BETTER THAN NOTHING: Capitals 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)

Back in the 2007-08 season, a Chicago Blackhawks rookie called out the entire team, saying they didn't hate losing enough.

That rookie was Jonathan Toews. The second the words left his mouth, the Hawks might as well have just stitched the "C" to his sweater. We knew we had our leader.

Three years, a Conn Smythe, and Stanley Cup later, he's still the leader. Scoring a power play goal in the last minute to force overtime, the Hawks managed to stage a comeback against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, losing in overtime to the Washington Capitals, 4-3 in Verizon Center.

Let's get to this:

THE GOOD:

Toews. There are certain players who get this look. The look that can turn a mountain lion into a lapcat. The look that can stop a freight train. The look that previously belonged to Maurice Richard and Mark Messier. The look that lets you know that if there's any possible way to pull everyone's ass out of the fire, he'll find it. Sure, the Hawkslost , but they managed to get a point, and you know that he'll carry this team on his back for the next 13 games and beyond. Appreciate every game he plays, because you're watching true greatness unfold.

Brent Seabrook. He had one job today, shut down Alexander Ovechkin. The game ended with Ovie kept off the scoresheet. He also managed to tune up Jason Chimera for elbowing Corey Crawford in the head. While the Caps could afford to not have Chimera on the ice for 5 minutes more than the Hawks could afford to lose Seabrook, Washington couldn't, well, Capitalize on Seabrook's absence.

Nick Leddy. An early goal, skating well all day. One thing that is happening with him is he's becoming very cool when he has the puck. Originally, I must admit, I thought Leddy would have benefitted more from a full season in the AHL, but he's playing beyond his years at this point.

Patrick Kane. One of the big factors last season happened the way it did was Kane's commitment to backchecking. That commitment was missing earlier this season. Now, it's back. There were several times the Caps started developing odd-man rushes, but Kane got back and broke up the play. Even though he wound up -2 on the day, it could have been much worse.

THE BAD:


Lack of physical play. There are two guys who will hit anyone anytime - Seabrook and Troy Brouwer. Bryan Bickell has started hitting a little, but some of these other guys need to start bodying up, if only to slow guys down. We're starting to get into playoff time, it's time for the Jake Dowells of the world to start doing more of the dirty work.

Patrick Sharp. Handsome completely screwed the pooch on a first period power play, overskating the puck and leading to a shorthanded goal. He is one of those periods he has every season where he's more or less floating, and he's lost his nose for the puck. He needs to heat up.

THE UGLY:


Lack of manpower. Brian Campbell was done for the day in the second period. Who knows when Dave Bolland will come back from his concussion. While Michael Frolik has filled in pretty damn capably for Bolland, the Hawks wound up holding the Caps' nuclear offense at bay with 5 defenseman for over half the game. A big part of winning this time of year is how healthy you can stay. The Hawks lost Campbell around this time last year for the remainder of the regular season. This year they don't have the depth on the blue line to cover. We need both these guys to get well.

Tomorrow night the Hawks come home to play the San Jose Sharks. It also marks the return of Kyle Wellwood's BBQ pit at the end of the visitor's bench.

 

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