Aside from the occasional bursts of momentum that only lasted a minute or two, the Hawks looked a step behind all night. Maybe it was the fatigue of playing the night before. Maybe it was a general unwillingness to compete with the Preds’ hard working, physical style. Maybe it was both, it sure looked like it. Either way, the Hawks were preyed upon by the hungry Predators without much of a fight.
A couple of Hawks had some jump in their step, notably Marian Hossa, Viktor Stalberg, Marcus Kruger, Andrew Shaw and a couple others, but overall the team looked tired and uninterested. Considering the standings right now, not getting the two points really hurt and it will probably be like that for the rest of the year unfortunately.
The Hawks will have a rematch with the Preds on Tuesday at the UC. After that they have a week off for the All-Star break and then they hit the road for 9 straight games, which really sucks.
– First thing is first, everyone please pray, to whatever deity you pray to, that Jonathan Toews isn’t seriously hurt. Losing the Captain would be catastrophic. Fortunately the All-Star break is coming up, so if he is injured but its not serious, revoke his ticket to Ottawa and have him take the week to rest, because the Hawks will definitely need him on the upcoming 9-game road trip they have. And if he is seriously injured…. I don’t even want to think about.
– Some pretty bad tending from Corey Crawford last night. He looked really shaky all night and was coughing up rebounds like a pez dispenser. At this point, I’d say the Hawks have to ride Ray Emery over the next few weeks. Crawford has become far too inconsistent for anyone to defend him anymore. I’m not saying he shouldn’t play, but I’d advocate for Emery getting the lion’s share of the starts from here on out. And if Crawford hasn’t figured it out by April, then Emery gets the reigns for the playoffs and we cross our fingers.
– Marian Hossa was a beast as usual and was arguably the best player on the ice all night. His line in general was pretty good but he was stellar. Last night was a really great example of just how complete of a player Hossa is. He was noticeable forechecking and backchecking, made some excellent plays to his linemates the puck and two goals to cap it off. Great night for Hossa. Too bad the team couldn’t reward his effort with a victory.
– I’m over talking about the miscues of “the Nicks” (Leddy and Hjalmarsson). They’re a reoccuring thing. They go away for a couple games but then come back in full force and cost the Hawks a goal or two. It should be pretty obvious by now that Leddy is still over his head and needs easier assignments, while Hjalmarsson has his own problems and isn’t the type to be bailing his partner out. The solution: trade for a top four d-man to give Hjalmarsson the help he needs and bump Leddy down to the third pair where he’ll have easier assignments.
– I hate the fact that these two teams have to play each other four more times. Not only is Nashville one of the most uninteresting teams in the league, but their jerseys are disgusting.
– The Western Conference is ridiculous. On Friday night the Hawks were in 1st place in both the conference and the division. After last night the Hawks dropped 3rd in their division and 5th in the conference. That’s after one game. That’s how tight it is.
– I spoke to a friend of mine yesterday who’s a sports journalist in Toronto and has contacts in a few organizations around the league to get his thoughts on the trade market. He attribute the lack of trades to the uncertainty of a lot of teams about whether they should be buyers or sellers and mentioned that the majority of teams out there are looking to buy and make a run for the playoffs, even the ones that should be sellers. So it looks like the Hawks are going to have some major competition for the players they want.
– From what I’ve heard it looks like the Hawks are going after a bottom-pairing-type defenseman, which makes absolutely no sense. Their problem isn’t depth or the third pairing like it was last year. The problem is the second pairing, which is far too weak for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. And if the Hawks do feel their depth is an issue, acquiring a legitimate top four d-man solves that problem too by forcing either Leddy or Hjalmarsson down the depth chart. Acquiring another fifth or sixth defenseman is the ultimate redundancy and does nothing to fix the real problem. However, with Beauchemin now supposedly off the market due to his extension, the price of a top four-calibre, shutdown defenseman just skyrocketed. As of right now there are only a handful of possibilities: Bryan Allen from Carolina, Pavel Kubina or Eric Brewer from Tampa and Hall Gill from Montreal. In terms of guys that are available that fit the description of what the Hawks are looking for, that’s it. Get out your wallet Bowman.
Thanks for reading.