Oil Slick: Blackhawks Comeback Falls Short Against Edmonton
Four netminders allowed 11 goals on Sunday night at the United Center. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks weren’t able to overcome a miserable first period.
Ray Emery got the start for Chicago, but failed to last ten minutes. He allowed three goals on only nine shots, and was replaced by Corey Crawford at 9:19 in the first period.
Edmonton took advantage of a lifeless, emotionless Hawks team to put four goals on the board; not surprisingly, Sam Gagner made a major impact once again. Gagner scored twice in the opening period, the second of which came on the powerplay, as the Oilers sprinted to an enormous lead.
When the second period started, the Hawks started to show a little more life life. But just a little over five minutes in, Patrick Kane made an effort play that started to swing the momentum.
Edmonton’s starting goalie, Devan Dubnyk, skated out to play a puck that had been cleared by Viktor Stalberg. Kane skated hard and beat Dubnyk to the puck, eluded a couple defenders, and put the puck into the net.
Kane fought hard in the second and third period to bring the Hawks back. He skated 22:13 in the game and scored two goals and added an assist in the game.
Another effort play, this one from Jonathan Toews, led to the Hawks second goal.
In the game, Toews fought through holds and hard checks all night. In addition to his assist on the Hossa goal, Toews had four takeaways and won 16 of 21 faceoffs while skating 21:29 in the contest.
Unfortunately, in spite of great effort from players all over the roster, the Blackhawks were never able to draw even. And it was their highly-rated penalty kill that would be their undoing.
Less than three minutes after Hossa’s goal got the Hawks within two, Shawn Horcoff scored the Oilers’ second power play goal of the game. Under five minutes later, once again short-handed, Sheldon Brookbank scored his first goal of the year to get the Hawks back within two. But 51 second later Taylor Hall scored Edmonton’s third power play goal in the game.
Brent Seabrook scored his fourth goal of the season late in the second to, once again, bring the Hawks back to within two goals.
The Blackhawks finally got a power play opportunity early in the third, and they took advantage. Kane scored his second goal of the night to get the Hawks within one goal with almost 13 minutes left in the game.
But that would close the scoring. A furious final 40 minutes saw the Hawks put 31 shots on net, with five getting through. Unfortunately, they needed six to earn overtime and seven for a victory.
Kane, Toews and Hossa played like superstars as they tried to lead the Blackhawks back. Hossa (one goal, one assist) and Dave Bolland (two assists) joined Kane in having a multi-point game. Hossa was also credited with seven takeaways in the game.
The Hawks have now allowed two big periods in their last two games; after a great first half from Crawford and Emery, the Hawks allowed four goals in a period twice in three days.
One area that was a significant weakness in the Hawks loss in Denver on Friday night was in the faceoff circle, but they were much better against the Oilers on Sunday. Chicago won 40 of 64 faceoffs, led by Toews. Bolland won 11 of 19 and Marcus Kruger won eight of 13 in the game.
Brandon Bollig was a healthy scratch in favor of Jamal Mayers, but coach Joel Quenneville limited his forward rotation once again. Mayers (3:14) and Daniel Carcillo (4:01) combined to skate only 12 shifts in the game, but each was minus-one.
For Edmonton, Gagner led the way (yet again) with two goals. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and and Justin Schultz had two goals each, while Ryan Whitney had one goal and one assist. Defensemen Jeff Petry and Corey Potter led the Oilers in hits with eight and six, respectively; Edmonton out-hit the Hawks 32-19 in the game.
After seven games in 11 days, the Blackhawks will now get three days off.
47 thoughts on “Oil Slick: Blackhawks Comeback Falls Short Against Edmonton”
Great recap, I ended up turning on the TV and seeing a 4-0 score at intermission and ended up skipping the game altogether, it sounds like the Hawks did the same thing. I figured March would be a tough month and with back to back losses it just might be. 21-2-3 is still an acceptable season record. I am however surprised Crow didnt get the start tonight. Go Hawks!
