Corey Crawford, Blackhawks Eliminate Blues

Crawford StL

It took another great performance from Corey Crawford to get through the first 40 minutes tied, but the championship mettle of the Chicago Blackhawks showed up in the third period.

When the dust settled and the final horn sounded, the Hawks had scored four times in the final 20 minutes and St. Louis is headed to the golf courses.

Crawford faced 17 shots in the second period alone as the skaters in front of him were called for four penalties (including a double-minor on Marian Hossa). He allowed only one goal – to TJ Oshie late in the first period – while facing 36 shots in the game to earn the critical knockout blow.

In the series, Crawford saved 201 of 215 shots on net – a .935 save percentage. For those that have continued to doubt Crawford in spite of his 2013 postseason performance, this series should serve notice that he’s a big-time goaltender.

The Hawks penalty kill – which was supposedly the Achilles heel of this team earlier in the year – successfully handled six short-handed situations on Sunday to complete a remarkably dominant series. Chicago killed 27 of 29 penalties in the series; St. Louis finished the regular season ranked seventh in the NHL on the power play.

Bryan Bickell got Chicago on the board, redirected a Brent Seabrook shot past Ryan Miller early in the first period. The Hawks wouldn’t generate much more offense in the first two periods, but Crawford’s play kept them in it.

Jonathan Toews scored his third game-winning goal of the series only 44 seconds into the third period, a power play goal that opened the flood gates for Chicago’s offense. Patrick Sharp scored his first of the series after getting whacked in the face less than 90 seconds later, and Andrew Shaw redirected a Duncan Keith shot home to make the score 4-1 at 7:30 into the final frame.

For good measure, Keith scored his second of the series at 17:05 to make the final score 5-1 in favor of the defending champions. Keith was also credited with three assists and one blocked shot in over 25 minutes.

In his return from suspension, Seabrook skated 22:05 and was credited with two assists. He finished the series with six points in three games.

Marcus Kruger spent four minutes in the penalty box early in the game but still led the team with five blocked shots. He skated 3:41 short-handed after serving two minor penalties in the game.

Michal Handzus skated 6:39 short-handed (10:33 total) in the game and blocked three shots. Bickell was credited with a team-leading six shots on net and team-high four hits in the victory as well.

Joakim Nordstrom took Kris Versteeg’s spot in the lineup and saw only four shifts on the ice; Brandon Bollig also played only four shifts in the game.

So with only 10 forwards playing most of the game, the Hawks overcame six penalties and eliminated their rivals from St. Louis.

Now, the Hawks have to wait to see if Colorado will finish off their series with Minnesota in six games or if it will take a seventh game to determine the next round opponent.

69 thoughts on “Corey Crawford, Blackhawks Eliminate Blues

  • April 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Sup guys? Rufus?

    Kind of feel like I should go back and copy and paste things I’ve been saying for the last 88 games, but I’m pretty sure you all remember them anyway.

    So proud of this team.

  • April 27, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I LOVE when teams (OVERpay to) “Go ALL In” and then DON’T WIN!!

  • April 27, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Every word JS, ….that we agreed on anyway!

    Rufus? Were you at the game buddy? Tell us about it??

    Heart of a Champion

    glad StL was pretty classy aftr it got away from them

    Rufus? You back from the UC yet?

  • April 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Dickie Dunn, I am right there with you. I would say the Blues were like the 2013 Penguins and it didn’t get the Blues out of the first round.

    Really surprised with the 3rd period flood gates and it just appeared the Blues quit (forwards and dmen after Miller did). Won’t something (or someone(S)) have to change in St. Louis?

    However, it wasn’t a cake walk for the Hawks and the teams battled. What a great series.

  • April 27, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Toews is the best player in the NHL bar none. Period over and out. Keith was a one man wrecking crew…refs seriously handicapped us through second period and St. Louis couldnt do a thing ..although one magic puck along goal line post to post…I think the crowd kept that out…couldnt get past the sound barrier! Took six wins to get credit for four but we are moving on. The Stanley Cup winners were on that ice today and it was not the Blues. Bring ’em on!

  • April 27, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    The terrible fury of the Hawks was awoken in the 3rd…

    Notes and Observations:

    1) Crawford has now stolen us 2 games – it addition to keeping us in contention in game 6 that time against Boston. He is a legitimate rock star.

