Blackhawks Raise Another Banner, Win Opener 6-4

On Tuesday night, the Blackhawks raised their fifth championship banner into the United Center rafters.

After a stunning pregame ceremony, the 2013-14 team hit the ice against a very good Washington Capitals team. As they last season, the new edition of the Blackhawks started the new year with a win.

The pregame ceremony produced by the Blackhawks was spectacular, including wristbands on every seat that lit up either red or white, choreographed with the ceremony production. From Eddie Olczyk to Rocky Wirtz, the speeches were brief and well received.

Duncan Keith brought the Cup out to center ice this time, and placed it on a table at the heart of the arena. The final name on the new roster that was called, Chicago’s captain Jonathan Toews, raised the Cup one last time as a champion, kissed it, and put it on the table.

The Stanley Cup is no longer in possession of the Hawks. Now, like 29 other teams, they are chasing it.

Once the puck dropped on the 2013-14 season, the Hawks went to work defending their title.

The first goal of the game and the 2013-14 Blackhawks season was scored by… Brandon Bollig. Of course it was. His name is engraved on the Stanley Cup, he owns a championship ring, and earlier Tuesday night he helped skate a banner across the ice and raise it into the rafters. The only thing missing on his resume was scoring a goal in the NHL. Mission accomplished.

Washington answered with a missile from Alexander Ovechkin on a Caps power play six minutes later. However, 24 seconds later Patrick Kane regained the lead for the Blackhawks.

Ovechkin’s goal was one of three power play tallies in six opportunities for the Caps on the night. While the Blackhawks countered with one power play goal in four advantages of their own, and with the understanding that the Caps have one of the more lethal power plays in the league, the penalty kill left a lot to be desired in the first 50 minutes.

Mikhail Grabovski, who the Caps hope can replace Mike Ribeiro this year, scored two of the Caps’ three power play goals and had a hat trick in his first game with Washington. He was also credited with an assist on Ovechkin’s goal, giving him a four-point season opener. Grabovski also won seven of 15 faceoffs in the game.

After Grabovski had scored two power play goals in the first six minutes of the third period. the Hawks battled back to take a 5-4 lead with goals from Brandon Saad and Johnny Oduya. The goal from Saad came off a ridiculous feed from Michal Handzus, and Oduya’s knuckled through the glove of Caps netminder Braden Holtby.

With a one-goal lead, something neither team was able to hold the entire night, the Hawks found themselves short-handed once again when Patrick Sharp was called for goaltender interference at 15:53. Only 34 seconds into the penalty kill, rookie Joakim Nordstrom was sent to join him in the box after a clearing attempt sailed over the far end glass and out of play for a delay of game penalty.

In the nearly 90 seconds of 5-on-3 that followed, Niklas Hjalmarsson did a magnificent job of blocking shots and taking away space. Hjalmarsson was credited with three blocked shots and two assists in the game, but his work on the penalty kill late in the third period was a reminder of how valuable he has become to the Hawks.

Saad added two assists to his one goal to lead the Blackhawks with three points in the opener, and he was rewarded with the game’s number one star. Marian Hossa was awarded an empty net goal on a penalty late in the game to give him two points in the game (one goal, one assist).

The six Blackhawks goals were scored by Bollig, Kane, Brent Seabrook, Saad, Oduya and Hossa. As they did so many times last year, the Blackhawks finished with a flurry, scoring three unanswered goals int he third to put the game away.

In net, Corey Crawford was having a decent – not great – night through the first two periods, allowing two goals against 19 Washington shots. However, it appeared a high shot stung him during a Caps power play early in the third before he allowed Grabovski’s second and third goals.

Jonathan Toews talked to Crawford, who appeared to be laboring, after he deflected a shot out of play. He bobbled a couple other shots that he had easily handled earlier in the game during the sequence as well. After the first power play goal, he skated to the ice to get a fresh bottle of water from the bench, and his teammates stalled to try to buy him some time on a couple occasions.

