunately for Minnesota, the first goal scored on the power play was a short-handed empty net tally from Marian Hossa. That goal made the lead 4-1, and many of the fans in attendance started making their way to the exits.

But, as we said, Hossa’s goal was the first of that power play. Jared Spurgeon scored 49 seconds later – still on the same power play – to make the game a bit more interesting at 4-2.

When Niederreiter scored 51 seconds later to make the score 4-3 with 1:27 left in regulation, nerves started to wear thin all over Chicago.

A frantic final 80 seconds followed that saw Dubnyk rush to the bench, the Blackhawks take a penalty for too many men with 15 seconds left in regulation and Crawford making just enough saves to escape with the victory.

And then the brooms could comfortably come out. For the third straight year, the Blackhawks eliminated the Minnesota Wild. And for the fifth time in seven years, Joel Quenneville’s team will play in the Western Conference Final.

The extra days of rest waiting for the winner of the Anaheim-Calgary series will be needed. Sadly, it appears Michal Rozsival’s season (career?) may be over after a gruesome ankle injury in the second period. Thomas Vanek had a breakaway and Rozsival’s lower leg buckled. Crawford was able to make a big save on the annually underwhelming Vanek, but Rozsival wasn’t able to put any weight on the leg and needed to be helped off the ice.

For all the flaws in Rozsival’s game, he’s at least a battle-tested known commodity. Now, the Blackhawks will likely need more than the 8:25 skated in Game Four by Kimmo Timonen.

Who replaces Rozsival will also be very interesting. Because Rockford is still alive in the AHL playoffs, only Kyle Cumiskey has been recalled. Quenneville’s options are limited to Cumiskey, David Rundblad and rookie Michael Paliotta – unless someone else is brought up. Duncan Keith skated 29:39 in the elimination game.

Toews won 13 of 26 faceoffs and picked up two assists in the game. Bickell was only credited with one hit but also had two assists, and Kane added an assist to his goal in another stellar offensive performance.

Crawford finished the night making 34 saves against 37 shots and proved his doubters to be wrong in writing him off during the first round series. He was a key to the Hawks sweeping Minnesota.

67 thoughts on “Blackhawks Hang On, Sweep Wild

  • May 7, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Hawks had very active sticks tonight and we’re able to frustrate the Wild most of the game. Great back checking by the forwards and solid game by the defense and Crawford. Who would have thought that Hossa’s goal would be the game winner. With all their talent, how could they miss so many yawning cages. Maybe the guy that replaces Rosival.

  • May 7, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    Awful for Rozy. Obviously he is often chagrined here but that’s a terrible way to go out potentially. He was playing much better as of late.

    You’re right about the new #5 defenseman. Hawks take precedence over the Hogs but I doubt the Hawks add someone like Pokka or Johns.

    Rundblad: probably not
    Cumiskey: doubtful
    Paliotta: no

    Timonem looked okay tonight playing very limited/sheltered minutes. He definitely needs to hit atleast 12+ minutes to balance the workload unless someone in the pressbox can step up.

    Get well soon Rozy!

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Great win by the Hawks, but what a wild and bizarre finish. When Toews hit the iron I thought karma was gonna turn on us.

    What happened to the Wild? Difference from last years series is definitely the capability of Q to roll four lines. Hawks are very solid at center and that has carried them, as well as the great contributions from ‘Showtime’ and Hoss.

    Tough break with Rosy goin down, considering that he was playing pretty good. Gotta think Q will give Runblad the 6th spot right? Good that Hawks can get some rest and hopefully Calgary can extend their series with a win tomorrow night. Go Hawks!!

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Yeo interview/statement after the game..”Well it sucks”…Yah I guess so if your a Wild fan. Think this guy has Blackhawk nightmares all summer long? Oh well ( hands in the air) ..tooo bad.

    Losing Rozy is not good. I realize many here just plain don’t like the guy but he has been instrumental. The team was rattled enough after carrying him off the ice to lose concentration and allow a goal. Its a blow for us for sure to lose a veteran like that. His play in this series has been admirable.

    Things could have been not so haywire and frightful if Toews got that empty netter …hurried and paniky shot, …Wild got some puck luck on that one, thats what my official take on it is.

    We won this game in a somewhat dominating style ..Dubnyk was burned out, Wild were outclassed, outplayed, out everything ..its that simple. Yeo and the much ballyhooed Wild swept away. Bring on the Ducks/Flames, we are looking good.

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:22 am

    Heart of a champion, hawks get to 4 wins in the series. Getting better and better up and down the lineup, momentum increasing.

    Konrad and j. Mayers both said on Comcast that Rundblad as a righty will replace Roszival. Remember he’s only going to get about 6 shifts and 3 minutes.

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:32 am

    Never saw this coming, I thought the Wild were poised to knockoff the Hawks. I thought they made the moves to compete and win.They NEVER led, not for 1 second. They trailed the entire series. What a statement by the Hawks. Toews said it after the game. They Wild were a good team and the Hawks focused and played at a level i hadnt seen all season. Im proud of this team for they effort, determination and focus.

