Toews, Blackhawks Eliminate Oilers

The Chicago Blackhawks should have gone home for the summer. They had an underwhelming regular season that saw growth from some young players and injuries take veterans out of the lineup for significant parts of the year. The coaching could have been better and the execution wasn’t consistent.

And yet, on Friday evening, the Hawks had the chance to send the top two point producers in the NHL to the golf course early using the best putting mat and equipment for better results on the field.

The reason the Blackhawks won two of the first three games in the series was taking advantage of the frequent mistakes made by the Oilers. In Game 4, the Hawks opened the door wide open for the Oilers to send the series to a winner-take-all Game 5 but those mental mistakes showed up once again.

Edmonton got on the board early yet again. This time it was Josh Archibald scoring the game’s first goal 45 seconds after the initial puck drop.

We’ve seen that before. It hasn’t bothered the Blackhawks.

And it didn’t in this game. Brandon Saad tied the game at 5:16 into the first.

Jonathan Toews and Connor Murphy picked up the assists on Saad’s second of the postseason.

After seeing himself go from goat to hero in Game 3, Matthew Highmore gave the Hawks a first period lead in Game 4. Once again, he was parked in front of the net and was able to redirect a point shot into the back of the net.

Duncan Keith and Ryan Carpenter were credited with the assists on Highmore’s second goal in as many games.

Chicago did a good job of controlling most of the final 19 minutes of the first period, but Highmore again revealed the good and bad of his game. He took a terrible penalty as the clock expired on the first period, giving the Oilers two full minutes of power play time on fresh ice to begin the second period.

The Hawks survived the penalty but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two seconds after it expired to tie the game.

After that, the Blackhawks gave the Oilers the opportunity of the postseason.

And Edmonton looked the gift horse in the mouth.

Alex DeBrincat took an awful major penalty for boarding Ethan Bear only 30 seconds after the Nugent-Hopkins goal. Edmonton had momentum and now had five full minutes with an advantage no matter if they scored or not. The only way the Oilers wouldn’t have five full minutes with an advantage was if they went to the…

Darnell Nurse took perhaps the worst penalty of the season for the Oilers, interfering with Drake Cagguila well behind the play 2:16 into the major penalty. Chicago had survived the first half of the power play, but Nurse effectively let them off the hook. Two minutes of four-on-four came and went the Hawks finished the lengthy penalty kill on the flip side without giving up a go-ahead goal.

After 40 minutes of hockey, Edmonton had a 25-21 shot advantage and the game was tied at two.

Would the youth and speed of the Oilers take over, or would the experience and determination of the Blackhawks win yet another playoff game?

Edmonton got the next power play with Cagguila heading to the box early in the third. But, for the fifth time in the game, Chicago killed off the scariest power play in the game.

It took more than eight minutes into the third for the next goal to be scored.

Toews made a strong play behind the Oilers’ net and found Dominik Kubalik, who rifled home his third of the postseason and first since his historic Game 1 performance. Chicago had a 3-2 lead.

With eight minutes left in regulation, Crawford made an amazing save against Zack Kassian, who was on the doorstep with traffic around the cage.

As the third period carried on, the Blackhawks showed a commitment to taking away passing lanes, blocking shots and getting between Oilers skaters and the net. Crawford made some terrific saves as Edmonton dominated possession of the puck, but the skaters in front of him made it hard for the Oilers to complete a pass in spite of the amount of time they were in the Hawks’ zone.

Edmonton was trying to pull their goaltender with 2:10 left in regulation and made another critical mistake. Chicago cleared the puck and the goaltender backed toward the net. One of the Oilers played the puck as the extra skater was trying to replace

Another breathtaking error by Edmonton, this one putting the Oilers short-handed for the rest of the game/their season.

Nurse got control of the puck in the middle of the kill and attempted to clear the zone but passed it directly to a red jersey in the middle of the ice. Another error. Edmonton couldn’t pull their goalie until there were fewer than 40 seconds left in regulation. Crawford made another couple big saves in the closing seconds and Chicago held on.

The Blackhawks are headed to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Crawford stopped 41 of 43 in another terrific performance in an elimination game.

Toews won 12 of 25 faceoffs and was credited with two blocked shots, one hit and one takeaway with two assists in 18:35. Patrick Kane led the Blackhawks’ forwards in ice time with 20:11. He was credited with three shots on net.

Kirby Dach led Blackhawks forwards with four shots on net, won nine of 15 faceoffs and skated 19:24 in another strong performance.

Murphy had a terrific game on the blue line (even though Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk lost him for a few minutes). He skated 25:12, second on the team behind Keith’s 26:40 and finished tied with Dach for the team lead with four shots on net. He also blocked two shots.

Olli Maatta skated 19:02 effectively, leading the team with five blocked shots and with a team-high four hits.

95 thoughts on “Toews, Blackhawks Eliminate Oilers

  • August 7, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    Toews and Crawford wanted that one, showed the young guys the way. Good call Craig Hawks in 4. Avs VGK winner tomorrow next. Pk and 4th really came into their own this series despite having to overcome struggles against Oilers big 2, good to see and deserve alot of credit too.

  • August 7, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Whether the Hawks face Vegas or Colorado, they’ll be facing a deeper team than Edmonton..however, glass half full, neither Karlsson-Stastny or Mackinnon-Kadri are as frightening offensively down the middle as McDavid-Draisaitl..should be a fun series no matter which of the two teams we end up playing..and it will be interesting to see how our top two lines match up..

  • August 7, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    goalie win there: hawks and EDM both made many many mental errors, called “unforced errors” in tennis, but EDM made more and hawks didn’t quit, their old trademark from the 10 year run. nice to see that showing up again. our coach coaches like a rookie who has a LOT to learn. Dave tippet, a class act and superb coach didn’t have his crew under control on many fronts: pretty unusual for him. nurse penalty was unforgivable and goalie pull fiasco was pee wee/bantam stuff: hawks won’t see any of those openings from their next opponent, so enjoy it while it lasts. last cup game I saw them win was live at home at the UC for the 2015 cup, a memory I will always cherish…

  • August 7, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    Stick taps to Craig for calling it in 4 games. Watching that game and winning the series was way more fun than an earlier draft pick. Maybe the Oilers will get another #1 pick!

