Brendan Perlini Leads Blackhawks Past Coyotes

The Blackhawks welcomed the Coyotes into the United Center on Monday. They needed a win. Arizona was in an accommodating mood.

Former Blackhawks forward Richard Panik gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead at 4:27 into the first. That was the last time Arizona felt good about their chances.

Because a former Hawks player scored, a former Coyote had to get into the action. Brendan Perlini, who’s suddenly been red hot, tied the game 2:11 after the Panik goal.

Brent Seabrook set up Perlini for the breakaway.

Less than two minutes later Jonathan Toews made a strong move and Brandon Saad was set up in front of the net for an easy tap in.

Saad’s 22nd of the year also saw Erik Gustafsson credited with an assist.

Corey Crawford did a good job of quickly eliminating the few chances Arizona had in the first and the period ended with Chicago leading 2-1. The Hawks out-shot the Coyotes 11-6 in the first period.

The Hawks blew the game wide open in the second.

Perlini added his second of the night at 3:16 into the second period.

Dylan Strome, who was acquired with Perlini from Arizona, picked up an assist on this goal.

Chris Kunitz made the score 4-1 and that was the night for Coyotes starter Darcy Kuemper.

Kuemper allowed four goals against 16 shots in 26:26 before getting the hook.

Chicago didn’t take it easy on Calvin Pickard when he entered the game.

Patrick Kane scored his 41st of the season at 8:50 into the second period.

Five minutes later Jonathan Toews got a breakaway but got hacked on his way to the net. Toews was awarded a penalty shot and converted to extend Chicago’s lead to 6-1.

The goal gave Toews 70 points for the second time in his career. It also gave him 30 goals on the season, giving the Blackhawks three 30-goal scorers for the first time in nearly 20 years.

After 40 minutes of hockey the Blackhawks were out-shooting the Coyotes 27-15 and were up 6-1 on the scoreboard.

Early in the third period Perlini came *this close* to a hat trick.

That was the best scoring chance in the first half of the third period as the Hawks put it in neutral and the Coyotes continued to suck. The Coyotes had a 7-4 shot advantage in the opening 12 minutes of the third period.

The Coyotes didn’t show any want to come back and the Blackhawks kept sending Perlini out there to try to get him a third goal. With three seconds left in regulation the Hawks finally got the puck to Perlini in front of the net and he deposited his 11th of the season to complete his first career hat trick. DeBrincat put it out there for him and Perlini almost whiffed, but he got just enough to have his goal total match the number on his back.

His smile could be seen from the suburbs and hundreds of fans willingly gave their nice new St. Patrick’s Day hats back as tribute.

The final horn sounded and the Coyotes held a 10-7 shot advantage in the third but Chicago skated off with a 7-1 victory.

Crawford stopped 24 of 25 in a good performance. But he wasn’t tested much in the final 40 minutes.

Perlini put a team-leading eight shots on net in 15:31. He added one hit and one takeaway to his three goals.

Toews put five shots on net, picked up his 30th goal of the season and an assist and won 11 of 14 faceoffs in 18:27 on the ice in a dominant performance by Chicago’s captain. David Kampf also had a strong night at the dot, winning 10 of 14 faceoffs.

47 thoughts on “Brendan Perlini Leads Blackhawks Past Coyotes

  • March 11, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Take out that 0-6-2 and 0-8 in the 3-16 stretch and this team is 12 games over .500 and is a playoff team.

    Since we made the roster adjustments and Dals and Murf came back, that is ‘this’ yrs team and we would be ahead of DAL, MIN, COL.

    Having the roster we have now/since game 30ish, and thats without adding anybody at deadline while having what 10-11m in capspace for ufas.

    We are pretty close with just between a 2/4-3/4 full roster. Cant wait for us to add to roster and have more guys NHL ready. Then were deep again.

    Think about how much better were going to be with a good defense and 4 lines.

