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Is that sour taste out of your mouth yet? Yeah, it’s not out of mine either. Losing to the fucking Canucks is the absolute worst. If you’ve been a Blackhawks fan since the early 90’s, you’ve sort of been conditioned to expect losses in games with Detroit. Sure it sucks, but you knew it was coming. When they lose to the Blues, you can at least be reasonably sure they will kick the shit out of them next time – because they are the lowly Stanley Cup trophy-less St. Louis Blues. But losing to Vancouver? Goddamn it stings quite a bit. The worst part about this loss is that there won’t be a chance at revenge until March 21st, when the two teams face each other for the final time of the season at United Center. The last time Vancouver beat us, the Hawks only had to wait 10 days to see them again.

The Blackhawks battled their asses off last night, but ultimately fell short in overtime when nobody seemed to notice Thing 1 (or was it 2?) costing right into the wide open slot. Not scoring in the 2nd period (which they absolutely dominated) proved to come back and bite the Hawks right in the keister. An unbelievable goaltending performance by Cory Schneider and one bad giveaway by Viktor Stalberg were the keys to the Canucks victory. It’s as simple as that.

But there was a lot to like about last night’s game. Duncan Keith was a monster in his own end and Corey Crawford made some inspiring saves. You can’t but much blame on Crow for any of those goals – especially the dagger in overtime. Andrew Shaw showed he was willing to skate through a goddamn brick wall (sorry Drew Magary) for this team and Niklas Hjalmarsson’s performance should silence many of his critics, if only for a little while.

On the other hand, newcomer Brendan Morrison led all forwards in ice time last night, but seemed to be stuck in cement on more than one occasion. To be fair to Morrison, he should be given time to get acclimated to his new surroundings, but his first impression did not inspire much confidence. Patrick Sharp’s first game back wasn’t exactly a blockbuster either. He looked hesitant at times – but maybe that should have been expected after missing as much time as he did and the fact that he was playing with a new center in Morrison. One fully expects Sharp to return to form very soon. Stalberg’s giveaway was painful to watch, especially after he played such a good game prior to it. Stalberg created at least 3 scoring chances off his speed alone last night and if he hits the net on his breakaway he has a highlight film goal. Marian Hossa also has a few chances he’d probably like to have another stab at. His point streak ended last night at 9 games.

We all would have liked to have seen the Hawks grab that extra point last night (especially after Nashville scored 4 fucking goals in the 3rd period to beat Minnesota) but it’s not the end of the world that they didn’t. It doesn’t take much imagination to think of worse ways this agonizing 9 game road trip could have started. Every damn point is important the rest of the season is this crazy-ass Central Division. So let’s put that anger aside, take the point and move on to bigger and better things – like beating the shit out of the two teams who embarrassed the hell out of us on the last extended road trip.

Now for one last important issue – Corey Crawford’s new mask! All the masks Blackhawks goaltenders have sported since the Eagle left town have disappointed (how could they not?), but Crow’s new cage is a big improvement – even if the only thing he did was change the existing design’s background.  The white version was boring (especially with the road sweaters) and a change has been a long time coming. Goaltenders can be a superstitious bunch, maybe Crow was looking for a different kind of way to break out of his slump? Here’s hoping!