Well, that sucked. And then it didn't. Then it kinda did. If you've come to this wrap hoping to find out how you should feel, I can't help you. I have no idea how I feel about it. There's much to like, and much to not. Chicago is watching one series filled with insanity come to a conclusion, with Bulls-Celts Game 8 (that's how many overtimes they've played) ending Saturday, and we very well be getting another one right here. Christ, buckle up.
So, I guess the best thing to do is to take this in order. The Hawks started pretty well, I thought, and maybe just shaded the play, and even caught the first power play, which unfortunately didn't do much with. What a difference that might have made. However, things began to go pear shaped right about the `12 minute mark, when Toews started the parade to the box with a soft hooking penalty. But all hooking penalties are soft these days, so no complaints there.
If Layne Stayley were still with us, he definitely would have told us the Hawks were buried in his eye, and claimed they were denying their maker. The Hawks took 5 straight penalties, and this is going to have to stop now. Some were flukes, not much you can do about Ladd's or Kane's high-sticking double minors, and Keith was just unlucky when Bernier (?) pretty much stepped on his stick. But if the Hawks have designs on winning this series, they'll have to be more disciplined. I don't have to list all the games during the season here where the Hawks had a penalty-filled 1st and couldn't get going the rest of the game. It also allows the Sedins to get going, and even Helmuth Sundin can find some joy with a man-advantage. Eventually, the pressure told when Demitra was rewarded with a pretty crap finish. Khabby could've had it, but it was a pretty glorious chance that even Waldorf couldn't fuck up.
More of the same in the 2nd, though no more power play goals. Toews made a turnover in his own zone (I hope you're not counting on that happening a lot, Canuck fans) and the Sedins made him pay. This was followed later when Campbell went chasing Wellwood behind the net, even though Hammer was already out of position and couldn't get to the front, for Kesler to tap one home. I noticed people are hammering on 51 Phantom, and this was definitely a mistake. But his Corsi, and the eye test, actually would say he was skating a strong game. He's high-risk, high-reward, so there it is.
It was at this point that I became terrified that the three friends who are owed playoff tickets with me, one of them is going to be hurt, because I was starting to think that we might not even get that far. Whatever, I'm a reactionary. I shouldn't have been. Kaner got the ball rolling, and from then on the Hawks were EVERYWHERE. A power play here, goal there, and it was just a shot away. And then Fabulous Weapon provided that shot. Madness.
But, we've seen this movie before. I'm not going to jump on Barker for joining the rush, because the Hawks were rolling and there was no reason to sit back now. I know some have been on Walker, but he did all he could after Versteeg's turnover. It was a 3-on-1, and even after the great save, what's to be done? VERSTEEG! simply can't make that risky a pass when everyone's committed. Kane was covered, and it was at his feet. That's just got to go to the net where everyone's crashing. That was essentially the game.
So, what do we make of it? Plenty of bad:
-Penalties, too many
-Khabby was spitting up some bad rebounds
-The Hawks struggled to get anything going in the first two, though that might have something to do with constantly being on the kill.
-They were abysmal at faceoffs
-Toews pretty much wasn't anywhere to be found
-And there's probably more
-The power play clicked, which it'll have to do all series long
-The Hawks know Luongo isn't unbeatable.
-At even-strength, the Hawks can be the better team. Now stay on it.
Unfortunately, the Hawks can't play fire-drill hockey from the outset. It takes too much to come from three down to expect to keep it up, so guess what? DON'T GO THREE DOWN. They now face another situation they've never seen, i.e. being down in a series. But it's hardly fatal, and even a Game 2 loss wouldn't signal The Reaper, but let's not try it that way. The only thing I know for sure now is that Vancouver knows it's in a series. Can't wait for Saturday.
Is that even close to a wrap?