A Win is a Win But….

We all look at things differently but sometimes winning a game isn’t indicative of a great performance by the victor.

The Hawks did tighten up their defensive coverage in the final twenty minutes but Dallas still had very good chances to score. After the Stars struck for their third goal the Hawks were often back on their heels. Going into the last period the Hawks didn’t have the swagger of a winner but they were able to come through. Maybe they can use the victory to gain confidence.

The 5-3 win over Dallas was a big two points for the Blackhawks although it wasn’t a complete performance. What was most impressive was that secondary scoring accounted for three of Chicago’s five goals and Cory Crawford didn’t wilt when the going got tough.  

Hawk fans, those in the media and bloggers search for answers as to why this team has been so erratic. The good news is the entire Western Conference appears the same way. Detroit can play the most consistent style of play and appears to be a cut above the rest, but they aren’t perfect. 

Last season the Blackhawks were a very confident group. Some players felt they should get more ice time and a few had legitimate gripes. So there was always an air of cockiness which Joel Quenneville controlled. Without question there was a lot of competition between teammates. 

Some of the 2009-2010 guys thought they should receive more power play time. Others wanted to play on the second line rather than as a third liner. The result was a group which always pushed each other, so it was easier to stay focused. Last season, the Hawks didn’t lose three games in a row in regulation until the final weeks. Now the team is split into two distinct groups, there is a different kind of motivation required. 

So when the Hawks are forced to play without Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane any victory is a good victory. It would be difficult for any team to play at the same level without two scorers which account for close to 20% of their total goals. 

Even with those two players in the lineup the Hawks can’t play as quickly at as high of a level as they did last season. They can for stretches of time but on most nights they don’t sustain the pace for an entire game. 

In essence the Hawks aren’t yet good enough to stick with an effective style of play for 60 minutes and that makes them vulnerable. Losing focus with a big lead is not anything new, but carelessness will prove more costly because this group is not as talented as last year’s club. 

It appears Joel Quenneville has to stress defense to his troops more so than ever. By playing a tighter checking game gives the Hawks the best chance of winning. This group can’t hold onto the puck as long. Their puck possession game still needs work. But it is hard to change the behavior of some, especially when they have been successful before. Thinking offense first worked fine when the Hawks could easily outscore many opponents, but those days are over. 

When Dallas mounted their comeback it was the Toews’ line on the ice for two goals and Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were victimized three times. Corey Crawford allowed a bad goal on the Stars first strike, but he was very good in the third period. The Hawks difficulties involve more than looking for individual mistakes. 

Lessons are still being learned by some of the Blackhawks. The jury is out on how fast the new guys can learn, or if some will be able to become solid NHL players. Thus there is more pressure on the more experienced Hawks. 

Dallas has been one of the better teams in the Western Conference but they were in the midst of playing 10 games in a 19 day span. The Stars spent an off day off in Chicago on Tuesday and judging from their awful start in the contest, they weren’t in bed early. The Dallas cause wasn’t helped due to the recent injury suffered by their starting goalie Kari Lehtonen. 

Andrew Raycroft started against the Hawks, and during the first period he was beer league bad. Raycroft’s glove couldn’t have been much slower. The Hawks would have scored four times instead of twice in the opening frame but Raycroft was saved by the goal post. 

Beside shabby goal keeping the Stars also had to contend with some questionable officiating. You won’t find this comment on NHL Live or probably by reading most Hawk blogs, but the Stars were the victim of some questionable officiating decisions.  

The last miscue by the zebras was in the closing seconds when Brent Seabrook threw his stick towards Trevor Daley who beat him on the play. Seabrook fell and it looked like he went to swipe the puck away from the Stars’ forward but his stick came out of his hand. It is quite possible the stick slipped out of Seabrook’s hand but the act doesn’t have to be intentional to warrant an infraction. The referee’s overlooked Seabrook’s stick throwing which should have resulted in a penalty shot. 

