Blackhawks defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2.
The fact that it’s taken me an entire day to write this review should tell you how beyond odd this game was.
So, let’s get this straight.
I was there at the game.
I watched this game.
And yet I’m still not exactly sure what happened.
Before the game started, Daniel Carcillo was suspended for two games. This was the least surprising thing that would happen the entire evening. It was so not surprising that Carcillo didn’t even get Brendan Shanahan for his suspension video, but Rob Blake. Here’s Carcillo talking to the media about his suspension.
Three Blackhawks “goals” were called back (along with one Blue Jackets “goal”), and they were exactly the right calls. I didn’t know it at the time (leading to me to tweet “YOUR MOM IS UNDER VIDEO REVIEW” in frustration), but with the benefit of watching the replays after the game, I have to concur with the refs on all of those. This might be the only time that the referees got calls completely right in the history of the National Hockey League.
Marcus Kruger must have heard rumors that the Blackhawks were considering sending him back to Rockford, because he had the game of his life last night. He scored the first goal of the game (also the first goal of his NHL career), and was exceptional through the rest of it.
After the first two Blue Jackets goals, Ray Emery shut them down completely, making a lot of key saves to allow the Blackhawks to come back.
Andrew Brunette was hooked by Aaron Johnson on a breakaway. Since Brunette moves slower than a turtle using a cement brick as a shell, there are exactly three things wrong with that previous sentence.
Dave Bolland scored a shorthanded goal. He lost his stick during a Blue Jackets power play later in the game. After he jumped in front of a shot because he is legitimately insane, for one fleeting moment, I was physically attracted to Dave Bolland.
Viktor Stalberg, whom I’ve mocked for being a prettier Jack Skille (all speed, no finish — his girlfriends must be highly disappointed), scored two goals in less than two minutes and very nearly had a hat trick. I’m grateful he didn’t get a hat trick, for I would have probably joined a nunnery because my entire life would have been a lie.
I don’t know what else to say about this game, really. What should have been an easy game turned into a surreal experience made even more so by the consumption of one really big margarita during the first intermission.
02:51 CHI Marcus Kruger (1) Wrist – ASST: J. Mayers (1) AND B. Seabrook (2)
05:58 CBJ Vinny Prospal (5) Snap – ASST: F. Tyutin (3) AND J. Wisniewski (2)
18:21 CHI SHG – Dave Bolland (5) Backhand – ASST:M. Frolik (3)
14:02 CBJ Derek MacKenzie (2) Wrist – ASST: R. Nash (6) AND A. Johnson (3)
04:26 CHI Viktor Stalberg (1) Wrist – ASST: N. Leddy (4) AND D. Keith (6)
06:24 CHI Viktor Stalberg (2) Wrist – ASST: A. Brunette (3) AND N. Leddy (5)
19:57 CHI EN – Michael Frolik (2) Backhand – ASST: NONE
Captain Force Of Nature Watch: He was a +2 on the night and won 12-21 (57%) of his faceoffs. In a game full of uncertainty and strife, Jonathan Toews provided his usual dependable performance.
Duncan Keith Plus/Minus Rating Watch: +1. He had an assist. I am pleased.
Post-Game Quotes from nhl.com:
Viktor Stalberg: “We’ve got a little more swagger this year (in third periods). We’re feeling like we’re going to get out there and get that goal (to win) instead of sitting back like maybe we did last year. It seems like we’re finding ways to battle back and get those go-ahead goals.”
Viktor Stalberg on the disallowed goals: “That’s one of those things you don’t see every day. (Andrew Brunette’s) been in the League a long time and he said that’s the most goals he’s ever seen disallowed. Obviously we’d have liked to have one or two of them, but we got the two points and that’s the biggest thing.”
Marcus Kruger on his first NHL goal: “It was a great feeling to get the first one. Hopefully I don’t have to wait that long for my next one. In training camp, I think I put a little too much pressure on myself. I just need to go out there and play my game. That’s how you play good hockey.”
Joel Quenneville: “We had a nice little roll going (to start the season), but then (Friday) night’s game was tough to figure out,. Certain areas we’ve been very happy with, but I think offensively our production will be better and our team game will improve once we start clicking on the (power play).”
BONUS video: I filmed about 45 seconds of warmups as a test of my phone, since I hadn’t tried to upload video directly to YouTube. Enjoy. Or not. Do what you want.