The Blackhawks Are Un-Able To Score Without Kane

Jennifer Stewart

The Blackhawks get shutout for the first time in almost two years, in a game where they never looked interested in playing.

We should have known the Blackhawks were going to lay an egg without Patrick Kane and with half the team spending the day learning how to order a Molson in Russian. So the Blackhawks got shutout for the first time in almost two years.  Whatever.  Even though it ended with a clunker, the Hawks still finished this tough six game road trip with eight points.  Not much to complain about there.

The Blackhawks had visions of Sochi in their eyes at puck drop because their heads did not look into the game when it started.  Brandon Bollig made a dirtbag play by slew footing Shane Doan just 1:01 into the game.  It took all of eight seconds for the Coyotes to score on a one timer from the point by Keith Yandle aided by a screen in front from Doan.  Bryan Bickell would get called for playing with an illegal stick just over a minute later.  Nick Leddy dropped his stick and Bickell gave him his lumber.  He went over and picked up Leddy's stick that the ref assumed was broken and without checking gave Bickell the minor.  Thankfully, the Blackhawks were able to kill of the penalty and keep the deficit at one.  The period settled down after the successful penalty kill and the rest of the frame was full of rather uninspiring hockey.

The Blackhawks got an early 2nd period power play thanks to a Jeff Halpern cross check but could not take advantage of it.  Both teams would get some quality scoring chances during the 2nd but Corey Crawford and Mike Smith were able to come up with the big saves when needed.  Brandon Saad made a late period charge to the net but was unaware of where he was on the ice and made contact with Smith in the crease.  During the post whistle scrum, Michal Rozsival took a dumb unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for running his mouth.  This gave the Coyotes a five on three power play for a full two minutes.  Former Blackhawk Radim Vrbata flicked a wrist shot past Crawford at 18:29 for his 14th goal of the year.  Antoine Vermette was tripped up by Niklas Hjalmarsson which caused his stick to hit Crawford in the head before the puck got to him.  Crawford and Joel Quenneville were upset that there wasn't a goalie interference call made, but it was clear that the officials believed that the contact was incidental due to the hit from Hjalmarsson even though the rule book clearly states that a player must have control of his stick at all times.

The Hawks were unable to solve Mike Smith in the 3rd period despite outshooting the Coyotes nine to two.  The power play failed on a late opportunity and Mike Smith was there to answer the bell at every turn.  The Blackhawks won the shots batte 30 to 26 but could not get one past best the best actor in the National Hockey League.  Now we move on to some Olympic hockey, which I hope this is the last time the NHL closes shop for.  Bring back the Canada Cup in August and tell the IOC to get bent.

* Brandon Bollig's slew foot on Shane Doan set the tone for the night.  I am all for giving Doan a taste of his own medicine, but within the rules please.  It was dumb play by a dumb hockey player.  I had my doubts Q would bench Bollig, but to his credit, he did not see the ice for the rest of 1st period and only got seven shifts the rest of the game.

* I have seen a ton of complaints about the officiating.  The Bickell penalty was garbage.  The tripping penalty to Kris Versteeg in the 3rd period was weak.  Antoine Vermette could have been called for goalie interference on the Yotes' second goal but he wasn't.  I will never blame a loss on the referees.  The Blackhawks didn't score a goal and that is not the referee's fault.  Michal Rozsival said something stupid after Brandon Saad's dumb penalty.  Veteran leaders should not put their team behind the eight ball.  The Hawks had no interest in playing hockey Friday night, that is why they lost.

* Tonight was example number 7819 of why thinking trading Patrick Kane for Ryan Miller has always been a bad idea.

* The new guy, Peter Regin, was ok in his Blackhawks debut.  Brandon Pirri could have probably done a better job but making sure he could play in Rockford during the Olympic break was the right move.  Regin had 17 shifts for 11:39 of TOI including 1:14 on the power play.  He had one shot on goal, one blocked shot, was 50% from the dot and finished with a 50% CF.  In summary, he was mediocre. No surprise there.