    2) Toews is the best player in hockey. I know people love Crosby for his individual stats and certain parameters of his play. I can’t speak to the advanced stats, but in terms of clutch playoff goals in the past coupla years, it seems like Toews shows up when the team needs him….

    3) Bickell beast mode. This is a guy you can afford to keep in the lineup all year because you know you’ll be in the playoffs irrespective of his reg season performance. As I understand it, he was due for a regression to the mean (better shooting percentage) in any case… In any case, I think we can now all understand where Stan Bowman was going with the Bickell contract.

    4) Keef (er Sutherland). What can you say about that guy that hasn’t already been said?

    5) Zeus – the man was vindicated on the PK all series. Key block today – maybe best defensive play of the game… As the secondcityhockey folks covered, he has crucial roles to play on the team at this point. That said, what if Smith had been moved up sooner?

    6) Avs vs Wild – not sure if we should prefer to play the Avs or the Wild at this point. Avs without Duchene and Barrie have been suspect, and their win last night was highly suspect with the (by all appearances) offside GTG. I don’t think they hit as hard, but they’ve been more trouble for the hawks this year than the Wild. That said, the Wild haven’t given the hawks an easy time either.

    At present, I’m going with Avs for next round because it’ll pay better psychological dividends to the team to win and less of a physical toll to get there. Plus no chance of Matt Cooke coming back next round to decimate somebody else’s career.

    What do you all think about this?

  • April 27, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Congrats to the Hawks-it was fun to watch. This was a series that Chicago could have won in 4 or 5 or been fighting today to play for game 7-just too much skill and experience in the end. Sorry Backey, Backey not this year.
    Saad may not be scoring but he is the man-child. Hopefully this gets Sharp going!
    Toews, Kane, Smith, Shaw, Hossa, Keith and Hammer-wow! Still would like to see Morin play.

  • April 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Great win today although I was surprised to see how little Q skated the 4th line when the Hawks were up a few goals. Overall, great series and great win.

  • April 27, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Great series win for the Blackhawks. After watching the most recent line combinations for the better part of two games (5 and 6) I really like the way each of the three main lines are comprised.

    19-81-29: great puck possession line that can cycle with the best lines, play excellent defense, and create offense off the rush. 81 probably doesn’t get his game 5 follow-up goal without 29 going hard to the net, creating confusion for the St Louis D-Men.

    28-88-10: 28 balances the two wingers by playing a complete 200 ft game (remember his goal saving play in game 5). Really like the idea of being able to use 10 for face off draws along with 28.

    16-65-20: great north-south line (really needed in the playoffs) with ability to shut down opponent top line. Also, like the fact that both 16 and 65 can take the face off draw.

    4th line: 26-interchangeable part 1 – interchangeable part 2: the opponent dictates who those two interchangeable parts are (e.g. 52 if Q thinks he needs a physical presence based on opponent).

    I will let other posters debate the merits of who should be interchangeable parts 1 and 2. Today’s game showed it really doesn’t matter so long as the top 9 are clicking.

    Four down, twelve to go!

  • April 27, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Great win for the Hawks. Crow stood on his head even as the refs tried to force a Game 7. Toews and Keith both stepped it up bigtime, as did Nordstr… In all seriousness, if Q wanted to sit Versteeg, why would he put Nordstrom in ahead of Morin? Hopefully Q goes back to Verbeauty next game.

    Next series will probably be against the Avs but I’m not overly concerned. The refs took home the number one star in that one, missing an obvious hold and then the offsides. Go Hawks!

  • April 27, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I said after game 2 after two brutal losses that a series victory would be one for the books – This has to rank pretty high.

    JS – You called it on Miller from the day of the trade – I’ll drink one for you tonight!

    Keith was an absolute beast – I think we take his unbelieveable skill and compete level for granted sometimes. It was also great to see Crow stand so tall in such a huge game.

    I have been on the Ben Smith bandwagon all year and he was awesome in the series. Since he is an RFA I’m guessing he is making himself some money along the way.

    Lastly for all of us who have dumped on Zus all year the dude was great on the PK in the series and was throwing his body in front of shots. This is clearly his last hurrah and you have to respect that he is leaving it all out there.

