Chicago Blackhawks at San Jose Sharks
Goals: Justin Braun and Dan Boyle (San Jose), Marcus Kruger x2 (Chicago), Joe Thornton (San Jose), David Bolland (Chicago), Benn Ferriero and Jamie McGinn (San Jose)
Goalies: Corey Crawford (22/27, .815), Antti Niemi (30/33, .909)
Marcus Kruger netted two goals on the rebound, and I was happy to see that it was a result of screening Antti Niemi. I had made note of this when I watched the Sharks-Flames game the other night, and maybe my little mental note was felt or somehow got through to them for a moment…only for a moment.
After juggling with the top line (taking Patrick Kane to second line wing and subbing in Michael Frolik first and then Viktor Stalberg), Coach finally stuck Jamal Mayers on there for one purpose: protection. It had been severely lacking in the absence of Daniel Carcillo, and after the first period, it was entirely necessary. And what did Jammer do? He went after one of the guys who had went after our robot captain, Ryane Clowe:
Hey, Bryan Bickell got his first goal since December, and Sami Lepisto registered his first point as a Blackhawk! The night wasn’t a complete crapshoot after all!
Shaking my head at Stally for that stupid giveaway that led to Thornton’s goal. This is one of our offensive problems: too much stickhandling and not enough straight passing. I’m guessing that they did a great job cycling the puck before this happened, so the fact that he was benched for the rest of the game was appropriate punishment.
About 10 minutes into the first period, Joe Thornton decides to rough up Jonathan Toews a bit. Tazer retaliates, and this starts an almost full-on line brawl. When the dust settled, Thornton and Clowe were sent to the penalty box for roughing, as were Toews, Duncan Keith and Sean O’Donnell.
To those who said that Kaner should’ve involved himself in the scrum, I ask why you would want to risk him getting hurt, possibly long-term. The effort wouldn’t be worth it if he’s out for something stupid. Patrick’s not the biggest guy out there, and he’s admitted in the past that he’s more of a lover than a fighter. He’s not as aggressive as other guys. Maybe he could be a little more physical at the net, but not in a fight. Come on!
Yes, we lost. Yes, it’s frustrating and heartbreaking. But this is no reason to give up so easily on our boys. Losses are a part of playing any sport, and yes, it feels unnatural for us to be like this. But this is no time to be abandoning them. We can be critical on how they play, but we have to be supportive as well. They’re playing for love of the game, and they’re playing for the fans.
Yes, we have defensive problems, BIG defensive problems. We have goalies who are shaken because of said defensive problems. We need a good defensive pairing, we need more screening at the crease, we need fresh blood in there via a trade. We need a lot of things, but mostly patience with the guys. They know what the exact problems are, and they’re working hard to fix things. The Sharks game was a good example of them doing what was needed (but also how to fall apart, ugh). More needs to be done, but that’s for them to handle.
Let me ask you disenchanted folks this question: a few seasons ago, the Blackhawks went on a nine-game skid. NINE GAMES. Does anyone remember what happened that season? I’ll give you a hint: it begins with an S and went to Niagara Falls that year, accompanied by the 21-year-old who’d scored the game winning goal in overtime.
I have faith that they’ll pull through. It’s a shame that no one remembers that season and can say the same.
at Phoenix Coyotes
WGN (Chicago area only)
We’ve not had very good luck with these guys, so let’s end this series with a win.