    I thought the first period was our best of the series then stupid broke out. The penalties on both side were crazy dumb. Nice that Crow picked up his game big time and the PK was solid. I really liked Kubalik’s compete level in a high pressure situation, his game winner was a real snipe. Whether we play the Avs or Vegas it will be nice to see at least one more series.

  • August 7, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    The “fans” that were hoping they’d lose so they could get a better draft pick can go away now.

  • August 7, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Waiting for the Colliton hate posts, too. Anyone see Florida got eliminated? Very disappointing season for a team that was expected to take the next step. Tallon is out…..finally. shocked he lasted that long there. He’s handcuffed that franchise for several years with bad contracts, too.

  • August 7, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    Crawford was terrific tonight, and Toews was terrific the entire series. Some questioned Toews will to play in this tournament after he voiced an opinion on whether these Cup playoffs should happen at all. Well they have gotten their answer.

  • August 7, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    It’s more than just a series win! It’s restoring pride to a group of hard-working, (perhaps under-talented in places) committed teammates and outstanding goaltending- of which we have not seen a lot of since 2015?Well done Hawks- you redeemed yourselves but, equally important, you nailed it for us fans! Thank you ? And Tab, great golf/hockey reminder of where the superstars will be next week ?

  • August 7, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Best Keith has looked in a while. Toews playing like its 2010. Crow looked shaky, slow to react, and had bad rebound control throughout the series, but stood tall when he had to tonight. Colorado will probably wipe the floor with the Hawks, but I could see them giving Vegas a series. Either way this is great experience for the young kids, and winning a series might spring some life back into the aging core after 4 disappointing seasons.

  • August 7, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Good Tweet Tab. Bring on Vegas to go against Lehner. Crow vs Lehner .

  • August 7, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    I like what I saw from the Hawks in this series. Their next opponent will be a better more balanced team but the Hawks can prevail if they are focused and play to their strengths while continuing to play the type of defense they showed they’re capable of in the Edmonton series. Blocking shots, and obstructing passing lanes was a strength the Hawks had been lacking in the regular season but they performed well in both areas against the Oilers. Their top 2 lines looked solid especially with the decision to send Kane to the Dach DCat line and the bottom 2 lines looked good at times. The team seems to have rediscovered how to make good quick passes to keep possession and drive play although there were momentum shifts in game 4 where the Hawks looked to be stumbling for a large swath of time. I’m clearly biased but I think this team could surprise some people and make it through this next round. At this point in social distancing and isolation I’m simply grateful to be able to watch some incredible hockey being played and game 4 was an incredibly interesting game.

  • August 7, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    It ain’t always the sum of talent a team has that determines champions. They played as a team, for each other as teammates and never quite, that’s the mark of character.


  • August 7, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    Dach can win 50% or more of faceoffs. Look out for the coming yrs.

  • August 7, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks Ian and MS, Wow. Two impressive character wins to take the series.
    Duncan Keith looks like he has found the fountain of youth.
    Kirby Dach is a fabulous player at 19-years-old once he starts to finish his chances the sky will be the limit.
    How about Nylander taking the puck on the off wing and going with it hard to the net with less than 8 minutes to go in the game ? He also had a glorious chance to make it 3-1 in the second period on the power play when he was in alone on Koskinen and just wired it over the net.
    I’m also starting to appreciate Connor Murphy more and more.

    Great win. Fun series. More Hawks Hockey next week. Love it.

  • August 7, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    Well, my Lafreniere dreams have been dashed … but that game was fun. How can any Hawks fan not be happy with the effort and outcome tonight.

    Crawford wasn’t at his best the first 3 games but he was outstanding tonight. And, the team defense in front of him had a pretty good game too. I can’t think of any Hawks that had a poor game tonight – everyone was at least OK or better. And speaking of better – Toews sure looks as good or better these 4 games than we’ve seen him in quite a while. The word rejuvenated comes to mind.

    So now that the Hawks advance – do they get to make changes to their bubble roster – like add Seabrook if he’s ready? Just curious.

  • August 7, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    I don’t think they can Ebony Raptor. The players they brought with are the players available. But I thought they were going to play Dallas or St. Louis so bad info is going around. Or the NHL is changing things on the fly. Idk. If Seebs or Shaw follow Covid protocol maybe they’ll be allowed to join the team. I don’t know what’s going on with any if that.

  • August 7, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    That was fun to watch! I guessed we would win exactly 0 games scoring 3 goals or less. Happy Crow pulled one out!

    For the sake of objectivity, we need to play way, way, way better to have a shot against better competition. The last 40 minutes were filled with sloppy passes, terrible penalties, and other mental gaffes. Also this habit of going into defensive mode with 10 minutes left and a 1 goal lead is driving me crazy. Keep attacking!

    Crow started looking like Crow. He didn’t seem that comfortable to me until tonight. God knows we’re gonna need him.

    Dcat and Nylander are really struggling. So is Strome by extension. We got away with 2 scoring lines against Edmonton, whose depth and even-strength play is unimpressive. We need 3 legit scoring lines (and excellent goaltending) to compete with teams who defend and possess the puck better than Edmonton.

    Go Hawks!