    Tough loss for Rosy, its ashame his Hawks career is likely over. Give him credit for giving everything he had.

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Right on south side. I will never forget Rosy’s shot from the point, toward the Boston net, double deflection in the Cup finals and the Hawks win game 1 in triple overtime. Tornadoes outside that night, bedlam inside.

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:43 am


  • May 8, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Rosey- will be missed versus BIG forwards of Ducks… he is one of the few D men on Hawks that can separate a BIG man from the puck… wts- I wish the Hawks would have given Johns several games this year… Cuz I don’t like The Bad #5,, he skates great – but is prone to the Brain cramps, and doesn’t like to compete-imo

    Johns- would be nervous for sure- but I really trust him more than 5

    Perhaps Q will skate Cumiskey??? I know he’s lefty… Rbad- scares me

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:51 am

    Now we need Brian Burke to ramp up the truculence against Da Ducks. If any team can create havoc later in the game, defy logic, come from no where and play possessed its the Flames. May the series go the distance.

    SSHM…methinks you drank the media Kool-Aid, but we, or at least I, forgive you for doubting, …maybe you could offer to cut Joels grass this summer at least once…its better than a hairshirt.

    Lion in the tall grass on the Serengetti ….others are now fearful having seen the remnants of the vanquished. Vae Victus…” woe to the vanquished”

  • May 8, 2015 at 1:44 am

    Our household sends our hopes, prayers and best wishes for a full and speedy recovery for Micheal Rozsvival. We hope it is not as bad as it looked. Dodged a bullet on the wicked slash on Toew’s wrist, thought it was Suter, frustration takes over I guess. Does the hand pass off the face-off penalty not apply to the Wild? Twice in last two games. I thought Hjalmarsson was nothing shy of incredible the entire game. That long, floating, drop pass to Bickell on the Kane goal was a thing of beauty. If only Cutler had that touch. CC was amazing again, and you can add Dubnyk’s name to the long list of net minders that he has out-played in a play-off series. Fourth line shines again. Runblad the best option? I like Pokka but that would be tough situation to throw him into. Would be nice if Calgary could give them 4 more days of rest. Go Hawks!

  • May 8, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Alright, who had the Hawks in 4 to start the series? Anyone?

    Awesome win boys. Rest up.

    Rundblad Cumiskey Paliotta or Johns?

  • May 8, 2015 at 5:37 am

    A whole lot of you guys wanted Roszival put out to pasture, well you got your wish.

    A week to as much as 10 days before the next series, we’ll see what happens with the Ice Hogs series because Stephen Johns as of right now is probably the best choice.

  • May 8, 2015 at 6:16 am

    Coo loo coo coo, coo coo coo coo.

    Beauty Playing.

  • May 8, 2015 at 6:44 am

    Ernie… I had them in five? close i guess.. lol

    I would think we will see Johns or Paliotta. if it was timmo who was out, I’d think Runblad or Cuminsky could take timmo’s 7 minutes and then whatever. But with it being Rosy, I would lean towards one of the first 2 (especially vs ANA). Im going to go out on a limb and say Paliotta gets the nod. With RFD still kicking in the A, Paliotta has a week + to get to where Q wants him. They will ask him to just play tough D and to dont do anything too flashy… Keep it simple will be his motto.

    Now starts the “how much rest would be too much rest” debate. We are looking at a minimum of 5 days. Even if all the series close out by Sunday, we probably start up Wed the 13th. (Worth noting the Bulls play would be game 6 on the 14th at home). So if its Calgary the 14th is out. if Anaheim, we would be on the road, so kinda meaningless. That said, there are potential games all the way through the 14th for this round, which would mean next Friday or Saturday, and then the “rust” conversation starts…

    Note Carry over from game 3…
    1. Patrick Kane is still good at hockey.

  • May 8, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Just to add to my comment about Johns … in the Rockford – Grand Rapids series Game 2 is tonight and then Games 3 & 4 are Wed. and Thurs. in Rockford, a Game 5 is i believe a week from Sunday 5/17.

  • May 8, 2015 at 7:23 am

    – 3 straight years and still i dont feel any rivalry with that team…too bad they aren’t the North Stars anymore. That would be something worth bragging about

  • May 8, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Suter played horrible the entire series really a non-factor for such a force. Shaw even gave him problems. Not having Stewart like Webber was helpful.The Hawks have not played this well with Team Defense in Years. This is because they like most “bloggers” here they know our d-men are beat up out of rotation (rozy out) and they need to cover on the back check and between the blue lines.
    Wild played Mild (horrible, no tenacity until the end? ) as the Blues series really took it ALL out of them it was actually sad to watch all the potential fall thru thin ice. YEO is FIRED This shows a fan what a Physical Series can do to a team, hockey is punishing.

