Andrew Shaw, Blackhawks Roll Blue Jackets

With questions about their offensive consistency creeping up after a quiet trade deadline, the Blackhawks answered the bell with a dominant win over the visiting Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

Andrew Shaw scored twice and Brandon Saad made a highlight reel move through the Columbus defense to set up Jonathan Toews for an easy goal as the Hawks piled it on in a big second period.

Shaw and Saad skated with Toews as coach Joel Quenneville mixed up his lines to spark the offense after a disappointing performance against Colorado. Patrick Sharp skated with Patrick Kane and Michal Handzus and Peter Regin found himself with Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg.

Quenneville’s lines worked, as three of the four lines contributed goals in the first 40 minutes and the Hawks were up 5-1 after two periods.

Sergei Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, lasted only 32:29 and faced only 18 shots in the loss, allowing four Blackhawks goals.

Brandon Bollig started the scoring, tipping a Marcus Kruger shot past Bobrovsky for his seventh goal of the season. After Ryan Johansen tied the game, Shaw received a great pass from Sheldon Brookbank on a breakaway and flipped the puck into the back of the net.

The Hawks added three goals in 10 minutes in the second period to blow the game wide open. Saad wandered through the Columbus “defense” and set up Toews for one of the easiest goals he’s scored this year to increase the lead to 3-1. The play was started by a huge hit Shaw put on Nathan Horton.

Just over four minutes later, Kris Versteeg put a hard shot wide and Bobrovsky obliged him by directing a rebound right to a streaking Bryan Bickell. Bickell reached double digits with his tenth goal of the season; it also ended the night for Bobrovsky.

The onslaught continued as Shaw tipped a Brent Seabrook shot past Curtis McElhinney. Shaw’s goals came at 16:44 in the first and 17:44 in the second, and broke a terrible personal drought. Shaw had only scored three goals since the calendar rolled over to 2014, and hadn’t scored since January 22nd in Detroit. Thursday was Shaw’s third multi-goal game of the season.

Shaw CBJ

Toews added his second goal of the night, another easy deposit for Chicago’s captain off a great pass from Kane on a power play. The goal was Toews’ 24th of the season.

Seabrook and Marcus Kruger had two assists each as 13 different Blackhawks had a point in the victory. Corey Crawford stopped 22 of 23 shots, and the Hawks successfully killed all four Columbus power plays.

Chicago has outscored their four opponents 14-8 since returning from the Olympics, with four of the eight goals being scored by Colorado on Tuesday evening. The Hawks have killed 13 of 14 penalties over those four games as well.

Also on Thursday night, the Blues won 2-1 in Nashville to stay ahead of the Blackhawks. Colorado defeated Detroit 3-2 in overtime.

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76 Responses to Andrew Shaw, Blackhawks Roll Blue Jackets

  1. Sr. Brad says:

    The Hawks didn’t face an elite team, and their elite goaltender struggled with his concentration, however, it was a “hungry” win for the Hawks, who now realize that they are in a major fight within their own division…

    2 lines played well tonight, the 1st with Saad and Shaw contributing a lot to the mix…I don’t think there has ever been anything wrong with Shaw, he just hasn’t had a lot of help on that 3rd line for a while…and the 4th line…another good game by Bollig, another very good game by Smith (7 for 8 on FOs) and another excellent game by Kruger…in fact, it was Kruger who centred the 3rd line goal, not Regin…

    The 2nd line was yet again a disappointment…with 2 Olympians playing together, they were a combined -2 with a total of ONE SHOT ON NET…anyone here can do the math on this fiasco…

    Nice job by Q sensing his team’s domination and balancing out the minutes…Toews got a lot of rest tonight, the the “non core” played a lot…BB was over 18 minutes…

    The bottom line is 2 very necessary points, and a nice discovery of Toews, Saad, Shaw…but our supposed 2nd and 3rd line centres leave a lot to be desired…

    Come on TT…

  2. Phil says:

    Good effort. Apart from goofy 2nd line grouping the Hawks looked ready to play. Very pleased with Shaw, 4th line yet again, and solid D effort. This Zus thing is just becoming silly. Guys around me at the game were just laughing about this Q line in the sand stuff. It must be Q vs SB. What else can it be? Regin can be the 2 line C. I like MH, but you can’t skate him with 2 guys that can burn. It’s almost as though Q is punishing Sharp and Kane with this alignment. What does it achieve? We need points, and we got em tonight, but it sure as hell wasn’t from 2 line production… Don’t get me wrong. I have huge respect for Q, but this just seems silly.

    Brookbank was good tonight. I feel bad for Leddy who is playing with different guys every other game. Hawks put the gas pedal down. I was happy to watch a 3rd period where one could watch full ice and relax. Live hockey is the best. Nothing else compares.

    Last though is CC looks short with the black pads. He also looked shaky early, but gained confidence as the game progressed. Whomever stole Crows pads, GIVE EM UP!

    Let’s hope the guys can build on this one.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  3. wall says:

    TT had a filthy assist today on the PP for Jokerit!!!

    How about this??? I really think this would generate TONS of problems for opposing teams.

    20/19/65
    10/26 or 23/81 (only time 26 has looked good in Hawks Jersey)
    29/TT/88
    52/16/28

    SSSSSShhhhh!!!! be very quiet….I think I heard Bickell’s heart beating!!!
    two games in a row – he actually skated OK!!!

  4. ebonyraptor says:

    The problem with Bickell-TT-Kane would be defense. Bickell is average at best on the defensive side and even though Kane has improved – he is still not a good defensive player. It looks good on paper, but I think they would all be “-” players in no time.

