Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Blackhawks: The hits stop coming

Posted By on 01.03.12 at 02:27 PM

Jimmy Hayes
  • Jimmy Hayes
You won't find Daniel Carcillo's hit on the Edmonton Oilers' Tom Gilbert Monday night in the game's highlights on the Blackhawks' website. In fact, there are no hit highlights for the game at all, which perhaps reflects the team's secret shame, because it cost the Hawks the game and perhaps much more.

Teamed with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa to form the Hawks' most well-rounded line, Carcillo was playing his best hockey of the season—he had the lone assist on Toews's first goal of the game. Yet when Carcillo drove Gilbert into the boards in the second period, it resulted in a game misconduct and, worse, a five-minute major penalty—meaning it wouldn't end early even if the Oilers scored, which they did twice with the man advantage to take the lead. Carcillo also had to be helped off the ice riding the shoulders of two teammates with a gimpy left leg, meaning he could be lost for far longer than whatever suspension the National Hockey League metes out. The Hawks couldn't recover and lost 4-3, squandering the first goal of Jimmy Hayes's NHL career. Now they also have to recover from the loss of Carcillo, who provided a much-needed physical presence (albeit sometimes too much) for this largely finesse-driven team. It's a lot to expect Hayes to step right into that role, but he has the big body to do it, at six-foot-six, and if he doesn't have Carcillo's mean streak that could only be a plus in the long run.

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