With only Monday night’s game left on the October schedule, the first month is (almost) in the books. Let’s look back at the month and, in the spirit of Halloween, consider the tricks and treats so far for the Hawks.
Dave Bolland: Treat
He has missed one of the season’s first ten games, but Bolland has been outstanding. He’s tied for the team lead with five goals, is plus-three, and is winning almost 50 percent of his faceoffs (86 of 175). His two short-handed goals lead the NHL.
Marian Hossa: Treat
Hossa shares the team lead with Bolland with five goals on the season, and has looked fully healthy. He has seven points in nine games played entering Monday, and has registered a point in six of those nine games. Already in October, Hossa has a short-handed goal and one on the power play.
John Scott & Rostislav Olesz: Tricks
Both are wasted contracts and roster spots. Olesz was acquired in the salary dumping trade that sent Brian Campbell to Florida, while Scott signed a two-year deal after the Cup cost-cutting ended a year ago. There are five Blackhawks with a negative plus-minus rating, and two of them are Scott and Olesz.
Nick Leddy: Treat
Leddy has really been the revelation early in this season. He has appeared to adequately replace Brian Campbell in the lineup and has six points – the same total as Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith – through the first ten games. He is also plus-four, which is tied with Keith and Patrick Sharp for second on the team behind Dan Carcillo. The Cam Barker trade with Minnesota looks better with every shift.
Patrick Kane: Treat
A lot of people wondered if he would get off to a decent start after having wrist surgery late in the summer, and more questions were raised when the team announced he was moving to center on the team’s second line. But Kane has answered every one of those questions with an emphatic October that has seen him score two goals and add six assists while winning over 52 percent of his faceoffs.
Power Play: Trick
The word “fugly” comes to mind. Through ten games, the Blackhawks ranks 27th in the NHL, converting 0nly 10.5 percent of their opportunities with a man advantage. Four goals in 38 chances is a bad number when you have the amount of talent the Hawks do on the roster. This has to improve in November.
Penalty Kill: Treat
Consider this simple reality: Bolland has as many short-handed goals, two, as Blackhawks opponents have against Chicago’s penalty killers. The Hawks have the top-rated PK unit in the NHL, slaying 93.9 percent. This unit has been as dominant as the best the 2009-10 team had to offer.
The Standings: Treat
Just look at them. The Blackhawks are in first place, and have secured 10 of 12 possible points at the United Center (through Saturday).