Here’s hoping that the Hawks get their legs back, and then get back to the D coverage and aggressive penalty kill that limited opponents to just a few good chances in each game (other than Calgary). That said, the goalie play kept them in a few games when they skated flat for 5-15 minutes, and the regression to (and below) the mean for both goalies has provided a reminder that we can’t expect them to stop 92-95% of the shots faced. Good teams still need big saves at key times, but the 2nd and 4th goals in Denver were quite soft, Emery dug a hole tonight, and they couldn’t get a save to bail out the penalty kill. The call on Leddy and subsequent no-calls on several blatant holding/interference infractions definitely threw a wrench into a game that the Hawks were taking back, but they would probably tell you that it is their job to kill penalties. They have been giving a lot of ice on the kill, as opposed to pressuring the puck and taking away lanes. Could have something to do with dead legs, although they did get a shorty and had a good chance for another. they have a chance to catch their breath (and practice) over the next 3 days, and they are playing a team that has played them tough — considering the roster differences — so I’ll be looking for a sharp start and sustained effort.
Wow…the apology welcome wagon is already out in full swing…this brutal schedule works against all teams, including the Edmonton Oilers…there is no excuse from the Hawks as an organization…we have fresh, talented players in Rockford that can come up and give us fast, spirited efforts for 8+ minutes a game…but coach Q decided to go with Mayers and Carcillo who each skated about 4 minutes, causing the Hawks to roll 3 lines…and when we roll 3 lines we struggle…it doesn’t take rocket science.
The difference in this game ultimately came down to goaltending…the Oilers gave up 5 goals, but could have easily given up 10…their backup came in and stoned the Hawks on glorious opportunity after opportunity…our goaltending??? Not so good…
To be fair, Emery wasn’t that bad…the first goal was awful beyond description, but the next 2 he simply had no chance on…and Q wrongly pulled him from the game…in came Crawford, and man was he awful again…all 3 he should of had, and 2 of them were putrid…this is the CC we witnessed much of the last 2 years…and it has taken very little to put him back into that vortex. I think that had Emery stayed in the game, the Hawks might have clawed back to win…but CC’s goal’s against were the back breaking kind.
Wall and others have mentioned this all season long…the Hawk goalies were not asked to do tons in the first 24 games…yes, Emery completely stole one game, and twice CC had very good to excellent games, but really that’s it…for the last 2 games our Defence has been soft, and our forwards have not come back to forecheck…when we have needed solid goaltending, we got NONE…let us remember, Edm only fired 25 shots on goal, and only 13 over the last 40 minutes…those 13 needed to be stopped…they weren’t…
We can all be as philosophical as we want about these 2 losses…yes the Hawks are tired…yes, they are a little banged up…but no worse than any other NHL team on both accounts…the Hawks questionable goaltending coming into the season has been questionable again these last 2 games…and if it continues, so will this losing streak…we play 4 on the road, starting in Columbus, a team that has outworked us EVERY game we played them this season…Anaheim has only lost 3 games, and there are a number of very hot teams in the WC…
It’s pretty clear that to have solid defence, we need to roll 4 defensively sound lines…we simply aren’t getting that with Mayers, Bollig and Carcillo in the lineup…they have all become defensive liabilities and their ice time is progressively shrinking…Mayers line tonight was horrendous…a -1, 2 penalty minutes, only 3+ minutes of ice time, 0 for 1 on face-offs, and only 1 hit…on Edmonton’s first goal, he should have easily reached that puck along the boards and cleared it, but he fanned on the puck and the next thing we know, it was in our net…Carcillo wasn’t much better.
Ben Smith and/or Jimmy Hayes have played sound 2 way hockey here before, and both have produced…it’s time to give one or both of them a chance…Mayers looks like he is done…Bollig can’t enforce and thus is useless, and Carcillo has been actually getting worse each game, not better.
