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Nine Hawk-Thoughts From Game One


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My apologies for the absence on Friday – I hope you found your way over to Puck Daddy to get your fix.  (In fact, here’s today’s latest, on why matching lines sucks, and is distracting.)

So far at their great site, I’ve written about how the lopsided shot chart had helped Montreal winhow the Bruins pain isn’t exactly going to heal, and about how the Flyers dominating win hints at a not-so-shitty Stanley Cup final.

The majority of my topic-specific posts will be up over there for the next week, and I’ll be using Bourne’s Blog for my usual scattering of random thoughts and links.  More links than usual probably – in fact, here’s my column for USA Today, on the Bolland/Versteeg switcheroo.  Let’s talk puck.


I gave the Sharks/Blackhawks game a good watching, and here’s what I jotted down in my phone along the way:

1) Patick Kane and Duncan Keith are just so dynamic.  They have an explosive sneakiness to their game you don’t see very often (especially on the same team), and I’m starting to think that the day they had the press conference announcing extensions for Keith, Kane and Toews might have been more valuable than I originally estimated.

Everyone (including me) rails about the difficulty they’ll have with cap issues coming up, but they’ll have those three guys and Hossa for a lot of years to come.  Quality parts like Burrish and Bolland are always interchangeable.

2) Kane doesn’t get hit very often, because not only is he crazy talented, he’s freaking smart.  He’s one of those kids that’s a c***bag because he’s been better than you at everything since he was a fetus, and he knows it.  And most people hate him for it.  Well, my respect for his game is growing.

3) One thing with Kanes game I don’t like - he doesn’t stop on the puck enough.  Just cruises around waiting for a chance.  I’m in no position to judge…. I mean, Hi kettle, I’m pot… you’re BLACK.  But it’s still the truth.

4) Hossa kind of has a bad rap, probably from switching teams to try to win a Cup, but think about the guy:  A), he had other long-term offers that year, but turned them down to try to win a Cup.  Sure, he was wrong, but his motives are better than a lot of players.  B) He’s not a floater.  So he gets all those points, but he kills PK’s (and scores shorties), plays defense, is strong on pucks, and has a good +/-.  So yeah…. booooo what a loser.

5) In keeping with the Chi-town praise thing, they rolled their lines, and gave ice time to the guys that help in other ways (Eager, Bolland, Burrish etc.).  A fastball is effective, but it’s sure harder to deal with when you mix in the odd curveball.

6) It’s not, technically, but…. I feel like the chin part of Niemi’s mask is a little… fuschia-ey.  It just doesn’t seem like a true, solid red.  Am I crazy?

7) Crap, a non-Hawk thought: of all the things guys say on the ice in a game, they can’t ever run a decent full sentence or two from a guy who’s mic’d up?  They had Clowe (I think) rigged up in this game, and all you could hear were half grunts and mutters.  Okay we get it, they swear…. get the complicated bleep machine out and lets hear the rest of those apparently-tainted sentences.

8} Byfuglien’s game winner (god I hate spelling his name) was the simple case of two guys caught between duties, with a lil extra blame for Blake.  Heatley is heading to the goal line/wall for a low rim they’ve clearly called, so he’s not in Byfuglien’s kitchen, and Blake is protecting the net front.  Unfortunately, the winger is his guy, so when they don’t have the puck, his gap has gotta be tight.  Granted, Byfuglien scoring from there is like Shaq hitting a three, so I wouldn’t exactly being d’ing up too tight either.

9) Bolland’s not going to the box when he was the guy who got the penalty was intentional.  Whenever the linesman isn’t sure who’s supposed to go, coaches constantly try to send a guy who doesn’t kill penalties as much.  But still, it was incredible that it went unnoticed at that point in the game, and then Bolland clears the zone and redirects a shot off the net with a half-block.   For more on that, again, here’s today’s USA Today column.

Okay!  Busy times here for me, churning out columns like it’s my…. crap.

Have a great Monday.