After a few shaky moments, and two power play goals allowed, Crawford settled down and finished the game strong. In total, he allowed four goals – three of which were on the power play – against 32 shots. He did earn a victory in the game.

Toews had one assist and won 11 of 21 faceoffs. Marcus Kruger won 10 of 17 faceoffs with two blocked shots and three hits in the game. Andrew Shaw and Bollig led the Hawks with five hits each, and Shaw took a series of shifts between Sharp and Hossa. Handuz had the assist on Saad’s goal and won six of nine faceoffs.

Overall, in spite of the four goals against, the Blackhawks appeared to be in much better shape than they were to start the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Duncan Keith played a great game, skating 24:51 with two blocked shots, two takeaways and one hit. He was probably the fastest skater in the rink not-named-Nick Leddy, and had a really good, active stick the entire night.

Leddy skated 17:28 in the game and was credited with three hits as Quenneville tried to spread out ice time through his top five defensemen. Seabrook and Hjalmarsson were just over 20 minutes on the ice, while Oduya was just under 19 minutes in the game. Michal Rozsival was limited to 14:42 in the game, but was still credited with two hits and an assist.

The celebrations are over, the jewelry has been distributed and the banner is in the rafters. The reality now is simple: the Blackhawks are 1-0-0 in the 2013-14 season.

banner

This entry was posted in Here come the Hawks... and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Blackhawks Raise Another Banner, Win Opener 6-4

  1. McKay says:

    Nice way to kick off the season. That Saad goal was ridiculous. I see no reason why that’s not further indication of what’s to come from him—it’s like he’s picked up exactly where he left off last season. His speed was awesome all game. His movement off the puck was great with a terrific and difficult backhand in small space to finish. Unbelievable feed from Zeus. Saad is Hossa 2.0.

    PK… Let’s maybe try not to have all 4 guys below the hash marks and inside the face-off dots like it’s a 5 on 3? That should get worked out in video.

    If Kane and Sharpie bury their breakaways, this game wouldn’t have been as close as it was (Crawford made some great saves and the real 5 on 3 was a great kill).

    Go Hawks!

  2. wall says:

    Caps- have great PP- WHY??? Cuz coach understands a very basic Basketball concept…

    When a PK team is in 2-2 zone… the PP needs to attack seems/gaps with skating or “Posting a player in the middle… Brouwer” and force the D to either collapse or create coverage confusion ( 2 defenders covering 1 O) this then creates a 4 on 2 situation on PP! Hawks scored on PP when 81 skated thru the Middle of 2-2 zone (defense had to pinch/collapse leaving wide open rebounders).

    Oates understands this- and ran a 1-3-1 attack- forcing Hawks to sag more than they wanted to allowing the Caps to make short/accurate perimeter passes for one timers.

    The Hawks continue to play 4 corners PP vs. a 2-2 (4 cornered D!!!).

  3. Tim G says:

    Nice way to start the season. It was a little sloppy, but its only the first game. Well said Wall, the PK needs to step up. I think we need to be a little more agressive… dont just let them just lob lazy passes back and forth… eventually someone will get an angle they like and rip a good shot (exactly what Ovi and Green did).

    Shaw was a pest, Saad was all over the place, Kane and Sharp had their shooting gloves on, the 4th line reallly rounded out the line up. I do want to take some time to say I thought Hayes played pretty good. He was a little awkward at times, but overall a good performance. Nothing that will bury Smith as a scratch, but if we can rotate Bollig/Nordstrom/Hayes/Smith and get that type of game and keep guys fresh, we will be fine.

    Now i will say we wont keep scoring 6 goals, and it will be hard to win giving up 4 a night… but when push comes to shove, we should score 3 most nights, and that should be good enough.

    Like Tab said, The hawks are 1-0-0 and thats all that really matters right now. it was business as usual for the Hawks and we need to keep it that way.

