What Does the Shortened Season Mean for the Blackhawks?

What Does the Shortened Season Mean for the Blackhawks?

One thing we can be sure of, is that it will be even harder to make predictions this year. The shortened season is somewhat of a wildcard thrown into the mix of an already difficult outcome to predict. But, are there teams that will benefit most from this season, and others who are doomed from the get-go? Most agree that the Blackhawks benefited from the extended off-season, but that does not necessarily translate into a better season.

Take for instance this post from Stu Hackel at Red Light. In the first paragraph, he suggests that a study by Pierre McGuire provides 5 essentials to being successful in a shortened season. They are:

Very Good GoaltendingA Four-Line Attack, A Coach with an Understanding of Work-To-Rest Ratio so that players don't breakdown, Avoiding Prolonged Losing Streaks of Five Games or More, and Creative Coaching.

The article goes on later to mention that the Hawks should be pitied for the fact that the first 10 of 12 games will be on the road. It does not mention that the Hawks also have the most back-to-back games as well.

This doesn't exactly sound great for the Hawks. Of the 5 elements mentioned for a successful season, the Hawks are seemingly hurting in at least 4 of them. First, goaltending will most likely be the biggest concern for the Hawks. Is Crawford capable of being the starter the Hawks need? I am definitely pessimistic about this one, and I found his success to be the fluke, rather than his tough season last year. When you get down to it, he has nothing special to offer as a goaltender, except a hard work ethic, and at times a poise in the net.

A four-line attack might be the area that the Hawks have the greatest edge, but only if used correctly, and we know how much of a toss-up that is going into the season.

I think that Q is aware of a good work-to-rest ratio, but I question his logic involved in it. He will allow the team to rest from time to time, but he is also prone to over exerting certain players unnecessarily. A guy like Toews will be especially prone to injury, and Q better use him more wisely than he has in the past. The news that Hossa will be on the 1st line, also makes him a target for injury. Not only rest, but use of time on the ice is important here, and we have had our complaints about Q here.

Avoiding a prolonged losing streak looks bleak when the season begins on the road for such an extended period of time, and we know that the Hawks have been streaky in the recent past. I am not as persuaded that this will be any different than in a regular season in terms of larger outcomes, but it surely doesn't seem to be a strength for the Hawks.

Oh man, and last but not least is creative coaching. Should I even go further on this subject? Q is an obvious traditionalist, and tradition is rarely creative. My hope is that Q's job is on the line, and that this forces him into new practices, or avoiding his past bad ones, but I assume we shall see more of the same.

Take what we know. The Hawks are going to be comprised of mostly the same team as last year. This bodes well for them. The lines are already a huge point of contention though, with Bolland taking on a new role, which has him leaving one that he was very successful in. It seems as though Stalberg is starting on the 3rd line, with whom is still up for debate, but he has been issued an order to gain power-play minutes. Leddy is apparently getting a start on the 2nd pairing, Montador's career looks to be over which has also saved Hjalmer's spot on the Hawks for a little longer.

Defensive depth is an area of strength for the Hawks, especially if everybody reaches their potential and our high expectations. We could be looking at one of the strongest defensive rosters in the league, or maybe a cluster of chaos.

I am hopeful, but also anticipating a rough start that will see Bowman scrambling for a new goaltender, and the possibility of a quick coaching change.

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  • Here is where I start talking crazy shit. I felt last year that Crawford had some very shitty defense in front of him. Seldom did the team execute a five man breakout, and seldom was there consistent play. Keith and Biscuit were way overplayed. Leddy was pushed into a role he wasn't ready for, and Hammer was simply not the guy who came up and slammed bodies around. Also, I felt like the team really missed Campbell, but I can't sell that kind crazy on this site. So, looking at this year, I believe Leddy will be better and I believed from last year that he will remain on the second line. If nothing else, SB is consistent in how he manages his picks. He does not give up them and he is not going to say "This kid was a minus 12 so anything is better." We, of course, see the world much differently. With a better defense, I believe you will see an adequate Crawford. Not great, not terrible, but consistent enough.

    This team remains built for offense, and scoring goals last year was not their problem. I don't believe this has changed. Pirri and Hayes have already been sent down, so for the moment, it seems clear to me that SB and Q are adamantly married to Bolland at second center. Whether it fits or makes sense is kind of irrelevant, this is the way of the Q. Stalberg on the third line? That's your Rolex clock radio kind of move. Still, I don't think this team will have a hard time scoring. How they start will be crucial as it will for every team. With the roster shaping up the way it is, there may be just enough new faces to force Q into some new schemes. I don't count on it, but maybe. I don't have much feeling at all right now one way or the other. The first two weeks will probably tell us everything we need to know.

  • It is the second Christmas morning in one month! Looking forward to the games today. Sloppy games but games none the less!

    I just wanted to give you guys big kudos on keeping this blog alive throughout this whole ordeal. 100 days of summer into absolute nothingness during the fall and winter days would have been enough for most to close shop and start a soccer blog. Instead, like the true passionate hockey fans you prove to be, you kept the heart beating and have allowed Puckpowwow to head into the dawn of a new hockey era.

    Good on you HH. Good on you Vegas. Good on all those that continued to check in on this blog over the last 7 months!!

    Looking forward to a spirited run even though it is only a half season. Im not a big fan of the schedule my team ended up with but I guess we have to get the games in somehow.

    Who is going to hoist the Cup in the year that doesnt really count??? I wouldnt mind seeing a team like Winnipeg go off on a run outta nowhere. Since this is really anyones season, why not.

    Predictions anyone?

    Enjoy the games! For only $60.00 I get the NHL Center Ice through Directv. Its actually cheaper than I thought those vampires would charge!

    Go Wings!

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