Monday, October 4, 2010

Once, Twice, Three Times a Leddy

What a weekend, here in Chicago. The Cubs and Sox were finally taken out back, like Old Yeller, to be put out of their misery, and our glorious 3-0 Bears finally showed their true form. All those people who booked their tickets to Dallas for the Super Bowl, last week, can now shut their naive cake holes, and enjoy their shoe leather sammiches. The best part of the weekend was, of course, the REAL Hawks showing they still have a little spunk by taking down Pittsburgh on Friday and St. Louis last night. The wins were not without a price though, as Brian Campbell was sent off with a knee injury and it was disclosed that he will be out about 5 weeks. Concerning? Yes! Devastating? Hardly! Last year, when Soupy went down, they struggled not only on the powerplay, but playing solid hockey in general. There was no one to really take his role, and the Hawks struggled for a brief period because of it. This year is another story. The team has a plethora of young defensive talent waiting for a chance. As Quenneville showed last night, they are going to slide Nick Leddy in the spot held by Campbell. This is not without problems, as Leddy is only 19, a bit on the smallish side, and not quite as flashy as #51. BUT, he is out of that Campbell "mold". He moves the puck and likes to have it on his stick. My honest feeling is that Connelly would work much better in that slot, and peppering in Leddy would be the smarter thing to do. Less pressure on the kid. We'll see how it shakes out, and I hope Hjalmarsson is ready to earn that money, because he's going to have to cover up for Leddy's play on the back end. They may be throwing him to the wolves a bit premature, but only time will tell ho he handles it. Leddy looked comfortable last night, but I'll get to that in a bit.

There you have the highlights from the Pittsburgh game, Friday. The Penguins really didn't dress the big dogs, and it showed. Hossa put on a one man show, with two dominating goals, and Pisani, Kane and Kopecky all added tallys as well. Crawford was serviceable in net, and showed he'll be just fine as Turco's backup. The big news was the Campbell injury.

Th same opponent lineup issue was the case for Sunday's affair with those pesky mutts, the Blues. No Halak or Oshie for St. Louis, and it showed. This was my first live look at the children of 2010. The lines for the night were Kopecky/Toews/Hossa, Morin/Sharpie/Kane, Pisani/Bolland/Bickell, and Brouwer/Dowell/Stalberg on O-ffense. Defensively, Keith and his hetero lifemate Seabrook were together, with Hjalmarsson and Leddy paired up, and the cement boots line of Nick Boynton and John Scott were together. That is still a VERY solid lineup, without Skille and Campbell. Keith's blast off the faceoff, right after the Blues received a double minor for High Sticking, was tipped in by Kopecky about 4 seconds into the PP, and the Hawks went on a roll. A few minutes later, Stalberg made a beautiful blind backhand pass to Troy Brouwer, who roofed it. The third goal was a bit of a chlamydia goal as it was a dribbler off Hossa, after Morin made a nice move into the slot, and let a falling (or stumbling) shot go. The Kane/Toews/Kopecky goal looked like there might be a little chemistry there, as they gave it a little "tick-tac-toe" and Toews finished with a little "how's your father". Turco played pretty solid but the second St. Louis goal was a direct result of his confidence, or OVER-confidence, as a puckhandler. He turned it over to a guy standing 4 feet from him, who fed it in front, as Turco was floundering, and it snuck in past him. I'll still take a few of those, as long as they don't cost any games. That gaffe aside, he is still an amazing puckhandler, and he has something we haven't seen in a while, which is confidence. There is no doubt that when Marty Turco is in net, that is HIS crease. He would slash his own children if they got too close. He has some marbles, which I could never have said for Huet or Niemi, and as much as I loved Khabby, his marbles were in question, too. Come to find out his marbles were probably floating in a Vodka Martini, like a pair of olives. Back to the subject at hand, Here are the highlights of the game:

Now for my take on the situation. The first three lines are packed with talent, and if they go to battle like they did tonight, all four lines can put the puck in the net without question. That line of Kane, Sharpie and Morin should have defensemen wetting themselves, because that is some BLAZING talent in your grill. For the record, I DID say Sharpie would be the #2 center, and Bolland #3 didn't I? The defense is where there may be some questions. Hammer-son is going to be relied upon like a rape crisis counselor on a girls gone wild tour, to keep the second and third pairings from literally running around like the three stooges. Scott and Boynton have their moments, but let's hope they aren't out there, together, against anyone with talent, because it'll be ugly. They are both slow, and if they can't get their hands on a quick guy, they'll get eaten up. I fully understand why Scott is here, and we haven't had a cementhead like him since Bob Probert or Stu Grimson, but the leash need to be short with him. "Q" needs to keep in mind just what he has to offer, and keep him fresh for when asshats like Matt Cooke, Cam Janssen, or Dan Carcillo come sniffing around, like the douches they are. I read that the Hawks have 9 games to return Morin and/or Leddy to the juniors, and it's an option for Leddy, but I really see him playing in Rockford, eventually. I think those two are far past a year in the juniors. Keep two things in mind while watching Nick Leddy and Jeremy Morin; The Hawks got Leddy for Cam Barker, and Morin (with others) for Byfuglien, Sopel, Eager and Aliu. Both players will outscore and outplay the slugs they were traded for, before their careers are over. Mark my words.

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