Blackhawks Go Wild, Streak Continues

On the night the Chicago Blackhawks honored Marian Hossa’s 1,000th career game, the team extended the NHL’s best start with an electrifying first period.

The game didn’t start incredibly well for the Hawks. Players on both teams appeared to struggle handling the puck (and staying on their feet), and the Wild were the first team on the scoreboard.

But, as they have done all year, the Blackhawks responded. This time, the 11 minutes that followed Devin Setoguchi’s goal made many fans in attendance think the Hawks had allowed the Wild to score out of sympathy.

First, it was Brandon Saad tying the game. At 13:02, Saad put back a rebound for his fourth goal of the season. This was only the beginning of an eventful few minutes for the Blackhawks’ rookie forward.

It took only 44 seconds for the Hawks to take the lead, as Bryan Bickell arrived with authority. Just over three minutes later, Bickell would score his second goal of the night – and fifth of the season – to extend the Chicago lead. Saad was credited with the primary assist on Bickell’s second goal.

Just 93 seconds after Bickell pushed the lead to 3-1, Saad dropped the puck to the man of the night – Marian Hossa – for a pretty goal. The assist gave Saad three points in 5:43 and appeared to put the game away.

In the second period, the Blackhawks handled their business. Through the first 40 minutes, the Hawks held a 28-10 shot advantage and had successfully maintained their 4-1 lead.

However, the third period was a different story. Minnesota outshot the Hawks 13-4 in the final period, and the Wild got as close as a 4-3 score at 10:32 in the third. But Patrick Kane responded responded 61 seconds later with the final score of the game, extending the Hawks lead to 5-3.

Saad not only had a big first period in the box score, but received a strong vote of confidence from coach Joel Quenneville before the scoring began. When Dave Bolland was sent to the penalty box 1:46 into the game, Saad replaced Michael Frolik (who was out sick) with Marcus Kruger on the team’s top penalty kill unit.

It was a good night for the Blackhawks’ centers as well.

Chicago had a strong night in the faceoff circle as well. Bolland won only eight of 18 draws, but Jonathan Toews, Andrew Shaw and Kruger each won more than half of their faceoffs. In fact, the only flaw in Saad’s performance on Tuesday night was him losing all three of his faceoffs. But as a team, the Blackhawks won 32 of 61 faceoffs in the game.

Quietly, Toews had an enormous game. He won nine of 14 faceoffs and was credited with four takeaways and four hits. Also, Toews was one of seven different Blackhawks to be credited with an assist in the game; the Hawks captain had two helpers on the night.

Meanwhile, Shaw led the Blackhawks with five hits and won eight of 13 faceoffs. Bolland, Shaw, Kruger, Viktor Stalberg, Patrick Sharp and Niklas Hjalmarsson were also credited with assists in the game.

When the dust settled, Corey Crawford had allowed three goals against 23 shots to earn his tenth victory of the season.

Daniel Carcillo and Brandon Bollig skated nine shifts each, but each still managed to be minus-one for the night. They combined to skate 10:35 against the Wild on Tuesday.

The Hawks won’t have to wait long to get another chance to extend their record-setting streak as the Colorado Avalanche visit the United Center on Wednesday night.

23 thoughts on “Blackhawks Go Wild, Streak Continues

  • March 6, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Good summary Tab…and some key points raised…once Frolik is healthy, Bollig must be sent down…he just doesn’t belong on this roster…and Carcillo isn’t getting better right now, he’s getting worse. With Bolly back, we need a healthy Frolik to anchor that 4th line and PK…at this point Q is likely to rotate Carcillo and Mayers in…

    Huge game by Saad, who is getting better and better…the 3rd line was dynamite once again, and Shaw was outstanding…2 goal game by Bickell as well. Crawford did not look the same as he did in Detroit…

    Another great win by the Hawks, who with Bolland in the lineup look very tough to beat.

  • March 6, 2013 at 12:42 am

    It was only a matter of time before the Saad-Toews-Hossa line started putting in the chances they have been getting. Kudos to Q for having patience and leaving Saad on the top line even though he wasn’t getting points and the three of them couldn’t quite connect.

    The 4th line sure is a whole lot less effective without Frolik. Both Carcillo and Bollig didn’t give much tonight.

