Hossa Awakens, Hawks Hammer Avalanche

Bryan Bickell and Rob Scuderi were the healthy scratches on Sunday evening against Colorado, meaning Michal Rozsival and Brandon Mashinter were active. And, as usually, those names were met with a collective groan from fans seeing the lineup against a hot Avalanche team.

At 8:27 into the first, after a Dennis Rasmussen faceoff win and quick shot on net, Mashinter gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. He parked himself on the doorstep and tapped in a loose rebound for his second career NHL goal.

It was Mashinter’s second goal since Thanksgiving, one more than Marian Hossa had scored. Because of course.

Ryan Garbutt actually finished the opening 20 minutes tied for the team lead with four shots on net as the Hawks’ fourth line was more active than they had been recently. Garbutt and Rasmussen both picked assists on Mashinter’s goal.

Not to be shown up by Mashinter’s brilliance, Patrick Kane did was he usually does nearly eight minutes later.

With Kane’s goal, the Hawks had scored twice on 15 shots against a goaltender who, before this season, had owned them.

Given the footnote about Hossa that quickly circulated social media after Mashinter scored in the first, of course the Blackhawks veteran star got back on track. It took just 99 seconds into the second period for Hossa to score his sixth of the season and extend the lead to 3-0. The goal is the 492nd of Hossa’s career.

Matt Duchene slipped a shot through three bodies and past Corey Crawford at 5:10 into the second to break up the shutout. The goal was Duchene’s 20th of the season.

Only 4:08 later, Duchene scored his 21st of the season to get Colorado within one. The Avs had all of the momentum in the middle stages of the second period, and the game was nearly tied when Mikhail Grigorenko had a great scoring chance stopped by Crawford.

Exactly 12 minutes into the third, Gabriel Landeskog was sent to the box for hooking Phillip Danault and the Hawks took advantage of the game’s first power play. Kane scored his second of the night and 25th of the season 25 seconds into the power play to extend the Hawks lead back to two.

Patrick Roy pulled Semyon Varlamov after Kane’s second goal; Colorado’s starter allowed four goals against 20 shots before giving way to Calvin Pickard.

With Pickard in the game, the Blackhawks wasted no time getting back on the attack. Jonathan Toews fired a missile past the poor kid for his 15th of the season to push the score to 5-2 Hawks only 2:06 into Pickard’s night.

Rookie defenseman Erik Gustafsson picked up his sixth assist in only his 13th game on Toews’ goal, but it was a beautiful, balanced attack for Chicago. On the Blackhawks first five goals, 10 different skaters were credited with assists.

The Hawks were flying and it didn’t stop with a three-goal lead. Hossa scored for a second time – his 493rd – at 18:42 into the second to make the score 6-2, and the Avs were crumbling. Nathan MacKinnon took an unsportsmanlike penalty in the wake of Hossa’s second goal, giving the Hawks another power play opportunity as the second period came to a close.

Chicago’s top line was incredible in the middle period. They combined for seven points in the second: Toews (one goal, two assists), Hossa (two goals) and Andrew Shaw (two assists). Shaw was also credited with a team-leading three hits through the opening 40 minutes.

Even with the offensive explosion in the later stages of the second, Crawford’s game was on point and held the Avs at two goals. Every time Colorado had a great chance to keep the score close, Crawford slammed the door and the puck flew the opposite direction.

On the other end of the ice, Roy decided he needed an extra attacker to get back in the game so he pulled Pickard – with almost 11 minutes left in regulation. Soon after, the Avs got a power play with Rasmussen in the box and they opted to keep Pickard on the bench for a 6-on-4 advantage, but still weren’t able to convert as Crawford made a few huge saves.

MacKinnon was able to beat Crawford at 15:02, making the score 6-3. Duchene picked up an assist on the play, giving him three points in a really good effort in spite of the score. He played heavy minutes and was even in a lopsided game, factoring in all three Avs scores.

Crawford finished the night with 34 impressive saves against 37 shots.

Only five Blackhawks skaters failed to register a point. One of those poor souls was Duncan Keith, who was playing the 800th career regular season game in his brilliant, Hall of Fame career.

The Hawks are back in action against the new-look Nashville Predators with Ryan Johansen in the lineup on Tuesday night.

