Redemption, of a sort

It’s 4.30am here in London. The game has only been over for about thirty minutes.  It’s getting light outside and the birds are singing.  There’s a new day on the way, I’m exhausted and have work in a few hours.

But the Hawks are still alive.

 

In fact, not only are they still alive, tonight we got to see the Regular Season “Sweep All Before Them” Hawks kerbstomp a Wings outfit that was out of ideas by the end of the 1st Period.  Make no mistake, from the opening face-off Detroit were never in this game.  The 4 shots they managed on Stalberg’s Hooking penalty in the 1st was the closest they came to taking charge. Once that penalty was killed, they lapsed into mediocrity and stupidity (and oh, how nice it was to have that boot on another foot tonight)

The Hawks simply outplayed the Wings all over the ice. The Corsi/Fenwick were as heavily in favour of the Hawks as they have been all series (except Game 2) but this time the hawks found their attack and, despite Jimmy Howard making some fine stops, managed to make their superiority count.

Some bullets, I think:

  • Q has taken some stick (and rightly so) from the Hawks fanbase lately. If he achieved one thing with his Massive Throbbing Brain tonight, it was keeping Toews away from Zetterburg. They were on the ice together for a grand total of 1:20 tonight. Z spent most of his night against Hossa, Bickell and Handzus and came off a -5 in Fenwick (although he did get an assist on Cleary’s goal). Obviously this will not be so easily accomplished in Detroit, but I’m still of the opinion that, coming of a confidence-booster like this, it won’t matter that much.
  • Andrew Shaw ended up 1st Star with two well taken goals: one a neat deflection of a Keith shot on the PP (more of which in a while), the other a sharp move from behind the net that left the Wings and Howard flailing. He’s gained some redemption from the Stoopid that he displayed earlier in this series and reminded us all of why, deep down, we love that horrible little thug.
  • On the subject of Stoopid: how about that Justin Abdelkader, folks? With the Hawks pressing hard at the start of the 2nd, David Bolland took a hooking penalty on Pavel datsyuk. However, Abdelkader decided he had to be Billy Big Bollocks and got himself a coincidental for Unsportsmanlike Conduct.  Then, after Cleary tied it and Shaw re-established a lead for the Hawks, he discovered that cross-checking Patrick Kane in the back four or five times, right in front of a linesman, is a bad idea. Eight seconds later Toews scored on the PP to open up a two-goal advantage that the Hawks never looked like giving up. YOU DUMB FUCK as NoMeansNo would say
  • Apparently, after a standard Clown Shoes non-effort in the 1st, someone kidnapped the Hawks PP units and replaced them psychotic cyborgs. The build up to Shaw’s goal was just relentless: the hawks won the FO to start the man advantage and simply kept the Wings PK pinned in their own zone, a stickless Dats unable to get to the bench.  A similar FO win after Abdelkader’s penalty led to similar pressure for the few seconds it took to get the puck to Toews and for him to bank it in off Jimmy Howard’s mask. Where have you been, guys? Although it should be noted that neither of the scoring PPs required the Hawks to enter the zone.
  • Almost everyone on the Hawks had at least a solid game: aside from the standouts of Keith, Shaw and Toews; on several occasions Nick Leddy showed his silky skating while clowning the Wings’ attempts to stop him, Bryan Bickell was everywhere, physical and disciplined (and his Kronwalling of Kronwall was a thing of beauty) and Brandon Saad, denied an assist on Shaw’s second, had several moments that reminded us why he is the Truth.
  • Jonathan Toews.. from disaster to star. The captain was a force of nature tonight and well worth his goal. You could almost see the relief pouring out of him after he scored. He drove hard and was unfortunate to have a goal waved off due to an early whistle after one such effort. More of this, please, Tazer.
  • Dave Bolland was piss-poor. Dumb penalties galore and now on the 4th line. Anytime you feel like joining us, Dave? However, reuniting Seabrook with Keith seemed to have a salutary effect on 7.. small sample size yet, though.

It’s time for me to hit the hay so, in parting…

Tonight was exactly what we wanted to see: an angry yet disciplined Hawks team firing on almost all of its formidable cylinders. However, this was only the first step back from the abyss: there’s another elimination game at the Joe on Monday, where line-matching will not be such an easy task.  But if tonight’s is the Hawks team that rolls out under a hail of rotting cephalopods in Detroit, then this series if far from over.

The fightback has begun, my friends. let’s see it through.