This is how we used to do it, right? Game at night, and then none of us can get it together for a wrap until the next morning? I’m just trying to get it down again in case I ever have to go back to doing this regularly.
It was a strange feeling last night out at Rose-Mizon. Other than the few dedicated Wolves fans (some of whom are just a bit weird, I’m sorry. I get it if you’ve sworn off the Hawks for past indiscretions and the greater affordability and access of the Wolves. That’s fine. But to the point where you buy and wear a Canucks jersey? I mean, come on! You don’t have to be a Hawks fan to know how inherently wrong that is. I know you’re trying to thumb your nose at the establishment, but that’s just thumbing your nose at common sense and decency), there was a sense that everyone else would rather be somewhere else.
The players want to be in the Big Time, most of the fans want to be at the UC, the press would have rather been covering the NHL, and we’re all just kind of here because we can’t be anywhere else.
But it was hockey, and that was enough for one night. Before getting to the bullets, a quick recap. Hogs were terrible for first two periods on the second of a back-to-back, Hutton makes some nice saves to keep them close, one Brandon Saad rush and dish gets them back into it, cash in power plays in the 3rd to win, Marty St. Pierre’s stick is comically long. There, you got it.
-To Saad, who probably earns the Player Of the Game. Which is weird, because it was his egregious turnover in the 1st that led to Zack Kassian having not much to do to open the scoring. But halfway through Saad got his legs back, and set up St. Pierre beautifully with a eye-of-the-needle give. His second assist for the equalizer to Morin was more to do with out-battling in the corner and getting the puck to the front, but he knew Morin was there. So, encouraging stuff there. Saad isn’t getting out-muscled in any way, and looks a half-cut above most of these guys.
-Wish I could say that and more for Nick Leddy. He wasn’t bad or anything, and his class is apparent when he wants to show it. But he really should be dominating at this level, and he isn’t. I don’t know if he’s trying to struggle into whatever system Ted Dent is maybe attempting to implement — it’s hard to tell what the he or the Hogs are doing at times — or just trying to fit in with the team or what it is, but it’s not there.
-Brandon Pirri only showed up for the 3rd period, but was very good in that period, and has clearly gotten stronger since last year.
-Kyle Beach got one penalty that I don’t think was all that dumb, and showed off some hands around the net, but not much else.
-The defense is woeful. They don’t appear to stick to a system or method ever, they’re small and easily overpowered, and appear to panic and try to do too much. I will say nice things about Klas Dahlbeck though, the only d-man completely content to do the simple thing to get the Hogs out of trouble. He’s probably nothing more than a career AHL-er, but could maybe give you a game or two in an injury crisis. He also took two draws in his own zone ahead of St. Pierre and Leblanc. Make of that what you will.
-Andrew Shaw was a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing.
-My seats were not in the right position to fully value Jimmy Hayes at center, though he didn’t play there the whole game either. He did some good work down low, but just isn’t a bruiser that his size suggests. More study needed.
The game was over, we walked out of the gate, and some chilly winter air hit us in the face. It felt right, until it didn’t feel right, and that was maybe the most depressing moment of the night.
Well it was, until I got to my local and saw three guys in Hawks gear who had clearly been at the game and we struck up a conversation about it. And it became obvious to all four of us this is what we miss the most. Just talking about a hockey game. Sure, we had one for a night, but it wasn’t really what we wanted. It did the job for a night the best it could. But enough? Hardly.
End the madness.