*I did get that done before I wrote this, though.
Oh, that book thing? I think I mentioned it here before, but I did finally get 50,000 words written actually during the month of November after years of trying. I’d written a few books before, of course. And I did use NaNoWriMo rules for myself. Granted those rules aren’t very restrictive. It’s pretty much write 50,000 words of fiction in a month. But National Novel Writing Month is November, and that I hadn’t done. Until last November, of course. I got five free copies of my book for winning, which was nice.* But I hadn’t gotten around to editing it until a few days ago. I thought I was going to finish doing it yesterday, but no dice. The good news is I haven’t found anything too major. A couple grammatical issues, a few points of expansion or clarification. Small formatting change. Nothing major. I did find a few nice foreshadowing moments that I certainly didn’t realize were foreshadowing at the time of writing. It’s pretty cool when things work out like that.
*And also why this one was on Amazon instead of Lulu.
Anyway, about the only thing I really got done on my list yesterday was mowing. Oh well.
Now that I had a day and a good night’s sleep, I can talk about the game a little bit. What a game, eh? If that’s any indication, this series is going to be everything we thought it could be. I mean, really, these teams seem so evenly matched it’s not even funny. While the final goal may well have been a combination of luck and fatigue, there are some good points I took away from game one.
First, the Blackhawks got off to a pretty sluggish and subpar start. I don’t know if I would necessarily call it bad. They weren’t awful. But neither of the first two goals were works of art. One was a pretty bad decision to go after the hit instead of the puck, leaving Crawford out to dry. The other was a relatively soft goal by Crawford, though I find it hard to ding him too bad for that given how he played the rest of the game. After that second goal, coming awfully quickly in the second period, Chicago seemed to wake up. From that point on (in regulation), it seemed the Blackhawks forced all the action and looked to be the quicker and better team. And although there were some good hits, the Blackhawks are not (and haven’t been) a particularly physical team. They beat you with speed and slick stickwork. When they look to have a clear edge in those areas, that usually means the other team isn’t physically working them over, which usually spells wins. And to that end, if you look at the game after those two Boston goals, the Blackhawks would have won with a fairly convincing 3-1 win over five periods.
Secondly, well, I kind of touched on it. Corey Crawford has turned into a Jedi in the net. When did this happen? I mean, goaltending has never really been Chicago’s strong suit. They’ve had a strong history of their backups taking over the starting jobs the past several years, including a couple years ago when Antti Niemi took the starting job and did good enough* to let the Chicago offense take them to a championship. Corey Crawford looked to be another in that mold. Nothing great, he would just do enough. But then he and Ray Emery (before the latter got hurt) turned into something else this year. And Crawford seems to have found another gear during these playoffs. I don’t know how to explain it or where it came from. But it showed again in game one. If he can keep that level of play, I really don’t think Boston has enough scoring to win in this series.
*And no better.
I do expect Chicago to win again at home tomorrow night, though I can’t imagine the game will be quite as intense at the last one. Yes, there’s been a little bit more rest than usual between games, which will help. But that had to take an awful lot of both of these teams. I still expect it to be an even, hard fought game, just not quite to game one levels. Look for things to rachet up again when they get back to Boston, though. That is going to reinvigorate the Bruins, as it should, to be playing for the Stanely Cup in front of their fans, who you might remember had a bit of a rough patch. I have a hard time seeing Chicago winning that game. They might be able to steal game four, but I don’t know about that one, either. I really expect this thing to come back to Chicago all knotted up.
Given what happened at the marathon, I do expect the anthem to be pretty rousing in Boston. But I’m sorry, nobody does the anthem better than the Blackhawks. Not any city, not any sport.