Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What We've Learned Thus Far

Now that we are roughly 10% through the season it's safe to say that there are a few things that we're finding out about our beloved team. Some of which none of us could have guessed. Here are just a few:

All this talk of summers off, and Deuce getting a plethora of rest was just smoke blown up our collective asses. He's pretty much started off right where he left off in April. Brain farts and shooting directly into defenders. What's the next step, a lobotomy? Of course he has his flashes of brilliance, but we need more than flashes from a former Norris Trophy winning player. The first order of business should be getting him as far away from Nick Leddy as possible. There is a reason Soupie and Deuce never played together, and this should stand for Leddy and Keith. They both serve the same general purpose, so they cancel each other out, when together. Can we fix this, PLEASE?

If you would have told me that MegaMayers would be the most valuable fighter on the team, over Car Bomb and Big Slow, I would have laughed, or cried. YET, it is to be. The Thunderdome has done a textbook job of protecting his teammates, and has also thrown in a little offense. This may not keep up, but he's turned out to be one of the most important acquisitions of this offseason. This begs to ask the question of just WHAT they are going to do with Big Slow, but that's for another point.

Andrew Brunette has good hands, and a nose for the net, but that's it. When the game turns into a track meet, as quite a few of the Hawks games do, he is rendered completely useless. I'm not sure what they can really DO with him, but he may end up a healthy scratch in the near future. He has talent and leadership, but he's a square peg on a team full of round holes.

Frank the Tank Montador is apparently a slow starter. His preseason was atrocious and it led him to be played at 4th line winger for a game. That's not a promotion, people. Since the season started and he had gotten progressively better. He's going to pan out. His current partner, is another story.

Lurch O'Donnell is hanging on by a thin thread. He hasn't hurt the team, much, but his slow footwork is going to be exposed more and more. For all the time Sami Lepisto got in the preseason, it's kind of pointless to sit him in the press box for the first 8 games in favor of the old dog. Maybe O-D will step things up and start planing opponents on their tuchuses, but right now, he's just barely treading water. I like the idea of bringing him in, but he's more suited for the #7 spot.

Yes, Sami Lepisto is still employed by the Chicago Blackhawks, and he doesn't have some contagious disease other than being Finnish. I KEED, I KEED. Maybe we put him to work, guys? Just a thought.

Dan Carcillo really isn't the man we all thought he was. When he almost got into a fracas in his first shift of the training camp festival, we all thought to ourselves, "HERE he goes. The circus begins". We couldn't have been more wrong. He's been composed, and a model teammate. Yes, I'm still talking about Dan Carcillo. No, Mr. Hyde to speak of, yet. In fact he's almost been, shall I say, charming? If he can keep this up, I'd love for them to keep him around after this season. This has the makings of a hero story in this town.

Bolland is the guy we thought he was, in the playoffs last season. He's been THE shutdown guy, while anchoring the 3rd line and adding in some offense on the second PP unit. Sure beats his invisibility trick that he pulled last season.

Kaner is a beast no matter where you put him. He's been slightly below average on the defensive side of the rink, but he was that way at wing. Outside of the Hawks zone, he's been MASTERFUL. He has singlehandedly put to rest all questions about the #2 center slot. Consider it filled with balls of steel.

No worries of a sophomore slump with Crawford. He's here to stay, and he's going to continue to be solid, yet unspectacular. That, folks, is absolutely fine by me.

Razor will be just fine, as a backup. For the 20 games we'll need him, he's serviceable. He's not going to steal any games for the Hawks, but he's also not going to shit-the-bed each time he's in net. Maybe just a skid mark or two. Quenneville knows better than to throw him in there against Vancouver, but he can play some of the games like Columbus. I still like Salak better as a player, but they'd rather that Salak plays more than once every two weeks, and I can get on board with that.

Lucky Number 7 is quietly becoming the most important defender on the team. With Deuce playing like a puppy with two new toys, Seabrook just performs and intimidates. Argue with me all you'd like, but you don't see him constantly turning the puck over and repeatedly aiming for opposing players OTHER than the goalie. Let me remind you just how many times those blocked Duncan Keith shots have turned into odd man breaks coming back the Blackhawks way. Seabrook is big, surprisingly mobile, can control the puck, can jump into the play, and lets not leave out his hockey IQ. He's a poor man's Shea Weber. Let's be thankful he's here for a while.

As much as people fall all over themselves about players like Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin, Brandon Pirri, and Brandon Saad there just isn't room for them on the Blackhawks. PERIOD. Get mad and start pounding away at the keyboard, but tell me just WHERE those guys play. Unless Brunette gets shipped off somewhere, the Toews and Sharp line isn't changing. Hossa/Kane/Car Bomb isn't getting mixed up anytime soon. None of those players can play better than Bickell or Frolik on the shutdown line. What do you have left? 8 minutes a game on the forth line? I'd rather see the kids get major minutes in Rockford or Saginaw and have Stalberg/Olesz/Mayers/Kruger waste away on the forth line. None of those kids will benefit from being scratched and watching from the bench most of the game. This leaves the Hawks with plenty of leverage, should they entertain a trade. I, for one, would have loved to see David Booth here instead of Vancouver.

So, that is where things stand, at this point. The Hawks are 5-1-2 and currently in first place. Things aren't bad at all, and that's an improvement from last year.

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