I swear sometimes either Stan Bowman or Joel Quenneville read my posts. Thursday I laid into the Blackhawks about their horrible 1st periods and how they never seem to have a game plan. For once the Hawks came out in the 1st period with a mission statement; shoot the puck! They used their speed to gain the zone, made a pass, then got the rubber to the net. No three or four passes around the perimeter and no cute stuff. This is a game plan that should be used, well every single night!!
As much as the 1st periods have been bothering me, the 3rd periods are down right frightening right now. The last three games where the Blackhawks led going into the 3rd period (last night, Toronto and Dallas) they have taken their collective foot of the gas. It cost them the Dallas game, but they were able to hang on for wins against Ottawa and Toronto. The Blackhawks had 34 shots after 2 periods last night but only managed 5 in the 3rd. What happened to the team that was shooting the puck every chance they got in the first 40 minutes? They just sat back and hoped Ray Emery bailed them out and thankfully for the second straight game he did. This is not a strategy I am comfortable with nor will be successful. There is nothing wrong with adding to a 3rd period lead. Try it sometime boys, you might enjoy it!
- Ray Emery was solid again. In my opinion it is now his job to lose. Do I want Emery to our goalie going forward? Not really, but he is much more consistent than Corey Crawford. I will be very interesting to see what is done with the goalie situation in the off season. I have a few ideas, but that is for a later post.
- For the second straight game a Blackhawks defenseman bailed out Emery with a big save of their own. Sami Lepisto did it on Wednesday and Johnny Oduya did it last night. Hope Razor is buying you guys dinner!
- Speaking of the defense, still not a fan of how Q handles their playing time. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook played way too much in that 3rd period last night. Granted it was a one goal game, but you have to give these guys a breather. Lepisto has earned the right to play some more meaningful minutes so give him the chance. Lepisto and Dylan Olsen barely saw the ice in the 3td period.
- One last point on the D, it is obvious Nick Leddy can play with anyone but Niklas Hjalmarrson. I don’t know what it is about Hjammer that makes Leddy bad at hockey but they should never be paired up again. Leddy played his best hockey when he was with Seabrook and played a pretty good game with Oduya last night. I should sent Q a t-shirt that says “8 and 4, Nevermore!” just as a friendly reminder!
- I have written in the past about how the Hawks need to get a man below the goal line on the power play. Look what happened with both goals last night, on a delayed penalty and on the power play. When you force the opponent’s defensemen to turn around, you can sneak in front of the net for easy goals. This is something they need to do all the time!
- Again, someone needs to tell Bryan Bickell that the NHL season starts in October not February!
- Everyone knew Patrick Sharp was going to miss that penalty shot right? But he made up for it with assists on each of the Blackhawks goals. Sharp, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa have been difference makers the last 2 games and they have won both. Funny how that works!
- Andrew Brunette continues to excel with Kane and Hossa. If and when Jonathan Toews comes back, he should get another look on the top line with Toews and Kane. What he lacks in speed he makes up with hockey sense and making plays. I loved this signing in the summer and when Q uses him correctly he a valuable piece to this team.
- Not going to give out a player or a turd of the game today. Blame it on laziness or the fact that no one jumps off the page for either category. Yes Emery was good and Sharp had two assists so if you need a player of the game to make it through your day (God I hope that isn’t true for any of you) then those guys can split it. Maybe I am getting kinder of soft at my old age but I didn’t see anything worth ragging on for the TOTG. Don’t worry, the Hawks play the Wings tomorrow so there will be turds all over the place.