( Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune)

So, there isn’t any reason to rehash the shitshow from last night. Bartl already tried to drive most of you to suicide and I’m sure many of you have spent your day much as I have mine – trying to figure out exactly what the hell happened last night.

The Blackhawks were coming off a trip to Florida filled with distractions (did you hear it was Dad’s Weekend?) and played in two games which ended up being tougher than they should have been. They also played without their most valuable player in Duncan Keith. Still, the Hawks somehow managed to leave God’s waiting room with 3 out of a possible 4 points and headed back to Chicago entrenched in 1st place in the (currently weak) Central Division. The Canucks arrived in Chicago coming off horrible back to back losses to Minnesota and St. Louis and lost weapons grade douchebag Alex Burrows in the St. Louis game. They were also playing without Sami Salo who has been out with a groin injury and fell below .500 upon losing to the Blues. With all of this in mind, some Vancouver blogs practically began conceding defeat hours before the game even started. The truth looking back is that even with the Canucks not having Mason Raymond, Salo (groin) or Burrows, the Hawks were going to be up against it last night. The Canucks came in desperately needing a win and the Hawks were rounding out a working-vacation. Maybe it should have been more obvious to everyone that it was going to be a tough night. The Blackhawks sucked from the opening draw and continued to suck right up until the closing seconds of the game. Vancouver (specifically their special teams) was ruthlessly efficient and opportunistic all night long. End of story.

Normally, you try to immediately forget a game like this, but it isn’t easy to do when the loss is at the hands of a team like Vancouver or Detroit. Hopefully the stank  can be expunged with strong outings against some truly awful opponents this week with games against the Blues, Blue Jackets and Flames. So far, the Hawks have taken full advantage of their soft easy schedule and need to keep that going this week. If you’re the brooding type like me, the wait for Canucks revenge won’t be long as the circus trip brings the Hawks to Vancouver on the 16th.

A few things :

♦The Blues have a new coach! Unfortunately that coach in Ken Hitchcock. You may remember him from stints in Dallas and Columbus. His teams are usually on the extreme end of boring to watch. If the Red Wings do indeed leave for the Eastern Conference next season, the Hawks main division rivals will probably be the Blues and the Predators. I can hardly wait to sit through 12 games “rivalry games” where the opponent is playing trap hockey. Damn that pisses me off.  Anyways, the Blues have their new coach and he will make his debut at home against the Blackhawks tomorrow night. Teams often start strongly under new leadership so the Hawks will have to come into this game ready to play. Corey Crawford is generally good in games after a loss so there is your reason for optimism.

♦ The Hawks defense has been lost since Duncan Keith went down. It sounds like Keith may return tomorrow night and we should all thank the hockey gods for that. The most welcome news the Hawks have had in quite some time is the possibility of a Keith/Seabrook reunion with a second pair consisting of Nick Leddy and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Anything to avoid seeing more of a Leddy and Sean O’Donnell pairing. Steve Montador looked to be the odd man out in practice today even though he has been much better than OD the past few games. OD started strong but has been downright awful at times in the last week. Go figure that out.

♦ The great debate continues to rage about Hjalmarsson and his supposed regression. One of the things you often here said when discussing Hjammer is that he just has not been the same player since being suspended after the 3rd game of last season for his hit on Jason Pominville. This excuse seems way to simple and it is extremely hard to believe that that this one relatively minor incident caused Hjammer that much trauma. But if unfortunately that is the case, Hjammer needs to get the hell over it. We aren’t paying Doug Wilson prices for a Hjammer that is afraid to get yelled at. Talk to a sports shrink or do whatever it is you need to do to move on. We need 09-10 Hjammer back…and soon! But like I said, I don’t believe Hjammer’s troubles can be explain that easily. It should also be noted that Hjammer was a -3 in the opener last year against Colorado and a -1 on banner night against the Wings. Going into the Buffalo game he was a -4, not exactly riding along in 2009-2010 form. Also, why have we never heard of other players having these sorts of long lasting problems coming off suspensions? It doesn’t make sense.

♦ Super interesting lines today at practice. I was surprised to see the Dave Bolland line broken up, but I suppose Bryan Bickell did play like a complete buffoon last night. Rusty Olesz looks like he will get a shot for the first time since the Jets game on the newly formed checking line. If it is true that Olesz was sitting because his defense was so poor, what does it say about Viktor Stalberg that Joel Quenneville plugged Olesz in that spot over him on a line with an obvious defensive liability in Andrew Brunette? Lots of responsibility for the left winger on that line, no?

Dan Carcillo and Jamal Mayers both dropped the gloves last night. Admit it, it was fun! Carcillo was awarded a victory over Aaron Volpatti by the voters at hockeyfights.com, but Kevin Biesksa got the victory over Mayers.

♦ BEAR DOWN