  • April 27, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Great all around game. Crawford was an absolute bad ass in the 2nd period when it seemed we were in a continuous penalty kill. Can’t say enough about the heart of this team. That series was brutal but we got better with each game and the Hawks are now playing at the level they need to be. The Blues did us a favor, it’s gonna be damn near impossible to beat this team 4 times in a 7 game series now that they are rolling. Very impressed with Ben Smith’s play especially because he’s made the whole team better by playing so good that Q moved him to the 2nd line, and now Handzus is centering the 4th line where he fits in perfect and he looked even better on the PK tonight because he’s playing less minutes. Now we can roll 4 lines and we still have Morin waiting in the wings, and Brookbank ready to step in on D as he did so admirably in Seabrook’s absence. Hawks Win! 12 more wins to go….Go Hawks!

  • April 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    …(not to put a damper on our party, but) my only concern is fatigue because of the short bench. Will that work thru three more rounds?

  • April 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Hope that Tribune reporter that said the Hawks were “heartless” and “dirty” after game 2 gets run out of town. Their character and resolve were off the charts in this series. Also how does Ott not get called for molesting Toews at the end of the 2nd period. The Hawks power play should have been a 2 man – not that we needed it…

    Regarding those calling for Morin – keep in mind he is not a 4th line guy. I think if we see him in the playoffs it will be on one of the other lines. Nordstrom has a more versatile defensive game with his skating, ability to play PK and take face-offs.

  • April 27, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    JS- all I can remember is that Corsi matters… UNTIL IT DOESN’T!!!!

    Hawks “out-Corsi-ed again” — and still win???

    Teams down 0-2 in playoffs lose 87% of the time!!!

    Must be luck-or bad math

  • April 27, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    the other 13% must either be playing StL, are reigning Cup W eit

  • April 27, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    ….Cup Winners or both!

    geezus my laptop is a mess, I am not drunk! Ireland standards at least

  • April 27, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    WOW! I had Hawks and six and i love being right… lol… anyway, about the hawks…

    Duncan Norris (i mean Keith)- He played probably the best game of any defensemen in the NHL this season. I cant recall him making any errors, and anytime a dman scores 4 points, it s good night.

    Crow- That was the game I kept questioning him about. He STOLE that game. The Blues deserved to score at least 2 (and probably even 3) goals. Crow made sure that didn’t happen today. In the regular season i feel like a puck would have slipped in and it would have been 2-1 and then Hawks would press and give up a 3rd goal in the process. Today, Corey rose… and i’ll eat my slice of humble pie for questioning him. I was worried he wouldn’t be able to rise up and I’m glad I was wrong.

    Bicks- Speaking of rising up… That 29/19/81 line is clicking… keep it rolling… and bicks keeping earning that 4 mil. A lot of us gave him a little flack for getting paid, then getting hurt and under-performing. He is was paid to be a playoff warrior, and he is the Bicks we paid. To his defense, I know he got married in the offseason and he and his new wife are expecting… so he did have a lot going on this year… but here he is, just giving it all he has…

    Kane- While he is clearly not 100%, it doesn’t matter. He is a game changer and he is am much a warrior as anybody.

    Sharpie- Keep shooting. I know he only had the 1 goal, but that trash might just be what 10 needed. Now a couple days off to rest and lets see how he comes out… He is my pick to just unleash hell in round 2.

    Leddy- I saw someone call BB for leddy’s spot in the last thread and i didnt get to comment on it….. but leddy has been a corsi monster. I’m not one to get sucked into advanced metrics, but when you’re not giving up shots, and getting pucks on net, its a good thing.

    As a whole, I thought the PK “looked sloppy” thoughout, but they kept coming up big. Crow had a lot to do with that. On the other side, I though the PP need to look better too, but we got one today, so maybe that will turn the tide. This team rallied at the right time and is playing great hockey

    I think the Avs close it out, but i think the Hawks are ready to return the favor from the regular season… I know I’m ready for them!


  • April 27, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Dickie- I hear ya on fatigue… hopefully Minnesota can survive game 6 and give us a little extra time off…

  • April 27, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    You know, Ryan Miller reminds me of Antti Niemi. We played well in front of Niemi because we knew he was going to cough up a rebound and not soak it up. We knew it and planned accordingly. Miller has the same issue. He could make critical saves but gave up a lot of juice rebounds. They could have advanced with him if they could have scored against Crow. They have lots to learn about the playoffs. I wonder who they will blame and fire this time!