    Minor observations
    1 -Vermette continues to drift and be very slow to the puck on offense forecheck, he is playing error free on defense but he’s gotta help Sharp and TnT out on the dump in, chip chase etc. He’s consistently late or reaching or drifting up out of the zone and TnT is not that guy and Sharp is playing so hard. He is closing on the checks in the d-end. I see him playing much better vs. ducks as he’ll get better match-ups.
    2- That was CROW’s BEST GAME of the series, better than the shut-out, solid and even giving up a few late in desperation, he was calm, and did not drift between the post as he does sometimes and really came out hight to take away any angles and he rebound control continues to be amazing. Good for Crow and the Hawks because Ducks will bring big bodies big time!
    3 -I would like to see Rundblad in for Rozy, I think he has the most “instant impact” and vs a bigger Ducks team, skating the puck up and out of our zone is important plus he is one of the best offensive d-men. Hawks team defense allows us good with a little more speed and a strong accurate shot.
    4 -Only bad play last night was Bicks Penalty . . . otherwise the foolish Wild felt if they just keep it close they would close it out, but that is one way NOT to BEAT the HAWKS, to BEAT the Hawks well ya gotta BEAT the HAWKS like physical like the blues and kings do. Ducks are big but not as physical and like the hawks love to pass and hit when needed.

    Ducks Hawks will be a great series much faster and more offense than last years kings!

    go hawks

    proud of this team a sweep is not easy and they sort of did it easily?

  • May 8, 2015 at 7:44 am

    to Craig Nigrelli’s comment about Rundblad “only getting 6 shifts & 3 minutes” – so…. is Timonen suddenly skating 18 minutes or is Keith skating 48? Someone has to pick up 18 minutes of ice time.

    Looking to the future, I would love to see Paliotta get some consideration. He fills the right-handed shot requirement handed down by Konroyd & Mayers, has some more size, and a big shot. He’s the future; Rundblad is a bandaid for no more than 14 more games.

    That said, the odds of Quenneville playing a rookie w/ as much experience as Paliotta in a conference final game are about as good as Matt Cooke winning the Lady Byng, so…

  • May 8, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Agree w/ Hofmeister, Johns best option and should take Rozy’s spot; however, agree w/ Tab, likelihood of Q playing rookie 15-18 mins laughable. Q will go w/ Cumiskey, known commodity to him.

  • May 8, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Wow what a finish. Hope any board friends with a heart condition are still with us today.

    I expected a lot more out of the Wild in this series. For a team that was the hottest in hockey they sure did not look the part against the Hawks. Minnesota did not get the bounces in game 3 and that seems to seal their fate. Agreed that this is nowhere near the old North Stars rivalries. I did rather enjoy the news nugget yesterday that someone had changed the Wild Wikipedia page to note that the team was owned by Patrick Kane.

    32 has been eating a lot of minutes and hasn’t been terribly exposed in the process. This is a big loss no matter how you cut it. Now they have a huge decision before the WFC. Q has to go with Runblad right? He’s played the most minutes with the team during the regular season. Cumiskey never really showed anything and Palliotta just isn’t ready. Good thing we closed out early, hopefully the Flames can take at least one more. 2, 7 and 4 are going to need the rest!

  • May 8, 2015 at 8:22 am

    It bears repeating, our sincere appreciation to Doug Wilson for Desjardins. Hierarchy needs to make sure Wilson has a spot on one of the parade floats, they omitted him in ’13.

  • May 8, 2015 at 9:19 am

    It simply amazes me how this Hawks team has this flair for the dramatic. Be it scoring clutch goals in crunch time or gutting out a nail biting finish to ice down a game. There was huge commitment to close out that series by the Hawks last night, although when the Cpt hit iron late I immediately thought that one is gonna find a way to bite them, and it almost did…

    Such a pity to see Rozy go down with looked like a horrific ankle injury. While I was dismayed at times with his play, the guy always gave what he had. I think perhaps it would have been better if he had been platooned more, but that 3rd paring was a problem all year for Q and will remain so in this run for the Cup. Rozy actually elevated his play in the Wild series for the most part, and used his bigger body effectively when he was in position to make plays. He is long in the tooth no doubt, but has been an important part of this since his acquisition.

    So the Hawks 3rd d pairing will be much discussed as we wait(hopefully another game or two) for the Ducks to take out Calgary. How does Cumisky/ Johns work for you guys? I just think Timonen is not the answer. As much as he tries, apart from some smarts he can’t keep up with the pace of NHL playoff hockey. Rundblad has offensive skills, but defensively how could you pair him with Timonen. I get scared of that combo just sitting here typing. How far can Q ride the top 2 d pairings moving forward against a tough Ducks team that has a relentless forecheck? Those guys bring the body hard.

    Crow basically threw out a big screw you to the media that wrote his ass off after 2 shaky games against the Preds. The guy is a proven winner and has a big heart. He pretty much the the guy in game 2,3,and 4. I’m very proud of CC who remains the Rodney Dangerfield of NHL goalies. Very proud of Corey Crawford.

    Matt Cooke was and always will be a bum. Classless POS.

    Funny to read Wild blogs. Half the guys there think their team needs few changes. Are they nuts? That horse ran hard, but was gassed at the end. Suter overplayed and overpaid. Pominville and Vanek, overpaid. Parise is a great player and should be Cpt, cuz, Koivu does not lead by example. Dubnyk is decent, but overachieved to get Wild into the playoffs. This group has some big holes to fill IMO to beat the Hawks or the cream of the crop in the Western Conf.

