Crawford strong but Ducks a little better in SO loss - KMSP-TV

Crawford strong but Ducks a little better in SO loss

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

It wasn't as if the Chicago Blackhawks played poorly against Anaheim and maybe it was a night no team deserved to lose. The Ducks have to be given high marks for surviving two 4-on-3 power plays in overtime and keeping the Hawks below their top speed. When the United Center crowd departed they weren't overjoyed but probably shouldn't feel too bad as the Ducks defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout.

Besides capturing at least one point in the first game back after a long road trip, the best thing about Tuesday night was Corey Crawford's performance. If not for two fluke goals, one of which went off of Brent Seabrook's stick, Crawford could have recorded his second shutout in as many games. Crawford's glove hand hasn't been better as he made a few highlight reel saves. The rest of the club may have been just a little off but Crawford's level of play was top notch.

The Blackhawks needed a spark midway through the second period. The capacity crowd seemed a little bored and the Ducks had the Hawks offense bottled up. Bryan Bickell did what many fans had wished he was more successful at in the past. Bickell laid a huge, clean check on Ryan Getzlaf and the crowd erupted. Getzlaf flew to the ice and teammate Brad Staubitz came to the aid of his captain. Bickell and Staubitz tangled but when the dust settled the Ducks were shorthanded due to an instigator penalty.

Bickell's effort woke up the crowd as well as his teammates as Brandon Saad scored less than a minute later. The momentum turned as the Hawks outshot Anaheim 6-2 over the next few minutes. Shortly thereafter the penalty killing unit helped keep the lead surviving a Ducks 5-on-3 power play. Bickell did what was needed and it is good to see him finally embracing his role.

Another good sign is the Blackhawks penalty killing unit is still in top form. The trio of Seabrook, Niklas Hjalamarsson and Marcus Kruger had a fine game and stifled the Ducks attack while they had a two-man advantage. Kruger in particular had a strong effort and has been a big part of the penalty killing units success for the entire season.

Rookie Saad was hustling, as has been the case, and his effort led to a penalty against Anaheim in the waning seconds of regulation. Saad was also credited with his second goal of the season on a play where the Hawks crashed the net and there was a scramble. The puck appeared to cross the goal line before the net was completely off the mooring but there was not an on-ice goal call. It seemed like there might not have been conclusive evidence to overturn the on-ice call but upon review Saad was rewarded.

Patrick Kane has habit of trying to do too much at times. Sometimes his individual efforts work well, like when Kane scored the Cup winning goal versus the Flyers. Other times Kane can turn a puck over and bad things happen. That was the case on Tuesday night as Kane gave the puck up inside of three minutes to go in regulation and the Ducks were then fortunate to convert.

The Blackhawks didn't win but they did keep their regulation unbeaten streak alive. Joel Quenneville wasn't, and shouldn't be displeased with the effort and now his club can rest and practice before facing the Sharks on Friday. Tuesday night's loss can be simply chalked up to a failure to convert on power play chances in overtime.

The Sharks like the Hawks don't play again until Friday. San Jose got off to a great start just like the Blackhawks but their fortunes have turned. On Wednesday the Sharks dropped a 1-0 overtime decision in Nashville to mark their sixth consecutive loss. San Jose has scored only seven goals in their last six games.

The Sharks should be angry when facing the Hawks at the UC and we will find out then which club is most ready for the challenge.

Al's Shots

Fortunately the NHL has made great strides in the area of video review over the last five or six years. It wasn't too long ago the equipment used in Toronto to review plays wasn't much better than the recorder many people had in their homes. So from a technology standpoint the NHL has devoted resources to make their War Room in Toronto more cutting edge.

Unfortunately the time hasn't come yet where cameras are inside the net for every game. The goal cams do show up in the playoffs and in some nationally televised contests but in most games they are nowhere to be found. Tuesday night, Saad's goal could have been quickly and accurately reviewed with the aid of a goal cam.

Hopefully someday soon the same review practices, including a camera in the net will take place for every NHL game. No matter if a contest takes place in Columbus or Montreal the points all count the same. A missed call on a goal could mean a large loss in playoff revenue.

Money is often the motivation for change and in this case it is also a big reason why goal cams aren't used in every game.

The cost of the camera isn't too high as they could be leased and not purchased. It is not like the company that provides most of the specialty cameras for major sports have a long list of customers who will battle over their products. So it would make sense the NHL could get a nice package price, except teams are usually responsible for this type of expense.

A big issue as I have been told is there would need to be a person on site in every stadium to make sure the camera is operating correctly, so that adds to the cost. The other significant factor is individual teams would likely be responsible for the entire bill.

It wouldn't be inexpensive but likely not any more than a $1,000 per game and that could be justified, at least I would think so. No matter what it would go a long way in making the review process more consistent.

Maybe someday that change will come about, as well as similar TV camera locations for every game. Not every arena is exactly alike so my second wish is not as easy to fix, but also needs to be done. The game of hockey in the States would grow more quickly if the TV viewing experience was improved.

Tuesday night, the UC ice looked bad. Quenneville commented in his post game remarks that many players had to get work done on their skates throughout the night.

You likely won't hear a Blackhawks player complain about the ice at the United Center, but visiting players do. It's not easy to keep the ice up in a multi-use facility and the UC ice is not one of the best surfaces in the league.

Follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia

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