  • March 11, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    I would rather us be a deep top 5 team, then just a 7 or 8 seed playoff team. Top 6 skill pick. Good thing we got lots of cap space to add and good blue chips quality prospects coming.

  • March 11, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    Nice to see the Hawks win. If they win a few more in a row, we ll see Bowman making the media rounds again patting himself on the back. Fair weather Stan.

  • March 11, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Go ahead, you can all roast me about Perlini…I will own that 100% and take it on the chin. But I will say he moved his feet faster that ever today! :)
    This was a fun game and reminded me of 2013.
    P.S. I do just wanna give a big middle finger to all those who were calling for 19’s head last year (not necessarily on this site)….
    That penalty shot was a thing of beauty.
    Go Hawks!

  • March 11, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    Thats patent Johnny Wayne 5 hole. Classic.

  • March 11, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    Morrison has a point. The first losing streak was Bowman’s fault bc he sabotaged Q w an utter joke of an overall roster. The second losing streak was Bowman’s fault bc he inserted a green, rookie coach into the same mess that the Hall or Fame coach couldn’t overcome.

    If Bowman had put the team’s best interests ahead of his own, the Hawks would be in a better place this season…. and beyond.

  • March 11, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    It was a fun win but Arizona was terrible. That’s OK, it seems as if the Hawks rarely catch a team playing badly.

    Stefanie can rub salt in the wound all she wants. Toews was mediocre, at best, for the past two years and now he is outstanding. His back must have been a bigger problem than we knew. At any rate, sometimes it’s nice to be wrong and I was wrong because I thought he would be mediocre for the duration. Thought there were too many miles on him.

    All the Hawks pretty passing plays worked. There will be times they need ugly goals, but not tonight. Almost every goal was highlight reel quality.

  • March 11, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    No roasting necessary, Stefanie, Perlini has been confounding since he got here (and this is coming from a guy who is a Perlini advocate…) It’s hard to tell if he was starting to get it or is just getting a couple of lucky shots… But, it does look like he is playing a lot more relaxed and confident right now. Him being able to finish has been nice plus.

    Wow, did AZ lay an egg tonight. For a team that is so close to a playoff spot, they certainly did not play like they wanted it. Once Perlini scored his first to tie it it was like AZ decided they were done.

    Now, AZ isn’t exactly a powerhouse team, but the Hawks were able to roll four lines and every line scored. Not sure how much of this win was the Hawks dictating play or the Coyotes just not showing up, but the Hawks looked like a real team.

    As impressive as the Perlini hat trick was, I have to say how much I liked the Saad goal. That was a real playoff goal. Fighting for position in front of the goalie and just leave the stick out in front to redirect a hard pass to the front of the net. It almost makes me hope they make the playoffs just to see if they can do that against a real team…

  • March 12, 2019 at 12:02 am

    The change in Toews game is not necessarily due to too many miles on him and a previously bad back. By all accounts I’ve heard and read, he was embarrassed by last season and has reinvented himself to a certain degree.

    Gone are the days when Toews is going to go into brawling matches for the whole game with the likes of Zetterberg or Backes, and where they essentially neutralize one another. He’s changed his game to meet the newer NHL style. He worked very hard with a skills coach to be quicker, have better stick handling, done a lot of edge work, has the so-called “plastic ice” at his home in Canada and works on it in the summer. He’s adapted himself to today’s NHL, and it is showing. For those who say that he’s not fearsome because he doesn’t power through every check, that’s because he’s changed his game. He loses the puck occasionally against the boards, but he has made up for it in moves, improved quickness, and playmaking. There’s a reason he’s hit 30 goals and 70+ points and it’s because the style that worked in years past doesn’t work anymore.

    As for tonight’s game, great effort.
    I think Sikura looked more aggressive and better overall.
    Who put a quarter in Kunitz?
    Perlini continues to impress on his hot streak. You can see him using his speed and guys are looking for him (and not just to get him the hat trick). Plus, he’s drifting into the middle of the ice and getting out of that area along the boards where a guy like him is not going to be effective.
    Strome got a third star of the game, but he worried me a bit once again with some “Schmaltz-Like” tendencies to pass first rather than shoot first – He needs to purge that from his system.