    Here’s TT’s assist today:
    [img]http://i.minus.com/iLAvlUFJjCYkO.gif[/img]

  5. ebonyraptor says:

    oops – I guess you can’t do GIFs in here – so just cut/paste this on a web screen:

    http://i.minus.com/iLAvlUFJjCYkO.gif

  6. ebonyraptor says:

    Oh yeah, and as far as the game goes – that was fun.

    I hope Q keeps Saad on Toews’ line when Hossa comes back. That line was very good together last season and it allows Sharp to play with Kane and even though they didn’t generate anything tonight I think it’s a move that will eventually help Kane get out of his slump.

    Next up: Buffalo on Sunday. Normally that should be a walk in the park but the Sabres have been playing better lately. But even on the road, the Hawks should pick up two points and will if they play the way they did tonight.

  7. Sr. Brad says:

    Thanks for the heads up on TT Wall/ER…that’s an elite play by a player with incredible vision and puck control…

    ER, no comment on the Zus lead 2nd line? -2 and 1 shot on net for 2 Olympians…

    I would love to see Saad continue on the 1st line…Versteeg and Bickell will do well with Shaw on the 3rd…but we have to address that 2nd line centre…its become beyond a joke…here is Zus’ stat line for the year…

    Michal Handzus, C 43 4 8 12 -1 10 13:34

    He’s centred some of the best players in the league this year and he has 12 points and is a minus hockey player…plus he’s under 50% on his FO’s, now at 48%…

  8. Sr. Brad says:

    One other note…why does Seabrook have any Hawk fan detractors? He plays 22 minutes a game…he’s a phenomenal +27…he’s 2nd on the team in hits…he’s 5th on the team in assists, and plays against the best players in the league night after night…he’s dealt with 3 significant concussions in 2 years, and is a bull in the corners and in front of our net…I think he’s a great Hawk player and I have no problems with his contract…

  9. Dave says:

    I wouldn’t count out Columbus just yet. They’re better than people think.

  10. RedTopParking says:

    Perusing my just-arrived Sports Illustrated…nice picture of the snow game at Soldier Field, and an article. Turning to the cover story, it really hits me. I finally know who Andrew Shaw really reminds me of: young Pete Rose.

  11. wall says:

    ER- let me elaborate on what you said…”Kane is still not a good defensive player”…
    I agree if you are speaking of “defense” of only being in the defensive zone; however, his defense in the O zone and neutral zone is actually above average. (he is very good at lifting stick from behind and using speed to jump a passing lane). (can’t believe I said Kane plays D)
    TT has similar skills and is very responsible in the same way.

    I think what you really mean…that line could get hemmed into the D zone by a good puck possession line-COMPLETELY AGREE!!! ( newsflash…2nd line does now w/o TT)…BUT by being the 3rd line…88/TT might also see a lot of “less defensive” minded/able opposing lines. Plus- Kane will still get 4-5 Minutes on PP.

    Lastly, I think I prefer 65 as a RW… one of 65′s weaknesses is trying to carry/pass the puck out of own D zone (then again maybe his weakness has been 17,29 playing on his wings???)

  12. goldenbladz says:

    Great bounceback game by the Hawks and disposing of the other Russian goalie. Thats payback from Varmalov standing on his head. The 1st and 4th lines were fantastic last night and I agree as others have pointed out Handzus sucked the life out of two olympians. Put Handzus on waivers and send him down (no one is going to claim him). lines could be

    20-19-65
    Morin-10-88
    29-12-23
    28-16-52

  13. Deb Elliott says:

    thank u captain serious. we have THE VERY BEST CAPTAIN IN THE GAME TODAY

  14. Mike57 says:

    goldenbladz, love those lines.. too bad Q wont give Morin a chance and Sharpie wont play center. Not many teams can compete with those lines.
    The 2nd line center situation just is pathetic. Regin got, what 2 periods there? At least he could skate between 88 and 10.
    Let’s hope this game gave the boys a confidence boost and the scoring will continue!

    It’s a great time to be a Hawks fan!!

  15. JS says:

    Difference between Tuesday and Thursday? Bueller? Bueller?

    Sometimes the puck goes in the net, sometimes the goalie beats you. Reigning Vezina trophy winner gets chased from a game after allowing 4 goals on 18 shots… I wonder if fans on the Blue Jackets message boards are throwing him under the bus and crying about his contract.

    I’ve said that Shaw is better as a RW for a while now. He actually should work pretty well with Toews since he can get to the front of the net, but we’ll have to see what he can do against an actual defense.

    Kane and Sharp were a goal post away from being even with 2 points last night. Not really going to go crazy about that.

    Brad- Hammer and Oduya take the top line. So technically Seabrook is doing it against the second best players on a team night after night.

  16. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    An easy win against a defacto AHL team in Columbus. Yes, they are improved and better coached these days. But c’mon, their overall level of talent is a joke and no quality team should struggle to beat them.

    Interesting game coming up against Colorado. Like I have said for a long time, the Hawks simply do not do well against teams with a lot of skating ability and speed. Which is ironic on some level.

    I need to see a lot more from Versteeg. This has been one acquisition by Stan that I am increasingly critical of. Versteeg needs to exit once again in the offseason. He just does.

    The elephant in the room since Olympic selection date is that Sharp is playing like shit. One of the classiest and most respected guys in the game who has apparently gotten a big fucking head out on the ice. He needs a wakeup call folks. It’s not about his scoring in streaks…I’m not worried about his goal tally. It’s his WHOLE GAME that is in the shitter and it needs to stop right fucking now.