65 thoughts on “Hossa Awakens, Hawks Hammer Avalanche

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    When EDM beat us 8-3 or something a few years ago we took it like a man. When we blow out COL (by the same score) they tuck tale and run, with their pulling goalie with 10 min on clock to try to take away the good feeling of kicking their arses.

    What a bunch of pussys.

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Great to see Hossa get the monkey off his back with two goals. Nobody works any harder and he contributes every night with his two way play whether he is scoring or not. Gusty is a keeper. You can see his condidence growing. Excellent passer with good hockey IQ. Mashinter is less useless than Bickell.

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    Well how about that! A very convincing victory. Mashinters goal was very reminiscent of his first one and on the same side. Varlamov was really weak on his glove side tonight and word got around so we exploited it for some payback. Seems lately that the team is having some fun out there…oh wait, just a sec, the phone is ringing…..”Hello”
    ” Hey, this is Gary Bettman, …I can’t get a hold of Stan Bowman or Coach Q.
    They won’t return my calls so I thought you CI’s could pass on a message
    to him for me.”
    ” Well, I suppose, we can try. What would you like us to pass on to them”
    ” Knock it off! Stop being a great team. This is not supposed to happen. The
    Ducks, Tampa Bay, Rangers, they get the message. LA got the message.
    Loud and clear last year. Stop being good. We carefully engineered this
    cap thing and it decimated your roster and key players had to go and now
    you guys are making us look foolish….and I don’t like being made to look
    ” Well with all due respect you do look foolish, in fact your a dead ringer
    for Count Chocula. Looking forward to booing you resoundly when you
    present the Stanley Cup again at the United Center….and you better make
    plenty of mention of dynasty. See you in June”.

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    That was fun.

    Hooray for Hoss!!!

    7 in a row and only 4 points behind Dallas – who’d a thunk that a month ago?

    Panik shmanik – Mash potatoes all the way. :)

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Good one MM … and you’re right, he does look like Count Chocula.

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Always important to score first but even more so when facing Varlomov. It was a good result, having him pulled, just in case we were to meet them when playoff time rolls around. I’m hoping his run of excellence is over for good vs. Hawks.

    In a league full of obnoxious radio men John Wiedeman is a joy to listen to and calls a very good game. I would cringe if we ever were to employ some of the other jokers that I hear around the NHL. Radio Wiedeman is first rate.

  • January 10, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    RD, I agree on Wideman – first rate, although I usually catch the games on TV. I like Troy too, although it annoys me that he omits a syllable in the word opportunity and he finds occasion to say the word at least a dozen times every broadcast. He pronounces it “op por tun ee” in stead of “op por tun it ee”, :)

  • January 10, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    What a fun game to watch. The outcome certainly doesn’t hurt. As mentioned during the broadcast, the Hawks have an opportunity to be in sole possession of first place in the Central by week’s end, which would be amazing considering the amount of young players that are out there for us!

    Let’s keep it going Tuesday! Go Hawks!!!

  • January 11, 2016 at 12:01 am

    No sign of RTF. What a surprise! Thank God for the respite from all his negativity.

    I thought this might be a down year given all the changes but Stan Bo has come through in a major way. I think if we can pull off a trade at the deadline for an acceptable LW for Toews line and Kruger makes it back in time to reunite him Desi and Shaw on the fourth line we would have a great chance to repeat. In fact this team with those changes might even be better than last year’s team. The second line is better and the depth on defense is better as well. We won’t have to kill the top 4 guys like we did last year, which probably lead to Keith’s operation this year.

  • January 11, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Does anyone know the status of Panik, the new acquisition ?

    I thought he was going to play tonite.

    Is he in Rockford ?


  • January 11, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Seven wins in a row is a nice accomplishment no matter the teams that were beaten. But the comments about the Hawks possibly catching the Stars by the end of the week is the stuff letdowns are made of. The pendulum swings from “bubble team” to “Division leader” will inevitably swing back toward “bubble team” again. It matters only that the Hawks gain points from the game they play on that day, not whether they can catch the division leader in January. Circumstances not altogether the Hawks doing have conspired to raise the Hawks in the standings, but Dallas, Minnesota, St. Louis and Nashville will not continue to struggle nor will the Hawks continue to win every game they play. Before Colorado surged back into playoff contention, it seemed likely the Hawks would finish in a playoff position because they would be one of the top five teams in the division along with Dallas, Minnesota, St. Louis and Nashville, but now Colorado has joined the game of playoff musical chairs and one of those 6 teams will be on the outside looking in when the music stops. I doubt it will be the Hawks but there is still a long way to go and most likely some rough patches ahead. Let’s just win the next game.

