A few days off, some time away with family members, a little breathing space—all of these things should have helped the Blackhawks to bounce back from two crappy losses, right? Wrong. The break clearly did little to cure what ails the Hawks right now. To the bullets:
– Anisimov went down with an injury early in the game, but I gotta tell you, I didn’t even see it. Suddenly, he was just gone. Maybe he tripped over his own wide dick and needed to ice it for a while. Who can say in this league where they tell you nothing? But what it led to was Q hitting the blender extra hard tonight. Unfortunately, it was mostly a shit smoothie that he got out of it. And should anyone be surprised? Throwing combinations of guys who haven’t played together and not even giving them three shifts to figure stuff out? I, for one, am shocked this isn’t working.
At first, we saw Kane-Schmaltz-DeBrincat, and I thought I might weep with joy. But nope, that didn’t last, although they did make a brief reappearance in the third. Next up was Kane-Toews-Saad (nothing doing). Then it was Kane-Schmaltz-Kampf (huh?). And in case you didn’t notice a pattern there, Garbage Dick led the team in ice time through two periods, and he finished second only to Keith by the end of the game. So clearly, Q has a lot of confidence in his supporting cast and it’s definitely sustainable to quadruple-shift Kane.
– The Gustav Forsling Experience needs to draw to a close. Seriously, he’s lost in his own zone, useless on special teams apparently, and thus generally worthless at this point. It’s especially poignant against the team from whence he came. Pairing him with Jan Rutta is aggravating the situation, as we saw for example on Vanek’s second goal where the two of them couldn’t find either one of their asses with any of their hands. I’m tired of sounding like the president of the Michal Kempny Fan Club over here, but this is getting ridiculous. And if Connor Murphy turns out to have a case of brown brain after Biega flattened him into the glass, we’d better not see Cody fucking Franson in his place.
– Continuing his run of worst luck in the NHL, Anton Forsberg played decently through much of the game until the wheels really fell off in the third. He could have stopped the first goal, but a bunch of the ones in the middle were due to his defense crapping the bed yet again. The second goal was the aforementioned Foreskin-Rutta defensive breakdown, and the third goal he was screened by Seabrook’s nacho-laden ass. Forsberg isn’t blameless in all this, don’t get me wrong, but he got little help defensively or offensively. Because also of note, the Hawks had five power plays and only converted on one.
– Ah, the power play. Still as shitty as before Christmas. For a moment it seemed like they got things figured out as Schmaltz and Kane’s positioning took advantage of their right hand/left hand combo. But the man advantage quickly returned to form as they couldn’t manage a zone entry on their next four power plays.
– I was interested to see wunderkid Brock Boeser in action, and lo and behold he had a goal and three assists. He and Thomas Vanek connected for three goals between them, and they both assisted on Gagner’s goal. Gee, it must be nice for a rookie with a hot hand to play with teammates that complement his skills while he also has the confidence of his coach.
– Despite one dumbass move on a power play, Ryan Hartman was pretty much the Hawks’ best player tonight (Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane could also make a case, I know). He was all over the ice, either repeatedly getting shoved into Markstrom, or more importantly keeping the puck in the zone while his linemates did everything they could to cough up control of it. He finished with a 77.8 CF%, which led the team, plus a pyrrhic goal at the end to make things look a little less pathetic.
– OK, so this isn’t directly game-related, but the Hawks have been running some promotion or attempt at a social media campaign called “Blackhawks Authentic Fan” which cracks me up because 1. we’re called Real Fans Program here so nice try, and 2. they’re using “BlackhawksAF” as the hashtag. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of “authentic fan” when I see something as “af.” However, it’s actually perfect—we should take advantage of the description “Blackhaws as fuck.” To wit: That zone entry where they fell over the blue line and Saad and Hartman ran into each other? That was Blackhawks as fuck. Or: That power play where everyone stood in place doing jack shit? That was Blackhawks as fuck. So thank you, Hawks, for giving a description to the frustrating shit you pull night in and night out.
It’s obvious that every point counts, and that winning these games against the rest of the western dregs with whom we’re fighting for a wild card spot is damn near crucial. And yet, we’re picking up right where things left off. If a shitty Canucks team on a 3-game losing streak isn’t the antidote right now, then what is? Maybe the Oilers? We’ll find out soon enough.