So, in a spur of the moment decision, I started to do one of these in-game blog things while watching the CBC coverage of the Wings-Hawks game today. Don't expect this to be a regular thing - far too much like hard work. Anyway, if you missed the game, hopefully it will make you feel like you were actually there. "There" being sat down in front of my TV in the UK...
Huge personal disappointment as it emerges Mike Milbury is not working for CBC today (bad luck NBC viewers)...P.J. Stock has been let out of his cupboard to join Kelly "Headband" Hrudey at the game...Jim Hughson (the best play-by-play man in the game, in my opinion) and Craig Simpson (meh) to call the game
The big news - no Lidström in the Wings line-up today, joining Datsyuk on the sidelines...is it the All-Star Game today or something?...Kris Draper also misses out
On the Hawks side, a surprise as the little birds circling Martin Havlát's head have apparently disappeared in time for him to play...Dustin Byfuglien's playoff 'fro is also good to go
Still scary-looking ex-Wing / ex-Hawk Bob Probert steps out to drop the ceremonial puck between Jonathan Toews and the dressed Chris Chelios...Probert, of course, a former teammate of Cheli's grandson in junior...Probert to Toews: "Kick their ass" - he's still got it
During the anthem, a crowd shot reveals Stan Mikita to be wearing a very, very ugly jacket
Cristobal Huet back in net for the Hawks...Hughson selects "Yoo-ay" from the "101 Ways To Pronounce Huet" book provided to every NHL broadcaster...Havlát is in the starting line-up...hmm, surely an NHL team wouldn't let a player with a concussion lace them up (ahem), so he must be OK...Simpson is "amazed" that he's playing
Very slow start to the game, lots of offsides...Kronwall is predictably booed as he carries the puck...a brief skirmish between Havlát and Franzén - Havlát doesn't seem to be shying away from any contact so far
Byfuglien draws a holding penalty on Zetterberg behind the net...you've seen those called a hook on Byfuglien before...on cue, CBC shows the call on Bolland from Game 3 where Zetterberg appeared to grab Bolland's stick
On the powerplay, a point shot cracks the glass behind Osgood...the Ice Girls in Chicago are portly, middle-aged men with beards?...Barker hits the post
GOAL 1-0 Wings (8:41)...SHG by Hossa...nicely played 2-on-1 break between Filppula and Hossa as nobody covered Brian Campbell at the point as he went in deep...Hossa's shot just squeezed past Yoo-ay...Hawks are 5-2 in the playoffs when their opponent scores first, so no big deal, right?
Horrible giveaway by Kane in his own zone during some 4-on-4 play...he gets away with it...Påhlsson takes a roughing penalty in front of Osgood..."What for?" he shouts at the ref - hmm Sami, maybe that would be for the sneaky arm to the head of an unsuspecting Filppula...several good stops by Yoo-ay on the PK help kill off the penalty
Påhlsson, Byfuglien and Holmström skirmish a little on the way to the benches...2 each for Byfuglien and Holmström...Osgood makes a couple of big saves - on a Toews rush and the follow-up chance from Campbell
GOAL 2-0 (19:39)...playoff goal-machine Franzén pots another one...a screened shot through the defenseman's legs from the off-wing is missed by Yoo-ay...the proverbial "bad time" for the Hawks to concede a goal (they were clearly hoping to concede much, much earlier in the period)
Kronwall almost catches Kane with his head down as the period expires...Kane just saw him coming and avoided Havlát's fate
Cheli Watch - only 1:08 played in that period...not a huge amount of 5-on-5 play in which to get him out there, but Jeremy Roenick must be screaming at his TV
Scott Morrison provides some breaking news on the Lidström injury...it happened in Game 3, it's lower body, he's day-to-day...thanks - where would the fans be without that dramatic piece of information? Very helpful
As we return, Joel Quenneville is marginally upset on discovering the Hawks will start the period on the PK...an amusing rant, probably even more entertaining to the lip-reading community
GOAL 3-0 (1:13)...Filppula scores a PPG...he puts away a rebound of a Hossa shot, easy finish (Finnish)...Filppula and Hossa are certainly stepping up their games in Datsyuk's absence today...Hughson comments on the deflation in the home crowd: "It sounds like two years ago"
GOAL 3-1 (3:53)...PPG by Toews after Lebda took a penalty for putting the puck over the glass...a rebound of a Barker point shot...will the Wings' weak PK (a PPG conceded in 12 straight games now) eventually hurt them at some point in these playoffs?...Simpson: "A bad penalty leads to a goal 90% of the time"...really, Craig? Sounds a bit on the high side, but then I don't have the actual numbers in front of me...some hope for the Hawks and the crowd?
