I have been doing a little reading lately. About the Hawks if you were wondering, which is honestly something I try not to do too much. Writing about them takes enough time out of my life and I try to keep a unique perspective by not allowing others to corrupt it. This reading I am doing lately has lead me to some interesting viewpoints, and they center around trades. I prefer taking the opinion that you play with what you have, and that talking about trades from our perspective is just hypothetical blabbering. With that said, I cannot help but find some of these opinions interesting and in some cases almost humorous. I will get to the Wild in a minute.
Basically, I have read some in depth arguments as to why the Chicago Blackhawks should trade Keith away (most ignoring his price tag and trade agreements). Some out there are calling for Kane's trade, some want to see Hjalmer go bye-bye, and even a few point the finger at Leddy. I have also heard a few rumblings about moving Bolland. Interesting, very interesting. The most concrete thing I can take from all of this is that others feel the same way that many of us feel here, which is that something is wrong. The main problem I have is that I hadn't really seen this talk until the Hawks lost a few games, and that none of them have the balls to point the finger at Q.
But, the talk is still interesting. Keith has never returned to be Dunc Norris, making the 2009-2010 season look like a fluke. I can sympathize with this argument, but I also think that it is hard for that year to have been a fluke given how well he played. It might be his career year, but I see something close to that performance in him again. The main concern with the D is physical play and I understand that he is not the most physical, but I kind of assumed he would die a Hawk after his deal was made. The Question is then, who do we trade on the D if some change is needed? Im not sold that we can point the finger at finding a new 6th D-man, and I think we have a good enough one in Lepisto or even O'Donnell, and Olsen looked pretty darn good too. So, does that mean a top 4 D-man has to go?
With Kaner, I can again see the reasoning behind the argument. He isn't really scoring enough goals is he? But, he is at the top in assists and no one has his unique skill. The only reason I would ever make that move is because of his defensive play. Maybe we could find a much cheaper version of a talented puck-mover who can also play some D. Frankly, I don't think I would make that move, and this is coming from the guy who questioned whether it would have been better to let Kane go and keep Verstud when that move happened. I still wonder sometimes.
I do believe that the Hawks need a new center and need to decide if the prospects are going to play deep into the season, staying in the NHL, and finding their grooves. This call them up, send them down bull is not what the team needs right now. I am also still on the side that believes the defensive woes can be attributed to the system, lack there off, and the offenses inability to help out.
I would like to hear what some of you think about the trade hype, because like I said, I would rather see the Hawks work with what they have. Well, Bickell should probably go bye-bye. He might find his groove with another team.
They currently stand in 7th place 5 points behind the Hawks. A Minnesota win could make things more interesting standings wise. Both of these teams used to share the top spot, but did anyone really expect that to last? The last meeting between these 2 teams saw the Wild come from behind twice and the game had to be decided by a wicked shootout goal by Kane. This loss sent the Wild into a pretty bad losing streak, hence their place at 7th currently. The Wild have been hurting for a while, having troubles finding goals, but are still within arms length of the Hawks. The Wild did however win against the Sharks last night in the shootout.
My take on the Wild is that their goaltending has won them many games and kept them in others. Ray Emery will get the start tonight for the Hawks, which says a little bit, even though Crow looked alright in his recent starts. The main difference here is rebound control and the Hawks need it bad right now. From Q, I would love another look at the Bolland/Hossa tandem, with Hayes maybe. I expect the Kane/Stalberg/Toews thing to stay since it helped Stalberg net 3 goals last game, and the rest is kind of a crap shoot with Q. Although, I have wondered if Mayers has earned 3rd line minutes, and is maybe Q could fond someone else to center the 4th line.
I expect little out of the power-play tonight, and think this game will be decided 5 on 5. The Wild are not much better at special teams than the Hawks. If the Hawks show up ready to fight, I think they can get the somewhat easy win. If they don't, Emery will have to be big. Either way, I anticipate a Hawks win, and maybe Kaner will even score.