Blackhawk Update.

Blackhawk Update.

Following a hard loss in Anaheim, the Chicago Blackhawks have had some time to rest, practice and look back on the past couple of weeks. Most importantly, to areas which did not work out so great for the #1 team in the league.

With updates coming in that Hossa will not skate against the Kings Monday night, Q has made some moves in an attempt to avoid repeating maybe his worst coaching decision of the year. That choice was of course, to double shift Patrick Kane continually over the course of their 4-2 loss to the Ducks. For one, it put Kane in position to get injured against a team who likes to hit opponents into submission, and it did nothing for the Hawks chances of winning their showdown with the 2nd place team in the league. Nor does it allow for some players in the system to prove their worth, and get some NHL ice time.

Instead, it looks as though Frolik will be moved up to the top line alongside Saad and Toews, if their practices have any bearing on the outcome. This will allow for more continuity among the lines, an easier replacement on the 4th line, and gives Fro the moment he has earned from outstanding play all year long. I am excited to see what Fro does with his shot at more ice time with some offensive talent on his side.

The choice to play Kaner did however, allow Chicago fans to glimpse the winger's new found focus on hockey, and being a better all around player this year, in the form of his interviews following the game. As part of his new, and more mature approach to his life, Kane took responsibility for not showing up in Anaheim. He said that he could have played better even though we shouldn't have expected much from a forward who played 25+ minutes. Frankly, I wouldn't have expected much from Kane even without the exhausted state he was in. The Ducks are a big, physical, and defensively strong team. Not Kane's best opponent by any stretch. But, his ability to talk the talk, and walk the walk lately, has me grinning from ear to ear, and anxious to see how much better he can get.

Almost forgot to mention this: The Hawks have given fans a lot of reason to get excited this year, but there are 2 players who seem unable to join those reasons. Seabrook and Bolland are not exactly having great seasons by any stretch of the imagination, and I expect better from both of them. Bolland hasn't been awful, but he goes for great lengths of time without being noticeable, and his stats show a very disappointing truth. Seabrook has been just about as awful as someone can get with his skills. Seabs might not be playing for his future in a Hawks uniform like Bolland is, but I sure as heck expect more from him as the playoffs come closer. It seems like a conditioning issue, so maybe he is not 100% healthy. If this is the case, maybe some time off will help.

As Vegas mentioned in the last post, the Wings gave the Ducks a spanking which points to a number of elements surrounding NHL conversations these days, and also served to keep the Ducks below the Hawks in the standings. Monday night, the Hawks face another surging team in the West, who also happen to be the Cup Champions. The Kings have found their groove at the right time, and it will be swinging through the UC shortly. LA is a Cup favored team, and we are coming into the stretch here. This week  of home games for the Hawks gets started off with a bang. Here's to the Hawks showing us what they have without 2 prime players in the lineup, and Hossa making a speedy recovery for Friday night's rematch against the Ducks.

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  • Thank you HH for blocking me from creating a post with TWO pictures of Nelson to match the two losses the Ducks took this weekend, thank god this site has adult leadership LOL. When things really get tight, I believe it will ultimately be between the Kings, the Hawks and the Ducks to face the East. Hate to be condescending, but I just don't think the rest of the conference has the right depth to prevent one of these three teams from advancing. The Wings, IMO, are a wild card, but I'm not sure that even they can outlast one of these teams in seven games.

    As for the Hawks, if Sharp and Hossa can come back near 100%(a dubious hope a this point) then this period of learning to deal without them may pay some real dividends. I'm curious to see what Frolik brings up top, though I have to admit I'm skeptical. No doubt the kid deserves it as he truly works his ass off every night. Still, I can't help but wonder, would he be last year's Vrbata on a team like the Yotes? I also wonder at times if he has just given up trying to score and instead has decided he will be a relentless forechecker who makes like miserable for other teams. I'm not complaining, and in fact I feel kind of bad that a guy like him works so hard and just doesn't get scoring results.

    Playoffs, in any sport, are about getting hot at the right time. The Hawks may have spent some hotness early in the season and caught a lot of breaks early, but there is still a lot of room for individuals such as Stals, Bickell, etc to get hot and make life rough for other teams without depth. For now, I will stick to my theory that the teams that have beaten the Hawks have had to put up some very strong efforts that were not sustainable. The Hawks will still need to play even better then they are now of course, but hopefully having to work a little harder now will be a good thing.

  • Worth mentioning is that LA has dropped their last 2 games and were shutout in both games.

    Also worth mentioning is that a strong Penguins team became even stronger by making some trades which bring Murray from the Sharks to their back end, and Brenden Morrow from the Stars to an already power house offense. The Pens really want this season to be theirs.

    Curious if SB is trying to make a move? With Montador becoming healthy, the Hawks are a bit heavy on the defensive end, and are still in the market for a center. With Bollie's production, I wonder if he is being shopped? I have heard rumors that Calgary made a play for Saad, offering up Iginla for the trade. I wonder if SB laughed at that one, and is negotiating other options for the powerful center?

    Keeping teenagers in line is what I do for a living Vegas. And it all starts with prevention. You gotta beat them to the punch.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    From Doug Wilson, "This deal places Douglas in a quality situation which he deserves.” Wow. If that is not an admission you have just given up on your team for the season, I don't know what is. Yeah, with the Morrow trade, the Penguins have made themselves look unstopable this year, at least on paper. As for Bolland, I feel kind of bad for him. As a third line center, he is probably a little expensive. But he did really well in that shut down role. If they trade him because he isn't a second line center, that seems a little harsh and isn't really trading from a position of strength. If they package him and a pick for a legit second line guy, well maybe that's a different story.

    I'll be surprised if SB makes a trade. This may sound bizarre, but I'm hard pressed to think about what single trade they could make that would seem like THE piece to put them over the edge the way Hossa (arguably) was when they signed him. The team isn't perfect, but it has done well in a season where winning was important from day one. More then a true, strong, second line center, what I really think they need is a guy who can win face offs and make room for Kane who is the real play maker. That's an odd order to try and fill if you agree with the premise.

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