  • August 8, 2020 at 12:10 am

    I can help you out ER – Strome again not good but he was the only one IMO
    In fact he’s holding Nylander back who had his best game I thought

    Every time Strome was on it seemed they were trapped in their end and it was terrifying to have Strome out vs McDavid which happened a few times
    Strome he did show a little more want to though so there’s that

    But I don’t want to be negative – that was awesome! EDM really pushed at the end and the Hawks hung tough and gutted it out big time, that development alone is worth more than the 8 or more spots in the draft they may have just fell

    Crawford you could tell was gradually starting to find his game but he really wasn’t himself until the third – a heroic performance

    Dach – what a beauty and just 19, if only the Hawks had made him do another year of junior he’d be so much better – not

    Getting DeHaan back has been huge – that pairing with Murphy allows JC to play Keith in other matchups – Duncs was a horse tonight and of course Toews again leading by example

    I’m feeling pretty good about how the Hawks will fare in the next round – I would be shocked if they won but I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a series out of it – as another poster said they just beat McDavid and Draisatl in the a playoff series which is no mean feat

    There will be other challenges from either VGK or COL of course but IMO this next series will up the Hawks game even more whether they win it or not

  • August 8, 2020 at 12:29 am

    Boy, pick your poison on which to prefer – Colorado or Vegas? I would give Colorado the edge in skill and speed but Vegas gets the edge in gritty in your face hard to play against. I doubt the Hawks have enough team defense to beat either one of them so I guess I prefer Colorado because it would be more fun to watch aesthetically.

  • August 8, 2020 at 1:02 am

    “So now that the Hawks advance – do they get to make changes to their bubble roster – like add Seabrook if he’s ready?” “If Seebs or Shaw follow Covid protocol maybe they’ll be allowed to join the team.” **WHY** would they want to add these stiffs??? The team who just won the series (- Unlikey, “in an upset”) DOESN’T NEED to be tampered with. Is sentimentality or nostalgia really a decision-making factor?

  • August 8, 2020 at 1:04 am

    First time writing! Hello!
    Well who’da thunk it?
    Once Koekkoek got everyday playing time, I think when deHaan went down, he has really flipped a switch in a pleasant surprise.
    I wish Hossa could be Nylander’s personal coach as I see flashes of him being that type of player sometimes. Surprising speed and back pressure skill, still lacking the where-to-be knowledge tho…
    At this point I don’t have much hope for dcat or Strome. You were counting on those guys to be your sophomore generation but we’ll see I guess.
    I know crow is getting up there but I really think this team is closer than it seems. Go get a solid second line forward to be Kane’s counterpart and you’re right there. Oh and fix the pp and fire JC. Then you’re right there. Lol.
    Go Hawks!

  • August 8, 2020 at 1:23 am

    Hawks played like they wanted to keep playing. Oilers played like they were offended that had to be there.

    Toews is amazing. He is the best captain in hockey, they are going to name a leadership award after him when he retires. That guy can make his guys piss shards of glass. Best. Captain. Ever.

    Not sure which is more gratifying, McDavid having the time to work on his nintendo game or Crosby…

    I do think the Hawks played well and the totally took advantage of a completely unmotivated and befuddled team. The next round will be the real test for them, against a far superior opponent and one who is presumably a little more excited to be playing the 12th seed than the 8th,..

    It was a great series for the Hawks, but I hope management doesn’t use this as an excuse to double down on past bad decisions. Don’t use the fact that you actually did make the playoffs as a reason to not fix the roster now. That will be the bigger crime than missing out on a chance at a lottery pick…

  • August 8, 2020 at 4:01 am

    The Hawks did just enough against an undisciplined and for the most part disinterested Oiler Team comprised of a bunch of misfits.That being said,they won a playoff series without a true home game and can get some young guys some more valuable experience.I know we all are expecting the Hawks to get swept against Colorado or Vegas but my hope would be that we could get some scoring from Kane,Dach,Nylander,and Debrincat and play a little smarter of a game.Please sit STROME for Kurashev or Hagel.STROME has no business on the ice for NHL Playoff Hockey.

  • August 8, 2020 at 6:35 am

    The good news is Strome is freeing up caproom to resign Kubalik. With a flat cap at a low hit he may draw a little trade interest from cap strapped teams wanting to take a chance on him too, so a couple good games against next round may be a good thing for Strome. Putting in a Kurashev with no Nhl experience probably only results in a 5 or 6min per game player on the bench, not regular impact shift player. Agree Nylander playing better without puck and getting chances, a matter of time until he starts connecting. Trying him wuth Dach and Kane to reunite Strome and Debrincat may be worth a try, neither Avs or Vegas have a dangerous high scoring 3rd line to match Strome and Cat against, with Cagguila to add some grittier play. T Bone i think Nylander compared to Hossa at this stage is a stretch, but Hossa never really became the 2way force he was with Blackhawks until he got to Detroit midway through his career either, so who knows.

    Keith not the defenseman he once was in his prime but agree with Murphy and Dehaan pair supplementing him, that gives for lack of a better term a solid bend but don’t break defense, Boqvist early in the game and Koekkoek if protecting a lead worked. Maatta as a veteran 5th guy in all situations as well. Hopefully they show the heart and compete that was there this round and whatever will be, will be, win, win, all good.

  • August 8, 2020 at 6:49 am

    Some still saying Nylander struggling-poor guy is working harder, skating better and playing some actual defence. He has adjusted to playoff hockey.
    Cat may have saved a crucial scoring chance early. (He’s working too)
    Crow showed he’s not done yet.

    Do agree that Edmonton’s a weirdly crafted team that may just get a third superstar, but have little soul.

  • August 8, 2020 at 6:58 am

    Ian. I like the idea of switching Nylander and deCat, makes sense. Hopefully at some point both score just so that when they leave the bubble when it’s all over they have something to feel super confident about in the off season.

    Also, think about how this win over Edmonton and playing another round build team chemistry. These same guys will now spend at least 10 more day together. So from Mid July to the end of August, this group of roughly 30 guys have been together as unit. That can only help going forward. Same with the coaching staff.

  • August 8, 2020 at 7:19 am

    Hawks just slayed the two headed monster and all the surfs that back them up. They were supposed to shred the Chicago defense, especially on the power play. Hawks made the adjustment and shut them down in their own barn. Looking forward to the next round. It’s playoff hockey so you never know.

