Crawford, Hawks Top Preds In OT

The 2017 postseason ended in ugly fashion at the hands of the Nashville Predators.

In the first meeting of the 2017-18 regular season between the division rivals, the Hawks were looking for a little payback.

But over the first 54 minutes of action, it felt a lot like April at the United Center.

After 40 minutes, Nashville had a 1-0 lead after putting 30 shots on Corey Crawford. Filip Forsberg scored a power play goal at 18:16 to give the Predators that lead, but the story was Crawford. He stood on his head and kept his team in the game while a parade to the penalty box cost Chicago opportunities.

Brent Seabrook went to the box to give Nashville their fifth power play of the night only 24 seconds into the third but Chicago survived. That was the final advantage the visitors would get in the game; the Hawks killed four of five on the night.

The Blackhawks would get two power plays in the third and were able to generate enough momentum to finally beat Pekka Rinne. Patrick Sharp connected at 14:24 into the third to tie the game at one.

John Hayden and Cody Franson – skating in place of Connor Murphy – picked up the assists on the Sharp goal.

Chicago out-shot Nashville 12-8 in the third period and were able to salvage a point in regulation. The final regulation shot totals showed a 38-31 Nashville advantage, but Crawford continued to stand strong.

Nashville wouldn”t get a shot on net in three minutes of overtime. The Blackhawks got a few on Rinne in the extra hockey, and the other returning veteran who was missing in April came up big with the game-winner.

Brandon Saad’s sixth in as many games came with helpers from Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith.

Jonathan Toews failed to record a point but dominated at the dot. Chicago’s captain won 19 of 27 faceoffs as the Blackhawks were without Nick Schmaltz again. Artem Anisimov won seven of 13, Ryan Hartman won four of eight, Tanner Kero won five of eight and Tommy Wingels won three of five as Chicago had a good night at the dot.

Hayden finished the night tied with Lance Bouma for the team lead with three hits, adding an assist and one takeaway. Jan Rutta led Chicago with four blocked shots in 18:54 as he continues to impress nightly.

Crawford was rightfully named the game’s first star; he has now allowed one goal in four of his five starts. He is now 4-1-0 with a .960 save percentage and 1.39 goals against average to start the season.

69 thoughts on “Crawford, Hawks Top Preds In OT

  1. Winning makes everything in life good. Got threw that tuff 4in6 days stretch well against top teams with 4 wins and a tie.

  2. Is Connor Murphy having issues? I know it’s early in the season, it just seems like the kid isn’t playing much. I’ve only been able to listen to the games, so I’m looking for feedback. Thanks.

  3. Healthy scratch 2 of 6 games. I don’t think he’s really struggled terribly. But I think they made a guarantee to Franson he’d play and I don’t think they expected Rutta to be as good as he’s been.

  4. Given last april’s ambush in cup round one, this was a big emotional mental psychological & physical win. Both teams knew this was a key game to set the tone for the season & more importantly the second season come April.

    Hats off to the Bowman’s for the retool to a younger faster team with the iron will to win. Hats off to coaches for more net front presence & hats off to the team which could give us more bliss if they stay healthy & on plan. Hats off to crow whom I admit to have underestimated for years.

    Once again since 2010, I’m glad & grateful to be a hawks fan!

  5. The Hawks still had trouble handling the puck. It seemed more times than not that one of the two Hawks in a pass play had trouble – either the passer didn’t pass well or the receiver didn’t catch and control well. They were fumbling and bobbling the puck all over the ice. Kero will have nightmares about the scoring chances he fumbled away.

    The PP has once again turned into clown shoes.

    But, on a more positive note – the d-men didn’t have any back breaking bonehead turnovers tonight and the team defense in general was better even if the shots against total didn’t reflect that.

    And the most positive note – Crawford! Wow, has he been great.

  6. Yes Murphy should play, if for no other reason than we gave up Hammer to get him so he better end up being worth it, or at least close. But, I thought Franson has been OK in the two games he’s played and his keep in tonight led to Sharp’s goal which led to 2 points in the standings, so … I prefer to think of it as Franson is proving to be an adequate 6/7 guy which is actually good news.