  • January 11, 2016 at 4:37 am

    Hey ER, lighten up. It wasn’t comments, it was my comment. Just having some fun and enjoying the streak and the Hawks current decent play. I have no control what happens tomorrow and if the Hawks hit a rough patch, so be it, life goes on. Enjoying the moment!

  • January 11, 2016 at 4:39 am

    P.S. ….. Notice my last sentence:

    “Let’s keep it going Tuesday! Go Hawks!!!”

  • January 11, 2016 at 7:17 am

    I agree 7 wins in a row is still 7 in a row despite who you play. I know the Hawks can’t keep this up forever, but I don’t see them having an extended losing streak. Hossa hitting the back of the next is huge. If 81 and 19 can get a little streak going, the Hawks will be a very hard team to defend against.

  • January 11, 2016 at 7:22 am

    others on the site will know more but he’s not on the Rockford roster-Coach Q will bring him in when necessary but it’s hard during a 7 game win streak- as in why?

  • January 11, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Shawzer is making it hard for Q to mess with the top line by putting a new guy (Panik) in there. His unselfish team first play fits Toews and Hossa. He makes his line better and his team better with his play. Although I previously said Shaw could play his game better with less minutes on the 3rd or 4th line, what does a demotion say to all the guys that bust their ass for their team, and have success doing it. Chemistry is a dangerous thing as you mix the wrong ingredients and it can blow up in your face. Seems like Q is the Walter White of hockey chemistry.
    Tab, with all due respect, I would send Bickell down and keep Mashinter after watching Bickell do NOTHING since his 2nd game back. That’s just 3 million dollars we have to eat till his contract is up.

  • January 11, 2016 at 8:18 am

    yay for beating the teams you’re supposed to beat

  • January 11, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I am not a big fan of 65 as an answer to 1st line woes this year… Shaw is a very good/useful asset… but better served on 3rd/4th- imo… 65- is a short term fix there and a true warrior… and One good game scoring wise- for 1st line… doesn’t mean the problem is resolved.

    seems like to my eyes- that Gus has really helped this team play faster in both ends.

    also- perhaps this “Panik to 1st line – idea” … has raised the team to another level…
    Kind of like Herb Brooks- bringing in the guy- late to Camp… and pissing off some of the players/concerned about losing a teammate or job… (excluding Bickell- he still was bumbling)

  • January 11, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Nice to see the Hawks on long run… Just like I said they needed.

    Good to gain ground on Dallas and stay ahead of the slumping/injury plagued Blues!

  • January 11, 2016 at 8:43 am

    I guess we can say Hawks are on a ROLL?

    Hammer and the “d-men” really breaking down any TRAPS and a weak 1-3-1 zones last night! Hammer made a great pass and the game before filled a gap and made a perfect shot. All our Defensemen are raising the compete level on offensive side and it is ALL THE DIFFERENCE!

    Roy is really silly( nuts) and that TEAM HAS A BOAT LOAD OF TALENT he needs to go again! Roy pulls Varlamov ( send message to eveyrone but Varlamov) when from the couch he wasn’t playing all that bad, did not see at least 3 of them?! Then empties net with 10 minutes left? And then Q puts Hossa and Kane out there to get a “poor mans hat trick” and ROY stuffs the goalie back in. WOWZER.

    On our 4th line . .. Garbutt can PLAY, he has a hard and accurate shot and if any player on the “other side” can close off the “Wing” and get to the net Garbutt’s shot is so hard that i see rebounds like last night every night, just in the past no one crashing the net and rebounds tumble harmlessly to the corner. Mashinter got his body in the play and he did and gets the result. Raz-Moose played well seemed he was on the ice more than his line mates . . . over 10 minutes? Q moving him around a little late?

    Panik might now be panickkkking now. Where does Q put him, Shawzy playing just well enough to stay on top , but belongs IMPACT WISE on the 3rd or 4th line. We’ll see!

    go Hawks

  • January 11, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Always good to see HOSS score!

    This team as stated time and time again is a excellent Defensive team, best in the NHL! All four lines play not good defense but great, they all back check, they all close and they all rotate and are seldom drawn out of position. ( Q will remind ya)
    That is the only difference between Hawks and everyone else , over all TEAM DEFENSE. Not zones, traps and gimmicks but get back, rotate out when Hammer comes down and you will be in EVERY GAME!