  • April 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    I’m so happy!

  • April 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Smith is a much improved player from his rookie year. His play along the boards is sorely needed on this team. Saad played very well and much better than his performance in the previous game. The defensemen ( 6) could be the best unit in the NHL. I watched with wonder the plays between Keith and Seabrook.
    Four straight from St Louis. Who would have guessed that when the Blues were leading the Western Conference by nine points and heading for the President’s Cup. A remarkable game from a still remarkable team.

  • April 27, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Wall- Corsi for 5v5 close was pretty much equal across the entire series. All games combined, it was 50.1 to 49.9 Blackhawks. Again, keep pounding that Colorado drum. One team in the last 14 years has won the Stanley Cup with a negative shot differential in the regular season, and that was a good Penguins team that took a while to figure it out.

    I’m not saying that you CAN’T win while getting out shot, it just really decreases your chances.

    87% number will likely start changing because of the new playoff format.

  • April 27, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Anyone doubt that Toews and Kane are the best tandem in hockey and regardless of Sid the Kid, Johnny is arguably the best overall player in the game. He is Jordanesk in his will to win.

  • April 27, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    2015 shots?

  • April 27, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I knew we could do it. Great win guys alright yea! When we win the Stanley trophy this year it will be my 3rd as a hawks fan. That’s batting .600! COOL!

  • April 27, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    The differences between the periods where stark, especially the difference between the second and third periods. It seemed like the Hawks owned the first period from a puck possession perspective and yet the Blues had a 11-8 SOG advantage. The Hawks were as bad as the Blues were as good in the second period. The only reason it was still tied was a combination of Crawford being very good and the Blues power play being inept. The it was role reversal in the third with the Hawks grabbing big MO with the Toews PP goal and never stopped owning the period. What a game!

    Obviously it’s great the Hawks beat the Blues to move into the second round, but I think the series showed the Blues to be a flawed team more than it showed the Hawks to be Cup worthy. Not that I don’t think the Hawks have a legit chance to continue playing into June and maybe win it again – just that I think there are other teams that are better than the Blues proved to be.

    But, there will be time to fret over the trial and tribulations still to come, today is a time to celebrate our favorite hockey team and bask in the glory of a series victory. This sure is fun.

    Go Hawks ! ! ! !

  • April 27, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Okay, I did not make the “I’m so happy comment” at 8:54, but its accurate…I am.

    First, as JS and others have said, I am so enamoured with the “will to win” that this team possesses. That is why I have said all along that you win with the Jonathon Toews, Marian Hossas, Duncan Keiths, Hammers, Andrew Shaws and Marcus Krugers of the world…they understand (like Mike Keenan did) that winning every puck battle, wins championships…and this is why we won this series and have won 2 Cups in 4 years.

    On top of that, we got world class goaltending in the series (something Keenan did not get from Belfour against Pittsburgh) and that put us over the top. But I think that everyone here should understand that dressing a “limited” lineup, skating only 3 lines, and relying on your goaltender to be the saviour of the PK is dangerous at best. For whatever reason Q has steadfastly dressed Zus and Bollig, and steadfastly has not used them 5 on 5…well, he did use Zus 5 on 5 in the first 2 games (the 2 games we lost) an incredible amount, and then SLOWLY reduced his role to nothing more than a PKiller that loses a LOT of F/Os. Today we didn’t have a 4th line…and we dropped out of the lineup a versatile/talented/competitive player in Kris Versteeg, who possesses a SC ring, for a good/up and coming rookie who has no playoff experience and proceeded to skate him 4 shifts.

