Ducks Escape Chicago With 1-0 Win

John Gibson held the Blackhawks scoreless at the United Center as the Anaheim Ducks started a four-game road trip with a big win in Chicago.


Scott Darling returned to the net for the Blackhawks and played well against one of the better offensive teams in the league. Darling allowed only one goal, a short-handed third period goal from Devante Smith-Pelly, against 25 shots in the first loss of his NHL career.

On the short-handed goal, a bouncing pass from Brandon Saad eluded Brent Seabrook, who compounded the issue by falling down on the play. Smith-Pelly took it the distance and put a nice move on Darling for the game-winner.

Gibson, starting only his third game in the NHL this season, stopped 38 shots to earn the shutout victory.

Andrew Shaw led the Hawks with four hits and won seven of 14 faceoffs. Jonathan Toews won 11 of 19 at the dot to lead the Hawks, while Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger and Brad Richards were undefeated in 12 combined draws.

Jeremy Morin skated a team-low 10:13 but tied Bryan Bickell and Brent Seabrook for the team lead with four shots on net. Morin finished the night with a plus-three CORSI and one blocked shot as well. Five of Morin’s 12 shifts came in the third period, and looked good throughout the night.

Unfortunately, the offense continues to struggle as the Hawks search for consistency. Chicago has scored more than two goals only twice in their first nine games of the 2014-15 campaign, and one of those performances was against the Sabres in the home opener.

Since Corey Crawford left the lineup, the Blackhawks have struggled to a 2-3-0 record. The Hawks have lost three of their last four, all by one goal; they’re 3-3-1 in one-goal games to open the season.

The Hawks power play continued to struggle against a Ducks penalty kill unit that had been mediocre to date. Chicago failed on all three of their power plays, including a 6-on-4 when coach Joel Quenneville pulled Darling to start a power play with 2:35 left in regulation. Anaheim came into the game tied with Ottawa and Edmonton for 20th in the league on the penalty kill (78.6 percent).

Chicago successfully killed the Ducks’ only power play.

Crawford skated and will reportedly travel with the team to Ottawa. Whether or not he’s good-to-go is yet to be seen, but Darling has been good enough in his two appearances to give the coaches confidence in the organization’s depth moving forward. After the game, Quenneville said Darling has played well enough to give the coaches “something to think about.”

CHI ANA Shots 10.28.14

56 thoughts on “Ducks Escape Chicago With 1-0 Win

  • October 28, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    I am not looking at numbers- but I am guessing that the PP has let up more goals than the PK… Laughable!!!

    Where is that high octane offense???

    Positives- 91 actually looked faster, as did 29, Mo and 16 were good too!!!

    Negatives- Kane, Hoss, 10, 19, really not doing much O side.

    Hawks better figure out how to morph into a “greasy/gritty” goal scoring team- cuz the “speed” is no where to be seen,,, and the 40 Perimeter/one and done shots aren’t going to get it done!!!

  • October 28, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Diving for getting a high stick in face.

    They missed the embellishment on 19 when he got crosschecked in the side of headandshoulder enough to break the chin snap off the side of his helmet.

  • October 29, 2014 at 1:05 am

    Wall nailedit, very few greasy goals. The league has figured out this high paced, cycling, puck possession stuff. Teams now sink their two defensemen real low in the defensive zone, the wingers drop lower and toward the middle and the center gets back, picture a box and one defense in basketball only they are doing it in hockey.

    almost every games the hawks are playing is Low scoring. Ottawa, nashville at home, Calgary, buffalo for 2 periods, anaheim.

    I love the hawks like everybody else but they are not that hard to play against if the other team is disciplined and defensive. Not a lot of greasy goals, kind of reminds e of 1995 an new jersey swept the high flying red wings and everybody was shocked.

  • October 29, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Tons of typos this I pad sucks.

  • October 29, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Crawford has really proven himself lately, but even given this small sample size, I think darling is our best option in net. Richards had his most aggressive game, almost seemed effective… and morin continues to bring the energy the rest of the hawks lack. Did kane and hossa play tonight?..didn’t see them out there

  • October 29, 2014 at 5:11 am

    The goals will come.

    Our goalies have been excellent. Q and Bowman will have to figure out who will be the backup…..but Darling has bounced around for a reason. Maybe he is just coming of age at 25, it happens. Too bad he is on a 1 year contract.

    Hard to be too tough of last nights game. But Wall is right, greasy goals. I think Rosy’s days are numbered as 6th Dman. Team just looks slower with him in the lineup. Nothing against Carcillo as he has worked really hard, but I love Morin’s energy. If he continues to improve, I take him as 12th forward over Carcillo.