Hopefully the Hawks will do something to shore up their team energy and defence, because counting on our goaltending isn’t going to cut it…
I was dreading this game and for good reason it seams. Who turned back the clock a year? We finally dominate a the dot yet come away basically embarrassed. The determination in the come back was nice but to be down 4 is unacceptable this season. Lets hope a little rest is the answer to some problems. Kane was again a monster
In case many of you don’t follow what is happening in Rockford, Jimmy Hayes has been on a 6 week tear…his recent hat trick gives him now 22 goals on the season…Morin has been on a month long tear..his recent 2 goal performance now gives him 22 goals…since Ben Smith has come back from injury, he has 4 goals in 5 games and now has 18 goals in only 44 games…Pirri has also been on a tear, and he leads the team in points with 18 goals and 29 assists…Adam Clendening has also continued his season long excellent play…they are plus hockey players and why at least one of them hasn’t been promoted to the Hawks is beyond my explanation.
This game was the 7th in 11 days. That’s not an excuse, just the reality of it. Yes, other teams have to play a condensed schedule too, but yes, they also play less than their best on some nights. These last two games were overdue. Now they’re paid.
I’m impatient to give an Icehog or two a chance too. But it’s only been two games. Give Q and Stan a chance to experiment a bit with what they have before casting aside the known for the unknown. We as fans have the luxury to live in the moment and expect changes to be made when they seem so obvious to us, but Q and management have to keep the big picture in mind and can’t afford knee jerk decisions. I doubt Q is going to want a couple of the 4th liners to average less than 5 minutes on a consistent basis.
And, I was happy to see there was still some fight in the dog tonight, unlike Friday when they tucked their tail and went quietly. Renewed my hope.
That’s a good post ER…it is the reality of the situation and we will see what happens in 4 days time…hopefully Q does something about getting the 4th line rolling again…my biggest concern however, is how the goaltending responds…I think Emery will be fine…he is what he is at this point in his career…its CC that is the wild card…he was awful (IMO) again tonight…showing that his mental game is still in need of improvement.
I have watched a fair bit of Rockford hockey of late, and Morin, Hayes, Smith and Pirri, all look very, very good….
Sr. Brad I think your selling Emery’s potential for growth a little short. He is only 2 years older than Crawford and is back from a hip surgery. I believe Emery’s game will improve in the next year or two and will again be a starting goalie somewhere. I am not that worried about Crawford either. He has played well this year. All goalies have slumps and teams need to work through them.
I commented Saturday that the Oilers would come out gunning. They literally have little to lose, why not be aggressive. For some reason the Oilers have the Hawks number…..just like Columbus on Detroit. Hawks out played the Oilers for 40 minutes and lost. Seems like every shot the Oilers took was on target. Sometimes it just goes that way. Add to all this the emotional let down from the streak. I predict the Hawks will struggle for a week or so then find the handle again. Overall, I am glad to see the Hawks play with some pride after digging themselves into a big hole.
Those who say let’s bring “fresh” players from Rockford need to remember they are playing too. In fact the players mentioned are logging big minutes. And no team rolls 4 lines consistently when they are behind. I doubt it was Qs game plan to have some forwards only play 4-5 minutes……..probably the opposite. All that said, a player or two from Rockford would add some energy when needed.
The Hawks just couldn’t complete a pass in the first half of the game and they had turnover after turnover. It took them awhile to get their legs, but when they did, the Oilers were on the run.
The Hawks have a few days off, here. Hopefully they will rest up, practice a bit and get ready for the second half of the season.
The problems vs. Colorado and Edmonton cannot be blamed only on the 4th line and goaltenders. One terrible game followed by one terrible first period is no reason to panic.
They miss Sharp. Maybe a instead of juggling lines they should have inserted one of those guys from Rockford? 20-19-81, Hayes/Morin(?)-36-88, 29-65-25, and 13-16-67 until Sharp returns…better balance may be able to get back to rolling four lines? Mayers and Bollig aren’t contributing very much, unfortunately.
