Now that all of our loved ones are letting us have sharp objects without supervision again following the manic-depressive episode that was the 7 – 5 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, it’s time to load up on mood stabilizers and settle in for the re-match: Blackhawks vs. Avalanche at the United Center tonight, 7:30pm.
As for me, they’ve taken off the restraints, I’ve written an apology to that bus full of pre-schoolers (most of whom won’t need counseling, it turns out), and my lawyer thinks he can get the charges dropped as long as I promise never to go within 1000 yards of a meat packing plant again. Something tells me they’ll leave the restraining order in place, however.
Monday’s loss was a 60-minute microcosm of every single thing that’s gone wrong with the Blackhawks’ season so far. Obscene defensive lapses; one-and-done goaltending; allowing goals against mere seconds after we’ve scored one ourselves; I could fill up several pages. There were highlights, namely Troy Brouwer’s emergence and Jeremy Morin’s hustle (funny how his name keeps coming up, isn’t it?), but for the most part this was a near-cataclysmic disaster.
In his “Boxing” article, Jeff suggested making the team walk home. I say, take their shoes away from them first.
The main point of discussion coming out of Monday’s blood bath was Marty Turco. He let in 4 goals on 10 shots in his first start in nearly two weeks. The discussion surrounds whether he had any chance on those four goals, or if he was essentially left to fend for himself while the rest of the team stood around discussing whether Kate Gosselin is an opportunistic fame-hound or a genuinely conscientious parent caught in a bad set of circumstances.
I watched the replays of all of Turco’s goals, and I urge you to do the same. The fourth goal was, in my opinion, a matter of rebound control: he keeps that first shot covered up, or directs it into the corner, and there’s no goal. But the rest of them are the team’s fault, not Marty Turco’s. When you have four players standing flat-footed in a very orderly trapezoid in front of your goal, facing the boards I might add, as an opposing forward skates straight through the middle of them, takes a pass from behind the net and pops it gleefully past your goaltender, something is dreadfully wrong.
I feel bad for Marty, having been left to fend for himself like some stray dog on his first night back in a starting role. He didn’t deserve that kind of treatment, and the team should really be ashamed of itself.
There’s further support to this in that the team continued to abandon its defensive responsibilities even after Corey Crawford was put in, and the tying and winning goal for the Avalanche were a result of the exact same problem. Nonetheless, I’m sure it will continue to be debated until Turco gets another start, and maybe even after that. But it won’t be resolved tonight, however: Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks — and one can assume, for the foreseeable future.
One item of note aside from the defensive apocalypse: newly-arrived Capitals transplant Tomas Fleischmann, who I mentioned on Monday, had a hand in the last three of Colorado’s goals — scoring the first and assisting on the last two. Other than Matt Duchene and Paul Statsny, this is another weasel we need to keep contained this evening.
Youngster Jeremy Morin and the not-quite-as-impressive Ryan Potulny were sent down to Rockford on Tuesday. This is part of the Salary Cap Two-Step: Morin was recalled this morning; Potulny, not so much. That means we’re likely to see Dave Bolland back in the lineup tonight. He was skating at practice along with Patrick Kane and Fernando Pisani, but Bolland is the only one confirmed to be in the roster.
You should expect to see a lot of tonight’s game looking like we’re playing short-handed. I half expect Coach Joel Quenneville to have announced a $100 fine for any player caught skating past the red line. I predict a 1 – 0 loss for our boys on home ice: let’s hope I’m wrong.
And forgive me, but if Duchene and Statsny do that butt-banger dance at any point during or after the game, I would like John Scott to spear both of them through the eye socket. There’s no place for that kind of shit in hockey. You look like a couple of fifth-grade girls who just won a soccer game.
The traditional 7:30pm puck drop for the rematch tonight. Once again the rat bastard idiots have relegated the Blackhawks to Comcast SportsNet “Plus” — which feels a lot like “Minus” if you asked me — so click here to find which channel they have relegated the Stanley Cup Champions to. Broadcast radio is WGN AM-720, and XM subscribers look for the game on channel 207.