  • October 29, 2014 at 5:55 am

    It drives me nuts when they get out hit as badly as they did – 38-17 I think it was?

    By itself the stat doesn’t mean everything because you can’t hit when you have the puck, but still, they’ve got to get more physical IMO because that leads to gritty goals. And this team is not scoring goals gritty or otherwise at the moment.

  • October 29, 2014 at 6:45 am

    2 NHL teams are over .500 all time, in Chicago. Mtl & Ana.

  • October 29, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Wall, great post. Ditto to it all.

    I don’t think either team wanted to play last night. Hawks have been boring to watch this year. Complacency? Even Toews does not seem to have the fire so far this year.

  • October 29, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Good news, Jeremy Morin played very very well, his drives to the net and Bick’s drive is really what the Hawks lack. Jeremy Morin can chip and chase with ease as does Saad the dump and chase takes too much effort from Hawks small wingers to gain control. Again almost 40 shots but not much net presence, no second shots and the power play still is average, even entering the puck now is a challenge. DUCKS are a good defensive team with great forwards that GET BACK like the Hawks, they give you little time and space. Sharp is awesome I am not sure he should be at the Point on Power play, TVR should get a chance on the power play i think his offensive skill and IQ at the point would change it up. Seabrook and Hammer have been playing good on the powerplay, still too much passing and too many shots and passes not in the ONE TIMER AREA, teams will take a chance that a slap shot from 25 feet wont make it thru. Not a bad game but not a good game since it’s a home loss. Crowd was quiet . . . Crawford would have stopped that break away and we’re lucky it wasn’t PERRY.

  • October 29, 2014 at 7:43 am

    I think a lot of you are looking at this wrong. If there was ever a”positive loss”, this was it. The ducks are a large, highly skilled cup contender and we held its 2 best players to 1 shot each. We played our best defensive game of the year by far against a team that has been scoring a lot of goals. I don’t think this was a boring game but a chess match type of game by two teams that didn’t want to make a mistake. We blinked first and lost. Remember everyone “D” wins championships. Our offense will break out soon enough. If we keep playing this type of defensive game, especially in the playoffs, we will go far.
    One last thought, this was Morin and Richards best game of the year and TVR is a keeper.

  • October 29, 2014 at 7:44 am

    A word on no goals! No consistent net presence, so if fans want SHAW in front of the NET SHAW can not be the one guy chasing the puck in the corners, cant expect that from any player! Then take away the Hawks stretch pass which is easy, simple awareness of center ice positioning and you have a strong forward like a Kesler who can shadow Towes Hawks will always have trouble scoring. Teams will let Kane skate all day. Rozy is obviously too slow. Richards actually looked okay with SHARP and thats good news, he needs chemistry he is not a player who can carry it by himself anymore, YAGERRRR can but not Richards. But good to see him make a few very smart offensive plays his “defensive transition time” might be the slowest in the nhl, soooooo slooooooow to turn down ice and get back. he should just jump the box and go for a line change and have a stand in defensively.

  • October 29, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Mike- “the goals will come”… I don’t see it happening unless- it’s vs the worst of the worst…

    Craig N.- I think you are spot on Regarding how a lot of teams are starting to play Hawks on D… I have had the same thoughts recently ( have really noticed Calgary do it, but Ducks did it too)… Teams “look” like they are adapting Hawks “Low Box-n-one” D… forcing weak perimeter shots… AND just like the Hawks don’t let up A lot of high % shots (unless they are on PP)… the Hawks aren’t getting any… SOOOO- the only way to score is “posting guys” w/ deflections or rebound goals… which ain’t the way the Hawks are built…

    Worst part– where has the Hawks Transition game gone??? Are they older/tired???
    Is it cuz they are paying so much Detail to dropping low and supporting D (low Box?)??? is it something other teams are doing (more conservative forecheck- and willing to get back quicker- and let Hawks make the 1st mistake)… I think the Ducks were Uber conservative last nite- Never saw Perry so harmless… So I think some Coaches have figured this out… Really- get back- let Hawks play the cycle- No Odd-mans… eventually the Hawks will get frustrated – Turn it over… and we will pounce.

    Remember when 88, 10, 25 would be “flying ” the zone and Hawks were 3 vs 2 or 2 on 1 … 10-15 times a nite??? Not any more!!!

    Yawn- or Perhaps the BIG contracts and LONG SC runs are starting to weigh this team down…

    If Hawks aren’t above .500 after November- perhaps it is time to Miss the Playoffs and try to move up in next year’s Great Draft- That Eichel kid IS the real deal!!!!