    Kane? Well, when the first round of the playoffs start the Q line blender will be on hi speed and I wouldn’t worry terribly about the opportunity he will have. As we have seen in past playoffs, teams are going to try and smother to death the Captain and 88. Frankly, I’m more concerned about them being in the best possible physical and mental health mode leading into the playoffs because the war is going to fall on their two doorsteps the most. Hence also why Bickell needs to wake up completely for this team to have hope of getting out of the 2nd round this year. We will definitely feel the loss of Bolland and Frolik in the playoffs because we haven’t remotely replaced the pain in the ass two way play those two provided. Kane started to open up in last year’s playoffs when the much maligned (and deservedly so) Bolland started to have definite impact on his shifts on the ice. The Kings and Bruins didn’t have an answer for that, and the dominos fell to Kane’s favor.

  17. JS says:

    Sharp sucks. They should have traded him for Luongo.

    Rufus are you saying that Bolland playing with Kruger and Frolik opened things up for Kane? Because I may not remember correctly, but I don’t think Kane and Bolland played together after the first series. Always a chance I’m wrong. I’ll look it up later when I’m sober.

  18. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Kane and Bolland did not play together…if so rarely. BUT, Bolland reaked so much havoc on the ice that the dominos fell to the Kane line. The good playoff teams make Toews and Kane drag a body with them up and down the ice. The strategy of wearing them down to ineffectiveness. Last year Bolland, in his patented pain the ass way, produced enormous energy on the ice that LA and Boston could not ignore. And with Shaw doing the same, it was a recipe to unlock Kane from the chains placed upon him by the opposition.

  19. JS says:

    I’ll agree that Bolland helped with line balance when he took over centering duty on the “fourth line”, but the combination of Toews/Bickell/Kane was completely unstoppable last post season. The offense struggled both times they went away from it and even Q admitted that he was out-thinking himself.

    I know that the Hawks will always have the go to weapon when they are struggling, but I’m slightly concerned Handzus has actual full blow rigor mortis now instead of just being a warm corpse. I understand that they got great value for Pirri, but I think he should have been held on to for the rest of the year to at least give Handzus some games off so he has time to sit in his hyperbaric chamber.

  20. AJ says:

    Still confused as to how Sharp is playing any different than how he usually plays… Kind of bad when that line combines for 2 SOG and two pipes. The math on that is baffling. Center is kind of an important position.

    Saad is super good at hockey… That run up the middle was wow…

    Didn’t really mind the third line at all. In fact, to just get the puck deep and cycle it for a minute then change, I like the make up there.

    It has been said on numerous occasions and other outlets that Shaw is better on the wing. Kind of helps playing with two gamers.

    Haha, Dave Bolland is apparently the new Andrew Ladd. Ugh Aaron Rowand syndrome. Oh he doesn’t score enough, oh other complaint(s) — fast forward 6 months Oh I miss him soo much, we are soooo lost with out him. Comical.

  21. AJ says:

    Handzus does not look like he is moving well in any capacity. Not even irritated with him at this point, I just feel bad watching him move.

  22. Sr. Brad says:

    I received a VERY interesting phone call from Canada this morning…and it involves Patrick Kane…the info comes from a friend who is a player agent and I have no doubt it has validity…what I was told is that Patrick Kane is NOT a for sure re signing this summer…Bowman has stated publicly that he wants to extend Toews and Kane this summer and has made it sound “fait du comply” (sorry this program won’t allow the “i”), but I was told, apparently coming straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth, that isn’t the case…Kane wants certain things in place if he is going to resign and A CENTRE is one of them…there was a name mentioned for that position, but I won’t repeat it, as it will just cause lots of hoopla…apparently this information came from Kane’s time at the Olympics…but take it for what it’s worth…Patrick Kane loves Chicago, would like to remain a Blackhawk but won’t resign unless a player personnel issue is addressed…and to be honest, I couldn’t blame Kaner one iota…

  23. Phil says:

    Agreed AJ. Pretty sure I mentioned it recently, but re-watching game 4 in the Cup Final last year revealed an amazing contrast between Zus in playoffs last year and Zus skating this year. It’s like a different guy. I would never diss his hockey skills, but he is so diminished as a player if he can’t skate, especially with guys on his wing that can motor. Hope he can find some energy in there somewhere, but its kind of sad to watch.

  24. JUSTABIGKID says:

    Not sure why everyone is blaming 26 for 88 and 10 sucking last night. Yes Zeus is old and slow but it is not like Sharp and Kane have been tearing it up lately. Sharp has been horrible since he was selected to Team Canada and Kane looks disinterested and lazy way to often during the games. Take Sharp off the top line and it produces, thats not a coincindence.

    I am also sick of hearing that Kanes production is down because of the centerman. Maybe it is Kane,great players make those around them better. Most teams do not have 2 great centerman, yet we have a gold and silver winning centerman.

  25. Phil says:

    Quite a scoop Brad…If true, Kaner makes a valid point. We need a quality 2C. SB thinks its TT for sure.

  26. wall says:

    C’mon Brad— “who” is the Center????

  27. John Wangsauce says:

    Maybe “the centre” is Kesler since this came from Kane’s time at the olympics.

  28. John Wangsauce says:

    And Sr. Brad…if you don’t wanna mention a name, don’t mention it at all! Booooo

  29. Dickie Dunn says:

    (“The Walrus was Paul…”)

  30. JS says:

    While I do think Kane wants a living-breathing centerman, I don’t think he’s going to demand who that player is. He’s probably smart enough to know how the cap works. Obvious solution would be to just play him with Toews. Best center in the Western Conference right there!

    It’s also easy to blame Handzus for the decline in Kane. Just check his numbers with/without him. I’m pretty sure Kane still hasn’t scored an even strength goal with Handzus on the ice.

  31. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith will play their entire careers in Chicago. Eventually, the Wirtz family will retire the numbers 88, 19 and 2; raise their numbers into the rafters and have a statue unveiling session out on the Madison Street sidewalk.