    It was nice the see all three guys on the 2nd line get a point on Kane’s goal. I’ll bet that hasn’t happened very often this season.

    Stalberg again using his speed to make a play that results in a goal. Man I hope Stan can find a way to resign him.

  • March 6, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Love that 3 lines had timely goals in that game. Each goal came from that extended crease area btw the dots that we want to own come playoff time.

    Saad’s goal was awesome. Toews has net presence. Saad obviously had net presence. And you’ve got another big body in Hossa lurking somewhere. Total chaos for any team to deal with. Those are the kinds of goals that never slump. Keep them coming.

    Go Hawks go.

  • March 6, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Another great win!

    Bickell and Stalberg continue to impress!!! Impress to the point that they are pricing themselves out of the Hawk’s Cap space next year… Kruger is becoming the 3rd man out, but he will be cheaper and Is a RFA- so the Hawks will “control” him better-

    I thought Keith had a very weak game!!! There was one PK where he should have been able to get puck out 3 different times!!! Did not take hit to do it/turned over (which led to goal) – also on ice for another goal or 2! Was on Seabs side of net when Wild had tap in ( on Keith’s vacated side)…

    which leads me to this Crazy/Controversial thought-
    How ready is Clendenning??? How does his speed compare to Keith’s???
    If he is 1 yr. away ready… it might be in Hawks best interest/Cap wise- to move that big contract for future picks/big young forward- and enable them to keep 25-8-16-29

    Next year we could put #8 w/ #7… and Clendenning w/ Rosey…

  • March 6, 2013 at 8:24 am

    wall: Keith has a mediocre night and we’re talking about Leddy jumping into his spot next year? stop it.

    That said, Clendening is going to be goo, and might be ready at some point next year… but I don’t think it would be in October. He’s a valuable asset and the organization has enough depth to take their time and let him develop. They rushed Leddy, partially because he’s got a world of ability and partially because Brian Campbell got hurt a couple years ago during training camp… and, at that point in time, they didn’t have the cap flexibility to make a move (or the organizational depth). Now they have cap space and depth, so why rush anyone?

  • March 6, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Tab, I am just looking for options… the better 25/29 play- the more it hurts the chances of signing both… hell if they keep this pace up ( we might not be able to keep either)… the Hawks have a lot of young prospects- but they are not ready to replace both 25 and 29 together… 25 has irreplaceable speed… 29 has become quite the playmaker… we will see if it lasts.

    Assuming Rusty/Monty chopped- we will have around 10.5 mill
    Leddy – 3 mill
    Kruger- 1.75-2.25m
    Karlson/G- under 1m
    Stalberg- 3.5m… and growing
    Bick- 2.75 and growing every game

    Which leads to Frolik/Bolland would have to be moved-
    I wouldn’t mind seeing TT brought in as 2nd line center- Offensive up grade- but I honestly don’t know if he is ready defensively…

  • March 6, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Wall, TT has been playing LW for Jokerit and it’s highly doubtful he will play center in the NHL next season. He probably needs at least another 2 or 3 years of physical maturation to handle the demands or a top-6 center in the NHL. Besides, timing is everything and the Hawks will need to make decisions on free agent (re)signings before TT has a chance to dazzle enough at training camp to make the roster. I think the odds are he will play in Finland again next year because he won’t turn 19 until September which I believe means he is not eligible to play in the AHL next season.

    For as good as Bickell and Kruger have played this season, I think Stalberg has become the 2nd highest highest priority free agent to resign behind only Leddy. Stalberg’ speed makes him a unique player and that will not be replaceable by anyone on the horizon.

    Keith didn’t have his best game, but I think it’s fair to say that he has played much closer to his Norris year than the last two years and he is still a #1 d-man. If it came down to having to trade Keith in order to free up enough cap space to resign Stalberg – bye bye Veeektor.