    Will second Miroslav on the kudos for the Saad goal. That strong movement to the net is his forte, and he has the hands to finish those passes. He can get in there without skating by and get off a shot and possibly a chance at a rebound if the first attempt doesn’t go in. 22 goals and he doesn’t play on the PP. Not bad.

  • March 12, 2019 at 12:15 am

    An earlier post said Perlini was confounding and I think that’s also an apt description for the team as a whole. Whether they keep winning and make the playoffs or not I think these “must win” games are good experience for the young players and it would be an even better experience for them if they make the playoffs – even if they get bounced 4 straight. It would give them a taste of playoff intensity and light a fire in their belly to come back and be better next season.

    Yeah, a high draft choice would be nice but unless they get a winning ping pong ball and pick top-2, most likely they won’t draft a player ready to play in the NHL next season and maybe not even the following season. But, unless the way Perlini has played the last 4-5 games in a mirage – they may have found the top-6 winger they’re missing so it’s almost like getting a top draft pick early and ready to hit the going next season. This winning is fun and however the rest of the season plays out it is a win/win for the Hawks.

    Ideally the Hawks play really well and just miss out on the playoffs, and then win the draft lottery with Vancouver also moving up to #2 in the draft. We then switch the #1 and #2 picks so they can draft Hughes and do a Hughes Bros thing so they get a big marketing boon and they would have to give us their 3rd round pick. And then we take Kakko with the #2 pick which is the guy we wanted anyway. Then we package our 2nd round pick and Vancouver’s 3rd round pick to move back into the 1st round and draft goalie Spencer Knight.

    That’s all … is that too much to ask?

  • March 12, 2019 at 12:28 am

    In fairness, banged-up AZ lost Richardson. Still, they looked worse than just about any team the Hawks have faced in recent memory.

    Many times I wrote that Perlini would mostly stand around, not fight for the puck, and be out of position. And he likely would not be back next year. Suddenly, his play has vastly improved, with a lot more confidence, beside his goal-scoring. If he continues this consistent good quality play, think I’ll just keep my mouth shut. What do I know? Way to go 11! He is beginning to live up to being selected #12 in the draft. Maybe when you get drafted by a dysfunctional AZ team (dogs), it is not easy to develop to your potential. Look at how far along Strome has developed. Looks like Stan killed it with this trade.

    What passing by the Hawks for many weeks now. Tonight: 7 to 11, 19 to 20. Another tic tac (88) goal in as many games.

    Can’t say enough good things about 19. Absolutely amazing season! No doubt, health issues hampered him the previous couple of seasons. Please stay

    Miro, agree that 20 gets the toughest goals and shows his strength in front of the net.

  • March 12, 2019 at 12:41 am

    Indian, thats what I was saying during the summer and this fall/season. Exactly what your talking about.

  • March 12, 2019 at 12:44 am

    About Johnny Wayne different style from food and workout routines.

  • March 12, 2019 at 3:20 am

    Morrison, unfortunately you can’t take out those two awful stretches. Were they as bad as their record earlier in the season? No, just like they’re probably not a top 10 team, even though since the beginning of the calender year their record shows that they are. The majority of their wins during this recent good stretch have been against mediocre/bad teams. They beat the Caps when Washington was in midst of a 7 or 8 game losing streak. They beat Pittsburgh, which they always do, and they had a solid win against the Islanders where Ward had like 189 saves. They also beat the Wild when they were struggling big time. The win over Dallas Sunday was nice. What’s encouraging is that they’ve only allowed 1 goal in the each of their last two games, although both the Yotes and Stars are in the bottom 4 of the league in scoring. What probably buried the Hawks playoff chances were the losses at home to the Av’s and Stars a couple weeks ago, as both those games were 4 point swings, and then getting thrashed by a terrible Kings team. The Hawks are lucky the bottom of the West is so bad. If this was any other season, they’d be a good 10-12 points out of a playoff spot. And what’s thus 1/2-3/4 of a roster stuff? What does that even mean?

