The Blackhawks take the ice on Saturday in L.A. for the first time in 272 days (almost 9 months) and for some, it probably felt like running errands at the DMV on a daily basis. Corey Crawford is dying for some redemption, Marian Hossa is looking for revenge and most importantly the fans who are hoping for a result better than last year’s first round loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Hawks are playing a scrimmage game at the UC on Wednesday night to try to simulate a game scenario; they were even instructed to wear ties… hmmm you fancy huh? This was closed to the public but the team did offer invites to local minor hockey players. A nice gesture but will go without notice from angry fans who just want to see Patrick Kane undress Nick Leddy for a goal ending with a Chelsea Dagger tribute.
This week showed Q’s cards in terms of lines which I want to comment on, as well as my Top 5 “No Way That Happens… Predictions” concerning the Hawks. I’m sure you’re sick of prediction blogs by now but I’m sure you were sick of not being able to watch hockey for 3 months… so stop complaining about everything already.
Quenneville has finally read one of my 423 hand written letters I’ve sent him over the last couple of years and is giving Bolland a shot at the #2 centre position. I followed Bolland before he was even a Hawk when he played for the London Knights in the OHL and the skill was always evident. The funny thing was he was awful defensively until he asked his coach Dale Hunter to show him the Hunter way – which of course means being the ultimate pest. I like him as the 3rd line pivot but it’s time to see what he can do in an offensive role as these next two years will define him as a his contract is up in 2014.
Here’s what we could see come Saturday afternoon:
Carcillo – Toews – Hossa <- I have no problem with Carcillo on this line to keep people honest
Sharp – Bolland – Kane <- I like the chemistry & I’m not as worried about their defence as some
Bickell – Shaw – Stalberg <- X-factor line, can they resemble a shutdown line while contributing?
Bollig – Kruger – Frolik <- Not your typical 4th line but gives Q balance; Frolik could be the key
Keith – Seabrook <- ‘nuff said but their minutes should be watched
Hammer – Oduya <- I’m a big fan of Oduya’s game & this pairing
Leddy – Brookbank <- Don’t sleep on Brookbank’s role; good enough for PK mins under Carlyle in ANH who were 16th in PK%
… but as we know these won’t last long under Q so no need to analyze any further.
Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for… my Top 5 “No Way That Happens… Predictions” for your 2013 Chicago Blackhawks:
5) There’s no way Bolland remains at number #2 centre role, not because he can’t handle it but Coach Q wastes no time and breaks out his “I like our options with Bolly as our shutdown guy” game day speech.
4) There’s no way Keith and Seabrook will end up decreasing their TOI, even with a deeper defense; it’s just science at this point… in Q’s books.
3) There’s no way Frolik returns even close to the 20-goal scorer he once was in Florida. I actually have a theory that he’s got a more talented, hockey-playing identical twin brother that traded lives after that season in return for a simpler Czech life as a potato farmer.
2) There’s no way Carcillo makes it through this 48 game season without a suspension and/or fine… it’s just meant to be. We can all hope the opposing person he performs this illegal act on rhymes with Smaffi Florres.
1) There’s no way the Blackhawks make it past the 1st round unless Stan Bowman takes some risks and parts with some of his prized prospects to upgrade this roster (preferably in net).
Let me know if you have any of your own “THERE’S NO WAY THAT HAPPENS… predictions” of your own for the Hawks or for any other teams.
The season is almost upon us and I will be back with another blog post game #1.
Ty Cam out!
Filed Under: Chicago Blackhawks
About the Author: I am a rare Chicago Blackhawks fan from Canada, one might describe me as a hockey connoisseur and a solid checking line centre to your local rec hockey team. I once lived in a town of 500 people and now work in the hockey mecca that is Toronto. I work in the wonderful world of Advertising and these opinions are one of my own and not of my company - don't get it twisted.