What’s the best thing about Corey Crawford starting every game for the past month? The meatballs haven’t been able to voice their blind hatred for Marty Turco.
OK, OK … it’s not the best thing. Crawford’s 10-2-3 record and 2.66 goals-against average takes that title. But despite those numbers, I’m still going to lobby for him to don the baseball cap Thursday in Dallas.
Here’s part of the reason why:
EDITORS NOTE: Tim and Bartl put together a combo post here. Tim has the commentary, Bartl has your shortened version of Boxing from both the Stars and Coyotes games where he breaks down the summary. Enjoy, ya’ll.
Okay, so the characterization in this article’s title is not entirely accurate. Or is it? The ‘Hawks let two points that they could easily have taken from Dallas and Phoenix slip through their fingers. They ended the road trip with two wins, two outright losses, and two shootout losses over the six-game span. That’s not going to do it, folks.
If the Blackhawks continue this level of performance — one period of coordinated hard work and 40 minutes that look like five guys who only met each other when they took the ice six seconds ago — they are going to find themselves searching for Saturday tee times before the grass in Chicago is really even green.
Click the jump for Boxing with ‘Hawks/Stars/Coyotes
Wednesday was a busy day for the Blackhawks in a couple of ways. The ‘Hawks traded under-performing winger Jack Skille and two forward prospects to Florida for C/W Michael Frolik and what some say is an outstanding young goaltender now playing in Europe. Following that news, the team then took the ice and beat last-place Edmonton in convincing (but by no means impressive) fashion, stopping their losing skid at two games and pulling even on their 6-game road trip.
Hopefully these two events represent a turning point for everyone in the organ-eye-zation. The playoffs are 28 games away, and right now we’re not in them. It appears that Stan Bowman is getting serious, hopefully the team will follow his lead as they head south to take on the Stars.
There’s never a dull moment when the Dallas Stars come to town, and their last visit was no exception. The last time they were in town, Chicago managed to blow a 3-goal lead, ride a 1-goal advantage through the entire third period before potting an empty-netter with one tick left on the clock.
In admist all that was the scene shown above, where Jake Dowell had Dallas meat-hole Steve Ott bent over and squealing, but let him stand up before clocking him another few times for good measure.
But the most bizarre event of all was the scoring opportunity by Stars forward Trevor Daley in the final minute of the game. While attempting to defend his own zone, Blackhawks’ defenseman Brent Seabrook fell over backwards. Here’s where things get strange. When Seabrook’s hand hit the ice, his stick — for lack of a better term — was released from his grip. The loose stick interfered with Daley and he was unable to get a decent shot off. There was no call on the play.
Dallas Coach Marc Crawford went non-linear, screaming a barrage of obscenities at the officials that would make Russell Crowe cringe. He continued on his way into the locker room and later in the post-game press conference. His contention was that a penalty shot should have been awarded, but Coach Crawford needs to review his rule book.
The BLACKHAWKS are …
… 21-17-3 (T-2nd, Central)
… 12-10-0 at home
… 5-5-0 in their last 10 (Won 1)
… 7-4-1 against the Pacific Division
… 16-8-2 when scoring first
… 16-3-1 when leading after 2nd period
The STARS are …
… 23-13-4 (1st, Pacific)
… 11-7-1 on the road
… 5-3-2 in their last 10 (Won 1)
… 8-3-2 against the Central Division
… 17-2-0 when scoring first
… 10-0-0 when leading after 2nd period
POWER PLAY: Blackhawks, 25.5% (1st) ; Stars, 17.1% (17th)
PENALTY KILL: Blackhawks 79.0% (25th) ; Stars 79.2% (24th)
» The Blackhawks beat the Stars 5-3 on Dec. 8th (Boxing, with Marc Crawford’s tirade)
» The Stars are 2-5-2 in Chicago in their last nine trips.
Click the jump for more STATS
Let’s get down to brass tax here — Dallas Stars coach Marc Crawford laid into the refs following the game and had a very legit gripe. Whether or not Brent Seabrook meant to throw his stick at the puck carrier makes no difference. It should have been a penalty shot for Dallas. I’m not even going to attempt to deny that.
