I am sure going to miss the Columbus Blue Jackets the rest of the season. How has this team won a single game this year? The Blackhawks have stomped them like a narc at a biker rally all season long. It is a very impressive feat to sweep a six game series from any team and to outscore them 31-10 makes it even sweeter. There are a lot of problems with this Blue Jackets franchise and it definitely will not be a quick fix. They need hockey’s version of Theo Epstein, who apparently isn’t Brian Burke. Don’t look now but the Hawks are just 2 points behind both the Red Wings and the Predators for 4th place in the Western Conference. I know I have been saying that the 6th spot is the best for the Hawks but I wouldn’t complain about the 4th seed as long as Detroit is the 5th seed. It will be very interesting to watch these teams down the stretch. The Blackhawks are playing their best hockey of the season at the right time of year, and without Jonathan Toews. On to the observations before previewing tonight’s game against the Canucks.
- The 3rd line of Andrew Shaw, Dave Bolland, and Bryan Bickell have been on the ice for 5 goals in the last 2 games. They have had some great chemistry as of late. This is the type of line that can be very effective in the playoffs. Look for this line to get a lot of action tonight against Vancouver.
- Corey Crawford was pretty good again last night. He had to make a few good saves in the first period after the Hawks got sloppy in their own zone. He looked very confident handling the puck too. He started a couple of rushes with good, crisp passes out of his own zone. Doesn’t look like Crow is meant to pitch any shutouts this year. I would much rather have him rack up a couple in the playoffs when they really matter. I got a feeling Crow will get the nod again tonight. He has been well rested and the Hawks don’t play again until Sunday.
- Seems like the Blackhawks finally realized that good starts lead to success in the standings. My only concern has been the 2nd periods following great 1st periods. It looked like the Blackhawks forgot what got them a 3 goal in the 2nd period, and that was firing the puck at the net. After 3 goals on 10 shots in the 1st, the Hawks only put up 5 shots in the 2nd. Taking periods off will kill you in the playoffs.
- Patrick Sharp hit the 30 goal mark for the second straight season and 3rd time in his career. The deal to acquire Sharp from the Flyers for Matt Ellison and a 3rd round pick has to go down as one of the best trades in team history.
- How in the hell did Steve Mason beat out Kris Versteeg for the Calder trophy? Looks like he will join the list of Calder winning “greats” like Andrew Raycroft and Sergei Samsonov. He is a hot mess and Pat Foley has no problem telling you about how bad he is either!
- 2 power play goals for the Blackhawks last night, that’s right I said 2. The first unit seems to be improving with the play of Shaw, Sharp and Marian Hossa. We will get a better measuring stick tonight against the Canucks.
- Brandon Bollig had almost has many shots as he had penalty minutes, with 4 shots and a 5 minute major. Who knew?
- Congrats to Marian Hossa for notching 900 career points with his goal and assist last night. 900 points in 967 games is pretty impressive. Hoss currently sits 9th in points for active players.
My Blackhawks Player of the Game
Duncan Keith had a career high 4 assists last night. I was more excited by the 21:37 of ice time. The defense has a whole was much more involved in the offense. The Blackhawks always seem to have greater team success when the blue liners are chipping in with the puck as well.
My Turd of the Game
Darryl Boyce is a real tough guy for hitting Nick Leddy from behind in the 3rd period. Leddy did not return to the game after getting drilled and there has been no update so far today. Boyce was waived by Toronto a couple of weeks ago and apparently the only place to go if the Leafs don’t want you is Columbus, just ask Brett Lebda. Lebda went from the Red Wings to the Leafs to the Blue Jackets. Talk about going reserve down the hockey food chain.