Down and Out in Cowtown: Flames 5, Hawks 2
The Blackhawks, fresh off a four game winning streak that's seen them beat each team by three or more goals, stormed into Rodeoville, Alberta to take on the sinking Calgary Flames. Perhaps Jarome Iginla could get to know his future teammates tonight. Or maybe the Flames will break out for their season high in goals and Duncan Keith will follow up his best game of the year with his worst. Nah.
The Hawks looked terrible from jump street in this one but got progressively worse, mainly in their own zone. Tired, jumbled defensive pairs couldn't have helped matters and I hate to single out Duncan Keith because everyone who man the blue line is somewhat guilty, but Keith was abysmal tonight. The game looked like it might go back and forth until the Flames scored two unanswered goals in the second period and ran away and hid from there. Let's go to the three categories where we group our observations:
Jonathan Toews looked like a man possessed early. He had an extra jump in his step and I really thought he was going to take the game over and make it his. He drove down the left side and found Stalberg who was wisely standing in front of the net for the Hawks first goal. Unfortunately Miikka Kiprusoff, who continues to put up solid numbers even though his team has been mostly lethargic, had most of the answers to whatever the Blackhawks were throwing at him. Marian Hossa was able to beat the otherwise stout Kipper for his ninth goal on a neat one-timer from Keith that tied the game at two.
Everyone on defense was bad. Leddy made a pass from behind the net that hit a skate and was promptly stuffed into the Hawk net. The Flames routinely made the Hawks look like they were doing a Keystone Cops act in their own zone. It's hard to understand how or why that happened given the Flames coming in as one of the more anemic offensive team in the NHL. Was it a letdown coming off an emotional win in Vancouver? Fatigue? If it was fatigue, tomorrow night in Edmonton should be a barrel of laughs.
Most people like to make fun of Lee Stempniak. He kind of sucks. For the Flames first goal he made Duncan Keith look like Steve Poapst, if Poapst was asked to suit up right now.
I mentioned that I liked the Flames jerseys on Twitter and was met with some resistance. Only then did I realize that if they put on yellow skates they'd look like a bunch of Ronald McDonalds on ice. Then I spent the rest of the game thinking about how good a McFlurry would be.
Jonathan Toews got into it with Scott Hannan in the 3rd period with the game well out of hand. John Scott, the toughest guy/longest reaching/good luck charming player extraordinaire was nowhere to be seen. He was seen, however, shoving Tim Jackman neck first into the boards. This was a reckless and stupid thing to do and he's lucky he didn't get called for it. Jackman's lucky he didn't end up like the MIA Michael Frolik or worse.
The Blackhawks clearly are dearly missing Brent Seabrook as the minutes are tilting heavily toward Duncan Keith again. Keith got a small break in the third but with only five legitimate defensemen, thanks to Sean O'Donnell having unprotected sex with the all of the females in the Bowman and Quenneville families, there's not much of a choice. I don't get why Quenneville continues to hamstring himself every night but it's been beaten to death.
The Hawks finish the tour of Alberta by heading up to Edmonton to take on the speedy Oilers. Go Hawks.