The Hawks lose again as their best players were missing in action in Anaheim. Some of the Hawks stars haven’t returned from Christmas break while others have been on a longer hiatus. Corey Crawford did his best to back stop the Hawks but mistakes and a lack of effort for the entire sixty minutes spoiled his return to action.
The Hawks did play with some desperation. But the desperation switch wasn’t flipped until the final period. The Hawks aren’t good enough to beat many teams with a part time effort.
When teams struggle to win goals are usually in short supply. This magnifies every mistake.
A bad line change and a brain cramp by the Hawks top defensive duo, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, allowed the Ducks’ Corey Perry to score the winning goal. At the time it seemed like the Hawks could still bounce back. After all the Ducks aren’t a powerhouse and they were also without their best player.
But Jonas Hiller was outstanding as the Ducks’ goalie wouldn’t cave in. Hiller wouldn’t allow the Hawks any hope and he sealed the victory for the Ducks.
The Hawks are in a funk and whatever can go bad will, and it has.
Last night players who aren’t proven scorers had the game on their sticks and failed to convert.
Jack Skille was stopped despite having a wide open net to shoot at, although Skille created the chance. Skille played a good game and is doing what he can. But that doesn’t mean he will often be successful in scoring goals.
Viktor Stalberg was also buzzing around last night. Stalberg shot at an open net only to hit the blade of Dave Bolland’s stick. Bolland’s blade was about the only thing that could have prevented Stalberg from scoring an important goal.
The Hawks were credited with 40 shots on goal, 19 coming in the final frame. Taking almost 50% of shots during the final twenty minutes normally is a bad sign.
Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane had two shots each.
The efforts of Bryan Bickell, Dave Bolland and Stalberg accounted for 15 shots.
Simply put the Hawks are out of whack. The effort is there at times but so are the mistakes.
The best players have disappeared. The Blackhawks’ physical play has vanished as well. The Hawks were outhit 29-15 as only four of twelve forwards registered a hit.
The Hawks can’t play a solid puck possession game if they continually lose faceoffs.
The dismal results at the dot….Patrick Sharp 21%, Tomas Kopecky 25%, Dave Bolland 31%. As a team the Hawks won only 36% of faceoffs.
The only centers which win draws, Jake Dowell and Ryan Johnson play the least.
Like I said things are out of whack.
Onto LA and it looks like Jonathan Toews could be back in action. I watched an interview with Toews between periods and the look on his face said he wasn’t going to wait to be 100% healthy to return.
Joel Quenneville appeared to be a magician last season. Every lineup decision and line combination seemed to work. This year Quenneville’s approach sometimes seems as scattered as the performances of his club.
Hopefully the Hawks turn on the desperation switch at the start of tonight’s contest.
The Hawks signed highly touted prospect Dylan Olsen to an Entry Level Contract (ELC). After the World Junior Tourney, Olsen will report to Rockford.
It was reported in the The Third Man In.com, Olsen wasn’t going to be academically eligible to play in the second semester. I don’t know if that is a fact but it would be a reason for him to suddenly turn pro.
It was also pointed out the Hawks are at the 50 man roster limit. If another player were to be added someone would have to go.
Olsen probably has had a lot on his mind lately and his play in the tournament has been spotty.
Someday Olsen could become exactly what the Hawks need. A big crease clearing defenseman who can play top four minutes. Olsen plays mean.
I don’t know how soon that day will come.
But if it is soon Stan Bowman could go out this summer and fill a need.
Niklas Hjalmarsson would become expendable and he wouldn’t be difficult to trade.
Bowman could then try to acquire a big second line center who plays with an edge. Also this center should be able to win faceoffs.
For now Jordan Hendry put on his defenseman skates last night for the first time since Nov. 1. Hendry looked rusty but played as well as could be expected. Two months is a long time to not play your regular position.
Just another of the many things which seem …..Out of whack.
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