They’ll be all right. GO HAWKS!!
Sr — You at least have to acknowledge fatigue (it took the Captain about 5 minutes to take his skates off after the game). Not as an excuse, but as a partial explanation. They got going for the majority of last night’s game, regardless.
The goalies have…struggled over the last 2, but the way they were playing was not sustainable. Ask the Blues how long 2 guys can play above their own heads. Unless they are already mentally beaten – which I don’t believe is the case – they will play better. Don’t expect a .946 for the rest of the season, though. Making a few big saves to turn the tide or to protect a lead would be appreciated.
As I mentioned in a previous thread, I, too, was hoping that the injury to Sharp would lead them to bring up one of the young guys who can actually skate and finish. Many could argue about who that should be, but I think we can agree that it is the right direction to go, whether it be Pirri, Smith, Hayes, etc.
…However, the guys making decisions need to consider whether bringing a guy with high-end abilities up to skate short minutes makes sense. Smith is a possibility because his game is more of a grind. They are obviously not stunting Bollig by having him play 0-5 shifts per night (and it’s hard to find 4th line shifts when you are down 3-4 goals).
The sky is not falling, at this point, so it may be more prudent to bring 1 or 2 of those guys up later, if necessary. Unless there is more ice time to be had, get them enough of a look to be sure that they are not going to wet themselves in the playoffs.
Right on sr. Brad, those 4 IceHogs are playing excellent hockey. Their last month has been exhausting as well because they are fighting for a playoff spot. Lost to the wolves last night but had back-to- back last minute wins on Friday and saturday. Those boys really need some playoff success. Team has missed playoffs the last 2 years and were swept in the first round the two years before that.
Morin is the only natural LW to replace sharp. He has decent size. Hayes has been playing center instead of his normal RW, his consistency is the question. Pirri is a center and their best player, not sure why is is still in Rockford. And Benny would be great on the 4th line.
The problem is who replaces sharp because those are big skates to fill. I thought saad was the natural choice, but Carcillo is not working on the first line. So rather than muck up all 4 lines, Q needs to drop someone new in sharp’s spot and fricking leave the other 3 lines alone. His choice of Brookbank on wing is flat out bizarre. And it is clear to me that mayers and bollig will not work.
Three days off will do us a world of good. Hawks have earned my faith that they will make good moves and continue to play excellent hockey.
Not panicking, but concerned…lets see what the boys do Thursday night after a nice long rest. I really had hoped Q would have not messed with the other 3 lines after Sharpie went down. The depth and quality of play across all 4 lines, along with the goaltending, was what had given us the strong start.
I dreaded the day when Carcillo was healthy enough to play again, I knew it would lead to no good. He has no business on this team, and please don’t give me any shit about needing his grit or toughness…fuck that nonsense. This team intimidates by its puck possession, outshooting and outskating its opponents and mentally wearing them down. Bollig is another one…has no business on this roster.We should have brought in one of the quality wingers we have waiting in Rockford and plugged him right into Sharps spot, right away, not moving around everyone…these guys thrive on being familiar with linemates, offensively and defensively…Q will fuck this team if he goes into mad scientist mode.
As far as the netminders, well, we will go as far as they take us, just like the rest of the NHL. Last years Crow means an early vacation. Kaner was insane last night, love when he is pissed off and in his fuck you mode. I am really expecting them to rock come Thursday, if not, well…look at the standings, our big lead has vaporized, both in points and goal diff…
Crawford is supposed to stop open point shots that are perfectly deflected 8 feet out infront of him? Ok… No. If any goalie stops those deflections, they are lucky saves.
Forth line is a huge problem. The OH MY GOD SO TALENTED Daniel Carcillo has been shown for what he is. If he doesn’t have 81 and 19 on a line with him, he looks just like he did for all the rest of his career. Why is Mayers starting over Bollig? People give Bollig a rough ride but at least he can skate and is smart positionally.
