Well, that could have turned out better. The long layoff seemed to have a slight effect on the Hawks, but not much. Certainly nothing that is significant enough to pin the loss on. A few notes from the game:
- After being skewered by most people, myself included, Tomas Kopecky had himself a heck of a game. He was a constant presence in front of Ilya Bryzgalov, and the goaltender interference call that he drew was soft, as a screaming Edzo let the viewing audience know immediately. If the Hawks continue to get this kind of effort out of Kopecky, the fourth line might regain last year's form.
- While Patrick Sharp was seemingly everywhere last night, he's got to bury the chances he has. Granted Bryzgalov wasn't giving much to shoot at last night, but true scorers pot at least one of those, and missing the net entirely on the breakaway is not acceptable. It was pleasant to see Sharp creating his own shots for once, though.
- As bad as the power play has been, that's how good the penalty kill has been. The Hawks PK kept the Phoenix man-advantage off the board, which is actually saying something, as they've been a top-10 unit all year. Even Patrick Kane was solid in his own zone while shorthanded before setting up the Hawks' lone goal.
- Dave Bolland was completely invisible. If it's his back, as soon as Toews returns, he needs to be shelved.
- Niklas Hjarmalsson continues to incorporate more and more of the physicality he was rumored to have.
- Fix. The. Power. Play.
Once again, thanks to everyone who joined us at the Whirlaway last night, and to Sergio and Maria for having us. More to come later in the day regarding the game against the Avalanche tonight.