  7. I’m still mad about last years playoff no show disaster. Right now Nashville is definitely better than the Hawks. I wont get sucked into this regular season nonsense like last year. The team really cant be judged until the playoffs and they were absolutely horrendous in last years playoffs.

  8. Great game by Rutta again and Crawford showing he’s one of the best in the league today. Franson in the lineup may be to try to give 2nd PP unit spark as much it had to do with Murphy. I expect Murphy to be back in Wed against blues.Murphy had no blocked shots against the Wild again Thurs not sure that may not be helping his case.

  9. You would if they are going try to get Oesterle thru waivers as reported first of the week it would hapoen before thursday and callup Hino to have his speed available for the Oilers game.

  10. Pete- True dat…. This game was a perfect example of last year’s Fool’s Gold Start…
    Hawks win… but really got out played/outshot/out possessed.

    Of course, great to win… but that was ugly…

    which brings me to the crazy idea – to skate 19/88 together…
    and possibly have 2 good lines versus 1 great line and three non-effective ones (which is what Hawks had last year)… and what they have with Schmaltz out now… Hartman and Kane have not been effective since 8 has been out!!!

    Q- did finally tweak the lines in 3rd… which led to the goal- and a decent shift w/ Dcat/38/88 prior to the goal.

    Good news- Schmaltz coming back soon– really hope he stays healthy
    Good news- Hawks have younger/faster/hungrier guys in Rock,,, that may eventually replace the Guys- who can’t play/score… Bouma/Wingels/Kero…
    Good news- SB still has some $$$ to spend

    Bad news-
    AA- looks lost- only looked good w/ 72/88… AA- just ain’t doing much for me this year.
    Kero- hard working/smart… just not enough talent to make difference
    Bouma- will be out of league -in 3 years or less
    Sopelbrook

  11. Crawford….Crawford ….Crawford …really really cheap at 6 millions ..and Saad is a lot better player then Panarin ( i love the breadman ) two way player and always putting pressure …always in front of the net ….a Real good power Forward ….good move by the Hawks to get him back …he will probably be around 40 goals this year
    Another Strong game by Ruta …hope he will stay with the Hawks fir many years

  12. Rutta- has been great… Maybe best D man overall so far?

    Stats- I read on another blog…
    Hawk’s D are near the worst/NHL- in D give-aways…
    Seabs and Keith and Kempny lead w/ 9 each in 5 games…
    Forsling 4 or 5
    Rutta- 3 or 4

    Murphy- at bottom in Minutes played ( Daley??)

    Highmore 2g’s last nite
    Kampf/Highmore looked great- according to someone who attended game…

    Kampf- imo- Makes AA completely expendable… cheaper/younger/faster version…
    SB- should look to package AA w/ ??? and get Big asset or $$$ space in return.

  13. We certainly have more depth than the last two years. Wingles has surprised me and Hayden is looking like he belongs.

    Toews is moving much better and it isn’t just because of 20. Perhaps 20, rebound in confidence and a good off season all working together. Hopefully he can keep it up for the full season.

    The D look ok to me but certainly not as strong as some teams in the top 4. I’m really hoping Murhpy turns out well but it’s not looking great at this early stage of the season. I think any sustained offense out of 2 and 7 is a thing of the past which means the PP will struggle all year long.

    Q is getting the most out of the horses he has right now. A solid playoff team with just a couple holes.

  14. Wall that is likely the most misleading stat in the nhl. Players with most giveaways are dmen who logged the most icetime such as Karlsson,Burns etc. The stat takes no consideration of toi , situational play , quality of opposition or anything relevant. Just alot of nothing numbers.for the most part.

  15. You’re trading low on AA which also means you’re not getting a big asset. The asset would only be space. And space means nothing in the regular season.

    I said this summer you should think about trading him…if you thought Schmaltz was the answer at 2c. The jury is still out on Schmaltz. He looked great in a 10-1 thumping, but who didnt. Then had 2 shifts…totaling 34 seconds since. Centers are like defenseman. Can never have too many. Despite his lackluster start, he’s still 54%at the dot.

