The two teams with the best records in the NHL met up for a fourth and final regular season meeting in San Jose last night with the Hawks coming out with a huge 4-3 overtime victory. That puts them 3-1 against the Sharks on the year and 5-2 so far on a very successful road trip which will end in Carolina on Saturday.Coach Q said he would be happy with a 4-4 road trip and now he has a chance at being 6-2 on arguably the Hawks toughest road trip of the year.
The first period had shades of the Oilers game a couple nights ago, the Hawks came out flying and were running rampage over the Sharks with 3 goals within the first 9 minutes of the game that quieted the at one time jacked up Shark fans. 3 minutes later the Hawks had a defensive breakdown and Pavelski made them pay and gave the Sharks a huge momentum swing going into the second period.
The Sharks came out flying in the second period and completely dominated the Hawks, Chicago managed to hold off the onslaught for the most part but then with a goal mouth scramble in which Seabrook needed to save a shot that was most certainly going in unfortunately ended up taking an interference penalty with Pavelski potting his second of the game one minute into the powerplay to make it 3-2.
The third period continued in the Sharks favor and at the 4:56 mark Maholtra tied the game up. Hawks fans have seen this of late and Keith Trithart an excellent “armchair analyst” in whom I have been trying to get to write/blog for years noticed that when the Hawks get up early they love to give it back. Let's hope that is not the beginning of a downward trend. In all fairness to the Hawks they are on the backend of the big road trip and the legs seem to have fallen off at this point and the well rested Sharks completely took over. However, the hawks surprised everyone and raised the level of play at the mid way point of the game with a sudden burst of energy and puck possession. The game went into overtime and the hawks came out with an enormous win with Brouwer netting his second of the game.
- Troy Brouwer was excellent and an easy choice for first star this game with 2 goals and one being the game winner in overtime.
- Cristobal Huet was outstanding making 34 saves and of the 3 goals he allowed he had no chance on any of them.
- Brian Campbell obviously loves to be heckled from fans as he probably had one of his best games as a hawk to date.
- The Sharks are not just a one line team as many consider, although the big line was somewhat invisible they do have players who can contribute but are being overshadowed by the dominance this year from the Thornton/Heatley/Marleau unit.
I might take some slack from this but hey that is what the fun of bloggin is and sharing your point of view.
Shootouts – sure to some fans it as an exciting 2-5 minutes on average of extra playmaking and showboating skills after a game is still tied after overtime. But in reality it is a flip of the coin who wins those and do we need to ultimately decide on playoff positions by a “flip of the coin”? Why is the shootout not carried over into the playoffs, why should the game change in the playoffs compared to the regular season? It makes no sense whatsoever, why not make it a 10 minute overtime 4 on 4 because I guarantee you the game would be more exciting with the winner being determined by team play and not individual skills after 65 minutes of gameplay. If there is no winner I guess it's a tie, what the heck is wrong with a tie anyways? Why abolish a tie in hockey? Must we always have a winner? Some may consider a different point awarding structure perhaps 3 points to the winner after an overtime but that leaves much debate.
Face-offs – if the opposing centerman is a bit slow getting into the face off circle adjusting his jock strap or mouth piece etc. Give the entire team a warning that any more delayed face off's by that team will be a delay of game penalty. Don't just drop the puck with no opposing centerman to take the draw, that to me is pond hockey rules.
Instant Replay – I like it, but instead of just using it for goals why not use it for replaying of vicious hits from behind to determine how intentional or unintentional the hit was and let the referees act accordingly to that in serving the penalty.
Kicked in goal – the goal will not be counted if the player has a “distinct kicking motion” but yet they can angle the skate to “direct” the puck into the goal. Hmm this is not soccer is it? Sure goals go in off skates all the time but come on NHL the goal should not be counted if there is “intent” to forward the puck into the opposing net with the skate.
Dont get me wrong I think the NHL is great and every sport is far from perfect but there are just a few things in my opinion that would make more sense. Yes, the NHL has cut down on the amount of time a game takes to complete by quite a bit. We used to have to allow 3 hours for a hockey game and now it is down to approximatley 2.5 hours. There are a lot of positive things to be said about the NHL as well like the implemented salary cap so we do not have teams attempting to buy a championship like the Yankees of the MLB for example and the removal of the 2 line pass has really opened up the game and limited the trap game.
About the Author
Written by Trent Kondo
An all around sports fan and has been a Chicago BlackHawks supporter longer then he can remember. Currently writes for Prosportsblogging.com on the Blackhawks and NHLHotstove.com on the Edmonton Oilers. (If you would like to email feel free to contact Trent at TKONHOCKEY@gmail.com )