  • August 8, 2020 at 7:33 am

    I am not going to slam anyone today. It’s all positive from here on in! What a great effort game by everyone, but especially: Toews, Keith, Kane, and Crawford. These legends showed us that they have more in the tank, and as I said previously, they know how to win and EDM does not.

    The playoffs can be a springboard for a young players career. The effort and intangibles that you must give on a nightly basis in the playoffs will benefit the younger guys in their careers as they will know what it takes to win on a nightly basis. This is especially true for Dach, DeBrincat, Nylander, Highmore, Boqvist, and Kubalik.

    Also, I have to mention some unheralded players who stepped up, Carpenter was huge down the stretch, as was Kampf. DeHaan and Murphy stepped up big time, and Koekoek and Maata were solid again. I am not anti-Strome, as I thought he did some good things, and let’s remember he set the tone for this series with that goal off the keepers arse! I would like to see him use this series as a confidence builder because we are going to need him in the next series where both teams have greater depth than EDM.

    Overall, I am going to miss the 1st pick, but what if he turns out to be Alexandre Daigle, and we draft the next Duncan Keith? But, this series showed me that we have two superstars in the making – Dominik Kubalik and Kirby Dach. I was so impressed with their effort, guile, and poise that I think we have the makings of the sequel – “Blackhawks – The Next Generation”.

  • August 8, 2020 at 7:36 am

    Agree – the PK came up huge last night – some kudos have to go JC’s way for that and for having the team ready to play

    They’re still making too many mistakes but the improvement from the start of the year (when I was calling for Colliton’s head) is pretty significant

    Maybe this play in round was just what the doctor ordered for JC to finally get his message across – he outcoached Tippet IMO so I’ll stand down on the fire JC comments (for now)

  • August 8, 2020 at 7:48 am

    Very enjoyable game. Looking forward to enjoying next series.

    Kinda hoped for Vegas, but then remembered playoffs don’t have shootouts so Lehner’s biggest weakness goes away.

    For those sad about losing 1/8 chance at top pick: The closest comparable player is said to be Johnathan Huberdeau — not exactly a McDavid or Crosby or Kane . . . . etc.

    Meaningful summertime hockey – who’d a thunk it?

  • August 8, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Looking more like Bowman knew who was the better player Kahun or Kubalik.

    These games are extremely valuable for the younger players. The dynasty core players were always still just as good just didn’t have a deep roster. We still donot yet but it’s on the way. Then we ll really see that those guys are still elite players at 35-40. A top 10 draft player is waaaay better then any player at 24th. Now the difference between 16th and 24th sure.

  • August 8, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Once we put 8 with 19 20 as some of use here said to try. It’s been giggles since. That first game coach put them in the line late in the 3rd of whatever that game was and 8 had two really good shot attempts you could see that these guys could be good together.

  • August 8, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Talking about in the name of Hoss. Kubalik our next Hoss kind of player?

  • August 8, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Lots of great comments and points made here .
    Kamph needs to work on his breakaway sKills ….Man ,we could have been up 3-1 with that short handed breakaway lost cause fumble f#@k Kamph running out of space into the pads joke .

    Any how ,,,glad we are moving on .
    Go Hawks Go

  • August 8, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Tommy,in regards to STROME,you can’t teach speed and toughness and it isn’t magically achieved with more games.This guy has been gifted opportunity after opportunity and continually shows his glaring weaknesses.He seems like a nice guy who team mates like but he just doesn’t have that neanderthal gene or the desire to drastically improve his glaring weaknesses.He was put on a line with his best friend and then was put on a line with 1 of the best players in the league and still he is the same player.Its just not working.Ian-what would it hurt if as a coach you took game 1 of the next series and used Kurashev on the 3rd line giving him the appropriate minutes?If it doesn’t workout you theoretically get back a motivated STROME and find out where Kurashev is at.

  • August 8, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Some posters think that Edmonton was disinterested. That did not look like a disinterested team that mopped the ice with the Hawks in the third period, despite not having anything to show for it. Because the camera angles on the broadcast were not as good as normal, we were not able to see how some of those pucks stayed out. But the Hawks “survived” the third and only because of Crawford. Edmonton took some horrible penalties which helped the cause, but they still outshot the Hawks by a huge margin in the third and they were not perimeter shots either.

    The posters have been rough on Strome, but there has been a large body of evidence that this is who Strome is. Nothing surprising about this at all. The situation with DCat has become rugged. Players go through cycles in their career and hopefully this cycle with DCat is nearing an end. Otherwise, we are dealing with a Seabrook 2.0 type contract. Kubi had a strong game. The goal was not the only thing he did right.

    The Hawks are very fortunate to be moving on, but we get to watch more hockey that we care about so that is a very excellent thing.

  • August 8, 2020 at 9:30 am

    I forgot to mention Highmore in my earlier post. How can you not feel good for this guy. 5 years of junior, never drafted, serious injury and he just keeps coming. I get the feeling he is really earning JC’s trust, especially if he eliminates the bone head penalties. He and Kampf are a solid 4th line core.

  • August 8, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Pretty incredible to watch this team start to gel and embrace a collective can-do attitude. Toews said it best I think in last nights post game questions and answer. He commented to the fact that the team was given a second chance with this expanded playoff format, and the guys really got behind this as an opportunity. That said what was going on with the Oilers? These guys apart from the 2 head Draisaitl/McDavid monster just looked like they had motivation issues often times. Multiple dumbass penalites. Their defense basically kind of sucked, but were one hell of a turnover machine that helped the Hawks. Lost puck battles, etc…

    My concern before this Oil series was what kind of shape Corey Crawford was in considering he had almost no time to get into game playing shape, especially for a short 5 game series. As this series evolved we saw Corey start a little slow, some trouble with rebound and puck control. However, with each passing game some small improvements were noticeable. Of course, the Hawks needed Crow to be the keeper we have seen step up when big games are on the line. Last night was the stage for Corey and he did not disappoint. He kept them in the game and with improving team defense around him brought home the clincher win. My God though those last few minutes found my heart racing as the Oilers put the pressure on. Great stuff!!