Here’s Crawford’s postgame press conference:
While understandable for Crawford to go nuts, he may want to look deeper at his team, which fell behind 3-0 before deciding to play. Then it was too late. The Stars are lucky to have made the comeback in the first place. And I’m sure he’ll realize that once he looks at the tape and takes a step back from the heat of the moment.
Of course, I could say the same thing about the ‘Hawks giving up a goal-against immediately after going up 3-0, then giving up two goals in just over a minute to allow Dallas to make it interesting heading into the third period. The ‘Hawks have been notorious for placing the opposition’s collective mouth on the curb, then forgetting to stomp.
Everything else I have to say is done through “Boxing.” Click the images to enlarge and, as always, enjoy.
Click the jump for “Boxing”
The Dallas Stars come into tonight’s game sitting second in the Western Conference, three points behind Detroit, and just suffered their first loss in 7 games on Monday. If we’re lucky enough not to get Kari Lehtonen in goal, we get Andrew Raycroft: 3 – 1 record, 1.65 GAA, .951 save percentage. Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson, James Neal, and Mike Ribiero are all comfortably north of 20 points in 26 games.
Dallas is burning as white hot as… as… hmm. What’s a good analogy?
I know. The Blackhawks are 23 days removed from winning the Stanley Cup, and Stan Bowman is crossing faces off the team photo like Ace Ventura. It’s a lot to handle for ‘Hawks fans to see pieces of a championship team sent packing by management for financial reasons.
Nobody wanted to see it, yet everyone expected it. Now, nobody wants to accept it. Well, get over it. Panic all you want, but you knew this was coming — and there may be more, too.
The Atlanta Blackhawks Thrashers will sport at least five Stanley Cup rings next season with Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and now Andrew Ladd (who has another ring with Carolina). Combine those departures with the trades of Kris VERSTEEG! to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colin Fraser to the Edmonton Oilers, then add Adam Burish’s defection to the Dallas Stars, and you’ve got the recipe for one hostile fan base.
Yes, the Blackhawks are ridding themselves of salary by dumping it on other teams at cost of losing contributors to a Stanley Cup champion. But to compare the ‘Hawks to the Florida Marlins, who broke apart two World Series championship teams? C’mon.
From Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski:
Worst Dismantling: The trade of Andrew Ladd to the Atlanta Thrashers marks the sixth player from the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to be traded this offseason. The Florida Marlins comparisons are starting to inch toward validity.
I normally agree with 90 percent of what Wyshynski writes. But to use the word “validity” in regards to the comparison is down right ridiculous. Trading players is one thing, but the Blackhawks have their core intact — something the Marlins failed to do. If this was meant as a joke, great. It should have been mentioned as such.
If any of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa or Brent Seabrook were sent packing, then the comparison could be “valid.” Count Patrick Sharp, Antti Niemi and Niklas Hjalmarsson as large pieces of the puzzle who are staying in Chicago to defend the title, and you’re still looking at a hell of a contender.
The main point is this: I’m not sure if the Blackhawks are a worse team with these subtractions. The hockey world lauded the ‘Hawks depth last season and through the playoffs. A team with depth can rid itself of some spare parts. Replacing the aforementioned traded commodities with suitable NHL-ready players whose names may not be as familiar isn’t such a bad thing. People forget they complained about Byfuglien and Versteeg during roughly 50 regular season games. Because they scored some goals in the playoffs means they’re irreplaceable? Gimme a break.
Before everyone blows a fart in the direction of Stan Bowman’s face, they should do a bit of research. Byfuglien was once your whipping boy for being lazy, and Versteeg was an unknown until he came out of nowhere as a regular and Calder Trophy finalist two years ago.
What’s to say the next wave of role players can’t win your heart? After all, the Marlins dismantled their ENTIRE roster and won another World Series. The Blackhawks are letting go of replaceable assets, not the core. In my book, this is still the best team in the Western Conference, hands down.