    How long can this team keep up these minutes, fight for every loose puck and still win 7 game series? I don’t know…their will to win is remarkable, as are the amount of “winners” there are on this team…so anything is possible. But, unless we add more minutes and more speed to this lineup moving forward, it will be a crapshoot. Again, what do I know? I am not a 2 time SC winning HC…but I will state my opinion for anyone who wants to hear…

    This team is GREAT and we have a historical chance to become a true dynasty in the salary cap era. IMO, repeating and winning 3 cups in the last 5 years will put the Hawks amongst the greatest teams of all time. Equalling what the Canadiens did in the 70’s (when they have FIRST DIBS on EVERY Quebec born player in each round, regardless of where they finished the previous year). So to “chance” this legacy by incredulously skating Zus as the 4th line centre for 3 minutes, and Bollig/Nordstrom for a minute and change is amazing. But hey, we just won another playoff series, so why should I “poo poo” on the Hawks parade? Because the SC is about winning 16 playoff games, not 4…and with teams like COL, MIN, ANA, LAK, and BOS still out there, we have a long way to go. And what is amazing to me, is that we have the best depth in the entire league so we should be the LAST team to skate only 3 lines a game…unbelievable really. And if we were ever going to “shake up” our line up, how was Versteeg going to be the guy? And how was Joakim Nordstrom (whom I like a lot) going to be the replacement when Jeremy Morin has EARNED a chance…that same can be said of Regin???

    So the rest we are going to get is huge, and necessary. But will it be enough moving forward? All of you can make yourselves feel better inside about our chances with Zus in the lineup as a Super Special teams player, but the truth of the matter is, he is not. He is AVERAGE at best as a PKiller. Corey Crawford has been a rock star PKiller. Allowing teams to easily set up in your zone, win F/Os at will, and pepper your net with shots, is NOT the recipe for great PKilling. We have been fortunate thus far to get such good goaltending, but we shouldn’t rely so heavily on it. We must use 4 lines moving forward. To do that, Kruger is your 4th line centre…Bollig can play wing, but that line needs a great winger (see Ben Smith), so you are right back at who plays 2nd line Centre? And that can’t be Zus. So where do you play him as a 5 on 5 player and NOT hurt this team? The answer is you CAN’T…even if we skated Kruger as the 4th line centre with Bollig and Zus, that line won’t be able to play key minutes in key games. And what is Bollig’s confidence like right now, sitting like a doorman at the end of the bench? And its going to get better next series suddenly skating 12 minutes a game against COL??? Likely not.

    And here’s the kicker…Michael Handzus won’t be in the NHL next year…we signed Bollig to a pretty sizeable contract extension for such a marginal player and yet we don’t have Ben Smith under contract for next year??? So if you are comfortable moving forward with Zus and Bollig in the lineup, then you are a smarter man than me…

    As always, Love Ya Hawks and Hawk fans!!!

  • April 27, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    We know who you are, here Billy, Billy, Billy.

  • April 27, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    And I am Hungry like a wolf…

  • April 27, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I love that the scoring is spread out. Toews, Kane, Bicks, Hossa, Sharp, and Shaw all have goals which is huge. It’s just a matter of time before Saad pots a couple as well.

    I’m stunned Hjalmarsson ended up a minus 5 in that series. I think he’s been a rock and the second punch to Keith/Seabs.

  • April 27, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Take off, eh.

  • April 28, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Sr. Brad- You’re dead on with your comment except I believe you should give a little more credit to Handzus

  • April 28, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Perfection will not be found in this life so those who expect perfection will always be disappointed – including Q’s decision on who to play and much to play them. Experts are so persistent in finding Q’s decisions wanting when they have no skin in the game, even after the Hawks win. The objective is to win, and that objective was achieved, so why the continuing gnashing of teeth over the problem of Q’s inability to see what is so plain to see by all the message board experts. If only someone would tip him off to this message board, maybe the season can be saved when he reads the recommendations posted here.

  • April 28, 2014 at 1:31 am

    “I’m doing a tribute to the team on Sunday. “Blues Fold: A Sad Commentary.” – Something along those lines.” (- Slapshot…sort of)

  • April 28, 2014 at 1:49 am

    To Terrible: re think about playing Av’s vs Minny…Upon reflection and weighing all the pros and cons I prefer the challenge of the Av’s ….Roy will likely win the Jack Adams and he is very unconventional, throws caution to the wind and is confident…overconfident, and that is where Q will out coach him…plus we will tip those unbalanced scales from the regular season and put these upstarts in their place and give them a good lesson in what a real championship team is capable of. This will leave them in the dust. Minny we will beat hands down, no problem but could suffer from injuries or sleeping sickness and thus unprepared for the Western final against whatever is left of the Ducks/Kings / Sharks.

  • April 28, 2014 at 3:40 am

    RD- you wernt kidding about how comparable their last 2 yrs were. That’s a little scary, for them. They should go to the east conf. with redwings, then there would be at least 2 good teams in that conf.