I didn’t post after the Colorado loss, but I will kiss Q’s feet if he lets Sharp start taking draws when he comes back. Bolland is so useless at the dot it’s sad to watch. Good thing about have Stalberg on that second line is that he can chase down the puck after Bolland loses the draw. That leads me to…
Why break up the third line? That line has absolutely dominated this season. Sure they had a few good shifts last night with 16-65-29, but it just doesn’t click the way it does with 25 on the line. As much as I hate Carcillo, I’d rather keep that third line intact and have Carcillo skate with the top line. Move Saad down to the second line so he can use his speed and defensive awareness to get the puck back after Bolland loses the draw.
I think it’s time to have Montador do a conditioning stint with Rockford and have some kids come up and play. This condensed schedule is even tougher when you can’t play your fourth line.
JS…I do agree about Bollig over Myers if I had to play one of them, but CarBomb on the first line for me is a big mistake. I think Saad is just fine there. The Hawks,and Bolland were much better at the dot last night, go figure…the night they get there asses kicked. He does need to improve his face offs, he has sucked at them for quite some time, and I love Sharp taking them for @nd line when he comes back. Should have been that way all season. Carcillo skates 4th line for me, nothing else. That 4ht line with him there might actually not be all that bad. And that’s IF you absolutely have to play him. Don’t see him going away anytime soon. So, Q plays CarBomb and Myers against a team that has fucked with us the past 2 seasons,and,look at there minutes…absolute waste of 2 spots. Also, Q should have played Crow from the start last night, just to see where he was after the Avs game.
Oh believe me, I don’t want Carcillo near the top line. I’m just saying if it comes down to having him play somewhere else I think his badness can be made up for by Toews and Hossa.
In my ideal world they call up someone from the minors to play on the second line and keep 3rd and 1st together.
And I really didn’t understand starting Emery over Crawford. That first goal Emery let in was so soft it seemed to deflate the team even more than they already were. And really I don’t blame the goalies much for the last two games. The defense has been absolutely brutal.
agreed..I don’t blame the goalies as much as the lads in front of them…LOL at Carcillo’s badness…I love it! Seriously, this team has a real,legit shot at a cup, there is no reason to have a guy like him out there, needing to be camouflaged by Capt’n and Hoss
Keep Stahlberg on the 2nd line…and either promote Frolik up to the 3rd line, and bring one player from Rockford to the 4th line, or keep Frolik with Kruger and Carcillo, and bring the Rockford player to the 3rd line…
Those of you who want to keep the status quo (Mayers, Bollig and Carcillo) in the face of Sharp being out, aren’t thinking outside the box…this lineup was workable with two #1 lines and a top 3rd line, but it isn’t working now…this is exactly the point in the season where we need that spark from someone coming up from Rockford…Hayes, Morin, Pirri, or Smith would all be strong additions and bring a lot of energy.
Let’s hope Stan can go down to Rockford and grab a few players. Here are a few observations I’ve noticed with the 4th line over the last few seasons. First, I really dislike the additional defender skating with the 4th line. Second, I also don’t like Q double shifting top 6 guys with the 4th line. I’d much rather have Q break in 1 or 2 guys on this line a night. I wasn’t aware that Hayes, Pirri, and Morin were having the season that they are. I was really hoping that Ben Smith would have been brough up to eat up mins in Sharp’s absence. Go Hawks!
One more comment TSN is reporting S.Montador has been placed on waivers, I bet he gets picked up.
happy to pay his ticket outta town !
He’s going to Rockford for conditioning. No chance in hell anyone takes that contract. I take it this means they want to free up a roster spot for a forward from Rockford.
I hope you are right JS…good news to get rid of Montador…
One other comment about the Rockford players…if you watched Morin, he is really becoming a power type forward…he is bigger than most will remember him, and he plays physical…earlier in the season, he was taking a lot of penalties, including fighting, but he has turned the corner in learning how to be physical and stay out of the box…it has become contagious with Jimmy Hayes who is hitting everything in sight as well…they are a powerful line…also, Ben Smith is a very strong, physical player as well…he has a big centre of gravity and is hard to knock off his skates…any of these guys would be good additions…and huge improvements over Carcillo, Bollig (whose intimidation doesn’t work), and Mayers.
