Blackhawks Lose Game One in Vancouver: So What?

Is this when Tomas Kopecky got hurt?

The Chicago Blackhawks started their title defense in Vancouver with a shutout loss at the hands of Roberto Luongo and the Canucks.

So what?

First, let’s name a few issues with the Blackhawks play on Wednesday night.

Duncan Keith and Brian Campbell, two of the fastest skaters in the league, looked like they had concrete in their skates on too many occasions to count. Not the best night from either one.

Chris Campoli struggled in every part of the game, and his ice time suffered.

The Canucks came out hitting, and the Blackhawks came out receiving. The physical play in the first 15 minutes was glaringly one-sided.

The Hawks power play unit lacked… everything.

Other than those glaring issues, what was there to really hate about the Blackhawks performance other than the final score?

Look at the questions the Blackhawks had coming into the game.

How would Corey Crawford play? I would say two goals allowed on 33 saves – a .939 save percentage – is a pretty good answer.

How would 20-year-old Nick Leddy play? He skated 18 shifts, 12:11 of ice time, and didn’t make a glaring mistake. In fact, the Canucks took a few runs at him early, and he didn’t take the bait and make a stupid reaction play that would have landed him in the box. A good night for the kid.

Could Michael Frolik be physical enough? He led the team with six hits. Maybe Troy Brouwer and Brent Seabrook should ask him what the trick is to being physical before Friday…

In fact, of the Blackhawks in their first playoff series – Leddy, Frolik, Viktor Stalberg, Ben Smith and Jake Dowell – none of them made a major mistake. Indeed, the hustle from Smith was consistent all night, Dowell was OK at the dot (winning five of 12), and Stalberg put a few hits on people when the pace of the game slowed down.

The very simple reality on Wednesday night is that the Blackhawks were terribly snake-bitten, Luongo made a couple huge saves, and the posts bailed him out on four occasions. In a seven-game series, every shot isn’t going to hit the post; at some point, the Blackhawks will break through.

However, the bigger question for Friday might not be how the Hawks respond, but who will be on the ice to bring the response? Tomas Kopecky skated just four shifts, and left the bench early in the second period. Ryan Johnson was a target all night, and was banged up a few times.

In the final 40 minutes, the Blackhawks had more of the momentum and had more quality scoring chances than Vancouver, but just couldn’t finish.

The Canucks won Game One in 2009 and again in 2010, and lost both series. If their fans were hoping history wouldn’t repeat itself, so far, so bad for them.

13 thoughts on “Blackhawks Lose Game One in Vancouver: So What?

  • April 14, 2011 at 5:45 am

    digging kinda deep there for positives. Nothing like objective journalism. Bottom line: depth for depth, the Canucks outshine in every column. It won’t be easy, but they’ll get the job done…and I’m, of course, being objective.

  • April 14, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Objective journalism?? The Blogger writes for the “Committed Indians.” There is no pretense for objectivity! Just like CNN (communist news network), no pretense of objectivity there either. Based on your asinine comments I bet with a 99% reliability you voted for some hope and change too! Tool.

  • April 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

    What does politics have to do with this? Keep it in the suburbs poser..

    As to the actual game, saw too many flinching Hawks last night. Campbell
    and Frolik lost their hands. Bickel uh, you’re the biggest guy on the team,
    please stop trying to play like Kane and go out and flatten someone. Thought
    they completely outplayed us in the first but we won both 2nd and 3rd periods.
    Time for some tweaking and perhaps someone to get hot, we need it..

  • April 14, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Poser! Lol 80s skater lingo keeping it real.

  • April 14, 2011 at 10:35 am

    …Vancouver fan here, were we watching the same game? Granted our second period was off but the third period was absolutely not OWNED by Chicago…as mentioned by Snake44, we outshone in every area.

  • April 14, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Vancouver realized, like a lot of other teams this season, that the ‘Hawks can be intimidated by physical play. If the hits ratio doesn’t start to balance out, they are done quickly. All night long, Vancouver players launched themselves full force at Chicago players. The Blackhawks response was to ride their checks into the boards for the most part. It has to change.

  • April 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Hey Amanda-

    We drew 3 penalties and out shot the Canucks 10-7 in the 3rd. I’m not saying it was a dominant performance but we did have more chances.. With all do respect- your squad is going to be tough to beat..

  • April 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Fan86, exactly right. Size and physical play is lacking. Big Byf is gone, Eager….they just came out slow and all of those posts…unreal. No one to put in from of Lou. Lou is a head case, and the Blackhawks were clicking at the end. I do want to see the Hawks win this series due to my hatred for those d-bags in Vanny.
    I didn’t like seeing Kane getting picked on and no one doing anything about it. The Hawks should’ve done something at the end of that game to have those ‘Nuck-leheads thinking about next game. Canucks won the prez, they are better than the Hawks. But oh well. I don’t have anything else. my team is sitting at home. Go Blues.

  • April 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Doesn’t make as much sense to compare these two teams based on their past playoffs because the roster changes have been huge. I suppose these comparisons are inevitable.

    If we’re going there, I’ll add that beating Chicago on the road has been much easier than beating them here in Vancouver. I don’t think we won a single home playoff game against the Hawks last year so already a tiny victory.

    Also, I think Chicago’s 3rd and 4th lines had better step up. You can only play your top two lines so much in a 7 game series before they start to wear down. That being said, I’ll never bet against Toews. He wins when it matters.

    Vancouver has this year what Chicago had last year – a superior 3rd and 4th line. Even if we do take the series this year, the Hawks are defending champs and that should pacify their fans for quite some time.

    You had you fun, let someone else have a turn.

  • April 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    if you’re going to cry about Byfuglien & Eager, do it somewhere else. Ask Atlanta how they feel playing golf w/ a $5M defenseman that was a ghost for the final 3 months of the regular season… Buff & Eager aren’t the answer. That’s spam at this point in the season… laughable.

  • April 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    These Canucks remind me an awful lot of two other teams which began getting awfully good year after year only to go down with disappointing playoffs. Finally they broke through and were simply “unstoppable” for years after: I’m talking about the 79-80 Islanders and the 83-84 Oilers. I feel this is that kind of year for the Canucks. They have everything: offence; scoring; defence; goaltending; coaching and HUGE fan support.

    When you bring up the past two years you cannot forget the key element: These are not the same Blackhawks as last year, they just barely backed into the playoffs this season. And more importantly, these are NOT the same Canucks as last year, as a matter of fact, these are not the same Canucks as ANY previous year in NHL history.

    I will be very much suprised if this series goes beyond five games.

  • April 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Prepare to be surprised. Comparing these Canucks to the Islanders of the early 80s is a JOKE

  • April 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Tab is right. These Canucks aren’t anywhere close to those Islander teams. That talk is futile. My comments on Eager and Byfuglien were on their size while in front of the net and protection for their skaters. I think that Byfuglien got a ridiculous contract, but someone was going to pay that for him.
    Byfuglien was a huge reason Pronger was a puss in the Finals last year. I completely agree with comparisons between years. But this article is really grasping for straws on the positives to pull on the Hawks. Hossa and Frolik haven’t done anything recently……Toews I believe is a little overrated, and Keith at times looks like garbage. Norris to nothing?
    But as I said previous….all opinions….and my team is at home. Hopefully building a dynasty.

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