GAHH!!!! It's the Emperor! Run away!!! Just kidding, folks, that's our old friend Al Davis.
Last week my battle cry was "Signature Win!". This week (in honor of the recently deceased Al Davis) it's "Just win, baby." I had been operating under the assumption that this Hawks team was capable of domination. After this past week I think we can say that domination isn't in their DNA (yet). Maybe down the road they'll develop the jungle cat instinct of opening the jugular but for now we have to be happy with back alley knife fights where they're scraping at least one point each game.
The Hawks standard operating procedure has been to engage in seesaw-type games in which either A) The Hawks give up multiple leads or B) The Hawks are chasing the other team's leads. From game to game I have no idea what to expect other than the following: the power play will blow, the penalty kill will be awesome and the score will be close.
The Hawks are winning and that not only makes everyone happy but it masks all the warts this team has. Namely the power play.
The prevailing sentiment from the players and media this week regarding the power play seemed to be something along the lines of "Nothing to see here, move along please." The theory being that even though they weren't scoring on the power play, they were getting a lot of good looks and good chances. The bounces would eventually go their way. Unfortunately, as we used to say in the neighborhood when I was a kid, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades" and close doesn't cut it in the NHL. If the Hawks record was something like 4-5-3 or 4-4-4 (instead of 8-2-2) there would be a significant amount of teeth-gnashing and talk of hot seats and coaching incompetence.
Actually, on second thought, since we're talking about Chicago, no one would care. This isn't Montreal where they had to push an assistant coach into the volcano in order to appease the angry villagers. In fact, I doubt that if the Hawks were sporting one of those hypothetical records above that it would rank higher than the tenth most important sports story in Chicago behind Theo, Zambrano, Matt Forte's contract situation, the Bears offinsive line, anything comes out of Ozzie Guillen's mouth, anything that comes out of Jay Cutler's mouth, Jay Cutler's love life, the NBA lockout and the most recent '85 Bears reunion.
Essentially, the Hawks are getting by on a combination of luck, gritty resiliency, Corey Crawford, and Kaner backing up his pre-season assertion that he was aiming to become an elite player in the league. Kaner is an elite player in the league now. It's kind of hard to wrap my mind around that idea but it's true. I always think of him as a kid who needs to be put to bed at night.
If they could just get the effing power play working, I could stop writing the same thing every week and move on with my life. But no, this is why you can't have nice things, Blackhawks. Your power play is so bad that the only thing that comes to mind when i think about it, is a prolapsed anus.
Whenever the day comes that they unlock the mystery of the man-advantage, this team will become a fully armed and operational battle station capable of destroying planets. Until then they'll be scrapping in the back alley every night fighting for points however they can get 'em. It doesn't matter if you have to pull a knife from your boot or knee a guys in the balls, a win is a win. Al Davis knew that, so "Just win, baby."
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-I hate to watch the Hawks play him but Pekka Rinne is truly great. Nashville did well to lock him up for seven more years. Have you ever felt like the Hawks have scored an easy goal on that guy? I feel like he has never given up a softie. So solid.
-The Hawks put forth an embarrassing effort in Carolina last Friday. Can I bill Rocky Wirtz for those two and a half hours that I will never get back?
-Columbus is not good at Hockey.
-Patrick Kane is good at Hockey.
-Patrick Kane is bad (in an entertaining way) at acting.
-Here's a fun fact I picked up on Twitter Thursday night (via @WaddleandSilvy): The Red Wings are winless in their last 6 games, longest winless streak since February, 2008. People, that's what you call good times.
-Non-Hawk Thought: (Actually a rhetorical question) Why does it take so long for pears to ripen? Even when I put them in a paper bag and leave them on the kitchen counter it seems to take four months for those little bastards to become edible. I guess it's all worth it in the end though because they are so delightful. The pear is an underrated piece of fruit. Long live the pear!
-The quote of the week comes to us courtesy of Dan Carcillo referencing his Dad's Trip golfing foursome (comprised of Carbomb, Carbomb Sr., Sami Lepisto and Sami's dad). “I carried our team," Carcillo joked. “The Lepistos were busy eating hotdogs and staring at birds they don’t see in Europe."
-Runner up for quote of the week comes from former NHL'er and two-time Cup-winner Bobby Holik who texted Hossa after the Florida game Friday night and said Patrick Kane is "The best street hockey player on skates."
-I've demoted the Hawks power play from finger painting class to being the smelly kid who eats paste in the corner.
-Paste. It's what's for dinner.
-Nick Leddy continues to impress. It makes you wonder what kind of juicy information StanBo had when he traded Cam Barker for Leddy. He must have known that the Minnesota GM was into kiddy porn or something similarly egregious for that trade to have gone down. Minnesota got raped and pillaged on that one.
-Did you know that Leddy is tied for fourth on the team with 7 points? That's a true story. Kinda shocking.
-Did you know that Leddy leads the team in plus-minus rating at +7? True story.
-Leddy needs a nickname and I can't think of anything good. New Soup? Soup.0? You can Leddy a horse to water but you can't make him drink? Leddy Zeppelin? Zeppelin? Hindenburg? Oh, the Humanity! ?, Whatever. Those are horrible.
Oops, that was rather depressing. How about this instead?
-Watching Brunette and Stalberg skate on the same line is fun for the whole family. Stalberg is the douchebag who speed-walks on the people mover at the airport; Brunette is the fat, sunburned tourist in a Hawaiian shirt pulling his carry-on bag behind him through the center of the concourse.
-Did Tomas Kopecky forget that Halloween is over? He's still wearing a "A" on his sweater.
-Blackhawks record since last Friday: 3-1-0
-Standings: 1st in the Central, 1st in the West, tied for second in the NHL with 18 points overall.
-Paste Eating The power play is T-29th (!) (4 for 45, 8.9%, 0-15 since last Friday), the penalty kill is 3rd at 91.7% (have allowed 3 PPG on the season, scored 3 shorties).
-Last week's predictions: I said they would lose in the S/O at CAR (lost in regulation), win at home against CLS (they won), win at home agsinst NSH (they won in OT), and lose at FLA (won in the S/O). I predicted five points, they came up with six.
-The upcoming schedule (through next Thursday) with my predictions: At TB Friday (OT loss); Home against VAN on Sunday (win); At STL on Tuesday (loss); At CLS Thursday (win). That's four games in six days and five in seven if you count next Friday's game against CGY. November's schedule is a true meat grinder with only four games at home.
-I'll be looking for that elusive signature win that I wrote about last week at home against VAN on Sunday night. The Bears don't play until Monday so the crowd should be properly pumped.