LOL rotoworld already removed him off the Hawks, they were also saying that the Hawks didnt need to place him on waivers for conditioning, but chose to do that. I still think a team with take a gamble on him. His salary isnt awful its 2.7 million. As long as he is healthy someone will take a gamble on him.
Now that the steak is over the Hawks need to concentrate on rolling out 4 lines in preparation of a deep playoff run. With Sharp out for a while they should bring up somebody from Rockford with upside promise. In prior years struggling to make the playoffs wears out the team for when you get there. Thats my view anyway. So this year that shouldn’t be an issue and Q should bring somebody up, balance out the ice team and tune up for the playoffs. Injuries are a huge risk, but that’s an unavoidable reality in the NHL. Go Hawks.
2 words, Jimmy Hayes
Or Morin, or Smith…these are good, all around players…
I hope they bring up one of those players, but my gut feeling is no one comes up. My guess is they’re going with what they have and Q is going to start moving guys all over the place.
I hope I’m wrong.
I know there has been some talk of Iginla or Alfredsson but with Florida willing to deal why not make a move to bring back Kris Versteeg. He’d fit in very nicely on the 2nd line and when Sharpie comes back Sharp or Kane could bump up to the top line and move Saad to the 4th with Krugs and Frolik.
And I know some will try to sell Smith or Hayes over Versteeg please don’t even try. I love Ben Smith but he is 24, Hayes is 23 and Versteeg at 26 has his name on the Cup as a member of the Blackhawks there is no comparison.
A move to bring Versteeg to Chicago would make Carcillo as well as Smith and Hayes expendable chips
A move to bring Versteeg back to Chicago would have to make Carcillo, Bickell, Stalberg, one of Leddy/Kruger and probably another forward expendable.
The problem w/ bringing back Versteeg is the three more years of a $4.4M cap hit he has left on his contract after this year. The reason some have brought up Iginla & Alfredsson is because they’re in the final years of their respective contracts; the Hawks don’t want to add anything to the cap after this season if at all possible.
Also, I’m not one of those that thinks Saad needs to leave the top line. Leave him there for the next decade and enjoy his development. If there’s something this team should consider overpaying for, it’s a 2C. Versteeg, Iginla & Alfredsson aren’t that guy.
Versteeg makes $4.4M for three more years after this one. That is one year past the year Toews and Kane have to be resigned. Not to mention Saad, And two years past the time the Crawford, Hjalmarsson, Shaw and Bolland contracts are up. Plus the players that need to be resigned this season – Leddy, Kruger, Stalberg and Bickell.
I like Versteeg but not at $4.4M through 2015/16. For this season, a top-6 player with an expiring contract would be nice, but not one that will affect the ability to resign players in future years.
oops sorry Tab – didn’t mean to be repetitive.
“A move to bring Versteeg back to Chicago would have to make…Stalberg, one of Leddy/Kruger and probably another forward expendable.” – ha, ha, ha, ha!! NO thank you. Next. (Also, I think Versteeg has plus skill, but let’s not OVER rate him – I remember him as a guy who often had difficulty adhering to the “TEAM” game.)
“Also, I’m not one of those that thinks Saad needs to leave the top line. Leave him there for the next decade and enjoy his development.” — Tab, you are SO correct – we’ve been in agreement on this since 01/19. Also, on the subject of leaving lines, for most of the first 24 games the Hawks had great success with their “top six” and “bottom six” forwards set. Sharp unfortunately is out prompting Q to juggle lines. I would have kept them intact and inserted one of those “skill players” from Rockford (who I have not seen at all, admittedly) in Sharp’s spot – continuity/don’t mess with what’s working. Kane and Bolland could work with (“carry”, if necessary) Hayes, Morin, or whoever and the other lines could “do their thing” and and roll one-to-four.
