I Am Trying To Break Your Heart - Oilers 5, Blackhawks 4 (SO)
This is not good for me. I have a history of heart problems and diabetes on both sides of my family, I smoke, I'm overly emotionally invested in Blackhawks hockey, and if any of you have read my work in the Committed Indian, you know that I'm not the best at just letting things slide. So if the Blackhawks' "One Goal" is to give me a myocardial infarction at some point during the season, they're well on their way to doing so.
That being said, this game was entertaining as hell. Per protocol when the Hawks and Oilers get together, backchecking is 100% optional. Yes, we're all looking at you, Matt Walker. Shortly after he had been beaten on Sam Gagner's breakaway goal, I received a text from Sam from the UC asking "What does he have to do to get scratched?". At this point (to borrow a phrase from Randal Graves), it appears as though he'd need to anally rape Quenneville's mother while pouring sugar in his gas tank. It's time to take a seat. Matt Walker has been a #7 defensman his entire career, and it's starting to show. Given a large enough sample size, statistics always come back to the mean, and he is doing so with a resounding thud.
However, one of our other favorite whipping boys, Brian Campbell, actually did what he's been paid handsomely to do - move the puck, run the powerplay, and use his speed to generate offense and physicality, which he did with a beautiful open-ice, highlight reel hit. And he wasn't even the Hawks' best defenseman this evening. Brent Seabrook once again is played like a man possessed. Had he not taken the careless penalty at the end of regulation, he would have earned his second straight player of the game award.
That award, tonight, however, has to go to Martin Havlat. Havlat was everywhere, strong on the puck, creating and sustaining offense, and provided yet another highlight reel goal as he beat Dwayne Roloson glove side after snapping a shot in mid air as he was falling down moving away from his forehand. We've said it before, and we'll say it again - re-sign him yesterday.
Speaking of Roloson, the aged one made some very clutch saves tonight. As the CORSI will show, the Hawks were all over the Oilers, and it wasn't just shots into his pads as it has been recently; the most important of which being the penalty shot stop on Toews. In spite of his perpetually annoying histrionics, Rolo was on top of his game tonight.
Not to turn into Pollyana here, but unlike a lot of the games during this skid, there are numerous positives to take from this tilt. The Hawks are once again tied for 4th in the West, having played an equal amount of games as the Canucks as of tonight. The offesnse was firing, they were physical, and relentless. Now just tighten up the defense boys. Please. The rest of you: go out and drink this one off. It's going to get better. It has to. We've seen it. As for you, Mr. Quenneville, expect a bill from Swedish Covenant Hospital for my angioplasty.
Player Of The Game:
The man with a beard so perfect, he could be in a Cuervo Black commercial
"No, no, buddy - with cola!"