Blog Entry

'Hawks are high risk, high reward

Posted on: May 1, 2009 1:53 am

Seems like there's no such thing as a safe lead in the playoffs these days.

Not against the Chicago Blackhawks any way, even if your goaltender is named Roberto Luongo.

The Vancouver Canucks learned that lesson the hard way and it nearly cost them in their series opener against the Blackhawks.

The Canucks did a lot of good things tonight and ultimately found a way to raise their record to 5-0 in these playoffs with a 5-3 win. Still, the way Chicago's offense explode again has to concern Vancouver, which has gotten his far largely because of its ability to shut down teams.

Then again, Chicago is making a habit of coming back in these playoffs with quick scoring bursts, which is a good thing if it didn't mean you tend to dig yourself into holes. But it just doesn't seem to faze the young Blackhawks, who bounced back three times in the first round against Calgary including once from a three goal deficit, and did it again tonight by erasing the 3-0 lead Vancouver took into the third period.

It was a stunning turnaround because Vancouver, which went 23-7-2 after Feb. 1 and has led after 12 of 16 periods in these playoffs, had dominated the proceedings until that point. And by doing the things it does best. Like getting first save, no rebound work from Luongo; solid defense that kept Chicago from the front of the net; great faceoff work and skills exhibitions from the Sedin twins. Vancouver played its game and kept the Blackhawks from playing theirs.

The Canucks even got a boost in the form of a parade to the penalty box by the Blackhawks, but Vancouver failed to capitalize on six of seven power plays, including a four minute advantage at the end of the second period that could have put things away, but the penalties did kep Chicago out of sync. When Chicago smartened up in the third period, staying out of the box and they tied the game before the 15 minute mark.

"We knew they'd be coming," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "They're a great transition team and they made it hard on us, but we found a way to win the game."

Thanks to a mistake by a Chicago team that got carried away by its own momentum. The game could have gone to overtime, but Blackhawks went on the attack and turned the puck over on an odd man rush late in the third period. Vancouver had a 3 on 1 going the other way, with defenseman Sami Salo, the trailer putting the rebound home with 73 seconds left after Nikolai Khabibulin had made a good initial save.

"We want to be activating the rush, but maybe a simpler play with the puck, to dump it in, would have been a good thing," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Your D participating is a good thing, but you have to respect what turnovers can do."

Especially when they lead to those rare leads that are safe.
Category: NHL

Since: May 2, 2009
Posted on: May 2, 2009 8:25 pm

'Hawks are high risk, high reward

If you read the descriptor regarding the name 'backhand shots' you can see that grammer of any kind isn't Wes' forte. Nor is making predictions regarding series outcomes. Perhaps Wes, like Don Cherry, owes his value to being controversial. The similarity ends there, however.

Since: Apr 28, 2008
Posted on: May 2, 2009 5:28 pm

'Hawks are high risk, high reward

Do you get paid to be a f-tard?  Nobody cares about your high-brow concern for grammer.


Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 1, 2009 4:02 pm

'Hawks are high risk, high reward

I agree.  Grammer mistakes are really annoying.  Even though Wes is well beyond today's education system, I would suggest that we can expect a lot more of this kind of writing when the No Child Left Behind flunkies arrive on the scene. 

That being said, it's now on to hockey.  I like the Blackhawks.  I live in Chicago, and they are the only team I actively cheer for in this city.  They can make a good run, but I believe that next season is the one.  I think if the playoff run ends with Vancouver, which I'll give a 60-40 chance of being true, the front office has some serious questions to answer:

1.  Will they resign Havlat and Habibulin?  I say no.  Too much money and both players have conveniently played well in this contract year.  You have enough money tied up in Huet, he better start full time.  Versteeg has played well enough to marshall to fill in for Havlat (allbeit without the scoring stats, yet).

2.  Will they get a no crap enforcer?  The fighting discussion will kind of answer this at the summer meetings.  But I have seen Kane and Toews roughed up too much this year.  If these two are the face of the franchise then you need to send a message to the other teams that this crap will not go unchecked.  Burish is willing but not really able.  Eager is willing an able, but has very limited appeal except as the third forward on a checking line.  I wonder if Laraque is available.

The Sedin twins seem to give the Hawks fits, and Luongo is a great goalie.  I hope the road doesn't end in round 2, but I won't be shocked if it does. 

Since: Sep 2, 2008
Posted on: May 1, 2009 12:23 pm

Do you get paid to write, Wes?

Obviously you use spellcheck since it is built in to the typing.  But do you ever do a read-through of what you write for grammar mistakes? "Chicago's offense explode again...has gotten his far largely"

Horrible and annoying.

Since: Jun 26, 2007
Posted on: May 1, 2009 11:43 am

'Hawks are high risk, high reward

I'm more of a Canuck fan than a Blackhawk fan, but it would be neat to see a hard-fought 7 gamer here...  I would be happy no matter which team wins it and moves on to the conference finals. 

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