Pull The Trigger: Stars 4 - Hawks 2
Honestly, I'm out of answers and suggestions. For 42 games now, the Hawks have suffered the consequences from not playing a full 60 minutes. They don't get it, they're not going to get it, and I'm not going to expect them to get it. I don't know if they don't care, are too hungover, are tired from playing over 100 games last year and 99 the year before that, have tuned out their coach, or something else, but I'm done speculating. If you're going to argue that they only took the 1st off tonight, you'd be wrong. They were only back in this game because Kari Lehtonen let in two of the softest goals we've seen at the UC. And even after being let out of jail, they couldn't muster that much to take the game. I won't do a full play by play here, so to the bullets:
-I don't know if management thought this was a transition year or not, but whatever they thought they are not being coached like either. If this was indeed a transition year where the organization really didn't expect much (which would be farcical because there's no one in the West without some flaws), then the youngsters like Skille and Dowell should be allowed to work through their mistakes. Instead, they were sat for four minutes of John Scott and Ryan Johnson. If this team is really trying to defend what it holds, then playing two worse players instead of two better players still makes no sense. It was obvious the Hawks were trying to use their speed tonight, based on their reluctance to dump the puck in and trying to hit forwards in the neutral zone with speed. So why was their fastest forward in the pressbox? And if Scott is such a deterrent, why is he not out there and why was Steve Ott going after Kane at every chance?
-I'm not going to hop the Fire Coach Q bandwagon just yet, though I know it's slowly growing. But he hit the line slot machine way early tonight, and I wonder if the players aren't sick of it. Worse yet, there was no reason to pull the goalie with a full two minutes left. Whether we think it is logical or not, this is the most lethal power play in the league, it at least deserves a minute to see if it can equalize without going all in (and some teams prefer to be shorthanded when you pull the goalie, because you can fire from everywhere) off the bat. Coach Q has coached all year like a panicked suburban mom, and I don't know how to fix that.
-That said, if he's waiting to pull the last chord he might have, the next two games are against a Sens team in complete disarray and an Islanders team that is the definition of suck. If you ever wanted to send a message and, oh I don't know, healthy scratch Duncan Keith, now would be the time. Prove to everyone that no one's entitled. Prove to everyone that everyone's accountable. Prove to your stars that it's time they be the stars right now. Prove to your youngsters who you've fucked over with a plunger that they're not the only ones to blame.
-The penalty kill sucks, and I don't know why. The only people missing from last year are John Madden and Kris Versteeg. The Fifth Feather beat me to the punch (do those assholes ever go out for a beer?), but Andrew Ladd did not kill penalties last year. Versteeg was a total spaz, he can't be missed that much. Madden won draws, so I'll understand if that's part of the problem . But Jake Dowell has been winning draws the second quarter of the season, and he's watching. All I know is that when an opponent sets up shop, there's an overwhelming sense of panic in the killing unit, and that's inexplicable. It would also help if Duncan Keith bothered to tie up anyone's stick.
-There's been some caterwauling about Sharp's penalty, and yes Steve Ott dived. But it's Steve Ott, he'll dive. Don't put your stick in a position to let him do so, because when was the last time you saw a dive penalty? Or you could kill the fucking thing off, whichever way you wanna go.
-Don't care, Tomas Kopecky still sucks.
-We're getting to the point when management has to tell us what they think this team can be. They can't wait to the deadline now. If you believe, make a move. At least take Q's toys away in Scott and Boynton. Prove to him this is the team he has to work with. If he won't listen to you, guess you'd better grow a pair and send him on his way. But it's clear this team isn't going to get it without a major message sent. There's still time, it's just woefully short.
-I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't give you something to be hopeful about. The Hawks simply aren't getting any bounces, save Toews's winner in LA. How many times have you seen a guy hit all three posts? Sharp was six inches away from potting the winner until Lehtonen cleared. Hjalmarsson's blocked shot could have gone anywhere, it just went into the net. If you believe these things even out over a season, then the Hawks are do. If you don't (and I don't necessarily)....well.....