  • October 29, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Wall, agree with a lot. Every year the league gets younger, faster and bigger. I believe the days when players are who are 34+ and can make significant contributions are numbered. This trend will continue. The game will truly belong to players 23-30.

    Adding a guy like Richards and trading a guy like Leddy is counter productive in today’s game. Is Leddy a great player? maybe not but I think we lost more than we gained in this exchange. Eventually, Q will have to allow prospects to come in, make their mistakes at the top level and develop their “NHL” game.

    I think SB has done a great job in recognizing what prospects to keep and what prospects to trade or let walk. Q will realize this in the next couple of years as Sharp, Hoss, Oduya, Rosy and even a Seabrook lose steps vs. younger, stronger players. Q will eventually realize he HAS to get younger. After many years of resisting, Holland and Babcock are now all in on youth.

  • October 29, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Wall don’t be silly. Through 9 games last year the Hawks had 24 goals. Through 9 games this year, the Hawks have 21 goals. P.S. They finished second in the league in scoring last year.

    If you think a team is going to average 39 shots a game and only score 2.33 goals… no. Not going to happen.

    Morin was ridiculously good last night. Good on the back check, creative in the offensive zone. That line could be dangerous if given that many minutes every night.

    Kane looks like he’s completely out of turbo. He has no jump in his step and that’s kind of scary considering it’s only 9 games in.

    Worst line on the Hawks has been Saad, Shaw, and Kane. Can the Shaw as 2C experiement be over?

    Richards/Sharp/Versteeg have something going. Hopefully they don’t get blended out before they can develop some chemistry.

    Bickell was one of the most dangerous players on the ice last night. That’s good to see.

    Anyway, calm down folks. This team is going to start potting goals at a ridiculous clip. The Numbers tell me that the levees gonna break.

  • October 29, 2014 at 8:36 am

    It was indeed a positive loss against a formidable and quite talented, physical Anaheim team.

    A couple of things at work. One, the Hawks are clearly trying to adapt their style of play this season. To use a basketball analogy, we are shifting away from the fast break transition style of play to a half-court game. Thing is the Hawks don’t have the skates or the type of fast break depth they once had. So the strategy is to work like demons defensively (which through 9 games has worked brilliantly) while seeking to get the puck in deep, work the cycle and get lots and lots of pucks on the net.

    Father Time is catching up with both Hossa and Sharp. And the addition of the slow-a-skate Richards has compounded the problems with the offense. Hence why I continue to shake my head in bewilderment on why Bowman just had to have Richards. To be fair, Richards had his best game by far last night. Regardless, the Hawks are strugglingly HUGELY to figure out what can be his chemistry and role on this team.

    Defensively, the Hawks are clearly focusing in all respects. Thru 9 games the defensive intensity and results have been outstanding. So again, we are changing offensively and defensively.

    What the Hawks need are several things….

    1. Kane and Toews need to take their games to a new level within this transition stage of the franchise. Kane needs to get more selfish on the ice.

    2. Sharp-Toews-Kane should be a permanent line combo until further notice. Just because.

    3. Hawks need some top line skating ability added right now. Danault or Nordstrom need to get up with the club soon. Not sure if it is Teuvo time.

    4. Shaw needs to move to the RW. It’s a problem when Shaw is consistently the most visible player on the ice for a team with Sharp, Toews, Kane and Hossa on the roster. Seriously, a role player should not be your bright light right now. It should be the stars. Shaw at Center is part of the chemistry problem. Just like Richards on this roster is a chemistry problem.

    5. Call up Clendening today. Hawks need a 3rd pairing member who can skate and be a Leddy-lite in that regard. Pair Clendening with TvR on most nights and see what happens.

    6. And finally, what to do with Brandon Saad needs to be sorted out. Saad has been the unfortunate victim of this offensive and defensive transition period as a team. I’d like to see him with Kruger as his Center until Teuvo or Danualt are ready for that role. I’d really like to see Saad-Kruger-Hossa for awhile.


  • October 29, 2014 at 8:52 am

    A pity to have not gathered any points last night. It was a chess match throughout. Could have gone either way with a bad bounce, and sure enough the bounce went against the Hawks. Actually it was Bickell that made the buddy pass pass back to Seabs last night that had zero pace and bounced awkwardly into Seabrook. It was an accident ready to happen and it did. Never mind that EVERY team in the league rush towards our point men, but that pass had uh oh written all over it.

    It is frustrating of course when your team is not scoring goals. It wasn’t through lack of effort. there were plenty of bodies in front of Duck net last night, but pucks just keep bouncing away from Hawks sticks. Did we hit 1-2 pots last night? They sure hit Gibson alot right in his mid section. These shots will eventually start to go in as well as some of the rebounds go to Hawks sticks. Make no mistake Gibson played really well last night, and so did Darling for the 2nd straight game. CC is the man, but it is very heartening to know that we have 2 very capable backups. I like Darlings composure, angles he takes, as well as foot work. Very happy for this guy. He deserved better last night. We all know the Hawks are not going to lose many 1-0 games.

