Have The Blackhawks Become The Red Wings?

The Hawks played another fine game last night and beat the Predators 3-1. Cristobal Huet was also fine, which is the way to describe his winning efforts so far.  Actually everything is more than fine concerning the Blackhawks. Sometimes we may not realize when things are really good. 

Although the Hawks have played just seven games and may have only skated against two clubs which will qualify for post season play the results have been much better than fine. Blackhawk loyalist should take a deep breath and appreciate the fact their favorite team looks very good so far. 

The Hawks are among NHL leaders in goals scored and goal differential. They are at the top of the heap in shots taken per game and shot differential. They are also the least penalized team in the league. Chicago fans despise the Red Wings but Hawk management always wanted to emulate the best hockey franchise around. 

By the looks of things the 2009-2010 Blackhawks may be the NHL’s new Detroit Red Wings.

 The Hawks are leading the league in shots on goal  and dominating teams with puck possession, all the while spending little time in the penalty box. Certainly Adam Burish and Ben Eager being out of the lineup have push down the penalty totals….But who would have thought the Hawks would be so rule abiding? 

The other shared trait with Red Wings of the past is questionable goal keeping. The Wings often won without having one of the league’s top net minders between the pipes. Their goalies would be able to handle about 20 shots per game and come up with a big stop when needed. Once the playoffs started Chris Osgood or Dominik Hasek rose to the occasion. 

Many Hawk fans won’t want to admit it, but maybe the Blackhawks have become their hated rival. If the results are the same fans should embrace the comparison. 


Al’s Shots 

Cristobel Huet made a good save early and seemed more in control last night. The Predators didn’t crash and bang in the crease area and that helps Huet. Just as in Antti Niemi’s wins, the Hawks were very responsible and limited the scoring chances for their opponent. 

I still don’t know what to expect from Niemi and in the same regard Huet hasn’t done enough to erase doubts about him. 

Maybe neither goalie has to be a great…..just not being bad may be good enough to win a lot of games. Opponents can’t score if they don’t have the puck. 

In recent years Nashville has been able to stay in the playoff hunt without any true superstar goal scorers. They could be in trouble this season and may need a high draft pick or a free agent or two to add some offense.

It has taken me a couple of weeks to comment on NHL officiating…..more to come on that topic. But I have to bring up a big screw up which fortunately didn’t change the score of a contest. 

Last night the Canadiens pulled their goal keeper while trying to tie the score against the Av’s. They just didn’t add one extra skater, but had seven men on the ice at once. 

Every official,  including linesmen can whistle a too many men on the ice penalty. All four missed the call last night and Montreal was held scoreless. 

I wonder if the screw –up would have been reviewable if Montreal had tied the score….I would hope so.



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  1. George Prax says:

    Al, I understand the comparison you’re trying to make between the Wings and the Hawks is on the ice and nothing else, but the Wings have a tradition of winning and success that’s very recent, and while most organizations should and do strive to be like the Red Wings, there is only one Detroit Red Wings. No offense is obviously meant to Hawks fans, but I think the Hawks have to win a few cups before they can be compared to the Wings.
    Don’t get me wrong though, the cups are coming. That team is good.
    But as good as they are, I don’t think they can win with Cristobal Huet. Having seen him first hand in Montreal and even being a fan of his, I don’t think he’s an NHL-capable goalie. He got lucky a few times and cashed in, but I don’t think he’s comparable to Osgood. Osgood is actually good on some level as he’s shown in the playoffs, I don’t think Huet is nearly that good.
    Hopefully Niemi can step up.
    One other thing, I think Detroit’s management is a lot more responsible than Chicago’s. As much as I respect Scotty Bowman et al I think they’ve made some pretty questionable moves (in terms of the cap/financial implications anyway) since last year and they’re going to bite them in the behind if the cap goes down.

    • Al Cimaglia says:

      I think the style of play the Hawks have shown, especially this season is Detroit like….The Wings are one of the best franchises in any sport.

      As far as winnig Cups go…..there is a lot of work to do here.

  2. PenguinsMarch says:

    No question about it – the ‘Hawks will be a force to be reckoned with all season long.
    Regarding the bizarre “7 on 5″ at the end of the Montreal-Colorado game on Thursday:  Price was pulled for an extra attacker during Hal Gill’s penalty.  After his penalty expired, could Gill have stayed in the box until the next whistle to prevent the too-many-men possibility or would it be within the rules if he simply skated right to the Montreal bench?
    I’ve never seen such a weird play in all the years I’ve watched hockey!

  3. Al Cimaglia says:

    Once he touches the ice it is too many men….and no he couldn’t stay in the penalty box.