  4. bollandio says:

    Wall.. enjoyed your pp analysis..
    The hawks do not have an offensively skilled defenceman like Green to work the 1-3-1 point. However, nothing says that the point needs to be a D-man.. maybe 88?
    This is certainly worth a try.. the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work!

  5. wall says:

    Leddy, Keith, or Sharp?

    I think the real problem is that they don’t have a forward who is “Willing” to post up Middle or Coaches just don’t “see” it my way (Oates does).

    Sharp left. 29 or 65 net. Kane right. 19 or 81 middle. Keith or Ledds point.

    could even put 7 left and 10 point.

  6. JS says:

    I was predicting a huge year for Saad, and with 3 points in the first game he is on pace for 246 points this season! Yes, that’s a joke, but I’m still expecting a huge season from him.

    I know CC gave up 4 goals, but I think he played phenomenal hockey. He made some huge early saves and then really bailed them out on that 5 on 3. Isn’t it awesome when goalies stack the pads?

    Nordstrom did some really smart things and he’s a pretty majestic skater… but at 160 pounds I don’t understand how he sticks.

    Why do the Hawks have 8 defensemen on the roster if Rozi is only going to skate 14 minutes?

    And just to vent really quick:

    When are they going to get rid of fighting? I know it would upset a lot of meatball fans, but seriously, the Habs/Leafs game was ridiculously stupid and of course it ends with someone being carted off on a stretcher. I think it’s time to grow up, NHL.

  7. JS says:

    Wall- a quick though on the PP.

    They do not use the open ice that other teams give them. It’s like they want to make long passes through defenders. There is no reason Sharp can’t float the way that Ovi does… but even when Sharp gets the space, he doesn’t step into a passing lane. It drives me crazy.

  8. EbonyRaptor says:

    A wholly entertaining night. The ceremony was classy and the game was back and forth excitement with the good guys prevailing. Couldn’t have scripted it any better. Very nice.

  9. Brian says:

    Bollig missing a nhl goal on his resume? Playoff goal against the Yotes???

  10. Tails says:

    I missed the game; what were the line combinations?

  11. wall says:

    JS- Agreed. And when the PK forwards get aggressive and attack PP the “Open ice” is the center of the 2-2 PK zone. If the Puck/PP player get there… it is now a 4 on 3 PP the dots!

    Once again, on the successful PP- 81 went to the Center of the 2-2… forcing the D to collapse and Multiple D men to move toward him… this left a close in 2 on 1 weakside rebound. Pretty simple!!! PP has to attack gaps in 2-2 zone with passes/skating to the middle (AND there HAS to be someone in the middle “big open Donut hole in that zone”)…
    if nobody is there… there is no “attack” it is a passive “ring around the rosey PP”!!!
    Long pass from corner to right point to left point… NO ATTACK! Easy to Defend, and takes away from Hawks Biggest advantage skating/quickness!!!

    The only negative w/ 1-3-1 is that there are potential break aways with only 1 point.
    But once again this set-up forces PK forwards to play real deep to cover that Middle guy- that is why 42/16 were sagging so much… they had to cuz if they didn’t there are too many passing lanes and it’s basically 4 on 2 below the circles!

  12. auggie55 says:

    Wall you explained the PP and the Hawks ineptitude in the past very well. The Hawks always seem to go into that 4 corner set up and all too often their passes are broken up and cleared. It seemed that the Hawks really miss having Frolik on the PK.
    I didn’t see his name mentioned in the earlier comments, but I thought Seabrook had a great game last night. One thing that was mentioned was Sharp hopefully having better success on breakaways by the very first commenter. I notice that Sharp (he did it again last night) always shoots the puck with a wrister from about 10 ft or so away from the net. He doesn’t have any moves and shouldn’t be used in Shoot Outs.

  13. Tab Bamford says:

    re: Tails question about the lines – to start they were

    Bickell-Toews-Kane
    Sharp-Handzus-Hossa
    Saad-Shaw-Hayes
    Nordstrom-Kruger-Bollig.