    Victory Friday feels awesome despite bleary eyed start to the day. It feels great to see our team back in conference finals which is all we can ask for. A big time shot to bring home yet another Cup. Gotta love this team! These guys love the big stage.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  • May 8, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Terrible what happened to Rozsival. I’ve been as hard on him as anyone, but that was just brutal to watch. To the people on social media celebrating that injury, take a long walk off a short pier. Really interested to see how they go about replacing him. I know during the Nashville series I was asking for Rundblad, but Rozy has been playing really good hockey since game 3 of round 1.

    I don’t think Kane has ever been this hot in his life. What’s kind of a shame is that Duncan Keith has been so good and really deserves a Conn Smythe one of these days, but it isn’t going to happen if Kane keeps playing out of his freaking mind in the playoffs.

  • May 8, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Agree with JS, anybody wanting a player to get injured is an idiot. I have also been hard on Rozy but he did play his best hockey this series. Q has an interesting decision to make. I am leaning towards Paliotta because of his size. 44 can not and will not play more than 8-9 minutes. He is a huge liability. If Johns is as good as everybody says maybe he should be the guy. I sure hope Versteeg doesn’t sneak back in the picture.

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Best wishes to Rosy. Despite all the complaints about him, no one wants to see someone go down like that.

    Would love to see them bring up Johns. Also would love to see them go with Paliotta. I don’t believe either will happen because they have not spent enough ice time with the team. I think Q goes with Cumiskey in Rosy’s place even though he is lefty. I wish Q would trust some of his young talent.

    Great series Hawks!!! I am tired of hearing the media discuss how the Wild did not play well. They played their best. They were outplayed, outclassed, & outcoached by a superior team; the CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS. Several of those same media people keep rooting against the Hawks and also keep pumping up the Rangers, Rangers, Rangers. Screw the Rangers. Glad to see the Caps taking them down a peg. Sorry media people, but the Hawks are Champions. The Hawks of 2010-2020 will go down as one of the best teams in history. Glad to be a witness to see them making history.

    Go Hawks!!! I want the Ducks so I can Kesler cry like a baby when the Hawks knock his team out of the playoffs AGAIN!!!

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:30 am

    re: Doug Wilson appreciation – Ben Smith isn’t getting Desjardins for free by any means, but he’s been solid. A very good trade for both sides.

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Speaking of media, I am a reader. The blogger for the Wild disappeared and has been silent after game three of the series. After yapping his team up for weeks, I find his silence rather amusing.

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Worthy of mention:

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Booman- I think I remember him posting that he had some personal stuff going on… so it seems there is more the story there.

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:48 am

    TT continues to impress big time – he is 100 times better defensively than Versteeg and grows more confident each game with the puck. That bastard Cooke led again with his knee on Hammer – quite frankly don’t know how that guy is still in the league. Don’t see Paliotta getting the call to replace Rosy – not only is he a rookie but he hasn’t been in a game at all for several weeks. Damn shame for Rosy to suffer such a brutal injury – while he had some challenges he was a warrior on the ice.

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:49 am

    What happened to Jonis Brodin, was he even dressed in the series. That kid looked like a star a few years and was completely nonexistant. Thomas Vanek, Pominville, were totally absent they did zero. How many times did Vanek or Pominville fail to finish ? Those are their so called finishers.

    I was waiting for Dubnyk to crack and it started towards the Blue series. Racking up numbers in the reg season is one thing but the playoffs are another animal. Dubnyk look like a average goalie in this series.

    If you are a Wild fan you are stunned. Paul Allen was on the score picking the Wild in 6 games(as did I), glad i was wrong.

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:56 am


    I’m not sure if u caught the post game after Detroit was knocked out. While Babcock said he wasnt going to talk about his contract, he did talk about the roster next year and he didnt sound like a guy who was going to be there. He made it a point to address the teams overall age and the lack of younger guys stepping up to fill the shoes of Posh and Zetterburg. Reading between the lines he didnt sound like a guy coming back.

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Expect Q to go with next man up on defense … Runblad on deck with Cumiskey in the hole. Next question should be what are the D parings that make the most sense with 5 and 44 needing to consume 25 – 30 minutes of ice time.

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:58 am

    RYANDALE, I agree, not feeling the hatred of rivalry for the Wild either but I suspect that’s because it’s a Hawks fan’s perspective. I’ll bet the Wild fans feel the rivalry from their perspective.

    “Workman like effort” – that’s what the Hawks had in this series. While the phrase carries a boring connotation, I don’t mean it like that. What I mean is that the Hawks knew how they had to play and just went about the business of doing it. Been there, done that, mindset. Very impressive, especially compared with the inconsistent play witnessed throughout the regular season. They flipped the switch to “playoff mode” and did it like they’ve done it in the past. This is a good team. Maybe a championship team.

    My hunch is Q will elect to go with either Cumiskey or Rundblad. Paliotta looked like a deer in the headlights in his brief appearance. None of the Hogs have played in an NHL game, much less a playoff game, and we know about Q’s “circle of trust”. Q probably trusts Cumiskey more than Rundblad but he’s a lefty and he needs someone to play on the right side – so my guess is Rundblad gets first crack and may the hockey gods have mercy on us.