  • March 12, 2019 at 3:35 am

    Hawks have allowed 5 or more goals 18 times. 18! That’s over a quarter of the season. They’re 2-15-1 in those games. On the flip side, they’re 16-0-2 when holding opponents to 2 or less. The problem is the defense. They rank 7th in the league in scoring, but are a -22 in goal differential. The only other team in the top in scoring with a – goal differential is Florida, who’s also on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. We can complain about scoring depth all we want, and it is warranted because the Hawks are really top heavy team, but the reason they’ll likely miss the playoffs is defense. If this area isn’t addressed big time this summer, they’ll likely be a fringe playoff team next season as well.

  • March 12, 2019 at 4:16 am

    Sure, you cant take out a bad stretch, but my point is the roster is different since right after then/game 30ish. Its sort of/basically a different team.

    Now if it was the same team the whole year, then sure you can just take out a stretch you do not like, like that.

    Your right, normally the 7 and 8 see are about 10 games over .500, right now its 8 and 5, was 5 and 5 since game 10 for DAL and MIN.

    Also though, there is more teams with worse records in the Campbell this year, were still in the hardest division ion hockey. I think LA and ANA going from top 10 teams to shit is the main difference. Even though CAL and COL/suppose to be must not be ready yet should take their spots,a s top 10 teams.

    I hear what your saying.

  • March 12, 2019 at 4:21 am

    Yea, I mean take that 0-6-2 and 0-8 of the 3-16 stretch out and put it to .500, like 3-3-2 and 4-4, not take it completely out.

    I guess what I saying is the roster if totally different with those roster adjustments and if we had the roster from game 30-82, for 1-82 we would be 12 games over .500 and a playoff team, like 5 seed area. Not a top 10 team roster wise, but record wise. Which means were better then roster is, is a good showing by out guys.

    So once we add more ‘good’ ufas, difference makers, and more blue chip are NHL were looking really good, again.

  • March 12, 2019 at 4:31 am

    Interesting stats, on a yr like this where we had the worst group of F since before 2009 and prob the worst depth at FW since before 2009.

    That will change in 2 yrs.

  • March 12, 2019 at 4:34 am

    Do not agree with wins only against bottom 10 teams and mid tier teams.

    Yes the 7-0 stretch was against bottom 10 and mid tier (only played 4 good teams). The 6-2-1 before that was against top 10 teams (7 of 9 games vs top 10)

    Point there is approx have, of the overall wins and 1 of the 2 long winning stretchs were against each (top 10 or bad teams). It wasnt like it was one or the other. It actually was split almost 50/50.

  • March 12, 2019 at 4:43 am

    Not disagreeing with your thoughts/facts, just that that part of it is what I saw.

    Your right on most of those situations, like WAS. I think when we smashed PIT (which started the 6-2-1 stretch) was when we really started the season. for the new roster.

    But half our wins, 15/30, and 1 of 2 long winning stretchs came against stricktly top 10 teams. Like ER point out our record against top 4 teams in canmpbell wasnt good, when we had our good stretchs this yr we were 2-2-1 agasint CAL SAN NAS WIN. So when we were playing good we were even with those teams and were 9-2-1 against all other top 10 teams.

    I guess people can look from it at different vantage points, but I do not think it was one or the other.

    To me, one way or the other, was when we made those roster adjustments and were a 12 game over .500 team since in 40 games. Are we a 25 games over .500 teams for 82 games, not yet. Not with half a roster.

  • March 12, 2019 at 4:54 am

    Your right, this yr the 7 and 8 seed are closer to 5 over then 10 games over .500 and that is why were this close to playoffs and a top 6 pick, at the same time.

    1/2-3/4, means half a roster to three qtrs of a roster. Meaning were playing short handed this yr and even with roster adjustments around game 30, were still short handed in terms of having a full roster.

