Photo: Karl B DeBlaker / AP

Hi folks. Bartl is gone for the weekend so this was a perfect chance to break in the new guy-me. I’m Jim, the newest and least worthy writer here at Cheer the Anthem. Boxing will return next week so in the meantime you’re stuck with me. Lets get right to it:

After dominating the opening shift, the Hawks spent the rest of the next 7 minutes getting schooled by the Hurricanes in their own zone. A little over 3 minutes in, Marcus Kruger lost a draw and then failed to tie up Tim Brent, which led to a fluky goal by Tim Gleason. Gleason ripped a low shot past Corey Crawford which was redirected off the skate of Nick Leddy. Immediately following the next faceoff, Sean O’Donnell committed an inexcusable giveaway which very easily could have ended with the Hawks trailing by 2, but the Hurricanes couldn’t convert on the  chances. With five and a half minutes remaining in the opening frame, Daniel Carcillo’s stick came up and clipped Jordan Staal’s face, which led to a high sticking double minor – mistakenly assessed to Patrick Kane. The Hawks penalty kill did not disappoint and successfully killed off the Carolina power play which was short its best player in Staal. Corey Crawford was solid all period and was the only reason the Hawks escaped down only one.

The second frame opened with Corey Crawford turning away everything Carolina sent his way – making a couple of spectacular saves in the process. As was the case in the 1st, the Hawks didn’t really have anything going for the first 10 minutes. Viktor Stalberg was moved up to the 2nd line – for one shift. He was promptly demoted back to the 4th line and Carcillo returned to left wing with Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa.  A terrible hooking call on Brent Seabrook resulted in a Jordan Staal penalty shot late in the period that Crawford denied. Staal got Crawford down and out but simply couldn’t elevate the puck over the blocker of Crawford.

Things looked up after Brandon Sutter took a tripping penalty on Patrick Sharp early in the 3rd. The Hawks power play, accustomed to sucking, actually generated a good sequence but was unable to beat Cam Ward.  Then disaster struck as coming out of the box, Sutter punked Seabrook and moved in all alone on Crawford, beating him stick side  over the blocker.  The Hawks couldn’t get anything going after that even with Sharp, Kane and Jonathan Toews reunited on the top line. The dagger tonight came with a little more than 5 minutes remaining when Sean O’Donnell, once again, was caught so deep in the offensive zone that even Bryan Allen (very slow) was able to lead a 2-1 the other way. The ensuing goal never would have happened had O’Donnell made even half an effort to backcheck after his error, but he watched Allen drift outside as Jiri Tlusty moved into the slot and tapped the Allen pass past Crawford who had no chance. With that the game effectively ended.

This was a game the Hawks will want to put out of their minds as soon as possible.  They get a chance at redemption tomorrow at United Center against a  (try not to laugh) James Wisniewski-led Columbus Blue Jackets team. The Blue Jackets just had their longest winning streak of the season, one game, snapped and will be looking to get back on track. They will likely face Ray Emery in what will presumably be his second outing of the season. Tim will be around with a preview of the contest.

A couple of thoughts before I leave here and forget all about this damn game:

  • The Blackhawks have not won a game in Carolina since the Clinton presidency.
  • Carcillo got a little, uh, overzealous with his hit on Joni Pitkanen behind the Hurricanes net in the early moments of the game.
  • The most amusing moment of the 1st period was watching Juri Tlusty take a run at Brent Seabrook – a poor decision that ended with Tlusty flat on his back.
  • The Toews line had two absolutely dominant shifts for an otherwise nonexistent offense in the 1st period. Most of their success stemmed from work in the corners and behind the net. The Blackhawks need more of this from their 1st line.
  • I mentioned it already, but the call on Seabrook which led to the Carolina penalty shot was awful. Seabrook went out of his way NOT to hook Staal. Thankfully, Staal couldn’t convert as a late goal could have had a devastating effect on the Hawks going into the intermission. …not that it mattered.
  • Pat Foley made a joke about Jussi Jokinen’s name that was so terrible even Edzo could hardly fake a laugh.
  • Speaking of Foley, he was more opinionated than we’ve seen him in a very long time tonight. Just before the final Carolina goal, he called for the Hawks to start taking more chances and was clearly irate about the Seabrook hooking call. He also didn’t seem very happy with his audio crew.
  • Very few upsides tonight outside of the solid play of Corey Crawford. Q juggled the lines to no avail. He doesn’t really have any options other than moving up Stalberg into the Carillo spot which never ends well.
  • Is anyone happier that John Scott and Rusty Olesz are Blackhawks than Stalberg? As long as Q can’t bring himself to dress Rusty, Stalberg’s spot in the lineup will be safe – and they can’t dress Scott at left wing on a regular basis.
  • Detroit lost tonight…so not all is lost.

Overtime: Thanks again to Bartl and Tim for having me on the site. Hopefully the Hawks playing their worst game of the season on the day of my arrival was just a coincidence and not some horrible omen.