The Dallas TV crew commented after the game, the same official, who wasn’t Dave Jackson, called every penalty on Dallas. I don’t know if Dean Morton had his focus only on the Stars. But, beside the Dowell-Ott fight, the Stars were issued six penalties while the Hawks were whistled only once. On the Hawks first goal it looked like goal tender interference should have been called on Jack Skille, but the goal stood. 

It would have been an awful loss if the Hawks would have blown a three goal lead on home ice. But results matter and the Hawks survived. 

Al’ Shot’s 

Sometimes it isn’t only a matter of whom you’re playing but when you’re playing them.

When the Hawks put a beat down on the Canucks in Vancouver, they just had returned from an East coast road trip.

The Sharks have been playing better of late, and the Hawks will face them this weekend after they have finished their East coast tour on Thursday night.

Quite possibly Dave Bolland has awoken and has found his game. Lately Bolland has been better, still not back to top form, but better.

Maybe the Hawks have finally found an effective third line.

Troy Brouwer and Bryan Bickell have kept it simple and played physical. Bickell has shown he can score some goals with his nice wrist shot when given space. The two have played well and led the Hawks with five hits each.

Jeremy Morin will get better as his nerves calm down and it was nice to see him score his first NHL goal. He will be a better player as he physically matures. The Hawks will have him on a weight program this summer and next year Morin will be bigger and stronger.

I think it would be best for Morin to play in WJHC later this month, but I don’t know if the Hawks will let him go.

The Hawks may need Morin, especially with the injuries and because the playoff race is so tight. The Hawks may not want to risk sending Morin to the tourney because he could suffer an injury and then they would be down another forward. In a perfect world Morin should play in the WJHC.

As far as more help coming from Rockford…There isn’t much.

Kyle Beach wouldn’t fit with his cap hit. Plus, before he can get promoted he should be able to dress in every Ice Hog game. It appears Beach hasn’t been dialed in lately.

If Igor Makarov was ready he probably would have already gotten a chance in Chicago. During the last couple of weeks, John Scott’s fighting skills were seldom needed. But at this point Scott will stay in the lineup until everyone gets healthy.

Jake Dowell showed some class when he didn’t drill Steve Ott when he slipped during their scrap. A standup player won’t hit an opponent when they are on the ice.

Dowell gets called on to fight because teams won’t challenge Scott. Dowel will have more fights this season than Scott. Not only will Dowell play in more games but Scott won’t find many more takers.

One word of caution…Dowell has fought in the last couple of games even though the Hawks were winning. The young center needs to learn when to say no.

Viktor Stalberg didn’t play in the third period. I don’t think he was hurt…more a case of Q. showing some tough love as Stalberg was a -2.

John Scott played his best game as a Hawk, but still only saw the ice for one shift in the last period.

I think Wednesday’s contest featured the most hits in one game at the UC this season…36 for the Stars, 35 for the Hawks.

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  1. shruew says:

    John Scott played his best game as a Hawk, but still only saw the ice for one shift in the last period.

    Coincidence?

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      No, by design…

      Scott’s best game doesn’t warrant getting much playing time in the third period of a close contest.

      Scott is too slow and eventually he will get caught leaning the wrong way.

      Unfortunately that prevents Q. from keeping a 4th line intact… to be able to spread out the minutes a bit more.

  2. Dave Morris says:

    Al, good overview. As you say, the Hawks have enough talent to win, but they don’t have enough talent to win despite losing focus, game after game…

    Crawford has bailed them out in the last few contests with strong work in the final frame. That is a dangerous way to play.

    As for the Stars, I will cite a recent quote from Mike Babcock after his Wings lost their 3rd straight: “Catch-up hockey is losing hockey, I say that all the time.”

    Mark Crawford was right to be angry, but his team dug its own hole, and Stephane Robidas, who has a penchant for bad penalties at bad times, sealed his team’s fate with his two trips to the box late in the game.

