Is there anything worse than a West Coast game in the middle of the week? As an old man with a baby in the house who may decide at any time that she is going to wake up and that nobody else should sleep either, no. But somebody has to recap these, so here I am.
So we reach Chapter 204 in the Blackhawks/Canucks rivalry. This is the point where the fans don’t want to hear about how much everybody hates everybody else and Dave Bolland is a dick and Alex Burrows is a pansy – let’s just play the fucking game. The good news is, these teams can both play. The Canucks definitely looked like the faster of the two teams, but Chicago relied on tenacious team defense, their power play (!) and some flat out brilliance from Corey Crawford to come away with the victory.
Corey Crawford – Crawford started this recap at the bottom of “the good” by playing well in the first two periods, then vaulted to the top of the list with an outstanding third period. I’m not sure which of his saves was most impressive – maybe his stop of Jannik Hansen’s shorthanded breakaway with the Hawks leading by 1 goal early in the 3rd period. Crawford clearly gained confidence as the Canucks struggled to solve him, and the once Vancouver started gambling the Hawks got him enough cushion to relax for the last 5 minutes or so.
Power Play – Good night for the power play, the Hawks went 2 for 3 (even getting a goal from the first unit) and were never short-handed themselves.
Backcheck – Vancouver seemed to have more speed going tonight, but the Hawk forwards did an excellent job of getting back and picking up their assignments tonight. That was a huge reason they were able to keep the score low and cut down on second chances when Corey Crawford gave rebounds.
Andrew Brunette – I love Andrew Brunette. He’s got great hands and balance and when he uses them down by the goal line, it’s a sight to behold He’s played well wherever Q has put him (tonight he played on the 3rd and 4th lines) and has helped steady the 2nd power play unit. He opened the scoring tonight with a sweet power play goal set up by Marcus Kruger.
John Scott – Look, I don’t mean to constantly pick on our favorite All-Star, but this is getting idiotic. The problem with playing Scott regular minutes is that eventually he’s going to get caught out on the ice against top six forwards at some point. And when he does, he’s probably going to fall down.
Odd Man Chances – I lost track of how many odd man rushes the Hawks gave up tonight. The defensemen were pinching (poorly) and more often than not sending the Canucks in the other direction on a rush.
The Blackhawk career of Rusty Olesz may have come to end today, as the Hawks waived Olesz, I assume with the intent of sending him to Rockford (unless some NHL GM with a death wish wants to claim him) to get some salary room and possibly clear the way for the 2011-12 debut of Ben Smith.
Up Next – The Hawks next game is on Friday, which means it that by law, they will play Calgary. See you then.