Chicago Blackhawks' Corey Crawford stops a Minnesota Wild shot in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011, in St. Paul, Minn. The Blackhawks won 4-2.
If the beast hasn't awakened fully, it at least turned over to stare at the ceiling and think about starting its day.
The Hawks beat the Wild on Monday for their fifth-straight win, landing fifth in the Conference and two points away from home-ice in the first round with a game in hand on current occupants Phoenix.
The beast that definitely woke up is Jonathan Toews, seemingly hellbent on proving that, if Sidney Crosby isn't going to be around, the label of Best Two-way Player in the game should take up a 606-- zip code.
The city of Chicago is absolutely blessed to claim two of the biggest killers in winter sports. Let's hope Derek Rose and Toews never get mad at each other, because the ensuing fight would look a lot like Iron Men blasting at each other.
You probably know the numbers by now: 23 points in Tazer's last 16 games, leading the league in scoring since the All-Star Break. But you don't need the numbers to tell you the story if you've been watching the games.
Every shift, Toews has been slapping people upside the skull with pretty much every part of his anatomy. Last night he simply abused a pretty good defensive center in John Madden, and the Wild had no answer. The very definition of a captain.
But thankfully the Hawks are more than a one-man team. Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp on Toews's flanks were equally excellent last night, both racking up multiple point games. The Hawks got another contribution from their fourth line in the form of Tomas Kopecky's goal after some nifty work from Viktor Stalberg. Dave Bolland and Marian Hossa were a constant menace, and the Hawks got three huge penalty kills when they had to have them. I know, a kill, right? Who ever thought?
Still, the feeling here is the Hawks have another gear or two to move through, and last night they spent most of the game there. If they do that more consistently, we might start to think about maybe wanting to start kinda dreaming big.
-It's a shame that Nick Leddy fell asleep for the Havlat breakaway that turned things into a game, because the first two periods were probably his most assured in the NHL.
-Brian Campbell was a +22 in CORSI Rating, and for the uninitiated that means the Hawks attempted 22 more shots with Campbell on the ice than the Wild did, and that's all at even-strength. It let's you know where he keeps the play.
-If Michael Frolik doesn't score soon, he's either going to cry or kill someone on the ice. Maybe both. But he's certainly doing everything he can. He just needs the results.
-If new acquisition Chris Campoli can dress on Wednesday, the Hawks might keep John Scott in the lineup for one more game because something is definitely up with Niklas Hjalmarsson. He only played 14 minutes, and looked hurt when he did.