    To me we started the season with half a roster (full roster being a top 5ish team). Then with the roster adjustments, I think the roster is at somewhere between 1/2 to 3/4 full. So still playing short handed but much better.

    When we get roster full, in 2 yrs, were back to top 5 team.

    Hopefully that helps with what I mean am saying.

  • March 12, 2019 at 4:58 am

    Yea those stats make our season like one that TOR is used to. Top GF team and one of the worst GA teams.

    We need D and quality depth at FW.

    I do think we will be the team, record wise and roster wise, we have seen since game 30/the roster adjustments next yr.

    My prediction for next yr. That is 15 or more games over .500 next yr. Even though we still need to be better at D, then we ll be next yr, I think were +15 next yr. because we ll have the team we have now/since game 30.

  • March 12, 2019 at 5:11 am

    Not arguing with you. I think 2 of 6 D and 3 of 12 FW different with the roster adjustments is a lot. Not just because 5 of 18 players is a third of the team but because you we took out 5 bad players and put 5 good or decent players in. That is better then addition by subtraction.

    Maybe +15 is a little high for next yr, so 10-15 over .500 team next yr is what I am looking at. Still not deep enough to have a legitimate fair chance to beat NAS WIN CAL SAN but a lot closer then were, roster wise, game 1 -30 this yr.

    Your right, we need that D and the Four Horsemen arent in there until the 21 season. Thats why I would add a top 4 D by ufa/trade this summer like that other guy said the other day. Really load up on D so will be laughing, in the right way, about how good our group of D is.

  • March 12, 2019 at 5:17 am

    I also think Bowman is going to continue to make excellent trades and good ufas additions. Without having to do it for what Q likes at the same time he can just go full out on what he wants to do. I like Q so I am not saying or taking sides there. Just that Bowman is going to gather the pieces to get the roster to 4/4 qtrs full in 2 yrs.

    The trades this season are a taste of the watching the roster go from worst to first. Funny we were first in 17, worst in 19, and be first in 21 season?

  • March 12, 2019 at 5:52 am

    To me, we cant have guys like 23 and 14 as depth players. 11 and 91 are good depth players when were deep. Be intersting to see how the FW fill out these 2 coming yrs. 11 and 91 can be like 82 was and 11/dejon was. Wuality depth. Theres were guys like Kurachev and others need to be good mid level players/3rd line quality like 24.

    then it doesnt matter whos on what line, we have 9 top 9 FW and good quality depth to roll 4 lines.

  • March 12, 2019 at 8:33 am

    If the Blackhawks hadn’t signed/re-signed players like Kunitz, Davidson, Manning, Martinsen and Ruuta last summer and had opened the season with Dahlstrom getting regular minutes on the NHL blue line and Sikura cutting his teeth with an extended look (even if only 4th line minutes), the team would be better today. The Hawks making smart trades to add Strome & Perlini, Cagguila and Koekkoek have helped now and (hopefully) will help long term as well. I think of those four Strome is the only one here beyond the Seattle expansion draft, but the Blackhawks won all three trades IMO.

  • March 12, 2019 at 9:11 am

    It’s easy to have 20/20 hindsight Tab and certainly some of those players you mentioned the Hawks could have done without

    I never liked re-signing Ruuta for instance and the Manning signing also seemed just weird but to suggest that Dahlstrom and Sikura should have started the year in CHI is a stretch IMO – neither showed enough in training camp to warrant a spot in the NHL and you could argue that their time in the AHL has helped them progress to a point where they are contributing at the NHL level

    And it’s not like they’ve established themselves even as every day players on a good team yet (especially Sikura) and neither may be an every day player for the Hawks when the team is contending again

    I think the Hawks handled both of them about right and it shows in their improving play but they’ll have to improve even more to stick around for very long

  • March 12, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Happy for Perlini – he was all over the ice using his speed and size – if he keeps this up he’ll be a real nice addition moving forward

