Think about this...the six defensemen for the Hawks, Keith-Seabrook, Hjamarlsson-Oduya, Leddy-Rozsival, any pairing of those could probably be a 1-2 for any team in the NHL. How outstanding is that?
As long as they stay healthy, I love the defensive pairings out there. Probably the best 3 sets I have seen in ALL my years of being a Hawks fan. Which of course, makes ice time more evenly distributed.
Leddy has been terrific so far. He looks like a different player than last year, making much better decisions with and without the puck. Rozsival could be a number 2 dman on any team. Great pickup by the Hawks.
Will be tough for Brookbank to crack the lineup, it seems. Wouldn't be surprised to see him Saturday night vs Columbus, just to give someone a rest and him some action.
Still thinking it will be Emery in goal at Columbus and then Crawford Sunday at home vs the Wings.
Oh, and Steve Montador had a concussion the latter part of last year and was done for the year. He was cleared to play again about a month ago, got bumped in the head and he is back to square one.
You're right...doubt we see him this season, if ever playing hockey.
And no, I'm not advocating another John Scott on the team. That was a disaster, but fun to watch at times. Guy never lost a fight. Couldn't play hockey much (okay, well not at all), but he sure could fight.
For some reason this computer isn't allowing me to do quotes... (Cheap PoS!) So I'll just have to touch on what was said by others instead of quoting them verbatum.
In regards to this whole Bollig/Mayers thing: I understand that Jamal Mayers is a tested veteran who brings leadership to the team, but if we're talking about offensive production between the two, well I think the difference might be about 4-5 goals a year. With the Hawks being a team that's already stacked with offensive firepower, I'd rather take Bollig's toughness over Mayers' 15 points a season. I may be underexaggerating Jamal's point totals, but I'd just rather have a true enforcer out there who can bring a spark to his team when needed instead of a fourth line center whose play has deteriorated with age (no offense). And I understand that Jamal can still throw down but who would you rather have in a fight?
Crow looks good, although I hope he'll actually get a shutout this season... He sure works hard enough for those shutouts but manages to come up just a bit short. It's unfortunate, but as gmalis said, I'll take a 2.00 GAA any day of the week and twice on Sunday. But I really think he can handle the pressure and the load of being this team's #1 Goaltender. As for Emery... Well, Emery is Emery.
Nice to see all you guys back on the boards. Cheers!
And I understand that Jamal can still throw down but who would you rather have in a fight?
Personally, I don't care who is in a hockey fight, as long as it isn't one of the marquee players. Fights, no matter who wins or not, wind up with both players getting tossed for five minutes. Usually these are third or fourth line fringe players, not your skill types.
So, in my opinion, I would rather have someone with a more complete skillset like Jamal Mayers than someone who just skates up and down the ice looking for trouble, like Brian Bollig. Upside to Mayers, aside from him actually scoring here and there, is that he is a center (not a winger), does a nice job in the faceoff dot, can kill penalties and not look stupid doing any of them.
Bollig, although thankfully not John Scott, isn't much of an improvement. At least if he would forecheck effectively I could go to bat for him. But so far, I haven't seen it. He either has one goal or no goals at the NHL level and really isn't a threat to score at all.
I'll just touch on one thing and be done with this discussion.
Personally, I don't care who is in a hockey fight, as long as it isn't one of the marquee players.
You may not care who is in a hockey fight but those marquee players who feed of the energy of when their enforcers get into a fight do. Time and again we've heard in post-game interviews by players like Toews and Kane that a fight (escpecially a drubbing of an opponent) "really picked us up" or "gave us some momentum". Don't tell me that fights can't have an impact on momentum. Winning a fight especially against a heated rival gets the crowd going at home games, and the players can have the tendency to feed of the energy of the crowd, which in turn can spark momentum. That said, if I had the choice to put either Mayers or Bollig in a scrap with Chris Stewart, you bet your rear end I'm going with Bollig.
Players with that sandpaper to their game are a necessity for those kinds of games against teams like St. Louis, Phoenix or Columbus. We've said before that we were tired of the Hawks getting pushed around. Carcillo and Bollig bring that grit to the table for us. Surely their fisticuffs services aren't required for every game and Q knows that. I have no doubt that he'll dress Bollig accordingly. When that grit isn't needed, he won't be dressed.
Methodical uninspired win tonight against the Blue Jackets. Terribly outplayed 2/3 of the first period, the Hawks just hung in there, took their opportunites and capitalized on them when they needed to.
