The Great Shark Hunt: Hawks 5, Sharks 1
Now that's more like it.
On Saturday, the Hawks got stomped by the godawful Predators. On my drive home from GONNA DRINKEN, panicky meatballs throughout Chicago were calling Judd Sirrot to inform him that the team was too small, soft, lazy, satisfied and any number of things. One thing was certain: the Hawks were exposed and their confidence was surely shaken by this turn of events. Losing Marian Hossa would derail the season. Especially with the big, bad Sharks coming the next day.
Anyway, the Blackhawks decided to drag themselves out of bed anyway and play the game. And guess what? After a shaky start, the Hawks found their legs and drubbed San Jose. Chicago now sits atop Conference III and is currently the second seed in the West. Not bad for a team that was finished as of yesterday.
Patrick Sharp - Now that's handsome. 2 goals for Sharp, including a penalty shot (!) to close out the game. Oh, and he had an assist too, but it was a second assist so it barely counts.
Brandon Saad - Saad was terrific again tonight. His best sequence consisted of him bulling in on the San Jose net on a short breakaway, getting stopped by Niemi but still having the presence of mind to corral the puck and wait for Kris Versteeg to get in position for a tap in goal.
Marcus Kruger - Kruger had a beauty of an assist on Sharp's first goal.
Michael Rozsival - Rozie looks like he's rounding into shape. He's in the right position and starting to pick his spots to jump in on offense. Good to see.
Marian Hossa's injury - I'm glad the Hawks depth gives them the luxury of being conservative with Hossa, but damn, he was on such a roll, I just love watching play hockey and want to do so at every opportunity.
Last Night - While Hockeenight's terrific readers raised a lot of money for a great cause at GONNA DRINKEN on Saturday, the Hawks themselves turned in one of their worst efforts of the last two years. Now let us never speak of it again.
The Sheldon Brookbank Experience continues. The real loser in this situation is Bryan Bickell. You can see that when Q gets his genius up and double shifts Kane on the 3rd line that Bickell and Shaw can be dangerous on offense. But they need a guy to lug the puck for them, and when Sheldon's out there everything grinds to a halt. Hopefully when Hossa gets healthy, VERSTEEG! can play the Kane Lite role with Shaw and Bickell. But until then Bicks is going to have to suffer the slings and arrows of a contingent of fans that thinks WE WAY OVERPAID FOR DAT BICKELL GUY.
THE GREAT ROOKIE SHOWDOWN:
Sharks wunderkind Tomas Hertl: 0 points, -2. Brandon Pirri: 1 goal, 1 assist +2. Pirri also had better possession stats.
Here at Hockeenight we make it a point to select one Hawk each year and uselessly stump for him to win an award. I think that we have found this season's cause:
PIRRI FOR CALDER
Also, thanks to our good friend Hockey Brunch in Chicago for coming up with the perfect nickname for Pirri: Peppers
Up Next: The Hawks begin the Circus Trip with a Tuesday night game with the now hated Colorado Avalanche. And if you don't think I have this game circled in mustard on my calendar, then nothing I've written here likely makes any sense to you. My only regret is that the Avs didn't wait to begin their regression to the mean until then.