    Wall, you rag on Toews for needing others to be good. But look at Kane. His possession numbers have been pathetic. So was he being drug around the ice by the last 2 years? I never thought Hartman was a good fit despite the first two games. But maybe Schmaltz really is the catalyst in that group. Even if those 3 light it up on the score sheet, ultimately it will be how Schmaltz does at the dot that will determine if that line can stick together long term. He did ok in preseason. But has gone 4 for 8 in 1 game. If he’s much below 45%, a change would probably be made. Whether that’s Hartman taking draws or AA and moving Schmaltz to wing.

    They’ve played 2 games in Rockford. Far too early to say Kampf or Dauphin (whose only point was an empty net assist. )Can be the answer at a center position.

    With all that uncertainty, AA is still a known commodity. Even if the return may be diminishing. That’s a move done in the offseason. When you probably won’t have overage. Unless you’re getting Duchene, and they’re not. AA is here until at least then. No overage. And no 4.55 if you trade him and you have 8mil. And now I’m salivating thinking about Tavares.

  16. @Wall …. I’m sure not going to join the Wall bashers, but I have to respectfully disagree with some comments you made re; Bouma, Wingels, Kero.
    Not every guy on the team is going to be a scorer. Those three were really good in last night’s game in my opinion. They laid down some big hits and played some strong defense. They had some grit, which has been lacking. Bouma and Wingels are primarily fourth line guys who have been giving energy and smacking people around as well as showing hustle to the boards, chasing down pucks. You HAVE to have role players on a team. Last year’s team had plenty of 20 goal scorers but no real grit and physicality. These guys are getting after it. I’ve liked what they provide. I don’t see them as the “bad” of this season. I see them as an improvement.

  17. The Hawks have had a patchwork lineup since Schmaltz went out. Kane has not played up to his standards since then, at least not consistently. Certainly Kane isn’t dependent on Schmaltz being his centerman to play great, but Kane can’t do it himself against smothering defenses like the Wild and Preds – he needs line mates who can play at a level sufficient to make a difference. Kero at center and the combination of Anisimov and Hartman do not. DCat-Hartman-Kane looked better than anything else we’ve seen since Schmaltz went down, albeit a very small sample size, not to mention very small physically. I think there is some validity to the thought that Anisimov could still be effective as Kane’s center providing the LW is the right fit and they spend enough time together to gel – so I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom, but missing Schmaltz has revealed a definite shortcoming.

  18. MIN was about even and NAS played better then we did, but both games were tied throughout score wise until ref/instant replay gave other team their leads. Not blaming refs but is where they got their goal from to be up 1 goal.

    Hook/or hold on Paniks arm and pull him down to ice, I gues there was a bearhug on 19, and then the 7 man on the ice w/puck which is too many man on the ice. Those two penaltys refs didnt call, then right after those the very first one we do is called and of course that is where they got up 1 goal from. Bullshit.

    We can be in games/tied throughout when other team plays better that bolds well.

    Cannot emphasis enough how much a diff it makes when were playing back to back/3in4/4in6. Look at PIT and CLB on just back to back against us.

    We had 8 in those games, we didnt in these 4in6. Trickle down effect, in which I to me is the lather effect.

    When we have 8 our lines are more balanced and the time the rookie got getting to know linemates better in these games and more to come will help chemistry 12/10.

    Even if those teams are better right now. We have more guys in their 1st and 2nd yrs that are going to get better throughout 82 game season and thats the roster/team we will have for playoffs, not what we see now against teams like TOR and NAS. TOR has a lot of upside as we do, well until they have to salary cap them. NAS is more a finnished product and their are good.

    Donot ever underestimate the upside of our 1st and 2nd yr players to get better then they are, right now, which makes us a very dangerous team by playoff games. Regular 82 season can be misleading, but we know we have a diff team/roster this yr and the upside of another wave of good young fast players,

    Also were going to add a good Defenseman at some point and maybe a faceoff fw. So, right now,, were not as good as were going to be come playoff time.

    We going to celebrate this win for a day, then keep persevering.

  19. Ernie, since you and Ian recognized that were going to have 8-12m in cap space, depending on what we do with caphits/Hoss ltir/retire stuff. I think that 91 guy could be a good fit for our team for the future yrs.

  20. First of all, I want to be clear-Saad is my guy. Was pissed at Bowman for trading him so he could afford to pay Seabrook. Perhaps the most shortsided move ever made by SB. Love having Saad back.