    Two games in a row the Hawks have played good team D – amazing – it certainly looks like something has clicked for this team in their decision making – the turnovers are way down – also getting CC back has to be helping them calm down and not panic so often

    If they can play every game with this same mental sharpness they just might go on a run although I’m tempering my enthusiasm knowing it’s only been 2 games so far

    Hopefully though they can keep it rolling vs TOR – the Leafs will be looking to bounce back after being curb stomped by TB – should be a good game

  • March 12, 2019 at 10:11 am

    I don’t have a problem with what Stan did last summer because he did what circumstances dictated to be the best course to take, primarily with the uncertainty of Crawford. He also missed out on the best UFA signings because he couldn’t get out from under the Hossa contract until after the UFA crop had been picked over which happens the first few days after the UFA period starts July 1st.

    Aside from Crawford, there were also legitimate concerns regarding the regressed play of Toews, Keith, Saad, Seabrook to the point where Stan had to consider the possibility of looking at a complete multi-year tear down and complete rebuild.

    Stan basically kept his powder dry which was the right move for long term retooling/rebuilding because even if he made moves to make the Hawks marginally better they were almost certain to not be a top contending team with the d-corps they had – and that has proven to be the case.

    There’s a cautionary tale regarding Toews resurgent season. Kopitar had been regressing on a similar path as Toews for a couple years before having a bounce back year last season with his career best scoring season … only to fall off the cliff this season. Granted – different players and different situations, but all good things come to an end so let’s appreciate the excellent play of The Captain for as long as it lasts.

  • March 12, 2019 at 10:18 am

    re: “I don’t have a problem with what Stan did last summer because he did what circumstances dictated to be the best course to take, primarily with the uncertainty of Crawford. He also missed out on the best UFA signings because he couldn’t get out from under the Hossa contract until after the UFA crop had been picked over which happens the first few days after the UFA period starts July 1st.”

    100% bullshit. Sorry. Bowman gave Rutta $2.25M, Manning $2.25M, Gustafsson $1.2M and Davidson $650k when the team already had Keith, Seabrook & Murphy signed at the NHL level and had already given some NHL ice time to Forsling, Dahlstrom and Hillman. The Blackhawks NEEDED to add 1-2 defensemen and they signed 4. Want to have cap space to sign a better forward? Don’t give $4.5M to Rutta and Manning!

    Also, if long-term uncertainty around Crawford is a crutch then they shouldn’t have overpaid Ward on a one-year deal without internal options being already identified.

    I’ve long backed what Bowman has done here and continue to believe he’s done a MUCH better job than some people are willing to admit, but he has repeatedly wasted money + roster spots on veterans who have no business being here if you want to be a playoff team.

  • March 12, 2019 at 10:37 am

    (((….wasted spots on veterans….)))

    Exhibit A: Kunitz. There is NO reason Kunitz should be taking ice time from a kid. Not one reason. He’s not one of “ours”.
    With Kruger (and Sharpie before him), I get the nostalgia…even though it’s still highly questionable…

    Taking time from the kids the heart of my frustration as well.

  • March 12, 2019 at 10:52 am

    @Big Indian: good post re Toews. He has clearly reinvented himself and is playing the lighter game rather than mucking it so much. I am really glad to see it for the additional reason that from day 1 I felt that he made himself way too vulnerable too often. He has paid the price sometimes, but you could argue he’s been lucky not to have been hurt more often. He’ll never have to prove his valor, and he is far more valuable picking his spots wisely and staying healthy.

  • March 12, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Tab, you make a good point regarding the signings of Rutta, Manning and Davidson and there was probably a better option for a “plan-b” goalie than Ward for $3M. Those individual signings are pretty much indefensible, but I was looking at what Stan did and didn’t do last summer from a longer range perspective which I assume was what Stan did. The point being a bunch of his core group were questionable so he went into the season with enough cap space to change directions if the circumstances warranted it – the “keep his powder dry” approach. That was the gist of my comment.