    Most heartening to me from what is evolving this season with the Hawks is the improved team defense. I believe lack of attention to team defense late last year and into the playoffs was the reason they did not get to the finals and take home another Cup. If they continue to commit to team defense and stop cheating out of the d zone to start offensive breakouts good things will come. PK has been great so far this year, but as mentioned the PP is giving up more goals than the PK unit. Sickly amusing.

    Yes, Morin had another very good game AND Richards is starting to do good things too. Versteeg is rounding into form, which is also a sneaky under the radar positive. I think we have a good lineup.

    While Hawks got the PP advantage, they should have had more. that BS embellishment call against Shaw after getting high sticked. Yes, Shaw threw his head back, but he got a stick up high that WAS a penalty. I thought Toews might have been heavily dazed in the 3rd when he was clocked upside the head and his helmet knocked off. How could that not be a penalty?

    This team is fine. Goals will come. They are doing the right things, and Q ran 4 lines.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  • October 29, 2014 at 8:54 am

    It’s been mentioned at times, team defense was our main concern was it not? we are sitting on 15 ga after 9 games and not rejoicing? geez

    when the sky is falling it will be painfully obvious, to the taller ones first.

  • October 29, 2014 at 8:55 am

    6 against buffalo kinda skews that a bit.

    35-40 game mark I think there will be a better idea of where this team I at.

  • October 29, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Wall- Sharp was all over the place and I personally saw this game live! What I saw was tons of shots some brushed the net, others robbery, and a lot of shots down low. I wish I would have seen more tip plays that could of helped get a goal. Also more screening the goalie would have helped. The Negative I saw is when you have 3 powerplays and not 1 goal. That’s the negative! I don’t blame the goal on Scott Darling yeah maybe he could of had that but what is he to do when the Ducks are on a Breakaway and Saad is the only one back. They need to figure out their powerplays that’s what killed them tonight! If we had just one goal on one of the powerplays we would have been tied if we had 2 goals on 3 powerplays we would have won.

  • October 29, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Mike agree- about the “Younger league” – I will even add 19-23 year olders w/ IQ

    JS- Respectfully disagree- Not looking to re-kindle the Corsi vs eye-test argument…

    1.) the High volume of Shots have been low caliber “scoring chances”
    2.) there have been few Rebound chances (again Grade A “scoring chances”)
    3.) Dating back thru latter part of last year… Hawks are getting fewer “Odd-mans”= SCORING CHANCES

    Once again- I am using my “Eye-test” for these opinions/observations…
    which one of the above do you disagree with??? For God’s sake- Hawks are letting up a break away on the PP- almost every game!!!!!

    The ONLY statement above that can be changed by effort/and or “Puck luck” – is #2…
    perhaps some rebounds start bouncing to wide open sticks.

    Putting up 5 or 6 on Sabres… means the rest of the games have been LOW scoring…
    and Hawks have had EASY part of schedule- so Far…

    The only guy putting Hard shots on net… MORIN!!! the rest of the 40 shots are low quality for the most part!!!

  • October 29, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Morin was fouled 3 times before they finally called a penalty. He took a pretty viscious elbow right to the face in the middle of the third. That strip of Getzlaf at center ice that he turned into a mini-break was really impressive… skating right-shoots left. Hell of a stop by Gibson.

    As far as the Power Play. It was working well at the start of the season when they were trying to get Sharp the looks from the middle of the ice. Teams noticed what they were doing, started attacking the point man. This SHOULD open up space in the high slot, but no one is there.

    Rufus- Agree 100% on getting Kane and Toews together on the ice. Something needs to spark the offense and with their dedication to defense so far, that should work fine.

    If Raanta gets sent down in place of Darling, the Hawks will have enough cap space for a TT.

  • October 29, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I agree with Big Al that this was actually a well played, entertaining game featuring 2 of the best teams in hockey engaged in a a playoff game style of play. Darling was excellent and Gibson was a tad better based on a bad bounce/gift from Seabrook. (FYI- Whoever said CC would have stopped that breakaway- that’s too funny. Who says it would have even still been 0-0 at that point?! GMAFB) Bootom line, EVERY Hawks fan should be THRILLED with Darlings play and want to see more (for context, I’ve always been with Wall on the BIG cap allocation mistake paying Crawford $6M x 6, but whatever, not going to change now.)