The Hawks seemed to be slowed a bit by the forechecking and center ice trap of the Blue Jackets. Nice rebound goal by Bolland to even the score at 1-1. Redirect by Bryan Bickell off a slap shot by Hjamarlsson. Pretty pass by Kane once again to a wide open Toews behind the Jackets defense.
Very good night for Corey Crawford again. Strong all game long, with minimal rebounds given up. Four games, 2 goals given up per game. That will win you an awful lot of games.
Hero of the game...probably Kaner with another two assist game. Goat of the game...tied between Sheldon Brookbank (bad penalty and pretty much bad defense all night) and Dave Bolland (three really bad penalties).
Side show...Jamaal Mayers ready to fight (LucidHawk...it's all yours) and he slips on a discarded hockey glove before he can throw even one punch.
5-0 ties an all time Hawks record to start a season. Not much of a record, but we'll take it.
Another 6 pm game tomorrow night at home against the Wings. Does Emery start? Please no! Hawks have two days off after that game, so maybe Crawford goes again. He is on a roll.
Then on the road for six games in a row. As mentioned before, after the six game trip the Hawks will have played almost half their road games for the season already. Lots and lots of home games then.
yep. First really bad start for the Hawks this year. I really can't stand watching games against the BJs, they spend more time worrying about hitting somebody instead making a hockey play. Hawks got it done. Kane taking advantage of any mistake by an opponent, nice to see again.
So many thoughts, so good, a few bad ones. I'm holding back for a few weeks until we get a better picture once the rest of the league has their legs.
Not too shocked by the good start, but 5-0 is a great start. Hawks had more players play in other leagues than most teams, so they've had an advantage. Back end of back-to-backs are about points, about backups, and how special teams look, going to be too tough to draw too many conclusions from those games in a compressed schedule. 10pts in the standings, things looking good.
I can pretty much tell you that this is probably due to Keith and Seabrook's minutes. I didn't look it up but I watched all the games this year and they have been out on the ice a ton. I've been pretty impressed with the Defense and pretty much all asspects of Blackhawks this year.
Actually, Keith and Seabrook's minutes are down a little from last year. And it's just luck that Oduya and Hammer are out there when the Hawks score, and are defensively solid? I'm not complaining about Seabs and Keith, it's just a pattern that seems to have carried over from last year.
Hawks start the season 6-0 for the first time EVER!
As I mentioned in another thread, the Hawks really looked tired tonight. Back to back games, with last night being a physical game against Columbus, while Detroit had the night off last night. The second period was all Wings, with the Hawks taking four penalties, including being short two players for :43 seconds.
Third period pretty much more of the same. Hawks looked slow, tired, couldn't clear the puck, couldn't connect on passes are were just plain outplayed by the Wings until about 7 minutes left in the third. A couple of Wings penalties gave the Hawks some momentum and some chances.
Yet another stellar game from Corey Crawford, although some woeful shooting from the Wings kept the Hawks in the game. Lots of opportunities for the Wings, but lots of missed shots and some good defensive blocks by the Hawks.
Hawks mustered just enough energy for Nick Leddy to score off a sweet pass from Stalberg for the OT game winner 2-1. Who doesn't love 4 on 4 hockey? You know that favors the Hawks every time with their speed.
Two days off now, then on the road for six games while the ice show comes to town. Anyone wanna predict wins/losses for the six games?
Heck if we could split the next 6 i would be excited. With 10 of first 12 on the road and a few back to backs i was thinking somewhere around 6-5-1 after 12. So this start is unbelievable to me. Crawford is playing very well, he's the key to whole season.
3-3 would be fine, considering the six teams we'll play. 4-2 would be great...anything better than that is outstanding.
Crawford IS the key. Interesting post game interview (see Blackhawks.com for his insight). Crawford says he is tracking the puck more consistently and staying more focused. Really? You didn't do that last year? Of course you didn't. That's why so many crappy goals were let in, especially in crucial situations. Interesting that he has to change his approach. I played goalie (not professionally, of course). You have to stay focused and track the puck EVERY INSTANT OF THE GAME. You can't have your mind wandering off.
So far, very pleased with Crawford's results so far. Five games, 9 goals against. You don't lose too many games giving up one or two goals. Well, Jimmy Howard did tonight...LOL.
Defense has been strong...real strong. I like all three D pairings...probably the best in like forever for the Hawks.