    The club will be systematically dismantled and populated with AHL feeder types if the alternative is that the Hawks can’t afford to keep Kane, Toews and Keith for the duration of their NHL careers. Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough run this club folks.

    Sr. Brad’s Parrot has a case of the shits this morning and is spewing nonsense. Brauckk !!!

  32. ebonyraptor says:

    If Brad’s source said the center Kane wants is (fellow USA Olympian) Ryan Kesler, that story is all the rage on a couple other message boards. John Jaeckell on Hockeybuzz said bowman didn’t want to disrupt the current roster now (as they try to repeat) but that after the season he will be in position to restructure the roster and that a deal (in principle) was discussed where the Hawks get Kesler and send Leddy, Shaw and Teravainen to Vancouver (other pieces may be in the deal). The back story to that deal is that Kane wants a centerman to play with and the implication is his decision to re-sign will be impacted by what Bowman does.

    Course, it all could be a lot of hooey too, especially with it being a Hockeybuzz “source”. But there is enough plausibility to make it speculative.

    The key would seem to be TT. If (a very big if) TT can play 2C, then the most logical lineup would have Hossa on his right wing and Kane playing on Toews’ right wing. That would seem to provide the centerman Kane covets and in fact a better centerman than Kesler or any other centerman that Stan could acquire – so that would seem to negate the concern of having to acquire a 2C or risk losing Kane.

    Th e other side of the coin is that if TT isn’t capable of playing 2C, or at least not yet, then he is in fact not the 2C we’re all hoping he will be and then including him in a deal to acquire Kesler is maybe the right thing to do. The thought being that even if TT eventually becomes an elite player in the NHL, the Hawks need to win now (over the next few years) before Hossa fades and to a lesser extent Sharp and Keith also.

    So, how do the Hawks determine if TT can play 2C in the NHL in time to decide whether to make the trade for Kesler, which undoubtedly will be shortly after the season ends around draft day as Vancouver will want to get the Kesler situation settled in order to make decisions of their own. Even if TT comes to the Hawks with some regular season games remaining (not a guarantee as TT’s team will be in the playoffs starting later this month) – is a handful of games enough to make that type of impactful assessment?

    As they say – timing is everything. It’s going to be iteresting.

  33. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    AJ, I didn’t say once that Dave Bolland was essential and a missed player. Fact is Bolland has limitations aplenty and devolved as a player on the ice the last two years. He couldn’t generate scoring opportunities for himself or his linemates to save his life and the next time he wins two consecutive face-offs in a row shall be the first time.

    BUT, Bolland was supremely important in the LA and Boston series. Supremely. The Hawks have not replaced what Bolland and Frolik brought to the ice. Sr. Brad’s Parrot can lament the inabilities of Handzus all the fuck he wants, but the problem facing the Hawks is that it is inordinately difficult to have the requisite physical and mental capacity to repeat as back to back Cup champions AND the Hawks simply are not as deep as they were last year.

  34. AJ says:

    (Paul is dead)

    Meh. There is probably some frustration there. Probably not enough to walk away. Maybe enough to demand a higher salary and shorter term. Lotta ins and outs and no one really knows which makes it conjecture. Personally, I would be frustrated, but I was always a bit of a selfish prick of a player.

    While most teams do not have two great centermen… Most competent teams play their two best centermen with their top 4 wing players OR adjust their system to get the most out of their star players.

    Cant really argue with the Hawks through Christmas. Sharp, Kooga, Hossa would be a pretty formidable line and necessary adjustment, but what do I know, I haven’t won two Cups with the clear cut cream of the crop…

    Saad/Bickell – Toews – Kane will probably happen in the playoffs because it has to and it will be glorious.

  35. Dickie Dunn says:

    …maybe they’ll let Kane pick the coaching staff and set ticket prices as well?

  36. Dickie Dunn says:

    “Leddy, Shaw and Teravainen to Vancouver (other pieces may be in the deal).” – smells like bullshit. TT isn’t going to Vancouver (- my opinion…I haven’t spoken to Jaekel or Sr. Brad’s source)

  37. morrison says:

    Youngblood.

  38. morrison says:

    Teuvo Youngblood.

  39. wall says:

    Kesler is good… but we would be giving away TOO much if 8,65,TT…
    8,TT and a Icehog… OK but way too much talent,youth, and Cap friendly rfa there…

    Like mentioned- throw 88/19 together if Kane is really crying!!!

  40. michael petan says:

    When the Hawks or any team gets TRAFFIC in front of the net great things happen. Hawsk have not had that consistent net presence for while, needs to happen game in game out and Q needs to target players like Shaw, Boliggg and Bickellll to own the net, too much skating too much over passing at times. I want to see NICK LEDDY go coast to coast and take the puck TO THE NET, this kid can score, seldom does he take the puck to the net, he has the skills to score big time, great speed, let him fly!

  41. AJ says:

    Where is the talent going to play anyway?

    Sharp (4 years) Toews (2) Hossa (end of time)
    Saad (2 years at least)\Bickell (4 years) [empty] Kane (2 years)
    Versteeg (3 years) Shaw (3 years) Bollig (4 years) Kooga (2 years)

    Seriously where is that “young talent” or “top line talent” going to play? Certainly not on the 4th line. Bit of a log jam and TT projects as a winger before a center by people who evaluate talent for a living. Maybe he surprises everyone but who knows.

  42. AJ says:

    Whenever the Hawks play a team with slow forwards and bad defenders they score lots of goals…

  43. Peter says:

    Wall and JS great points on Shaw as a wing. I like him there too. I guess Stalberg carried the puck a lot into the O zone last year. By that time Shaw could get to his valuable position behind the net, and cycle effectively.

