Blackhawks Lose Game & Keith

By Joe Kremel

June 4, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) moves the puck against the defense of Los Angeles Kings center Dwight King (74) during the second period in game three of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I might as well just get it out of the way.  Duncan Keith gave in to a moment of anger that went bad, and now he is looking at a one game suspension.  What he did was something that happens rather often during a game, especially a playoff game, but this one ended up badly.  For those who missed it, Keith took a slash from Carter while picking up his glove, and Keith reacted with a love tap back with his stick.  Unfortunately, Keith didn’t get just his arm, he also caught Carter in the mouth.  Carter was left with one lost tooth, three cracked teeth, and twenty stitches.  Even before Carter hit the ice, Keith’s body language was apologetic.  This was an accident, but it did happen.  My problem comes from the fact that this was clearly an accident; even the Kings Coach said he didn’t expect any supplemental discipline.  Here’s my take on what the punishment should have been (sorry for the typo).

Kings fans jumped on the “Hawks are dirty” bandwagon.  I don’t see how they are going to get all bent out of shape over that play.  They need to realize that pokes, slashes, and hooks are happening all over the ice throughout the playoffs.  If they wanted to call for a suspension against the Hawks during these playoffs, then they should have done it on the Andrew Shaw slew foot in the Red Wings series.  Either way, the NHL views this mishap as reckless, while the intentional slash to Keith will go ignored.  Keith’s prior history with retaliation came back to haunt him in this situation.  At the same time, Taylor Hall got away with a double handed over head chop on Zbynek Michalek without the NHL office even looking at it.  No penalty, no suspension, no hearing.  The Wheel of justice is still alive in the NHL.

Here’s the video of the Taylor Hall slash.

Hey look, some hockey happened as well last night!  I’ll keep this short and to the point.  Hawks struggled to match the Kings’ energy, and this shouldn’t have been a surprise for the Hawks.  The way the Kings play in their building is well documented, so I’m not sure what was being said in the team meetings.  The Hawks struggled with puck control all night, but had some decent opportunities, especially in the third.  Bickell continues to assert his dominance throughout the playoffs.  Which sucks if you had hopes of keeping him in Chicago next year.  The Hawks know what they need to do to win game four, and I have a feeling they will crack the Kings.  They broke Quick’s streak in Chicago by scoring four on him.  Now, its time to break their home ice win streak.  Every team is bound to have a bad game, and the Hawks rarely have two in a row.  It’s only a matter of time before Kane and Toews find the back of the net.  The Kings have one slow defensemen on each line, so eventually the Hawks will catch one pinching and with their speed get a good scoring opportunity.  The Hawks just need to keep moving their legs, and we’ve seen the Hawks do just that in their five game win streak.

Some points of interest.

  • The Hawks were losing the puck when left alone and standing still. Multiple times that happened, and if the Hawks can fine tune their puck control, we should be fine in game four.
  • The Kings reinforce the theory that they are really good at home as opposed to the road.  Crow shows his frustration with the Hawks’ defensive efforts. Mandatory Credit: AP PhotoMark J. Terrill
  • Kane looks like he’s struggling to find an open man when paired with Handzus, at least while on the rush. Time to move Kane to a faster line?
  • Crawford continues to hold his own, but showed some frustration with his teammates’ efforts.  His reaction to the second goal was probably mimicking that of the Hawks fans watching it.
  • Hjalmarsson was practicing today after having taken a slapshot to the inside of his knee and didn’t look too bad.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen another human that has absorbed as much kinetic energy through blunt objects and continue to live outside of Kevin Bacon’s character from X-Men: First Class.
  • The Kings weren’t looking that great at the dot coming into this series, but they are making us look terrible.  When Andrew Shaw is your star face off guy… your team is in trouble at the dot.
  • Kings had eight takeaways, Hawks had one.  I know real time stats aren’t completely accurate, but that roughly matches the eye test.
  • Sharp’s injury scare wasn’t fun to see.  The whole sport of hockey felt a little less handsome when he was back in the dressing room.
  • Anyone else feel that the lack of hustle on the empty netter was a bit distressing? Maybe it was just the angle of the feed I was watching, but it didn’t look like anyone was too concerned with getting back.

The Hawks had numerous scoring chances in the final eight minutes of the third, so there’s no reason to think the Kings are unbeatable at home.  The Hawks had a bad start, and they seemed a little out of sorts.  I expect a much better showing in game four.  What’s your opinion on the Keith incident? Who should Kane be playing with? Let us know your opinion.