The best thing about today is that it is no longer February! We thought January was not kind to the Blackhawks, after a great December, but my sweet Lord February was bad!! I am hopeful that last night goes a long way towards building a good month of March. The Blackhawks can no longer afford to give away points, and though it wasn’t pretty, they got 2 big points last night.
When this season is over, there are a lot of things that need to be looked at and addressed. The coaching staff is one of many things that need to go under the microscope. Besides the Rangers game, when was the last time the Blackhawks came out ready to play? The Hawks start almost every game like a beer league team with no direction or structure. Who is that a reflection on? The Hawks were almost doomed from the beginning by another slow start. Thankfully, Toronto is a not good hockey team and they let the Hawks get back into the game. It gets tougher this weekend with games in Ottawa and Detroit. Hopefully the Hawks don’t embarrass themselves.
- Andrew Brunette needs to stay on a line with goal scorers. The Blackhawks are 21-1-0 when Bruno gets a point. He is much better when he plays with the likes of a Patrick Kane or Marian Hossa. He has great vision and is not afraid to get to the dirty areas. These skills are lost when he is on the fourth line. If you put some talent around him good things will happen.
- Anyone else notice that Nick Leddy is a much better player when he gets involved in the offense?
- I thought the acquisition of Johnny Oduya would help relieve Duncan Keith of some minutes, guess not. Keith still played a whopping 29:50 last night. I think his playing time is a major factor on why he has been so inconsistent. Why did Sami Lepisto only play 9:26? He has proven that he can play at least 15 minutes. He isn’t the best but if he can take away 5 minutes a night from Duncan Keith it will do wonders down the road.
- Brandon Bollig did exactly what he was called up to do.
- Why can’t Bryan Bickell dish out big hits every night?
- Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa must have got the memo about how our big players need to start showing up. Stan Bowman sent a message that he believes in the players on this team and hopefully they listened. We need Kane, Hossa and Patrick Sharp to be at their very best for the next 17 games.
- I have no clue what is going with Corey Crawford. He looked great for 4 games by playing deep and being more patient. He went right back to coming out too far and flopping around last night. It looks like he is starting to become, dare I say, the Roberto Luongo of the Midwest. I know that is a horrible thing to say but it looks to me that Crow’s biggest problems are between his ears right now. Getting pulled in two straight starts doesn’t help either.
- Back to Sami Lepisto for a second, his one timer from the point led to Kane’s goal. I have been complaining all season on the lack of one timers from the defensemen. It seems every other defenseman likes to wait for the goalie to get set and a forward to get in the way before shooting. Steve Montador is the only other guy that seems to get this.
My Blackhawks Player of the Game
Ray Emery gets the nod after playing very well after Crawford was lifted. He gave the Blackhawks a bit of a spark by coming up with big saves when he needed them. Hopefully he provided the boost the Blackhawks need for the stretch run. I am pretty sure he will get the start in Ottawa on Friday night.
My Turd of the Game
Brent Seabrook was terrible last night and didn’t do his new teammate Johnny Oduya any favors. Toronto’s first goal was set up by Seabrook’s inability to clear the puck out of his own zone. This is a broken record that has plagued the Hawks all season long. Seabrook left Oduya out to dry on the Leafs’ second goal by being very indecisive. Seabrook and Oduya were on the ice for the first 3 Toronto goals but were able to finish the game even. It’s clear that this pair will not work. Put Nick Leddy back with Seabrook, he played his best hockey of the season when paired with Seabs.