Apologies for the delayed wrap, I'm sure last night got away from you as it did me. I think I'm going to give up thinking I can be more responsible, as you all probably have.
Anyway, my contention that this series will be as hard as the Hawks want to make it still feels true. And if the Hawks want to continue to treat the puck as if it were a two-day old ookie cookie, then this series is going to be very hard. Though it probably won't last all that long.
And I can't sit here and say that it's because of the furious work the Coyotes do, which they do, because a lot of the Hawks turnovers came without a Coyote in the same zip code as whatever Hawks was attempting some moronic pass or clearance. It's one thing to turnover the puck under pressure. It's another to do it simply because you feel like it.
And oh look, the bad Niklas Hjalmarsson is back. The zone time that led to the Coyotes equalizer started from just an unfathomable cross ice pass from Hammer from his red line when the closest guy clad in.....burgundy, I guess, was at the blue line! Don't worry, Hjalmarsson hit perfectly. That started a mass scramble which led to at least 85 blind clearances around the boards from Hammer or O'Donnell, until he lost his stick, and ended with Hammer stealing the puck from his own goalie who was trying to end the madness. The second Coyotes goal was from a bad Hammer change. Awesome stuff, really.
It was disappointing because the 1st period was as solid as you could ask for a road period in Game 1 of a series. Nothing spectacular, but well controlled and an opportunity seized. Obviously the 3rd was a result of the Coyotes sitting back and trying to see out the game, which the came so close to doing.
OT I thought the Hawks had the better of the play, until another panicked icing, this time from Leddy, left Marcus Kruger to win a draw which isn't exactly his specialty. Still, a hopeful shot from the point that hits a pretty well covered Martin Hanzal's stick, there's not too much to be done about that.
If the Hawks clean up their possession game, they'll be fine. They only really needed one of these first two, and that's still on the table. And cleaning up from Game 1 shouldn't be that hard, because all of the mistakes were self-inflicted gunshots. If it were tennis, this wouldn't be Rafa Nadal consistently putting balls in corners forcing you to net the return. This was just airmailing forehands into the crowd on easy shots.
-When Dave Bolland is far and away your best faceoff guy, that's going to spell trouble. Still, I don't think Mayers and Toews will be so ineffective again at the dot. And that's not to take away from Bolland and his linemates, because they were the Hawks best line. Andrew Shaw is going to draw a lot of penalties.
-Speaking of which, the power play still sucks, and still can't figure out an entry. Please put Bolland back on the second unit, as he's been the best decision maker on the PP for the second half of the season, and having Bruno, Shaw, and Kruger all together is basically saying the only thing you can do is create a rugby scrum in the crease.
-There don't need to be wholesale changes yet, but one that should be is Sami Lepitso (Sami in the Taco Bell!) dressing for Game 2. Not because O'Donnell is old and slow, but....well, actually, because O'Donnell is old and slow. Lepisto can move his feet and isn't afraid to skate himself out of trouble, and the Hawks need more of that. Not that I'll be expecting this. Oh, and get Brandon Bollig of my team. Frolik can at least be useful through skating, and the Hawks are going to need a 4th line that can play more than 1/12th of the game.
Remember, we are coming out for Game 2. We'll be at Finley Dunne's, 3458 N. Lincoln right off the Addison Brown line. Killion and I will be there early, though it'll be hard to identify Kills as his flaming red beard has been sliced off. But you'll figure it out.