Photo: AP

On Saturday evening, Jeff was having his weekly psychotic episode. These almost always include (but are not limited to) alcohol, friends, and the Michigan State Spartans football game. This one was particularly bad, as the Spartans went down 14 – 0 in the first 7 minutes of the game, rallied to a 31 – 14 lead — which they then blew in the fourth quarter, only to win against #6 Wisconsin on the already-legendary Hail Mary pass with no time left on the clock.

I’ve spoken to the doctors, and Jeff may be well enough to take visitors as early as tomorrow afternoon. But in the mean time, your fix of “Boxing” will be delayed until after the Ducks game on Tuesday.

I know, you’re disappointed, for the second time. As the Blackhawks were not able to pull together the same fate as MSU: they also came from behind, they also blew a late-game lead, but lost 5 – 4 in a shootout to Colorado. This defeat was much the same as Thursday’s victory, but the bounces went against the Blackhawks this time.

There was another strange similarity between the Blackhawks and the Spartans last night: neither team incurred a single penalty. Chicago also added a power play goal (on three PP opportunities) when Jonathan Toews smacked home the rebound off a Duncan Keith slapper from the point.

That goal came 8 seconds into the Colorado penalty. Keep an eye on that little factoid: you’ll find that the ‘Hawks score their power play goals in the first 15 seconds of a power play more often than not.

The “bad bounces” I referred to really did go both ways. The second Colorado goal was a stuff attempt that flipped up in the air, then bobbled up and around Corey Crawford and finally into the net as he scrambled to recover it. But Chicago’s third goal came on a shot from Jamal Mayers that deflected off two Colorado players and snuck behind Semyon Varlamov. So that more or less ended up as a wash.

No, what really beat the Blackhawks was Gabriel Landeskog’s third period goal that tied the game with under 2 minutes left. This was a breakdown of such startling proportions it deserves more thorough attention. The play in question starts at 1:40 of the video below, go ahead and watch:

We start with Colorado coming out of their own zone. Duncan Keith, playing left D, takes the man with the puck and sticks with him as he cuts to the right side. This is where everything goes to complete shit.

When Keith moves to the right side, the responsibility to cover his side falls to either his winger (notice right now that the winger in question,  Viktor Stalberg, is 15 feet behind the play and dogging it back to his own zone) or Keith’s defensive partner Nick Leddy. Watch what Leddy does: nothing. He stays on the right side of the ice, skating backwards, watching the play and thinking to himself, “Wow! This is exciting!” He may as well be signing autographs in Section 202 with a pen duct-taped to his weiner for all the good he’s doing out there now.

Not that there isn’t more blame to go around! Andrew Brunette is headed to the same side of the ice to help cover the open man on the boards at the blue line. But if he’s paying attention, he’ll realize that Leddy is fucking up and Stalberg is dogging it, and look behind him. And yes, even our venerable Captain Jonathan Toews, is the absolute LAST GUY out of the Colorado zone, and continues to skate back like Brian Boitano and watch the play as if it’s a rerun of “Murder She Wrote.”

So 18-year-old rookie pain in the ass Gabriel Landeskog has fully one quarter of the ENTIRE ICE SURFACE to himself, catches the pass from the off wing, and marches in for a breakaway shot that he buries past a helpless and stranded Corey Crawford. Who, as a matter of pure trivia, is the only guy on the ice doing his Goddamned job.

This is probably the play that set Head Coach Joel Quenneville off like a roman candle during the post-game presser, and you can bet that the team will be watching this video and hearing a rather unpleasant play-by-play from Q in the process.

The next tilt for the Blackhawks is on Tuesday when the Anaheim Ducks come to town. 7:30 puck drop at the U.C. Let’s hope the team works on a few defensive drills before then. Judging by Q’s comments, we won’t need to worry about that.

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