Consider nuts flexed. I know what you were thinking, whether you were headed to the UC or just watching at home. You spent all day preparing yourself for a thrashing. You looked at our injuries, our lineup, and you thought this is when the Wings come to just assert themselves, because it's kind of what they do, and you'd have to listen to every annoying Wings fan (how redundant) you know or run into talk about "how order was restored". I know you did this, because I did the same thing. I walked into the UC terrified.
And then the Hawks showed us that the balls of steel are still there. And working quite well.
Make no mistake, there's no way Scum don't just shrug this off -- and considering the standings they should. But they could have buried us tonight, and we wouldn't let them. It's a big win, and an even more encouraging performance. Say what you want, but for the last 40 minutes the severely undermanned Hawks swatted aside the Western Conference leader. Won't mean shit if it's not followed up on Sunday, but it has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime...
Bullets? We got 'em!
-If there was a better player on the ice tonight than Jack Skille, then I need to learn about hockey some more. Simple Jack was physical, the feet were moving, and he had 9 shots! Yes, he only notched one assist and no, he'll probably never be a great scorer. But if he keeps doing this, the rewards will come. We certainly would ask no more of him.
-Right behind him was Brian Campbell. Don't say this to the meatballs, but 51 Phantom has been the most consistent Hawks since his return, and it isn't even really close. But still, we called on him to put up more numbers in the offensive zone, and then came that nifty entry and dish to Kopecky to leave him all alone on Howard. The Hawks will need more of that from Soupy, at least until Duncan Keith becomes Duncan Keith again.
-As for the Wings one goal, Q got exactly what he deserved. How you send out your 4th line and your 3rd pairing for a defensive draw is a mystery that Sarah McLachlan wrote about (first ever McLachlan reference? I win!).
-I would post the Corsi's, but tonight they don't tell the story. The Hawks numbers are ugly, but what matters most is that they blocked 23 shots. The Wings were one and done most of the night, and when they weren't there was an Indian Head in the lane. Sure, they missed a couple chances, but no one expected Detroit to not be good at some point.
-What happens if Jake Dowell continues to develop and just assumes the checking line role?
-I'll motherfuck Tomas Kopecky across the wire all season if I have to. But notice that his contributions tonight came from outside the Top 6.
-Same goes for Bryan Bickell, without the latter part.
-The Hawks won the faceoff battle, which I find kind of astounding.
-A word on Chelios here; I get it, I know why you're angry. I was too. But he didn't voluntarily leave. I'm still upset about the way he rubbed our noses in it by bringing the Cup to Wrigley a couple years ago. But he gets it, and I thought his speech was pretty conciliatory. The real fault here lies with McDonough and the Hawks. If this had waited a year or two, for the wounds -- be they real or imaginary -- to heal, we'd all remember he's probably the greatest Hawks d-man of all time. Poor choice here, McD.
Bottom line: tonight is something you build off of. It doesn't save the season, but it feels like a night you might point to down the road and say, "That's where it changed." We get it, Scum. You think you're entitled to the Chalice. But only we hold it at the moment, and tonight you saw why.