    The Sharks are not swimming very well…their defense down low is looking very vulnerable, as the Sabres speared them repeatedly on their way to a 6-3 win last night.

    The Blackhawks need every point now, with the playoff battle being about as tight as can be.

    Stalberg took his benching like a pro. He knew he wasn’t good, and he said so. Which is a good sign, as the young man will probably bear down in the next game.

    There were lots of positives, with guys like Bickell and Skille doing what they are supposed to do–shoot instead of think, and drive the net instead of floating around–and Brouwer waking up to score a big goal.

    If the boys can get it through their heads that they CAN beat anybody on any given night if they just work their tails off, who knows…

    And it appears Hoss, Pisani and perhaps even Kane are progressing in their rehab ahead of schedule.

    There are two BIG points to be earned in San Jose, IF the Hawks are hungry.

  3. Al Cimaglia says:

    The Sharks did have a decent road trip (3-2) versus some good teams…That was their final game of an East coast swing….not easy for them.

    The big question is whether the Hawks can take advantage of a favorable schedule…The Hawks arrived in San Jose before the Sharks.

    BTW…That was a great interview with Babcock.

    He mentions how the Detroit way is too play with the puck from the start of the game and throughout.

    The Hawks want to play that same way…But aren’t there yet.

    Babcock also said a top effort is needed every night in the West…the competition is so tough.

    • Dave Morris says:

      Agreed Al, the Sharks did have it tough travel-wise…but they do have vulnerabilities defensively with Blake, Malhotra and Nabokov gone.

      Blake was not quick but he was experienced, and tough when protecting the house…they miss Malhotra, and Nabokov, for all his flaws is a better ‘tender than either Niitty or Nemo. And Boyle is the only puck mover on their D.

      So all areas that can be exploited, IF…

      The Hawks do have to watch out for this kid Logan Couture, of course. As well as all the other offensive weapons SJ has.

      And I think you will agree Babcock may be the best coach in the NHL. The Red Wings pay attention, and they are held accountable for their execution. Having the cold-blooded Nik Lidstrom as their captain sets the example for the rest. There are few players who ‘take care of business’ the way Lidstrom does.

      If Toews has to scream at his guys to “finish them the f*ck off!” as he reportedly did in the Stars game, and Q has to become enraged for the kids to get their act together…not good.

      On the other hand, if the Blackhawks can string together some wins, they might just claw their way to the top of a Conference where everyone is having ups and downs.

      If the Pens can do it in the East without Malkin and Staal, there’s no logical reason the Hawks can’t do it in the West.

  4. Living the Cup says:

    As fans we’d all like to see the Hawks play every game with the urgency of the 7th game of the SCF but to do that for 82 games of a regular season is not possible.

    Earlier on I think the Hawks could be faulted for their effort but not in the last 12 games or so (excluding in Calgary). I think the effort is there for the most part. The problems now are more about consistent execution and a roster even with Hoss and Kane that simply is not as talented as last year and therefore keeps giving up the puck which makes a puck possession game difficult to say the least.

    Partly that’s why I hope they keep Morin – they need his skill. But also he had a great WJC last year so he already has the benefit of that experience. I think not only do the Hawks need him but his development is also probably better served playing NHL hockey.

    If Morin stays and once everyone is healthy then we may have some of that internal competition for ice time that you referred to regarding last year’s team Al. One of Skille/Pisani/Stalberg would likely be a healthy scratch and Scott would be bumped further down to 14th forward or even off the roster (sorry I’m dreaming again).

    Bickell/Brouwer/Kopecky/Morin/Stalberg would all be fighting for top 9 minutes with only 4 winger spots to go around. That’s a healthy situation IMO especially regarding not losing focus.

    If someone is waiting to take your spot then you are much more likely to stay focussed.

    I remain optimistic that they will continue improving as the year progresses and will yet mount a credible if not successful title defense.