    However, Shaw saw a fair amount of time between Hossa & Sharp during the usual Quenneville mixing. It’s also worth noting that the Hawks got goals from all four lines last night (Kane, Hossa, Saad, Bollig) and 2 from defensemen (Seabrook, Oduya).

  14. JS says:

    Wasn’t Shaw between 10/81 because Handzus sat out the second period after getting boarded?

  15. Tim G says:

    Tails- Bicks/Toews/Kane, Sharp/Zus/Hossa, Saad/Shaw/Hayes, Bollig/Kruger/Nordstrom, Keith/Seabs, Oduya/Hammer, Leddy/Rosy

    Brian- It was his first career Regular Season Goal.

    JS- on the 8 D-man thing, it could be #17 is on his way out… or maybe it was just happenstance that Rosy only got 14. I’d wait 3-4 games before we worry about it too much. Also, get AHL time for Morin/Pirri. Better for them to be playing than sitting as a scratch every night.

  16. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    It was a very good game for an opener, plus with all the attention and distraction associated with the banner raising. What’s being lost here is that the Capitals are an excellent club. Ovechkin is a holy terror on skates and is the biggest force of nature in the game these days. The PK? It will improve. Obviously losing Frolik is a major blow to the PK. I love Nordstrom, but let’s face it the kid struggled big time in his first game. He’ll get better. You can see his hockey gifts on the ice. And also lost is how Crawford came up large when he had to.

  17. Tim G says:

    JS- Yes, Zus went out for a little bit, so we saw some mixing there-after.

  18. Dave says:

    Brian—playoff goals are not part of one’s career stats. Last night was Bollig’s first career goal. Bobby Hull has 610 career goals (604 with the Hawks), and not one of those are playoff goals.

  19. Peter says:

    I liked Nordstrom’s play 5 on 5. He will improve on the PK. He looked a little lost out there in PK at times.

    I thought Crawford played better than the stats showed…if that’s possible.

    The PP kills me, plus watching the Capitals and how they do it just pisses me off more. We can have the same type of firepower they do and we choose not to. Yes the 1-3-1 PP might lead to more breakaways, but the 1-3-1 might lead to more PP goals. We clearly need to change it up. I am pretty sure we could always go back to what we are doing now which is not moving around on the ice. It should also be mind boggling that Seabrook is the one who gets to the open space and gets the nice rebound PP goal. Why is that not a forward there? I do not know if they want to do the work.

    Saad was ridiculous and the give and go with Handzus was impressive. I like to break down hockey plays like this (which is very rudimentary). I know there are plays in hockey and I can see them more at the rink. To be able to know what your teammate is going to do is so impressive to me because often times they are just doing what they feel they should (i.e. a play isn’t called, unless out of a timeout etc…). To be able to see a play develop and be executed on TV (I watched the Handzus — Saad combo play real time) is amazing to me because of the skill, speed, and connectivity of the players not to mention the compressed screen (I am not seeing the entire ice surface on TV at one time). Great play by both.

  20. Mike says:

    Zues just shows game after game why he is in the lineup. Certainly not the perfect center for Sharp and Hoss. I know it might sound crazy, but put Shaw between those two for 15 shifts and see how it works.

    Officially, the Hawks won 52% of the faceoffs. But I wonder what the stats were in the zones as opposed to center ice area. It sure seemed to me that the Caps won alot of zone faceoffs.

    About 6 weeks ago I asked this blog about picking up Grabovski and putting him a 2C. The Hawks would have had to find about $1.5 to $1.75MM in Cap space. The consensus was the Hawks would of had to give up too much

  21. RyanDale says:

    Love how the Hawks never give up and think they can win , no matter the situation. Three goals late to win it!

  22. RyanDale says:

    noticed Frolik was huge last night in Edm 2-0-2 +2 14min good for him!