  • March 12, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Just my $.02. Stan had to have a hunch that this marriage with Q wasn’t gonna work moving forward. Seems like he took one last run at what could be considered plug and play NHL level talent, though I as well as many here disagree. With Q out of the way, seems like Stan has more of a hand in selecting the who will be part of the team moving forward. No factual data but just reading between the lines. Horrible off season and grade a in season moves.

  • March 12, 2019 at 11:57 am

    I am not sure on Toews. He only scored 30 goals two times in his first 8 yrs, they yrs he was a beast. So just because he scored 30 again this yr doesnt mean he be going down the same path as Kopi.

    To me Toews, Bergivin, Kopi are the top 3 defensive FW in league and for yrs, also at faceoffs. But Toews was always worlds apart at OFF. Which is why hes a top 100 player and they wont be. Toews is that rare top 5 at GF and GA kind of player. Sure he had a couple off yrs, was injured some what and took those couple yrs to get back to 100%. No excuses those things did happen.

    When I was talking with Wall the other wk about Tazer, I was saying maybe hes not in the ‘prime’ of his prime anymore but he still has at least 5 more ‘regular’ prime yrs. So to me even if he doesnt score 30 goals again, he only did that 2 times in his first 8 yrs.

  • March 12, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Jordy, good post. Whats the point in getting nailed, your whole career. Krugs is also a guy that has 9 lives. People always said 88 would go more yrs then 19 because of style. We ll 19 just adjusted his style for the better like you said. He also needed to because of the hits he was taking over those yrs.

    Maybe Crow can workout with him for now on.

  • March 12, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    Toews has played the role he’s been asked to play by the coaches of the team his entire career. The last few years he’s been playing different roles with less-than-ideal linemates. When the Hawks added Strome and locked-in 88 with him for a couple months it was a totally different ballgame. Toews has become more of a weapon on the PP since Strome arrived and having legitimate wings on different lines (Kane, DeBrincat, Saad all separated) gives him more space to work with. The Hawks still need to address the reality that he’s the only guy who consistently wins 50% of his faceoffs.

  • March 12, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    The season of weird continues….

    The attention to playing better team defense has been noticeable the past 2 games. GA are way down and sure AZ and Stars are not offensive juggernauts, but the Hawks somehow are allowing not only less shots by the opposition, but they have cut back on allowing quality scoring chances. Crow seems to be coming back into form after some not so great starts when he first returned. This is encouraging to see. One can only imagine what the Hawks record would be if this team had just been more defensively capable. So is it the players finally getting JC’s system, or are the players as a group just assuming the defensive responsibility they just weren’t willing to embrace much of the past what 2-3 seasons? This team has been pretty terrible defensively now for the past 2 seasons at least. IMO it’s simple lack of talent depth more than system shortcomings.

    Despite chronic bad decision making from a defensive standpoint, Gus is a keeper imo that CAN improve his back line responsibilities. Seabs and Keith are probably not going anywhere, but their best years are behind them. Jokiharju clearly has upside. Boqvist reports are encouraging, but those 2 kids are some years away I think from being solid contributors with the big club. Forsling sadly has not raised his level of play. Koekkoek might stick, Dahlstrom I’m not sold on fully. Bowman really needs to spend some off season money for a quality top 4 d man if there is one available for this team to get competitive enough to get into the playoffs and do some damage.

    Goaltending imo has not been the the problem for the Hawks. Sadly, Crawford though is obviously a fragile guy due to concussion history. Ward has done his job and Delia has shown some brilliance and offers potential for the future at a good price to boot.

    How can one not be pleased to see Perlini finding his game? He clearly has the tools, but so much in sport requires a good positive mental attitude, and confidence to just go out and play without letting the brain overthink plays. The guy is a powerful skater, a big body and has a heavy shot from what I have seen. Good things happen when players get into quality scoring areas.

