And the roller coaster ride comes to end...Behind a monstrous third period from Brouwer and Co. the Blackhawks were able to snatch up 3 out of a possible 4 points from the Predators this weekend. It would have been nice for Sharp to roof the puck on that breakaway Saturday night in OT, but then again we were lucky to see the extra frame considering how the Preds manhandled the Hawks in the 3rd period. In both matchups the team with the better 3rd period came out on top. The momentum and style of play varied wildly for 6 periods against Nashville but the end goal of maintaining optimism heading towards two big games next weekend was definitely met. With Barry Trotz in the rear view mirror I'd like to take a moment to reflect on some things I saw this weekend.
Has Dave Bolland finally figured out how to elevate his regular season
play? Dating back to before these two games with Nashville #36 seems
to have a little more hop in his step. The grinding 3rd liner has
shown speed and playmaking ability that has played a major factor in
the Hawks success of late. I found it rather funny in Saturday's game
that the line giving Nashville the most trouble was
Bickell-Bolland-Pisani. With all the all stars and firepower dressed
in Hawks sweaters you would think teams would be overjoyed to see that
line out on the ice. That definitely wasn't the case this weekend.
The physical play was also ramped up a bit. Having to play a division
rival back to back nights probably had a lot to do with it but it was
nice to see guys like Hendry and Bickell and Leddy throw the body a
little bit when the time was appropriate. I really hate myself for
saying this but if the Hawks could play a little bit more like the
Blues and finish every check and play hard on the body it could go a
long way towards helping them control the flow of the game.
Turco? Crawford? I don't know. Obviously Crawford has been great.
Before getting torched in the 3rd on Saturday he was being praised to
the likes of Tony O. My only thought concerning goaltending is that
I'm not sure Marty Turco can be a solid number 2 guy. He doesn't seem
composed enough in net to get spot starts and be effective. His style
of play feeds off of repetition and being in a groove where his
flailing antics fit perfectly into the flow of the game. There was a
goal tonight where he went down, fell to his side, rolled over and the
puck hadn't even gotten to within 5 feet of the crease yet. When it
did the Predators had an easy tap in goal because Turco played himself
right out of position. Maybe that changes with more shots faced, maybe
it doesn't, it's just a thought that crossed my mind.
The only other thought crossing my mind is how excited I am for next
weekend. Realistically the Hawks from the beginning of this season
would have taken 1 or 0 points this weekend given the adversity they
faced. But the mojo is starting to change. Things seem to be gelling
a little bit now and there's no better way to turn that into cement
than two huge matchups with Philly and Detroit.
Solid efforts in those two games coupled with a lot of rest during the
all star festivities is going to put these Hawks in a decent spot
heading towards the home stretch. They may be lower in the standings
than we expected but with Phoenix and Nashville above us there is
definitely potential to move upwards.
Filed under: '10-11 Regular Season