If you missed seeing a vintage Blackhawks performance, tonight was your night to bask in the glory. From the first period to the final horn, the Hawks dominated the puck, possession, shots on goal, the tempo, whatever types of nachos were being served (Seabrook’s doing) and anything else you could think of.
Marc-Andre Fleury was the only thing separating this from being the Stadium Series ’14 Redux as the Hawks were in control throughout the game. It would’ve been fitting for the Penguins to steal this one in overtime as the Hawks did last night but the hockey gods didn’t have a sense of humor as Art Breadman found the space over Fleury’s shoulder almost halfway through the third period.
And that was, as they say, that.
–Here’s the happy news. One thing I noticed about Art Breadman tonight among everything else that is super obvious…he is really good at finding passing lanes in tight quarters. There were a few times tonight where he had little to no room to get the puck to Kane, Anisimov or whomever and he was able to slide the puck underneath a Penguin defender’s stick whereas other players wouldn’t have the vision to find that passing lane.
Here’s the not so happy news. Sam notified me tonight of Panarin’s bonus clauses. While his cap hit is a modest $812,500 right now, don’t be shocked when the Hawks have a decent amount of money tacked on at the end of the year similar to when they won their first Cup and Toews and Kane both hit monster bonuses.
Something to keep in mind as you’re learning how to say “Stan Bowman is a genius” in Russian.
–Maybe it’s happened before but I’ve never paid close attention. It certainly hasn’t happened to a Hawks opponent yet this year. Every single player on the Penguins was in the red on their Corsi tonight according to War on Ice. Meanwhile, Danault’s line were the only three players on the Hawks tonight with a minus.
–Speaking of inside info we’d all like to know. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know the shot velocity of certain players? I know this has been brought up before but Sam and I had a discussion about Marian Hossa and how many chances he constantly gets but with minimal results. It can’t all be luck based at this point. It certainly would be worth seeing if there was a correlation if his shot has slowed down and his lack of scoring goals.
The shot that brought it up was early in the third period tonight when Hossa had a golden opportunity off a one-timer. Fleury was able to stop the shot and rather easily. Maybe his drop in production is as easy to describe as a pitcher losing velocity on his fastball. I don’t know. What about Danks?
–Dr. Rasmussen and company barely scratched 15 minutes combined. Not good, as they say in the old country or any country, really. Bickell had a really bad first period and really didn’t see much ice time after that. Garbutt and the good doctor weren’t nearly as noticeably bad but it’s probably a guilty by association at this point.
–How is Eric Fehr only 30 years old? I could’ve sworn he’s been in the league since before the early aughts.
–Playing third pairing minutes and on home ice, Trevor Van Riemsdyk was much more noticeable in a good way. Gustafsson struggled a little bit tonight which is sort of expected at this point. He had a couple really bad giveaways in his own end. But again, this is the learning curve of a defenseman and you’re seeing first hand why it’s difficult for a team in contention to develop them.
–LOCAL GUY Scott Darling is still looking for Malkin’s point blast.
–Don’t look now but the Hawks are only six points back of the Stars with the same amount of games played. Three games straight at home against less than impressive opponents including the Seth Jones-less Preds and the deficit may even be smaller by the time the Hawks head north of the border.