Wraps

Game #22 – Hawks 2, Capitals 4: It’s Just a Face in the Crowd Down a Dead-End Street

I don’t know what the hell the Hawks were doing at the beginning of the game, but a slow start pretty much screwed them. They followed that up with a lot of dumb penalties, making life harder for themselves, but had it not been for some abject stupidity right after puck drop we may have had a game. Oh, and Michal Kempny exacted his revenge, that did it too. To the bullets:

Box Score

Corsica

Natural Stat Trick

– Of course it was Tom fucking Wilson taking advantage of the Hawks looking drunk and clueless at the start of the first. Of course it was. And not only did this anthropomorphized turd score less than a minute in, he also made sure to barrel over Crawford and knee him in the head. Fuck Tom Wilson. The fact that he’s even playing right now is an affront to decency. This league is a toilet.

– Something ridiculous happened to me the other day: I walked into an elevator at my office building, the lone dude who had been in it walked off said elevator, and as I went in, pressed the button and breathed, the smell of fart was unmistakable. As the doors closed he looked fearfully over his shoulder and definitely saw my twisted, disgusted face looking back at him with an “I know what you did!” expression. The Hawks were that guy in the first period. They laid a huge fart, and then tried to coolly walk away pretending like nobody noticed. Once the first couple minutes were over and Andre Burakovsky made it 2-0 with a power play goal, the Hawks pulled it together and got a flurry of shots on goal (after having none for about half the period). They ended up only slightly underwater in possession (47.5 CF%, all day not just evens), which was quite the accomplishment given the way it started. And yet just when it seemed like they were bouncing back, Saad high-sticked Nicklas Backstrom, which inexplicably was called an elbow, and inexplicably was argued by both Saad and Toews. Whatever.

– I’m dismissive of that silliness because Brandon Saad continued his resurgence with his third goal in as many games. It was a beautiful move just de-pantsing Orlov about mid-way through the second period. At that point the Hawks were down 3-0 so not only was it great to see Saad doing what we’ve been waiting for him to do (and consistently), but it briefly gave us, and the Hawks, some hope. And that was the mistake.

– You know how it was 3-0 when Saad scored? That’s because Michal Kempny got his first goal of the year against the Hawks. And later, in the third, he made a great play in the neutral zone to prevent a breakaway (by Anisimov who would have tripped over his own dick anyway but that’s beside the point), and it led immediately to the fourth goal, effectively ending the Hawks chances at making it a game. Well, they had in fact made it a game with Gustafsson’s goal in the third, but Smith-Pelly’s just moments later, thanks to Kempny’s defensive prowess, crushed the Hawks. And I can’t even be mad at him for it.

– This isn’t a hot take, but jeebus the Hawks are top heavy when it comes to offense. The Saad-Toews-Kane line led all four lines with eight shots, and they had over a 60 CF% at evens. Loading up on the top line isn’t necessarily wrong—it just underlines how empty the rest of the offense is. On the bright side, the second line of Schmaltz-Anisimov-DeBrincat generated the pass that led to Gustafsson’s goal, so at least Wide Dick and Nick Schmaltz got assists.

– And that’s good for Schmaltz because, if the broadcast is a reflection of the company line, then the organ-I-zation hates him these days. I know it’s a little conspiracy-theorist of me, but Eddie has been unrelentingly bad-mouthing Schmaltz these last few games which just makes me think they’re priming the ground for getting rid of him. It’s no secret Schmaltz has been struggling lately, with only nine points on the season so far. Yet seven of those points came when he was on the ice with Patrick Kane, so the source of the drought seems to clearly be sticking him on the wing and on a line without a top scorer where he (Schmaltz) can be a playmaker. I get why Colliton is going with Toews and Kane on a line, and the change doesn’t absolve Schmaltz of all responsibility for generating SOMETHING on offense. But the ire over Schmaltz from the broadcast really needs to be put in perspective, and unless they can package him as part of a season-changing deal, launching a young guy out of frustration is probably not the ideal move here.

– The power play still sucks. In case you were wondering.

We shouldn’t be all that surprised that the current Stanley Cup champions beat this group of schlubs, even if those champions are still drunk from the summer. But still, the sloppy start is maddening, and for a team with talent issues like the Hawks, having to dig yourself out of a hole basically as soon as the game starts just isn’t acceptable. And now it’s on to an even better team in the Lightning. Just get drunk and the weekend will go by in a blur. Onward and upward.

Beer: Totally Naked by New Glarus, followed by Myrcenary from Odell when I really needed a higher alcohol content.

Line of the Night: “Here’s your so-called second line…” —Foley throwing shade at Schmaltz, and Wide Dick and Top Cat by association.

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

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