I'll eschew the normal statistical breakdown, and just point out the highlights, but there are issues that have to be addressed first. Last night's game isn't entirely on Coach Quenneville, but you could make that argument and I will listen.
They come in threes, as they tend to do. They are the choices of having Tomas Kopecky at center and Nick Boynton and John Scott in the lineup at all. All of these decisions, this late in the season when points are now mandatory, are farcical.
The Hawks are built to be strong on the blue line and up the middle. With the depth at center eroded by Toews's injury, Q decided to erode it more by moving Sharp to a wing and Kop to the middle. Unacceptable.
- I don't know how many more dumb penalties and idiotic decisions Nick Boynton has to make to be benched for putting Jordan Hendry at his natural position at defense, but I feel like I'm going to need a calculator before we get there.
- John Scott needs to go away, as watching him makes me physically feel my life slipping through my fingers.
- That said, I do agree with Q that the penalty on Seabrook that led to the 5-on-3 was a complete dive by Marleau. That said, I haven't seen one diving call in any NHL game I've watched this year, so good on you NHL for keeping that enforcement up that you promised.
- On the bright side, Dave Bolland had one of his better games of the year, getting the better of on fire Logan Couture for most of the night at even-strength. It was interesting that Bolland, Q's first option as a checking center, was assigned to Couture and not Joe Thornton.
- The penalty kill needs to be fixed in a hurry, and it's all about positioning. Aside from the two-man goal the Hawks gave up, the other two goals that came as a result of a power play were the Hawks forwards coming down to low or out of position to not get back to block a shot from the point. I can see it, why can't they?
- Patrick Kane is still hurt, and it's pretty easy to see.
I'll be honest, after last night I was fuming and I was genuinely worried. I think it's unfair that the Hawks do not pick up Marty Turco when he did so the previous two games. He let in a soft goal for the Sharks first, but the Hawks didn't battle to get it back for him.
But that's not the issue here, dude.
The Hawks overall effort was more than fine, but it came littered with dumb mistakes that cost them the game. But when you put out players who make mistakes, to quote my patron saint Axl Rose, "You get what you pay for, and freedom's real high priced."
But last night was the first time I really thought the Hawks are going to be in a dogfight to make the playoffs. And most of the reasons they are are self-inflicted.
If I didn't think this team was better I wouldn't be so frustrated. But it is, but they do it to themselves. Them and no one else.
There, a GNR and Radiohead quote in one blog. Don't say I got no range.