Overpaying for a #2 center makes perfect sense, but *that player* – and he would have to be truly an *upgrade* (…like O’Reilly – early-to-mid 20s, SKILL, etc. – but, that’s not going to happen) – which team wants to move *that player*? Maybe Kruger is on the path to becoming that guy? I definitely would not overpay (or necessarily go out of the way) to bring in a strong faceoff/penalty kill guy (…Nate Thompson or Adam Hall from Tampa, and Matt Hendricks or Jay Beagle from the Caps – suggested at a different blog).
I don’t think there is pressure to make a move unless it’s “the right move”. They’ll be all right…
Dickie Dunn, I agree that we don’t need to overpay- unless it is “O’Reilly” type of 2nd Center…
w/ Regard to call up- IMO- the Hawks need to balance that 2nd line Defensively w/ Saad (trust his IQ and stick)… then put Hayes/Morin/Smith w/ Hoss and Toews- whoi are much better on D end then 36-88… All around- would prefer Hayes… But Morin would work w/ 19-81- cause he is a sharp shooter.
I hate to be a Debbie Downer- but Sharp’s shoulder injury could be the type of injury that is very tough to come back from- I think it would be easier to play Football than Hockey (speed + fixed Boards) after that injury. THAT would be a concern for the rest of year!
Re: Monty- I assume Hawks are responsible for His Cap- regardless… so if he clears-
we could dump him and have another $2.75 +$$$ we have now- to rent a player???
Hendricks intrigues me. I was looking at his numbers before you commented and he seems like a guy that would be a solid fit in a 3C or 4C role.
The problem is, unfortunately, the Hawks continue skating a bottom-six center on the second line. Somehow the team must get better at the dot. If Bolland & Shaw are going to win a similar % to what Kane did last year, it’s time to look for help. If the Hawks can get Hendricks for cheap as a rental (he’s 31 & his deal expires this summer), you have to at least entertain the idea of adding a physical guy who wins 56-58% of his faceoffs.
Tab…if Bolland’s only drawback at 2C is the dot…why not have Sharpie take over face offs when he comes back? If memory serves me, he was ok there in the past, no? Thats assuming we arent picking up a stud 2C anytime soon, of course…
I am also 100 % for Saad staying at top line…he has progressed very nicely and will be a top flight player for years to come.
Also, a question…if on the slim chance we land a real, legit center who will be more than a rent a player…do you slot Bolland at 3 or 4C ? Or do you make him part of the deal to bring someone else here?
Sharp taking the draws makes too much sense. He’s only won 58% on the season (I know small sample size, but lets face it, he is the second best on the team).
Here is to hoping the Hawks get back to their winning ways so Sharp doesn’t rush back before he is ready.
The mystery of Sharp not playing 2C since the Cup year may never solved.
Sharp taking faceoffs instead of Bolland is a good idea but might not be the best thing after he returns from the shoulder injury. No sense putting extra torque on that shoulder until he gets it strengthened again.
Tab, “at least entertain the idea of adding a physical guy who wins 56-58% of his faceoffs.” – Absolutely. I meant I wouldn’t overpay unless it was someone like Ryan O’Reilly…”core player”/star for the next few years. I’m with all of you here feeling that faceoffs are a big problem that should be addressed. As a rule, a “rental” seems to be a 50/50 thing – Madden worked, but Brunette didn’t. Obviously, they’re not the same type of player, and Hendricks would likely be a better fit as far as filling a particular need.
(Ever the optimist…anything is better than Kane back at center or Brookbank at wing.)
