I’m kind of anxious to get onto the break so I’m just going to hammer this out in the aftermath instead of waiting a bit to reflect as usual. I’m sure you all understand. Let’s get right to it.
-I don’t think the Hawks weren’t interested tonight. The effort was there, which I feared it might not be. What they weren’t was interested in the right ways. What you can’t do against the Coyotes when they’re on their game is fancy-pants your way through the neutral zone and you certainly can’t put your dump-ins where Mike Smith can get it. It’s hard to do, and it takes a fuckton of patience, but you have to chip pucks into the corners or go cross-corner with your dump-ins. The Hawks didn’t do much of either. If you don’t, Smith is going to smother your forecheck by himself.
Secondly, the Coyotes while blocking off the middle of the ice were also determined to outnumber the Hawks in every board battle in their zone. Two guys vs. one, or three guys vs. two. And the Hawks were reluctant to even match them in manpower. They Hawks aren’t blessed with guys who can outwork a numerical disadvantage along the wall. They have Hossa and… well, Hossa. They needed to be a more aggressive in matching the numbers on the wall tonight.
-Still, the game was decided on two moronic penalties. Brandon Bollig is going to do that from time to time, and I don’t think that statement should send anyone up in arms. Even the most ardent Bollig supporter. Rozsival’s penalty is just inexcusable.
Still, the first power play goal against stemmed from the Hawks getting sucked into a more diamond formation than the box we’ve seen more of lately. Kruger was trying to cover both points and Yandle had all day to get a shot in from the point. That was the main problem early in the year. Of course Yandle would score when I pointed out his struggles in the preview. I’m fucking clockwork.
Of all the things we bitch and worry about, I’m still most worried about the kill. It’s been better lately but I still don’t see the iron curtain of a unit that I would like when we head into the playoffs. Call me a worry wort.
-Of course, the other major thing we were worried about earlier in the year was Corey Crawford, and he was once again excellent. Feels like this break comes at a perfect time for him. Q is going to be tempted to ride him all 22 out of the break, but he can’t do that. We know what happens when the starts pile up for Crow, and he’s going to need a breather here and there before mid-April hits.
-Hmm, Kane misses his first game in forever and the Hawks don’t score. I feel like I want to say it’s more coincidental than anything. Or at least I want to believe that.
-Peter Regin was there, and somewhat tidy. But he’s just another square peg in the round hole of a 2nd line center. That’s not his game, we’ll see if he can make a fist of it. He’s also yet another guy that Q couldn’t wait to trot out on the power play, even though he has exactly one power play goal in his career. I guess there weren’t a ton of other options, though couldn’t Kruger or Smith at least get in front of the net?
-Bryan Bickell had a very effective game, and this break does come at a great time for him to get his knees in better shape.
-I think Shaw is going to need a few games at wing to figure it all out.
Right, that’s enough. We’re gonna take the weekend and I’ll be back Monday to start setting up our Olympic… whathaveya. You guys have a good one.