  23. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Frolik has developed into a good NHL player. Keep in mind also that he was a 20 goal scorer when he played on the craptacular Florida teams. Give the guy credit…he’s smart and has adapted his game nicely. Easy to root for him. Class act and works his tail off.

  24. JS says:

    Was I drunk last night or was there not a single icing in the game?

  25. Morrison says:

    Yea, I was drunk too and there was not an icing.

  26. Gou says:

    Tab, Correct me if I am wrong but the Golden Jet has the most regular season goals as a professional if you include the WHA.
    More than Mr. Hockey and the Great One.

  27. BigSmokeJ says:

    Gou – Howe and Gretzky both have more then Bobby.

  28. Mike says:

    Hey, just want some opinions here. This blog has talked a lot about the Hawks farm system depth and the role of the AHL. I agree with most of it and as you know I am a HUGE believer in player development at the AHL level.
    That said, I am a little confused at the 23 man roster. I know, I know we have just started. But the “depth” produced starters that were unexpected.
    Nordstom: Great prospect but at 160 lbs he beat out Pirri and Morin?
    Kostka: Great pre-season, but at the cost of losing projected NHLer Stanton?
    Hayes: I am looking forward to his career but I like Smith better (I know, Smith was an HS and many consider this is a toss up).
    My point and question, are those players who were sent back down inferior? If so, is the depth as good as we all think and hope. And, while I know that the AHL is developmental, is there a player on any AHL team that does not want to score goals, shut down other teams offense, earn leadership, win every night and play for the Calder? I think that the IceHogs need to make the playoffs this year.

  29. wall says:

    IMO- the Hawks Prospects are somewhat over rated! (especially the older ones).
    The reason is they lack NHL skating ability, and Hawks Love to skate in transition and fore check. This is why the 160 lb. Swede beat out the highest scorer in AHL…
    now you can improve skating slightly over work/technique- but the biggest gain in “speed” will actually come in play recognition/read/anticipate. This is why Bolland was important (and will be missed) 25,67 were faster- but 36 has very high IQ! And always seemed to be involved in the Big plays. Hopefully- Pirri/Morin can improve their “anticipation” skills…

    Nordstrom and 16 are better skaters/ play recognition- but neither can shoot the puck like Morin! Yet- they are NHL’ers.

  30. EbonyRaptor says:

    Mike, adding to wall’s post – another factor in which prospects made the team was the position needing to be filled. In the case of Nordstrom, he has a combination of better speed, quickness, hockey IQ, and defensive ability that the other candidates and therefore is a better fit to fill the Frolik position on the PK and 4th line. Other prospects would be considered over Nordstrom for the spots requiring more offensive abilities, like 2C and 3RW.

  31. Peter says:

    How long before the NHL suspends Patty Roy? I’ll set the over/under at 20 games.

  32. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    There are some fans who want to live in denial on Pirri and Morin. With Pirri its becoming the same false reaction we endured the last 3 seasons with Kyle Beach Fever. Pirri is a nice kid, but I’m sorry as a 40 year veteran of intently following and playing hockey (younger days) I don’t think Pirri’s game translates to the NHL. To me, he isn’t good enough offensively or defensively…certainly not on a strong playoff caliber club. Morin? Again, I think some of you are wishing and hoping for more than is really there.

    I like this Nordstrom kid a lot. Kudos to Bowman for unearthing yet another quality talent. Nordstrom skates well, is very good with the stick and has the definite “potential” to be a rock solid energy player and specialist…maybe even more over time.

    Hayes? Meh. But he fills a role just like guys before him called Curt Fraser and Ben Eager used to fill a role.

    Smith? Don’t get the fascination, but he’s a plugger. The zenith of his value is probably a very poor man’s version of Andrew Shaw. But I wouldn’t count on that happening. He’s ok as depth on the roster.

  33. Tab Bamford says:

    “With Pirri it’s becoming the same false reaction we endured the last 3 seasons with Kyle Beach Fever.”