  5. Dum Dum Alouwishes says:

    I’m pretty sure it was 1-0 when Dowell fought Ott

  6. djd says:

    Not hearing much about Klinkhammer. I thought he held is own quite well and is a much better skater than Scott. Firsthand Al?

    I’m not buying too much into the urgency of winning being forecast here. Yes, of course every game is important but right now the ‘hawks have a .575 percentage and if the magic number is 96pts, well, that is only a .585 percentage. The games are important because the team has a chance to surge forward because of the a nice homestand, but critical, I don’t know. The team is playing well and often better on the road too.

    I have no pity for the Sharks coming home and playing for the fourth time in 6 nights …

    As for the games in hand the others in the conference may have, well, they do have to win them. All teams in contention are having their ups and downs right now. I expect that water will find its own level before long. Will the ‘hawks catch the Wings? Possible but doubtful.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      djd,

      I should have mentioned Klinkhammer…

      He kept it simple and finsished his checks…He is a banger, had 3 hits, and can score a little…at least in the AHL.

      As far as skating better than Scott….Everyone in the NHL that I have watched skates better than Scott.

  7. Dave Morris says:

    LTC> when Guy Carbonneau was coach of the Canadiens and he lost control of the team during the second full year of his tenure, Carbonneau used to complain about his team “not working hard enough”.

    The problem was, that he was correct–the players were NOT “working hard enough”; but the real problem that he was incapable of communicating what *kind* of effort was required in *what* amounts at what *time*.

    What separated Carbonneau from top-flight Cup winning coaches, like Quenneville and Babcock, is that while Carbonneau grasped the game instinctively as a player and brought an appropriate level of intensity, he didn’t have either the intellectual grasp nor the management skill that Q and Babcock have.

    BTW this is not to be disrespectful of Carbo, but merely an evaluation based on observing his work as a head coach.

    Quenneville is an excellent coach for the Hawks for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the combination of intellect and intensity he brings, as well as his communication skills. The players will often speak highly of Joel, which is significant.

    There is no *shortage* of talent in Chicago. The team may not have the surplus of skill it had last year, but it certainly has enough to compete, and have a chance to win, *every single night*.

    Playing smart as well as playing hard being the two principal components of the equation, the Blackhawks have not–as we have seen–done either on a consistent basis so far.

    IF they do, they can surprise themselves, their opponents and their fans.

  8. Al Cimaglia says:

    The lack of effort excuse is getting old.

    The Hawks have talent but not everyone is a proven talent.

    So in essence it is a lack of know how that hurts them more so than a lack of “want”.

    But you won’t hear the coach or the GM say that…

    • Dave Morris says:

      Al, you raise exactly the point I was driving at…we sometimes hear the expression ‘hockey IQ’, but we rarely hear it defined.

      If you look at the top teams in the NHL *right now*, PIT, DET, MTL, PHI, they are all led by coaches who understand how to develop the sense of hockey smarts (if that is how we define Hockey IQ) in their personnel, and combine it with a focused combination of effort and execution.

      Under those coaches, players who have been questioned as to their ‘hockey IQ’ are becoming effective players…I think of Andrei Kostitsyn, Matt Cooke, Todd Bertuzzi (whether one likes these players or not), to name a few.

      As you say, some of the players in CHI who have the potential simply haven’t shown it yet…because they do not yet ‘know how’ to get it done.

      However, did anyone envision Versteeg becoming a 20 goal scorer under Quenneville? Byfuglien becoming a multi dimensional player? Burish becoming an effective penalty killer?

      Just as these guys grew up to a certain extent in the course of their apprenticeship, the ones taking their place can do the same…*IF* they apply themselves.

      Corey Crawford, for example, did, and we are seeing the result.

      • Al Cimaglia says:

        Just because the Cup winnners were young they still had NHL experience and some were champions at other levels of hockey as well.

