As Sam pointed out in the Indian - there's little to no bragging rights for this game. The Wings are so beat up right now and missing so many players that Wings fans have an ultimate trump card. We basically beat their AHL team... who the hell is Kris Newbury anyway? That doesn't mean we can't feel good about this one though - even with their injuries, the Red Wings are still the Scum and taking two points from them is always sweet, especially as it increases the Hawks lead in the Central Division.
This game started out with the Hawks looking off - either they were as hung over as I was or they were just trying to be too damn cute. The passes were too risky, the stick handling too cute and the fire wasn't there... Whatever the problem was, it was solved during a shift when the teams were playing 4 on 4. Patrick Sharp, Kris VERSTEEG!, Brian Campbell and umm.. someone else... played like they suddenly had some life to them and began to take control of the game. Once Patrick Kane's penalty ended and the Hawks had the man advantage, it didn't take long to gain the lead they'd keep for the rest of the game. Duncan Keith controlled a puck along the blue line, brought it towards center ice and fired a shot that somehow found a way in, it may have hit a stick along the way..
The second goal was a bit of karmic justice - Patrick Sharp laid out Justin Abdelkader behind the Hawks net. Afrogator took exception to the hit and came after Shooter along the boards. It looked like a clear roughing penalty on the Wings, but somehow Sharp was the only player sent to feel shame for two minutes. No idea how that wasn't at least coincidental penalties but the Hawks killed off the Scum's attack. About 4 minutes after the bullshit penalty, Sharp grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and was left alone by the Wings defense along the boards just long enough to find Brian Campbell charging into the zone. Soupy's brought the puck into the faceoff circle and shot it from the dot - it hits Osgood's pads but bounces over and in.
The final goal of the game was probably the most ridiculous and softest we've seen in a while. Buff took a shot about 60 feet away from the net and oddly it beat Osgood past his skate and in - we'll take it. Not Ozzy's best game, but we never see those in December anyway.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention this... but fuck Jim Belushi. You may have noticed that while George Wendt was signing copies of his new book and shooting the puck during the second intermission, he wasn't around to drop the ceremonial first puck. According to a friend who knows things, that's because after Belushi acted like a jagoff the other night, the NHL sent a warning to the Blackhawks, saying they could no longer have celebrities dropping the puck, as it potentially delayed the game start times. Now, I normally wouldn't have a problem with getting rid of this sideshow before the games, but Wendt, a Chicago native, has based his career on being a guy hanging out in bars drinking and watching sports, is it any surprise we like him? Belushi has once again fucked up something for everyone else... You sir, can eat a bag of dicks.
- It took over 13 minutes for the Red Wings to finally register a shot on goal. I noticed this about 10 minutes in and mentioned it to my friend - I wasn't sure if the Hawks were playing that well or if the United Center's scoreboards were just malfunctioning again... I never should have doubted the Hawks.
- Following that - yeah, this defense is good. Cristobal played well and made a few great saves, but it's pretty easy to rack up wins when the players in front of you never allow the other team to take shots.
- I don't know how it seemed on TV - but the crowd tonight seemed pretty quiet, especially for Detroit's first appearance in Chicago this season.
- Marian Hossa didn't get a shot on goal tonight but had a couple of pretty passes - including one that led to the breakaway for Toews and the subsequent hooking penalty/power play goal.
- The only major stat category the Wings had the advantage in was hits - everything else the Hawks dominated... well the Wings blocked more shots but that's simply because the Hawks didn't allow the Wings to take shots.
- Datsyuk was only 38% on the draw... Sharp, Toews and Madden were all over 60%.
- Three shutouts in 4 games - second in a row for Cristobal Huet... just sayin'
- The Red Wings won't have to wait long to get their revenge - next time the Blackhawks will be the ones on the second leg of a back-to-back. I went to the Whirlaway after the game for a Christmas party and Maria said they'll have a nice little spread out for us... you should really plan on being there.
Player of the Game
Yeah - for the second game in a row we're giving the honor to Brian Campbell. Campbell's really playing the best hockey of his time here in Chicago and man it is fun to watch. Soupy led the team in ice time tonight and while his goal won't end up on a highlight reel, it gets the job done. This is also a bit of a thumb in the eye to the guy sitting behind me, who while mostly decent, was one of the many morons claiming Campbell sucks seemingly just because it's the thing to do nowadays I guess... also, Sam said I'd be banned for a week if I didn't give Campbell the spot. Duncan Keith easily could have been the player of the game though with both a goal and an assist, plus plenty of his brilliant stick work.