    A) Who had Kyle Beach fever after the 2010 prospect camp?
    B) Kyle Beach never led the AHL in points and/or assists.

    I’m not buying that comparison at all, Rufus. Sorry.

    Also, comparing Hayes to Eager made me chuckle. Eager did nothing but fight & take dumb penalties; Hayes isn’t physical enough. That’s like saying Teravainen aspires to be Adam Burish.

  34. wall says:

    imo- Beach looked better than Hayes- in pre… but then he goes out of his way to make the dumb pass (as did Pirri) and shows that He just doesn’t get IT! or thinks he is more talented than he is. If you are going to make no look, spinning passes… they better be toward the other teams net- and not Hawks blue line!!!

    Smith- makes the right play all of the time- as average as he is… that is why he is here and Pirri, Morin, and Beach are not… talent wise Beach is better than Hayes, Smith!
    But- either slow learner- or too stubborn to buy into the “system”.

    And that is why TT will be special (and better) when he plays with Hawks who can think and skate as fast as he does.

    Morin- the guy would honestly help the PP instantly! Has great offensive instincts/IQ. Skating is only average… his biggest hurdle like LeBlanc’s will be skating and D!!!

  35. Tab Bamford says:

    wholeheartedly disagree that Beach looked better than Hayes in preseason.

  36. Mike says:

    Wall, I really like the Nordstrom kid as well. I just hope he can take the rigors of the NHL. I am hoping Smith will project as another Bolland. Smart, few mistakes, a nose for the puck, agitator with middling talent.

    Also I think the summer expectations for Pirri were just too high. Trying to thrust even a B+ prospect between Sharp and Hossa is a TON of responsibility and expectation. (We will be having this 2C conversation all year…..but Detroit has the C depth to demote Nyquist) Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a ton of talent in the system, but maybe a little short on projected top 3/6 or top 1/2 pairings. But I would like to see our “embarrassment of riches” as some put it, perform at the highest level of the AHL.

    Tab…..Is Pirri another Martin St Pierre?

  37. JS says:

    If Beach looked good in preseason, or had a game that translated to the NHL in ANY way, someone would have claimed him off of waivers and he wouldn’t be in Europe right now.

    I’m also pretty sure Smith is on a one way contract now, which is why he isn’t in the AHL.

    Nordstrom has shown great instincts and skating ability, but I can’t imagine his body holds up throughout the year. I also think he would have been better off getting more minutes playing at Rockford, but what do I know. The guy definitely needs to put on at least 20 pounds. Not really sure how these people with trainers and nutritionists are incapable of putting on weight.

    And ever since Rufus made the long winded post about how doomed the Hawks were in the playoffs, I just assume to think the opposite of everything he says.

  38. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    Sigh…reading is fundamental !

    I wasn’t drawing specific comparison of Hayes’ skill set to Eager’s or Fraser’s. Rather I was putting Hayes into that same generic bucket of a non-descript role player who is eminently replaceable. I like Hayes, but I also liked Eager and Fraser. But perspective is in order on the relative value and contribution of a guy like Hayes. He’s nothing magical folks.

    Pirri isn’t NHL material in my view. Harsh perhaps, but that’s what I’ve thought for 2 years running. The next “future” at Center if Phil Danualt. He is a nice package of talent and should become a solid NHL player. Not a star type, but a solid player nonetheless. At this stage Pirri is emergency depth. The best he can hope for is for some craptacular non-playoff type NHL team to call up Bowman and swing a deal for his services to be a 4th liner type. Morin? Yeesh. It hasn’t happened for the guy…fair or unfair…again, I view him as emergency filler who may or may not be able to seize upon opportunity. But he’s in the class of a Hayes in terms of wondrous current and future value to the Hawks.

