First off, I want to apologize for my short hiatus. I am just coming off exams, which were a nightmare and I felt a compelling need to take off and hit the slopes for a few days. But I’m back and I have lots to talk about, plus Stan Cooper will be back this week with his first edition of “Uncle Cooper” which will cover a variety of topics so make sure you check back for those.
As for the game, it was a victory, we’ll take the two points. The Hawks got a powerplay goal, they killed off six penalties, Hossa scored his 400th career goal. It was a good victory but for me, it wasn’t exactly a satisfying victory.
There was certainly more good than bad in this game, which is always a plus. While the Hawks dominated most of the game, they found ways to hand momentum over to the Islanders late in the second period and throughout the third and eventually surrendered a two-goal lead, but were able to hold on to win in OT.
Although this game was better than the last effort against the Islanders, I still think it was much, much closer than it should have been. Team defense needs work and secondary scoring continues to be a problem. This is another example of the Hawks squeaking by on pure talent with minimal effort. This may work against bottom feeders like the Islanders, but against tougher opposition, it won’t fly.
A win is a win. But I’d like to see the Hawks start winning games with complete, team efforts, with everyone working hard and chipping in. We haven’t seen one of those in a while.
Some quick points:
- Congratulations to Marian Hossa on scoring his 400th career goal. Its probably not the way he wanted to get it, but at least he’ll have a funny story to tell people when he shows them the puck. Speaking of Hossa, he was a beast tonight at both ends of the ice. He played a part in all 3 Hawk goals. He had two very nice primary assists on Patrick Sharp’s goals. This is the Hossa we’ve all been waiting to see since he came to the Hawks. He’s on track for 34 goals and 84 points. Combine those numbers with Hossa’s defense and he becomes one of the most valuable players in the entire league. Lucky us.
- Ray Emery had another really strong outing. He can’t really be faulted for either Islander goal, which resulted from very poor point coverage, and he made some key saves throughout the game that prevented the Islanders from getting ahead. Word out of practice today is that Emery will be getting the start against the Sharks tomorrow. This is a double positive because not only do the Hawks have a reliable goalie they can turn to, but this buys some time for Crawford to work with goalie coach Stephane Waite to figure out whatever is ailing him.
- Niklas Hjalmarsson has been receiving a lot of flak lately but he’s responded really well with a couple of really solid performances. While I would still be open to the idea of trading Hammer to clear up some cap space and a spot on the blueline, if he continues playing the way he has lately, he could repair what was becoming a very untenable reputation with Hawks fans.
- The Hawks special teams are making a comeback. Their powerplay has gone from an abysmal 30th all the way up to 9th. They continue to average a powerplay goal per game and at this rate should have no problem finishing with a top five powerplay. Meanwhile, their penalty kill moved up to 27th after killing 6-of-6 against the Islanders. This is crucial because we all know how difficult winning can be with a terrible penalty kill.
- I really think the Hawks need to trade for a third line winger with some offensive upside as soon as possible. Their depth scoring is becoming a serious issue and solely relying on their big guns will eventually bite them in the ass, as it has already a few games this season. While Bolland’s line has been playing well and as been generating some chances, that line needs a more reliable finisher.
I’ll be back later this afternoon with another post.