Just when you thought Stalberg was getting ready to pack his bags, he shows the reason SB and company have kept him around. Stals, and Saad had impressive nights in the Hawks preseason win over the Caps last night, but let us get to that a tad later.
In recent news, a few prospects have been sent down to ponder future aspirations of Blackhawks glory. Among the most recently released from the active roster are David Toews, Shaw, Danault, and McNeil. The only name I saw as having an inkling of a chance to stay around was McNeil, and that had more to do with his position than anything else.
The news followed a 4-1 loss to the Pens a couple days ago in a game that was without much to appreciate. Noticeable moments or worthy critiques in that game include a somewhat weak and lost performance by Emery in net, contrasted by a better, but not much more exciting display by Salak. It was refreshing to watch CC last night from the 200 level (a shout out to my friends at Spatan Beer for the tickets).
Bickell delivered 7 hits in the Pens game which is promising, but was on the ice for every Pens goal (not so promising). Other note-worthy performances were that of #37 Brandon Pirri who might just have a shot at the roster this year. I for one am picking him over Kruger who has not shown me any reason to keep around.
The talk of the night surrounded Frolik though, who managed the only Hawks goal and a nice goal it was. In fact, Frolik looked strong the whole night, offensively and defensively, but like Bickell, suffered in the +/- category by being on the ice for 3 goals against. As I have said in recent posts, I am looking at how the players are standing out in good ways and saving too many critiques on mistakes for games that count.
Now let us move onto last nights game. The first victory of the year, and it came off of the stick of young Brandon Saad (#43) after a nice shot which followed a nice pass from Toews. I'm a believer in this kid. Just 18, he stands at 6'1", 200 pounds and has the skill-set to overshadow his size. An accomplice in every Hawks goal last night, Saad is maybe taking the spot of other more known NHL'rs on the team.
Other good things included the debut of Corey Crawford who had a strong night, making some really tough saves and following the play well. CC looked in regular form. Hjalmer looked like a guy who had some pains go away over the summer. With time to heal, he was out there starting new bruises and playing down right strong defense.
Segal was a big physical presence on the ice and added to the highlights for best hits of the night. Hayes looked good and not for the first time. Me thinks this giant can play hockey. Mayers had another strong performance, and Bolland looked ready to score 30 goals this year.
Again, not so impressive was Kruger. He made more than a few mistakes and just doesn't seem to have it in my opinion. His less than average performance however, was overshadowed by a just plain terrible game by Montador. It had me asking where Campoli was by the end of the night and calling for a last minute switcheroo. He handed a goal over on a silver platter with one of the worst turnovers a defenseman can make, made bad passes all night, one such pass during a power-play which caused a clearing of the zone, had weak puck possession all night, and wasn't anywhere near big for his team physically. It is one game in a sea of games to come, but I am worried that the Hawks made a big mistake.
The story of the night was that of Stalberg's. On the ride over to the UC, I was commenting on how thin his rope was getting pretty thin. "He had better start producing something other than quick feet or Saad is taking his spot," I said. Funny how they ended up creating some magic together. If Stalberg can keep up whatever last night was (scoring 2 important and nice goals), and he gains the confidence of a guy who can score goals consistently, we just might have something here.
Filed under: Game Recap