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Defense is the difference this year

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Old
02-27-2013, 07:29 PM
  #26
HockeySensible
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I think that "five in the picture" line is great. I could not stand it last year when every time there was a chance Chicago might get the puck in the defensive zone, the wingers would bolt out of the zone. It lead to Dmen, under pressure, without options and all they could do was throw the puck up for boards and hope it got out or cycle it back to his partner and hope he was under less pressure. It was a joke and it went on for most of the season.

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02-27-2013, 07:57 PM
  #27
Chris Hansen
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Thanks for posting that CGS, I don't go on nhl.com almost ever anymore but that was a really nice read.

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02-27-2013, 08:24 PM
  #28
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D-men are doing a much better job clearing the puck away from the goalie and out of the zone...they're not just standing around and watching so far this season.

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02-27-2013, 08:46 PM
  #29
ChiGuySez
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My pleasure posting this. Its an impressive group giving their opinions.

Regarding Hitchcoks comments, its interesting Emery has similar comments (3:25)...

WGN Radio Game Day inverview

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Old
02-27-2013, 09:21 PM
  #30
zac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w00d View Post
Goaltending is the difference.

The Blackhawks are allowing virtually the same number of shots against this year as they have the previous two years (around 27-28 per game) but the goaltenders are stopping a higher percentage of them. In that regard, the defense has changed little since the Cup was won. Crawford's spotless 1.5 GAA is not due to facing fewer shots per game.

In 2009-10 (Cup year), the Hawks allowed an average of around 25 shots on goal, which climbed to almost 30 SOG during the playoffs. The goaltending during the Cup year was bad (Huet) to average (Niemi), and they were allowing 2.48 goals per game, as opposed to 1.78 this year.

The goaltending this season is the best that the Hawks have had in recent memory, and there isn't much credit due to the defense, which is worse than the Cup year by a significant margin. If this team had that year's Niemi and Huet in goal, they would not be doing well at all. If the Hawks win the Cup again this year, it will be because of the goaltenders.

To a degree I think SOG are a bit overrated. One of the biggest reasons our goaltending looks so much better is because we have drastically reduced the number of ridiculous scoring chances per game. The past 2.5 seasons we saw open trailers, slot shooters, and point blank rebounds galore. We had forwards and defensemen routinely lose awareness and not maintain proper spacing and discipline in their own zone and it led to our goalies getting absolutely peppered with primo scoring chances.

With an improved 3rd pairing, a resurgence in Hammer's play, and more responsible forwards we are seeing much better coverage in our own zone. This has allowed our goalies to (generally) get in much better rhythm as they are able to anticipate shots and chances much more accurately. I think people can underestimate how hard it is for a goalie to continually make saves that are a result of a defensive lapse that catches a goalie off guard. This is why Craw's rookie season was much better than the number's indicated as our defense hung him out to dry more often then not.

I do think our GT has made internal strides, but I think the biggest reason for the improvement is the play of the players in front of them. Another greatly undervalued asset of the current team is the improvement in the ability to win board battles. Saad is phenomenal along the boards and even Kruger has made strides in this as well. Winning more battles leads to an increase in offensive zone possession and a decrease in offensive possession by the opponent.

Bottom line is we are playing much better across the board so everyone deserves a lot of credit. If I had to weight it however, I'd lean toward the drastic improvement in our defense. I hope I never have to see the crap of the last 2.5 years ever again.

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02-27-2013, 09:26 PM
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPHawksFan View Post
D-men are doing a much better job clearing the puck away from the goalie and out of the zone...they're not just standing around and watching so far this season.
Our forwards are too for that matter. I still cringe when I see Keith sling back behind his own net instead of playing the puck up the ice. I'm pretty sure there were at least 8-10 goals yielded last year because Keith (or some other idiot) played the puck behind the net which resulted in an unnecessary turnover.

I'm pretty staunch on the notion of the opponent can't score if the puck isn't in their offensive zone. Clear the puck and worry about everything else later.