    Plus they hold the puck, a lot, trade mark! That second line takes all the MOMENTUM out, like after the 2 goals by AVS! Period, they grab the puck and LITERALLY WALK THE MOMENTUM OUT OF TH BUILDING, it is amazing what that 3rd lien does! Our 3rd lien does it too! Puck possession is the number one stat! NOT SHOTS ON GOAL or HITS on HITS you usually get you out of position or take a cheap penalty (not worth it) . Hawks get out hit A LOT and even get out shot. They design a team around stick skill ( some speed) and defense they all play well and when they do they are hard to beat if they score first. Add to that, that every year for like “Ever” they are one of the least penalized teams in the NHL due to lack of focus on hits and focus on just play the puck. GO GET THE PUCK! period sounds logical but most teams try to out muscle ya, Hawks out skill ya!

  • January 11, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Panik was having some visa issues, and may have arrived in Chicago last night. I say Q lets him practice with the team a few days before putting him in a game. The obvious enough two places, imo, would be LW1 or LW4. I guess he can also be put at LW3, but do you mess with Desi’s spot on the third line at this point. I’m guessing you leave Shaw and Desi in their current spots a few more games and create a fourth line of Panik-70-28 or 53.

  • January 11, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Every year a team starts 30-10 then comes back to earth. COL/NAS and now DAL did. Every team should have a couple not good 10 game segments. STL/MIN/NAS are having one of theirs recently and we already had one of ours in the 2nd 10 game segment. Now that each team has had a fair shake on good and not good the teams probably stabilize. STL/MIN will wins a bunch of games and be around 20 games over .500, so will we.

    The good thing is by having a better JAN/FEB then other years we will be around 22 over not 17 at that point, which puts us in better position. The key is to clinch 3 seed or higher with as many games left in 82 games as possible so we do not have to play our hardest during those games. Really the only thing that matters is making it and that.

    DAL sort of took NAS spot as being the team that start 30-10 and even though NAS is better then WIN of last year. I think there is a gap between the 4 teams and NAS then another gap between them and COL/WIN. I do not think NAS can be 22 games over like the 4 teams (DAL/CHI/STL/MIN) can.

    What people thought was crazy was talk of LA not making the playoffs. The same thing could happen with that division getting 4 teams. With WIN/COL/NAS having a much harder sch. and ARI/CAL/VAN/SAN having the sch. they have if two of those teams are 5 games over .500 by game 60, only need to gain 5 more during games 60-80 and they are 10 over. WIN/COL/NAS will have a harder sch to be 10 or more over. As I fully expect ANA to have a good 2nd 40 games, even if they only have two good 10 game segments that get them between 10-15 over. That should be what they need to be 2 seed.

    I do think it will be close the whole way to game 82 but lets enjoy being ahead and being stable because its harder to make up ground when the worst the top teams are going to do is 4-4-2/5-5.

  • January 11, 2016 at 9:29 am

    4th line makes sense, then a few shifts on 1st, then some games on 1st based on how he plays. Do not touch 2nd or 3rd.

  • January 11, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Great game for Hossa, nice to see him get some breaks last night. This was a hot team and coming in and the Hawks really took it to them for 60 mins.

    I think its time to give Q the credit he deserves. This team is far from flawless and isnt the most talented team the Hawks have iced over the last decade but here they are near the top of the standings. For example their bottom 4 defenders are two undrafted kids and two NHL players past their prime. Q has managed to make this rag tag bunch work.

  • January 11, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Also lets give SB credit for turning Kyle Beach into Mashinter who like it or not is a fringe NHL player which is more then Beach has ever turned into. I believe Beach has washed out of professional hockey.

  • January 11, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Brokerwayne – my dour post wasn’t in response to your comment alone, I’ve read the same on other websites and even Pat/Edzo commented on it during the broadcast last night. But, you’re right – it was kind of a killjoy post – my apologies.

  • January 11, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Thanks for sending your last post ER. It will be interesting to see what Q does with Panik initially. What I was hearing was LW1 but not so sure at the moment. Will miss Tuesday’s game for a business function, bummer.

  • January 11, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Finally Hossa !!! He was getting visibly more and more frustrated. I didn’t know it was the longest drought of the career. Was it or it just felt that way for him ? Either way that explains his frustration.