    It has been good to see Colliton roll 4 lines the past few games. The re-load of Kampf has helped solidify the bottom 6 forwards. In the bigger picture, like the defense Hawks forward corps need bolstering with 1-2 more quality players, so it will be interesting to see what SB can come up with to allow this team to compete over the course of a long 82 game schedule.

    Sikura and Kahun have upside potential and of course so does Strome. Sikura also seems to be finding his game recently. That kid can scoot and he just looks more confident out there.

    Leafs and Habs next. Go get em boys!

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  • March 12, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    The more I think about it the more I hope they play well enough down the stretch to make the playoffs – ping pong balls be damned – especially now that it looks like they will not get a top-5/6 pick and maybe not even a top-10 pick. At some point the odds of getting a difference maker at #10 aren’t that much better than getting one at #20.

    I just think that the experience for guys that have never been in playoff mode hockey at the NHL level will benefit them and the team long term by having some success in this playoff push and even more so if they get into the playoffs.

    The team success hasn’t been good and even if they make the playoffs it won’t meet the standard set by this core group of players over the past decade – but the team took a good step forward this season by solidifying the lineup with players that were either not on the team or have proven to be guys who can be part of the lineup going forward. Jokiharju proved he can play in the NHL and at a high level and the only reason he is back in Rockford is to keep him under 40 games to extend the teams RFA control for a year. Kahun has been a very nice player capable of being a versatile top-9 player. The in-season acquisitions have all worked out very well, starting with Strome but also Caggiula and to a lesser extend Koekkoek. The jury is still out on Perlini but is he pans out it will make this year a very good year in retooling without spending lots of cap space that will be needed for our RFAs going into the 2020/21 season.

    So at this point I feel like we’re playing with house money. What ever happens with the rest of the season is just frosting on top.

  • March 12, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    How much was Ward overpaid? I thought $3M was reasonable for a guy who’s halfway between a starter and a backup.

  • March 12, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    It’s not that the dollar amount was necessarily wrong for Ward, it’s that I wouldn’t have signed him in the first place. There were other netminders who were cheaper who might have been a better fit, either as a short-term replacement for Crawford or as a backup. It was always intriguing that Ward said he came to Chicago for a chance at the playoffs when the Hawks missed the party last year and didn’t get better last summer.

  • March 12, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Travis – I agree

    It’s reasonable to think there were other teams bidding for his services and he’s been the goalie in CHI that they needed him to be, to be solidly competent and to fill in as #1 if CC got hurt (which he did)

  • March 12, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    Sometimes I need to do a mea culpa and this is one of those times. I’ve railed about Kunitz playing instead of players who may have a future with the Hawks – Hayden, Sikura, Perlini, and others. I didn’t see any point in it. But, with the way Kunitz-Kampf-Kruger has played the last 3 games since Kampf returned to the lineup is just the way I would want our 4th line to play. Obviously a big factor in that is the return of Kampf, but the results of having those 3 guys playing together have been good and has contributed to 3 straight wins. The scoring they’ve done aside – they’ve played good 4th line hockey and for the first time all season I can say I was wrong about playing Kunitz.

  • March 12, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    Fair enough. Out of interest, who would you have liked to see instead of Ward? And would it be wise to sign a cheaper goalie this offseason as an insurance policy on Delia and Crawford?

  • March 12, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    The Ward signing would not have been near as bad had he not been give a no trade contract. Then at least there would have been a chance to pick up something at the trade deadline.
    Andrew Hammond for one would have been a better pickup.
    Hammond could have done everything Ward has done only cheaper.

  • March 12, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    There was a guy, not me, who said 64 makes a difference before/when he got hurt. Bang we went 4-4 after streaking 7 games and before that 6-2-1. That was the only stretch, since we got our team/the roster adjustments, that we did not have 64 or 91. Those guys are key to the lines (as others are to) and if you take any of them out were screwed and lines do not work because were not deep not even close.

    We cant afford one guy out. Once were deep then we can get by.

    Its going to be nice when 11 and 91 round out the 12 FW because we have a loaded 3rd line.

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