  44. JS says:

    AJ, I think you are using the wrong talent evaluators. TT’s (Youngblood) play has taken off since he was moved to center.

    The amount of contracts the Hawks have on the books, and the amount of years on them, are one of the reasons I was super perplexed by the Bollig deal. You have to think that TT gets one of the spots next year, that will leave one open roster spot for a lot of prospects.

    I’d feel so bad for Versteeg if he was moved again this offseason.

  45. Sr. Brad says:

    I have no idea if Kane is demanding a single player (and I doubt it), but I can see Kaner demand a centre…and maybe that’s Toews…however, you will NEVER get Q to agree to be forced to play Kane with Toews…so a 2nd centre is necessary on this team…I honestly think it will be TT…he is a VERY special talent, and if Kane and TT are given a strong winger (Saad, Hossa, Bickell) they will be fine…

    Now, is TT ready this year to step in and make things all better for Kane? Who knows, but I really think he’s going to stick when he arrives later this month.

    And if I remember correctly, Kane backtracked earlier this year when Bowman went public about all of this…Toews didn’t say a word, but Kane intimated that it wasn’t a sure thing…I think Kaner has had this in his head for awhile…

  46. Sr. Brad says:

    Yeah JS, keeping Versteeg next year (paying half of his salary) instead of Bollig is a no brainer to everyone except two people in the Hawks organization…

  47. Sr. Brad says:

    I don’t know how many of you saw the Hog game last night in MIL, but a couple of observations..one, Kent Simpson hadn’t played in a while a struggled badly…he made it look at lot worse than it actually was…and 2nd, Garret Ross was our best player, again…on the road, down early, he played hard and physical all night, and single handily kept his team in the game…there is TONS to like in this kid…

  48. noonan96 says:

    Sr.Brad-(I haven’t watched Hog games) There seems to be a few of them that deserve to at least get a game or two up with the Hawks-Clendening, Ross, who I saw a lot in the OHL., Morin, Dahlbeck and even Mashinter. I realize that not all can get a taste but perhaps down the stretch to give a few hawks somewhat of a break.
    In your opinion is it a lack of trust, extreme loyalty to certain players, stubborness? Why not see them compete against the best, it’s valuable experience and it lets some pretty tired players get a break or two.
    Morin has to be pretty disillusioned-I’ve seen him succeed at every level. It’s really hard to question leadership that has produced two cups in the last 4 to 5 years.

  49. morrison says:

    Yea, someone mentioned timing. Morin has already played more then 10 games and those other guys will get some games during the next reg. season. I would think that if we need anybody (from ahl) for 60-80 games it will be Morin.

    I like Ross, but with 52 signed, T, 23 on roster theres just not any room for all of the prospects that are nhl ready to play in more than a game or two unless when someones out… Which is fine, because then theres plenty of time in their development. Even if they cant really get any better in the ahl. Its overkill but that’s better then ruining it and a good problem to have. I do like that it means that we get our current/at the moment very best prospect guy in the lineup.

    If we do trade for Kelser at the draft/sign a good ufa center, that probably will open up some roster spots for some of the ahl guys that are ready. I think that might depend on what the salary cap is going to be. Does anyone know when that is official.

  50. Sr. Brad says:

    Noonan, Mo…great comments, and I understand what you are saying…that is why I was disappointed in the Bollig signing…those of us who watch the games know that the Hawks don’t need an enforcer, and Bollig isn’t one anyways…and as he has improved as a skater, shooter, checker and overall player, he still doesn’t touch what a lot of the prospects bring to the table…

    What I see guys, and have posted this before, is that there is a division between Bowman and Q on how to develop prospects…I know they both respect one another, and get along in terms of running the organization, but clearly they are not on the same page when it comes to prospects…Q will only take them if they are NHL ready, and then he is eager to grab ahold of them (Saad/Shaw/Kruger/Smith), but if they need work to their game, he no longer wants to develop them…that’s the job of Ted Dent in Rockford…

    And so with Pirri and Morin, who are offensively gifted prospects but have defensive deficiencies in the eyes of Q, he has little patience with them…and if they pout, I think it becomes a personality thing with Q…Q treated both of them differently after they came back up from being sent down, and venting a little…Q is OLD SCHOOL and as with anything, there are upsides and downsides…but you know this has to be driving Bowman a little crazy…

    What do we know about Stan??? He believes in building a team through the draft and adding on role players via FA or trades…and I think he is right…but there are 2 things that have derailed his plan a little…ONE, the Hawks are LOADED with elite talent, and thus we don’t need lots of TTs per se, (which is why the Shaws and Krugers have leap frogged ahead of a ton of prospects…and which is why Ross should be on everyone’s radar), and TWO, he has drafted a lot of talented players who need work, and there is no patience in Chicago to teach it to them…keeping them in Rockford…and it takes a special kid in this age of instant gratification and HUGE money to spend say 3 to 4 years in Rockford while players with less talent are getting NHL opportunities in other cities…and that’s Pirri and Morin…both have been in the minors for 3 years, going on 4…both have had enough and you can’t blame them…I think Bowman traded Pirri when he did as much out of respect for his predicament as the picks in return.

    So moving forward, the kids in the system are the ones who have to adapt and overcome as Q isn’t going anywhere and he fills out the lineup…look at Q’s message out of training camp with Nordstrom…he is NOT the best player in Rockford, but because he can skate, he’s smart, and plays responsibly at both ends, HE got his shot…the rest of the kids need to learn, and fast…Clendening doesn’t need to worry about his stat line, he needs to worry about his defensive zone coverage and his break out passes…Mark McNeil doesn’t need to worry about hitting 20+ goals, he needs to work on his consistency and his defensive zone coverage…the ones that do this will be the ones that get the shots, because as you say, there are so few spots available…

  51. Tab Bamford says:

    I know that we love to poke the bear re: the division between Bowman & Quenneville, but we also have to keep in mind that this is a team w/ an NHL roster that’s loaded up top and doesn’t have many spaces to fill… and Quenneville has the luxury of being picky when he wants w/ which kids stick because there’s a truckload of talent in the organization. Yes, the cap is an issue this season… but it’s been a choice of the organization to carry 22-23 all season.

