You know, it’s very rare that I am without things to say. I have been rendered truly speechless only one time in my adult life, and it was when I got called out for being an asshole at a White Sox game (funny story, I’ll tell you about it sometime). The point is, however, that I don’t often struggle for words. But tonight, it’s happening to me. After watching the Blackhawks get completely outplayed in every sense of the word for back-to-back games on back-to-back nights, I’m left grasping for ways to explain it, even though I can see some ways that things need to change to keep this from happening again. So here goes…
–For about the first two minutes of the game, it felt like it wouldn’t go down this way. It seemed like it was going to be different than last night. Jonathan Toews got called for a bullshit penalty just seconds into the game, and when Brandon Saad turned it into a short-handed goal, things seemed to be looking up. Not only that, the Hawks were keeping pace with the Avs, who, as noted previously, are really fucking fast. This lasted all of about 2-3 minutes, and then the Avs just took over. On Nazem Kadri‘s second goal, Seabrook got straight-up burned by him flying by while there was no backchecking forward to be found. That was when it started to get ugly.
–You want ugly? It’s Alex DeBrincat trying to fight someone. Yes, that’s right—Alex fucking DeBrincat got into a fight in the first period, and if that’s your game plan to turn shit around in a period where you’re struggling, then there is no help for you. I’m hoping Top Cat was just being hot-headed and stupid, since we already proved that Andrew Shaw‘s dumbass fight last night was not a turning point or anything other than useless GRITHEARTFART. DeBrincat better never pull this nonsense again. The whole thing smacked of desperation.
–Robin Lehner getting pulled also didn’t solve anything, and honestly this shit wasn’t his fault, just like last night’s score wasn’t Corey Crawford‘s fault. The defensive breakdowns were insane. Yes, it was going to be tough with Keith out and Fetch Koekkoek in, but that doesn’t explain all of it. Erik Gustafsson was particularly awful again tonight, for example, when he completely failed to break up a pass to a streaking Joonas Donskoi for his first goal. Lehner was (rightly) frustrated throughout, and seemed to scream right at Toews as he left the game, which was hilarious because Toews was on the ice for a lot of goals, but also not what you want to see. When anyone looks back on this game, let it be known this wasn’t Lehner’s doing. And Crawford gave up a couple anyway, so clearly the Hawks goaltenders are not the X factor in why the Avs are kicking the shit out of us.
–But hey, Patrick Kane extended his scoring streak!
–In all seriousness though, that goal by Kane came on a 5-on-3, which was the second one the Hawks had tonight. So with two of those you’d think they’d have a little better result. Overall their power play was back to its stationary ways, with Kane standing still at the dot and firing on Philip Grubauer (who was good tonight but not lights out). It was good to see Kirby Dach get time on the second PP unit because now I’m paranoid he’s going to get benched and made a scapegoat for Colliton’s stupidity, but there isn’t much else to be pleased about with the power play tonight.
–Dominik Kubalik had a nice goal. How long till he’s a healthy scratch again to, ya know, send him some message?
OK, OK, enough whining. This weekend exposed the underlying problems that we know—and have known—about the Hawks this entire season. It was also just a scant few days ago that they beat arguably the hottest team in the league and in quite convincing fashion, only to turn around and be made to look downright foolish by a fast, skilled team. There are lessons here to be learned, such as not hitting the blender so hard and throwing nonsensical lines out there because you don’t know what else to do, maybe stop worrying about a damn contract year and bring up your fast, puck-moving defenseman, stop bothering with Andrew Shaw on the power play because he’s useless…all these things and more can be addressed to improve the situation.
It’s blatantly clear that the Hawks need to make changes after this weekend—now we just have to see if they do it. Onward and upward…
Line of the Night: Sorry folks, was in the mute lounge tonight while streaming Phish’s night 2 in Providence
Beer de jour: Good Behavior IPA by Odell Brewing