  39. Mike says:

    Conclusions?? The Hawks have a great team and good depth. 3 lines that can score and a 4th line that is a bit slower and will get fewer minutes than last year. Tons of bottom 6 talent with some hopeful top 6ers (TT, Ross, Danault) down the line. Concentration in the next few trades/drafts may be speed. That said, do the Hawks have a SC team…….Yes, if as Tab put it, thay can stay out of the doctor’s office.

  40. Tab Bamford says:

    to Rufus & others: whether or not a player is “NHL caliber” or “Blackhawks caliber” are two very distinct differences.

    How many forwards on the Calgary roster would have realistically made the Blackhawks out of training camp? So let’s first own that the Hawks are in a unique position (and by unique I mean an embarrassment of riches). Let’s also acknowledge that some are looking for overwhelming, elite players to fill out a top six that should have Toews, Kane, Sharp, Saad & Bickell in it for, give or take, the majority of the next 3-4 years… and I didn’t mention Hossa because injuries make him a question mark. EVEN with Hossa being a question mark, the Hawks have 5 guys that are already established as top-six caliber players at the NHL level BEFORE we start throwing around names like Danault, Teravainen, McNeill and others…

    So while Rufus wants to pin guys like Hayes and Morin and Smith “down” as decent/good 3rd or 4th line players, THAT’S WHAT THE HAWKS ARE LOOKING FOR. Let’s also remember that Andrew Ladd was once a 3rd line player in Chicago…

    Just because a guy isn’t good enough to crack a top-six that includes four 2-time Cup winners doesn’t mean a guy can’t play in the NHL.

  41. Reg Dunlop says:

    Tab……nice observation on the talent level in the league and the Hawks. The truth is that the NHL is changing before our eyes.

    Teams are going away from “size” and going with smaller, faster, quicker and more agile players that can move the puck and play the game in the middle of the ice. Last year, the Sharks traded away size for quickness and became a better team. Montreal is not as big as they used to be and have become a puck moving team and puck control team like the Hawks. We all know that Marc Bergevin had a hand in the architecture of the Hawks and he is now running the Habs.

    As much as I HATE to say it, fighting in the NHL is going to come to an end, soon. Many will disagree with me, but it IS a NECESSARY EVIL at the NHL level. However, as the saying goes, “adapt or die”. I can live with no fighting as long as players are held accountable for their reckless play by the league.

    As I see it, skill and speed are dominating the NHL. The days off the “lumbering” winger who pounded defensmen into the boards is coming to an end. The training and coaching at the lower levels of the game is the best that it has ever been. The young kids in hockey are better than ever before because of the dedication of coaches and parents who want their young players to be coached and trained properly. The future of the game looks bright, right now.

    Right now, the Hawks have set the bar awful high in the NHL. Our players are skilled, fast and agile. But most of all, they are bright, articulate and willing to give of themselves. I am very PROUD to be a Blackhawk fan right now!!

  42. Joey Zamboni says:

    We are forgetting that the Hawks outplayed the Caps for most of the game. A couple of defensive lapses & some questionable penalties (Sharps goalie interference where he was pushed into the goalie??), Caps goalie standing on his head, and this game would not have been close.

    This team looks scary good, but there will still be some growing pains, some of the new kids need to adjust to the “speed” & “intensity” of the NHL game, but that will come with time & we need to be patient.

    Is it me or would the shot to the mouth 19 took in the 3rd have been called if it was Sidney Crosby taking it….? I know 19 is a big boy & can take care of himself, but he sure seems to take a lot of extra abuse thats not called.

  43. BigsmokeJ says:

    I think it’s laughable to say that Morin, Pirri, Smith, Hayes have no place on the team. And I don’t recall other then maybe Sr Brad stating that any of these guys were going to be top 6 players.
    Having said that I think on the Hawks bottom 6 they can be very good players and those are the only spots that need to be filled, other then 2C, which is being saved for TT.