    If you’ve been coming here for longer than 12 months you know that I’ve been a big fan of Morin since he was acquired, and would love to see him get a long look at the NHL level. But the Hawks have a fourth line that has combined for 21 goals and two of them – Kruger and Smith – are winning at least 50% of their faceoffs… and the 2 guys – Kruger, Smith & Bollig – have a combined cap hit of $2.7M.

    Sr. Brad nailed it (mostly) in his final paragraph… but I wouldn’t have said the kids need to “overcome Q” to make the NHL roster. They need to play a complete game, not just rack up goals/points. There’s a reason teams like Chicago & Boston are in the mix for the Cup almost every year and teams like Edmonton suck.

  52. MS says:

    Sr. Brad – nice post. I agree with your take on the “tension” between SB and Q regarding the use of prospects as well as the key development issues for prospects like Nordstrom and Clendening. One other point regarding the use of prospects is that we have been very fortunate in terms of injuries this year which means fewer short term opportunities for prospects. If you look at several other teams like the Wings their AHL prospects have received a lot of games. This won’t be the case every year.

    Although I have absolutely no facts to support this feeling, I believe Morin’s attitude may be playing a part in his failure to stick this year. I remember a strange comment that Toews made regarding Morin – something along the line that it is tough to understand that you need to work on simple plays when you know you are as talented as others on the team. Also when you see his interviews on the Icehogs website he does come across as highly confident (said in a nice way). He definitely doesn’t come across as the ultimate professional like Ben Smith who had to endure a lot of ups and downs but has finally earned Q’s confidence. From a contract standpoint it seems that he will either be traded at the draft or will stick as a Hawk for all of next season as his entry level deal is up this year so he will have to clear waivers next fall if they try to send him down.

  53. wall says:

    Brad- very nicely written…

    Tab- Is on to something too! Part of the “issue” w Q, Hawks, Prospects… is they are top heavy/Top 6… so Like Tab- said the “real” openings are for the “role” guys like the Nordstrom’s… Pirri does not skate/compete hard enough to be a bottom 6 guy- and couldn’t cut it w/ True elite Hawks top 6…

    Morin- isn’t used to being a “D” checking, worry about D first guy… he has been a sniper- forever…trained to play Offense first/true top 6 guy… he has fallen short in Q’s eyes in some parts of the game… IMO- Morin CAN learn a little more and make it as a bottom 6 guy (if his ego allows)… BUT – I still think he could make it has a top 6 player too!!! Pirri-will never make it as a bottom 6…and only a top 6 on bad team!!!

    I think the Hawks like/want Morin to be Both (cuz they don’t have an opening on top)
    But does Mo- want to “learn” the D… I like Mo

  54. Dickie Dunn says:

    Sr. Brad, “those of us who watch the games (know that the Hawks don’t need an enforcer)” – a little condescending? How many of us who read and respond here do not “watch the games”? …a show of hands?

  55. Dickie Dunn says:

    Prospects getting a chance – Tab covered it.

    The Hawks are defending champions who are still very good and very deep without Stalberg, Bolland, and Frolik – why would anybody expect there to be a significant opportunity for a prospect to play, unless he was “special” / “the real deal” (whatever) – good enough to be that “missing” #2 center? They added Versteeg for two Rockford guys who were not going to play in Chicago – that’s one “blocked” possible opening for a prospect. Nordstrom seems like the type of player who could be playing on the 4th line instead of Bollig…and maybe he will eventually? For skill players (Morin) it’s probably a shot at the 3rd line unless Bowman deals.

  56. ebonyraptor says:

    I think it’s interesting the Bollig was resigned but so far Smith has not been. Bollig was a UFA and could have wlked after the season, whereas Smith is an RFA so that is a factor, but it still leads me to question if Smith is in the plans beyond this season. Figuring there is only one spot open (2C) and quite a few prospects to consider – maybe Smith is packaged off in a trade opening up a 4th line spot for Morin or Nordstrom or maybe even Kevin Hayes.

    I know fans usually over-value the propects and I’m as guilty of that as anyone, but when you compare the number of prospects that should be ready for a shot in the next year or two with the number of roster spot openings – it looks like pipeline is going to be stopped up … better get out the liquid plumber :)

  57. Sr. Brad says:

    Dickie, sorry, didn’t mean to be…

    ER, it is interesting with Smith not being resigned yet…but you have to believe he will if the numbers make sense…he has done EVERYTHING that Q could of asked of him in his current role…he’s young, now healthy, and has a long, solid career ahead of him…his 4th line play is great, his PK just keeps getting better, and now he’s winning F/Os like crazy…plus, he’s high character, no problems or issues with Ben…

    So, it TT takes the 2nd line centre spot, where does that leave EVERY OTHER forward prospect in the Hawks system??? Playing the waiting game…

  58. Dickie Dunn says:

    Sr. Brad – sorry if I over reacted – I meant no hostility.

    I agree with you about Ben Smith “has done EVERYTHING that Q could of asked of him in his current role…4th line play is great, his PK just keeps getting better, and now he’s winning F/Os like crazy…plus, he’s high character…” – and, I think he has been an adequate(-plus) replacement for Frolik…just not as fast, but has been a better scorer (at least in the regular season, so far).

