It Got There: Yotes 3 - Hawks 3 (Hawks win curling exhibtion 1-0)
Only time will tell if the point the Hawks gave away to the Coyotes tonight will matter. They're still competing for a division crown, and thus may be out of the discussion. Only time will tell if settling for a shootout victory which will not help tiebreakers will make a difference. That said, it's two points, it's four in a row, and even if I wanted to get really upset I'm not sure that I could.
What irks me is that the first period might well have been the best period of hockey the Hawks have played this year. The tactics of Thursday were rolled over for an opponent that could be a twin of Nashville, and the Hawks were happy to just get the puck in deep and chase it down like a Guinness after a Jameson, and they created a true furor in the Phoenix zone a lot of the time. 2-0 didn't reflect how badly the Yotes were outplayed. And that should have been enough. But the foot came off the gas, some stupid penalties were taken, and a flaccid penalty kill once again did the Hawks in. That said, the Hawks effort level in the 3rd cannot be questioned. The Coyotes came out simply to settle for their point and take their chances, and their three shots in that frame attest to that. The Hawks did their best to come out of the trap and negating style, it just didn't work out.
But here we are with four in a row, and there's only one game where you can say the Hawks put it all together. If they do so starting tomorrow night, then they could put up a streak that has you bouncing into work in the morning. So let's go with that, eh?
Observations from a loon in the rain:
-While some have accused me of being overly critical, I can't sit here and say that Nick Leddy didn't have his best game of the year tonight. He had to skate more minutes because of Hendry's injury, and he didn't let anyone down.
-Sadly, because of Hendry's injury, Stan Bowman is going to get bent over a barrel tomorrow trying to find another defenseman, and Tampa's Brett Clark is not an answer to any question anyone's asking.
-But I'd certainly be ok if these Jay McClement and/or Cal O'Reilly rumors come to fruition.
-Yeah, he took two penalties, one of them for not moving his feet, and yet I still thought Viktor Stalberg was one of the more effective Hawks tonight. He even created the goal that wasn't, which seems to be a nightly theme these days.
-Ryan Johnson won 12 of 18 faceoffs. We like this.
-Duncan Keith was Duncan Keith again. That's cool.
-Marian Hossa is Marian Hossa, you're not. The more this happens, the more we'll have the serotonin kicking.
-I'm really rooting for Michael Frolik, there's a lot I like when I watch him. But come on man, get on the scoresheet so I don't feel like I'm yelling at the rain.
-Right, news of the day. Brent Seabrook is inked for the next five year. Not to be rude, but anyone who has a problem with this is fucked in the head. Maybe you'll balk at the number, though it's completely reasonable and just about what he's worth. Look at what he brings that's so unique to the Hawks: size, snarl, physicality, a booming blue line shot, and he is probably the best passer among the d-corps. Oh, and he's 26. The Hawks have two of the best 15 d-men in the league under their wraps for five years. Look at how much success the Preds have gleaned from one excellent pairing, and the Hawks have more than that. If I'm allowed to steal from our friends at the Fifth Feather (more so than usual), Team Canada had 7 defensemen. Team Canada. And Seabs was one of them. So what if Hjalmarsson has to go in the summer because of this? Hammer has proved to be eminently replaceable this year, and Olsen is in the pipeline to do so, if not next year. Though tons may wail for Campbell to go, the Hawks don't have someone who can do what he does ready to go. And don't say it's Nick Leddy, because he won't be able to handle those minutes next year. He will one day. While 5.8 may sound a little high, it's only just, and what did anyone think he was coming in at? As always, you're allowed your opinion, but in this case you're just wrong.
-As tradition dictates, tomorrow we will be running our usual deadline live blog. Except this time, it'll be an actual live blog, not just buried in the comments. We'll have details tonight or in the morning. But it's going to be a thing.