    I’m so happy for Mashinter. Well deserved goal and a reward for Coach Q who trusted him all this time. Plus assists for his struggling line mates. Hopefully it gives all 3 of them a boost.

    So now, even is Panik is available does Coach Q play him or keeps that line as it is ? I figure he’ll roll with it for at least another game.

  • January 11, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Hey Tab, headline should read “Hawks bury Avalanche”.

    To the others that think that Panik is the answer on the first line, how does a guy that can’t even make the lowly Leafs fill in on the first line of one of the best teams in hockey? Is Lamoriello missing something or is it wishful thinking on this site?

  • January 11, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I think Beach is playing in a pro league in Europe.

  • January 11, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Panic button people.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  • January 11, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    “To the others that think that Panik is the answer on the first line, how does a guy that can’t even make the lowly Leafs fill in on the first line of one of the best teams in hockey? Is Lamoriello missing something or is it wishful thinking on this site?”

    Pucklogic, I believe the Hawk media were talking about it. Just some fodder. Who knows. Maybe the plaid/stripe dress code of Hossa & Panik will create chemistry.

  • January 11, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    “yay for beating the teams you’re supposed to beat”…..

    Yep AJ, but they don’t always do that do they?

  • January 11, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    re: headline – appreciate the feedback. The Hawks have already “survived” one Avalanche this year. I went for some alliteration this time around

  • January 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Tab, how about:


    Yours is perfect…. Just filling in some down time!

  • January 11, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Hey Broker, Morin over the weekend one goal two assists plus two…. ha ha ha…

    1961 — Mashinter still has no business on the Hawks, but as long as they keep winning, so be it. Gives us something to complain about.

    Lastly, seven game winning streak — where is Mr. Rufus? Does he solely post when Hawks are playing poorly and/or lose? The blog is more entertaining when there are issues, I will concede.

    P.S. Ray Emery is the goalie for the Marlies, I couldn’t believe seeing that in the box score….

  • January 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Solid game. I continue to be impressed by Danault. He’s very Dave Bolland like, absent the agitation factor. Smart, smart, smart hockey player.

    Mashinter was good in the role he serves. And Quenneville continue to send praise his way, so Mashinter’s critics can pound sand. He brings something to the table whether you care to admit it or not.

    Gustafsson has been good. Like van Reimsdyk, he does have physical skill limitations on the ice. But he’s been doing a good job. I get the distinct impression this kid is smartly learning from Rosival too. Rosival has become a mentor to the young Swede and it shows. This all said Keith, Seabrook and Hjalmarsson are each playing unsustainable minutes. Which leads me to believe the Hawks are still very much in the market for a defenseman.

    Another game where Shaw demonstrates his invaluable nature to this team. He is the Swiss Army knife of players in the Quenneville system, and the coaches (and his fellow linemates) trust Shaw implicitly. He is flat out having his best season on a young career. His all around game and ability to shift into different roles has been excellent.

    Good to see some offensive life out of Hossa. But alas, the old warrior’s critical value will come at playoff time, so the imperative is to keep him as healthy and fresh as possible leading up to round 1.

    Had a chance to watch the Capitals play. They are wickedly good and deep in all phases of the game. The Trotz system of discipline, defense first will serve them very well in the playoffs. It would be a shocker if they don’t represent the East in the Stanley Cup Finals. I have seen no other Eastern Conference team remotely in the class of Washington. They have my FULL attention, which is how I convey respect.

  • January 11, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Dave Pagnotta says the Hawks are interested in Drouin. Also rumors are a trade is pretty close, not necessarily to the Hawks

  • January 11, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Hey Iceman, so what player was it that you were talking about in the other post?

  • January 11, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Hey Iceman, send Q a text!

  • January 11, 2016 at 4:09 pm


    I actually know how to get a message to Q from someone who works in Hinsdale, but I would never infringe on his personal time, who cares? This is more fun.

  • January 11, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Iceman, just kidding! I actually had high hopes for Morin. Shame it never panned out!

  • January 11, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    “They have my FULL attention, which is how I convey respect”…..

    Wow, one who practices grandiosity would not hold a candle to you, my friend! Well done.

  • January 11, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    RTF- I second the Caps as Eastern Champ … unless injuries to key guy(s) happen…

    Mashitter- will bring zero to 5 minutes in the PO’s… about as fast as Kimo T… but 15 years younger…

  • January 11, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Great Game agree with all the positive comments. On a different note, did anyone notice the cheap shot cross check from behind on TT right in the kidneys. He went down and was clearly in pain. Hopefully he isn’t hurt. Who was the cheap shot artist on Colorado? No penalty was called. TT did not have the puck.