9 Responses to “Nine Hawk-Thoughts From Game One”
  1. Liviu says:

    A couple of counter-thoughts:
    1) I dislike the Blackhawks for many reasons (Dustin ByFUGLYen) but I like Jordan Hendry, simply because he went to UAF (and as we all know, blue and gold is so much better than green and gold) and he’s a good guy.
    2) I think they won’t do the bleeping thing on mic’d up players because I guess little kids aren’t supposed to know athletes swear at all. Meanwhile, us in the real world will continue to drop f-bombs on the field/ice like it’s nothing, because as we learned from South Park, it’s really just a word and nothing evil.
    3) Hossa’s not getting any younger, so I don’t blame him for wanting to win a Stanley Cup and giving himself the best possible chance to do it.

  2. Christianson10 says:

    Hey I like your thoughts but hossa is a curse…if they trade him in the offseason to make cap space…they’ll win the cup next year…otherwise they’ll beat out San Jose then lose to say Philly…I don’t think halak has faced such a classy team of shooters along with screens…the just demolished him…and one suggestion I thought would be cool for the site…add a Random Article option on the side bar…don’t let those great archives you write go to waste.

  3. ann says:

    My question is this… What were the Sharks coaches doing? Did anyone even notice and mention it to the officials?

    And the more I watched Hossa this year, the more impressed I’ve been. I was not thrilled with his signing in the off season because of the cap problems it would create… I never realized what a solid all around player he is.

  4. Deirdre says:

    1) Last night’s game was really impressive hockey (minus a few times here and there).

    2) Neimi (the bstrd) was frickin’ amazing
    2a) I spent a large portion of the game trying to figure out exactly how that thing on his helmet was supposed to be a hawk (at least I’m assuming that’s what it’s supposed to be, but it’s a guess).

    3) The Sharks *bite* (not in the good way) when they have more men. I honestly think they should *never* pull their goalie. It doesn’t go well. How many whiffs and dropped pucks can you have in 30 seconds? Seriously.

    4) Everyone talks about San Jose being big and Chicago being fast…but Chicago didn’t look any faster than San Jose last night (and in some cases noticeably slower). Can someone who watches Chicago more comment. Were they slower than normal last night or is the speed thing mostly hype?

    5) Did anyone else here the loud and fairly clear “Sh*t!” in the last minute of the game? Yeah, athletes swear, and sometimes area mikes hear it :-)

  5. jtbourne says:

    Deirdre: 4) I watched that game last night and thought Chicago looked super-quick (and yes, faster than San Jose). Kane and Keith just look like gravity doesn’t weigh on them like it does the Sharks top guys… just my thought I’d chuck my thoughts on that in. Should be a great series.

  6. KarenfromRochester says:

    Man! Those commenters on Puck Daddy are one mean bunch, aren’t they? You are going to have to have some thick skin for that assignment!

  7. Larsfrombreese says:

    I like your insight on Kane and agree with you on his inability to stop on the puck. I think he could have quite a few more chances if he would, but his energy is a force to be reckoned with. Tough to keep up with a mullet like that, plus has to be upsetting nonetheless.

    I do however feel that if you are a San Jose fan, I think you have lots to worry about. Sure you brought some energy and intensity, but it wasn’t sustained through the whole game. It seemed as though after period 1 they weren’t as quick until the last couple minutes of period 3. Now maybe they are saving energy for a long series, or maybe they just can’t hang with the talent.

    Niemi might as well be getting the Rodney Dangerfield bit cause he gets no respect. 41 saves – enough said. So you have one bad one and 3 good ones….hmmmmmmmm. There are only 7 games in a series.

    Hawks in 5 see you at the finals

  8. Scott says:

    Wasn’t Kane part of the problem on Buff’s goal? Toews won the draw, got it over to Kane, and someone (thought it was Heatley) came over to cover Kane rather than Buff. Had he stayed home that pass wouldn’t have been made.

    Hossa should probably get some credit for Kane’s play this year. He’s always been talented, but I think Kane has been learning from Hossa. He’s always been crazy talented, but it looks like he’s playing smarter this year.

    Is it just me, or is Campbell playing better this year? Last year the Wings lived on his miscues, there are a lot fewer this year.

  9. SDC says:

    Can you imagine if Hossa and the Hawks make it to the Cup final and lose? Hossa would be on suicide watch; and if he stayed alive, probably the albatross of the league. Guys won’t even touch the Conference Championship trophies, who’s going to want a dude that consistently helps his team fail at the closest possible scenario to winning???

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