        Now many of the new players have little or no NHL experience…And those which have played in the NHL before like Pisani and Stalberg, didn’t learn in Chicago.

        • Dave Morris says:

          Al, given Stalberg’s measurable improvement since I saw him play as a Maple Leaf, and his response to Q&Co’s tutelage and discipline, I believe he will become a valuable Hawk. He really didn’t get much coaching in Toronto under Wilson (given the mess there).

          Regarding the rest, it is IMO not very complicated. Mike Babcock was interviewed by RDS tonight before the Habs game and he talked about the importance of structure. He had a lot of very good things to say about Jacques Martin, who is a structure-first coach…like Q, like Laviolette, like Bylsma (and for example, newcomers like Boucher and Arniel).

          When teams play within their structure–as we have seen so many times, and as we continue to see–they win.

          Experience is definitely a factor, but there’s only one way to gain that…and that’s to live with the mistakes until the young guys learn to get it right.

  9. Living the Cup says:

    I hear ya Dave- but it was last year’s SURPLUS of talent that had announcers comparing the Hawks to the Harlem Globetrotters.

    I agree they have enough talent to compete this year but not to dominate like they often did last year with that puck possession game.

    Ladd, Versteeg, Buff, Madden all had good to excellent puck handling skills.

    Often I find the puck goes to Skille, Stalberg, Bickell, Dowell etc. and then goes to the opposition. But that can be worked on and improved.

  10. KC Hawk says:

    Al : How close are Hawks to signing Seebrook ? Are the 2 sides talking ? Is he in their longterm plans ? Is it not risky to let him become an RFA ? Thanks.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      I am 90% certain they will re-sign him….and it should happen before the summer.

      If they can’t get it done before the season ends then my certainty would drop down a lot.

      I haven’t heard they are talking but becasue Keith’s play would suffer without him and for other reasons they need to get it done.

      I think Seabrook is just beginning to get really good…So far this season he has been the best defender.

      Give him $4.75- $5 mill for about 7 yrs or so…and be done with it.

      He will be able to get at least that…probably more in July…So maybe if he gets a longer term he would probably rather stay here than go elsewhere.

      • pricey says:

        Al, that is the exact number I think is fair for both Seabrook and the Hawks.

        Even if it’s $5 per, thats only a $1.5 million raise and with the bonus cap space coming back plus the rumours swirling about the cap going up another $2-3 million, the Hawks are in a good spot IMO

        • Living the Cup says:

          With the Hawks gaining $6-7 M in cap room next year they’ll not only be able to sign Seabrook (1.5 M raise) but also Brouwer, Stalberg, Crawford and Dowell (all I think they’ll want to retain) for say and average of $1M raise each (total $4M – maybe a bit high) leaving between $.5 – 1.5M for the likes of Skille (RFA) and Kopecky (UFA) or another UFA.

          Either way with the maturation of this year’s newcomers, the addition of another or two Hogs (Leddy, Beach?) and possibly a UFA the Hawks will be in good shape.

          A good playoff run this year will accelerate the maturation process of the new guys and puts the Hawks right there for 2011-2012.

          • Al Cimaglia says:

            The cap situation for next season reflects the Hawks will have a lot more flexibility.

            Whether they retain any of those you mentioned will depend on how things go from here on out.

            There are a couple of Ice Hogs which might get into the mix too…

            My guess is all of those you mentioned won’t be back….Quite possibly only 2 or 3…and then the Hawks will be more active on July 1.

        • Al Cimaglia says:

          The only worry would be if they don’t sign Seabrook before the end of the season….

          There is a team which he might consisder playing for and that will have money to spend on defenders….

          The Vancouver Canucks

          • Living the Cup says:

            Al -of course regarding who stays and who goes for next year is pure speculation at this point – but that’s half the fun of it.

            My thinking is that Brouwer is a keeper – despite his slow start I think he has good upside as a power forward and shouldn’t be that costly.