* Bryan Bickell seems to be gaining confidence and has looked better on the ice.  I think it has more to do with both his knees and his wrist starting to fully heal.  No one needs the Olympic break more that Bryan Bickell.  I look forward a strong finish to the regular season down the stretch from number 29.

Player of the Game

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Photo credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

When you are the first goalie to shutout the Blackhawks in almost two years you have earned PotG honors.  That is about as far as I will go in praising Mike Smith.

The advanced stats tables are below.  We should get our first Tweet recap from @hawknut some time Saturday so keep an eye out for it.

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

19:42

62.5

14.4

57.1

9.5

66.7

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

17:36

66.7

22.9

65.2

25.8

45.5

Seabrook, Brent

D

16:13

65.2

17.9

61.5

15.0

66.7

Leddy, Nick

D

12:34

25.0

-39.8

26.3

-35.8

50.0

Sharp, Patrick

R

19:26

56.0

5.1

52.6

4.0

75.0

Regin, Peter

C

10:25

50.0

-3.1

50.0

0.0

80.0

Kruger, Marcus

C

09:10

45.5

-8.3

50.0

0.0

16.7

Brookbank, Sheldon

D

13:59

24.0

-42.0

25.0

-38.9

50.0

Toews, Jonathan

C

18:51

56.0

5.1

52.6

4.0

66.7

Saad, Brandon

L

17:41

57.1

7.1

57.1

9.5

55.6

Versteeg, Kris

R

11:36

38.5

-16.9

33.3

-19.9

57.1

Handzus, Michal

C

08:40

50.0

-3.3

50.0

0.0

75.0

Smith, Ben

R

09:34

54.5

2.3

55.6

6.6

16.7

Bickell, Bryan

L

11:56

55.2

4.2

50.0

0.0

50.0

Rozsival, Michal

D

17:30

66.7

22.9

65.2

25.8

45.5

Bollig, Brandon

L

05:15

28.6

-26.4

33.3

-18.7

25.0

Shaw, Andrew

C

14:34

53.6

1.6

47.1

-4.2

50.0

Hossa, Marian

R

16:50

56.0

5.1

52.6

4.0

62.5

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Yandle, Keith

D

18:25

45.7

-3.1

43.5

-11.1

61.5

Michalek, Zbynek

D

22:21

45.5

-3.4

50.0

0.0

30.0

Schlemko, David

D

13:54

50.0

3.7

61.1

16.4

42.9

Bissonnette, Paul

L

04:36

71.4

26.4

71.4

24.5

66.7

Halpern, Jeff

C

11:38

61.9

19.8

66.7

21.2

14.3

Vrabata, Radim

R

15:49

39.3

-12.7

42.1

-11.9

66.7

Moss, David

R

12:51

52.0

6.7

58.8

12.7

16.7

Doan, Shane

R

15:49

39.3

-12.7

42.9

-11.4

66.7

Ekman-Larsson, Oliver

D

20:32

41.7

-8.3

41.2

-12.7

40.0

Chipchura, Kyle

C

12:08

52.0

6.7

62.5

17.5

16.7

Stone, Michael

D

18:24

53.3

9.6

55.0

7.8

50.0

Korpikoski, Lauri

L

14:45

42.9

-5.6

40.0

-12.2

42.9

Kennedy, Tim

L

07:41

61.5

16.9

58.3

10.6

50.0

Klinkhammer, Rob

C

06:45

54.5

8.3

50.0

0.0

50.0

Vermette, Antoine

C

15:41

44.4

-3.9

50.0

0.0

42.9

Morris, Derek

D

06:08

50.0

2.9

50.0

0.0

50.0

Ribeiro, Mike

C

16:09

33.3

-21.6

35.0

-23.3

66.7

Boedker, Mikkel

L

15:38

47.1

-0.5

41.7

-10.6

42.9

*all data retrieved from www.nhl.com and www.extraskater.com

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