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Hawks Need to Stop the Bleeding and Toughen Up

by Quinn Magnuson (qmagnuson@hotmail.com)

Wednesday night’s 4 -2 loss in Anaheim needs to be the last straw; for Hawk fans and players alike. Former Blackhawk (and I hate to use that term, because we shouldn’t even acknowledge him) James Wisniewski delivered a potentially season ending blow to the head of defenseman Brent Seabrook, adding him to the list of walking wounded for the Hawks defense corps.

Gone are Campbell, Johnsson and now Seabrook. Sophomore Jordan Hendry has been asked to step in to the #4 spot and has played admirably. Newly acquired Nick Boynton, playing his first game as a Hawk against his former teammates, was solid if not effective last night but Nik Hjalmarsson has struggled and it showed and veteran grandpa Brent Sopel can’t log 20 minutes a game. The way things are going pretty soon, Blackhawks trainer Parchman will suit up for the red, white and black

Today Wisniewski received a well deserved 8 game suspension from the league and is considered a repeat offender. Wisniewski though had the gall to state, “I didn’t do anything wrong. The result of what happened isn’t good, but there wasn’t anything wrong what I did.” That doesn’t change the effect of the hit on Seabrook and the damage it does to a team fighting for top spot in the West.

Then to add insult to injury, literally, an absolutely horrendous non-call by referees Paul Devorski and Ian Walsh, happens with minutes to go in the third when Duck forward Corey Perry drops Brent Sopel to the ice just as Sopel was getting ready to field an airborne puck. Not only did Perry not receive an interference penalty, but the Ducks scored on the play and ultimately gave them the two points.

Yes you could complain and say the Hawks have been cursed this last week. And yes the string of bad luck seems neverending, but amongst all this, the thing that bothers me the most is the lack of team toughness the Hawks have shown in response to these hits. The Hawks haven’t had a real enforcer type player for a couple of years, BUT there are players on this team you would expect to step up and protect their teammates. This is a team that supposedly is tighter than a wetsuit. So where are the Byfugliens and Eagers to step in after an Ovechkin hit or a Wisniewski 2nd degree assault?

Eager has been ineffective post-concussion, and since he is not a goal scorer is not serving a purpose. Byfuglien, who despite being effective both ways, should also be added to the pink panty crew. A player that size (6’3” 250) needs to step in and make his presence felt if not drop the mitts when the need arises. Adam Burish, our resident pugilist (and a small one at that) is not exactly feared by opposing teams. Surprisingly, in last nights debacle, youngster Kris Versteeg showed some grit and the new guy, Nick Boynton, tried to make an impression on his new team by going after Wisniewski at the end. But its not enough

Teams around the league have found the key to the Hawks demise: run them, hurt them and then wait and watch as nothing happens. Ovechkin sat on one knee after his hit on Campbell and no one jumped in. Duncan Keith jumped on Wisniewski after his murderous hit on Seabrook, but couldn’t do much against the bigger stronger Wisniewski. And really why Duncan Keith? Why not a larger player who could have at least made Wisniewski, and the rest of the league for that matter, understand that the Hawks will not get run out of the arena.

Something needs to change. And Coach Q better figure out a way to get this message across to the Hawks before were down to Corey Crawford in net and Brian Bickell and Jack Skille on the number one line.

Q’s Notes:
Is anyone else wondering why Quenneville started Rockford goaltender Crawford last night against Anaheim? With a defense that is minus Campbell and Johnsson and breaking in a new D-man in Boynton, why does Crawford get the nod? Mind you he wasn’t terrible but two costly giveaways while playing the puck didn’t help the situation. Antti Niemi on a bad night is still better than Crawford.

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