  • January 11, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Pete, the refs called interference against 19, then didn’t call interference on the hit on 86, then called interference on 11. Its a fucking disgrace the league encourages the refs to let the team behind in penaltys/score get away with, while calling penaltys on team leading/more PP. Let the good teams be good and cheap shot players get pound the piss out of them by having no instigation.

    Its one thing to have a complete disadvantage by leading/more PP I game to that point but for teams/a player to take cheap shot because they know they wont get called because of score/PP, I have a problem with this even the calls BS.

  • January 11, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Pete, yep, that blatant cross check was inthe 3rd period when the Hawks had a big lead so the stellar NHL officiating looked the other way … that is until a few minutes later when Rasmussen touched an Avs player and that was deemed whistle worthy … nothing whatsoever to do with the score in the game, or course. The NHL has the absolute worst officiating in professional sports.

    Just think how great the greatest game in the world could be if NHL officiating actually called the game with integrity.

  • January 11, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    To add fuel to the ref bashing fire… this hit by Hendricks wasn’t penalized either.

  • January 11, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Broker, there’s probably not a single trait of narcissistic personality that hasn’t been displayed multiple times over. Unfortunately it will never change.

    Mr Narc – ”unsustainable minutes”… you don’t know what 2, 4, and 7 can tolerate. That was proven last season, but keep trying to impress.

  • January 11, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    I’m exhausted …. pounding sand all night as part of punishment for advocating Mashinter is removed from roster ….

  • January 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Ernie- sure am glad that Hendricks dude isn’t a Blackhawk…his behaviour in the penalty box is far from any kind of Blackhawk behaviour…zip class..what a jerk.

  • January 11, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    H.E.RTF – the Hawks defensive triumvirate are averaging about 1:30 more per game – total between the three of them – than they averaged last season. Looking a little closer at the three individuals, Keith is averaging 4 seconds less TOI than last season, so possibly the TOI for Seabrook and Hjalmarsson is elevated a bit due to playing more when Keith was out those 10 games. Is that unsustainable? It wouldn’t seem so but maybe you’re right. The TOI for the 6 d-man last game was as balanced as it has been all season and now that Gustafsson and TvR have settled into their roles, the TOI distribution should level out a bit.

  • January 12, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Another interesting about min for top3 guys is what are the min like when we played 8 games in 13 days and the 14 games in 24 days. Then the last 11 wks (games 50-80) we only have one wk where we play 4 games (the other 10 are 3 game wks) and only play two back to back (and only one is 3 in 4). So we will have extra and plenty of rest, while other teams have more games in those 11 wks.

  • January 12, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Boys, I know that the ref’s have been under some criticism, lately. There have also been some NEW additions to the referee core over the last 3 months. You have to give these guys some time to adjust.

    Being a ref is a tough job. Being a ref at the NHL level is almost impossible due to the size, speed and skill of the players. The two toughest calls that a ref has to make are interference and too many men on the ice.

    Interference is tough because in hockey there is a lot of “incidental” contact. I mean, sometimes players who are not looking at each other, collide. It’s just the game. Then you have interference where the puck is not close enough to the offensive player and he gets hit and now there is an interference call…….usually.
    Most refs will tell you of the 3′ rule. If the puck is within 3′ of the player, he is fair game to get a LEGAL hit put on him. The refs do not have a tape measure, either.

    Too many men is very difficult because how many times have you looked at the bench area and seen everyone jumping over the boards at once? Tough call. And referee’s and linesmen are trying to follow the puck and the play itself, when do they have the vision angle and awareness to count the players on the ice? Again, tough job to do.

    The NHL, collegiate hockey and USA hockey have all tried to make the penalty calls more “black and white” and remove the gray area, however, over the last 2 years things have changed. Remember when the rules changed in 2005-2006 and “anytime a player puts his stick in a horizontal position when playing a puck carrier a hooking or holding penalty will be called”? That has now changed. As long as you are lifting the puck carriers stick, or attempting to lift the stick, AND your feet are moving, there is no penalty call.

