The beauty of professional sports is you can always expect the unexpected. Against the Flyers, three young Rockford Ice Hogs were pressed into action due to injuries, and they played well. Two of three were among the best players for the Hawks, which was a pleasant surprise.
Thursday night, the problem was the performance from veteran Blackhawks players, as some put forth a part-time effort. When the final horn sounded in Philadelphia, the better team won, as the Flyers edged the Blackhawks 5-4.
In some ways the score was flattering to the Hawks. Except for the beginning of the opening period and stretches in the third frame, the Flyers controlled most of the action. The shots on goal stat rang true as the Hawks were outshot 46-34.
The best performances of the night came from the recent additions to the Hawks’ roster.
It was another nice game by winger Jimmy Hayes, who scored on a pretty tip-in off a great pass from Jamal Mayers. For most of the contest, the Frolik-Mayers-Hayes combo was the best line for the Blackhawks. That’s a troubling statement, because if the fourth line is your best line, some high-priced talent isn’t doing much.
Rookie winger Andrew Shaw had a nice debut. Shaw got the worse of it in a staged fight in the early moments of the contest. He showed up and came away with some stitches, but wasn’t seriously hurt. In the second period, Shaw bagged his first NHL goal on a slick move. Shaw was credited with four shots on goal and four hits. He did a very good job for a 20-year-old in his first NHL game.
Recent call-up Dylan Olsen had a solid performance on defense. He was credited with three shots and three blocks while playing 9:48. Olsen didn’t look out of place.
Those who were not expected to be solid contributors were and others who were counted on fell short of expectations.
Ray Emery wasn’t bad in goal, but he had issues with rebound control and trouble moving from side to side. Ilya Bryzgalov had a similar night; both goaltenders should have saved a couple of shots that beat them.
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The link below is for a Sirius/XM Radio interview with Jamie Shalley on Jan. 5.
Next article will be out on Monday.
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