Ups and Downs for Hawks in Season Lidlifter

Before I continue, let me just say that last night's Hawks game, in the grand scheme of the season, means very little.  With that said, there were a few concerning sights in Thursdays game in Colorado. 

Let's go over the positives and negatives, while trying to keep this ONE GAME in perspective.

POSITIVES:

Marian Hossa:  Hossa's pass on Bryan Bickell's goal was outstanding, and he only got better from that point.  He was the best player on the ice for either team.  He's finally healthy, and will prove he's still the best overall player on the roster.

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Marian Hossa was the best Blackhawk Thursday night in Colorado

Marty Turco:  Despite a few puckhandling adventures, Turco kept the Hawks in the game, stopping 37 of 41 Avalanche shots. many in spectacular fashion.   He's going to give Hawks fans heart palpitations this season.  His adventures out of the net had me hiding my eyes, but man can he handle the puck?  If he's your fantasy goalie (like he is mine) expect a few assists this season.

The 4th Line:  Jake Dowell, Viktor Stalberg and Jack Skile were very noticeable in their limited ice time.  Skille was physical, Stalberg was creating chances (despite passing up a few chances to shoot), and Dowell won faceoffs and worked his ass off.  This line, if kept as is, will be the top 4th line in hockey, and would make a hell of a 3rd line on other teams. 

Patrick Sharp:  2 points, 7 shots for Sharpie.  He scored the game tying goal in the 3rd, and has proven to be the Hawks "Mr. Reliable."  Need a goal?  Here I am.  Stan Bowman's BEST offseason move was NOT moving Patrick Sharp. 

NEGATIVES:

Brent Seabrook:  Seabrook looked slow and rusty for much of the game.  Historically, he's a slow stater.  He will improve, especially considering he's in a contract year. 

Nick Leddy:  Yes, it's harsh.  He's a 19 year old defenseman in his first NHL game, but Leddy looked slow, nervous, and scared with the puck.  I'm sure he'll get "better" but I'm not sure "better" is good enough.  After one game, Leddy doesn't look like an NHL defenseman. 

John Scott:  How can a 6 '8 defenseman be invisible?  I mean, I saw the high sticking penalty, but I didn't see the crushing hits and glove dropping I was promised.  Adam Foote was begging for a beating.  Why didn't Scott give him one?   

ANALYSIS:  It's one game, but the D needs to be better.  Last season, the Hawks allowed a league best 25.1 shots against per game.  Last night, they allowed 41 shots on goal.  That MUST improve.  If not, look for Turco to run out of gas quickly.  No offense can keep up with that. 

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  • Completely agree, Seabs is notoriously a slow starter but I am not worried about him at all. Leddy looked shaky in the beginning but later in the game I think he picked it up minus getting too involved in the offense and getting caught out of position a few times. And Scott will be a presence I am sure he was a little tentative to draw any fighting majors in the season opener, I am hoping he is saving it for Saturday and will drop some RedWing Scum.

  • Not only are you correct about the D (41 v 25 shots), but the power play sucked. yeah, it was 2 for 7, which is not a bad season percentage, but there was no real form to it. On several, the Avs had the better opportunities short-handed. It's going to be a long season unless, as a fan, you have no expectations. They will win some and lose some, but, overall, they ain't going nowhere except for first round elimination. Right now, they will have to figure out how to deal with the upcoming Saturday night whacking by the superior Detroit Red Wings, and I ain't no Red Wing fan.

  • Niemi wins opener. 30 saves in 3-2 win. I don't know why they didn't spend a little money on him to keep him around. They could have still had a few players at low salaries to make the cap. What difference does it make if you have guys like Leddy or Pisani or Joe High Stick and Frank Sharp Blade. Pay Stick and Blade about $10,000 apiece and keep Niemi. That was the way to beat the cap. For God's sake, Niemi won the Cup for us. Why get rid of him?

  • jacksalmon...there is a league minimum salary...i don't think anyone is going to play for $100,000 (I assume that's what you meant, and not $10,000). You can't blame the Hawks for Niemi. The Hawks made him a very similar offer to what the Sharks signed him for, and for more years, but his dumbass agent wanted to play chicken with Stan Bowman. He lost. The Hawks did the right thing keeping Hjammer and Sharp over Niemi. Turco is capable of putting up Niemi-esque numbers.

  • In reply to JayZawaski:

    I was a huge Niemi fan, but totally agree with you Jay. Teams win Stanley Cups, not individuals. Niemi played vey well for a very good team -- he was not the sole reason they won. It's easy to forget that Niemi let in 22 goals in 6 games in the finals against Philly. Not great numbers by any stretch. Turco has proven to be a solid goalie over the long haul. Only time will tell if Niemi has the same longevity. He had his chance to stay with the Hawks but got greedy.

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