"Stand up straight dude.. I'm not Hossa."
Well that was certainly an adventure, eh? That was like three games in one. Everything started off like we'd expect - good physical play and the puck moving up and down the ice. Both teams were getting chances until Jeremy Morin made his presence known for the first of a few times this game. His solid forechecking led Nikita Nikitin to rushing his pass to Colaiacovo who was busy in the process of tripping while turning around. Good work along the boards from Patrick Sharp and a quick pass to TomoKop who fires a solid wrister past Ty Conklin.
Less than a minute after the goal, many of us got our wish as Cam Janssen challenges John Scott. Janssen is a tough little bastard and you have to give him credit for not even hesitating to fight Scott who is 8" taller and 40lbs heavier (I was originally going to write "who has 8" and 40lbs on him".. but that sounds really gross). Scott landed a majority of the punches and probably won the fight but Janssen hung in there and even got a few good taunts in... if not a few good punches.
The Blues evened the score later in the period off a total communication breakdown on defense. You'd probably have to consult a psychic to figure out what exactly Nick Boynton was doing... crashing into Crawford was a concern if he went to block the pass but anything could have been better than that abstract attempt at defense.
Lucky for all of us the Blues committed the cardinal sin of giving up a goal in the final minute as the Morin-Sharp-Kopecky line made its presence known again. Morin started it with a hit again to take a Blue out of the play, springing Sharp and Kopecky. A Sharp headfake and another nifty move gives the Hawks the lead again. If he keeps up moves like this I won't actually complain when he's picked to go third in the shootouts.
Here's where things get insane and where I stop the goal by goal recap. We'd be here all night... bullets from here on out:
- Is the power play so far beyond clown shoes that it's starting to effect the boards too? How Morin's dump in attempt found it's way to the front of the net for Brouwer's easy tap in defies physics.
- I guess 3 for 5 isn't exactly the clown shoes we're used to though. We're not exactly used to the perfect penalty kill either though. Special teams were great tonight though. More of this please.
- Boynton did absolutely nothing to ease our criticism tonight. The first Blues game is on him and the fight against BJ Crombeen seemed to almost directly contribute to the Blues starting their storming back into competition. DLR was eating cold cuts in his dressing room until Boynton decides to drop the gloves. You've just gone up 4 man.. there's nothing to prove. Crombeen's insulting your mother because it's the only thing he can do to get his team back into it and you fell for it. Does Boynton deserve ALL of the criticism put his way lately? No... just most of it.
- What do you think is the bigger struggle - Boynton trying to tie his skates or Versus announcers trying to pronounce Niklas Hjalmarsson?
- Kane had a 2-on-1 break... with John Scott. Does that even count as 2-on-1? 1.45-on-1 maybe?
- Dave Bolland took an unlucky delay of game penalty off a face off but the ensuing penalty kill seemed to end the curse of Boynton. To the delight of many of our female readers (and probably some of our male ones too.. nothing wrong with that), Stalberg was the one to pull the Hawks head's our of their asses with a solid rush into the Blues zone with a nice shot that found Kaner on the rebound for his second of the night.
- I know the league wants to cut down on "staged" fights.. but just giving two players unsportsmanlike conduct penalties before the puck is even dropped is ridiculous. Give them a verbal warning.. if they still fight then give them a misconduct. It's not like either team would really miss those two on the ice but the fans certainly wanted to see a re-match between Janssen and Scott.
- The Brouwer-Bolland-Bickell line was -3... If they were hoping to take over the Killer B's nickname from the Houston Astros they'll need to try a littler harder.
- Crawford's .808 Sv% isn't pretty and doesn't really reflect the quality of his game. I don't think it's enough to give the starting gig back to Turco but it doesn't solidify his position like he was wishing. It's certainly a hell of a lot better than Conklin's .708 though. Crawford didn't have a chance on many of the goals against tonight - I'd give him at least one more start.
Player Of The Game:
We give him a lot of shit too but 4 points is nothing to shake a stick at. And seriously, how has no one created an actual RoboCop/TomoKop photoshop? Get on this people. In reality though - we could give this highly coveted honor to the entire Sharp-Kop-Morin line. Morin in particular looks like he was doing his best to stick around long after Hossa returns. Even his fight late in the game was a (misguided) effort to prove his worth. Solid game all around for those three though.