Stood to reason that after I pointed out that the Hawks had been very good at the first home game after a long road trip the past two seasons, they would then throw in a clunker last night. And so it came to pass. The Hawks were good for the first 10 minutes, took the next 30 off, and by the time they brought what is now the customary 3rd period siege, it was too late. It's too late, it always has been, it always will be.
The Hawks generated a couple chances in the opening exchanges, with Hossa and Sharp combining on yet another 2-on-1. Does this happen every game now? And though Hossa's haul of 16 goals in his shortened season is more than satisfactory, how many would he have if he hadn't missed innumerable odd man rushes this year? Anyway, another discussion for another day. Kane opened the scoring after a shot block by Yossarian (Troy Brouwer). It was pretty obvious Kane had to go the backhand with pressure coming from the back and to the left (back, and to the left. Back, and to the left), but he was still able to beat Mason high.
After that, the Hawks pretty much like my car trying to start on a cold day. It was kind of a "meh" feeling. Sloppy breakouts, far too many attempts at the Hollywood pass, turnovers galore, losing battles along the boards, it was a buffet of ugliness (which some people have called this blog). It came to bite them in the ass in the 2nd. After actually creating a turnover in the Blues zone, Buff tried to pass a puck through two Blues, and it rebounded back into the Hawks zone. Keith went after it as if he were just taking out the garbage, fired a very lazy and careless pass behind the net that never had a chance of rebounding to Seabrook, where they both chased Kariya behind the net allowing David Backes enough space that any reader of this blog could have scored from.
After Huet came up with a big save on Paul Vagina's breakaway, one would have thought the Hawks would gain some momentum from that. But, as Brick Top told us, thinking can get you into trouble, I wouldn't do so much of it. On a Blues power play, it looked as though Toews lost track of Backes, who fired one that deflected off of Seabrook and past the goalie from Gaul.
But it gets better! I didn't realize until reading the Feather and watching the replay that Ladd was in on a 3-on-1, and surely should have tried a pass to either Sharp or Bolland, better snipers than he is. But he went for glory, missed, and back down they went. Not content with just a minor miscue, Ladd went for the full-blown fuck up. Yet another attempt at a Hollywood pass to a streaking Sharp, with only three Blues in the way, was picked off and McClement was on hand to tip in a blast from Roman Polak.
Though the Hawks got within one after a total shorthanded work of art from Toews and Hossa, and then Mason made a very big save on Ladd, it wasn't to be.
-There's a part of me that rejoices when the Hawks lose to an inferior team (yes, Blues fans, you're an inferior team, and you know it) by not playing anything close to resembling a full 60 minutes. There's no clearer way to learn that lesson.
-Duncan Keith apparently has caught whatever Seabrook has. The only silver lining is it makes it more likely for a hilarious collapse by Canada in Vancouver. There's little chance this blip in from lasts that long while they're in our sweater.
-Tomas Kopecky had a breakaway on a beautiful feed from Eager, and managed to not get a shot off. That won't help in the I-Don't-Wanna-Get-Scratched Derby that he, Fraser, Buff, and others are now participating in.
-Still haven't seen Kris Versteeg.
-Once again, the numbers aren't pretty for Huet. 3 goals on 19 shots. But there was nothing he could do about any of the goals, and he even made some big saves on Kariya and McDonald. Huet and Niemi are facing the problem of they are still not facing a lot of shots, but the ones they do get are uncovered from 10 feet out or coming through unchecked screeners in front. These defensive breakdowns and turnovers are not allowing the Hawks to get in shooting lanes or to tie up sticks in front, and it really must stop.
-Then again, it's the Doldrums of the season. Anybody really worried?
Player of the Game
It hurts to admit, but this shirt is so awesome we have to put it here.
Oh, also here's last night's Committed Indian front-page cartoon, because we're proud of it:
Have a nice road trip, John?