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02-27-2013, 09:30 PM
  #32
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Originally Posted by Chris Hansen View Post
w00d, if you haven't noticed the difference in shot quality against Hawks goalies, you're not watching closely enough. They've played well but they're also facing nowhere near as many great scoring chances as they did all of last season.

^^Agree with Sevanston, although shot quality is the most important factor by far.
This.

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02-28-2013, 12:33 AM
  #33
Bubba88
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Just looks like they all got that fire and passion back they had before winning the Cup... I think with the Hawks and our players, it starts with the head and mental focus.

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02-28-2013, 12:50 AM
  #34
JohnnyOduyasGirl27
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Originally Posted by HossTheBoss View Post
Yeah but he sucked in the playoffs!
Well it made me mad is why did Coach Q always, but him when Shane Doan was on the ice during the playoffs, but is hammer and Oduya would be a pair in the playoffs they would be in the 2nd round of the playoffs last season!

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02-28-2013, 12:52 AM
  #35
JohnnyOduyasGirl27
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Originally Posted by crazyhawk View Post
On the topic of Hjalmarsson playing much better along side Oduya.
I think it may be some crazy Sweedish yin yang thing!
I may have to call them the Swin Swang pairing!
O i seriously love this! Good point.

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03-01-2013, 12:28 AM
  #36
Jeffrey Lebowski
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I know I haven't posted much (and I hope you guys don't take my input any less), but I've noticed a big difference in how this team operates. There is much more trust between the forwards and the defense, in that, they will pass to the defense to take a shot on net and create an opportunity. And vice versa, the defensemen trust that the forwards will take their pass and create something out of it.

All in all, there's much more trust between our players. Whether it just took some player adaptation or maybe that Q inspired some trust/implemented a different system, this team looks much different.

This team is 'firing on all cylinders'. Forwards are being responsible but taking chances, our defense is being responsible defensively but taking chances offensively. I don't know what to say about it other than everything is working out.

My only concern is that, not that we're "peaking too early" like the main boards say, but that we have found some chemistry that may not be replicated in the later part of this season/in the playoffs. There's no doubt that former 'role players' like Shaw, Bickell, Frolik, Mayers, Kruger etc. have found a newfound purpose... but I just question whether they can continue it throughout this season and the playoffs. Toews, Kane, Hossa, Kane, Seabrook etc. have been great... but my main concern is that our so called 'great depth' isn't actually accurate.

If we could count on our bottom six to contribute the way they have in the past, then I'd have no doubt that we could be a true SC contender. That's just my 2C. I'm no so sure we do. I'd love to be wrong though.

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03-01-2013, 12:43 AM
  #37
Chris Hansen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyOduyasGirl27 View Post
Well it made me mad is why did Coach Q always, but him when Shane Doan was on the ice during the playoffs, but is hammer and Oduya would be a pair in the playoffs they would be in the 2nd round of the playoffs last season!
Well put. Agreed.

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Old
03-01-2013, 12:53 AM
  #38
Bubba88
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haha, having a this 20 game streak brings us shartmcgart aahhhh Jeff Lebowski back for a few posts. Why did it take so long?

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03-01-2013, 01:03 AM
  #39
Jeffrey Lebowski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba88 View Post
haha, having a this 20 game streak brings us shartmcgart aahhhh Jeff Lebowski back for a few posts. Why did it take so long?
Haha, I know I don't post often... I've been busy with stuff. BUT(!!!), I've still been with you guys! I read every day, just don't post often. Just had a few beers so I felt like I should contribute!!

Edit: BTW, 'grats on remembering my previous username. You're probably one of the few. Makes me feel like I'm doing something around here


Last edited by Jeffrey Lebowski: 03-01-2013 at 01:14 AM.
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Old
03-01-2013, 09:57 AM
  #40
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Originally Posted by Illinihockey View Post
More than anything, it seems that our forwards or defense are always in the right possession to clear our rebounds. Seems like there were dozens of goals last year that were stopped by the goalie and then banged in by a wide open man in front of the net.
Good point.

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