Observations From Section 321: No Style Points Needed

Kirk Irwin

The Blackhawks played their worst game of the season on Saturday and still pulled out a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Blackhawks stumbled out of the gates against the Blue Jackets but gained momentum from some bad Columbus plays and benefited from a blown call to pull out their 5th win of the year. The Jackets came out ready to play and presented the Hawks with a physical style they have not seen yet during the young season. The Hawks didn't seem like they were too interested in playing and at one point of the 1st period they were being out shot 8-1. The Jackets scored first when Mark Letestu put a loose puck over a sprawled out Corey Crawford for his first goal of the year. The Hawks defense didn't do much to help out their goalie on the play. At 17:54 Patrick Kane's breakaway attempt was stopped by Steve Mason but Dave Bolland was able to stuff in the rebound to tie the game at 1. There was no secondary assist on Bolland's 3rd goal of the year.

Bryan Bickell scored the only goal of the 2nd period when he redirected Niklas Hjalmarsson's slap shot past Mason. Michael Frolik picked up his first assist on the year on the play. A couple of moments later Jared Boll took a run at Marcus Kruger and Jamal Mayers stepped in to protect his teammate. Mayers was given an extra 2 minute minor for instigating and it appeared that the Blue Jackets tied the game during the ensuing power play. Derek Brassard's apparent goal was waived off due to interference by Nick Foligno. To be honest, it was a horrible call I never saw any type of goalie interference.

Jonathan Toews was able to cash in on a Columbus defensive miscue for his 3rd goal of the year at 6:35 of the final period. Marian Hossa poked the puck away from Letestu at the blue line and Kane found Toews all alone in front of the net. The Blue Jackets were able to cut the lead in half when the Hawks had a defensive breakdown of their own. Brandon Dubinsky was able to get out from behind the net and get a shot off. Crawford made the initial save but nobody picked up Artem Anisimov who easily put the rebound in for his 2nd goal of the year. The Hawks were able to hold on for the final 2:19 to remain undefeated on the year.

* Dave Bolland had himself one hell of a dumb game. After Jack Johnson got a penalty for taking Bolly out behind the net he followed Johnson and slashed him after the whistle to cancel out the power play. Then, after being called for holding the stick, he got a second penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for arguing the call. That gave Columbus a 4 minute power play with 9 minutes left in the 3rd period. Thankfully, the Jackets bailed him out by taking two dumb penalties of their own to nullify the power play.

*Someone needs to tell Brent Seabrook that the season has started. He has been the weakest of the of Hawks defensive core so far. I am hoping it is just "lockout rust" but Seabs needs to be better.

*Niklas Hjalmarsson has been very good so far. I have been one of his biggest critics the last two seasons but I will eat crow when I have to. He is playing like the defenseman we resigned over keeping Antti Niemi in the summer of 2010. Hjammer not only had a big assist but he finished the game a +3 and had over 22 minutes of ice time.

*Jamal Mayers did the right thing in going after Boll but boy that was an ugly fight!

*Andrew Shaw continues to be pretty much invisible on the ice. To his credit he hasn't done anything stupid yet but he isn't contributing much either. He is yet to register a point and he only has 7 shots on goal in 5 games.

The Blackhawks will be right back at it tonight with a game at the Untied Center against the hated Detroit Red Wings. This will complete a very busy first week of the season where the Hawks have played 6 games in 8 days.

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