My wrap of the Dallas game on Thursday was a bit scathing in nature, but that was mostly due to my fear that a loss like that could get this team going in the wrong direction just when we thought they might have righted the ship. Unfortunately for us, it's very much a possibility that I was correct in that assessment. I'll hit on many of the lowlights in the bullets, so let's just get this over with.
- Well, at least the powerplay ended its mind numbing streak of infertility with Kane's tally in the first. The goal midway through the period might be fools gold however; the two powerplays following that didn't much hint at sustained productivity, and the man advantage midway through the third was a complete disaster. The Ducks don't have all that great a powerplay (17th in the league), but it was at least interesting to watch their scheme when up a man. I'll probably describe this like a simpleton, but Anaheim was running an odd high weave near the blue line (right out of the draw) and the Ducks movement without the puck is something to behold. Unlike the hawks who dick around near the half wall/goal line and wait for an opening to materialize out of thin air, the Ducks attempt to open up passing and shooting lanes with constant motion. Again, this strategy hasn't produced great results, but at least it's a different look, and with the dynamic forwards that the Hawks have, it'd be interesting to see something like that in place here. Don't hold your breath though, Q and Crew think mixing it up means switching to the umbrella and swapping out forwards on the point. I probably shouldn't bitch too much about the powerplay, but I'm projecting much of my angst from last night's game onto this wrap. The last thing I'll say on the subject, having point men play on their off side (righty shots on the left, lefty shots on the right), especially in a non-umbrella setup, shouldn't be reserved for the 5 on 3. If you go back and watch last night's game, (and who would want to do that?) you'll see three of our 4 point men on their strong side with closed off shooting lanes and no option but to make the easy and predictable pass. Yes, Keep-ins and D to D passes are considerably easier if you have two guys on their strong side, but point shots (especially of the one-timer variety) are few and far between. Just one issue of many though.........
- I get that this was the team's 5th game in 8 days, but there's no room for excuses for a team that should be playing desperate hockey right now. Tired or not, 9 shots in the final 40 minutes is a joke for a team with this much talent. Jonathan Toews is obviously important to this team, but someone has to step up while the captain is down, and nobody seems all that excited to be the guy. When you're team is having trouble generating offense on the forecheck, why do you have two offensive minded guys like Stalberg and Hayes getting just 11 minutes of ice time?
Brendan Morrison is still searching for that elusive first point as a Blackhawk. Forget point production, I'd settle for his first noticeable moment as a Blackhawk. Not stickhandling his teammates offside would be a baby step in the right direction.
- Emery has to have that third goal, and it was a much needed insurance tally for Anaheim. For a team missing its collective pulse and its number one center, they can't afford to give up insurance tallies.
- When you're not scoring, the missed opportunities are all that much more frustrating. Hossa had an opportunity to make a pass that probably would've led to a tap in goal, and Kruger got a gorgeous redirect pass from Kane that he wasn't ready to tip home.
- Let's hope the honeymoon period isn't over for Dylan Olsen. Olsen had a so-so game, but he made a couple more squirrely plays tonight that were noteworthy despite the fact that they didn't end up as goals against.
- Don't look now kids, but the 9th seeded LA Kings are just 5 points behind the Hawks and have 2 games in hand. Sleep tight.