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Observations From Section 321 : Toews'd And Confused

Blackhawks drop their 3rd straight game to the Wings, in frustrating fashion, and find themselves on the brink of elimination.

Gregory Shamus

What a difference eight days makes. A week ago Wednesday, the Blackhawks were flying high and feeling very confident after a 4-1 beating of the Red Wings in Game 1. Three games and just two goals later the Hawks are left frustrated and look lost. Mike Babcock has thoroughly out coached Joel Quenneville in the series and it shows on the ice. The Hawks were a team that cruised through the 48 game regular season without much trouble. Now they have the look of a team that is falling apart and it is starting at the top.

The Blackhawks, for the third time in four games, played a solid 1st period. They had once again turned the Wings into a turnover machine, much like they did in Game 1. The problem was, after 20 minutes the game was still scoreless. Then the Jonathan Toews shit show started in the 2nd period. Tazer took 3 straight penalties in less than 5:30 minutes and looked horrible doing it. When Captain Serious starts being a bonehead, things are really bad. Jakub Kindl cashed in during the 2nd of the three Toews penalties to give the Wings the only goal they would need. Daniel Cleary added an empty net goal in the final seconds to seal the deal.

So where to the Hawks go from here? They need to win three games in a row, starting tomorrow night on home ice. This is a team who put together extended winning streaks of 6, 4, 11, 3 and 7 games during the regular season. But this is not the team we saw in the regular season. Those streaks were made by a team firing on all cylinders, with the stars producing and playing at a high level. Right now the Hawks top players are hot garbage. The Blackhawks have been heralded for their great depth all season long. Depth means nothing when your best players are ghosts. The Hawks can still win this series, but it cannot be done without our goal scorers getting pucks past Jimmy Howard.

Q is going to have to pull something out of his bag of tricks as well, and I mean more than just shuffling up his lines. Babcock has taken away his bread & butter play of the stretch pass. As soon as a Hawks defenseman touches the puck, the Wings are bringing up 2 fowards between the circles, and a forward and a defenseman along the boards. This is not allowing the Hawks to gain the zone with ease and use their speed. The Hawks are being forced to become a dump and chase team, which is not what they want to do. I have yet to see anyone on this team wants to pay the price and consistently win board battles for the puck. This will need to change if the Blackhawks want to extend their season past Saturday night.

* Signs things are not going your way: Michal Handzus and Dave Bolland lead your team in shots on goal. Our top 4 stars, Marian Hossa (1), Patrick Sharp (1), Jonathan Toews (3) and Patrick Kane (2) combined for seven shots on goal. This must improve.

* Never thought I would ever type the words that I am disappointed in Jonathan Toews, but there it is. His meltdown in the 2nd period was a shame and embarrassing. I get you are frustrated with taking a beating and not getting many calls your way. That is no excuse to take 3 straight bad penalties and then cry about all of them. Be a better captain and lead by example. Not one of Johnny's bright spots in his career, that's for sure. Henrik Zetterberg and the Wings have done an amazing job getting in Tazer's head and off his game, much like they did with Corey Perry in the 1st round. Detroit is laying out the blueprint on how to shut down Toews for years to come. Time to man up and overcome it. Q needs to figure out a way to get Toews away from Zetterberg on Saturday.

* The power play.......It cost Mike Haviland his job last year and it's gotten worse this year. It's not a personnel issue at this point, its a philosophical problem. And Q is getting too smart for his own good. No more Michal Rozsival or Brent Seabrook on the power play, please. The Hawks got a power play with 4:45 left in the game. They had problems getting the puck in the zone and couldn't even get a damn shot on goal. Haviland was Q's scapegoat last year, what's his excuse now?

* Someone want to tell me why Nick Leddy only played 8:38 last night? I know he's paired up with Brent Seabrook, who is an absolute waste of skates right now, but he needs to be on the ice more. Since the stretch pass is gone, the Hawks need their defensemen to carry the puck out of the zone. Besides Duncan Keith, Leddy is the best at doing this, yet he was barely on the ice.

* Speaking of questionable minutes, why wasn't Patrick Kane on the ice during the empty net sequence? He has been the only player who has got the puck past Howard in the last 180 minutes and he was watching from the bench.

* I guess the days of Dave Bolland being a "shut down" center are over. Just 12:57 of ice time for the Rat, and he has rarely been on the ice against the Wings top players.

* I am glad Gustav Nyquist is going to the Eastern Conference after this year. That kid is going to be good.

* The Blackhawks just hit another post....

* Just like in Games 1 and 3, the Corsi numbers show the Hawks are the better team during 5 on 5. Doesn't matter when you can't score goals.

Blackhawks Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 22:59 22 18 +4 +8 +1
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 19:27 21 13 +8 +8 +5
Brent Seabrook D 9:31 10 9 +1 -2 +2
Nick Leddy D 7:18 8 4 +4 -2 +5
Patrick Sharp R 16:25 14 7 +7 +6 +5
Marcus Kruger C 8:03 10 6 +4 -3 +5
Jonathan Toews C 16:25 13 10 +3 +3 +2
Brandon Saad L 10:11 8 10 -2 +2 -3
Viktor Stalberg L 11:33 13 5 +8 +3 +7
Michal Handzus C 14:38 11 8 +3 +6 +1
Johnny Oduya D 17:48 13 8 +5 +2 +4
Bryan Bickell L 13:39 10 9 +1 +2 +0
Michal Rozsival D 18:44 11 8 +3 +2 +2
Dave Bolland C 7:59 11 6 +5 -3 +6
Andrew Shaw C 10:40 9 8 +1 +2 +0
Michael Frolik R 8:08 10 6 +4 -3 +5
Marian Hossa R 13:45 11 7 +4 +6 +2
Patrick Kane R 14:17 10 10 0 +3 -1

Red Wings Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Brendan Smith D 15:48 8 13 -5 -5 -3
Jakub Kindl D 14:52 12 15 -3 +2 -4
Justin Abdelkader L 14:34 9 10 -1 -5 +1
Daniel Cleary R 13:15 8 9 -1 -1 -1
Pavel Datsyuk C 16:48 11 10 +1 -7 +4
Gustav Nyquist C 9:45 10 9 +1 -2 +2
Patrick Eaves R 7:37 4 11 -7 +2 -8
Drew Miller L 9:55 4 12 -8 0 -8
Damien Brunner C 9:03 8 7 +1 -2 +2
Cory Emmerton C 8:07 4 12 -8 +3 -9
Kyle Quincey D 17:30 8 15 -7 -8 -4
Carlo Colaiacovo D 13:11 10 15 -5 +2 -6
Henrik Zetterberg L 15:34 6 16 -10 -2 -9
Valtteri Filppula C 15:02 7 16 -9 -1 -9
Jonathan Ericsson D 17:20 10 15 -5 -4 -3
Niklas Kronwall D 17:41 12 15 -3 -3 -2
Joakim Andersson C 8:33 9 6 +3 -3 +4
Johan Franzen C 15:43 10 9 +1 -6 +3