It all came crashing down on the Hawks this weekend, so who did what as yet another season is meaningless before St. Patrick’s Day, if it ever meant anything at all.
The Dizzying Highs
Corey Crawford – It feels like the Hawks are heading toward some sort of Bay Of Pigs with their veteran players, with at least Keith and Toews completely fed up with their coach. You don’t have to really jump that far on a conclusions mat to see that they might hint to the front office this summer they want this bespectacled doofus out on his ass or they’re going to be showing their thumb out of town as well. The funny thing is that Crawford’s name is never mentioned among “the vets” even though he’s only slightly less decorated than his cohorts. And Crow is the only one who could simply walk. Another week of a .917 makes him the biggest reason the Hawks could even mention the word “playoffs.”
There are certainly other goalies on the market, and Crow will be the oldest of them. Still, what if Crow joins his teammates and says, “I want to come back, I want to come back at a reasonable salary, but I don’t want to play for this guy?” What would the Hawks do? With every strong week, Crow strengthens his leverage.
The Terrifying Lows
Alex Nylander – I’m simply getting tired of putting Jeremy Colliton here, and he’s likely to get his own post later in the day anyway. He had two garbage-time points against Anaheim. And then in three important games, he didn’t do shit. Until the third one, where he gave the puck away in his own zone in the third period, and then was caught puck-watching while Alex Pietrangelo set up shop in the left circle to end that game. Keep in mind, Nylander spent the whole week on a line with Patrick Kane. And Dylan Strome, who seems to have struck up something with Kane since being moved back to center. Do you know how hard it is to go three games with a point with Kane on your line?
In a lot of ways, it’s not Nylander’s fault. He is what he is, and it’s not his fault the Hawks gave up on a useful d-man to bring him here to do nothing (other than get me a Greektown dinner). And the front office is almost certainly cramming him into the lineup to try and make up for the fact that they fucked up by punting Henri Jokiharju for him. I would have liked to see what Dylan Sikura would have done with the same opportunity. But he’s a symptom, or an example, of just how well and truly lost this organization is. Clueless in his own zone, costs too much, and not enough at the other.
As Fifth Feather pointed out in our private thread as the Hawks were spitting up to the Wings, that was a game where your depth should carry you through. A fourth line goal to get things going, or a third line performance because you just have better players there than a shit-assed opponent. Nylander is supposed to be that depth. He’s not. He sucks. And the thinking that brought him here sucks. And that’s why the Hawks lose these games.
The Creamy Middles
Patrick Kane – Four points in four games, but it sounds like he’s warming up to make some demands of his front office too. And he should, because he’s seen three seasons of his prime, and two of his most brilliant seasons, go in the toilet and for nothing. And while he might be as visibly seething as Keith or Toews, somewhat placated by playing 25 minutes a night, he’s already made noise about wanting to talk to the front office after the season and at least see if there is a plan. Kane is the only one who could ask out and probably find a host of suitors, which means he probably draws the most water. If he demands changes, the Hawks would have to listen. And if they choose this coach and GM over him, you’ll know they’re truly lost.