ROYAL FLUSH: Kings 2, Blackhawks 0

It wasn't hard to see this one coming.

After the Chicago Blackhawks managed to slip a couple half-assed efforts past the shitty Canadiens and Blue Jackets, they came up against the Los Angeles Kings, who appear to buy into the Darryl Sutter lunch-pail brand of hockey, at least for the moment.

The Hawks mustered a mere 20 shots on goal through the first two periods, not many of which were very threatening, before throwing 18 shots at Kings' goalie Mike Quick in the third. None got past Quick, and the Hawks stumbled into the locker room on the wrong end of a 2-0 shutout.

Let's get to this:

THE GOOD:

Sweet swag at the good ol' hockey game. After getting a Stan Mikita signature on my sweater Monday night (thanks to Woo Girl Tina selling us her 100-level seats), tonight we got to meet Jerry "King Kong" Korab. LFork and King Kong had a little flirting going on, and since Korab looks like he could kick my ass without mussing his hair, I let it slide. Besides, autographed photos! Then, the Blackhawks Charities Puck sale. You plop down $30, and they have giftwrapped pucks for you to pick out. Last year, I picked, and I wound up with a Tomas Kopecky. Fortunately, one of you fine readers took it off my hands. This year, after being assured she could pick again if she got Viktor Stalberg, LFork pulled one in red foil, on a tip from one of the staffers. She got Patrick Kane. She picks from now on.

Corey Crawford. He's still not what I'd call solid, but he did stop 36 shots, including a Mike Richards penalty shot. He's still giving up rebounds and really not taking charge of his crease. But when he doesn't have his good stuff and still holds the Kings to 2 goals on 38 shots, he's not the reason the Hawks lost.

The Penalty kill. 6 of the first 10 minutes of the game were spent a man down, and the game could have been gone right there. The Hawks killed those penalties, and one in the final minutes to keep the game within striking distance.

THE BAD:

The power play. Someone needs to tell the Blackhawks that having an effective power play and penalty kill isn't necessarily an "either/or" proposition. It's seemed all season like one's worked while the wheels have fallen off the other. At some point, both will click at the same time, right? RIGHT????

Lack of puck movement. One of the fundamentals of puck movement is to not skate the puck while there's an open man in front of you moving in the same direction. Not even Duncan Keith can skate the puck faster than he can pass it. Not every up-ice pass has to be a gorgeous 40 foot stretch. The Hawks have good passers and skaters. They need to take better advantage of this.

Incomplete effort yet again. As I said at the top of the recap, they can get away with this sort of turn-it-on-late effort against the shit teams. But this is a team with high expecations. And come April, the type of teams the Hawks can get away with this against will all be on golf courses. First period goals count as much as third period ones do, guys.

Lack of physical presence. Remember when the Hawks went out and got all these bad-asses this summer to ensure they wouldn't get out-bodied? Both Kings goals were the result of bodies being parked in front of Crawford. The Hawks weren't clearing out bodies, and they weren't getting bodies in front of Quick. Again, the time to fix this is now.

THE UGLY:

The Sutter brothers don't exactly possess movie-star looks, but Darryl Sutter has always been the Cousin Eddie of this group. I'm wondering if coaching in LA will result in him getting a nose job and spray tan.

Next up is the first game of the season against the Red Wings, in the United Center Friday night. If the Hawks don't show up for work, instead of giving up 2 goals the scoreboard operator may have to figure out how to put an infinity up there.

 

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