And To All A Good Night...Hawks 5, Habs 1
Well, there's an early Christmas present. While there still plenty of arguments over exactly how good the Hawks are, I think we can safely say they are not bad. Chicago is growing fat on the steady diet of junk food teams the league has fed them this month, and tonight was no different. A lousy Montreal team came into the United Center, and despite falling behind 1-0 on a power play goal, the Hawks flexed their muscle (and talent) and beat the Habs fairly easily.
Even better news was that Corey Crawford looked solid in net for the first time in a while. He gave up one goal on a power play redirection, but with the team playing good defense in front of him, Crawford called on to make only a few really tough stops and he was up to the task. Hopefully this game is a confidence builder that gets him back on track before Ray Emery's hip falls off.
Viktor Stalberg - No, Slak and I aren't handing out plaudits to Stalberg as part of some sort of plot to drive Fork to madness, he really was good again. Vik spent most of the night between the 3rd and 4th lines, but he made his presence felt. He was hitting, digging pucks out of the corner, and his 3rd period goal gave the Hawks some breathing room. He also later assisted on a last minute goal by Bryan Bickell.
Bryan Bickell - Why not? Still not the hammer we want him to be, Bicks was more physical, winning board battles (stripping the puck on the forecheck to set up Stalberg's goal) and was rewarded by getting his first goal since sometime in October. If Bickell and Stalberg can develop some chemistry together, that could mean very good things for the Hawks scoring depth.
Brandon Pirri - Pirri grabbed an assist on Bickell's goal with 10 seconds left in the game, but that's not why he's here. The kid was called up from Rockford due to Marcus Kruger's injury and immediately inserted into lineup as the center for Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. He could have been nervous or overwhelmed or starstruck, but he didn't appear to be any of these things. The fact that he never looked out of place while skating with two of the Hawks best forwards is good news.
I've got nothing much to complain about, other than Patrick Kane's desire to lead the league in hooking penalties this year (Pierre Duguay would be proud) so instead let's just shit on every guy on Montreal who played for the Hawks at some point:
Travis Moen - HE SHOULDA NOT EVER LEFT DA HAWKS BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Chris Campoli - TRAITOR YOU SHOULDA TOOK LESS TO STAY BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Michael Blunden - Played 10 games for the Hawks between 2006-08 BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Randy Cunneyworth - DID THE 1993-94 SEASON MEAN NOTHING TO YOU!??! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Let this serve as a warning to any player who would dare have the temerity to leave our beloved organ-I-zation.
You know what? The Hawks just got a nice win going into 4 days off and the Christmas holiday. Let's just save the ugly for Josh McCown's start against the Packer's on Sunday.
Up Next: Hawks have a few days off and then pick it back up against the Blue Jackets on Boxing Day. In case you're wondering, Boxing Day is one of those stupid holidays invented as a way for the British upper class to be extra condescending to their servants after having given them a half-day off to celebrate Christmas. For some reason, Canada is too damn polite to stop acknowledging it, so Boxing Day continues to pop up on our calendars.