Blackhawks Confidential

Hawks hang tough versus Preds

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.        



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1 Comment

blkhawk11 said:

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Good points illustrated, Paul and a real bonus to see the Hawks rally in the 3rd period to put this game away as they should have done in the previous matchup...playing the full 60 minutes is absolutely a must.
Crawford is definetly the no. 1 factor needed in net and the defence needs to be more consistent with puck control and more aggrssive action using the body and clearing the zone properly.
Players such as Sharp, Hossa and Kane must contribute more in scoring aspects for this club to be successful...they definetly are receiving the ice time as opposed to others that are the main contributors to the Hawks tallies.
Bolland and Brouwer along with Kopecky have improved greatly in the last several contests especially and Campbell has become the best D man IMO with Hendry and Leddy providing consistent efforts as well.

Hopefully during the break, the much needed practices will result in positive outcomes for the weak areas to be improved upon.

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