Western Conference Playoffs Round 1 vs. Nashville: Game 2

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Thanks for the initial compliments on my blog so far! I didn’t think that the thumbnail would be that big. I have some playing around with this website to do to see how it works, so I’ll try to keep my face small. I was a little disappointed no one acknowledged my attempt at “constipated dog face,” but not everyone’s art is completely understood at first. Also, the first post of the playoffs is always the longest, so thanks for sticking with me through 1,000 words.

That was a heck of a start to the playoffs in Game 1, wasn’t it? Expect the same kind of roller coaster ride for the next two months. Even when they got down 3-0 after the 1st period, I remained calm. I told everyone around me, “relax, that was only the 1st period of the first game of the playoffs. We have a long way to go.” I expected Corey Crawford to buckle down and for the rest of the squad to start chipping away at the Predators’ lead.

To just about everyone’s surprise, Coach Q decided to change goalies to start the 2nd period. Sure, Crow wasn’t very good during that 1st period, but neither was anyone else on the Blackhawks (*cough Slowzsival *cough). The only one of the three 1st period goals that I would put on Crawford would maybe be the second one, and he kind of got screwed by a bad bounce on that one. The other two were just good plays by the Predators and not very good defense by the Blackhawks.

I think the decision to go with Scott Darling to start the 2nd period was more Q trying to stick a foot in the collective asses of his team more than because of poor play by Crawford. It turned out that Q’s decision was gold, Jerry. Gold! Darling played awesome for the next 60+ minutes and the Blackhawks quickly got themselves back in the game. Despite being outshot 54-42 and getting dominated in the faceoff circle, Darling kept the game tied until Duncan Keith sent everyone home to bed with a goal in the second overtime and a rodeo cowboy celly that will live forever in .gif format. I’m pretty sure Keith was trying to stick it to the Nashville fans, but I think they were too busy crying into their hillbilly tissues to notice.

Many fans out there are questioning Q’s lineup decisions so far. The first surprise was sitting prized trade deadline rental Antoine Vermette. I’m not sure why you want the two-way center, that you gave up a good prospect and a 1st round pick for, sitting in Viktor Stalberg’s old spot in Q’s Doghouse, but Q said it was based on performance. Sure, Vermette hasn’t produced much since coming over, but couldn’t he do just as well as Joakim Nordstrom in a 4th line role? I feel like he could be helpful with the faceoff problem from the first game and could probably end up moving up once Q starts the line blender. Nordstrom is just a guy out there. What does he bring to the table that Vermette can’t? Looks like Q isn’t changing anything for Game 2, so Vermette will have to wait his turn.

The other surprise, that wasn’t so surprising, was the decision to go back to Crawford for Game 2. This could have turned into a McCown vs. Cutler type situation, but I think Q is getting this one right. The Blackhawks don’t get to the playoffs this year without Crawford. Yes, Darling was nails in relief in Game 1, but you have to go with the guy who’s been there before. This way, if Crow falters again, Q has another card to play if he needs it and can go back to Darling.

It sure is fun to play armchair head coach, but Q has his ways and we just have to trust him. He pushed the right buttons to steal a win in Game 1. He’s also the 3rd winningest coach in NHL history and has already won us two Stanley Cups in his six years with the Blackhawks. The extent of my hockey career is 5 goals and maybe 15 points in about 75 career beer league games. So I’m going to give Q the benefit of the doubt despite what the meatballs are saying on the Blackhawks blogs.

I love the late start on a Friday night. I’ll be sure to show up a little early to get a good seat at the bar. Hopefully the American Lawmen hold off on the Taylor Swift dance party until after the game, and after I leave. LET’S GO HAWKS!!!

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