    I believe that speculating about prospects probably depends a lot on how this season plays-out / ends — obviously Stan kept as much of the Championship team together (…and I believe that he again made the best possible choices considering?) as he could to take another run at the Cup(…including Handzus?!?!). Who knows…a lot can change next season, especially if the cap increases significantly?

    – Kesler…he’s good, but that bs floating around (Jaeckel, et al) is ridiculous. Maybe Leddy (- Clendening, Rundblad, other depth make this doable), and a prospect NOT Terravanen, and a “throw-in”, but let’s not fall into Mike Gillis’s over-estimating Canucks’ value. Kesler’s injury history, age, and salary also should be considered. Just my take.

  59. wall says:

    Dickie D… nice follow up on Tab… Frolik is a perfect example of a guy who could skate top 6… put up good #’s on average teams…AND skate bottom 6 and Be D responsible/skate/check and give up scoring… Will MORIN accept this???(needs to dedicate to it for bottom 6) or will he say WTF- I am a top 6 guy and try to find an opening on a team who will treat him like top 6???

    I know the Hawks had him on the radar to make team a couple of years back (he was still skating w Hawks in Practices I watched)… but that was the year he took a horrible concussion- So I think the Hawks WANT him… Does He want the Hawks???

    I still think Cdening is an average skater/Defender… Hawks should move and take there chances with Run-bad-skate good, Johns, and Dbeck.

  60. ebonyraptor says:

    Supposedly Rundblad is playing tonight so I’m anxious to see what he’s about. If he can be the player he was projected to be going into the 2010 draft, we should see some signs of that. If he and Leddy are paired together it might be a look into the future.

  61. JS says:

    Probably too late for this to be read… butttt

    We are guilty of saying Top 6/Bottom 6 a lot. I think it’s important to remember why we make that distinction. Years ago, calling them that made sense. A lot of the time your 3rd line would be your “checking line” and your 4th line would be filled with a bunch of bruisers with limited hockey ability. Those days are gone. There are more people playing hockey and the players are getting more talented every year. The “enforcer” is gone and only a handful of bozos are still hanging on to the idea (Hey Toronto/Buffalo!).

    Having the puck and scoring more goals than the other team is what wins you games. The whole thought of someone fitting in with the “top 6″ but not the “bottom 6″ doesn’t make sense anymore. You didn’t see Canada take Dave Bolland because he makes a great bottom 6 guy. They assembled the team with the most skill, regardless of “fit”. Saying someone has too much skill to be in the bottom 6 makes my head spin.

    That’s all.

    One quick thing to point out about Ben Smith. He laid out to block a shot with 2 seconds left in a 6-1 hockey game. He can be on my team any day. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him with a letter on his jersey one day.

  62. Sr. Brad says:

    Dickie, if my friend Mark said this about Kaner, you bet your bottom dollar its true…the Hawks need to address and 2nd line centre issue for him to return…and I think the Hawks will and it will be TT…this year in fact…

    Wall, actually, there should be a spot for Morin on the 3rd line next year…that’s Shaw with Bicks and Morin…very nice…and if TT joins him along with say Clendening on Defence, I guess we really couldn’t say the Hawks aren’t giving anyone a chance…as you say, Morin just needs to embrace that 3rd line role, if he’s going to stick with the Hawks…

  63. Tab Bamford says:

    With all due respect to Sr. Brad’s sources, if Kane skates w/ 19 what’s the issue? The Hawks skating TT between Hossa & Saad puts the 10-19-88 line back together and there’s no reason to crap the bed over a center on the decline.

  64. Dickie Dunn says:

    Sr. Brad, I don’t question the validity (- your friend Mark’s information)…my position is that Kane might (should?) not have that kind of leverage “Get me Kesler. or else…”. I don’t see Stan Bowman or Rocky Wirtz playing that game.

  65. ebonyraptor says:

    A couple thoughts:

    I think there is too much ado about Morin. Now I see posts having Morin in and Versteeg out of the Lineup. This is grass is greener / backup quarterback thinking. It’s fun to prop up the unknown quantity – and make no mistake, Morin is an unknown quantity at the NHL level – and complain about the known quantity. Versteeg is the known quantity and he is a versitile NHL winger – a 40+ point scorer who can play any forward position on any line and his $2.2M cap hit is very good value. So while I’m with you in hoping Morin gets a shot on the Hawks, I don’t want it to be at the expense of Versteeg.

    If the rumor that Kane more or less gave Hawks management an ultimatum to get Kesler of else – I would be extremely irked and disappointed with Kane. But if Kane decides to he would rather go elsewhere than re-sign with the Hawks – I find it very plausible that being the odd man out in terms of the 4 elite forwards and not having top level linemates to play with could be a determining factor. So whether part or all of the rumor is true or none of it is true, I still think it is something to be concerned about regarding re-signing Kane.

  66. morrison says:

    I cannot believe Kaner would be Kesler or resign. If Tazer is not good enough for Kaner then he needs to go get drunk and vent (not requested Kesler…). Kaner is going threw a tuff time recently with point production, etc./family things. Someone needs to have a good heart to heart with 88. I am sure Wirtz/Donough will give Bowman/crew the ok to get whoever they have to to resign Kaner & keep T.

    Q likes to have 19 with 81 because that’s our top6 checking line (which basically no other team has). Like Tab/Wall said about having 88 with 19, do that for the first 20-30 games in the fall & have T with 81 and 20. That’s way Kaner is happy and T can learn/growing pains with 2 of our 3 best defensive fw for the first 30 games/under belt. Then Q sets the lines and no moar bitching.

  67. morrison says:

    I like Ben & Jerrys Smith. He is a good guy and needs to stay.

