Shooting Solution

If we're stuck with each other, let's try to make it work.

First, let me say that everyone should read CNS Fanpost, because it might make you feel a slight bit better. It'll at least tell you where the main problem, and the main problem by many miles, lies.

Look, we've all spent the past couple days pretty much serving up everyone to the man in the black mask's axe the past couple days. Even I joined in on my compatriot McClure's call for Q's head, and I'm still there. We've asked for everyone under the sun to be traded and traded for. The answers aren't Burish, Eager, Khabibulin, or a lot of other names tossed out by those who struggle to breathe or think.

And it's probably folly to wonder about solutions from outside the organization, until they actually arrive. As for the coach? Well, the vote of confidence came today, so it's more likely we're dealing with Quenneville and his antics for at least the rest of the season, and almost certainly more (unless it really goes tits up in which case I'll be in rehab for all of July). Whether I or you or all of us think Q has lost this team and/or is just out of solutions, I think there are a couple things that can be done with this current squad to help things turn around.

None of them, however, are about the goalies, and that's the real issue. The one thing I will say is that it was kind of perplexing, or totally confounding to the point that I couldn't walk, to hear a couple weeks ago from both Stephane Waite (through a Pat Foley anecdote) and Corey Crawford say that there's nothing structurally wrong with his game. I don't know how losing your net consistently or serving out rebounds to the slot can fit in any solidly structured goalie style. It's clear something is off, and the only, simple thing I can think of (having never played goalie) is that Crow needs to latch to his crease more. He doesn't move well enough to come out and challenge shooters as much as he has, and his angles were always askew anyway. But that's that. What else?

-Though I know this will never happen, Q needs to pick a set of lines and stick with them for a good two weeks. It's plain to anyone now that whenever he hits the blender, the players are rolling their eyes, because it's not having any effect. Second, it speaks to a level of panic. How else does Frolik go from healthy scratch to first line winger to healthy scratch in three games? His head must be spinning right now. Thirdly, the lineup should strive to maximize every player it can, even if it brings your stars back just a tad. Today's lineup in practice actually looked like a nice start. For those who didn't see it:

10-19-88

15-16-81

29-36-25

22-17-65

We know what the top line can do. McClure and I have called for Bruno to play with Hossa for most of the season. Look, it's clear that Brunette isn't a perfect player for this team. But that doesn't mean he should be completely useless either, and he was when on the 4th line. With Hossa's furious work ethic below the goal line combining with Brunette's hands and vision and linked with Kruger's desire to get to the slot, it could work well.

Q needs to stop fucking with Bolland, Bickell, and Frolik. They should be instructed to be a checking line and nothing more, and that's all they can be with the zone starts they get anyway. I'll settle for Stalberg taking Fro's spot for now. I know Stals has been getting lit up for his turnovers, but the simple fact is the Hawks possess the puck when he's on the ice. The only difference between Stalberg's and Shaw's turnovers is that there are more of Shaw's but the defense doesn't start blowing itself after Shaw's. Eventually, Shaw will head back to Rockford, Stals will move to the 4th and Fro will be back on the 3rd, which is probably how it should be anyway.

But most of all, just sticking with it gives everyone a chance to A) figure out some chemistry and B) let them know that the coaches actually believe in them and might have a clue. When you're changing everything every time you can, none of that happens.

-I don't need to write what needs to happen on the power play. You could all close your eyes and recite it by now. But keep in mind that as bad as the goalies have been, even a competent power play would probably have gotten wins, or at least a point more, in Vancouver, Calgary, maybe even San Jose.

-As for structure, there is something I wish the Hawks would emulate Detroit more on. When breaking out, the Hawks seemingly always have at least one forward beyond the red line, and sometimes two. The rest are smeared along the boards in the defensive zone. This is silliness, because the Hawks only have one d-man who can consistently complete a 150-foot pass, and that's Seabrook. How many times have we seen the puck go around the boards in the Hawks zone, only to a forward who's being humped in Redtube-fashion by an opponent long before the puck gets there?

While it's dangerous if you're not careful, the middle of the ice is usually open for the Hawks. Countless times when I watch Detroit I see Z, or Datsyuk, or Abdelkader available in the middle of the ice for a chip from behind the net or those boards. Once completed, the Wings have at least two forecheckers beat already with four hitting the neutral zone with speed.

The Hawks meanwhile, when they even break cleanly, are either just firing aimlessly for the neutral zone or having that long pass merely be deflected into the attacking zone with no one chasing it with any speed. So fuck having two guys stretching the forecheck. Toews, Kruger, and Bolland are all smart and shifty enough to be available in that area in front of their own goal. Merely just being there would force teams to at least leave one wing open, and the Hawks coudl finally get back to attacking with speed. I don't mind them dumping the puck in if they've got two guys hitting the line at top speed, not standing still. That's the one change I'd like to see more consistently.

Anyway, I've done all I can to stop this streak, as I'm now completely clean shaved for the first time since 2007. My face is so cold Hawks, please make it worth it.

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