GOAL 4-1 (4:05)...that would be a "no" then...Hossa nets his second of the game almost straight away...a nice goal coming down the right wing...another point to Filppula as well...it's suddenly 2007 in Chicago again
Yoo-ay is out, Corey Crawford is put in...not a great performance by the rusty Yoo-ay, but the Hawks have been very flat...Leino draws two penalties on one play, so a two-minute 5-on-3 is on the way for the Wings...safe to say that things aren't going too well for the Hawks right now
GOAL 5-1 (7:42)...Zetterberg scores on the 5-on-3 PP...he deposits a backhand from the side of the net...tough start for Crawford...neither Walker nor Versteeg in the box appear too keen to come out
Crawford gets better acquainted with the rear end of Detroit's #96 on the remainder of the PP...Versteeg comes out of the box and heads right back there for roughing...a bit of a weak one there, but Keith gets away with a cross-check on Franzén at the same time
Nothing more interesting than the second half of a game that has become a blowout so early, eh?...Simpson notes that Havlát has not played for a while...gotta admire the courage of a player to come out and play after a hit like he took, but it just smells like a mistake - you're risking a hell of a lot (long-term health and big free agent money for a start) if you really did suffer a head injury...Havlát still on the bench though, so maybe he's OK
Very little going on at all in the last 10 minutes of the period...a Franzén half-break comes to nothing as Toews is allowed a few free whacks at him to slow him down...the 3rd period could take a while with all the scrums and message sending that is likely to go on
Cheli Watch - only 40 seconds of ice-time for Chris that period...JR writes a strongly-worded letter to Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper
CBC host, Scott Oake tells us that Mike Babcock wasn't aware of Lidström's injury until he was in the cab on the way to today's game (so, the driver knew?)...he speculates that it may not, therefore, be a "body injury"...not sure what that could mean - Out with hurt feelings? A broken aura?...given a second viewing, Mikita's jacket is still not good...did he lose a bet with Don Cherry?
News from the goalie carousel...Ty Conklin is between the pipes for the Wings now, while Yoo-ay is back for the Hawks...has Mike Keenan found a new job already without anyone noticing?
Kane draws a soft cross-check call on Hossa...quickly evened up by a similar call on Bolland...Holmström accidentally steps on Seabrook's foot/ankle...Seabrook goes off hurt, but it doesn't look serious...the Hawks seem to be lucky with these skate incidents, following Burish's escape in Game 1...another penalty drawn by Leino - an elbow to the back of the head by Keith...Eager is also gone, taking his second 10-minute misconduct of the game
Jimmy Howard, come on down!...he takes a seat on the bench for the rest of the period...is Osgood hurt or is he just playing dominoes with Chelios in the dressing room?...Mike Vernon and Tony Esposito are said to be warming up "just in case"...Brouwer is called for a trip on Hossa
GOAL 6-1 (12:47)...PPG for Zetterberg, his second tally of the game...another rebound from a point shot...Simpson points out the nice job of Zetterberg kicking the puck onto his stick before putting it home (these sissy Euros with their sissy soccer skills)...the Hawks are totally lifeless now
Filppula hooks "Soupy" Campbell in the corner...Simpson makes a gratuitous (but seemingly unintentional) "can opener" reference on looking at the replay...Versteeg takes another 10-minute misconduct during the PP...perhaps he wanted to join the Chelios/Osgood/Eager dominoes tourney
Chelios hits the ice!...an immediate TV timeout means the old guy gets another 45 seconds to get his joints loose...CBC show what appears to be a non-too-friendly discussion between Babcock and Chelios from the end of the 2nd period...interesting...the game drifts to a conclusion, with one final scrum on the buzzer...FINAL SCORE 6-1 WINGS
A pretty disappointing game to watch as the Hawks just didn't show up, but some impressive performances from the Wings all the same...so far, the Conference Finals have been a bit of a let down for the neutral fan, following the events of the first two rounds...the depth of the Wings clearly showed in this game, while the Hawks struggled without much input from Havlát and, in particular, Kane...who will be in goal for the teams in Game 5?
Cheli Watch - he ends up just playing 4:37, most of that in garbage time...he did draw four minutes of penalties on Burish at the final buzzer (Attacking a pensioner? You should be ashamed, Adam)...JR chains himself to Don Cherry's wardrobe