It all started well enough, with the Hawks coming out in the first looking like they were OD'ing on 5-Hour Energy, absolutely bombarding Dwayne Roloson from every angle. He gave nearly no rebounds, and the first meaty one he allowed, Brian Campbell was able to poke home after jumping up on the play and working a give and go with Patrick Kane. The Brent Seabrook Adventures continued in his own zone when he coughed up a puck in the near corner to Rob Schremp, who slid it to Blake Comeau, who then fired a wrister that Niemi could have had. This would be the recurring theme of the evening. Kane would tuck one past Rolo on a wrap around on the man advantage, and the Hawks would lead on the scoreboard 2-1 after 20 minutes, and lead the shot board by a whopping 22-9 margin.
And then it all fell apart.
The second period lacked the same immediate intensity the first had from the Men of Four Feathers, but were by no means being dominated. Comeau once again found himself with the puck on his stick in the circle to the left of Niemi, and again, it's was a wrister that could have been stopped. Seconds later, Jon Sim (who I didn't know was even still in the NHL) got one past Niemi, and Q promptly gave him the hook. Cristobal Huet would fare no better, getting beat cleanly glove side by Richard Park who slapped the puck off of a carom from the boards. Comeau would turn the trick with about 18 seconds left in the frame, this time changing things up and going stick side on Huet, who again had a clean look at things on that shot as well.
Deciding it was time to play once again, the Hawks came out with a jump in the third, once again dominating play territorially. Roloson had to make only a couple difficult saves, notably the one on Kris Versteeg that was set up by Dave Bolland and Marian Hossa. It appeared as though the Hawks had scored about halfway through the period on a Duncan Keith point wrister through a Ben Eager screen, but it was immediately waved off as no goal. Both the on-ice officials and Toronto ruled that Eager had made incidental contact with Roloson and that was the cause of the nullification. Frankly, I found the call to be bullshit, as Eager was obviously pushed into Roloson by defenseman Freddy Meyer, Rolo clearly exaggerated the contact, and if there was contact to that degree, a penalty should have been called. Dustin Byfuglien scored a late power play goal to make it 5-3, but it was too late. Hawks lose.
- Of course, this has to happen on the eve of the Trade Deadline with Dwayne Roloson as one of the names being floated out there as a potential target for the Hawks. From these seats, after tonight, I can't really put up a fight regarding trading for a netmider anymore, I just hope Stan Bowman doesn't do so rashly and overpay if he's going to. I still think it can be done with the tandem in place- between the two of them I don't think they can lose 4 out of 7 behind this team, but they've got to get their shit straight. Maybe it was just rust tonight, but we've seen this show before. It's telling when the crew determines the save of the night to be Trent Hunter hitting the post on an empty Hawks net. Furthermore, in spite of his performance tonight, I have no interest in Rolo coming here. He's 40 there will be questions as to whether he can be ridden for a prolonged playoff push, and I also find him to be an assbag. I can do without his histrionics in net- getting in opposing players faces (as he did tonight when Toews crashed into him), and flopping wildly to try to draw calls. I prefer my goalies to have ice in their veins, and Roloson has too much fire and too much passion for my taste.
- Speaking of which, the Hawks traded a bag of Buff's stems and seeds (future considerations) to Anaheim for Nick Boynton. Boynton is a physical presence and nothing else, and it's no-lose considering what they gave up, but this could be a harbinger of things to come, as Stan may be stockpiling bodies to send elsewhere.
- Hey kids! The Hawks were 2 of 3 on the power play!
- Not to take anything away from Blake Comeau's first career hat trick, but has there been a softer hat trick scored in recent memory? I think the aggregate velocity of those three shots was somewhere in the neighborhood of 67 miles per hour.
- I was trying to intently watch John Tavares this evening to see what the Islanders' future would hold, but I just couldn't find him anywhere on the ice.
- CORSI numbers are once again fucking ridiculous. Campbell and Hammer were +27 and +26 respectively.
Congrats on the trick, kid. Plus, I'm just looking for a way to show the Islanders' classic sweaters here.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: I'll be live blogging all the deadline happenings tomorrow from about 10AMish central (that might be an aggressive wake-up call, but I'm going to try for you people) til right around the deadline at 2PM central in both the comments and in the post itself. Should be pretty interesting both here and league-wide. Should anything major happen, we'll try to get reaction up as quick as possible before the gameday thread. And don't forget about the Bottom Lounge party tomorrow!