The Nashville Predators rolled their stinkwagon into town for a divisional matchup. They and their “All-Star” goaltender Pekka “Shit Hip” Rinne came into tonight fresh off three straight losses. Rinne missed out on the 4-0 thrashing from Arizona the other night but he’s been terrible lately and for most of the season. Without him playing like he did before Barry Trotz left him in a steaming pile, the Predators just aren’t nearly as scary.
This game wouldn’t be remembered at all if newly-extended Joel Quenneville didn’t tie Al Arbour for most wins in an NHL coaching career with tonight’s two points. Sloppy play from both sides resulted in a couple of Andrew Shaw tap-ins and an activated Brent Seabrook sneaking in and firing a laser past Shit Hip.
With the Hawks up a couple of goals for most of the night, the Predators ended up garnering quite a few attempts on net. In a game like this, you’d like to see the Blackhawks put it away a little sooner with a fourth and/or fifth goal. They had their excuses though. The second line was haphazardly thrown together with Artem Anisimov’s late scratch for an illness and Dick Panik made his debut on Phil(!) Danault’s wing.
Thankfully, the first line stepped up and answered the call for offense. Andrew Shaw is making his stint with Toews and Hossa work for now, but one has to wonder how much longer that’s going to last.
Let’s make some notes:
I wanted to say something along the lines of “so much for Ryan Johansen!” but he managed to make himself noticeable in the final minute setting up a goal and almost tying the game himself.
Too bad, then, that Corey Crawford has been amazing most of the year and certainly was on that final Johansen bid. Another ho-hum 41 save night.
I’m writing this comment in the second period but I’m confident that I won’t see anything that will change my mind: the TVR-Scuderi pairing is a supersonic jet filled to the brim with nightmare fuel heading straight for your house as you sleep.
Hey, there’s Rob Scuderi with the puck in his own zone just holding it and waiting as his brain tries to remind him how to clear it as an opposing forward takes it away from him to create a scoring chance. The United Center mics pick up Scuderi yelling “FUCK!”
The broadcast can talk until they’re blue in the face about TVR’s hockey sense and versatility because he’s playing both sides with Geezer 1 and Geezer 2 depending on the weather but it can’t be good for him to constantly find himself drowning in his own end. Almost all the sustained pressure from Nashville came with him and Scuderi on the ice.
Erik Gustafsson kind of owns.
On the other hand, Brandon Mashinter is useless.
Old friend Barret Jackman returned to the UC tonight. Folks, when I heard about the Netflix hit “Making A Murderer” I immediately pictured Appalachian hill people emptying the contents of their inflatable pool mixing it in the barrel of nuclear waste from which Jackman originated.
Barret Jackman’s still in the league which is a testament to just how difficult it is to get dog shit off your shoe.
Now that we know it’s Richard PAH-nik I move that his nickname be Hydro because I’m 12.
Bitetto is either a gross Christmas cake in a very expensive looking box or the guy who made Pinocchio.
Some quick thoughts on Joel Quenneville’s contract extension: don’t think the snide comments on Twitter went unnoticed about how the blogosphere is going piss its collective pants at the news as if any writer for this site, or any other blog with actual content, isn’t quite pleased with situation behind the bench. If you’re looking for a hockey blog with recap titles like “Quenneville Pushes All The Right Buttons Yet Again” and “Players Fail To Execute Brilliant Strategy” you might want to check out Blackhawks dot com. Quenneville is a hall of fame coach and his record speaks for itself. Still, it’d be cool if he didn’t like guys like Brandon Mashinter. Nuance is dead and the internet done killed it.
So that’s eight wins in a row for a team that has more than a couple players that probably won’t be skating regular shifts come April. It’s a testament to the coaching and the elite talent but this season in particular, it’s a testament to Corey Crawford, who has been there to bail the Hawks out on nights when the Kane line isn’t doing the heavy lifting.
Now that the Blackhawks appear to have put together their annual torrid winning streak before they sleepwalk through February and early March, we can breathe a little easier. The playoffs seem a safe bet so it’ll be interesting to see how many starts Scott Darling gets over the next couple of months to ease Crawford’s workload as well as what Bowman’s able to unearth in a potential trade. Hopefully it’s someone to erase Rob Scuderi’s existence from my memory.
Until then, there’s a winning streak to add on to. To Canada.