The ability to roll four strong lines has also helped. Who would think Stalberg, Bickell (looks like a new man), Kruger, Frolik, Mayers would be able to contribute so much?
Stamina will be a problem though. I'm hoping there is just a light skate or day off tomorrow, then back to work Tuesday. Hawks had some really tired legs out there in the second and third period.
Two things on the negative side. Brandon Saad...I don't know. Had one good move and shot attempt, but I thought he had a really poor game. And Andrew Shaw...I think the magic is gone. I know he is playing center now, so he has more defensive responsibility than roaming around on the wing...but he needs to get some offensive upside to his game.
Things are going alright. To early to tell if special teams are because of vast improvement from the Hawks and/or from challenges of teams that haven't gotten their acts together.
I would have to think teams with a large number of players that didn't play during the stoppage are still trying to put together systems, lines, and pairings. For example, I would point to Seabrook, he has not looked good at all, but he didn't play during the offseason. I think the PK has to be a little better though, but faceoffs need to improve or that won't last. I think Kane alone is making the pp better by looking to shoot and drawing a defender a little tighter to him.
Happy Crawford started but I wasn't a fan before the game. I thought it was a mistake to throw an exhausted team on the ice in front of him but it turned out to be a great decision now that they have the 2pts and a few days off.
Nasty stretch of games coming up and the rest of the league will start to get their acts together in another week or so. I'm looking forward to the SJ game, should be interesting.
Too tough to speculate on trades, most teams are still figuring out their lines and pairings so we don't know about to many players that might be shopped. Trade deadline is only 9 weeks out.
Rockford is a mess, they've lost 8 or 11 and have looked worse than the record suggests. Rockford starts back up on Feb 1st.
Tough loss against the Wild. I think the Hawks were too focused on speed last night, Min was ready for it. I think the PK is going to be much better this year now. They are certainly more aggressive. The pp looked a little to focues on passing instead of shooting. Stalberg is stlll adjusting to sitting in front of the net.
Burnt out Hawks took two pts from Detroit a few days back and now Wild did it to Hawks. Hawks had the edge in play but Min got it done. I'm not convinced the Wild are going to be a playoff team. Depth is still and issue for them, and that will be easier to see in a few weeks.
Crawford looks okay, came up with some big saves. I loved the extended 5 on 3 for he and the pk types.
Anyway, a pt on the road isn't anything to get upset about and they had a strong finish to the game. Vancouver next
Slightly disappointed Hawks didn't win against the Wild. But a point on the road is commendable.
Great penalty killing again...and again with an extended 5 on 3. Great job there. Unbelievable save by Crawford during those penalties.
Hawks had the better part of the play for the last half of the game. Backstrom a stud in goal, but not severely tested. Too bad Wild yanked Josh Harding. Let in a really poor goal against Toews...the reason he got the hook.
Just two goals given up by Crawford and he had no chance on either. Winning a few more defensive zone faceoffs would help the Hawks though. I think the Hawks had a slight edge in faceoff wins, but the important ones seemed to go the Wild's way.
Same problem as last year getting traffic in front of the net. And I would like to see the Hawks shooting low from the point just to try and get a tip or redirect. Seems, as usual, that the opposing team gets those but we never do. And I find the trend for the Hawks to always shoot up high on ALL goalies. I think you see more rebounds from shooting low and off the pads in the butterfly than shooting into the glove. Just my opinion.
Thought Patrick Sharp had an awful game last night. Aside from ringing the shootout off the crossbar (that can happen), he generated no offense and was THE turnover machine in the game. Clearing attempts that were weak at best getting intercepted along the boards and just passes that didn't seem to click. Not to mention at least four times coming down left wing with the puck on his backhand. What's up with that? Gotta get yourself into position to make a play, and backhand isn't it.
Questioning Q about having Sharp third in the shootout. Personally, I would like to see Hossa there.
And, for the record, I just plain hate shootouts to end a game. Stupid way to decide a winner.
PROS: PK and PP much improved. Like that Saad doesn't give up, despite not scoring. Hossa looks as strong as ever. No lasting effects from the Torres concussion. Frolik looks faster and more determined. Playing smarter. Crawford looks to have an up year. (I've always firmly believed that goalies have roller-coaster type seasons. 2012 was Crawford's down year. Only makes sense (to me) that he'd have a better season in 2013.) Guys are creating more screens. (About time.) Hawks seem to be dominating zones and winning more face-offs.
CONS: Kane still shys away along the boards. Poor line changes. Emery may not be a good option at backup.