    The Cpt. was a beast and a half against the Oilers. Classic Tazer locked in look as he won many big faceoffs, was very strong along the boards, and simply willing himself to win puck battles. Kubalik strength by moving to open space to receive pucks for shot opportunities and big goals on display yet again. Saad playing strong on the puck makes that top line dangerous, and they will need to stay that committed for whomever their next opponent is. Kirby Dach was really an improved player compared with the regular season. He is faster and stronger on his skates, for sure stronger on the puck, and he appears to have become a much more confident player. At his age it’s all upside, and certainly the Hawks choosing him in the draft are seeing they made one hell of a pick. His next stage in development will be knowing when to shoot the puck and not pass. Hawks won despite Kane’s game not yet on full display.

    Strome seems to be playing himself either off this team or demotion to 3rd line center is the hawks choose to sign him to a much lower contract than he might have received 4-6 months ago. His stock is down. Nylander played better last night, but remain an enigma. Strong hockey skills when he wants to play, but his hockey sense continues to be lacking imo. Stock down imo. I really enjoyed watching Highmore’s game evolve. All these deflected goals by Highmore and the team in general was a nice change from regular season where net presence was often lacking.

    I might be wrong, but it seemed when Hawks had home ice? for games 3 and 4 Colliton made some better adjustments?

    So let the games begin in earnest against much better opponents. Vegas plays heavier game with lots of big players, while Avs simply put gas pedal down. Hawks will be pressed to get by either, but I guess I would prefer the Avs. VGK bring that withering forecheck which given Hawks not so physical D corps will make for some turnover issues and trouble with zone clears. Whomever the Hawks get it should be some fun watching. I’m still pinching myself that Hawks are actually in the playoffs.

    In the year of weird that has been 2020 NHL hockey is back, and our team in the hunt is a noticeable life upgrade boost and positive development. I’ll take the good news where I can!

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  • August 8, 2020 at 10:13 am

    I didn’t think there was a playoff team with a worse d-corps than the Hawks, at least in their own end … until I watched the Oilers d-corps. Mercy! Klefbom and Nurse were supposed to be their best d-men and both were worse than any of the Hawks’ d-men. Turnover after turnover after blown coverage. Bear played well but the rest of them stunk. The Hawks won’t have the luxury of playing a d-corps worse than our own in the next series.

    The word on the Oilers was they were very good on special teams but not very good 5-on-5 and that turned out to be the case. The Hawks were supposed to be the polar opposite with good 5-on-5 but not good special teams, but they played a little better on special teams than their reputation predicted – not good, but better than bad.

    I asked the question regarding bubble roster changes and used Seabrook as an example – not from a sentimental perspective – I was simply curious what the rules were.

  • August 8, 2020 at 10:38 am

    I would consider that the fist round and we won a playoff round. Not getting into to specifics of what its called. This is a world cup tournament not the Stanley Cup playoffs but thats the way I see it still that we just won the first round as it was playoff-tournament style hockey.

    As that was not a tie breaker for the 8 seed kind of thing.

    \Love seeing players like Highmore come up and start to establis themseleves as a role player. He is our new Frozal (67)?

    BY the way I wear the 19 road jersey even though I have other tshirts and jersey with no name number on them. Love Kaner but Tazer has always been my hero. I had to order it through Canada to get a real players jersey in 2013 in march and it was made and ready for June. Just in time for the parade.

    This is fun to watch the younger players take these important steps. Cant wait for the young wave to fully come in and were then HHNL quality deep. Then its going to wicked to see the dynasty core players 19 88 other be able to play with a deep roster and roll 4 lines. Thats going to be bitter sweet to win again and watch the faces and celebration calls of 19 88.

    Be a couple yrs its coming though.

  • August 8, 2020 at 10:42 am

    On ice interview with Kane after 2013 game 6 win. So your going to be calm and take it easy since you have already won once before and been here done that.

    Not a chance. Not a chance!

  • August 8, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Its coming around to full circle. TB is still the best team since 2015 and this is there yr. PIT can compete with the top 5 teams again like they couldnt from 2010-2015 when the top 5 teams were stacked. Top teams getting/going back to that each yr now. Seeing PIT get sweep NYI and not beat MTL thats it for them and they have no young wave coming.

    Virus salary cap going to nutter top 10 teams to keep them at bay for three yrs. By then our young wave will be ready and we ll be ready to add a top pair Defensemen ufa wise. Basically trade 7 caphit for that. Then were reading to roll.

    Its coming around. Its all coming around.

  • August 8, 2020 at 11:21 am

    No doubt Debrincat is gonna get at least a one game suspension for his stupid hit on Bear. Would love to see Kurashev get a shot, but I’m sure it’ll be worthless Sikura.

  • August 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    “I asked the question regarding bubble roster changes and used Seabrook as an example – not from a sentimental perspective – I was simply curious what the rules were.” — Ebony, I sincerely apologize if my comment came across as an attack.

    I guess I jumped at the two players you mentioned – who would be pulled from the lineup to play them? In my opinion, the way Koekkoek and Maatta played, Seabrook would be the 7th dman, and Caggiula is playing Shaw’s role admirably – he even got a suspension (heh, heh).

    Again, NO malice or ill will.

  • August 8, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    TimW nothing wrong with giving Kurashev a chance if gets the ice time. I just meant if only getting a few shifts, playing Strome and hoping he does a little better and may garner trade interest if they don’t see him as a future 3c and have others they do. A decision on him needs to be made by draft.