  • May 8, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Tim G,
    Thanks for the clarification. My apologies if I kicked someone that is down for whatever the reason. Best of luck to him.

  • May 8, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Tough times for Rosy. I love the guy. He may not be as fleet of foot as our other D men, but the guy gives it everything he has every shift. He is a warrier and will be missed.

    There is no way that any of the young guys from Rockford will play in these playoffs. To ask a young player who has NEVER played in an NHL game to lace ’em up and play in the conference finals is crazy. Q will go with Rundblad with Cumiskey on deck, which makes a lot of sense. The only other alternative is Cumiskey with Rundblad on deck.

    Either way, we said that we would not know anything about this team until it got to the playoffs. We know now!!

  • May 8, 2015 at 11:34 am

    I would like to see Johns… but doubt if it happens… but He is BIG and can actually separate the BIG clowns from Ducks from pucks… but still – not proven in NHL- so could be tough on him…

    Rbad- I see why he was a top pick- when he skates – but just when you think he has turned the corner in a positive way… He hands the puck over for a GRADE A chance or two for the other team…

    Paliotta- in his one game- I kinda agree w/ ER… Looked like Paliotta was really over-thinking/learning… Now that is positive, that he can actually think/learn (didn’t see any of that from C-den),,, BUT- It is the PO’s… he won’t/doesn’t have time to think and react-now- or it will be in the net

    Cumiskey- is the “safe Q choice”… problem is he is lefty… but I think- #5 gets the nod,,, with a super short leash wrapped around his neck,,, the moment #5 poops his pants (and He WILL)… we will see Cumiskey

    MS- Spot on with TT… I think I counted at least 3 times were he snuck behind Wild – lifted stick and got the puck… even did it to Parise… Yet TT only had 1 take away??? I don’t get that stat… TT- really shies from almost all contact… but impressive/sneaky with that stick/timing…

    Watching some of Panarin- he has that same elite/hands… to lift the stick at exactly the right time,,, Hoss, and Kane like— at such a young age…

  • May 8, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I appreciate Saad’s play to get Toews the puck, but Saad had an easy empty net, shoot it Man-Child, SHOOT IT!

  • May 8, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Kaner is so hot it scares me… took a few (decent) hits this series and didn’t seem rattled, good sign. Sad to see Rozy go down, that twisting motion gave me chills last night, hope he recovers quickly.

    As for his replacement, I think we’re looking at Rundblad for game 1 only because of his experience, Q likes experience (especially come playoff time). But we’ll see how he picks up the slack, wouldn’t mind seeing Paliotta thrown in there if he can’t deliver.

    Overall, great team effort… I’m loving these rolling 4 lines, a lot of confidence brewing going into this WCF. If it’s Hawks v. Ducks, I’ll be in Anaheim with 9,000 other Hawk fans drowning out the Ponda Center. Cheers from LA, GO HAWKS!

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I think that the defender situation may depend on who they end up playing. If Calgary then I dont think it matters. If the Ducks they may want to give Johns an emergency call up (which I am nearly positive that they can) since he big and mean and playing out of his mind at the AHL level at least.

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    A few comments if I may, first, all this complaining about the Wild or the refs is completely futile. The Wild weren’t even called for penalties for all of their “stick work” so why waste your breath on something that is considered LEGAL during the playoffs. The NHL postseason is what it is! The Wild are no more a “dirty” team than STL or anyone else. In fact, down 4-1 the Wild maintained their composure and made a game of it.

    Second, there was a valuable lesson to be learned by the Hawks over the last 3 minutes of the hockey game…the entire team, including Q forgot to SLOW THE GAME DOWN! The Hawks seemed focused on hurrying up and getting the game over with instead of slowing things down allowing their top 2 checking lines, defence and goaltender to catch their breath! The 4-2 goal went in because Crawford was tired and scrambling around. When that shot came from the point, he had one skate on the ice! All CC had to do was just stand there and even with the deflection the puck doesn’t go in. The 4-3 goal saw the Hawks sag and collapse on Crawford who was tired and went back to his old habit of staying on his knees. Take your timeout, be slow getting up off the ice, adjust your equipment, have the coaches attempt to talk to the refs, all of this takes valuable time and slows down the pace. The Hawks rushed right into the Wild’s hands who were INCHES from tying the game!

    Third, tough break for Rozy, but that occurred because his knees weren’t functioning at 100%. He wasn’t able to pivot because he couldn’t exert the force necessary through his knees and thighs and the planted ankle buckled. This is likely the end for Rozy’s career, and did you see him trying desperately to get back up and get back into the play? What a warrior, what a hockey player! Such a great lasting memory for Rozy’s NHL career! A big thanks to Rozy who did his best to make things work for the Hawks by giving us those 17 minutes a night!