  • March 6, 2013 at 9:26 am

    wall: let’s adjust our math a little here…

    Bickell is currently making just under $542k. I would put him conservatively around the numbers you spotted for Kruger ($1.75-2.25M).
    Stalberg is currently making $875k. He has one 20-goal season under his belt. Even Dale Tallon wouldn’t give him $3.5M. I would put him around $2-2.25M.
    Leddy is currently making under $1.2M. Like Stalberg, you’re overestimating his required raise and forgetting he’s restricted. $2.5M max for him.
    Kruger is currently making $900k, and is not (yet) a bona fide 2C. I think you were closer with $1.75M than $2.25M.

    So let’s use these numbers:

    Bickell: $2.00M
    Stalberg: $2.25M
    Kruger: $2.00M
    Leddy: $2.50M

    That’s $9.0M. Karlsson is an unrestricted free agent, so the Blackhawks will need to go get a back-up. That market could be what ultimately determines who stays and who goes… Which is where the future of guys like Frolik and Carcillo come into question. Teams will be looking for affordable guys w/ only one year remaining on their contracts, and those are two names that could be moved around the Draft (and easily replaced from within).

    There’s one other consideration the Hawks need to keep in mind, however, when looking at extending these four guys (especially Bickell and Stalberg). Shaw & Hjalmarsson are free agents in 2014 (Shaw’s restricted). The Clendening situation becomes interesting because of Hjalmarsson’s pending unrestricted free agency, but that’s the beauty of organizational depth. This time around, if Hjalmarsson wants to go lose with the Sharks in San Jose, he can do so and the Hawks can bring the next guy up. That luxury didn’t exist in 2010. As I said before, right now I wouldn’t pencil in Clendening for the Opening Night roster, but wouldn’t be surprised if he was in the rotation at some point during the season.

    Finally, Teravainen is a baby. I wouldn’t expect him to be the team’s 2C in 2013-14… but wouldn’t mind him skating w/ the Hawks once his postseason ends in Europe this year.

  • March 6, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I agree with the numbers Tab put forth…plus, losing Frolik and Carcillo is what is supposed to happen anyways…the Hawks are bursting at the seams with Forward talent in the minors and are waiting to move up…plus, Bolland’s deal is up after next season, he could be moved as well, if needed, and with Shaw, Kruger and the organizational depth (Pirri, Daignault, Smith) at centre, we would be fine without having to bring anyone else in…

    I agree with Tab also that we are finally in a position not to rush anyone along, and we shouldn’t with either Clendening or TT…let them tell us when they are strong enough and ready.

    IMO, there is more than enough money to sign everyone for next year, and allow a couple of prospects to move up to the show, which we should be doing anyways!

  • March 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Final thought on the pending free agents on this team:

    Remember when we were discussing how Troy Brouwer was irreplaceable? A year and a half later, we’re having the same discussion w/ Bickell. What’s to say we won’t be having the same discussion w/ Jimmy Hayes in 2015?

  • March 6, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Amazing game by Saad, he was all over the puck all night. His PK and forcing turnovers are almost as amazing as his skating. He’s becoming the legit winger the Hawks have been looking for next to Toews and Hossa. Also thumbs up to the Hawks and the pregame for Hossa, class move. Even funnier was the exchange from Pat and Edzo when Edzo had his 1000 game about the “envolope” from Pully,….it was empy LOL!

  • March 6, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I love talking about must haves when we finally have depth in the organization to build from. I just don’t think we will be able to keep both 25 and 29. I want to, but there is just a log jam of players. In my opinion it would be wise to keep one so you only replace one line mate and not two and then look within to replace. I think the odd one out is 29 assuming he wants a market deal (which you have to take when there is “hockey” shelf life). I probably look to also sign 16 and then 65 the year after.

    We all know there is no way we keep everyone, plus and this is early, but Toews and Kane will be due soon assuming you keep both you almost have to start planning for that now. 2 opening nights from now I am pretty sure we won’t have Bolland, Frolik, Bickell, Hammer, Oduya (too much defense waiting), plus Monty and Olzesz.

  • March 6, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Tab, I disagree on you $$$ chart- Kopecky got 3 mill- you don’t think someone else is stupid enough to pay him close to 4m- if he stays on this scoring pace- or Bix @ 2.75m+ if he ends up with 12g and 20a this Short season???

    The only thing you have going for you is the League cap going down- How will that change the $$$ in UFA??? I guess we will see.

    Tab, I do agree w/ The Hayes replacing Bix concept… might take a year though.