  • April 28, 2014 at 3:41 am

    BOS & STL.

  • April 28, 2014 at 3:43 am

    This was extremely close. Moar close then the SAN & BOS ones…

  • April 28, 2014 at 3:48 am

    Nothing against PIT.

  • April 28, 2014 at 3:49 am

    What a night. Long and Happy.

  • April 28, 2014 at 7:02 am

    a 5-1 win gives you a feeling things were easy but that was no cake walk. Looking back I think that penalty on Steen for slashing 7 was a huge part of the game up through the halfway point. 81 is serving his double minor and the Steen penalty gave us a chance to split the long kill and that helped keep it 1-1. Hope that is the last time we see 6 pp against, let alone 9 as in g2

  • April 28, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Good Game as the Hawks where over due even after winning 3 games in a row to get just a few bounces and tilts in their favor. Blues kept them off balance for most of the series and finally the 3rd was the break thru. Lots of numbers and predictions on this Blog but all I can say is Marcus Kruger played the most effective, efficient and energized hockey for ALL 6 games period Shaw also put a lot out there. Killer Kruger showed me a lot, a winner and a real competitor against a Heavy Strong team. Bick’s is the key to any Hawks continued success for many reasons. Crawford played great, steady and still in the net, Crow is a work in progress and will get better over time, he is very good now with lots of playoff experience he can get GREAT.
    Coach Q did a masterful job of sitting VER-STEEEEG, brillaint way to send a message to the entire Team, to wake up even after 3 wins. Perfect Benching of a player who was playing pretty good. Coach Q does this better than anyone, not a fan of Coach Q flip flop on lines as it detroys chemistry and confidence and unity. Avs Goaltending will be the difference. Miller is average at best in playoffs, very average. Blues should have gotten Kesler from Vancouver. Next year?

  • April 28, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Great Job Hawks. I’m really liking the first 3 lines and the D and goaltending have been outstanding.
    Nice cheapshot by Backes on Seabrook from behind. Backes might want to trying playing hockey instead of running around trying to separate heads.

    I’m just glad the Hawks got through the first round scare as it was a close series. At Easter my son got one of those NHL Kinder Surprise eggs and he opened it and there was a Blackhawks dog tag inside and he said “here dad this is for you” I put it on and haven’t taken it off since as the Hawks have won 4 straight since that time.

  • April 28, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Bladz- you take that dogtag off… we are coming for you… lol… kidding!

    As good as those top 3 have been i think we need to see some balance in the lines. as the playoffs go on, we will need the 4th to play more than just a total of ZERO 5 on 5 minutes in the 2nd period… I know we were on the kill most of that, and zus played good minutes of it… but still.

  • April 28, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I changed my shirt to start the 3rd period in games 5 and 6. Just sayin’

  • April 28, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Great win for the Hawks and I can not wait for the second round to start.

    Is 19 the best player in the NHL? Maybe not, probably not. But as I have said repeatedly, he is the best Captain in the NHL bar NONE. And he is EXACTLY the captain the Hawks need.

    Look, who can argue with the results, but the roster moves and playing time were kinda bizarre. Why Versteeg? Why Nordstrom? Why only 4 shifts for 42 and 52? Maybe Q wanted a statement game, maybe there is a message for Versteeg, maybe there was just too muck PK time to get 42 and 52 into the game, maybe 11 and 12 have not done enough for the team.

    Versteeg’s game is an enigma to me. His puck handling and speed are fine. However, he seems to have forgotten how to get rid of the puck. Rushes into the zone great, puts on the brakes and just holds the puck for what seems like forever…..then it is too late and he loses control. Easy to see on film and easy to tell him he needs to execute more quickly. That has not happened so Q sat him. But even with all of this, his play is OK.

  • April 28, 2014 at 7:59 am

    ER, its a 16 win process to the Cup. My comments are not about winning the first 4, its about getting 16. At the pace we are going, we might only be skating 2 lines by the end…I am surprised you don’t see this.

  • April 28, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Ya I was surprised when checking the box score to see Nordstrom and Bollig at 2:00. 2:00 minutes really? I guess i can understand as Q wanted to close out this series and you can’t blame him for not wanting to go back to St. Louis. Let’s hope it evens out a bit more against the next opponent (likely the Avs) as it will be fast paced to say the least.