    Fourth, the Rozy injury is bigger than most of you appreciate. Tab touched upon the heart of the problem. It isn’t a simple case of promoting Runbad for 6 shifts and 3 minutes. SOMEONE HAS TAKE OVER ROZY’S 17 MINUTES A NIGHT! Keith can continue skating 30 minutes a game, the Hawks are 8 wins away from another Cup, so he can handle it, but the Hawks MUST have 5 Dmen on a regular rotation to make it work. Will it be Timonen? Likely not, as he has looked okay out there because his spots are carefully chosen for him and he is playing only 8 minutes a night. Will it be Runbad? Forget it! Not only does he not compete and play the body as Wall and Tab pointed out, but he is not used to skating 17-18 minutes a game! His legs will sag come the third period, when it counts. So who then? I agree with Hof that Stephen Johns is the best candidate to become that #5 Dman, however, the chances of Q taking him out of the AHL playoffs into his first ever NHL game (in the Conference finals) are as Tab said, slim and none. That leaves either the “Q approved” veteran Cumisky or the College rookie Paliotta. On the surface it would normally be a hands down for Cumisky, but I don’t know, Paliotta has been practising with the team for a little over a month and did get a game in, on the road. And while one poster said he struggled, he didn’t! He had a bewildering first period (completely understandable) and settled right in and played well over the last two periods with significant minutes. Paliotta is not only a right handed shot, but as Wall and Tab pointed out, he’s a big, physical body who will win puck battles, and clear out the front of the net, the Hawks WON’T get that from either Runbad or Cumisky. Plus, as Tab said, giving Paliotta this chance is INCREDIBLE experience for next season when we are likely going to need him! There is simply a ZERO CHANCE that Paliotta is going to be any worse than the turnover machine Runbad or the mighty smurf Cumiskey.

    Give Paliotta this chance to become the #5 Dman, leave Timonen as the 8 minute a night #6 Dman and continue to help them as much as possible. Right now, the Hawks are simply dominating the centre of the ice, and our Top 4 Dmen are ALL playing elite hockey in front of a focused Corey Crawford. We are so close to another Cup that I can already taste it, we are that good right now. Defaulting to known weaknesses in Runbad and Cumiskey would be a mistake. Paliotta is familiar with the Hawk’s system and players, give this confident young man a chance to grab his destiny!

    One last thing, Bickell and Sharp showed exactly why they should be retained this offseason. Bickell may have been charted with only one hit, but he was a physical presence all over the ice. He had two HUGE assists, moved the puck through the neutral zone effectively, and helped maintain the cycle in the offensive end. He and Sharp are complete hockey players and are WINNERS! Huge games by both Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravanien and both did all the little things well and really added to our dominating performance! TT is here to stay!

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Giveaway/takeaway numbers massively skewed in positive favor of the Hawks last night. Says alot about their tenacity and structure.

    Wall, I don’t think Teuvo shies away from contact, but he avoids it by just making the right play with his positioning.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    I think we should go with Cumiskey and Rundblad and sit Timo. Against the bigger forwards I don’t see Timo being very effective and Rundblad can play Timos 7 or 8 minutes meaning Cumiskey would soak up most of Rosy’s minutes. It’s a shame Paliotta didn’t get more games after he was signed to determine if he was capable of handling himself at this level. The one game he played he looked lost.

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    The Blackhawks won 136-of-247 faceoffs in the series. Jonathan Toews was 46-of-82 and Antoine Vermette was 35-of-49. Almost every major F/O that the Hawks needed to have, they won!

    Bickell leads the NHL playoffs in hits, most of them of the punishing variety!

    Corey Crawford finished the series with a .947 save% while Dubnyk was at .901.

    Why are the Hawks now dominating in the playoffs?

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Re: Rosey- never a good sign when skater is facing North and his toes are pointing South!!!

    Phil- that was the Stat of the game… Zero give-aways to 12 or 19 ( I forget) in Hawks Favor…. If the Hawks can continue that… I love Hawks chances… Problem is – Like I mentioned Before… RUNBAD- is a Turnover machine… (while 27, 32, and others had their issues all year0- leading/cause of many of the Hawk’s losses this year… those guys really have cleaned it up in Wild series…

  • May 8, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    BT – Are you a Ducks season ticket holder? I might be out there and try to go to game. Just wondering how difficult getting a ticket is.

    I’m wondering who played defense for each game against the Ducks and Flames. I know they lost 1-0 to the Ducks early in the year at home but won 4-1 and dominated at Anaheim in November. I think the other game was also 4-1 or 3-1 and the Hawks played well.

    One very minor complaint. Don’t telegraph the pass to Kane even though he still scores. Bickell did it last night and a couple others in other games.

  • May 8, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    re: Bannerman & Belfour – if Bickell & Sharp have shown why they must be retained this offseason, where are you coming up w/ $10M to get under the cap? I know you’ll say Crawford, but I submit the 82-game regular season is enough for me to part ways w/ 29 ahead of 50 any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I get that we all love players for who they are in April-June, but let’s be realistic w/ the math when we’re looking ahead to the summer’s financial decisions. Some guys have to go (and not just Richards, Oduya & Rozsival). Just get ready to be disappointed when a name you’ve liked for the last 3 weeks isn’t here in October

  • May 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Major bummer about Rozy. I feel really bad but he had a great run man. He was making millions per year and played many, many NHL games in his life.

