Hawks' depth keeps team rolling right along

Hawks' depth keeps team rolling right along

How do you write about a team that's doing everything right? It seems like it would be easy, but it's really not. You see, when a team is bad (like the Bears), there are so many things to nit pick, dissect, over analyze, and obsess about. With the Blackhawks, the biggest bit of controversy is the goaltending situation, which isn't really an issue at all.

Right now, The Blackhawks are playing like many thought they would. Preseason magazines, blogs, and websites were often picking the Hawks to win at least the Western Conference, while more than a few picked them to go all the way.

So what's happening? Why are the Hawks all of a sudden the "best team in hockey" again? Well, it's the same thing that won the Hawks a Cup in 2010...depth.

No team in hockey can match the Hawks roster. Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Sharp are all in the top ten in scoring in the NHL. Patrick Kane is following closely behind. Those guys are no secret.

The guys really paying dividends are the depth players. Role players like Jamal Mayers, Steve Montador, Andrew Brunette, and yes, even John Scott are doing exactly what they are supposed to do. That sounds simple, but when Stan Bowman assembled this roster, he had a vision. Every man on the roster is a piece of that vison. Sure, those last couple of guys I mentioned aren't world beaters, but they're NHL players and any team in the league.

It's not often a six time 20 goal scorer is playing on your fourth line, like Brunette. It's not often a guy like Mayers, who's provided leadership and grit his entire career, is just another face in a locker room full of leaders. It's not often a team can feature, as their 7th d-man, a guy like Sean O'Donnell, who's been an every night top 4-5 guy his entire NHL career.

Depth players like Kris Versteeg, Andrew Ladd, Brent Sopel, and Tomas Kopecky helped the Blackhawks win their first Cup in 49 years in 2010. Maybe the Mayers, Froliks, Montadors, and Brunettes can end the 1 year drought this season.

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  • Jay, your one of the top hockey commentators/analysts in the windy city... but how can you catagorize Kris Versteeg as a role player. He was the third line scoring punch they are still lacking and his playmaking skills and speed made Bolland even more of an offensive threat. I have heard rumors that the Hawks didn't like his "D". That line was the shut down line we have come to expect from a Dave Bolland centered line and Versteeg was not cherry picking while Ladd and the Ratt stoned the opposition. Versteeg is in the league leaders in scoring and goals this year and scored over 20 goals in his two years with the Hawks and was third place in rookie of the year voting. If Talon had not screwed up the salary cap and specifically UFA on steeger, Barker and others I think Kris would still be a Hawk and skating on the first or second line... the worst trade Bowman has made so far Versteeg for Stalberg!

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