I was for Ryan O’Reilly because he is a franchise type player, and IMO Bolland is not…all this talk about bringing in another checking, good face-off Centre for the 3rd or 4th line is ridiculous…that is what Bolland is supposed to be…
I think it’s clear that the Centre position is VERY solid for the next 5+ years with Toews, Shaw, and Kruger…plus all the good Centres in Rockford and Juniors…so really, all the Hawks need is for Bolland to get better at everything he does…now, Bolly may not respond in kind, thus any trade should involve Bolland. He is oft injured…his contract is a little high for his production…and he is a FA after next season…
As Tab said, unless the Hawks go out and get a long term solution as the 2nd line Centre, then we are looking at patching up Sharp’s injury until he returns…and thus the million dollar question is what to do on the 2nd line???
The first line should NOT change…Saad belongs there, and will play with Toews for a long time…the 3rd line has been our key…Shaw has found a way to get the best out of Stahlberg and Bickell shift after shift, game after game…it should really stay the same…Kruger and Frolik are the heart of the 4th line and it really doesn’t matter who the winger is if they stay together…so what to do about Sharp’s spot…
Carcillo? Is he the answer? NO…he is struggling with his skating and his pace…you can’t be slow or tentative on this line…Bollig/Mayers??? Forget it…so baring a trade, Rockford is where you go…Hayes and Morin don’t really have the speed for that line, but they would bring a strong physical element, and they score goals…Pirri is a natural centre…it’s really Ben Smith that would make the best fit to this line…he has the speed to play with Kane and Bolly…he is a strong 2 way player, plus he is physical player that goes to the net, and scores goals…this way the 1st line is still a terror…the 3rd line remains our “Ace in the Hole”, and our 4th line is strong so we can roll all 4 lines…Smith to Sharp’s spot might take a couple of games for that line to gel, but they would remain a difficult line to play against, and wouldn’t be killing us defensively like they have the last 2 games…
I watched a Saginaw game the other night to see Garrett Ross again…he was the best player on the ice…he now has 43 goals and 45 assists in 59 games this season…he is now 5th in the league in goals scored.
But he remains a Defence-First player with his style of game…he remains a tough, physical player that backs away from no one…he reminds me a lot of Andrew Shaw…he can play centre and wing, and skates well.
He was our 5th round pick last year, and I rank this kid as highly as ANY (including TT) in our organization to become a producing Blackhawk, and soon. He is 20 years of age, and looks ready to play in the NHL next year…he doesn’t have a single area of weakness to his game. Now if someone like me can see this, you know Bowman has. This is why I think the Hawks will try to get through this season without making a major trade because they know that 2 guys will be ready to step up to the NHL roster next season…
Who’s the 2nd? Adam Clendening…he just gets better and better in Rockford…both defensively and offensively. He leads the team in assists with 30 and has 6 goals with a plus 8 rating (on a team of mostly even or minus hockey players). I like Nick Leddy, but Leddy NEVER looked this good in Rockford…I’m not kidding about that…as good as Leddy has become, and will be, Clendening is better, right now! Plus Clendening looks very, very good on the PP…something we can use more of in the show.
Now, add the fact that Jimmy Hayes, Morin, Smith and Pirri have to be moved up next year or we are just “burying” their careers, and what do the Hawks do??? This is why players like Rozy, Bickell, Mayers, Bollig and Carcillo are on their last legs as Blackhawks…they have to go to make room for what it coming…and that list does not even include TT, Danault, McNeil or Ryan Stanton…
One other quick note…Kyle Beach is starting to “get it”…I don’t think he will ever be a prolific NHL scorer, but over the last month, he has game in and game out been a good 2 way hockey player…playing physical and staying out of the penalty box (for the most part). You talk about a guy that could help us on the 4th line with sound 2 way play, decent skating ability, and a nice touch around the net…Beach could be that guy soon. Obviously not worth a #1 draft selection, but at least he is turning into a hockey player!
I also saw Garrett Ross on the weekend-back to back games-he looked good, and is bigger than I thought at 6-1, with really good hands. I agree he has a nasty side and skates well. I thought his only real weakness was his strength….it seemed he was often losing puck and board battles with junior aged defenseman so he may be a couple of years away from the huge step up to the NHL.