    Rozy has a great deal to be proud of in his life.

    Good luck to you my homie!

    This team is so badd ass it just freaks me out sometimes. GO HAWKS!!

  • May 8, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    @Mudshark I’ve never bought tickets for an Anaheim playoff game but the Hawks/Ducks regular season games always have availability. Shouldn’t be difficult to get tickets directly from the Ducks or via Stubhub.

  • May 8, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    I ran some numbers just now of my own…

    Scott Darling was 10 years old when Rozy was drafted into the NHL.

    Brandon Saad was 6 years old when Rozy was drafted into the NHL.

    Tuevo Taravainen was 2 years old, when Rozy was drafted into the NHL.

  • May 8, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks Youngblood. Tickets are much cheaper than Hawks tickets, too. Mudshark,…. I like that.

  • May 8, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    SSHM – Good point on Brodin – He was destined for huge things and I couldn’t even tell you if he played in the series.

    For all of us who weren’t too thrilled with the picks we gave up for Kimmo, the Ducks have scratched Wisniewski (their big deadline pick-up) every game of the playoffs. While he does have term left on his contract they paid a significant price for a guy that is sitting in the press box.

    Wall – I actually think TT is a bit more comfortable with contact lately. Not saying that he goes looking for it but he doesn’t seem to be shying away quite as much. His overall defensive awareness is outstanding and I felt very comfortable with him on the ice late in the game which says an awful lot for a rookie known for his offensive skills.

  • May 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Just opinions Tab. You value CC at $6 million over Bickell at $4 million. What factors in it for me is that Bickell is a skater, CC is a goalie. I like Darling/Raanta with Bickell crushing bodies over CC in net.

    But I agree with you that Bicks will likely be traded this summer. The key is someone like Baun understanding their role on the team. What Bickell brings every playoffs is essential to the Hawk’s success and it would have to be replaced.

  • May 8, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Its not like Kane goes out looking for contact. If TT was running away from it, or not prepared to take a hit to make a play, then its a problem. But I don’t see that at all in his game, Teravanien does what’s necessary to make plays.

  • May 8, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    A great lasting memory of Rozsival’s NHL career is him breaking his ankle and needing to be helped off the ice? I must say I laughed really hard at this. It’s incredible that Rozy was able to play as long as he did after the knee problems, and even get himself a ring (and possibly a second one this year), but I’d much prefer remembering the guy smiling with the Stanley Cup above his head than writing around the ice in incredible pain.

  • May 8, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Yo Mudshark, BT, Youngblood, and (Nick in SD, too) + all other Blackhawks faithful out here on the left coast: We will soundly defeat Anaheim in conf finals. Been out here in SoCal many years, watched hockey grow with Gretzky’s arrival. Youth hockey very established now, plenty of beer leagues for 50yrs+ guys like me, and a brand new rink minutes from my home in Carlsbad, CA. With that said, there are a lot of people in awe of the Blackhawks franchise out here. Been to plenty of Hawks v. Ducks games up off the 57 Frwy at the Honda Centre. All these Orange County fans…something about them says “We love our team but we kind of know we’re still pretenders…you original six cold weather people will always have it over us.” Hard to put my finger on it exactly, but they have a way of looking at you (in my old school Blackhawks cardigan) that’s envious/intimidated. I’m not imagining this. And I’m telling you right now it translates to the ice. Hawks January 4-1 win in Anaheim had at least 8k/9k Chicago fans…place sounded like the UC. Ducks players not used to that, trust me. Our superior skill is enough to win, but the intangibles I’ve described put us over the top. We got the Ducks number big time.

    And a shout out to Rozy. He didn’t get much love here, but he played well in Rounds 1 and 2, and look at the hole he leaves. Admire the way he went out on his shield. Probably won’t find anyone who believes will ever see him again, though.

  • May 8, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Tab, lots of factors will go into the “who will be the 5th d-man” question. Mainly matchups. How do these guys potentially match up vs. the Anaheim (or Calg) forwards. Jaeckel over at HockeyBuzz is saying his source tells him Q would only play Runblad in an extreme emergency, i.e. if he had nobody else. He and the source are thinking Cumiskey, but he’s a LH shot and plays left defense.

    So in that scenario, maybe it will be Paliotta. I still think Johns will be recalled but we’ll see, there are likely things we don’t know about that factor in.

    And for those who hate the Timmonen trade – last night’s win bumped up that 2016 draft choice from a 4th to a 3rd. They make the finals, it’s a 2nd. It is a “who cares” issue at the moment, just saying.

  • May 8, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    re: Bannerman & Belfour – I’ll take 65 games of Crawford over the 82 game regular seasons we’ve seen from Bickell since 2012 and not think about it twice. The Hawks have good organizational depth up front and don’t need to pay a guy $4M and then wait for him to show up until May. Baun is one of a few candidates to replace Bickell if he’s moved this summer.

  • May 8, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    re: Hofmeister – let’s keep in mind where we’re reading information from “sources.”