    If Suter who looks to have real p0tential or Chalupa with some size and lots of speed, see if he has a bit of heavy game and finds his offense, either one follows in the European find like Kubalik, Kahun, Panarin mold plus still getting a good future piece with 1st pick, then gaining this experience becomes a good tradeoff.

  • August 8, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    DD – no problem … but I still don’t know the answer to my question – can players be added/subtracted from the bubble roster now that the play-in series have finished and before the “normal” playoffs start?

  • August 8, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    EB the roster they took to Edmonton was called their playoff roster and those not going wouldn’t be playing. So unless some kind of emergency depleted the roster, who they have now is it, unless I missed them saying otherwise.

  • August 8, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks Ian.

    So, Vegas it is. They are one of those hard working teams where the sum is greater than the parts. Plus they have the d-bag Reeves who will get cheap shots in whenever he thinks he can get away with it – keep your head up Kirby, and Boqvist.

    Lehner v. Crawford – booya.

  • August 8, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Like the Vegas matchup better than the Avalanche.If we get Kane and Debrincat going we could give Vegas a series.

  • August 8, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Haven’t blogged in a long time. Great comments from all. Masterful write-ups by Tab. Loved your graphic about who’s playing golf while we are still playing.

    What happened to HULL65? Want to hear his reaction to his great GM Tallon being pushed out. Maybe he would like him to return so he can hand out big contracts like he did to a declining goalie like Bobrovsky

  • August 8, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    Okiee – Did I miss something with DCat’s hit being reviewed for a possible suspension?

    I haven’t heard anything in that regard

  • August 8, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    I prefer the VGK matchup – I think the Hawks have shown they will battle as hard as Vegas and I also think their overall talent is more or less comparable to VGK (and Kane has yet to really explode and what if Dach starts to score)

    Let’s see how Toews and Dach do vs Karlsson and Stastny or Smith – probably at least as good if not better than vs McDavid and Draisatl

    The Vegas forecheck presents a problem but if Crawford is dialed in and outplays Lehner/Fleury the Hawks definitely have a chance at an upset

  • August 8, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    The difference between Vegas’ defense and Edmonton’s defense is night and day – both the d-men and the way Vegas plays 5-man team defense. Not saying the Hawks don’t stand a chance but it’s a big step up from playing Edmonton’s defense.

  • August 8, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    @ebonyraptor you make a good point regarding Vegas..collectively, they’re a very good team..but I don’t know that they have any one or two elite individuals that can carry them..they’re definitely greater than the sum of their parts..if the Hawks can roll four lines, they’ll be in this series..if they have to shorten up or only play 10-11 forwards while double shifting Kane, this series could be over quick..for me, the difference will be our 3rd line..can Nylander, Strome, and Caggs equalize or better the Tuch line..that’s the type of matchup that can tilt a series in the Hawks’s a tall order for a young line, but that’s what it takes to have success in the have to find an exploitable matchup and get scoring from your bottom six..beyond that, I actually like our top six vs Vegas..should be a hell of a series..

  • August 8, 2020 at 9:48 pm

    Ian, Morrison and others who love the draft. When looking at picks 17 to 31 and beyond. Think speed. The Hawks are not taking anybody who cannot keep up.
    They like Zary and guys that can skate.

  • August 8, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    Playing with house money now.
    No pun intended.

  • August 8, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    If Lehner beats them, Bowman is more gone than ever.
    Wirtz on record as saying they are changing the culture. That means more mgmt will get ousted.

    If Hawks win, Cinderella rides on.

  • August 8, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    Question for the group:
    Has 92 been sighted anywhere in the bubble?
    He is invisible on the ice.

    Justin Tuch is gonna eat that guy for lunch.

  • August 8, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    Craig, Zary be a good choice, Halloway is another mid round pick who should be a good one and combines speed with a power forward type game. Expect some to drop down to there who are thought to be in top 10 or 12 right now also.

  • August 8, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Didnt look past top 12 ant ay point in season because we were nowhere near there. Donot know about any of them so better be 10-12 type players around there. Kind of like a Teravainen at 19?

  • August 8, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    I spotted Nylander in the bubble. He wears #92. I saw him make some pretty good plays too. The one poor play he was criticized for was when Kane passed the puck into his feet and he couldn’t get it under control before an Oiler player got the puck and it led to an Oiler goal. So are we now blaming the recipient of a hand grenade pass for turning over the puck? Has he been great? No. Has he been bad or invisible? No. In my opinion.

  • August 9, 2020 at 12:30 am

    Maybe ur right Ebony.
    I never see the guy do anything except skate to my screen name.

    He iced a puck the other night instead of taking a hit to get a puck into center ice and allowing a line change….3rd period of clinching game, no less, with his team clinging to a one goal lead.

    So after ensuing faceoff, him and his invisible partner Strome chased McDavid and Co. around their own end while the defenseman tongues were hanging on the ice and Crawford was standing on head.

    No excuse for that kind of play in the playoffs.

  • August 9, 2020 at 9:20 am

    Sometimes I wonder if I made the correct career choice. Spending my 45+ year career in various computer nerd jobs has paid the bills, but maybe my time would have been better spent being an advocate for victims, be they persons or ideas.

    The reason I bore my fellow readers with this personal glop is to admit that sometimes my instinctual impulse to advocate for perceived victims blinds me to truth in the criticism leveled at the “victim” – at times I’m too caught up in defending to the exclusion of clear thinking analysis.

    Maybe Nylander is as terrible as others say, but I’ll keep defending him because it seems to me (at least) some of the criticism is unwarranted which puts him into the victim category and activates my advocate gene.

    What can I say – I’m only human. Yeah … that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. :=)

  • August 9, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Tell it how it is. If its unwarranted then yea. I post some kind of personal stuff sometimes to be funny or to release steam so theres nothing wrong with that even though your not trying to offend anyone it just does sometimes. At least know your not doing that on purpose just yapping.