    29, 11, and 91 had good games, Toews played with heart but he/we just couldn’t get one past Gibson, it happens. 88 dispapears sporadically against bigger/hitting teams, but I’m not worried about him.. Sad part was Hawks were really pouring it on in the 3rd as shots were even thru 2 and the Hawks were outshooting them by a wide margin beofre the turnover (ended up outshooting them 18-5 in the 3rd.) Disappointed in loss, but thought the game was a good one.

  • October 29, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Rufus- I hope you are right -about Q/Hawks concentrating On D 1st… could explain why there has been almost NO transition game so far…

    and I don’t think they should split 91/10… 91 isn’t good/quick enough to get a shot- so he should be paired with someone who is always looking to shoot… 91 has looked ok with 10…and bad with everyone else so far!!! 91 did make some “sneaky” good passes (that no one saw coming)

    I like your post – up until the Cdening… Not a fan- Especially of his D… which contradicts your 1st few paragraphs…

    Veronica- I don’t know if we watched the same game…Robbery??? lots of shots down low??? Neither Team had a lot of Good chances… It was a Chess game!!!

  • October 29, 2014 at 9:49 am

    After going to the WCF for 4 of the last 6 years, it strikes me that the hawks are starting to develop the milton berle syndrome where they only show enough to win. This really started last year when the team played uninspired hockey through a good chunk of the season before turning it on for the playoffs. And even then they had some stink-bombs (game 2 vs. the Kings really stands out). Just wondering if this group has tasted so much success that they just aren’t that hungry anymore.

    Eddie O pointed out last night, the #2 PP unit now allowed 2 short-handed goals in two consecutive games. Just brutal.

    Nice to see Darling get another solid game under his belt. I don’t think any (or many) were suggesting that he’s the future at the expense of Crow but it’s been fun watching the local boy make good. Plus he is a freaking giant.

  • October 29, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Chev- I thought Ed-O pointed out that the Hawks 2nd PP has let up 4 break-aways…


    Can anyone out there give me a History lesson on Scotty Bowman’s philosophy with older (well payed stars)… did he tend to Pay them – cuz of what they did/mean to the Past SC runs… or did he treat it like a business- and move on to younger/cheaper/appreciating assets???

    I can only assume- that SB will be like Dad… the question is directed at some possible moves next year… Sharp,Seabs,Crow???

  • October 29, 2014 at 11:02 am

    The Red Wings had huge success acquiring veterans in the past that took them deep into the playoffs. That success has been dwindling for years. Now I think their MO has changed big time. Weiss is going to have trouble finding a spot (and he is/was a $5mm player). Reports are questioning who goes when Franzen returns. Cleary gets few minutes. Management concedes that Datzyuk and Zetterberg are on the back side.

    I think the point is that the Hawks will have to maintain excellence from the bottom up. Commitments to the core will not allow them to bring in a top player. Q will have to adjust and I believe SB understands his limits.

  • October 29, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Tab :
    On your next slow news day, how about a “CORSI 101” column?

    And maybe explain how to interpret CORSI for players with completely different roles : a first line FW (Toews), fourth line checker (Kruger), offensive minded D man (Keith), stay at home D man (Kjalmerson), …

    And maybe explain the significance of CORSI for a Calgary-like game where the Hawks lost but outplayed the Flames from the get go …

    Looking forward to it …

  • October 29, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I don’t have enough time to do anything but make up BS and copy and paste but in case anyone wants to do this and get back to us with the information:

    heres a document that talks about shot quality, which is what wall is talking about:

    The point other people have about volume of shots is that in crease in volume correlates to increase in goals which is pretty well documented so naturally “evening out” should occur probably.

    here’s the play by play with all the shots and distances and if they were a rebound

    sooooo someone make a spreadsheet or whatever and tell us something scientific

  • October 29, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Earlier this year, several applauded the Hawks’ moves of getting rid of all their enforcers – Bolig, Brookbank, Manshister, Labrie, and Bass. The explanation was that the officials and league would be protecting our guys as they play the game the right way.

    In the last week, we’ve seen Hjalmarsson’s knee slashed in StL, Jackmon cross checking Richards head first into the boards, Carcillo limping down the tunnel for the next 4 weeks, Shaw getting high sticked, Toews getting his helmet wacked off … ALL WITHOUT A SINGLE CALL!

    So, I gotta ask, “how’s that official and league protection working out?”

  • October 29, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Big Al and Ryan Dale – agree with both of you.

    Solid game by the Hawks. I’m very encouraged by the Hawks defense. The offense is struggling but it’s not like they are getting chances. If the Hawks continue to play this way (and play 60 minutes, not just 20 or 30), I like the Hawks chances to be contending for the Cup.

