The Chicago Blackhawks received a hard slap of reality on Saturday night in Toronto. The Leafs came out with a strong effort and the lifeless Hawks could not be bothered to pushback and weather the storm.
A storm outside the building didn’t stop Leafs Nation getting to this Original 6 matchup. This was Chicago’s first visit in 3 years to the ACC so there was a great buzz in the air. Meanwhile, inside, the Hawks were without a heartbeat from the opening horn.
Full credit goes to Toronto playing their weekly national bout on this blustery Hockey Night in Canada. This was a game they needed to win and they were determined to change their losing ways in a big way.
The Blackhawks had to have known that this resistance and full-blown attack from Carlyle’s squad was upon them, however, they were anything but ready as they fell 7-3. The problem, outside of the score, is that there was no emotion whatsoever from the road team. They refused to hit, go to the dirty areas or even mix it up after the whistle. It’s like when your parents aren’t mad at you, they’re just disappointed. Get mad already Blackhawks!
Only without Bryan Bickell upfront, the Hawks look like a healthy team. Well that is other than their top two goalies – Crawford and Khabibulin. The latter has been less than stellar with Raanta being a better option since his call up to Chicago. Still, it was only a matter of time before the 24 year old Finn had a bad game.
Raanta and Simpson combined had seen less than 400 minutes in the NHL. That has to be terrifying if you’re Q behind the bench. Kent Simpson could someday be a great goalie, today as a 21 year old… he is not. He’s not ready for primetime yet and will be sent down to simmer and hone his skills.
Jason LaBarbera, who was acquired yesterday should be called up for spot duty until either of the Hawks top tenders are ready to see action. With almost 200 NHL games on those pads and 9000 more minutes of NHL game time than the current Hawks netminders, I don’t think there’s any question.
The Hawks will have to dig deep and come out with a full 60 minutes effort tonight against the red hot LA Kings. Let’s see if they’ve learned any lessons from that beatdown last night.
~ Of course the Hawks had to put fourth their worst effort of the year the only game I went to watch in person. It’s ok though guys, I don’t anticipate seeing any other games live this regular season, so we’re in the clear.
~ I love evaluating opposing teams’ fans as I walk into the belly of the beast. I was one of many Hawks fans making the trek to the ACC to watch the game. It was the most impressive fan support I have seen to date in Toronto. The fans could have been much worse considering the score, the stature of their opponent and the fact that they’ve had some hardships this season. Either that or I’m just used to blocking out Leafs fans’ mindless chirps and pie-in-the-sky scenarios. I still love the “if we would have beat Boston, we would have seen you in the Finals”. Ummmm it doesn’t work like that, but creative thinking!
~ I know it’s not an easy conversation for Q to have to his Captain, but it may be time for him to sit a game out and nurse whatever is ailing him. He’s clearly not himself and no need to force his way through this injury considering the team’s record.
Ty Cam out!
Filed Under: Chicago Blackhawks
About the Author: I am a rare Chicago Blackhawks fan from Canada, one might describe me as a hockey connoisseur and a solid checking line centre to your local rec hockey team. I once lived in a town of 500 people and now work in the hockey mecca that is Toronto. I work in the wonderful world of Advertising and these opinions are one of my own and not of my company - don't get it twisted.