To make it clear before a rant on the Blackhawks' early moves, I am very optimistic about this season. Not that I expect a repeat, or wish for one, but I have high hopes that this will be a great and successful season of hockey in Chicago.
I am not happy with what I am seeing to start this season, besides the Hjalmer deal which just showed how awesome of a person he is. You already know how I feel about the Crawford deal, and while on deals, I can't say I love seeing Quenneville getting extended even though there was no other option unless he wanted to go out on top or something. This is exactly why I don't love seeing him get extended:
Brandon Saad is getting the first crack at the 2nd-line center spot in South Bend. “We’re going to try it,” Quenneville said. “He’s good with the puck, he’s a big banger, he’s a big body and he can see and make plays well. He protects the puck well. Defensively, [the center] has a little more responsibility down low in our own end. That’s where the growth will have to come. But I think both sides of the puck, he’s got a pretty good mind for the game.”
Never mind that Brandon Pirri was the AHL's leading scorer last year, and that he is a true center who probably should have been in this role halfway through last season based on his performances. He hasn't exactly proven his worth here beyond a shadow of a doubt, but he should have the better half of the season to prove it. Even if he has a rough start, Q should be seeing that option through.
What really frustrates me about this move, and about Q in general is that Brandon Saad is an amazing winger. Without going to far into it, having him play the center position between Hossa and Sharp would be the beginnings of negating the things that Saad did so well last year. He is an honest to god power forward, who seems to get his strength from the outside, and in the corners. Why mess with a good thing, especially when there is someone ready for the job.
There have been far too many moves from Q that I would have fired him on the spot for. His constant meddling that makes it seem like he is just throwing crap at the wall is one thing, but the way he screws with player's heads, and never allows them to succeed in a role, or find their role is what frustrates me the most. His use of John Scott too much, and lack of using Frolik, the way he treated Stalberg in his tenure here, insistent over use of players and lack there of others just to name a few things. Consider this move and what it says to Pirri. Apparently, being the leading scorer in the AHL wasn't enough.
Is it that Q wants so badly to reward Saad for his efforts and put him on a top line? How about moving him up as a winger to the 2nd-line and dropping Hossa down to the 3rd? ( I think Sharp could try the right side, or vis-versa) We all know that Hossa's ice-time needs to be limited anyway. This might also be a way to save Hossa for the PK. One thing is for sure, if Q relies as heavily on Hossa as he has in the past, playing him on the PP, PK, and getting top minutes, we will not have a healthy Hossa by the playoffs.
Great start Q, way to stir a pot that doesn't need stirring.
Filed under: View from the Bench