So much lost time to catch up on where do I even begin... With the All Star game I guess. It was an interesting attempt to make the game more exciting this year. Capatains, a draft, revamped skills competetion. I give the NHL tons of props for trying something new but in the end I can't say I enjoyed this year's game more so than any other season.
The draft show was too drawn out for me and didn't make much sense. It had to be heavily scripted. How can David Backes be taken before Phil Kessel to play in a game that features no defense and highlights offensive abilities? And they had to dog Toews intentionally. The funny part about that was how the camera went to him after every draft selection and the look on his face expressed obvious anger/disappointment.
Then came the skills competition. It was set up to be quite the show but I thought it lacked alot of personality. Guys seemed timid, scared, and even uninterested in what was going on. After doing the fastest skater competition you could hear Matt Duchene (who must have forgotten he was mic'd up and forgotten that he was 20) say "whoa, way too much vodka last night." I can't blame them for partying but compared to other sports All Star skills competitions I thought this one lacked alot of energy and flare.
I found the actual game to be pretty enjoyable. As happy as I was for Patrick Sharp to be named the MVP, deep down it hurt knowing that with each accolade he accumulates his contract for next season grows bigger and bigger. It also hurt to see Kaner sauce one through the crease for Big Buff to bury in the 1st period. Watching Keith and Buff together on the back end kind of made me wonder as well...
But let's get back to the present, or at least as close to it as we can. The Hawks downed the Blue Jackets Tuesday night behind solide play from the core. Driving in to work on Tuesday I was curious to see the response after I heard Toews on the radio point out that there were no excuses and they had to play better. And as we've grown to expect, Captain Serious delivered. So did Kane, Hossa, BOlland, and others as the Hawks battled their way to victory.
As great as Toews was in this game I have to give the game puck to Turco. Yes he definitely let in a few soft ones early but he responded by standing tall against a full out assault from Columbus in the third period. He was very Sharp late in the game and was the biggest reason the Hawks didn't fall victim to another very deflating loss.
I'm always happy with a W but that 3rd period really makes me worry. Last year if a team had one extended shift in the Hawks end it came as a surprise. This year teams are spending entire periods making minced meat of the Hawks defense. Luckily this game was against Columbus and we could hold on for the victory. Against the majority of the NHL though that would have been another disheartening loss.
With the past and present taken care of let's look into the future. Vancouver tomorrow night. It's a rivalry game so you can throw the expert's analysis out the window. I'm curious to see how a flaming hot Ryan Kesler performs against the Hawks. He's usually pretty quiet against Chicago. I'm also going to be watching closely to see if this Vancouver team is for real.
Sports gurus everywhere have already been crowning them this years shoe in to win the Cup. Last time they played the Hawks they were missing Hamhuis and Ballard (I think). This time they have have their full squad (I think) and us our's and we can get a good feel for how these two teams stack up against each other.
Should be fun!
Filed under: '10-11 Regular Season