  • April 28, 2014 at 8:27 am

    And for all the Bollig fans out there, shouldn’t you be concerned about Bolly’s confidence right now? His ice time has shrunk every game, down to just 4 shifts yesterday. This isn’t how you build someone’s confidence…

  • April 28, 2014 at 8:42 am

    I hear ya brad… I have stood up for Bollig’s spot as the 12th FWD, but i agree. It says something when the coach only gets you out there 4 times… hopefully there isn’t too much to read into it, and it was just Q wanting to put things away.

    But even more so what does that say to 11… we’d rather have 52 dressed to skate 4 shifts that dress you… The one defense someone else brought up is that 11 is more of a “3rd liner” replacement than a 4th liner… which i kinda agree with… but still… it looks bad if youre 11.

    I like Morin, and hoped he’d find a “frolik-esque” role, but after the versteeg trade there isn’t room for him. TT will replace Zus’s roster spot… Smith should be resigned and then everyone else is under contract through atleast next year if not longer (and we have other propects they will already have to make room for in coming years… Hartman/Danault/Ross… etc). If im morin and im getting sat behind guys who are skating 2 minutes… I might be exploring my options this summer…

  • April 28, 2014 at 9:04 am

    JS- My point is in at least two of Hawk’s wins (perhaps more/ don’t have time to look up)… Hawks lost the “important” Corsi battle -badly, and STILL won!

    Interesting- two of the Teams leading in Negative Shot differential… Hawks/Avs…

  • April 28, 2014 at 9:55 am

    What an amazing series that was. I can’t remember being as emotionally invested in a series as this before. I think it was because of my decades long dislike for the Blues which goes back to the old Norris “black and blue” division days. I just could not stomach losing to those guys. After starting out a series losing the first 2 games, we all know what the stats are as it relates to which team comes out on top. I felt though like the Detroit series last year that the Hawks could find a way through, and my goodness they got it done. Winning four in a row against a very solid opponent was a very daunting task, but this Hawks team is loaded with character players and led by a proven winner #19. The guy simply hates to lose. It starts with the Cpt. St Louis please take note if you really want to win. That team needs some roster tweaking with direction toward skill, and away from the rough and tumble. Blues are close, but not quite ready for prime time. Their fans must be devastated to have lost 2 years in a row after starting out a series 2-0. What are the odds????

    Interesting how this series evolved. Early games were simply mean, but as we saw through the last 3 games the venom lessened. In the end, the Hawks best players beat the Blues best players. Hawks have more top quality than the blue notes. As mentioned by many of you, Duncan Keith was simply playing at a very, very high level. That is as motivated and focused as I have ever seen him play. He had that “look” I have mentioned before, where you know he is going to bring it at both ends of the rink. It started back in the middle of game 1 or 2 I seem to remember,where he took a shot from either Ott, Lapierre or perhaps Backes. Duncs turned around and the “look” was there. Similar to when Sedin crunched his head into the glass a few years ago, and Keith just lost it. You want an elbow to the head? Here ya go…..Give me my suspension, thank you. Message sent to Sedin and around the league. Don’t mess with Duncs. For those that don’t think Duncan Keith should be Norris trophy winner, think again. He is an elite player that raises his game when the chips are down.

    I thought Tazers PP goal to start the third yesterday was the back breaker for the Blues. You could just see their heads fall forward and shoulders slump. Corey also drained their resolve by coming up huge in the 2nd period when the Blues PP parade seemed endless, and they had a chance to blow the game wide open. Great PK work by the Hawks and CC stood tall. Gotta give CC 2 of the 4 wins where the keeper came up big for his team. Corey may drive us nuts sometimes with softies, but he is a gamer come playoff time. He is earning his money when the chips are down.

    Question. When Sharp was hooked around the neck from behind was that going to be a penalty shot had it not gone in??

    At the UC yesterday mid way through the 3rd and the Hawks a 2 goal lead, 300 level began the Wackey, Wackey! chant. It didn’t go full crowd, but I loved that. David Backes is a very good player that just has to change his game towards the skill side. He has the tools, and the drive, but to his detriment , the cheap stuff just brings him and his team down.

