The Hawks really were just beating up on cripples—particularly Viktor Stalberg, whose first NHL hat trick came against a team he has victimized almost to the exclusion of the rest of the league. Stalberg's three goals gave him 12 on the season, but seven against the Blue Jackets. That's not the sort of reputation a player wants to develop.
The Bulls won, too, in Minnesota, but they have the look of the Hawks of a month ago—a team playing well and with chemistry retained from last year, ahead of the league at that stage of the season. The league appears to have caught up with the Hawks of late, specifically on the power play, which had been pinched in the neutral zone and has struggled to set up a consistent attack. They looked better against Columbus, but that's hardly a fair judgment. A truer indication of where the Hawks are, and how well they're weathering their injuries, comes with the extended weekend starting Thursday against Minnesota, followed by games Saturday and Sunday in Detroit and back home against the Blues—all conference rivals.