Ladies and gentleman, these are your Chicago Blackhawks. You’ve watched this team succeed with and without Marian Hossa and Dave Bolland, with and without Cam Barker and Kim Johnsson.
And yes, you’ve seen the Blackhawks succeed WITH Cristobal Huet and Antti Niemi. Nothing has changed. There are no more talks of trades to make “improvement” to the goaltending situation. I’ve said it before, but now it really rings true — either get behind this team, or consider yourself ignored if the ‘Hawks make a Cup run. No more cynicism. This is it. Deal with it.
If the Blackhawks brass was so worried this team couldn’t win with what it has, Stan Bowman would have hit the panic button and overpaid for a goaltender at the deadline. Since he didn’t and the Blackhawks stood their ground, maybe now everyone will realize their constant bitching isn’t being heard, and definitely isn’t appreciated.
Once again the meatballs were out in full force tonight when Huet gathered in trickling pucks to sarcastic cheers. I won’t sit here and say the ‘Hawks 5-3 loss Tuesday to the Islanders showed any signs of good goaltending. Both Niemi and Huet played like dog shit. It’s going to happen, and they won’t make every save. Georges Vezina has a damn trophy named after him, and even he lost games and had shitty performances.
Tonight, Huet gave up two goals on 14 shots. The first goal was controversial, but it probably shouldn’t have slipped through. The second goal came off yet another in-zone turnover, this time by Niklas Hjalmarsson passing to the middle of the ice when he had a great clearing chance along the boards available. Huet faced a sudden one-on-one from less than 10 feet away. Not many goalies make that save.
EDIT: I was at the game and wrote this immediately after. I missed the slash on Hammer until seeing the highlights this morning. My bad, Hammer. I love you. No harm meant.
Even so, I’ll take the Blackhawks goaltenders giving up two goals any night. Why? Because the ‘Hawks way more often than not put up three or more — like they did tonight.
Hossa scored on a hell of a wrister, then later assisted beautifully on Bolland’s first goal since returning from back surgery. Hjalmarsson redeemed himself and scored the game-winning goal just 20 seconds in to the third period. Dustin Byfuglien and Jonathan Toews added some insurance as the ‘Hawks exploded for three in the closing period.
The goaltending wasn’t even a thought, seeing as the Blackhawks must have forgotten they were playing a glorified AHL squad. Sheldon Souray was out, and the Oilers started rookie Devan Dubnyk, who came into Wednesday’s game with a 0-6-1 record. Yet after two periods, the Blackhawks found themselves tied 2-2. Luckily they broke the game open in the third so I didn’t have to kill people on my way out of the UC.
- Meatballs. From Fork over at Hockee Night:
Where there is panic, there is no room for logic. This leads to that buddy of yours staying with a girlfriend he can’t stand, because he’s afraid he’ll be alone. It’s what keeps people in jobs they hate, because they’re afraid they won’t get another one. It’s how people get hosed buying a car or a house, because they’re afraid they’ll miss out if they don’t agree to terms right now.
It’s what makes otherwise sane people think the team with the second-best goals against average in the NHL can somehow improve with a retread like Dwayne Roloson or Marty Turco.
Seriously everyone…chill the fuck out.
Again, the panic. Look, with tonight’s win, the Hawks moved into a tie for first place in the Western Conference. This is one helluva hockey team. And that’s top to bottom. Now they’re getting healthy, and they are going into the home stretch. Like the goaltending or hate the goaltending, but learn to love the goaltending, because this is what we’ve got until the last handshake like.
And if the Hawks get to the Promised Land, I hope we find out how “Kiss my ass” sounds in French and Finnish.
- How about THAT, Q-Stache?! You don’t put forwards on the point of the power play and it actually looks good! You might be onto something here! (Please, please keep it like this.)
- Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Toews looked great tonight. Tomas Kopecky and Ben Eager didn’t.
- When the hell is John Madden coming back? I miss him. A lot.
- The beautiful Chelsea McDougall, who attended her first-ever Blackhawks game with me tonight because she’s fucking awesome.
- It’s back to the UC this Friday against Vancouver, which also stood pretty firm at the trade deadline, but probably shouldn’t have. I always love the lead up to playing the Canucks, though. It gives me a chance to constantly make fun of the Ambiguously Incestuous Duo known as Daniel and Henrik Sedin.