Sunday, May 24, 2009


Detroit Red Wings Marian Hossa scored on a breakaway during a Chicago Blackhawks power play for a 1-0 lead in the first period in game 4 of the Western Conference Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Chicago on Sunday, May 24, 2009. (JULIAN H. GONZALEZ/DFP)
(ed: note the Dee-troit fans [in Chicago!], as opposed to the despondent YoungHawk fans)

Schooling. That's the metaphor in play throughout the hockey press after Detroit's 6-1 thumping of those YoungHawks this afternoon. And the press is both brutal and unforgiving, even and especially hometown Hawks blogger/columnist Steve Rosenbloom:
What. A. Disaster.
A disaster, an embarrassment, a waste, pick one, pick ‘em all, you wouldn’t be wrong in trying to describe what passed for Blackhawks hockey in a 6-1 loss in Game 4 of what used to be a competitive Western Conference finals against the vexing Red Wings.
The Hawks came into Game 4 knowing they couldn’t go into Game 5 in Detroit on the brink of elimination, and they proceeded to lose the first period, their poise, the game and likely the series.
To think, the Hawks had everything going for them entering Sunday’s game.
They had confidence they could beat the defending champions after their gotta-have-it overtime win on Friday. Amazingly, they had Martin Havlat, no matter that he got annihilated by Niklas Kronwall in Game 3. They also had the last change at home against a team missing all kinds of talent and bling -- Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Kris Draper, a multiple Norris Trophy winner, an MVP candidate, fistfuls of Stanley Cup rings.
But that’s why the Wings are a great team and the young Hawks just aren’t good enough.

The Hawks’ deterioration resembled the way you go broke: slowly at first, then all at once. They not only blew a power play in the first period, but they gave up a 2-on-1 break and a short-handed goal.
When they needed to rally, the Hawks they gave up an inexcusable goal in the last minute of the first period. Johan Franzen came down the right wing and snapped a shot into the top left corner.
Ouch. The criticism and snark only gets worse. It's said "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"... unless it's a hometown hockey writer who watched his city's team systematically dismantled, humbled, and embarrassed. I've seen similar writing in the Dee-troit press back in the bad ol' days of the mid-80s, and even in places like San Jose and Calgary this season. But Rosenbloom takes biting criticism another notch up the scale.

And there's this from Cam Cole, writing at
CHICAGO — The Detroit Red Wings took the kids to school Sunday. They’ll pick ’em up next fall.
Actually, there’s a little paperwork to be done first, Wednesday night in Detroit — report cards signed, concessions accepted, and so on — but once that’s done, the Chicago Blackhawks can take the rest of the season off and go back to class in October.
Class was noticeably absent from their performance in Game 4 of the Western Conference final at United Center, where the young Hawks received more education than they ever wanted. The Red Wings — short-staffed, shorthanded, on the power play, every which way — showcased their incredible depth and dominated the home team with a cool, controlled display of textbook positional hockey and opportunism.
It ended 6-1, on the strength of two goals each from Marian Hossa and Henrik Zetterberg, and along the way the Wings chased starting goalie Cristobal Huet four minutes into the second period, then his replacement, Corey Crawford, after 40 — although it might have been that Chicago coach Joel Quenneville realized he’d be needing Huet for Game 5 Wednesday, and better get him some work.
In any case, it was an ugly day for Hawk fans, who had come thirsting for Red Wing blood after Niklas Kronwall’s nasty hit on forward Martin Havlat in Game 3, but didn’t get to taste revenge in what might be their last glimpse of the boys this year — only bitter, utter defeat and a 3-1 series deficit.
Missing their best two players? No problem for the Stanley Cup champs. Plenty more where they came from.
Detroit was already without Pavel Datsyuk, but shocked observers by scratching captain Nick Lidstrom just before game time. Kris Draper, too. It hardly mattered.
About Lidstrom being scratched... apparently even Babcock didn't know Lidstrom wouldn't play until the very last minute, saying he only found out when he was in the taxi on the way to the United Center. As for me, I found out during the pre-game show and was on the phone immediately with SN1... relaying the news in an "Oh, shit" tone. The news was ominous, indeed. But... as noted above... it hardly mattered. It was gut-check time for the Wings, and they delivered. About which... Darren Eliot, writing at
Detroit gave a clinic on what gut-check time is all about. Playing without veteran faceoff specialist Kris Draper, Hart nominee Pavel Datsyuk and surprise scratch, captain Nicklas Lidstrom -- only the best defenseman of his generation -- the Red Wings played with composure and competitiveness. They were outwardly abrasive in the early going, not shying away from post-whistle scrums, actually initiating much of the pushing and shoving.
That edginess was merely a demonstrative form of their intent. As is the norm, it was their execution that led to the Red Wings' domination. The passing was crisp and the shooting sharp. The tandem of Marian Hossa and Valtteri Filppula, in particular, took over offensively with Hossa scoring twice -- his first tallies of the series -- and Filppula with his first of the playoffs. Hossa's second goal of the game came only 12 seconds after Jonathan Toews had gotten the Blackhawks on the board at 3-1.
That quick answer denied the Blackhawks any chance at building momentum for a comeback -- something they've routinely done throughout the playoffs. Instead, at 4-1 early in the second period, goaltender Cristobal Huet's day was done and the youthful 'Hawks proceeded to unravel by taking needless penalties. Rookie Corey Crawford had to endure a 5-on-3 power play and promptly saw the big board go to 5-1 on Henrik Zetterberg's goal. From there, the game took on an air of posturing, with both teams setting their sights on Game 5.
So. It really, rilly, looks like the handwriting is on the wall... we'll have Wings - Pens, The Sequel beginning June 5th. June 5th?? Yeah... that is truly inept and horrible scheduling on the NHL's part for the SCF, based upon a press release from the league Friday... which might change if the conference finals end quickly. But that's quite another story. There are a couple of hockey games to be played first.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.