After a couple of brutal days, because McClure can't help himself, and because Killion is an actual adult, we all were in no shape or position to get this done last night, so I'll get to it now. I won't bother with the normal linear recap, just a few thoughts.
-Does that end the Buff on D period of our lives? Probably not, because Johnsson is still weeks away and I'd rather see Buff than Boynton. I think. While protecting what became a tenuous lead, Buff was more worried about pounding one home in an open net than that guy in white trickling out to the neutral zone. Once he made that mistake, instead of letting Antti deal with a breakaway (something he's been pretty good at this year), Buff slashed McDonald on the shoulder which A)didn't do much to disrupt him and B)assured we would have been shorthanded for the entirety of the game, even if it included OT. D-U-M-B. Even if McDonald scores there, the Hawks would have been at even-strenght for the last half minute and saw it out a lot more comfortably than they had to. I don't know where Buff goes, but I'd really prefer it's on a 3rd pair.
-The power play still sucks, and is probably going to until Johnsson and Campbell are back.
-I really don't mind what happened in the 3rd, aside from Buff buffoonery. The second of a back-to-back and up five the Hawks were always going to turn it off, and this will serve as a reminder to play 60 minutes. It certainly won't see them getting too overconfident in the last two games, which they very well might need.
-Kris Versteeg's best game, ever? Sadly, when all the party tricks work as they did last night, we're bound to see them attempted all the time now.
-I am a little worried about the Hawks without Johnsson and Campbell in Round 1. Either Colorado or LA -the likely opponents - are going to pack it in and turn the neutral zone into something you'd find Amos Moses in. Without those two, the Hawks don't have anyone to navigate that successfully regularly. While the Hawks should be able to keep those two teams from scoring enough to throw a real scare into us, it could get icky there at some moments. Duncan Keith is going to be asked to do an awful lot, and he can't do that if he's got to play good cop to Buff's wandering bad cop.
-A note for Blues fans: Do you want to know why you're going home next week? It's because your team and coach still play a stupid brand of hockey, one that's been consigned to the dustbin for years. Sure, nothing is decided by players like Cam Janssen and Brad Winchester and B.J. Crombeen, but they serve no purpose. Yes, we know you hate Detroit as much as we do, but at least we were man enough to admit that style wins. You have more than enough skill on that team, but when you keep icing the meatheads with instructions to "kill", what message does that send to your young, skill players? That what they do isn't important? You kill your momentum with stupid penalties and rile opponents to kick your ass in hockey. Until you give up the bullshit, you'll be sitting at home watching the team you hate most roll up division titles, conference titles, and quite possibly something much much more.
-Think that's it for now. Don't forget our Season Finale Party at The Bottom Lounge, including our first ever NHL '94 tournament (if we can pull that off).