They didn’t even have to play this game.
Because we’ve seen it already. We saw it twice last year. We saw it twice the year before that. And the year before that. If you’ve watched the Hawks for any length of time, though you might not have fully admitted it, you knew deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties how this one was likely to go.
Jammy, annoying Matt Duchene goal followed by his rich kid punchable face smile. Another Avs goal from some jamoke that isn’t on their top line or top pairing, this time Zach Redmond (but it could have been Holden or Guenin or Skille or Mitchell or anyone else, it really doesn’t matter). The only variable is whether the Hawks would toss a ton of shots at Varlamov or just a bunch. Not that it matters, because we already know he’s going to stop them all. In the meantime the Avs top players will basically run wild over an either uninterested or ill-equipped or both Hawks team.
And so it went. It’s hard to think of another matchup that feels quite as scripted as this one. Anyway, to it…
The Two Obs
-I don’t know how much to beat up Seabrook and Hammer about this one, because Landeskog-MacKinnon-Duchene has been tearing lots of teams apart of late (although, should they really all be playing together?). Still, you know going in, at home, what the threat from the Avs is. It’s that one line. You can plan for it, you can choose who they see on most shifts, and basically Hammer and Seabrook weren’t really up to it. They weren’t awful, but the Avs’ top line looked a threat all night. Basically, with this new set-up, I’m curious to see how Hammer and Biscuit deal with lines that have a lot of speed. There’s another one coming in here on Thursday. The Sabres aren’t exactly slow. And then it’s the Stars a week from tonight which has the best line in hockey. We’ll know more when we hit the Christmas break for sure.
-What we do know is that Statler and Waldorf was just as bad as we feared, though a whole lot more quickly. And the few times they got left out there against the Avs’ top line is was basically a snuff film. There was one moment in the 3rd, where Duchene cut inside across Scuderi (for the third time in the game) and Scuderi fell down. Didn’t get the play that Beauchemin eating it did, but it was basically the same.
What’s striking is just how much room those two give anyone at the blue line. You can can dabb, shimmy, dougie, or whatever else you want across the Hawks blue line when those two are out there. And the Hawks’ whole game is about forcing things at the blue line. It won’t be for the 15 minutes they’re out there. The highlight of course had to be them standing and staring as noted Hockey Messi Blake Comeau beat them out to an icing, circled round and found Redmond.
-Semyon Varlamov is the goalie when Patrick Kane’s streak ends. That’s a good look for the NHL. Because they can’t have anything shiny that doesn’t eventually get slathered in sewage runoff.
-Discussion of the streak aside, this is the third game in four that the SuperPAK line has basically been crossface chicken-winged in their own zone. Anisimov’s possession numbers in those? 36.7, 30.1, 33.0. DAT REEL BAD. If that trend keeps up, and it leads to Kane’s scoring making anything resembling a screeching noise, that will be an issue.
-Tyson Barrie had himself a night without scratching. He’s a one man breakout and trap-buster. The Avs would be insane to move him or not re-sign him this summer, which is probably exactly why they’ll do one of those two things.
-Jonathan Toews, no shots. One attempt. But everything’s fine. I’m hungry, I’m dirty, I’m losing my mind BUT EVERYTHING’S FINE.
And that’s really about it. Not the most exciting encounter. And one you’ve seen before. Next time, you can probably write the wrap from memory.