Go Home, Dad: Hawks 3 - Avs 3 (Lanche win free-throw contest 2-1 in 67 rounds)
Hmm, seemed like a good idea at the time, we'll have to rethink the Dad's Trip next season based on results, though.
I'm going to take a page from Sassone and blame Patrick Kane. Feels good. Anyway, on to the madness. It started so well. The Hawks really took it to Colorado in the first 15, winning every battle, getting to every loose puck, and creating chance after chance. They were rewarded with a 2-0 lead, and one of them was a power-play goal! Can you imagine? Buff was able to blast one by Anderson with a good screen from Kopecky, even though Buff was doing just about everything wrong on that shot. They got a second on nifty work from Kane and Versteeg resulting in Keith burying one top shelf while he was going backwards. Maybe they should have tried that more often.
But the foot came off the gas at the end of the first, and after Kane and Keith got a little goofy clearing the zone Seabrook was forced to ice the puck. The ensuing action saw Niemi give up a too-juicy rebound that Cal O'Reilly eventually poked home.
It got no better to start the second. The power play pulled out a new trick, trying its damndest to give up two shorties in one go, but came up a second short. I don't know why Q is trying to prove himself a genius by putting a forward on the point, but it bit him on the ass. At least Sharp and Bolland can at least, y'know, move. Buff can't, and David Jones blew right by him. Niemi thought he'd add to the stupidity by going to a knee when Jones was at the redline, and he easily put it over him. (Sidenote here: Not only was Buff on the point, but he was back there with Barker, who serves the same purpose! They're both triggermen. At least put Buff with Keith or Campbell so there's some distribution and mobility back there. But maybe I'm overdosing on logic here.) At the end of said power play, O'Reilly got so loose behind the Hawks defense he must think he has Herpes, and he was able to score off his own rebound. Woof.
After a timeout though, the Hawks once again turned the ice and were able to equalize when Ladd was right where he should be to pounce on a Sharp rebound. You should look for rebounds from Sharp, god knows he aint' putting anything in these days.
The 3rd was just a mess, and the officials decided to take it off too. I understand letting the players decide the game, but Hejduk got away with interference that led directly to a scoring chance, and board that could've injured a player. Sharp was hauled down on his breakaway, and Campbell hooked a Colorado player trying to start a counter. That's just too much. Anyway, at least Niemi didn't get his head down after some bad goals and made some big saves.
OT and the shootout are self explanatory. Just a flip of the coin, although can someone name the last time Sharp scored on a breakaway, penalty shot, or shootout?
I'm sure some people are going to go all Chicken Little, and 1 point out of 4 on this trip is not acceptable. But, three of our top 6 are out, as well as 2/3rds of one of the league's best 4th lines. Maybe when spring rolls around Phoenix and Colorado will be in lottery territory, but right now they are two of the hottest teams in the league. Sadly, a team that's even hotter comes into town on Monday, the Kings. But Captain Marvel will be back for that, and Hossa on the trip that follows. It's the first week of November, let's try and keep our heads.
-Kopecky has had two solid games in a row, and is slowly working his way out of our doghouse.
-Ebbet also had his best game as a Hawk. I know Hawks fans are getting annoyed with him, but he's just "a guy".
-Colin Fraser went 9 for 10 on draws tonight. That's impressive.
-The Hawks need to figure out Bolland's back, and right now. They can't nurse him through the season, having him miss a practice here and there and have him perform at 60%. If he needs a month, then he should get one now. If it needs surgery, well, that probably ends his season, but this isn't working, is it? He hasn't been near full strength all year, and I don't think it's a coincidence that the two games he's missed came in close proximity to long flights (the one home from Finland and out to Phoenix). It's obviously a bigger problem than they are letting on, and needs to be sorted.
Big homestand next up, and with these poor results, the Hawks really need to take all 8 points. It's doable.
Player of The Game
With two assists and more solid play, it's gotta be...