  • August 9, 2020 at 9:57 am

    ER – I’m with you

    Any poster who refers to Alex Tuch as Justin and doesn’t realize that Danny Wirtz has already confirmed that Stan has a long term contract or believes that if Lehner beats the Hawks that Stan will be axed has diminished credibility

    Nylander has not been great but he hasn’t been terrible either and in fact the clinching game was his best of the series IMO so there’s some reason for optimism with him (I like the way he drove the net in the 3rd vs EDM in game 4)

    As I stated before the running around in their own zone vs the Oilers has more to do with Strome’s defensive deficiencies than Nylander’s who I think is average not terrible in the D zone

    I think the 3rd line matchup could be key as well and I’m not very confident that Strome can win that battle – maybe we will see Kurashev given an opportunity as 3C before the series is over

  • August 9, 2020 at 10:22 am

    It’s nice for the team to advance, but let’s face it the Oil were sloppy and not especially physical. VGK is disciplined and tough, and even if we can get to the net they have a good goalie. I think this will be an excellent test for a lot of our newer guys in particular to see what they bring when the price gets higher.

    – how will Boqvist respond to getting repeatedly roughed up?

    – can Kubalik find enough space to score (I think he can)?

    – can KD play physically but also protect himself (I worry about him)?

    – will 12 and 92 battle through it or just stay on the outside?

    – can Murphy handle a big load against a heavy team?

    – etc, etc…

    Whatever happens, this series will provide some answers (which we wouldn’t get if we hadn’t made it this far, so there’s that).

  • August 9, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Jordy – yep.

    My thought heading into the playoffs was the Hawks weren’t good enough to do much damage so the primary objective was to get the young players experience. I think many (if not most) Hawks fans felt the same. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Oilers ousted the Hawks but at least the young Hawks would get some playoff experience. Now that they have advanced to play Vegas it’s even better because not only do they get more games – they get to play against a much better opponent. I’m not going to go as far as to suggest these games will separate the wheat from the chaff – they are still only a handful of games – but at the very least it will make each of the young players understand where he needs to get better and that is invaluable.

    Go Hawks.

  • August 9, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Have to remember that we still donot have a deep roster in every position so when were playing these kind of teams that do we cant go fully by how certain guys do because when we have a deep roster some of our guys wont be double teamed like they will be now. I know this is only thing we get to see now.

    What I saying is its a snapshot not a full exposure to what our guys can do and we ll see that in the next yrs as we get deeper roster wise. No double teamed and trickle down effect. Thats were having top pair Defensemen will show how good 5 is when he is in the spot he should be in and not a higher spot. Is what I mean.

    It is a gauge of some sorts though like your saying. Good to see and go by for now.

    I am totally fine with 5 44 for being legit playoff Defensemen for us going forward roster wise that can hold there own when healthy.

  • August 9, 2020 at 10:52 am

    You guys make good thoughts/comments.

  • August 9, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Jordy – All good questions. My two cents is that we need to be prepared for the physical stuff but not try and be physical ourselves. We need to focus on puck possession and great forechecking. If we can’t win puck possession and are running around in our end then we have no chance. If the 4th line plays like last series they likely get more minutes than the 3rd line with Strome. Anyone know when the series will start?

  • August 9, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Yea play like the way we did against ANA in 2015 that way.

  • August 9, 2020 at 11:46 am

    MS they have not announced a schedule as of yet as the final play in round game and round robin games still need to be played later today.
    After today’s games are done, they will know the seedings and be able to publish a schedule.

    I am sure it is ready to go and they are just waiting for the results to come in.

  • August 9, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Lets hope that MTL got the 1st pick since no team after bottom 15 teams should ever get a top 3 pick or a top 15 pick even on a virus yr like this. Even if they got knocked out when they were guaranteed a playoff spot being a 5-8 seed.

  • August 9, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    No games tomorrow i don’t think just the lotto pick announced. Next round likely be starting Tuesday and Wednesday to get everybody a game.

    If Pacioretty, who is day to day is back then Stephenson drops to 3rd line with Tuch and likely Roy. Not big offensive numbers but a high possession, physical 3rd line to match up against. A quick strike offense against that line would go a long way to winning that battle. Discipline and patience with Crawfords A game will be needed against Vegas to stay with them.

  • August 9, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Ur cool Ebony,
    I get your point.
    Gotta help the helpless. It’s what we do.

    I am an idiot for saying Justin Tuch not Alex. Shame on me for trying to having a life in this Co-Vid mess and not living on a hockey blog.

    I guess being an NHL fan since 1967 means no mistakes with names.

    Tuch, OK everyone? Amazing.

    Wirtz said changing the culture
    He said it the other day.
    What does one take that to mean?
    Fresh wallpaper and a new coffee machine?

    More heads will be on chopping block.
    Old culture out. New culture in.

    How many times has a sports fan seen a big vote of confidence (long term contract) only to see the axe fall?

    It happened to Billy Reay.
    Google him if u don’t know.

    If Lehner outplays Crawford and Vegas wins, that will seal Bowman’s fate.

    PS: I am a HUGE Crow fan. Praying he steals 2 games. They will mean his teammates only need to win 2.
    They can do that vs Vegas

    Crow was easily the Conn Smythe winner in 2013.
    The man gets overlooked all the time in this state geek world we live in.

  • August 9, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Re: Justin Tuch – good for you for owning up to your mistake – no biggie – being an NHL fan since 1960 myself I know it’s easy to forget names

    As for “If Lehner outplays Crawford and Vegas wins, that will seal Bowman’s fate”.

    Let’s see if this prediction comes true or not and if it doesn’t if you’ll also own up

    My own prediction FWIW is that Lehner and Crow don’t play enough head to head games to say that if Vegas wins that it was because Lehner outplayed Crawford

    I expect to see both Vegas goalies in the series

  • August 9, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    BTW I’m also a huge Crow fan and thought he should have won the Conn Smythe in 2013

  • August 9, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    VEG is a deeper roster so I wouldnt go by goalies. If both teams were equally as deep then yea sure.