    Eb Raptor- you are most likely right on TT not being “well rounded” enough for Center- but IMO the guy will be up in less than 2 years- comparing his SM Liiga #’s to some others- he is ahead of curve.

  • March 6, 2013 at 11:32 am

    wall: if we want to use Kopecky as a barometer, that’s great.

    Kopecky’s cap number increased from $500k to $1.2M… THEN to $3M (under the OLD CBA).
    Bickell is currently making $542k and hasn’t had one good, complete, full NHL season. He’s been good for 23 games this year; he was a ghost in November, December and January last year. If someone else wants to offer him more than $2M, waive good bye and move on. IMO he isn’t worth that based on his COMPLETE body of work.

  • March 6, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Tab, I agree with your salary assessments moving forward. No need to overpay Bickell, Stahlberg, and Krugs, but they have earned a decent raise. They deserve a pay increase, but not Tallonesque foolishness. Troy Brouwer should have been kept given what he asked to be paid. He would fit in really well with our current roster. Cap space looks good for us in the future given what contracts the team has in hand. We look deep with some good prospects developing. Plus column long for Blackhawks fans as we approach mid season.

  • March 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Tab, I thought Bix put up about 20 + goals 2 years ago… Yes, he was not good last year.

    And I am not saying he is worth 2.75m… but I am saying if someone paid Kopecky 3m
    – it wouldn’t be hard to imagine- someone else offering Bix 2.75m+

    And I will be shocked if someone Leddy gets less than 3m-

    but it could be a completely different “Cap Market”!!! I hope you are right!!!

  • March 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm


    A) Leddy’s restricted. Offer sheet?
    B) re: Bickell’s career….

    Including last night’s game, Bryan Bickell has scored 36 goals in 195 NHL games. 17 of those goals came in 2010-11, when he set a career-high of 37 points. Like I said before, the he’ll get a raise… but I really don’t see if going to $2.75M.

    Here’s a good comparable for Bickell: Wayne Simmonds.

    When his ELC expired in 2011, he had three NHL seasons under his belt with 23, 40 and 30 points, respectively. Like Bickell, there was a peak (16 goals, 24 assists, +22 in 2009-10) followed by a relative down year (14 goals, 16 assists, -2 in ’10-11). His second NHL contract was a two-year contract, raising his cap number from $821k to $1.75M. And I wouldn’t put Bickell in Simmonds class as a player at all… but look at the dollar amounts there.

    Again, if someone wants to give Bickell $2.75M, you waive good bye. But I don’t see his next deal having a cap number north of $2M.

  • March 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Many teams will be in the same situation as the Hawks. You might not see teams grossly overpaying for a couple of years.

    I agree with Tab. 29s whole body of work needs to be taken into account. However, 25’s growth as an NHL forward becomes clearer every month. When he first became a Hawk it was him against the world. Held the puck too long, missed open passes, took low % shots…..and lots of them. Now he sees the whole ice better and is a much more complete player……with more upside than 29. Keep 25 at all any reasonable cost. I think he is worth 3 yrs / $9mm

    I also agree that Leddy understands his limitations. It will be another 2-3 years of continues growth until he is worth over $2.5mm. I see him at 3 yrs /$7mm.

    Krugar I see at 3 yrs/$7mm

    Rosival I see at 2 yrs/$5mm

  • March 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Good comments, Mike. I’m not sure I see Rozsival coming back after this year; it might be time for Clendening, Stanton or maybe (MAYBE) Olsen to get into the mix on the bottom pair.

    re: wall’s argument that Leddy will get $3M+ per, I’ll simply point out that Montreal signed PK Subban to a two-year deal w/ a cap number of $2.875M. And I don’t think I’m alone in believing Leddy isn’t quite in Subban’s class (yet). So, again, if someone wants to pay him (and is willing to part with draft picks by giving him an offer sheet), I let Leddy walk. But that isn’t likely.

    Under the new CBA, most teams and many role players are going to lean toward shorter-term second contracts (Subban and Ryan O’Reilly both took 2-year deals). 2-year deals for Kruger, Bickell, Stalberg & Leddy make sense both from the industry trend and from the organization’s perspective; Toews & Kane are UFA in 2 years and I’m sure the Hawks will want as much open cap space as possible when that time arrives.