    Let’s all get some rest. Hawks playing a short bench really need some down time. Hopefully Q will back to rolling 4 lines as playoffs progress. You can’t keep whipping the horses and expect the response you want to get.

    Be proud Hawks fans, very proud of what your team has accomplished. First hurdle cleared. I think we can go deep.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  • April 28, 2014 at 9:59 am

    I agree that rolling 4 lines is preferrable. But again – the objective is to win the game in front of you. That was done despite not rolling 4 lines and therefore the objective was achieved. I guess my criticism is that I think some fans are essentially saying “yeah ya won but ya didn’t win good enough”. I understand it’s a marathon and not a sprint but let’s see how things go – maybe the Hawks will continue to win even if they don’t follow the fan’s blueprint.

  • April 28, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Uh by the by, Ruf what say you now? Ye of little faith….

    Joking of course.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  • April 28, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Blues Oshie said it best yesterday “I think we woke up some guys in that third period that were sleeping for their team all series,” Oshie said. I agree lots of players in a funk and playing in short spurts hopefully the next series is an all out effort.

  • April 28, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Looks like Duchane will be in the Avs lineup tonight.

  • April 28, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Phil, that is great advice for the Blues…who were the 2 Blues players that gave our team fits??? Tarasenko and Oshie…SKILLED players, not thugs…and as you and others have suggested time and again, STL won’t win it all EVER with a Captain who is a thug.

    The Blues are NOT far off from being a dominant team, but they definitely need tweeting away from being goons and put all that skill to good use. Great post Phil.

  • April 28, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    First of all, Lets Go Wild! Minnesota that is. My God were they robbed at the end of the 3rd period Saturday night. Historically brutal non call/calls. I’m still shaking my head over that scene. Game was stolen from Wild pure and simple. Hope they get it back tonight. I would much prefer Hawks play the Wild anyway simply because the travel for the Hawks to Denver is a pretty bad deal. Long flight, hour bus ride from the boonies where the airport is located, and never mind the altitude issues. A Wild win tonight means the Hawks get more rest too.

    Not forgetting:

    Lets Go Hawks!

  • April 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Dickiedunn- I think we did the top9 fw thing because that’s what STL usually does and we have the extra days now. Otherwise I am thinking we do that when needed in 3rd period sometimes… Fucking teams folding.

    Bicks was also getting used to playing with his new teeth too… Love and Marriage.

    We exploded with goals after they showed the Keenan shots, aahaha.

    Yea, Sharpy said the ref told him it was going to be a penalty shot, but was the ref telling the truth or being a political pussy.

  • April 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    ER- like Versteeg said in ’10… We don’t care what the score is. We just want to win.

  • April 28, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Phil- Tracey Myers of CSN tweeted out saying the ref informed Sharp that he would have been given a PS had the puck not gone in.

  • April 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks CJ.

  • April 28, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Yo, beatin St Looie
    better’n N’awlins tooie
    better’n bacon chewie
    make a man say oooh weeee!

  • April 28, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Wall- the shot differential statistic I reference is season long, not 6 playoff games. But still, the Hawks were -2 for the series for 5v5 Score Close. I think we can all say they never really played all that well that series either.

    I know you’re a smart guy and I know you understand what I’m saying. You there isn’t a single statistic that says 100% of the time this will happen. Looking at Corsi is a strong indicator of success, especially when compared with previous results. You can get outshot 100-0 and still win a game, odds are pretty bad of that happening though.

    Yes, 87% of the time a team goes up 2-0 in a series, they win. But 13 times out of 100 that other team will come back. I’d prefer for the Hawks to never go down 2-0 again, because it severely limits their chances of winning.

    I think Colorado is a fun team to watch, but if they make it past the Wild, I fully expect the Hawks to throttle them in 5 games (if Q makes the right lineup decisions).

  • April 28, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Morrison, They convicted Ogilthorpe.

  • April 29, 2014 at 2:44 am

    Call the pizza man.

  • April 29, 2014 at 7:15 am

    found it interesting on Monday some of the talking heads who were beating the drum for ”whats wrong with the ‘hawks” after getting down 0-2, were in turn, proclaiming now that Chicago is ”on track and could easily have swept the Blues in 4 straight games” Oh Really? buncha douchebags

    Wild just gave us our max rest in forcing g7. Duchene went for almost 20mins looked fine

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