That was my fault. Not the SO loss, the lack of entertainment. I made the mistake of saying, in my preview, that Hawks/Sharks is always fun: therefore we got to see the dullest 77 shot game you can imagine. It was so boring even legendary dullards like Doc Emrick and Pierre McGuire were losing interest and burbling off onto Foley-esque tangents. But I guess some stuff did happen and I suppose they pay me the big bucks to talk about it, so let’s get to it.

 

Demers opened the scoring midway through the 1st with a slap shot that eluded Crawford.  Both teams had been trading chances fairly langourously up till this point and one hoped that the Goal Against would be enough to stir the Hawks from their torpor. No such luck. Brandon Bollig took a penalty for trying to start a fight with Mike Brown after Brown appeared to board Johnny Oduya (Oduya actually turned at the last moment, making himself vulberable). Brown ignored him. Yes, that Mike Brown. The Hawks killed it off succesfully and then the rest of the 2nd period happened, I guess? Because I sure can’t remember any of it.

A minute and a half into the 3rd and finally something to cheer: Offensive Juggernaut Niklas Hjalmarsson ripped home that cannon of a shot to make it 1-1 then, two minutes later, Michal Roszival saw a shot from extreme range somehow beat Stalock to push the Hawks in front. With 10 minutes to go Brent Burns got away with cross-checking Hjalmarsson out of his way to score a tap in to tie it up.

The pace picked up for the end of the 3rd and then OT, but it went down to the ever-beloved shootout. Toews & Sharp missed, Couture and Pavelski didn’t and that’s all she wrote.

 

  • I love Hjalmarsson’s howitzer of a shot, but boy does he need time to get it away. The Sharks defense basically stood by while he skated in and wound up. He’s got more points than Nail Yakupov, Justin Abdelkader and Dustin Brown this season.  18 marks his highest ever NHL points total and is closing in fast on the career-best 22 he got in Italy during the Lockout.  Nice one, Nik.
  • As Mark Lazerus pointed out, Roszival scoring made him the final Blackhawk to get off the goal schneid this year. Someone should check and see just how many NHL teams have at least one goal per roster player(hey, you lot are snowed in: might be a fun way to kill an afternoon, right?)
  • Both Goalies were solid, with Stalock & Crawford 1st and 3rd Star respectively.  Crawford could do little about the first goal and nothing at all about the second. Stalock let Roszival’s long shot squeeze in but it was through traffic so hard to pin too much on him.
  • I said that this game could be a night for the 3rd line to shine. Q clearly disagreed. The line blender got hit hard and asses got stapled to the bench and the Hawks ran around like headless, double-shifting chickens. Andrew Shaw got promoted to the 2nd Line where he proceeded to continue getting murdered at the dot, winning 4 of 12. How Patrick Kane managed to get a team-leading 7 shots off with this sort of service is a testament to his skill. Bryan Bickell played 5.30 including no shifts at all in the 3rd or OT, Ben Smith got 2 in the 3rd and Brandon Bollig 1. they both managed over 8 minutes. I’m going to write a longer post about Bickell later today so I’ll leave it at that. However..
  • The much vaunted 4th Line got their skulls caved in possession-wise, as did the 3rd. The entire Blackhawks bottom six were in negative CorsiRel, with team-worst Bollig at -39.5%. This needs to be fixed, and fast. I won’t bore you by going on about it at length, because I’ve said most of it before, but the Hawks need to lose a defenseman, get a forward up from the Rock and reorganise those lines. Handzus got demoted to the 3rd Line late on so maybe Q is starting to slowly realise that he isn’t the pivot for Kane & Saad
  • Yes, that was an egregious cross-check by Burns before the tying goal and no, it wasn’t called. So it goes.
  • Someone needs to have a word with Doc about all these synonyms for “Passed”. The British author & beer lover Pete Brown once theorised that you could make an understandable synonym for “Drunk” by simply adding the suffix -ed to any noun. It sems like Doc is attempting to prove that theory in relation to passing. Either that or he’s completely Lampshaded up in the booth.

Right, that’s more than enough of my day devoted to that game. The Rags are in town on Wednesday, possibly with Gorilla Salad in tow. O6 matchup, everyone! Whee!

Now go and build a snowman or something.