    Icing has become a joke. When does the whistle blow for icing? When the defending player crosses the top of the circle? The hash marks? I heard the other night that the whistle blows when the puck crosses the hash marks and the defending player has a clear cut advantage on the offensive player………????? WTF???

    The NHL has become a mirror of the NFL, unfortunately. Too many replays, too many rules and too many injuries have hurt the game. The NHL is a victim of its own marketing strategy. They wanted a faster game so they took out the blue line. In truth, what made the game faster was when they took out the metal goal posts that were 6″ into the ice and 6″ into the goal post. Now, nobody is afraid to go as hard as they can toward the net. If they wipe out, they run into a defenseless goalie……who cares?

    I love the speed, I love the skill, I love the passion of the NHL. What I don’t love is the inconsistency of the rule book.

  • January 12, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Reg, were not debating those kind of calls. Were calling them out on the obvious stuff. Granted 2 guys can’t see the whole ice surface. But how do you justify the hit Hendricks made on Ekblad. And for that matter, Brian Campbell’s crosscheck after Hendricks made the hit. Per the rules that’s crosschecking. No gray area there either.

  • January 12, 2016 at 8:35 am

    I have mostly personal observation and some anecdotal evidence to support my claim that NHL officiating is influenced by game status – so maybe actual statistics would prove me wrong, but until I see those actual statistics I’m going to believe my “lying eyes”. Maybe it’s not as bad as it used to be 30 years ago, but there are still far too many calls that are ignored, for some reason, and the reason is up for debate but it doesn’t matter because the result is the same – inconsistent officiating.

  • January 12, 2016 at 9:39 am

    NHL has been bad with officiating but NFL is still worse. I’m still trying to figure out why the Bengal safety gets a major penalty for a hit on a defenseless receiver when he was hit with the shoulder but it was ok for the Steeler linebacker to lead with his helmet to the Bengals running back head and knock him unconscious and a resulting fumble (Pittsburgh recovers) and then go to the sideline and celebrate it.

  • January 12, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Goldenbladz – I agree there are isolated incidences of poor officiating in the NFL, like the one you cited, but I disagree that the NFL officiating is worse than the NHL. The NHL has those isolated incidences the same as the NFL and other sport leagues, but what makes the NHL worse, in my opinion, is the (seemingly) systemic problem of officiating based on game status. It’s worse than the inconsistency of game to game officiating, which is bad enough, but it’s the inconsistency of in-game officiating that is dictated by the status of the game. That’s what the NHL officiating the worst in professional sports.

  • January 12, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Not sure if anybody has read anything from the players tribune. But Ryan Whitney had a funny read about his time in Russia. Then I saw Kuznetsov wrote something that must’ve been from over the summer.

    Here, some fans always yelling “Shoot it! Shoot it!” when you cross blue line. But watch how much Chicago holds onto the puck in the playoffs. They don’t have many Russians, but they play the Russian style. I’m happy to see it working in NHL. To me, that’s the best way to play hockey. That’s amazing.

    And now the Hawks have some Russians…

  • January 12, 2016 at 10:47 am

    ER, how many times do you hear Eddie after the Hawks get a couple PPs that the other team is due. Why are they due? If one team takes 6 penalties and the other hasn’t taken any maybe the other team shouldnt play like goons instead of the refs even-ing the score. Quit playing God and call the game as you see it

  • January 12, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Ernie and ER that is so true and the Kings benefit a lot from that.

  • January 12, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Ernie, most people know and acknowledge NHL officiating seeks to balance penalties based on game conditions rather than by actual infractions of the rules. It may have been even worse years ago but it is still inequitable and dangerous as the inconsistent and lax officiating doesn’t serve to reduce infractions as much as it could and should if players were consistently held to account for their actions, regardless of the score and penalty count in the game.

  • January 12, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    ER, that post at 1005 is what I am talking about. This is BS and isint the reason why the cowards that do it, do it but it allows them to get away with it even more. Even though its hard to ref, they cant see everything, but everything they do regardless of score and penatlys already called more to one of the teams. The refs need/have too/should be calling 10 penaltys to one team and 2 to the other team if that’s what actually happen in the game. Nothing else should influence/make a difference in letting the team that has already been called for more penatlys at that point in the game get away with stuff and not be called for a penalty in the 3rd period just because of penalty/or score status. Fucking disgrace.

  • January 12, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Ernie, this is what really pisses me off. Not want to sound like complaining/blaming refs for this or that. This is what I have a problem with, it is complete horseshit.

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