By Jay Zawaski-
(CBS) Midway through the second period of the Blackhawks’ 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday night, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik leveled Jonathan Toews, sending the Chicago captain to the locker room for the remainder of the game.
Click here to see a GIF of the hit that injured Toews.
To me, Orpik left his feet, making the hit dirty. It was certainly borderline, especially considering Orpik’s history.
After the game, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he didn’t believe the injury to be serious, as he called Toews “day-to-day.” If Quenneville is correct, Chicago has dodged a huge bullet. There is no way the Blackhawks could win the Stanley Cup without their captain. Hopefully, and seemingly, they won’t have to.
As for the game itself, the final score wasn’t indicative of the game. The Pens got out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, when James Neal and Lee Stempniak scored 21 seconds apart. From there, the Hawks held the edge in play, especially in the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury withstood a furious Chicago attack. Brent Seabrook misplayed a puck along the boards (again), springing Sidney Crosby for an odd-man rush. Crosby beat Corey Crawford, making it 3-1, and he would go on to add an empty-net goal to seal it for Pittsburgh.
— Pittsburgh’s first two goals were soft. There’s no way of sugar-coating the fact that Crawford should have saved both of them. He’s been good since the Olympic break ended and ended Sunday’s game well. Unfortunately, those two goals were the difference and accelerate the narrative that he’s a bad goalie. He’s not, but goals like that don’t help his argument. He’s tied for seventh overall in even strength save percentage (92.9 percent).
— Brent Seabrook has really struggled lately. I’m not sure how more people aren’t seeing it, but he’s making costly mistakes seemingly every game. There was his bad play along the boards that led to Crosby’s goal Sunday. There was his awful pinch that cost the Blackhawks a point in their 3-2 overtime loss in Philadelphia. I could go on, but what’s the point? He was a minus-3 Sunday. He needs to elevate his game if the Hawks are to have a prayer in the playoffs.
— Teuvo Teravainen had his best game as a Blackhawk. Late in the game, Quenneville had him skating with Marian Hossa, though he spent most of the game with Peter Regin and Kris Versteeg. He played 16:50, and had a team-high four shots on goal.
— Speaking of Kris Versteeg, his demotion was long overdue. Like Seabrook, his mental lapses have been occurring far too often. Toews’ injury led to more ice time for Versteeg, but it’s about time someone was noticing what most of us were noticing. He’s been a disappointment since the Blackhawks acquired him — and downright bad lately.
—Michal Handzus didn’t play a shift in the third period. That’s perplexing, considering the Hawks were down a forward in Toews. No word on if he was hurt or benched. I guess we’ll find out at some point. If he wasn’t hurt, it’s pretty insane to think that Quenneville would continue to punish a veteran, despite being down a centerman.
Jay Zawaski covers the Blackhawks for CBSChicago.com and 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @JayZawaski670.