  • October 29, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Typo in previous post:

    The offense is struggling but it’s not like they are getting chances.

    Should have been:

    The offense is struggling but it’s not like they aren’t getting chances.

  • October 29, 2014 at 11:38 am

    This was a positive loss…….agreed. But if you look at the first few games of this season, especially last night, the opposition has learned how to play the Hawks. They crowd up the neutral zone and when the Hawks do get through, the opposition does not run around, anymore, chasing the Hawks. They stay in their lanes and play position. The score of the game dictates how the opposition plays, too. If the game is tied or the opposition is winning, they clog up the neutral zone and make the Hawks earn every square inch of ice. If the Hawks are winning, then the other team has to open up their game, the later it gets, so it plays into the Hawks hands.

    The only way things will change is if the Hawks are willing to play a simple game of dump and chase, get control of the puck, get it to the points and get net presence and shoot the puck.

    Morin played really well and so did TVR. The garage door in the net is also really going to be good. Sometimes you can look at a young player and see that he has “it”. Darling has “it”.

  • October 29, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Reg- agree on Darling… although he Panicked a few times and lost the net…

    If (and he should as he learns) he learns to just be a ” garage door”… he should do well
    Moreover, the Break-away… really- he had the shooter where he wanted… But – over reacted and opened the five-hole… if he does nothing, stays low… the shooter had little angle on back hand…

    Crow has improved from last year vs this year in Shoot outs (so far)… He face planted so many times on dekes last year… this year – Crow has realized that the shooter is losing his angle/options the closer he gets- and has held his ground -in small sample.

  • October 29, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Chevrier (love that reference), you hit on a very valid point. The Hawks are a veteran team with a lot of high regular season and playoff mileage on the dial. The goal isn’t to win the President’s club…rather the goal is to make the playoffs and be ready to cut loose and hit on all cylinders when Game 1, Round 1 starts. The Blackhawks will absolutely do enough to get into the playoffs, but Q and his core players are smart enough to understand that the best strategy may be to play conservatively enough to be there in the end to have energy enough to conquer Anaheim, LA and St. Louis come spring playoffs.

  • October 29, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Rufus- if they are smart enough to know how to conserve energy, why are the top 6 forwards skating a crazy amount of minutes and the top 4 defensemen skating even more? I agree that they aren’t going all out, but Q is pushing them hard in terms of minute load.

    And Comcast does a pretty good job of showing “Scoring Chances” a few times a period. Outside of Dallas, I can’t recall a game in which they didn’t have more.

    Looking like Raanta may be the one that ends up getting sent down. I don’t disagree. Darling and Crawford play a similar game, so it’s an easier adjustment for the defense when they know where the goalie will be.

    The lines got the shuffle treatment again. Sharp/Shaw/Kane – Versteeg/Richards/Morin – Saad/Kruger/Smith. This only makes sense because I said I liked the way Richards and Sharp played together.

    Wall- There was no cap when Scotty was a GM. He paid whoever he could to keep the best talent on the ice. And as far as fewer odd mans go, I think teams have adjusted to what the Hawks are doing in that they aren’t going crazy on the forecheck. They are also stacking up and putting pressure on the blue line to try to force dumps. All the more reason for Shaw to be playing wing instead of center.

  • October 29, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Raanta getting sent down probably happens. It helps the salary cap. Still, I hate it for Raanta. He is the quintessential perfect backup goalie for a strong team. If I am Raanta and his agent I don’t go to Rockford quietly. In fact, I might demand a trade which won’t go anywhere of course.

  • October 29, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Big Al is correct. I think now you need to keep 10/91. Have 20/65/81 go head to head w top line and then you got 1988. We are focusing on team Defense on purpose and Q/Coachs adjustments to D, now need to w PP.

    Scoring Goals…
    “if you put a frog in boiling water it’ll jump out. but if you put it in cold water and heat it gradually, it’ll just sit there and slowly boil to death.”
    “What’s that your recipe for frog soup.”
    “Its my recipe for disaster.”

    Light up the Fireworks.

  • October 29, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Morrison- can I get some of that Frog you are smoking???

    JS- scoring chances – is a better measure of shots… however, still flawed… who is taking the shots??? are they covered or wide open??? Break away scoring chance is not equal to 30′ shot from slot while skating away from the net and covered…. But I believe they are both tallied as scoring chances-by definition!!!

  • October 29, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I know Sharp isn’t as fast as he was but look at his stats right now and the way he has been playing I can’t give him any negative remarks to it. We shall see who leaves next season but right now sharp played 9 games and has 3 goals and 5 assists! Father Time in terms of skating maybe but with his stats so far to me in my opinion it doesn’t show slow.