            Crawford I expect to the #1 goalie here for a few years.

            Stalberg – again has a good upside but if his progress stalls throughout the year maybe they don’t bring him back. I think he’ll pick it up though.

            Dowell is becoming an excellent 4th line centre who also has upside in his role but as a 4th liner is expendable by definition. Again I think they’ll keep him.

            A lot of the above of course could change with playoff performances assuming they get there.

  11. Al Cimaglia says:

    Morin only recalled from Rockford for tonight’s game.

    It looks like Jordan Hendry may finally get to play.

  12. Living the Cup says:

    Doesn’t this mean Hendry and Scott at forward again?

    Sorry but I don’t get it. Why not ley Hendry have a shot and use Klink and sit Scott?

  13. Al Cimaglia says:

    You won’t like this answer but…

    Hendry has to travel with the team…Klinkhammer can play for Rockford tonight.

    Hendry will finally get a chance to play and the Hawks save airfare….lol

  14. Dave Morris says:

    Al, I was reading that Potulny was originally scheduled to fly out to SJ as well…again, this may be a cap savings move.

    Big game tonight for many reasons, including the possibility that Crawford can equal Denis DeJordy’s 1964 record for consecutive wins, with a shot then at Glenn Hall’s (which dates us, eh).

    The kid deserves a first-class effort from his teammates.

    PS while the MSM writers go gaga over Jimmy Howard, none of them mention how C2 is going about his business in an exemplary manner.

  15. Dave Morris says:

    Also from Jahns…Q on Scott’s play:

    “His size is certainly noticeable when he’s out there. He’s been fine up front and he was fine on the back end. He’s done a pretty good job of where he is right now. So we’ll keep him going up front right now.”

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/blackhawks/2010/12/hendry_scott_on_fourth_line_fo.html

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      He was so fine on the back end…He was beaten out by a 37 yr old who didn’t play in the NHL for 18 months before this season….OK

  16. Sav says:

    Hawks have been amazing at finding ways to lose, Saturday continuing that trend. Played well, but if you can only get one goal, and that by Jordan Hendry, you aren’t going to win games.

    Nice touch that Niemi’s two best games this season have come against the Blackhawks.

  17. Dave Morris says:

    Al, really not much one can complain about as the Hawks battled to earn that point in SJ.

    Much for the coaches to like, especially seeing as the Blackhawks are 1-0-1 without Hossa, Kane and Pisani.

    Unfortunately Crawford’s outstanding effort wasn’t rewarded, but the young man keeps playing excellent hockey.

  18. Al Cimaglia says:

    I agree, but I had a feeling it wasn’t going to a shootout.

    Missing Hossa and Kane really matters in 4 on 4 situations.

    With a win in Colorado it will be a good trip…

  19. CBH1619 says:

    can any one tell me why kopy continues to get top six duty?
    seeing 82 in the top six gives me nausea. the guy has fourth line talent.

    he turns the puck over in his own zone far too often. the same can be said when he is on the power play.

    i know the coaches watch film. so i cant understand why he isn’t playing 8 mins a night on the fourth line.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      In particular I thought he wasn’t good at all last night.

      He is a top six guy for now becuase there isn’t enough talent to push him down. When everyone is healthy he should drop down.

      My view is the way he has played the Hawks would be stronger using him in front of the net on PP sometimes…And then Kopecky should skate on the fourth line…although his defense would have to improve.

      The third line has been good lately and I wouldn’t change it…and when Hossa and Kane come back I would rather see Morin trying to score goals than Kopecky.

      • Dave Morris says:

        Al, I expect when Hossa and Kane come back, Q has some interesting choices…as Skille seems to be learning that crashing the net is what he needs to do consistently.

