There were times over the weekend in Detroit and at the United Center when "Sweet Georgia Brown" should have been playing in the arena.
The theme song for the Harlem Globetrotters seems appropriate for a team that can be magical with the puck and make opponents look like the hapless Washington Generals.
The Blackhawks' record against Detroit this season is very Generals-like after Sunday's 5-3 loss.
Detroit, at times breathtaking and at others just coolly efficient, has won six straight against the Hawks this season and 11 of its last 13 overall.
For the second straight night, the Red Wings chased Hawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. Saturday it was midway through the second period, Sunday it took just 6 minutes 57 seconds before the Red Wings had a 3-0 lead and Khabibulin found safety on the bench.
The Wings beat Khabibulin eight times on 25 shots in the two games.
"The last two games I was pretty bad," Khabibulin said.
But he wasn't the only one. Khabibulin didn't have much help in front of him, with his defenders seemingly as awestruck as the fans in the seats at the show Detroit was putting on.
Sunday was Khabibulin's third game back from his knee injury and coach Trent Yawney said it takes time for a player to get adjusted to the speed of the game after a long layoff.
In Yawney's case, it's a Catch-22. Does he leave Khabibulin in to fight through it, or lift him and deprive him of the game speed he needs to get back in his rhythm?
"I do want to stay in and fight through it, but at the same time it's early in the game and I understand the decision," Khabibulin said. "It's one of the worst things to be pulled two games in a row, but it's something you have to deal with."
Saturday the Hawks trailed 6-2 before scoring twice in the third to make the game respectable. Sunday they pulled to within a goal on two occasions.
But with the Red Wings there is always a sense they can score whenever they need to, and there was little doubt in the eventual outcome in either contest.
In this era of the salary cap, managing money is paramount, and in the Hawks' case their salary-to-production ratio is flipping upside down.
For the second straight night, the line of Michael Holmqvist, Milan Bartovic and Mark Cullenthree players making at or slightly above the NHL minimum salary of $450,000were the Hawks' best players while their higher-salary players continue to struggle.
The Hawks have to hope that the problems injured of defenseman Adrian Aucointhree more years at $4 million perand Khabibulin$6.75 million for three moreare just flukes.
In Khabibulin's case, he is still the reigning Stanley Cup-winning goaltender and doesn't doubt he will regain that form.
"Why would I doubt [myself]?" he said.
"It's not the first time I was pulled, it won't be the last. It's a terrible feeling, but I just have to move forward now."
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