  • October 30, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Veronica- Sharp has at least half of his points on PP… all 3 of his goals on PP…
    so 5 on 4 his shot has been good. 5 on 5, 10/81/88 aren’t skating by anyone yet!!!

    JS- 10 of the 21 goals were scored vs. Lowly Buff/Phil… that means 11 goals in other 6 games. AND the schedule has been soft!!!

  • October 30, 2014 at 8:56 am

    As much as we are wringing our collective hands about lack of goal scoring from the Hawks, games lost have all been by 1 goal, never mind the “soft” schedule we started with. St Louis, Nashville, and the Ducks were all highly motivated to beat the Hawks and manged to barely win. If the Hawks remain committed to team defense as we have see through the first month of the season, this will go a long way towards building a strong won loss record and have them ready to succeed in playoffs. Goal production can only improve given the lineup skating for the Hawks.

    The coaching staff is probably focusing on finding a a way to get Kane into open ice with the puck. Each team we have played so far this year has tried to force him away from the center of the ice where he creates quality scoring chances. I’m not an x’s and o’s guy so those that are in the know please bring some ideas.

    It has been pointed out that the key to keeping the Hawks in check is also to keep them from entering the neutral zone with speed when they break out offensively. We have known this for years, yet teams that forget this end up getting beat. Let’s see how this pattern evolves this season. It requires opposing teams to be really disciplined and many teams don’t have that in their DNA. Something for us to keep an eye on.

    Anyway, it’s a game day and lets see if CC makes his return. I think we get a good road game from the guys tonight.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  • October 30, 2014 at 9:47 am

    JS- Correction- 11 goals in other 7 games!!! Tough to win majority of those 7 scoring less than 2 goals on average!

    Phil-the Key Point… Hawks are getting beat by ALL the good teams in this “soft” schedule!!!

    And- just because they roll out all of the BIG name CORE guys- doesn’t mean automatic scoring!!! That kind of thinking can lead to Hawks paying/playing guys too much for past at the cost of the future.

  • October 30, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Point well taken Wall in that the Hawks have lost to good teams, yet they have barely lost those games despite struggling to convert shots into goals. That will change, I am convinced. It isn’t as though they were getting blown out in any of these contests where they have lost by the slimmest of margins. Pedigree goal scorers eventually find the back back of the net. This we all know from years of watching NHL hockey. Meanwhile I understand the frustration.

    If Q can roll 4 good lines, the levee is gonna break.

    Lets Go Hawks!!

  • October 30, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Sounds like general agreement that the Hawks generally pass the eye test (per Veronica as an example – Sharp LOOKS pretty good, just not hitting the net outside the PP). The thing that’s missing are some A+ chances, and when they’ve come, they’ve been stopped by Rinne (who must have stopped four or five) and Gibson with the huge save on 19’s one-timer. This team doesn’t look washed up so my vote is them getting back to, or at least close to 3 GPG they hit the past two years.

    Two other things I’d like to see – one, for the Hawks to give the Philly treatment to one of the better teams – just turn it on for 60 minutes and then drop the mike. Two – minutes continue to flatten out across all 4 lines. It looks like it’s been slowly moving in that direction with TVR and Rosy getting more minutes, but would like to see 11, 16, and 28 getting more time regardless of the score.

  • October 30, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    My prediction for tonight…5-1 Blackhawks. Kane 2 goals, Toews 3 assists, Morin 1 goal and 1 assist, TVR gets his first goal, Saad 1 goal. Raanta plays a very strong game giving up a lone shorthanded goal on a 4 on none break by Ottawa.

    Also heard that the Hansen brothers have read this site and are thinking about approaching the Blackhawks about a comeback. They want to invigorate the team for the balance of the year. :-)

    Go Hawks!!!

  • October 30, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Correction…Darling in goal has a strong game…

  • October 30, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I believe Raanta is heading to Rockford for some heavier minutes.

  • October 30, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    AJ- Great link to the “quality of shots” matter… I browsed thru it… and it basically confirms what I pleaded last year…. AND it actually also validates that the idea of the Team/structure in front of the Goalie is as/more responsible for Goals allowed… (Ya know my Emery stats vs. Crow stats SC year) (EMERY is BAD!!!)

    which just gives more fuel to the argument I am making to Crow being expendable at $6M/year… especially with Sasquatch and Raanta )and even Leighton in the fold.

  • October 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Eh, well Ray M Murray cant really move post to post anymore and looked painful getting up and down. I think in terms of a back up and cool dude to hang out with he probably wins but as a starter…. i dunno man.