    That said, Panarin is a special player. I live in MN now so I saw a lot of the Bluejackets-Wild game. He is the Patrick Kane of that team. Look at the winning goal from last night. Panarin weaves through the entire defense to set-up the winner. Yes, he is not the two-way player that Saad is but his skating, stick-handling and vision is rare.

  21. I wouldn’t go by anything faceoff number wise yet, since the rule decision makers are focusing on that shit. Think certain center are going to be better or worse then they always have been without the cheating, once the faceoff settles in.

    Which makes me think Bowman might have this in not getting, a faceoff guy, during summer until later. Without the cheating, getting away with penaltys regularly, faceoff numbers could be way diff for every center then they have been for yrs/careers depending on who got away with what/how much.

  22. Gold-rug… glad u mentioned that pass…

    Late in game on Hawk PP… Toews had puck in similar play with Kane left all alone in front of Pekka… NO Preds within 35 feet… they were all caught up high chasing…
    Toews had the chance to Pass it thru skates of D man with Kane ALL alone…
    didn’t try. Yes it is a low % pass… but One he should have tried with his skill and considering situation… Toews didn’t… I replayed it a few times… He had room- just like Kane did… furthermore, Kane was sitting there – while Saad was moving…
    So Kane’s pass way harder.

    But Ya gotta try that on PP when losing and Preds are chasing/aggressive

  23. Rutta had the 2nd worst SF% at 25%. Only one worse was Wingels.

    Predators blocked a lot of shots. Anyone know where a good source for total shot attempts by game is? Like the charts Tab had last year. NHL advanced stats are still really lacking.

  24. Mo right now the blackhawks have 67.4m committed to 15 players next year. 2goalies so ok there. 5D with 6 maybe and 44 ufas that need to be resigned and 11 an ufa too but may not be back. No rfa dmen on roster 8 fwds including Hossa with 38 and 40 rfas definetely want back and 10, 17, and 57 ufas who knows there.
    To sign 91 would require 10m cap space before ltir of Hossa again. AA nmc is only partial after july 1st so at least that move needed.
    Agree faceoff rental ar deadline be likely if it happens. Goldenrug that was a beauty of a setup by Kane, but Saad has sense of where be and is fearless doing it.

  25. Wall getting on someone for not attempting an admitted low percentage pass. Yet if he were to make that pass and gets caught up in skates he’s the first one to get on him for making a dumb pass and turning the puck over.

  26. Everyone thought you’d need 10 to sign Stammer and he took less. Why? He was already in a good situation. Tavares isn’t. It might be tough for Toronto to make that play for the big guy again when they have so many guys that need big deals.

    The one thing that might help is trade Hossa. Having already been through the approval process for LTIR, his condition isn’t a normal injury. That means he can be placed there without issue again. The only team right now I can foresee taking on a dead deal like Hossa’s would be New Jersey.

    Something else to think about. We’ve seen Hossa a few times in the press box. He’s around the team. So….there’s no salary cap in playoffs. His condition takes a few weeks before it gets bad. Could he in theory suit up in the playoffs? And would the Hawks be that Ballsy? It’d probably infuriate the league.

  27. That is funny. We deserve that, 81 in playoffs, because of how they screw us on calls/replays. Over the season it evens out? 81 in playoffs.

  28. Doubt very much we will see Hossa in the postseason. He willno opportunity to get in game shape as on ltir until season ends and if he did Blackhawks would almost certainly lose any ltir option for rest of his contract. Trading would definitely be a big advantage but not alot of teams need extra cap right now. Hurricanes have room but iwuth no worries about getting to floor a longshot. Arizona still has Bolland this year and next but might be interested but what woukd it take. Vegas with only 36m on the book.s next year might be best option if they were inrerested. Hope ut happebs though.

  29. We won’t see 81. Was just an interesting thought.

    Arizona has Domi coming up.

    New jersey drops Ryane Clowe and his 4.85 deal with only 38m on the books and 16 players signed for next year.

  30. Ernie cap friendly shows Devils with almost 54.2 m on books for next year without Clowe’s contract and only 16 of 23 roster spots filled so cap floor won’t be an issue for them. They have a real good looking young team and strong chance they’ll adding to it.

  31. My bad. Got my columns mixed up apparently.

    If Vegas is willing to take on a deal, it will have to be worth there while. They’ll have other teams looking to do the same.

