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THE FAR SIDE OF THE POND: Enough's not Enough

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By Chad Huebner

It’s just one game.

This phrase goes both ways. Not only is it something I can say to myself to feel better in the face of incredible odds, it is also something to remind the pompous, overbearing idiots known as Detroit Red Wing fans who are saying this series is already over, the ‘Hawks will get swept out of the playoffs.

This should be a long series, one where the momentum turns on a dime faster than a Maserati. Seven games would be nice for everyone-especially fans, execs, TV people-but whatever the length is, I would just like to say (probably not for the last time) that this has been the most enjoyment I’ve ever gotten out of the NHL playoffs. I finally get to feel how those dumbass Red Wing fans feel when their team makes the playoffs on a regular basis: they may not always, or ever, win a championship, but at least they pushed themselves to the limit, and came close to hoisting the Stanley Cup.

PRE-GAME STUFF

After I said all of that about it being just one game, the ‘Hawks are 16-38 in series when they trail after Game 1. Good thing I have enough beer. It’s my “happy juice.”

Now Versus isn’t showing the National Anthem. The heck is going on? They better show it when the series goes back to the United Center on Friday.

1ST PERIOD

It doesn’t take long before the ‘Hawks Troy Brouwer goes to the front of the net, and tries to dig the puck past Osgood. This was something that wasn’t happening too much in Game 1. The ‘Hawks seem to learn from their mistakes in losses, and apply the lessons for awhile, but they need to learn to apply the good play for the entire series. Detroit doesn’t let up on their game for even a moment, which I guess is what makes them one of the best in the world.

Sharpie had a wide-open look at the net, but his shot veered off to the right of the goal. We’re not even four minutes into the first and it seems like the ‘Hawks have as many shots as they did all of the last game. Then Doc Emrick says both teams have only three shots apiece. Don’t ruin my good buzz, Doc!

First of what will undoubtedly be a flurry of scary moments. Kris Draper on the breakaway, shot gets swallowed up by Bulin’s padded midsection. ‘Hawks were great at feeding the long pass; they need to show the Red Wings they aren’t the only experts at that.

For what seems to be the 478th time in the playoffs, the ‘Hawks get called for too many men. Maybe they need to run some sort of scenario in practice? How about a team fine? Bulin faces a forest of waving sticks, but somehow manages to cover up the puck. Is this what great goaltending looks like? I haven’t seen too much of it from the ‘Hawks in, oh, the past decade. ‘Hawks do look swift in killing the penalty, now it’s time for a big counterattack.

Is it me, or does Versus change their scoreboard graphic every other day? I think I’ve seen four or five different versions this season alone, and I can pretty much follow any one of them. Other networks don’t seem to have this problem, what’s going on? Just another annoying aspect of Versus.

Or how about not showing us why a penalty was called on Detroit? I didn’t see the exact cross check called. No matter, ‘Hawks get a golden opportunity to get the first goal in back-to-back games. Oh, I’m sorry, now it’s two penalties. ‘Hawks have a two-man advantage for the next 59 seconds. Crowd a bit quiet right now, oh darn.

And how do the ‘Hawks spend that 59 seconds? Let’s just say it was the most I’ve heard Doc say “Seabrook takes the shot, goes wide!” in succession. But as the 5-on-3 becomes a 5-on4, the ‘Hawks score: Toews first shot and goal of the series. Johnny was off to Ozzie’s extreme left, and his shot goes off Mikael Samuelsson’s skate straight into the net. Huh, I guess they felt more comfortable with the extra Detroit attacker on the ice.

Did I mention how dangerous Detroit is? They come back with a bunch of shots, and Tomas Holmstrom, parking his fanny in front of Bulin falls onto him and gets called for goalie interference. Looks like Bulin sold that call a bit, but I like it when things go our way, for once. Then again, the gods of karma are apparently frowning on the ‘Hawks for that, because as the Red Wings are something able to get some offensive pressure, Toews gets flagged for a tripping penalty with 15 seconds left on the PP.

So much for the lead: Brian Rafalski PP goal from the blue line that seeks the back of the net through all the traffic. ‘Hawks were here last time, now, like Austin Powers, they have to get their mojo back.

Kaner played for Honeybaked AAA in Detroit. Were they called the Hams?

‘Hawks can’t keep taking the long shots, because Ozzie’s snatching everything out of the air like Mr. Miyagi with the chopsticks. His positioning on the long shots is textbook perfect.

Shot totals in the first: ‘Hawks 19, Wings 13. That’s right, nineteen. The New York Islanders wouldn’t get 19 in a game. A zinger to the Islanders, thank you.

