Ok, deeeeeeeeeeeeep breaths. Deep breaths people. Yes, the Hawks are now in 4th place in the division, and 6th in the conference. But they still have 64 points in 50 games. They're still 8 points better than they were through 50 games last year, and the Riders of Rohan have seen the beacons, as Toews and Sharp should be back soon after the All Star break, which also speaks nothing of the cap room that Stan Bowman has available to hide the multitude of problems that have plagued this team from Day 1.
In all honesty, I actually thought the Hawks looked fairly solid this evening, all things considered. However, the already slim margin for error gets even slimmer with two 20 goal scorers out of the lineup, and the Preds do what they always do, which is kick your dick in when you make a mistake. There was a diet version of a 3rd period rally, but a too many men penalty late squelched any hopes of a furious onslaught in the dying seconds. Preds 3, Hawks 1. On to the farewell bullets.
- It was nice to see that extra stitching on Marian Hossa's sweater didn't weigh him down much. Whenever he was on the ice he mattered because he had to.
- The Preds' second goal was a textbook example of everything wrong with the second pairing. Leddy got outworked and outmuscled in the corner, which allowed Patric Hornqvist to kick the puck to the slot, where Mr. Carrie Underwood was allowed once again by Niklas Hjalmarsson to shoot unimpeded at Corey Crawford. Something's got to give here, and I don't think it's going to be Leddy's ass on the line.
- Hey Crow, rather than throwing a tantrum after a goal, how about you worry about controlling those rebounds or keeping pucks actually in you catch glove. Ask the guy who shot the puck during the second break about glove work if you need to.
- The Corsi numbers show the Hawks being all over the Preds, which backs up the eye test. Granted Pekka Rinne is the hottest goalie in the league backing up/propelling the hottest team in the league, but the Hawks didn't make things entirely that difficult for Rinne, who rarely had to make a second save or stop anything with his blocker or glove, which is were those Toews and Sharp guys just might have come in handy. But watch all of the beat writers tell everyone that the Hawks were flat and lacked a spark or some other under-informed thoughtless bullshit.
- Keith and Seabrook each played over 27 minutes tonight. Why wouldn't they, they're getting a week off, right?
- Naturally, Pat Foley unleashes his inner meatball on air and spat up a stat saying that Viktor Stalberg has only 2 hits in his last 6 or 7 or whatever games. He did mention that he had 7 points in that span, but he reiterated that Vik needed to pick it up and HIT SOMEBODY, effectively calling Stalberg a panty waist.
- Boy, that Montador/Yip bout sure sparked the Hawks, didn't it?
- The PK was actually pretty solid tonight against the league's second best unit, and gave the Hawks a chance to stay in the game. I'm going to go ahead and give them a pass for empty netter that will count as a power play goal in the end.
- Even with Toews out, the Hawks dong whipped the Preds at the dot, winning 38 and losing 22.
- Any time you're ready, Kaner.
- Michael Frolik was scratched. Did anyone really notice?
- Five rookie forwards dressed and a back-breaking too-many-men penalty at the end? I'm shocked.
- So it's not ideal, but nothing is fucked. Far from it. This off time needs to be taken to rest, get healthy and tighten things up defensively. Of the remaining 32 games, 10 are against the 3 teams ahead of the Hawks in the division. There will be plenty of opportunity to take some initiative within the division and the conference.