  32. Reg there is no doubt Panarin is a special player and talent however those highlight reel goals are regular season and 3 on 3 OT stuff which doesn’t happen in the playoffs. The kinds of goals Saad and Toews are scoring are the go hard to the net front presence type which translates well to playoffs. Last couple of years relied on too much perimeter work looking for the perfect pass and one timers.

  33. I don’t think it matters if you think Panarin is a better player than Saad or visa versa because what matters is how each player help their team win. The calculation for Stan was Saad with Toews or Panarin with Kane and he thought Adding Saad to the Toews line would help more than subtracting Panarin from Kane would hurt. The proof will be the results on the ice and so far the results are good. Maybe the same could be said about Panarin and Columbus.

  34. was there an explanation for the non offside ruling in the minn game since he was deffenitely offside why have replays if they are not upheld

  35. For me, having Saad with Toews is so much better for us than Panarin with Kane. Nothing against Bread Man because I love watching his razzle dazzle style of play. He’s a special player. But as many have said, you need two-way players in this league, especially come playoff time, and Saad is that guy, and he’s just as valuable to us as McDavid is to the Oilers. I’m not comparing abilities between the two, I just really think he’s that important to our team, especially in this post-Hossa time.
    Kudos to Rutta. I did not expect him to be as good as he has been, but it’s great to see. And Forsling looks good to me. I hope he gets a chance to continue to grow.
    Crow saved our ass last night. Stick tap to him!

  36. …..Sharp is a heart and soul Stanley cup champion core player ….and Saad a budding superstar ….two players that probably should have never been traded….hopefully our first round exits the past two years will never happen again….at least Bowman realized his mistakes….best group of young players since 2010 with big muscular physical players like Hayden,Murphy…..and a cute little speedster Debrincat and a few other returning youngsters….I have a feeling the Hawks will surprise many and overachieve this season….will definitely be best in the West!…,

  37. Crawford playing like a 6 Million Dollar goalie. Kudos to him. Lots of cries is the off season to get rid of him and keep Darling for less.

    If the Hawks are going to play North/South hockey and push the pace instead of east/west puck possession, there are going to be far more odd man chances coming back. We need a goalie that can handle 35 to 40 shots a night. Crawford has been fabulous.

    Absolutely love Ruuta’s first 6 games in the NHL. Based on Qs ice time and assessment, he is the #3 defenseman.
    Kempny is playing much much better now that he knows he is playing and won’t be punished for a turnover here and there.

    Call me crazy but I think Franson has been good in the games he has played. I like his length plus reach on the back end.

  38. Sharp looking good. Seems looking to pass more than shoot…different from when we last saw him. Still a solid two way player with some fierceness I like.

  39. Don’t call Debrincat a speedster. But his skating hasn’t been an issue like a lot thought.

    Forsling, Debrincat, Schmaltz, Hayden, Hartman. With Snuggerud, Kampf, Fortin looking like they’ll also be NHL caliber players.

  40. No need for the crazy talk Craig. Franson has been solid. If he’s 6/7 you’re fairly deep on D. Funny, he’s slower than Seabrook and nobody brings that up.

  41. Really like the way Hayden hustles on every shift. Obviously his punch on Foligno caused the league to take notice of him. But some guys would shy away from contact after that, fearing they had hurt somebody. But Hayden really played well on Saturday night.

  42. I have always liked Hayden. He just keeps going and going. Energizer bunny. Team game player.

    That long fellow Rutta guy.

    A nice wave of good players. Going to be fun for the coming yrs.

  43. Hayden is a keeper; Bowman does a nice job identifying talent from a drafting and overseas signings standpoint. His issues arise when he gets fixated on players like Bouma, Bollig etc… overpaying Kruger like he did. He has done a nice job eventually disposing of players like this, and even obtaining assets for them.

    Bouma is the 6th highest paid forward on the Hawks,

  44. Nothing against Hayes brothers, but Hayden is what we thought Hayes, the bigger one, would be like.

    Hayden has what the Greeks call thrausos.

  45. At a million bucks. Considering minimum is 650k I wouldnt necessarily call it an overpay. He has a role and is better than Tootoo, Mashinter, and Bollig at that role. The line of Hayden, Bouma, and Wingels has been a wrecking crew. Something a lot thought had been missing since Byfuglien, Brouwer, and Ladd.

