I don’t know if Ken Hitchcock was trying to be snarky when he commented on the ‘Workers’ in the Blackhawks lineup today, but it certainly was a case of Power To The People as a Hawks team stripped of some major assets due to injury (and yet another Q “Message” benching in the case of Brandon Saad) rode roughshod over the Blues. St Louis played last night (and got their asses handed to them 4-0 by the Avs) and were certainly showing signs of fatigue. For most of the game they were an offensive non-entity and didn’t even have the energy to indulge in their normal level of asshattery.
Goals from Jeremy Morin, Patrick Sharp, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith gave Chicago the victory that, ultimately, means little in terms of the Divisional race this year but was, nonetheless, pleasing as any victory over St Louis is.
It’s Sunday night and yer all getting ready for Pretend-Fighting or the R-rated version of Dungeons & Dragons, so I’ll cut to the talking points..
- Jeremy Morin should remain in this lineup. He was a force tonight, as were Bryan Bickell & Peter Regin. A lot of what was good for the Hawks came from the Doghouse Line, Morin getting a goal after some great work by Bickell and then turning provider with a beauty of a dish to Sharp. I don’t know what the Hawks are going to look like when back at full strength; but J-Mo has nothing left to prove, to Q or anyone.
- I think we all groaned when Andrew Shaw let himself be goaded into taking a stupid penalty in the 1st and Jaden Schwarz cashed in almost immediately on the resulting PP. However, Shaw settled down somewhat after that (the Officials having a word in his shell-like might have helped) and the Hawks by-and-large kept their discipline thereafter and let the Blues further reduce their already-dismal attacking potential by marching to the box.
- Although, of course, the Meatball’s Favourite Brandon Bollig decided that, with the Hawks hitting their stride and taking the lead, the right thing to do was fight (if you could call it that) Ryan Reaves, who is his nearest rival in terms of Waste Of Space x Stupid Contract. Bollig has made some strides this year but in recent weeks has regressed back to full-time liability. He should watch the Playoffs from the Press Box.
- Corey Crawford didn’t have all that much to do today, but he’d like the Sobotka goal back. We’re going to need Crow firing on all cylinders very soon.
- Ben Smith was at his fire-hydrant best today and showed great poise in chasing down a breakaway against a stickless Pietrangelo, taking his time and making no mistake with the Empty-Netter to ice proceedings. Marcus Kruger was a busy man, too, and took his finish well after Nordstrom rattled a shot off the pipe and Brian Elliott.
- On the subject of Nordstrom, he was a revelation today, grasping that the likes of Polak & Jackman are susceptible to speed and using that to create a couple of decent chances. He gets it.
- The de-facto leaders of the offence, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, were responsible, engaged and effective. Sharp’s goal was a classic snipe from him and Hossa hilariously dumped Coliacavo right onto his ass when he attempted to manhandle him behind the play.
- I lost count of the number of cross-checks, barges and general shitness the Blues were engaging in after whistles. TJ Oshie is an unpleasant little shit, isn’t he? I think David Backes was playng today but I can’t recall him doing much other than taking a dumb penalty for slashing Bollig. Oh, and Derek Roy getting an embellishment call to negate Duncan Keith’s Hook was hilarious. Roy gave it the full Mike Smith and then did his best Barrett Jackman Wounded Innocence Look on the way to the box.
- Ken Hitchcock is clearly unhappy, having thrown his team under the bus after the shitshow against the Avs (understandably enough) he then got pissy and stormed out of the post-game presser after being asked about the Blues getting thumped twice in a row in Chicago. “What about the series?” was his valediction. Well, Ken, that’s 2-1-2 and you’ve been outscored heavily.
OK, next time we see the Blues will either be in the 2nd Round (provided hurdles are negotiated, of course) or next year. And they’ll still be the same old Blues.