  44. ebonyraptor says:

    Currently the Hawks have six top-6 forwards, (3) LWs (10/29/20), (1) C (19), and (2) RWs (88/81). There is only one other sure fire top-6 forward in the pipeline – Teravainen. But there really doesn’t need to be more than one top-6’er in the pipeline for the foreseeable future (4-5 years) because even if Hossa retires, Teravainen will be added to the currect roster and one of 29/20/10 can play RW. So even though the prospect pool has only one top-6 guy, it has enough bottom-6 guys to ensure the Hawks continue to have enough quality depth to have four effective forward lines.

    But for this season, or at least the early stages of this season, the top quality bottom-6 guys are not ready and may not be ready for another year or two. So the Hawks have to do the best they can filling out the bottom-6 with flawed players. That’s not to say those players can’t provide quality – just that they need to be used in such a way that their assets help while their deficiencies are mitigated as best as possible.

    At some point I would like to see the 3rd line be Saad-Shaw-Bickell. I think that line would be a bum slayer par excellence. To repalce Bickell on the 1st line – I would use Morin who would be a good shooter and add some grit. I’d swap Kane and Hossa so the 1st line would have 2 defensive stalwarts to cover for any defensive deficiencies that Morin has. So a top-9 of:

    Morin-Toews-Hossa
    Sharp-Handzus-Kane
    Saad-Shaw-Bickell

  45. Peter says:

    Shaw might work his way to 2C soon. When he was caught 1 vs. 3 waiting on the rest of the forwards to make a change and still came up with the puck, it was pretty unbelievable. Shaw seems to setup players for success. He hits, runs the cycle well, and when in doubt centers the puck in front of the opponents net. I like watching him play.

  46. Morrison says:

    A line of 29-65-20 would be nasty, that much better than the 3rd line w25… but we wont have that kind of luxury until T is here.

    If Shawzer with 10, 81. Be interesting to see what else 20 & 26 can do…

    Shooter looks like hes on a war path. I like it.

  47. Morrison says:

    Looks like 16 will be in for 26 maintenance days this season…

  48. Mike says:

    I too would like to see Shaw take 15 or so consecutive shifts on the second line in a game early this season. I love Zues and what he brings night after night, but this is an 82 game season. The Hawks need to settle on 2C to step in for maybe 30-35 games. But, he’s got win 50% of in zone faceoffs.

  49. Sr. Brad says:

    Excellent comments across the board, and some strong opinions, which is what this board is all about…as to Pirri and Morin, they are only starting the year in Rockford…a lot may change within the next 8 weeks…as to why they are starting in Rockford, and why Stanton is gone, relates directly to Q…he believes in tried and true players, who are consistent and versatile, so in that regard, even at 160 pounds, Nordstrom is something of a “throwback”…which is why he made the team…solid defensively, can skate well, is very smart, plays consistently smart (i.e. Kruger), plays a physical game and is a sold fit on the PK…Morin and Pirri are NOT these things…it doesn’t make them useless or career Rockford fodder…both WILL be in the NHL long term with or without the Blackhawks…we just happen to have, as Tab put it so well, an incredibly deep TEAM and a very deep system…Wall, whom I love, thinks our prospects are a little over rated…but doesn’t consider that Nordstrom is a starter in his first chance with the bigs…Saad is a legit Top 6 forward playing on our 3rd line, leading the league in scoring…TT will be our 2nd line Centre when he returns to the show later this season…that Pirri and others can’t get a look because TWO 5th round picks are jamming up our Centre position for years to come…that Garret Ross looked good enough in pre season to break camp with the Hawks…that Hayes, Smith, Nordstrom, Morin and Pirri are fighting over 2 positions on a team that has won 2 SCs in 4 years…that Adam Clendening is the SAFEST bet to become an NHL All Star in the AHL and can’t make this roster…that Ryan Stanton, who looked good, was cut…

    The fact is this team is incredibly deep as is the organization (see Danault, a sure Top 6 Centre, McNeil, Johns, etc), and those who are fighting for the table scraps are going to have to prove it night after night if they wish to get ice time…which bodes very, very well for the defending Cup champions…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>