    The only reason he’s the 6th highest paid….you have 4 forwards on an ELC where the max is 925. You have another in Sharp that with bonuses makes the same and he took a discount. Kero and Wingels are making 100k above minimum. You could argue Bouma has had a bigger impact than those 2 in the games they’ve played. Combined the 3 have 2 points.

    As critical as a lot were of Wingels. He could play a critical role on this team. Skates well. Physical. Penalty killer. When Schmaltz comes back who takes a seat? Kero, Wingels, or Bouma? Its not that easy of a question. Kero is currently above 50% at the dot. Wingels is 29%

  46. There are numerous forwards in Rockford that would serve a more useful purpose than Bouma. If they keep winning he s not going anywhere. I will concede he is better than Bollig & Mashinter, but that’s not anything to be boastful about.

    The long-term concern is Q’s infatuation with him turns into
    Bollig 2014 — namely Bollig played all 82 games and was abysmal in the playoffs, leading to as we all recall what transpired , i e Ben Smith was double shifting at times against the Kings.

  47. I agree Iceman. Right now it’s a non issue. But really having Hinostroza up to play 4th line duty, that doesn’t suit him. Right now the only other guy you can maybe make an argument who could play 4th line wing is maybe Dauphin. Fortin, Knott, and Highmore need professional games. Kampf needs games on small ice. Jurco…not his game.

  48. The makeup of the 4th line comes down to how Q wants to use it. Putting middle-6 players like Hinostroza on the 4th line doesn’t improve the 4th line for the way Q wants to use his 4th line. Hayden and Hartman are the only guys that could play middle-6 and still provide the type of 4th line play Q wants. There is no doubt there are better offensively gifted players at Rockford than Bouma, Wingels and Kero but none of them provide the rugged play Q wants for his 4th line. So we can pine for Hino, Kampf and others but unless Q changes his mind on the kind of 4th line he wants it isn’t going to happen.

  49. Kero and Wingels log alot of pk minutes as does Hayden which you need on your roster but a steady diet of Bouma is debateable.

  50. Ogie & Ebony you are both correct in your assessments. Maybe Bouma can have an awakening and turn into Shaw on training wheels. Kero is no worse than Kruger was lately (better ‘O’, worse on faceoffs), and Hayden is spoken for he is solid as a rock.

  51. Kruger has only taken 16 faceoffs this year and is 8 and 8. Last 2 years he has been 49.1 and 49.2.

    Kero last year was 44.4%, this year he’s at 51%.

    Small sample size, but the drop off at the dot is minor at best.

  52. I’m not saying I agree with the type of 4th line Q wants – only that Q prefers Bouma/Wingels/Kero over Hino/Kampf/any other Icehog. I see his point that he wants those because they bring grit and toughness and that’s what the Hawks were lacking against the Preds in the playoffs. But Hino’s speed would provide more of a disruption on the forecheck and more offensive chances. So I can see both schools of thought but it doesn’t matter what any of us think – it matters only what Q thinks and it’s Bouma, Wingels and Kero.

  53. I guess it all comes down to finding the right balance and chemistry in your lineup. Flash and finesse makes for good watching but you have teams that you’ll be vulnerable against. Kero has done a good job at center on 4th but lack of scoring touch hurts the team when moved up. Be interested to see if he can keep his fo% up now he is back to facing other teams top centers again. Wingels has performed good, faster than i thought but again no offence. Hayden playing like he is on a mission gonna be good player for long time. One thing that could be interesting is where Sikura fits if he signs after his college season ends as hoped.

  54. If line 4 is Kero, Wingels, and Hayden…you have guys that can skate. Heavy on the forecheck (something that has been missing in years past). And aren’t afraid to go up against a teams top line as they all kill penalties.

    The Hawks don’t have a conventional checking line. 10-15-12 for a 3rd line. The 4th line isnt just guys that eat up a few minutes. They’re not just enforcers. They play meaningful minutes. And if they’re playing against the top line, you’re not worried. The forecheck has been on of the things the Hawks just haven’t done. But when that 4th line starts finishing o-zone checks and makes the opponent’s hurry just a little. Thinks happen. 38 does that too. But having a whole line like that makes it noticeable, and effective.