  • August 9, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    MIN is the kind of team that gets the 1st pick.

  • August 9, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    @Perimeter Player

    Stan’s job is safe regardless of what happens this series against Vegas. Realistically, they had almost no shot of signing Lehner to an extension. The Hawks are gonna be in cap hell once again this off-season. Hell, they might not even be able to bring back Crawford unless he agrees to a very team friendly deal. They had to trade Lehner and get something in return. The Hawks wouldn’t even be in the playoffs if not for the Covid shutdown, which nobody could’ve possibly anticipated at the trade deadline. Even still, Crow was outplaying Lehner for several weeks up to the point they traded him.

  • August 9, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    @ Wraparound

    I’m seriously shocked I haven’t heard word that Debrincat is having a hearing over his boarding penalty. I guess I’ve just grown accustomed to the Hawks being on the bad end of the league’s all over the place decisions when it comes to those sort of things. That said, if he was to get a game or two, I probably wouldn’t miss him.

  • August 9, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    I would say it would take real bad showing against Vegas, followed up with a brutal start to season before Bowman be in jeopardy. That said i don’t expect either, should show they belong against Vegas and get off to pretty good start next season.

  • August 9, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Ebony. You are not wrong about Nylander. He has upped his game, forecheck and passion. Case in point, 7 minutes to go in game 4 and Nylander takes the puck on the left wing, comes down the wing hard, cuts inside the defenseman and gets in alone for a jam attempt. It was a move you see Brandon Saad make. It was Alex Nylander.

    He also made a beautiful hesitation move in the 2nd period on the power play and got in alone on the goalie. Instead of burying it, he whistled it just over the crossbar, that would have made it 3-1. Game of inches but Nylander has played and skated hard.

  • August 9, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    Bowman is not going anywhere. Danny Wirtz has stated that in interviews last week. He also said Stan has signed a new contract.
    The Hawks just eliminated McDavid and Draisaitl. Stan’s stock is rising not falling.
    Stop. The. Craziness.

  • August 9, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Yea not saying were ready to be the 4 or 5 seed next yr but we are getting close to being that kind of team. My guess would be the 22 season were back and the 4/5 seed and moving up to a top team again. We do have to add a top pair Defensemen ufa wise and we will have plenty of cap space to do it as several of the caphits we have now wont be here then.

    The roster will be half elc caphits and some bridges in there. Also expect some ltir for the beginning of this 21 season to get by for now.

    None of this matters now that stuff will take care of itself by the way Bowman has the contract yrs setup. Were in really good shape to add players in a couple yrs.

  • August 9, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    7 and 65 caphits are 11m right there 50 is not doing 6m anymore. How ever we do it it lines up very well for us.

  • August 9, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    I can’t believe everyone is falling for the Nylander bait and switch. He has done this exact same pattern all freaking season. He was demoted from the second line two games ago! Two games ago! Yeah he played “better.” For a game. Do it the entire Vegas series, Then do it again for the next 5-10 games. Then keep doing it until people stop being surprised when you have a nice effort. Then I’ll say, “Hey Nylander is finally looking like the guy the Hawks were hoping to get when they traded Joki, nice job!” Until then, I am not biting.

  • August 9, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    Miroslav – you make a completely fair point but I don’t think anybody is saying ‘see I told you so, Nylander would be a good player worth trading Joki for’ only that there is reason for some optimism which is better than no reason for optimism

    He put together a positive contribution to a Hawks clinching playoff performance – that’s not insignificant and maybe (maybe) he’ll build on that

  • August 9, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    I appreciate a playoff series win as much as any Hawks fan but eliminating Edmonton is no reason to get too high on Nylander or gift wrap an extension for Bowman. Let’s see Nylander actually close the deal with goals and play consistently every shift and let’s see the Hawks take a series against complete teams like Vegas and Colorado.2 Stars do not make a good playoff team.Edmonton showed that.

  • August 10, 2020 at 12:16 am

    Tab you can add Mathews and Tavares to the gone golfing list.

    I wouldn’t be that mad if the Leafs, Pens or Oil get the first pick. La Franchise probably going to take up a roster spot from the get go. Are there enough pucks to go around on those teams to satisfy their all stars? Thinking they have to move someone.

    We need a wing to go with Dach and Kane. Wouldn’t RNH or Athanasiou work. How about the other Nylander or Guentel.

    Signing a Ufa or rfa would be another way. I like Hall, Haula and Troffoli or Roope and DeBrusk.

  • August 10, 2020 at 10:57 am

    @TimW. Hi Tim! We usually agree on everything, but I am not 100% sold on getting rid of Strome. Here’s why! I look at his older brother who is with the NYR. He is not as good as our Strome, but he’s figured something out and has turned into a top-tier player. I think we might be better served if we keep our Strome for the next two years and see if he figures it out like his brother. I know for a fact that you can increase your speed with an off-season of grueling work, and that’s what he needs to do. He needs to man-up to become a star player, because the skills and size are all there. Just my opinion.

    On Nylander – I am still on the fence with him. I see the potential there, but sometimes he looks scared out there. I want him to succeed so badly because he could be so good for us. Maybe, Strome and Nylander can go and train with Mike Tyson for the summer, and maybe learn to scrap a bit too!

    I want us to beat Robyn Lehner so badly! Hey, do you know who is playing well in Calgary? Erik “Freaking” Gustafson! Just saying!

  • August 10, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Was wanting a more deserving team like MIN to get the 1st pick but at least none of the teams that ‘made’ the playoffs/teams that were in top 8 in conference didnt get it. That would have been a major disgrace to the sport. RAGS suck anyways but tghey have a young group that could be good.

  • August 11, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Roamn, I guess we could add two elite players with ufa once we donot have those caphits. Your FW and a top pair Defensemen. We will have the space.

  • August 11, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Its no different then adding Soupy and Hoss an elite player for those spots.

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