2ND PERIOD

Guess the refs didn’t like an even number of penalties between the teams, so they give the ‘Hawks one extra. But Dave Bolland gets a chance on a turnover and rifles a shot at the net. . . which is promptly gobbled up by Ozzie. Stop taking the long shots at Pac-Man, guys!

Uh-oh, Seabs blocks a shot with his midsection, and goes down in a heap. Hope he just has the wind knocked out of him. Duncan Keith didn’t practice for the last two days, so he might have some problems.

Just as the ‘Hawks screwed up their PP with a penalty, so did the Red Wings’ Nicklas Lidstrom with a high-sticking call. He may not win the Lady Byng, but come on, tell me the last time you saw him in the penalty box? Yes, he’s that good in that respect, too.

Seabs back on the ice during the short PP. Looks okay, but I’m sure he’ll have a big bruise on his chest before the end of the night.

Ding! That’s the sound of a wake-up call for the ‘Hawks as a shot goes off the left pipe, I hope.

Just wondering: Is Scotty Bowman rooting for the ‘Hawks, and if so, is he really rooting for them? Old associations die hard.

Another uh-oh: Sharpie down on the ice for awhile, finally, slowly skates back to the bench, Looks like he got tangled up the wrong way. Just saw a Red Wing fan clapping and hooting about it. Dumbass.

It’s not Zetterberg or Datsyuk who’s doing the most damage, it’s Dan frakking-Cleary. Beats Keith to the puck (it bounced over Dunc’s stick), breaks all alone on Bulin, and fires the puck underneath Bulin for the go ahead. He was a ‘Hawks draft pick in 1997. I will slam my head against the wall now.

In a period that’s been dominated by Detroit with the only goal, ‘Hawks get another chance on another Lidstrom penalty with 38 seconds left in the period. Nicklas better watch it, he might garner a “bad-boy” reputation.

3RD PERIOD

I like the music in the “Terminator Salvation” trailer; by the way (I think it’s Nine Inch Nails). ‘Hawks could use a T-1000 or two on their blueline. PP mostly uneventful, I’m afraid the ‘Hawks are reaching that point where they don’t have any more to give, but the Red Wings do, lots of it.

You have a goalie in my forward. You have a forward in my goalie. Big Buff gets tangled up with Ozzie, and both get called for holding, even though really Buff was pushed into Ozzie. Sigh, I guess the refs just can’t flag Detroit for a penalty without giving the ‘Hawks one. How can you win when that happens?

I haven’t seen the ‘Hawks go into “Comeback Mode”, not yet. They’re trying to, but Detroit’s very good at keeping a lid on the ‘Hawks’ attack.

“Oz-zie! Oz-zie!” chants are getting as annoying as “LUUUU” was in Vancouver.

Yes! 7:40 to go, ‘Hawks finally break through on Toews’ second goal from a Kris Versteeg redirect. Toews and Buff were in front of the net, a good strategy, eh? Could this be it? Could the Comeback Kids pull it off yet again?

We might have to put that on hold, because Bolland’s in the box for hooking. Not wise to play with fire with a PP as dominating as the Red Wings are. Bulin saves his team’s bacon, and is saved by another ding! off the post.

Please pull this one out, please, pleeeeeze. . .

Minutes pass, and it seems like Detroit’s generated 30 odd-man rushes. ‘Hawks might be playing for OT, but it doesn’t look like the Wings are. They keep driving and driving and they wear a lot of teams down this way.

Minute left in regulation. Pull the freaking trigger, Campbell! Another odd-man rush by Detroit, another simple save by Bulin. . .

And that’s it for regulation. Shot totals are now 37 for the ‘Hawks, 36 for the Wings. OT could serve the ‘Hawks well. They don’t seem to spend too much time playing extra time.

1st OT

Detroit controlling the flow in the early stages of the period. Seems like they get really ticked off when the ‘Hawks score on them, and come out flying after that, playing with a ferocious forecheck.

Once again, Campbell gives up the puck in Detroit’s zone, and only Cam Barker can  catch up with the Wings speed. 3-on-1, Hudler to Filppula to Samuelsson for the game winner. First time the ‘Hawks are down 2-0 in a series, and not even my “happy juice” makes me feel better.

But Chad, it’s just one game.

Yeah, but the ‘Hawks gave everything they could in this game, and still came up short. They matched the Wings shot for shot, and it wasn’t enough. They came out aggressive in the first, and it wasn’t enough. They pummeled Ozzie with shot and it wasn’t enough. They even had more PP chances than Detroit (6-5) and that wasn’t even enough.

It’s just two games, but the ‘Hawks effort just wasn’t enough.

Remember; e-mail me at
chadhuebner1972@yahoo.com for anything on your mind. Best responses and/or questions will be answered publicly.



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