  55. Can we please let Kampf play a few games in Rockford to see if he can have success in the AHL. He played like 4 exhibition games against mostly AHL level players yet some believe he is already far superior to the guys Q is sending out on the 4th line. I hope he becomes a star but he needs to show me he can handle the AHL before he deserves a promotion. I liked the work of the 4th line against the Preds. Very physical with one great shift in the 3rd that generated a nice chance. I love Hayden’s approach to the game. He is giving it all every shift. I thought I read that he came into camp in phenomenal shape and was one of the top guys in the fitness testing. Would love to know who else did well in the fitness testing – does anyone have any info on that?

  56. Very interesting read in The Athletic by Scott Powers on Connor Murphy being a healthy scratch twice. He seems to infer that since Murphy is not Nik H. And Q loved Nik H, Q is just not going to play him all that much. The column goes on to say that Bowman is not going to just accept this and move Murphy like he did Trevor Daley, saying those days are done.

    Wired but Q seems to like all of Stan’s off season acquisitions except this particular one.

  57. True, Q loved Nik and so did all his teammates. Obviously, Bowman acted alone along with Pierre Gauthier and traded Nik without consulting Q. Like he fired Kitchen without telling Q, his best friend.

    Murphy is simply not great defenseman, certainly not a top three like Nik was. It will haunt the team the entire year and force Q to overplay Seabs and Keith. Trade Murphy to the Knights for Theodore!!! Or find a potential Dman who shoots left or right.

    Kane will be happy to see Nick Schmaltz back!!!

  58. Holy shit! Totti put a name on the Shea Theodore crap.

    You’re dumber than you think Bowman and Gauthier are if you think Vegas would do anything but shit their pants laughing at the idea of a Murphy for Theodore trade.

    Find another proposal. You’ve thoroughly beat this one to death. And GMGM squashed that idea months before you had it. Also, Theodore is a left shot. Murphy right.

  59. Quenneville on Murphy: “I don’t want him to change his game at all. Actually, his game’s been fine.”

    The guys wearing an “A” aren’t going to be scratched. The guy playing the best on the right side won’t be scratched. The only reason Murphy has been the odd man out is because of the unexpected play of Rutta. Before camp many thought Rutta could start in Rockford. I don’t think Q is so stubborn he’s holding a player to another players standards. We complain when Stan holds on to guys and gives them deals after we’ve deemed a players usefulness expired. Yet he gets criticized when he gets rid of a player for a younger player a year too soon because of nostalgia?

    Murphy played 3 games with a new team. Everyone sucked in the 3rd game. Ditto the next game he played. The one thing I like about Murphy is he’s more physical than Hjalmarsson. Give him time. Let it mellow.

  60. Thats why I brought up one 5, 7 or 44 playing left side for top 2 pairs Ogie so they woild be able to get Franson lineup if that waz warranted.

  61. Just to add a little more love to Hayden ……. watch when he dumps the puck or bounces one off the boards into the offensive zone, and then races up to get even with the attacker going after the puck and sort of “swim moves” on the guy to get ahead of him so that they can battle after the puck when they get to it. That’s pure hustle and you see him do that a lot. Really love seeing that type of effort. He looks a little awkward because he’s almost lost his footing a few times when he gets tied up with the opponent on the way to the puck. But it’s effective and that’s what counts. You know the coaches and his teammates have to eat that stuff up.

  62. But you can see why Q would prefer to keep his right shots on the right side. Anyone remember Suter’s comments when he was asked to play his off hand side? Some guys just aren’t comfortable doing it. And when your players aren’t comfortable, bad things happen. Try eating with a fork in your left hand, Feels awkward and unnatural if you’re right handed.

  63. Is it just me or does Hayden look like he is going to fall over on his skates like a new person to skating?
    Oh, and could some one tighten his helmet when he isn’t looking? It looks like it is going to fall off every time he hits someone.

  64. If #8 has any further issues, I would prefer to bring up Vinnie, put him on the 2nd like with Kane and Anisimov as a poor mans Panarin. The move Hartman to the 4th line to replace Bouma.

    It is not optimal, but it would work better with AA’s skill set.

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