KINGS DON'T MEAN A THING: CHICAGO 3, EL LAY ZERO
By Dave Morris, filling in from Canada by special request exclusively for HockeeNight!
All is well in Hawkey Land tonight. Well, not exactly well, considering that Mr. Seabrook is wondering who he is, Mr. Campbell is on the shelf and Kim Johnsson is back home eating Ryvita crackers, all for the foreseeable future.
And I mean, how could things be well when Hawk fans worldwide had to consider the immediate future with a defense corps that features the return of Dustin Byfuglien and the arrival of Nick Boynton?
As Reverend Ike might have said, “Believe and achieve”. That’s exactly what the Blackhawks did in Hollywood tonight.
They beat the glamorous Kings in their own crib, in regulation for the first time since 2003. And a shutout to boot. Yowsah. That’s better than a date with a porn star. Almost.
All right, on to the recap.
Tomas ‘Machine Gun’ Kopecky: after several weeks of contemplating his Olympic silver medal and saying “Ommm” in Slovak, TKO busted out like, well, Pamela Anderson in a rubber dress. King pipe patroller Jonathan Quick was sure that Tommy would whiff yet another shot, like, why shouldn't he be? Quick was wrong. Twice.
Big Buf: for all you young hockey players out there, remember if you can play both defense and forward, you have a better chance at keeping your job in the NHL. Buf was pretty damn good tonight. He justified Q’s confidence by using his bulk to de-bone Ryan Smyth and other Kings who wandered into the Hawk zone. And he handled the puck. And he passed it. And he shot it. All good. And 25 shifts for Dusty. Whattya know.
Nick Boynton: Okay, so Pete De Boer won’t invite him to lunch anytime soon, and Jimmy Wisniewski won’t send him a Christmas card. So effin what. Nick played 25 shifts, all of them solid. Channeling Reggie Fleming pays dividends.
Team Dee-fense: Like Troy Murray said in his WGN Radio recap, “The Hawks didn’t play this one to win 3-0; they played to win it 1-0. And that was the key.” They choked off the King offense, allowing only 17 shots, just three in the middle frame. Can you say ‘back pressure’?
A Real Live Garbage Goal: Thank you, Troy Brouwer.
Zero Time in Da Sin Bin: call it a makeup game by the refs if you believe in conspiracies, or chalk it up to disciplined play by Les Hawques. Impressive, non? Pierre Duguay would be proud.
Antti "Mr Zero" Niemi: what's that, his hundredth shutout? Thank goodness for Five Hour Energy. Antti swears by it.
Oh yeah, the Hawks are in first place in the West again.
Los Reyes De Los Angeles: They should have hauled out their Burger King jerseys from 1995-96, as their collective effort evoked that halcyon era. Drew Doughty? Dustin Brown? Hello? When your most visible player—apart from your goalie—is Raitis Ivanans (whose favorite sport is ping pong, and whose dog is named Boris, and we know because Kings TV hottie Heidi Androl told us), you got trouble.
The Power Play: Not that it mattered tonight.
Raitis Ivanans doing his Elvis impressions. As he swung Gentle Ben Eager around like a used Sham Wow, he was singing “Burning Love”. Not really.
Up Next: The scorching hot Dogs of the Desert, in Phoenix on Saturday night. The Yotes’re three points back of the Hawks and Sharks. Really.