It is really hard to get too concerned about what goes down in preseason play. When all is said and done, it really doesn't matter, and yet I can't help but feel off about what has transpired thus far at the end of preseason play.
Namely, the Hawks slop-fest in their own zone, coupled with the apparent lack of any system to their play along with a roster still waiting for too many choices. One of the the most important elements rolling into regular season play this year was to not resemble the confused play of last year's start, and last minute choices of roster moves. Early points are vital. Just look at last year.
The Hawks look clumsy, unsure of where they should be, handing goals over on silver platters in their own zone, and then too cutesy at the other end to take a shot. I really question what goes on in practice sometimes. Where is the structure?
The only aspect looking finely tuned is the Hawks power-play which only needed a few seconds to produce a goal in this evenings game. At times, the Hawks have tried to be too pretty, making unnecessary passes, but watching some of the puck movement displayed by the Hawks at times curbs any real resentment I have in this department. The urgency of needing points will hopefully put an end to that.
Can I ask why Scott was on the ice? Seriously, if it is not crystal clear to this coaching staff yet that there are better options, than I am truly worried.
Speaking of giant hockey players, Jimmy Hayes had another tremendous game. Shift for shift, the best performance of anyone in a white sweater, it was nice to see this kid shine again. It makes one quite aware of how good some of these prospects are, what that means for the future of the administration, but also of the hard choices that still stand in the way of October 7th.
It would seem that the Hawks have made a choice in CC's back-up, opting to play Crow when a bit of doubt was still looming about the open position. But, the coaching staff might surprise you with their choice. Word is that Emery will fill that opening despite being out performed by a much younger Salak who has much room to grow and improve.
The other big question still looms around a 2nd line center, and the Hawks seem bound to playing Kane in that role based off of what seems like a last second hunch. The Kane, Hossa, Brunette line has had moments of great promise. Kane looks good with the puck coming out of their own zone, quarterbacking the play, but it kind of ends there. Defensively, Kane has had a few follies while lacking the size to be a presence through the middle. Brunette just struggles to keep up.
Pirri has been great, which should crush hopes of Kruger having any regular appearances and allows for options not involving Kane at center. I'm not totally against the Kane thing, but I am not supper excited either. Pirri has displayed 3rd line center caliber play in my opinion and he deserves a shot.
Saad was left out of today's line-up. A first for preseason play, and interesting given that Hayes was sent down and then brought up again for today's game. Does this point to more looming decisions to be made?
BTW, I'm still waiting for Montador to do something pleasing to the eye, which would be the opposite of everything seen so far from him.
This post is beginning to sound pretty pessimistic, which I'm not. I have a lot of hope for this year and consider the Hawks among the top contenders for the cup. The great list of prospects along with the "core" establish a promising future, but bad choices, and lack of consistency can easily disrupt a positive thing.
I look forward to a somewhat solid roster on Friday and a much more composed team play.