Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blackhawks News And A Briefcase
Full Of Blues

Halfway through the month of December and the Blackhawks are still holding onto the #3 spot in the entire NHL. Even with all of the issues they have been having, they are able to pretty much stay there. Granted, there are 6 teams within 2 points of the Hawks (including Blackhawks south, The Panthers), but Hawks fan's have things to be happy about. The Blackhawks are also second in the league as far as Goals For. As with every good, there are plenty of things I would call "concerning", rather than bad. Lets go over a few:
  • Razor's Edge. How could the goaltending quandary not be the first item on the list? Corey Crawford has come out "sub-par" and Razor Emery has actually over-achieved. This play has gotten Razor 3 starts in a row, when he takes the net tonight in Minny. I keep saying it, but this is not yet a controversy. Quenneville is going with the hotter hand, while he has the luxury of letting Crawford work the kinks out. This may very well turn into the same scenario as the last two years, but we mustn't drink the Razor Kool-Aid just yet. Crawford is not a fragile ego'd Huet, or an over the hill Turco. He's still young and impressionable. If Stephane Waite can't fix Corey's foggy head, then I will fully endorse panic mode, because the Hawks goaltending in Rockford isn't exactly comforting. Salak, and Richards haven't done anything notable, which is hugely disappointing, and Carter Hutton is small and not NHL ready, either.
  • Bickell, Smith, Bickell, and so on. After last season's shocking 17 goal output, One Trick Bick opened some eyes in the NHL circles, if only to make league scouts say, "Don't give him 3 days to get his shot off". This also gave him a false sense of his place, as an NHL forward. He's a big ass that can cause traffic in front of the net, and if you give him time, can rip off a nasty wrist shot. Unfortunately, Mr. Bickell began to drink his own Kool-Aid (Yuck, I know), and lost his true identity. He began to think he was some kind of established sniper, and forgot to go to the net. Right to Q's Doghouse with you, Son. In steps every beat writers wet dream, the sandy haired Ben Smith. EVERYONE had been clamoring for the kid to step in. He was going to do great things because he had a handful of good, not great, games 8 months ago, right? Despite only scoring more than 20 goals once, in his Sophomore year at BC, he's a top six guy. Well, If you ask the Blackhawks Meat Beat Crew, they'll feed you that bologna. I've stated all along that Smith is, at best, a solid 3rd liner, who could fill in from time to time in other spots. Anyway, Smith was called up and, coincidence or not, laid a big steaming pile of poop in two of the Hawks worst games Hawks fans have seen in quite a long time. Now, by no means was this solely on Smith's shoulders, but he was absolutely invisible. Q had seen enough, and gave him the old "Healthy Scratch" treatment for 4 games. Bickell, who had been dropped to the fourth line, proceeded to swim in a sea of suck for those 4 games, and was scratched in favor of the kid. The Meat Beat threw fits of joy and spewed delusions of grandeur, when Smith scored in his first game back, but he then returned to earth so fast that he landed about 75 miles west of the UC, in Rockford. Now, we're back to the very affordable Bryan Bickell, who may or may not be angry enough to use that big ass to throw people around. At a dollar to pound ratio, the Blackhawks have to be winning on this one, right? Wednesday night's game will hopefully show us what One Trick Bick has learned, if anything. If not, he's cheap enough to sit in the press box, or even dangle as trade meat. Suck can be easily replaced.
  • Hammer Time. All of us bloggers have been taking notice of Hammer's play lately, because that is what we do. If we point out the good, that's only restating the obvious. In this case, we can really blame Doug Wilson. As revenge for sending them packing in '10, he pulled a dick move on his former team and ran the price up on Hammer, like some kind of bidding war between the knuckleheads on Storage Wars. For those of you who are familiar, liken Wilson to the Dave Hester, yelling "yeeeeeeeeeep". Anyhow, Bowman had to keep him, at the time, and overpaid by at least a million for him. A young, good sized, Swedish defensive defender with a lot of potential could really be a steal a few years down the road. The problem, here, is that Hammer has not progressed, and, in fact, he's REgressed. He refuses to use his size to punish opponents, he really offers zero offense, and he absorbs huge hits. He has a constant look of extreme pain glued to his face, and he's only 24 years old! No player can take this abuse for long, and it's showing in his development. Yes, we all know he blocks shots, but that doesn't take a masters degree to accomplish, in fact, it's probably the easiest of all talents to master. You know where the net is, and where the defender is, just figure out the angle and cover your nuts. The bottom line is that time is running out. Nick Leddy has all but jumped Hammer to become the #3 guy. Hammer was never going to be a 40 point defender, but 20 would be a reasonable goal, and the even bigger issue is his physical play. He CAN punish people, like he did against the Islanders, but he's just too tentative. The clock is ticking, Nik.
  • The latest of the entertaining shenanigans is today's article by NHL Blogger Extraordinaire Puck Daddy, aka Greg Wyshynski. Apparently, in a recent WGN radio interview, the host asked a question regarding the tired joke of the Sedin Sisters. Hardy, Har-Har, right? Bolly played to the audience and threw out a few jokes. Weeeeeeell, the Intarweb, mostly Vancouver Canucks fans, is up in arms over this, thanks to Wysh. Like this is the first time they've heard this shot. Really, it's like shooting fish in a barrel with Canucks fans, and this joke has been beaten to death. If you're going to get the idiots of the Intarweb up in a huff, find someone who is making a more recent stab, like their $10 Million backup goalie with the weepy face and greasy hair. I prefer the Tomax and Xamot Crimson Twins reference for the Sedin's, myself.

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