Some might attribute the Blackhawks’ recent slide to the tired play of Cristobal Huet and absence of Nikolai Khabibulin. But a jarring hit on the “Bulin Wall” during Friday night’s OT loss knocked the goalie’s mask loose and aroused suspicion on the team.
Checking behind Khabibulin’s mask later that night, team trainers found a dummy constructed of mostly duct tape and hay. They then checked behind Huet’s mask where they found Steve Bartman to be hiding.
“This explains why he’s been jumping out of the net after every loose puck,” said Brent Seabrook, looking through a book of Chicago sports history.
Whoever’s been behind the mask for the Hawks this month, they’ve been winning the last 56 minutes of every game, but giving up plenty of early goals. In Friday’s first period, Khabibulin gave up two goals on only nine shots. The Hawks wound up losing 5-4 in a shootout against the Oilers.
“Even the beanbag chair Kane and Toews place in front of the net when they play street hockey stops a solid third of the shots it takes,” said coach Quenneville between periods.
Khabibulin looked to be all the way back during a 4-1 victory over the Kings Sunday, but the bigger story became just how much the team has missed Patrick Sharp. The veteran leader figured into the team’s first two goals, and scored a late empty-netter that deflected off the wall, and bounced off each goal post before going in.
“I call that ‘sharping’ the puck,” said Troy Brouwer. “Because only Sharpie can do that.”
After two overtime losses and one win, the Hawks now have a three-game point streak. The Canadian way of scoring translates into satisfaction for bandwagon fans. Is that metric?
Quote of the game (Friday):
“Buff-Bomb.” Play-by-play announcer Pat Foley has a name for the kind of shots Dustin Byfuglien takes.
Quote of the game (Sunday):
“He buys time like it’s on sale.” Color-man Steve Konroyd describes Martin Havlat’s style of play.
Up next for the Hawks:
S.J. on Wednesday and N.J. on Friday. What does it all stand for? Two tough games.