  • May 8, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t see anyone underselling the impact of losing 32. His ice time is A LOT to make up given the options we have. We’ve all watched this team enough to know the limitations that Runblad and to a lesser extent Cumiskey have. Palliotta is a big body but needs time to adjust to the speed of the NHL game. I don’t see how the Western Conference Finals is the time to try to get up to speed – when it goes from normal regular season game speed, which is way faster than college to post-season speed which is even faster still. The kid’s head would be spinning. Same goes for Johns IMO. Given Timonen’s minutes he is what he is. Regular season experience would point to Runblad. Thinking Q starts with him and then flips to Cumiskey if he $#its the bed as BT noted above. This is going to be tough but take the extra rest and hope the WCF only goes 4-5 games without any epic OT’s and hope the Ducks’ size doesn’t cause any more damage.

    That injury to Rozsy was brutal. The foot is not supposed to twist that way.

    I love TT’s vision. Several times he was trying to thread that seeing-eye pass through traffic. He didn’t connect last night but when he does those are A+ chances. Not many guys can do that.

  • May 8, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    That’s still just an opinion Tab. I would rather spend $ on the skaters in front of a goalie, which is also just an opinion. All that matters is what the Hawks Coaches and Mgt. think, which we will find out this summer. If he’s traded, Bickell’s post season game will have to be replaced, and its not just about hitting guys and standing in front of the net. Bickell’s combination of huge size and speed result in CRUSHING hits and there’s a huge value to these. Just look at the NSH defence and Suter from MIN as those series progressed. They all regressed in their play after each game as a result of the Bickell-effect, which has value. Yes, I would like Bickell to “produce” more during the season, but perhaps he simply can’t play this way over an extended period of time. As Wall pointed out, Bickell has been a mess physically after each playoff run.

  • May 8, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I got an e-mail from a Kings fan friend of mine yesterday. Two words: “Go Hawks!” and then he wrote: “I can’t believe I’m writing this!” He’s a real hockey fan, like everyone on this blog, who loves the game and recognizes what greatness looks like, and how hard it is to achieve it in this sport. He has season tickets at Staples (incredible seats) and invites me every time the Hawks are in town. I watched the Kings raise their first Cup banner on the first day of the 2013 season, and then proceeded to watch the Hawks spoil their party with a 5-2 thrashing. I thought that was the best feeling ever, but having my buddy send that note yesterday was even better. I’ve been to only one Ducks game over the years – cause let’s face it, who the hell wants to drive to Anaheim? – but I may have to change that if we draw the Ducks. Anyway…on to the real reason I’m writing this.

    I posted something here when we were close to eliminating the Preds. I said that I wanted us to face the Wild because I thought they were a bigger challenge than the Blues. Well, I was right. They were a bigger challenge, and the reason we beat them is because that fact was not lost on this team. The workmanlike effort we all witnessed was a joy to behold. Yes, the games were tight, but they never got under our skin, they never led once, they were outplayed, outsmarted, out skated, and now they’re out on the golf course. We won face-offs at a record pace, something I credit as one of the most important reasons, if not THE most important reason we won. Strength and skill up the middle, on all four lines, is something we haven’t had for as long as I can remember (except for the 2010 season, perhaps). We had questions about our defense going into the playoffs, and for good reason, but the way that Keith, Seabs, Jammer and Oduya played with discipline and purpose was incredible. Rozy had some good stretches, too. Losing him is a bummer, and I wish him well. And now we’ve got the same defensive questions ahead of the next round, and I have no idea how we’ll solve them, though I have enjoyed reading everyone’s suggestions here. All I know is, this is a special team and we’re lucky to be able to witness this. Half way there. Go Hawks!

  • May 8, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Tab to be honest I take everything with a grain of salt unless I hear it myself which is usually in Rockford as it’s easier to talk to those connected out there. That said, Jaeckel is a solid guy who does have some legit connects. It’s all just speculation now anyway – I think when we start to see the team practicing in earnest for the next match up we’ll get a clearer idea of what the coaches are thinking.

  • May 8, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    JS- I am so old school, or so out-dated that I am not sure what you mean when you say “social media” but I find it hard to believe that anybody could make light of what happened to our Rozsival. That can not be seen as nothing less than a brutal injury to a man doing his best at his job. Anything else from anybody else comes from someone that has never played anything to the best of their capabilities.

  • May 8, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    The tough part is they are already sheltering Timonen & his minutes because obviously playoff hockey is far too fast for him at this point in his career.

    But hypothetically, his minutes will have to come up to about 13 minutes a night as the new #5 guy.

    Rundblad or Cumiskey would get the Nick Leddy treatment : 4 to 5 minutes ( mainly in the first period rotation)

    I do think that Keith plays 28 to 30 minutes for the rest of the playoffs. Gonna have to and physically his stamina is off the charts incredible.

  • May 8, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Tab, couldn’t agree more. Bickell was paid up and coming superstar money, and he has fallen flat. Between him and Crawford? Give me a break. Bickell will fontina other team and terrorize the Hawks for 3-5 games a year, just like Sharp will, they are great champions but not part of the future of this team.

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