        The Top 6 might shake out like this:

        Toews-Kane-Stalberg
        Sharp-Hossa-Morin

        The remainder being…
        Bolland-Skille with Brouwer or Bickell
        and Pisani-Dowell with Brouwer, Bickell or Kopecky

        Though I would be curious to see how Bolland and Morin would connect (with say, Bickell, IF he was banging and shooting regularly).

        Some other observations:

        Right now, the competition for the two remaining wing spots seems to be shaping up between Skille, Brouwer, Bickell and Kopy.

        Significantly, none of those four has separated himself from the rest, though Skille seems to carving out his place.

        Bowman and Cheveldayoff are probably looking around for trade options come January. A big/veteran d-man for the PK, as we have discussed, may be on the list.

        There’s been some talk about bringing back Sopel next year, but I wonder if Bowman might look right now at a guy like the Isles’ Mark Eaton, who comes in $2M for 2 years, and won a Cup with the Pens. Eaton is arguably as good an investment. I have also mentioned Milan Jurcina and Anton Babchuk (CGY) in our discussions as short team fixes at 1yr/$1M each.

        If reports can be believed, Garth Snow will be looking to make a deal. We know the situation with the Flames is murky. There is also talk that Dale Tallon will want to move his young d-man prospect Erik Gudbranson for a big forward (and a high pick), though you know how rumors are…

        The fact that Hendry and Scott filled in more than adequately last night (especially considering their work produced on the score sheet last night) is a good sign.

        Klinkhammer and Smith acquitted themselves well, so it seems logical they may get another look.

        Regarding in-game line changes…Scotty Bowman was a master of moving his personnel around, and he didn’t do too badly. The idea that guys HAVE to play in set combinations all the time is a notion whose merit remains to be proven conclusively. On the contrary, the more flexibility you have on offense, the harder it is for your opponent to stop you.

        As we have seen, Quenneville likes to shift people around all season long, partly to compensate for injuries, and ultimately so he can roll four lines come playoff time.

        The key now is to keep playing sound defensively and take *at least* a point in every road game.

        The Hawks played like a hungry *team* last night, which is also good.

        Finally, as both Quenneville and Todd McLellan pointed out, the race for playoff spots is as tight as it has been in years. There is an extremely slim margin for error for every team.

        Right now, the Hawks are playing as well as anybody in the West; in the past ten games, only Dallas and Edmonton have more wins (one more each than CHI).

        2-1-1 in December is a strong start to a tough month. With four or their seven games remaining in the calendar year against Divisional foes, it’s crunch time.

        Should be fun to watch.

  20. Al Cimaglia says:

    Some good points…I will have more tomorrow but I would not etch Stalberg in as a top six just yet.

  21. Living the Cup says:

    Good road point from the Hawks – could have just as easily been two (given the blown call on Stalberg’s no goal).

    For one game anyway I guess I’ll have to eat my words re: two D on the 4th line but I still don’t think it’s any sort of winning long term strategy.

    CC or Turco in Col? I think they’ll spilt the home and home, maybe CC tomorrow.

    • Dave Morris says:

      LTC> there’s no empirical reason why d-men can’t play forward…you can go back to Red Kelly and Doug Mohns for the proof. ;-)

      Then there’s Jerry Korab…

      And then there’s Dustin Byfuglien…

      And Scotty often used d-men (Savard, Lapointe, Robinson) up front on the power play, with excellent results.

      It’s all about adjusting the strategy, game by game. And enabling your personnel to be effective, as much as their talent allows, as Q says “in all situations”.

  22. Living the Cup says:

    Point taken Dave but allow that Red Kelley and Doug Mohns were much more skilled than Scott and Hendry not to mention Savard, Robinson, LaPointe and Buff – just saying.

    As far as this edition of the Hawks is concerned Scott and Hendry on the 4th line is only due to injuries. Q will be playing forwards there as soon as he has enough of them.

  23. Sav says:

    Well, that “effort” in Colorado should be the final nail in the coffin.

    This team simply sucks at even strength, whereas they were the best in the league in that department last year.