    With that in mind, and using the numbers I threw out earlier as the very-HIGH side for contracts, I would think the one free agent on the roster that will be given longer than 2 years would be Leddy; Hjalmarsson & Brookbank (one more each) and Oduya (two more) will both be off the books by 2015, so having a younger player under contract through 15-16 makes sense for the organization.

    Which is all fun to look forward… but let’s not lose site of where the team is today. They haven’t lost a game in regulation, and season ticket holders are paying postseason invoices. It’s a beautiful thing.

  • March 6, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    To speculate what will happen in the post season, you have to understand the mind of Stan Bowman…who is a smart hockey guy and a smart “dollars” guy…he traded for Stahlberg, he stuck his own neck out on the line for this player…he has a lot invested into Stahlberg.

    He has unteachable speed and quickness…he listens to what the coaches say…he is a team first player…he has become a physical player…he is finding his scoring touch…guaranteed, he gets resigned by the Hawks…Bowman will strike when the time is right, and ensure that Stahlberg stays on at a reasonable price…and it’s the right move…Stahlberg has measurables that are off the charts and can’t be replaced.

    The same can be said for both Leddy and Kruger (although Kruger was drafted)…they are “Bowman’s guys” and he won’t let them walk…he will get deals done for them at the right time…plus, with Kruger (like Shaw) he was a lower round draft pick that makes Bowman look like a genius, he isn’t going anywhere.

    But with Bickell, he is different…Bowman I am sure appreciates his development, but isn’t beholden to him…Bickell’s skills can be taught, and in many instances already exist in Jimmy Hayes (another astute Bowman trade)…so I can see Bickell perhaps leaving, but not the others…

    And again, we must make some room for the kids to come up to the big club…so resigning Rozy isn’t likely as it is more than time for someone like Stanton to come up and take his place…or Clendening is just too good to keep in Rockford…plus, by next year, Leddy will likely deserve 2nd pairing minutes…so losing Oduya or Hammer moving forward isn’t a huge thing…

    As Tab put it so well, these are the reapings of an organization that has the talent and the Cap space to maintain a winner! Something that Tallon failed at.

  • March 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Tab, If you get to this….I understand under the new CBA that there is a cap consequence when you “bury” a guy with an NHL contract in the minors. Do you know what the formula is??

  • March 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Mike, I believe the amount of the players cap hit that exceeds league minimum + $400K is subject to the teams salary cap. So if the league minimum is $550K – then the amount over $950K ($550K + $400K) is counted. As an example, if a $3M NHL contract is buried in the AHL, $2,050,000 ($3,000,000 – $950,000) would be counted.

  • March 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Sr.Brad: Agree with your assessment of Bowman’s mindset and his propensity to hold his “guys” in that respect. Throw in the fact that the following are currently core and locked up earning or will be due BIG MONEY in the next year or 2:
    * Sharp: locked at $5.9/yr (5 year contract thru 16-17 season)
    * Toews: By ’14-15 will be FA in line for what? $10 million/yr?
    * Kane: Almost in Toews category? What? $8 million/yr?
    * Hoss: locked $5.2/yr for nxt 10 yrs
    * Kieth: locked $5.5 for nxt 10 years
    * Seabrook: locked $6 million/yr for nxt 5 years

    Soooo, CAN NOT keep everybody-right? As such, I would bet that before season opener 2014-15, here’s who is DEFINITELY GONE:
    * Bye bye Bickell (easily replaced)
    * Bye bye Bolland (maybe this year)
    * adios Hammer (too expensive as UFA)
    * thx but bye Rosival (replaced with up and coming)

    Here’s who is on bubble and would be nice to keep but likely ALSO GONE by ’14 opener:
    * Stahlberg (likely be moved in cap concession for low-$ youth movement)
    * Oduya: $3.3million/yr (likely cap and youth casualty)
    * Frolik: currently $2.33 million/yr (only way to stay is with big cut in pay)
    * Carcillo: Will stick for next yr and gone after 13-14…

    Obviously, here’s the younger devpt guys on squad who we definitely will KEEP:
    * Saad
    * Kruger
    * Leddy

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