    Here’s a smallish sample size of the goalie thing

    Cool stats here too

    I think the 2010 team could have won with out a goalie. I don’t know that 6 million dollars is what you spend between the pipes but as has been noted I have zero Cups.

    In terms of quality of shots vs total shots vs scoring goals and crap. The numbers people will say that because they are driving possession, the amount of quality chances that they will get will in crease and they’re fixing to score a lot of goals. That is pretty well documented. Maybe later on this week Ill take a look at how many “quality shots” they are getting. Like when I’m hung over and full of shame Saturday.

    Personally I think it is too early to tell with this team. Closer to 20 games is when I’ll allow myself to be irritated with this team \ coaching staff again.

  • October 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Just looking at the schedule, the stretch from November 28 through December 16 should be the one to watch to see just what this team is made of. It includes the circus trip with Avs, Ducks, Kings then home against the Blues and Habs then back on the road against the Preds, Devils, B’s and Islanders, then back home against the Flames and the Wild. Will be very interesting to see if they are firing on all cylinders or still searching for their identity after that stretch.

    The quality shots info is great, thanks for posting that AJ. Speaking of 2010, it really wasn’t that long ago that everyone was pining for Niemi’s return. What a difference a couple years and a mythical goal-tending beast makes. I do look forward to Crow coming back. Nice problem to have 3 competent goal tenders though.

  • October 30, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I’m very nervous about this team this year. I don’t like a lot of what I have seen so far. My concerns are centered around the top 6 forwards. Goaltending and defense have been good even with a new 5, 6 defense pair.

    1. Saad, last year against Kings Saad looked like one of the best forwards on the ice. He also looked like a guy ready to take the next step. Based on what I saw I figured he’s be good for at least 30 goals this years and about 70 points. While he is on pace for a good season 6 pts in 9 games so far his -3 (+/-) is extremely surprising. His play has been up and down and in his own end he has had his share of lapses. Of this list he is the least of the concerns but still bears keeping any eye on. His growth as a top 6 forward is essential for the Hawks to remain a contender annually.

    2. Hossa has 1 goal on the season and believe it or not is a -2 (+/-) . I can live with the 1 goal and 2 assists, but Hoss a minus player??? Hossa has been a minus player 1 time in his full time NHL career despite playing for a few AWFUL Trashers teams(LOL remember them). His minus year he had 56 pts in 60 games and still finished -14, that’s a BAD team! He was a -1 in his 1st 7 NHL games with Ottawa long ago, so that doesnt really count.

    When Hossa signed with the Hawks the concern was the length of the contract. At 35 years old Hossa is NO LONGER a top 6 forward in my opinion. He is still being used in a front line role when realistically he might not that caliber of player any more. Hossa gets ALOT of credit in my book. The guy is headed to the HOF but his playoffs last year was not good and his start this year looks similar. There is no easy answer for Hossa the deal is what it is. Figuring out the right role for Hoss is where things get challenging for the Hawks. He’s not going anywhere but I am not confident he can be relied on like before.

    3. 2nd line center,….this is STILL an issue. I thought Richards could provide the solution. Early indications are I was WRONG. Is the solution on the roster? I don’t believe it is. This topic is not even worth discussing any longer its been an issue for so long.

    When you have 3 question marks in your top 6 you have issues. Yes it has only been 9 games but when was the last time the Hawks have looked so average recently? You have to go back to the 10-11 team that lacked talent. Just some things to consider moving forward. I wonder if the Hawks are a team that will be fighting for home ice this season vs being near the top of the pack.

  • October 30, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    SouthSide- you are preaching to the Choir –

    And you are forgetting an Aging 10- who has not scored a goal in 5 on 5!!!

    AND – I stated 1st thing this year… Hawks will need to have 2-3 “Prospects” make significant contributions- like 20/65 did… so far 57 looks ok- BUT not Significant yet…

    Look at Toffoli/Pearson- last year and this year… even better.

  • October 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Great minds think alike Wall. I can live with Sharp’s lack of production at even strength. Not every player can put up pts in the NHL even strength or on the man advantage. Sharp has so I’ll give him a pass. Now that being said if Sharp was traded for a younger top 6 forward say like Evander Kane I’d be fine with that.

    Too bad SB moved a nice trade chip in Leddy and got pennies on the dollar for him!

  • October 31, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Waugh guys, its easy to feel this way after whomping 10games into a reg82 that really our core just dont give an important shit about president pts but do care about a good seed… Why can los angeles suck during 82games and be a 8 and 6 seed and do good. Then be a top3 team in playoffs. We do not need to be perfect in reg82 to win. Just because we set a once in a 700 type stats season doesnt mean we have to or that anyother can do that for the next 200yrs.

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