“I thought they were good. They were alright. They generated enough. They were fine.”
That was Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, on the performance of his rejigged top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Bryan Bickell in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final.
A ringing endorsement it was not. And no wonder, given the ‘Hawks lost the game, 5-2, and fell behind, 3-1, in their series with the Kings.
The trio did manage to hit the scoresheet, but not until Chicago was already in a deep hole. Bickell scored halfway through the third period to make it 4-2 for Los Angeles, with Kane and Toews picking up assists.
For Kane, it was his first point of the series, after languishing for three games on the second line with Patrick Sharp and Michal Handzus.
Handzus, by the way, logged just 4:28 of ice time, with Marcus Kruger stepping up to center Sharp and Marian Hossa.
Related: Will 2C deficiency cost the ‘Hawks?
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.