    ER, Versteeg is a good value with 2.2 cap hit. I like Morin but you have to keep 23 on 3rd line, unless cap doesn’t go up.

    It is extremely important to resign 88. Regardless of what is true of all the talk, our organization will do what they need to to keep 88 & 86.

    Who are the good ufa center this summer that we could add. Is there any there as option.

  68. Tab Bamford says:

    There’s only one center – Paul Stastny – at/near the top of the free agent list that’s under 30… and his cap number is already north of $6M. This is a good, deep organization that’s looking for veterans to fill the bottom of the roster. If you want to use your time efficiently, go find another 35-year-old defenseman or center (Rozsival, Handzus) to make the roster.

    I’m trying to wrap my arms around the apparent disconnect that’s taking place… every indication is that Teuvo Teravainen will get every opportunity to play 2C in October. Furthermore, the two players Bowman is concerned with this summer are 19 and 88 (both UFAs in 2015). He’ll get both of them signed before he makes any other long-term commitments.

  69. morrison says:

    Yea, I am Stoaked for a 10/19/88/20/86/81 lineup for the rest of Hoss’s career.

  70. wall says:

    JS- while I will agree w/ the NHL is getting more and more talented… and The bottom 6 needs to be able to skate/play these days… not just be goons who can’t skate or score.

    BUT- I will defend my position here…
    First- I never said that Morin has too much skill to be in the bottom 6 (implied- that his ego might think that)…
    what I did say is that he hasn’t been groomed to be a “D” 1st kind of guy (like they are grooming Danault)… and bcuz of this- Mo has always relied on and put O first… my comment is that Mo probably would adjust better/easier to being top 6 guy (cuz he has been his whole life)- didn’t say he “Deserves” either… I just think it would be a more natural transition.

    Nordstrom- has played in Swedish league and for Kruger’s dad… so He has very good D instincts/teaching… that is why Hawks noticed him and he made club in early season + the guy can skate… He is an example of better bottom 6 guy…

    And Kane is a great/elite offensive player… That is why he is on top 6… Kane is an example of a guy who “Fits the top 6 better than the bottom 6″ – to refute your thought “that doesn’t make sense anymore”!!! Do you really want 52/16/88 checking the Getzlaf line???

  71. MS says:

    Hopefully Kane wasn’t seen near a grassy knoll. I am not buying this crazy rumor regarding demanding an upgrade to his line mates.

  72. ebonyraptor says:

    Timing is everything. The Hawks will need to determine if Kane (and for that matter Toews also) will re-sign with the Hawks – not only to know the salary cap impact of the new T&K contracts so they can make all the rest of their moves/decisions – but also whether they need to seriously consider trading Kane and/or Toews if they know one or both will not re-sign with the Hawks. As sacriligious as that sounds (and probably unrealistic, especially with Toews), they have to consider whether to get something for their prized assets or keep them for another year and then get nothing for them when they hit UFA. I have to think both Toews and Kane will be honest with the Hawks about their committment to re-sign or not and I doubt it will come down to $ because I’m sure the Hawks aren’t that stupid to try to low ball them. So if one or both let them know they will not re-sign, then they need to make their decision quickly to give them the best situation to get the best return which would be on or before draft day.

    I know – perish the thought, but it’s possible and the Hawks won’t have much time to make their decisions and find the best trade partner – if that’s the decision they make.

  73. Sr. Brad says:

    Tab, I agree 100%…Toews IS more than good enough for Kane as a centre, and I am sure Kaner thinks so too…but he has rarely skated with Tazer over the last few years…for much of the last 2 season Kane has been saddled with substandard centres, and I am sure it stings…remember, 2 months ago, Kane was 2nd in league scoring, just a few points from Crosby (with predominantly Brandon Pirri as his centre)…Kane loved being in that spot, and wants to stay there…and if he can do it with an unproven rookie, what could he do with an established player???

    The problem with promising Kane he can play with Toews is that Q holds the lineup card, and so it can’t be promised…but I firmly believe that TT is going to come in this month, and won’t leave…I think that Toews and TT will give Kane all the confidence he needs to resign here…

    Also, remember that Kane’s remarks were apparently uttered at the Olympics…I think that Kane was frustrated with his slump on such a large stage, and with Kesler close by, it was probably spoken out of frustration more than anything else…

  74. Sr. Brad says:

    ER, you are right…I was all ready to throw Versteeg out with the bath water with my Morin comments…I would definitely like to see Kris play out the 2 years remaining on his deal…his knee will be a lot better next year…and there is no reason that Morin couldn’t still get lots of playing time rotating in for a variety of players on the roster as the 21st man…

  75. morrison says:

    Brad, yea that’s when and combined with the other things recently how else do you expect anyone to feel. No matter what Kaner has had to go through in the past, he does what he has to and comes out even better then before. He is human, he cares and then he kicks ass.

  76. JS says:

    Hey Wall- didn’t try to single you out. It’s just something I hear all of the time and while I understand that people refer to “bottom 6″ players as people with incomplete games, that doesn’t mean you should aim for a top 6 and bottom 6.

    With the advancements in hockey advanced metrics, we are starting to learn more about what makes a good team. And while I agree that Nordstrom was better in the D zone than Morin, the possession numbers that Morin put up when he was here were nuts.

    It’s why the constant ragging on Bickell is mostly confusing. Yes, he isn’t skating as well. I’m pretty sure we can blame that on a serious knee injury that takes a while for full recovery. But his possession numbers are better this year, he’s on a higher goal pace, his shooting percentage is higher, and he’s playing two less minutes per game. He is a -8, but he’s also had terrible luck. His PDO is 94.1 compared to 102.9 last year (and 107.1 in the playoffs). That’s a HUGE difference. Give that man his minutes!

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